Every company, every success, and every movement has a story. This is the story of More Health, Less Healthcare. It may be long and boring to you so here is the take home message. Instead of asking, ‘what could I accomplish if I knew I couldn’t fail?’ Ask the question ‘what is WORTH doing even if I do fail?‘ Failure is an option.
Sometimes you need a reminder of the journey so this post is more for my benefit of getting it down on paper to see and recount the obstacles that have happened. You may not care about it but maybe you’ll glean some hope out of it to keep fighting for that thing you want badly but hesitate because you fear failure.
I remember being sick. I remember almost every February in grade school, a friend delivering all my Valentine’s day cards because I was absent from school. It wasn’t just that day, it was multiple days and sometimes a week at a time…or so I remember.
I remember ear infections, bronchitis, strep throat, laying on a rubber heating pad that looked like a whoopee cushion, and I remember lots of antibiotics. I also remember when they finally figured out I was allergic to Penicillin. I remember not being sick for so long after they realized that.
I remember writing a report for school on what I do after school and the report listed all the TV shows I watched from the moment I got home until dinner time. I remember also listing the bowls of potato chips and cookies I ate. Then I remember my parents getting called in for a parent-teacher conference.
I remember moving and going to a new school. I was not only the new kid, I was the ‘husky’ new kid. I remember my mom and I school shopping for husky jeans. I remember thinking husky was a brand name, like Bugle Boy, instead of a code for ‘fat kid’ jeans. I also remember bragging to my friends that I wore husky jeans like they were the latest pair of Jordan’s. I also remember sucking in my gut for school pictures because I was embarrassed of my weight. I remember I was only in 5th grade at the time.
I remember my mom always having back problems. I remember I would jump over the cracks in the sidewalk for fear that if I did step on one, it really would break my mother’s back.
I remember going to church potluck dinners and seeing Dixie Cups filled with colorful looking pills in front of people’s place settings as they ate their meals. I remember thinking how unfair it was that all the old people got to eat candy before their lunch. I remember someone explaining to me that those weren’t candies, they were medicines to help people get better.
I remember Wednesday night prayer meetings and hearing prayer request after prayer request for something health related. It seemed everyone was ailing. Maybe God wasn’t hearing their prayer requests or maybe they weren’t getting the right meds or enough? Maybe I can help them when I’m older?
I remember going through a growth spurt at the same time I had to walk 1 mile each way, each day, to go to and get home from school. I remember no longer being called husky and my weight redistribution and weight loss being described as ‘stretching out.’
I remember running for 6th grade Vice President. I remember my campaign built on the promises that I would bring organized sports (flag football) to 6th grade and not having to wait until 7th grade to play school sports. I remember losing and feeling devastated and being told that my idea for organizes sports was too far-fetched by one of the teachers. Then I remember the next year, the 6th grade implementing organized intramural sports.
I remember being involved in many sports but basketball had the most impact. I remember a teammate, Vaughn, whose father owned a gym in town and was a body builder. I remember his dad training the team in the off-season to get stronger for next year and my interest in fitness being sparked.
I remember eating peanut butter and jelly and milk at least 2x/day and thinking I was eating healthy because it wasn’t fried or fast food.
I remember helping to fund raise to form a lacrosse team my senior year in high school. I remember going door to door with my friend Pete collecting bottles and cans to get the deposit money. I remember having a winning season our first year as a program. It took a lot of hard work and dedication from a handful of guys to form that team. Then I remember a few years later the school getting a $5 million donation and building an amazing sports complex. We sure could have used a crumb of that money.
I remember doing a term paper on a career about becoming a pharmacist. I remember thinking I can make some good money doing that and help all those people in my church that were relying on the meds to ‘get better.’
I remember going to the cafeteria and treating every meal as an ‘all-you-can-eat-buffet.’ I remember within a week of starting school, I would get cramps walking across campus to class after a meal. I remember thinking I have to start eating differently, I shouldn’t get a cramp from walking less than a quarter of a mile.
I remember after a semester my advisor telling me I should consider a different major because she has ‘seen kids like me’ and my grades aren’t good enough to get into pharmacy school. I remember she wasn’t the most positive of ladies.
I remember changing my major to biochemistry to spite her and make her eat her words come graduation time in a few years. I remember never getting that satisfaction because she retired before I graduated.
I remember being groomed by my new advisor to do some NIH sponsored genetic sequencing research. I remember getting an award for it and it being presented in front of the student body. I remember nobody understanding what the research was about but that everyone keyed in on the word ‘chlamydia.’ This was the bacteria we were sequencing.
I remember the message that if we can control the DNA sequencing, we can control if the bacteria replicates and spreads. In other words, I remember being told that it’s the DNA that deciphered if the bacteria was going to be prosperous or not. I also remember that when I made up a petri dish, all environmental factors had to be perfect.
I remember thinking that it either had to be the DNA or the environment that controlled the health outcomes of the cell. The DNA is the constant in the equation. If the DNA is king, it wouldn’t matter the dish’s temperature, oxygen levels, cleanliness, or nutrient content for the cell to survive and thrive.
I remember making a mistake with making some petri dishes and the cells didn’t grow. I remember being at a crossroads of figuring out what I was supposed to do post college, since I just proved that a change in the environment changes the health outcomes, even with the same DNA in the cells. I remember considering many career options from teaching, Peace Corps, grad school, physical therapy, and honestly just not finishing my degree.
I remember talking this over with my friend Paul who was heading to Optometry school. I remember him suggesting, ‘why don’t you check out chiropractic?’ I remember knowing absolutely nothing about it except watching something on TV when I was little (probably during 2nd grade) and seeing a chiropractor adjust a patient’s neck and thinking that was really cool. Other than the spine part, it seemed to give me the best avenue and paradigm to help people change their ‘petri’ dish.
I remember suggesting it to my mom, who was an RN, and not knowing if she would approve. I remember her happy at the idea as her and my dad had gone to chiropractors for years, even her folks. I remember asking why I never went. I remember her telling me because I didn’t have any back problems.
I remember some awesome friendships.
I remember waiting in the hallway for my interview for chiropractic college. I remember watching this hunch-backed, bent over professor walking near me and thinking if he’s a chiropractor, I’m not going to this school. I remember the professor introducing himself and telling me he was one of the anatomy professors, not a chiropractor. I remember the sign of relief. He might too.
I remember my first day of chiropractic college as it was 9/11/01. I remember being dismissed early from class for no clear reason and the rest of the day being cancelled. I remember turning on the TV as the plane was crashing into the 2nd World Trade Center tower.
As a result of the cancelled schedule for the remainder of the week, I remember a lot of partying happening. I also remember it was very strange at how many people smoked cigarettes and binged on alcohol. I remember thinking chiropractic college would be filled with yogis, fitness buffs, and vegan Hippies.
I remember dissecting cadavers and thinking there’s no way these connections of blood vessels, nerve pathways, connective tissues, and organ regulations evolved from random chance.
I remember having eczema that developed in undergrad so bad it would bleed. I remember shortly after getting adjusted regularly, getting off cow’s milk, and avoiding sugar, my skin cleared up nicely. I remember eating peanut butter regularly and getting to a point that within 30 seconds of swallowing, my body would punt it right back up. I remember switching to a higher protein, lower carb eating style and feeling the best I had ever felt in life to that point.
I remember many of my classmates getting sick during our 2 weeks of finals every trimester due to the stress and making sure that didn’t happen to me. I remember going to bed at 9 regularly during those finals, playing a lot of guitar, working out, getting adjusted, and leaving it all on the desk during the exam.
I remember some awesome friendships.
I remember taking my first chiro gig in Bakersfield, CA. I remember moving across the country from New York without knowing a soul. I remember getting to know my future wife through a long distance relationship.
I remember losing faith in my profession very quickly. I remember suggesting to do nutrition workshops at the clinic I was working. I remember my boss saying that I can do them but I have to keep them to 15 minutes and provide pizza and soda. I remember thinking this was probably his nice way of saying, ‘no.’
I remember many people getting treatment based on what kind of care their insurance provided and not based on their needs. I remember my boss in written demand to perform an orthotic fitting on a patient that was paralyzed from the waist down. I remember my stress levels were so high that my eczema came back.
I remember quitting that clinic and moving to Colorado, all within 24 hours. The only person I knew was my future wife. I remember having about $1,000 in my bank account to live off until I found work.
I remember wanting nothing to do with chiropractic due to the shystiness I witnessed in CA. I remember getting a job at Wal-Mart, working nights, stocking shelves, because that was more righteous than gouging insurance companies and patients for services a person didn’t even need.
I remember employees of Wal-Mart constantly calling in sick. I remember the food and beverage choices people consumed on break. I remember the stress levels of the managers. I remember no one remotely looked healthy.
I remember being reminded of the reason I went through all the schooling in the first place. I remember looking for a clinic and jumping back on the horse.
I remember getting connected with some other docs that shared similar thoughts and values on empowering people to achieve and experience health and seeing people heal from all sorts of conditions.
I remember feeling like my wife and I were called to move to Rochester, NY, where all my family lives. I remember planning a secret trip in the spring of 2009 with her where I would look at office space and she would look at housing. I remember not telling any of my family, except my brother. I remember meeting my brother in a parking lot between meetings for only 20 minutes.
I remember that was the 2nd to last time I would see my brother alive. I remember the plane ride home where my my wife asked ‘What do you think about moving?’ I remember saying ‘I don’t want to move.’ I remember her saying, ‘me either.’
4 months later I remember going back to Rochester to speak at my brother’s funeral. I remember that was by far the largest crowd I have ever spoken to. I remember ditching my prepared speech but I don’t remember much of what I said.
I remember going through a 3 year lawsuit that would have had potential consequences about my future career. I remember the accuser’s lawyer dropping the case only 1 month prior to going to trial because he realized his client was telling lies the whole time.
I remember the loyalty from those I treated through that process and the ensuing years.
I remember my son’s birth in a hospital. I remember the nurse walking us out of the hospital…on early discharge…saying that our chart was going to be fun to write-up because we pretty much broke every rule the hospital has.
I remember writing a blog post on why we are choosing not to vaccinate our kids and it blowing up. I remember getting a tweet from actor/comedian Rob Schneider. I also remember wishes that my kids would die from all the diseases that vaccines supposedly prevent.
I remember when my dad’s memory started to go. I remember when we had to take his driver’s license away. I remember the last time we spoke was back in April of 2014. It’s not because he passed away but because his Alzheimer’s has progresses to the point where he can’t carry on a conversation over the phone.
I remember the birth of my second son…at home. I remember a conversation with the midwife that if his heartbeat keeps dropping during a contraction, we were going to the hospital. I remember telling her to give us 10 more minutes. I remember Lukas being born with a tight knot in his umbilical cord as well as it wrapped like a bungee cord around his neck and shoulders. Then I remember the midwife giving him a perfect 10 APGAR score.
I remember the midwife asking if we were nervous and saying no. Then I remember her saying she was getting very nervous.
I remember being introduced and starting my studies around functional medicine. I remember thinking that if I can combine chiropractic with functional medicine, I could have helped my dad and my brother.
I remember when the phrase More Health, Less Healthcare came out of my fingers onto paper for the first time. I remember when I drafted the 5 pillars of chronic illness. I remember the decision to go totally solo in practice.
I remember the fear of failure. I remember the saying, ‘what’s worth doing even if you do fail?’
That thing worth doing is helping people restore and regain their health. There’s not one thing that your health doesn’t affect. No, we don’t live forever but you have a genetic potential for great health well into your geriatric years. You just need to fix the petri dish by adding what is required and removing or keeping away what is harmful. It’s a simple message but not always easy.
This is why I developed the Kalus Method to uncover and create action steps for you to achieve your health goals. How do you know if the Kalus method can help you? Answer these 4 questions honestly.
1. When was the last time you felt fantastic? If it’s been over 6 months, keep answering questions.
2. Why do you think it’s been so long?
3. How’s that working out for you?
4. Are you ready to make a change? If the answer is yes, contact the office to discuss your previous 3 answers and figure out a path for your health goals, to make sure we’re a good fit, and to ask your questions and concerns.
Thank you so much for sharing your personal journey. I am honored and blessed to have read it. Tim and I are in our 6th Day of Paleo. Our bodies are starting to lose some inches but we have both been very very tired. I would love for us to be able to see you regularly but we just do not have the finances for that unless you are able to accept our insurance policy. You are an amazing doctor and person. Thank you again for sharing your story. Susie Martin
My pleasure. It has been quite a journey and there will continue to be challenges. I should probably update this post every 3-5 years.
Very well written and very inspiring! I love to see stories about people bucking the traditional system to follow what they know to be the truth. I look forward to our meeting on Tuesday!