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Long Road to Healing

Erika Schlick never considered herself an “outdoorsy” person. She enjoyed traveling, but the architect and yoga enthusiast was not exactly the “hike twenty miles in the mountains” type of person. She did, however, take advantage of an opportunity to camp in the Yosemite wilderness on occasion. It was on one of these camping trips in 2012 that her life was forever altered.

The Unseen Menace

Erika never saw the tick that bit her. She recalled an odd mark on her hand following the camping excursion but wrote it off as a spider bite. Then the flu-like symptoms started and never stopped. They would wane here or there but always return. Body aches, chills, headaches, and adverse reactions to different foods started to plague Erika. She brought every symptom to her doctor and started collecting diagnoses like others collect baseball cards.

In the years following that fateful trip to Yosemite, Erika battled Celiac Disease, Alopecia, Hashimoto’s, and a litany of other auto-immune ailments that baffled her doctors and frustrated Erika.

In the years following that fateful trip to Yosemite, Erika battled Celiac Disease, Alopecia, Hashimoto’s, and a litany of other auto-immune ailments that baffled her doctors and frustrated Erika.

Two years would pass before Erika’s physicians landed on an answer, gained from a simple in-office blood test. Erika had Lyme Disease, a tick-borne illness caused by bacteria.

An Answer Leads to More Questions

Following her diagnosis of Lyme Disease, Erika was hesitant to rely on the strong regime of antibiotics typically administered to kill the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. She had spent the past few years focused on her gut health in an attempt to alleviate symptoms and cure the array of illnesses that had been cropping up.

Instead, Erika attacked her Lyme Disease from all fronts: medically, holistically, nutritionally, and emotionally/spiritually.

“I had learned to listen to my body,” Erika says. Noticing the approach to Lyme Disease seemed to focus on “kill, kill, kill” through the use of antibiotics, Erika wondered if a more immune-system-centered approach couldn’t work as well.

“Why should we not be trying to optimize our immune system to help as a killing treatment as well?” she wonders.

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A Whole Body Approach to Healing

Erika took the challenge of eliminating her Lyme Disease symptoms head-on. Chronic Lyme Disease is incurable, but remission is possible. With that in mind, Erika went to work researching holistic treatments, herbal therapies, detoxing, electro-dermal screenings, and IV therapy. In the end, it was stem cell therapy, with stem cells derived from her own body, that led to remission for Erika.

Writing Her Way Out

As she researched and tried different therapies on her road to health, Erika wrote. She blogged her journey on her siteThe Trail to Health, chronicling each modality attempted and each emotion that occurred when something succeeded or failed. As she wrote, Erika discovered more about herself and her priorities.

“I used to be such a people pleaser,” she said, “I am much better at creating clear boundaries and noticing how people make me feel when I am around them.” She emphasizes prioritizing self-care and mental/emotional health.

A New Journey

Armed with new knowledge and emotional strength, Erika became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2015. She started her health coaching practice, applying everything she had learned in the hopes that other people do not have to experience the hunting and pecking for answers that she endured. She hopes people will read what she writes and realize that there are options when facing a Lyme Disease diagnosis.

“I encourage you not to be afraid of how “out there” or “unconventional” a treatment is,” she says.

These days, Erika stays busy with her coaching business and continues to run the design company she founded before her diagnosis. She eats clean and maintains a healthy lifestyle. Her Lyme Disease remains in remission.

And although a rare trip to the woods led to illness for Erika, she doesn’t discourage others from blazing new trails and exploring new territory.

Nathalie Nicole Smith states that working hard and staying true to yourself are sure ways to win in life.

“I have chosen a very unpaved path for my healing journey and am hoping to help and inspire anyone else out there that is willing to step off the main trail and really explore different ways to heal and recover.”

Visit Erika Schlick’s website,The Trail to Health, for her blog along with health tips, recipes, and travel information.