Clarity, Conviction & Confidence
Kara Wada, MD: Hello. Hello, it's Dr. Kara here.
I am live streaming both here on Instagram and Facebook in our *Becoming Immune Confident* community. If you are not in our free private community, you need to come join us. It is a really great uplifting space where Jen and I come together. We do some free coaching sessions, we have accountability prompts and we are sharing information on how you can become immune confident with all of us.
So today I wanna talk about the three goals that we have. Three goals that we have as part of the *Becoming Immune Confident* program and share a little bit more about what those mean, the thoughts behind them and why they are so important.
What it's like to live with excessive inflammation: understanding the conditions associated with too much inflammation
Kara Wada, MD: If you are someone who is living with too much inflammation, allergies, autoimmunity, asthma, all of these are conditions of too much inflammation. #TMI
These are conditions where our immune system is misbehaving. I've always called it misbehaving immune system.
My friend Dr Singla shared with me this concept of they're all conditions of too much inflammation. Inflammation really is our body's response to infection, to injury, and to insult.
When it is working right, it's healing. But when we have too much, becomes problematic and it's really important for us to, as best we can, help turn that dial back down on too much inflammation because over the long term it has significant consequences.
I have Systemic Sjogren's. I was diagnosed with it about four years ago now. In hindsight, I had symptoms back to even when I was probably 19 or 20 that I didn't recognize as such then. I had issues with severe food intolerances, IBS symptoms, terrible stomachaches that would have me wanting to miss class that affected me all the way up until the last few years when I've kind of got my head together, figured out what was going on, and really then worked systemically to decrease that excess of inflammation.
Inflammation, when it is harnessed appropriately, it helps us heal, it helps us recover, it helps us fight off infection, but when we have issues with our body's ability to turn that inflammation back off or recalibrate it, that's when we see issues with too much inflammation, TMI: diseases.
Types and Flavors of Inflammation
Kara Wada, MD: The other thing I really love to share about inflammation is that we think of it all together as one, but there are so many different flavors to inflammation. Even when I'm seeing a patient in the office with asthma, there are probably, I think upwards of 15 or so different flavors that we have parsed out. They all end up with the same end symptoms. So in asthma we see wheezing, sometimes cough, chest tightness, essentially is inflammation of the lining of our airways, and then as a result, the muscles around those breathing tubes become more twitchy. That's the end result, but the actual pathways that are turning on that inflammation, the flavor of that inflammation in the airway is going to vary from person to person. Some people, their asthma is going to be allergic triggered, other folks, it may be related to viral infections that may be their trigger. And in other folks, we are realizing there is likely more of an autoimmune type flavor to their inflammation related to their asthma.
Some people respond really well to steroids. Other people, essentially their lungs look at steroids and laugh in the face of them. They're like, "Hmm, this isn't gonna help" and so this has really driven the personalization of some of our modern medical treatments, which are fantastic. But we're not all the way there yet, and we haven't figured out some of that personalization with conditions such as like Sjogren's. We know not all Sjogren's looks the same. Some people have a lot of dysautonomia things like POTS issues with the nervous system not responding appropriately along with the cardiovascular system or with other types of neuropathies or nerve inflammation problems. Some folks have a lot of tissue dryness that has been pretty characteristic of my Sjogren's. Some folks will have arthritis changes in their joints. Others will just have stiffness or body pain similar to fibromyalgia. So each of these conditions of too much inflammation, even with a label, may have different root causes going on.
And this is where taking a holistic approach can be really helpful. But also keeping in mind that we are each unique and we have a unique immune system. We have a unique microbiome, we have unique taste preferences, cultural background, right? And so when we see a lot of these cookie-cutter type programs that come out we have to realize that those may help for a portion of people. But we need to honor our own unique, amazing US and lean into that too. And really that is what Becoming Immune Confident is also built around.
So what I realized on my diagnostic and health and wellness journey was the feeling of overwhelm all the time. And I hear this repeatedly with my clients and with my patients day in and day out. We know more now than we ever have about how the human body works, right? Yet we're still learning more and more. Every week I get at least two, if not three medical journals sent to my house, all with brand new articles, right on new developments within the field of allergies, asthma, autoimmunity, and across medicine as a whole. But too often we leave those appointments feeling frustrated, confused, totally overwhelmed because we probably had like a 10 or 15-minute appointment, right? And we're looking for answers. We want to know that next step forward. Our brains hate uncertainty, right? They hate it like that. As we think back to cave person times, it was really scary and that put us in a place where we would potentially be in a predicament that would not be safe, right? So we are always craving and looking for certainty.
Building Clarity: Using Human Tendencies to Your Advantage for Better Decision Making
Kara Wada, MD: So what do we do? What did I do?
I started Googling, I went to some of the Facebook groups looking for community, looking for crowdsourcing of solutions or answers.
And this is what a lot of my clients and patients do too. Unfortunately, we find a lot of people with a lot of opinions like saying like, everyone has an opinion, everyone has a you know what, I tell my kids everyone has a belly button.
But it's really overwhelming. We lack clarity in what that path forward is, we lack sometimes the skills or the ability to use the skills to navigate all that's out there with our critical thinking brain. Because so often we are in this place of desperation.
We hurt, we can't think clearly, we're exhausted af and as a result, we're looking for any quick fix, anything just to take the edge off, to help us feel better, to help us get back to that place where we expected we would be.
That woman we imagined when we were sitting in grade school imagining your wedding or your career or family or whatever those dreams were, you wanna get back to that place as quickly as possible. And so in my case, I decided to try some superfood supplements - story for another day - didn't go so well. Ended up with a big needle in my liver and a piece of my liver at the National Institute for Health under a microscope slide.
But to all that to say, those are human tendencies, and if we can know and recognize those human tendencies and then use them to our advantage, to understand how we can use the planning part of our brain to tap into the community of like-minded individuals, to put on our critical thinking caps when we're thinking about trying new treatment options, to learn to trust our intuition, all of these things are really critical in building clarity as we move forward.
Reconnect with your conviction and achieve your big, hairy, audacious goals with these tips.
Kara Wada, MD: The next thing that I was really thinking about, what has changed from when I was at rock bottom, exhausted, unable to remember to call my kids by their first name, forever getting their names mixed up. Finding myself hesitating to sit on the floor and play with my young girls because it hurt so bad when I stood back up, I was hunched over for a few minutes afterwards because I was so stiff.
What I also was lacking at that time and needed to find my way back to was that strong conviction for sustainable solutions. When I was looking for those quick fixes or that magic recipe to just take the Sjogren's away, I had lost touch with the conviction that I had for my goals for my future. I was ready to walk away from the thing that I loved the most, practicing medicine. I went to school for 21 plus years to be where I was and I was ready to just give it all up and fade away.
What propelled me to finding sustainable strategies, simple tools, things that I could incorporate into our everyday routines and habits, sticking it through to learn about how our brains work, learn about the neuroscience, the psychology, to invest in myself and those skills and that training, it took rediscovering my own conviction, and that is something we work on by getting back in touch with those big, hairy, audacious goals that we had.
Getting back in touch with that girl that saw herself as president or an astronaut, or fill in the blank with whatever your future was and allowing ourselves to dream again without fear. It's incredibly powerful because when we start to dream and we let go of the fear, we're priming the pump, we're starting to lay the track for those thoughts and then what follows are the actions that we take consciously and subconsciously to get ourselves to that place. It's really cool and wild stuff.
Unlocking Active Ownership in Your Health Journey through Confidence
Kara Wada, MD: While we're doing this, we're practicing, we are in this caring, collective community, this commonwealth of knowledge with the 12 of us in the Becoming Immune Confident cohorts. To rediscover and build that confidence in ourselves, in our bodies, in our ability to bounce back from the adversity that living with too much inflammation has along with it, the confidence to go into that next doctor's appointment and have a little more clarity in what we're going to say to have confidence in bringing up your opinion. Asking those questions what are you fearful of? Having active ownership in your health journey, active ownership and empowerment and clarity, confidence, and conviction in getting yourself to that place that you envisioned.
And it may look a little different, may have adapted. I go back to this story when I was probably 19. Yeah, 'cause it was spring of my freshman year of college. We had a new president at the college, he was Dr. Pribbenow. He was super excited about our most famous alumni who's Jane Adams. She is considered one of the founders and Mothers of Social Work Movement. She is the second woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize back in 1931. And I was equally as excited about her and the work she did. Super excited to go on a field trip, to visit her childhood home and whole house in Chicago. It was a whole thing. Interestingly, today is actually my alma mater's day of giving. So I'm all in the spirit today of Rockford University, as I knew at Rockford College. But I remember on our spring break trip, we went on an alternative spring break trip down to Starkville, Mississippi to work and build a home for Habitat for Humanity. The school had been going down to Starkville for about 20 years at that point, and I was super excited to one, get out of the snow someplace a little bit warmer, but also to make a difference and to do something and give back to the community. And I remember Dr. Pribbenow made a stop there and I, with a little bit of audacity, told him that I was setting out to be the next Nobel Prize winner from Rockford College.
The Best Club You Never Wanted to Qualify for: Becoming Immune Confident
Kara Wada, MD: And it makes me laugh a little bit now because my goals have evolved and changed. But there's always been that little bit of a spark, and so much of what we're enculturated to likes to turn that off, tell us to be less than, and Becoming Immune Confident is so much more than a learning. It's an unlearning of all of that bull that we've been fed over the years.
And I am so damn excited to have applications open for Becoming Immune Confident. We will be going through them, offering consult calls over the next few days. Our applications will close May 1st, so you need to get them in. It is kind of a first come, first serve. We're gonna go in order. It is an incredible program that Jen Tharani and I have put hundreds, if not thousands of hours into our building skills, our thought process of what it all looks like. It is 12 weeks to jumpstart the skills, the traits, the practice, the embodiment of what we need to be successful in whatever that looks like for you.
With conditions of too much inflammation, you learn the science-based nutrition education that you need. So that is some education, some learning. And then we work on some of the unlearning as well. We set the stage during that 12 weeks, and then as a bonus, we know the reality of behavior change and the reality of most programs is they get you started and then they leave you hanging. So we are putting it all together, and you will have ongoing support included as part of the Becoming Immune Confident jumpstart for a full 12 months within our community. We call it the best club you never wanted to qualify for. It is this incredible community of strong, professional women who are all walking the same walk of really working on becoming their best version of themselves in learning how to adjust their habits and their lifestyle to support their health and healing.
We have so much fun. We have meetings twice a month. We have a private podcast in there, and it just really continues that ongoing support because we know it takes time. Quick fixes are just that, they're quick fixes and then they're gone. Becoming Immune Confident is the program that I was looking for when I needed it most to help for that long-term sustainable solution, help you build the skills to reinforce that resiliency that is critical when you are living with too much inflammation.
So if you would love more information, if you want to apply for Becoming Immune Confident, we'll get you the link and more information. The program is $500 to secure your spot in the program. And then we do have payment plans available. We also, in all the ways we've been thinking ahead for this program, are able to help you use FSA or HSA funds. And if you are a healthcare professional, which there are some in our community already, we can also offer continuing education credits as well. So we really want this to be an all-encompassing experience to help you find the clarity, the conviction, and the confidence so often lacking for us as folks dealing with too much inflammation.
So I hope you have an incredible day, and I can't wait to be talking with all those who've applied. We are so excited to be opening the doors for Becoming Immune Confident, so take care.
Hey, everyone. I am going to ask you once again to go into Apple podcasts and submit a review of the podcast for me.
But first I'm going to share a review from Dr Lex RX.
"Dr Wada's unique perspective is amazing considering she's both an auto-immune patient and physician. Her experience, expertise and insight make this podcast so valuable. Keep them coming."
One other from Amanda Katherine.
"Wow. So informative. Thank you for bringing more attention to autoimmune diseases. Each podcast is so informative and well thought out. Very impressed with all that you do."
Thank you so much, Dr Lex Rx and Amanda Katherine. I really appreciate the feedback and the review.
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