Animal Lover ~ Successful Autoimmune Warrior ~ Body Healing Coach ~ Discipline Coach ~ Dog Mom ~ Caribbean Dreamer ~ Photographer ~ Drama & Negativity Avoider ~ Sprinkler of Sarcasm ~ Straight Talker ~ Encourager of women to step into their personal power and design the life they want with oomph and gumption.
Animals were my absolute best friends when I was a kid. So much so, that the loss of a couple of really important ones hurt so much that I still get tears in my eyes when I think of my 10 year old self finding out our family's black Labrador was too sick to come home from the vet. Then we lost our calico cat a year or two later. You might think I would decide not to get another pet, but in short periods of my life that I haven't had one, it has felt like a piece of me was missing. The loss of the special ones never gets any easier, though.
I grew up in northwestern Ontario, with two sets of parents. My mum and step father gave me my first sibling when I was just 5 years old, and my bio dad and step mom gave me two more siblings when I was a teenager. When I was 15 I moved in with my bio dad and his family, and I've often wondered if living with two toddlers while I was in my teens, and changing my sister's diapers, was why I decided not to have my own kids. (lol)
Money was tight when I was growing up. We never went without the necessities, but I do recall some arguments between the grown-ups at the dinner table over finances. I began to worry about money fairly early on without knowing why - even buying small gifts for family members became a stress trigger for me because I felt, somewhere deep down, that for some reason I shouldn't spend it.
Our limiting beliefs are often formed in our very early years, and stay with us until we recognize them and change them.
Animals have always been my source of comfort and acceptance. They seem to gravitate to me, and I to them. I was a professional dog groomer in my 20s, and worked as a veterinary assistant, but eventually was having so much trouble processing my own grief when clients needed to have their beloved pets put to sleep, I had to change careers. Please thank your vet team every chance you get. It's not an easy profession.
I then worked in for 15 years in Social Services, Finance & HR. Even though my high school year book write-up said I didn't want to ever open a math textbook again, I gravitated towards finance roles. I also began teaching my friends how to track their finances with some easy spreadsheets I set up, and some simple-to-follow methods that were working for me.
I also knew by the time I was in my early adult years that I wanted a formal education so that I always had "options" - meaning, I could be self sufficient on my own, as a woman, without needing financial support from a man. But university can be so expensive! I didn't want to go into debt for my education, and I was able to take advantage of a work-funded scholarship-type education program to have my Bachelor of Commerce degree fully paid for! The only requirement was that I work full time and do my schooling in my "off time." It was a hell of a lot of work for that university degree, and then I went on to get a financial management certificate as well, and it helped me get promoted to higher levels and higher salaries.
I had what should have been a dream career but honestly I felt depressed and uninspired for the last 10 of those years, as I dealt with a toxic work environment, a failing former marital relationship, weird, random health issues, and eventually I was hit with full-blown chronic autoimmune disease.
My inspiration and "emotional escape" during tough times was having fun hobbies, some of which have now, years later, turned into additional income streams because what I came to learn is that I LOVE helping other people find joy, inspiration, and to live life by their own design! (And you've GOT to have good health to do that!)
Months after the long overdue break-up with my ex, I made the intentional decision to attract the right person into my life. I had some specific criteria in mind, and I didn't know who it would be at the time, but soon after the day I made the decision, my childhood friend Mike and I reconnected. Almost 7 years later, so far so good! We have lots of things in common and similar dreams and goals.
In 2016 I made another life changing decision - to wean off my prescription medications and go with a more natural health strategy. The autoimmune symptoms I experienced were debilitating and the pills I was on were causing all kinds of terrible side effects, with pretty much a promise of liver and kidney issues down the road. I was unable to work, couldn't ride my horse anymore, and was sick and tired of being sick and tired, with no help from my doctors. I needed to take massive action. So I made some drastic changes. And I mean DRASTIC. By 2017 we were living in Nicaragua, eating fresh, healthy foods, I was off all of my prescriptions, and we were building our future vacation home on a remote Caribbean island! Intentional choices have gotten me (and Mike) to where we are today, and we aren't stopping yet!
In 2019, I completed a 150-hour Aromatherapy Certification just for fun, and I also run the websites & social media for several of our income streams. In 2021 I completed a 150-hour Body Healing Coach Diploma and am helping women make sense of their health challenges, figure out their limiting beliefs and am guiding them to find their own motivation and crush their goals!
My bloodwork in 2020 showed significant improvement: normal Thyroid, negative ANA (the Lupus test), and my chronically elevated cholesterol (a common issue with Lupus) is also normal. One test was still positive for Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, but I am pretty much symptom-free because of how I manage my health now. The results are that I am working full time, managing multiple additional businesses, am a published author, and able to lead a high-vibin' life!
Jo & Kazan
My learning curve was steep, long, and brutal, so I've made it my goal to share what I learned and help others avoid most of what I had to endure.
In early 2021 I published a book called The Autoimmune Warrior's Healing Key, about how I healed from autoimmune illness, with action steps so you can implement new things to improve your health too.
I also created the Holistic Healing for Autoimmune Warriors COURSE to help autoimmune warriors learn what exactly I've done to manage and recover from the effects of my conditions. This is a more hands-on, deep dive program than what I talk about in my book.
I have also added one-on-one coaching to my services, I am a practitioner member of the Complementary Medical Association, I am currently taking the Precision Nutrition Coach certification program and I am pleased that my clients who are ready to take MASSIVE ACTION are already experiencing great results!
Are you ready?
Come join my FREE facebook group. This "ain't your momma's" support group. I keep it positive, share science based info & focus on taking action!