I believe that spending the majority of my life in Texas gives me the authority to call it home. I was raised in by two extremely loving parents, and there was no question that my brother and I were their world! That being said when it came to healthcare and nutrition my parents never swayed from the recommendations of our well-intended, but very conventional medical doctors.
Growing up in Houston I loved the arts and I dreamed of working in a gallery in France. Rivaled only by my interest in Biology, because the miracle of life and the complexity of creation are areas that have always fascinated me. I figured college was the perfect place to pursue both. Fast forward a little bit and I am sitting in a college class where I am studying the cute guy next to me much more than the course material. We got married in 2006, and we still are easily distracted by each other today!
Before the wedding I was blessed beyond my imagination with acceptance into the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental Program in San Antonio. Blending the art of restorative dental work with the science of dentistry seemed to be a great way to pursue both of my passions. With my path set (or so I thought) I headed down to San Antonio to begin my dental education.
Prior to 2005, I had never heard of holistic dentistry much less met any type of alternative medicine practitioner. Let’s be real- I didn’t even know what hummus was! This is where things begin to get Accidentally Holistic. In the midst of wedding planning and preparing for dental school graduation, I was informed that my Mother had a kidney tumor. I was shocked! She seemed so healthy. My mind swirled with whys. What caused this? What can she do to heal? All of the internet research and conversations with doctors left me frustrated and even more confused. The answer was surgical removal of her kidney. If the tumor was encapsulated she lived, if it was not she would eventually die of renal cell carcinoma. The beautiful part of the story is that she is a cancer survivor.
Believe it or not, two years later my Father was also diagnosed and treated for renal cell carcinoma. I remember thinking that surely this was some kind of twisted joke…what are the odds that spouses would be diagnosed with the exact same cancer in a 2 year spread. A fire was sparked- I was in pursuit of answers. Toxicity and cancer consumed my thoughts and my conversations, I would talk to anyone willing to listen. A dear mentor of mine (a dental anesthesiologist) led me to Dr. Stuart Nunnally and Dr. Lane Freeman in Marble Falls, Texas. He was wise enough to know that I would not thrive in a conventional dental environment, noting that the recent events in my life had presented me with a curiosity that would require a different approach to not only my practice, but my life as well.
The first observation I had in Marble Falls was a fascinating concentration of passionate dentists, doctors, and patients. This office was different than any other dental office I knew of, not only because of the procedures, but also because you could feel both love and perseverance once you crossed the threshold. The doctors and the patients were both fighting. Fighting for answers, fighting for wellness, and some were fighting for their lives.
The entire car ride home, all I kept thinking about was how many of the patients I interacted with throughout the day had such similar stories to that of my mother and my father. Looking back, it is clear that this simple day of observation, tied together so many of the loose threads in my life that had been dangling since I first became fascinated by biology, but at the same time captivated by art. I now see with clarity how art, science, health, and wellness can all converge.
I felt God gently lowering my walls against holistic dentistry, living in a small town, and making a turn in my career that I never had envisioned. Today I partner with dentists I love and respect, and honestly as cliche as it sounds I feel sometimes like I need to pinch myself.
*And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28