If you ever told me I would have my own web site, have a YouTube Channel or write a book, I would have said no way not ever, not me. I am just a mom, shy and don’t know what I want to do with my life. But you just quite never know where your life is going to take you.
I truly believe that everyone is here on this earth for a certain purpose. Sometimes we know it right away and sometimes it takes us a lifetime to figure out. Well, I fall right there in the middle I found my purpose and my passion at 43.
Let’s rewind and start at the beginning of this story. I came into this world and was adopted when I was only five a five-day old infant. The way I have always looked at being adopted is that I was a “special” child and was put into my family for a reason. That reason, I believe has become part of my journey.
I was adopted by a wonderful family, who were European immigrant. My father was French and my mother was English. My brother was two years older than I. He had been diagnosed with Hemophilia, a rare blood condition where your blood does not clot. My parents were told if they had another child there would be a 50% chance that child would have Hemophilia too. So in came little Laura to this family.
Crutches, Clotting Factor and Guilt
Growing up my brother was always on crutches, in and out of hospitals and almost daily had to inject himself with clotting factor to survive. Needless to say, my house was a very serious place. I think that is when I decided at a young age I wanted to blend in and be safe, not cause any problems and try to make everyone around me happy.
This may sound strange, but I almost felt guilty for being the “healthy child”. I saw my brother suffer so much and my parents do everything in their power to help him. They donated blood every week at the blood bank. Life was normal if you consider crutches, blood transfusions, hospital and Dr. visits the norm.
Let’s fast forward my brother went to college and I was in high school. The only thing was I kept falling asleep in school and no one knew why. Then, finally after many doctor visits and tests, I was diagnosed with Mononucleosis, Chronic Fatigue, and Epstein-Barr Disease. It was so bad my parents had to take me out of school and brought me to Florida and the warm sunshine to re-cooperate. I had never been this sick in my life. I was barely able to move my body and my skin was ghostly white. I remember not even being able to lift my arms up, it was very scary. Until mono hit again.
Most people only deal with mono once, but I had it twice. I did not realize how this would affect my health until many years later. Viruses love to lay dormant until they are “called upon” in times of stress and overload.
I went on to college, where I was living the life. Studying, drinking, and smoking cigarettes. I was sleep deprived and my eating habits were out of control, talk about the freshman 15 and then some. They used to call me “candy girl” because I always had some kind of sugary sweet candy in my pockets. I was addicted to SUGAR!
Chronic Fatigue, Epstein Barr, and More
Well don’t you know, I kept getting sick. I went from doctor to doctor. They would prescribe all sorts of medication but I never felt better. Finally, I went to see a very special Dr. in New York City and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and Epstein Barr and a systemic yeast overgrowth in my bloodstream.
This doctor did something no one else had ever done. He told me to change my eating habits. The Doctor put me on a special diet of high-quality nutritional supplements, and special allergy type shots and monitored my results. I had to travel over an hour every month to go and see him. Slowly I got better, my extreme fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and overall health got better. This was great. And life went on, until…
My brother, who was in college now, and may I brag at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as a computer engineer was diagnosed with HIV due to a bad blood transfusion. The blood companies that supplied the clotting factor that he needed to live, did not do an extra step to clean the tainted blood clotting factor and in turn infected 10,000 Hemophiliacs, their wives, and their children.
Had my brother not suffered enough his whole life with this disease, now HIV unnecessarily? He went from a healthy vibrant young man, into a sick frail, and pharmaceutical drug dependent victim. Michael was a strong person and never complained and kept going.
My World Came Crashing Down
I got married and then was expecting my first child when things came crashing down around me. When I was nine months pregnant my father died unexpectedly. My father was the rock of our family. I worked for him in his real estate office. I went from being the secretary to being the president of his company overnight.
I received power of attorney for his mom, my grandmother and had to make all her medical decisions, put her in a nursing home all the while having my first baby. I remember pushing my grandmother down the hallway in her wheelchair with one arm and pushing the stroller with my other. I was always crying, having a newborn and the lack of sleep, the death of my father, running his company and the responsibility of my grandmother and my sick brother was tremendous. I also put on well over 40 pound due to depression.
Not only did I have my first baby and lose my father at 9 months pregnant. On top of this all I finally found my birth mother who I had been searching for since I was a teenager. But that my friends are another book in itself. But needless to say, it was quite an emotional time for me. I always say you do not know how strong you really are until you need to be.
You never know what or whom life will send to you when you need them most. I was sent an angle that helped me through this extremely hard time. She may not even realize it but I don’t think I could have gotten through this time without her.
Her name is Lucy and I met her in my Lamaze class at the hospital. Lucy was deaf and had a hearing baby. We became good friends and I loved learning to sign with her so much that I enrolled in a program to study to be an interpreter for the deaf. Lucy would take care of my baby whenever I had to go to class or go to a board meeting for my fathers business. Sign language gave me an outlet, something to focus on instead of losing my amazing dad.
My Health and Healing Journey – Raw Foods, Wheatgrass & Reflexology
I had a small baby and had to keep moving forward. I never had a chance to breath let alone grieve for my father. Then I was diagnosed with some pre-cancerous cells that sent me on a healing health journey.
I went and studied with Brenda Cobb from the Living Foods in Atlanta and learned all about raw foods, sprouting, wheat grass, colon cleansing and emotional healing. I read every book I could get my hands on about nutrition. I was looking and feeling the best I had ever felt in my life.
I kept going never ever slowing down I had two more babies in a very short amount of time. The doctor told me I was having a girl and it turned out to be a boy! That was quite a shocker. One of my children was also on the autistic spectrum and did not like to be held or touched very much. I enrolled in a reflexology course thinking this would be a great way to have some connection, but it turns out the child was ticklish. But I still loved the reflexology class and it gave me an outlet and something to focus on.
One day out of the blue I got the phone call that my brother had passed away, he was only 37. He went to the hospital alone in the middle of the night and then he was gone. I thought how much more could I take, my father, and now my only sibling my brother. Life was very cruel to him. I will never forget being on vacation with my brother and knowing that he was eventually going to die, he asked me if I would take care of mom and dad for him. It was heartbreaking, to say the least.
Now I become the president of my brother’s Internet Company with three small kids. I knew nothing about the Internet. I miss the simple days when I woke up went to work and came home. I missed my father and my brother and never had the time to stop and grieve, life just kept pushing me forward.
Why I DECIDED
One day I was grocery shopping, I will never forget it. I had a long housecoat type dress on with flowers all over it and spit-up on each shoulder; I was at least 40 pounds overweight and tired. I picked up a fitness magazine with before and after transformations in it. Now you have to realize I had never EVER seen anything like this before. I never played a sport growing up because of my brothers Hemophilia; we never even watched sports on TV. I was what you would call “sport illiterate”.
I was amazed at what I was seeing, page after page of physique transformations. I decided, still not quite sure why or what possessed me but I decided I was going to do that too. Now I am a Taurus and we Taurus’s are very stubborn so when we get an idea in our brain there is no stopping us.
I joined the gym with my shirt covering my body down to my knees. I wrote down my goals in a journal, I wrote down what I was going to eat the exercises I was going to do at the gym. I posted motivational pictures around the house. I read more about health and nutrition. I turned my car into a mobile university. I was determined to transform.
But this way of “bodybuilding eating” was very different from my green organic lifestyle. But I thought OK, I am going to do everything they say to do for 90 days and see what happens. Realize I did not miss a workout a meal I gave it 100%. Do you know what happened? The fat came off, muscles started to appear, replaced my long T-shirt at the gym with cropped tops and people were asking me what the heck I was doing?
I met a trainer at the gym who took me under her wing, she was a fitness competitor and I had recognized her from Oxygen magazine. The sport of Figure was brand new and she introduced me to the sport of figure competing.
Now, I have three left feet, meaning coordination is not my thing. I never even danced until I went to college. I could barely manage the 4 quarter turns that I had to do on stage but I did it and came in first place three times. It was a lot of work, dedication and perseverance plus a lot of fun.
I wish the story ended here but I have to share with you this. After each competition, my body broke down. I would get strep throat and wanted to eat everything in site because I had denied myself “nutritious food” over “competition food”.
Then life got in the way, I stopped competing and now had no outside personal goal and life came crashing down on me. I had been going full steam ahead since my father and brother had died and finding my birth mother. I never ever took the time to grieve, to cry or to deal with my emotions. How could I had a husband and three small children to look after and who depended on me.
My Life was out of control.
My life was way out of control, I became very depressed, and food was my comfort. I would make excuses to go to the grocery store for milk when I knew I was really going for a candy bar or two. To top it off I had a back injury now that was causing me severe pain and I was even having trouble walking because of it.
I packed on 40 pounds again and a few years went by. I knew I needed help when I found myself throwing up into a cup in my car all alone and crying. I called my three best friends in the world and told them I needed help. I could not have gotten through this without them and my loving husband and mother. It was time to deal with the deaths of the two most important men in my life and the fact that I had finally found the birth mother I had been searching for years.
Fast forward to 43. I woke up with my hormones out of control, addicted to sugar, fat where I never had it before and doing a weight loss program online. Did I mention the pants with the elastic waistband? How the heck did I get here? I was embarrassed because I had been in such good shape a few years before and now it was overwhelming to try to lose that weight for the second time.
I had this crazy back issue that was affecting my bladder and everything from the waist down, so I stopped exercising and working out. It felt as if my insides were falling out. I went from doctor to doctor. Urologist, OBGYN, rolfer, massage, acupuncture no one could figure it out. I was depressed and felt miserable. The pain and issues would subside but never go away. I could not do the things I was used to doing. Walking around the block was even hard to do because of the pain.
Oh, wait a minute! Finally, there was a Dr. who diagnosed what was going on with my back. Apparently, I have a genetic back issue called a Pars Defect. This little baby is a whopper. My bone is fractured and presses on my nerves going down to my bladder and legs.
Starting Back From The Beginning Again in My 40’s
I made the decision in my head, I said oh heck NO! This is not what the 40’s and the rest of my life are going to be like, and that one decision has changed the course of my life in my 40’s. I started walking at first because that is all my back would let me do, and then I joined the gym. I started to eat healthy, green and organic again, going back to what I truly believed in a more plant-based diet. I worked hard, carefully and slowly and got in shape again, which is not as easy to do in your 40’s. I got up the courage to get back on stage. This time the “healthy green way” and I have not looked back since.
Remember at the beginning of this story when I said we are all here for a special purpose? I now know my purpose. It is to inspire and motivate you to achieve your dreams and live your best life at any age.
Life begins outside of your comfort zone. Trust me on this one.
Ready to get started? Here’s how.