Sharing her Healing Journey – Christine Garvin
Written by Dannie Frey, Breedlove & Company
When life throws you an unexpected challenge, you are faced with the decision to embrace the journey or struggle under the weight. Over the past few years, Christine Garvin made the choice to embrace her rocky situation, and the women of Western North Carolina are so much better for her decision.
“I’m a Functional Health Coach who specializes in women’s hormones and gut health. Although I received my MA in Holistic Health Education and a separate certification in Nutrition Education over 13 years ago, I came full circle to this work after undergoing a fibroid-surgery-gone-awry in June 2018.” Christine nearly died from sepsis after her surgery and lost nearly half her colon and 8 in. of her small intestine during two emergency surgeries to save her life. In addition, she also received an ileostomy (small intestine ostomy) which was reversed 6.5 months later in January of 2019.
When most people allow their health crisis to define their future in a devastating way, Christine selected to take a very different path. With her background in health and nutrition, she knew that her situation had been caused by a large fibroid, which is a sign of a deep hormonal imbalance.
“Since then, I’ve thrown myself into learning as much about women’s hormones as I could, because I wanted to help other women to NOT have a similar life-threatening experience to mine. In order to do this, I completed a five-month apprenticeship with a hormone expert based in NYC in August of this year, and I recently received another certification in GI functional lab testing. That last one is important because gut health is at the root of hormone health,” explains Garvin.
Passionate about educating and empowering women about their hormones and how to build a healthier relationship with them, Christine started to find out more. “Our current medical paradigm is dependent on medication and surgery, and there are so many women who can do naturally to combat everything from PMS to the perils of perimenopause. And the deeper work of hormone and gut health can shift just about everything in a woman’s life, which I believe every woman deserves.”
Christine understands all too well the growing epidemic. She explains “women are sick and tired of being sick and tired! They go to the doctor and they are told that everything looks normal, or that they can get on birth control, or have surgery. Many women have tried all of these things and STILL don’t feel better, because none of it is touching the root cause issue.”
“I have yet to meet a woman who feels just perfect when it comes to her hormones, and most have had issues for many, many years. Unfortunately, we live in a pretty toxic world, and it impacts women’s hormones greatly. In educating them about what they can do in their daily life, what nutrients they’re missing, specifically what is happening in their gut that is impacting their hormones, it gives them control over their individual health and well-being. Because we all are individuals, and our bodies are letting us know something is off when we feel pain. Often, we are missing key nutrients, or have a messed-up microbiome, and fixing these areas completely changes our health once we start getting them.”
As a member of the functional health world, Christine’s emphasis is on functional nutrition offering a supportive approach to identifying what the root issues are in a woman’s body. This field of medicine utilizes cutting edge lab testing to determine specifically what is going on in a person’s body, and then we have the needed information for targeted protocols for that person. It’s so much better than the, “well, we think it might be this, let’s try that” approach. Christine will continue her education in 2020 to focus on hormone and adrenal testing, blood analysis, and heavy metal testing. Many of these labs did not exist three years ago and to provide this to women in WNC is powerful as it brings individualized, functional medicine to us all.
Of course, as with many healthcare options, functional testing is not cheap. As a result of the high cost, it isn’t accessible to everyone. Christine is optimistic that this barrier will change drastically in the next couple of years allowing more people to access those tests. And here’s the thing – many, many people will look at the cost of testing and their mouths drop wide open.
But then she asks them, “how many times did you go out for dinner and drinks this month and spend $100+ each time? How many concerts have you gone to this year where you paid $250 for a decent seat? How much extra did you decide to pay a month on an upgraded car?” A lot of times, it’s about priorities, and when we really think of where we spend our money if our health is important to us, this is a “no brainer.”
It gives us such pertinent information that it will literally save us thousands of dollars over the following years where we’d chase answers with different doctors and medication co-pays, supplements that someone said were the “answer” (but weren’t), not to mention days lost at work. Functional health is an investment, but it’s one that can literally change your life in a relatively short period of time.
As you can tell, Christine is motivated and passionate to get the word out about things she cares about, and women have ALWAYS been near the top of my list. Because she has been through so many health trials and tribulations through the years, she is empathetic to what women are feeling and experiencing. Christine has a deeply rooted belief that women are healing the wounds of generations of women and their ancestors. Her work flows from that sacred place.
“Many, many people will look at the cost of testing and their mouths drop wide open. But then I ask them, how many times did you go out for dinner and drinks this month and spend $100+ each time? How many concerts have you gone to this year where you paid $250 for a decent seat? How much extra did you decide to pay a month on an upgraded car? A lot of times, it’s about priorities, and when we really think of where we spend our money if our health is important to us, this is a no brainer…”
– Christine Garvin
Her Role Models
As a woman who focuses on the health and well-being of women, it was easy for Christine to celebrate a few of the women who have made an impact on her life:
Nicole Jardim is the woman I studied with for my hormone apprenticeship this year. She really empowered me to take working with women and hormones to the next level and made me see the pathways to doing this.
Kitty Martone is a hormone and gut health expert who I’ve followed for the last couple of years and she’s been a big influence on my work this year. I’ve had a chance to work with her a couple of times, and she is so kind and giving, which absolutely amazes me.
My mom has had a rough go of it, but she keeps on trying. And I think that’s pretty amazing. (So do we Christine!)
As Christine has learned from other women, we asked her what she can offer the women in WNC as they look towards making a difference in the lives of others. “Sit with what you know. I believe each of us has a deep ‘knowing of something’ – this thing has often been with us since childhood. It may take some time, some digging, some quiet, but it’s there. Once you’ve figured out what that “something” is, move from that place in your life. Maybe it’s that you love animals. Or that influencing women is your jam. Maybe it’s knowing that connecting to spirit is your key to health. Whatever it is, allow it to come up and DON’T BE AFRAID OF IT! I find most women know their “thing”, but they are too afraid to admit it out loud because it may seriously impact the trajectory of their life (and piss off some people in the process). But that’s their soul’s calling, and until we access that, we’ll never feel any sense of true satisfaction.”
Christine is excited to begin her first full-length hormone program, “Get Your Hormones Right”. It’s a 12-week program that teaches women about balancing their hormones from a physical/emotional/energetic perspective. This will not only impact other women’s lives and boost their ability to truly take care of their beautiful bodies, but it will also change her as she watches them move through this process. She is deeply ready for that to happen.
Another area of excitement for 2020 and Christine is using the functional GI lab testing with clients in a bigger way and shift her offerings to accommodate this tremendous opportunity to reclaim health. She cannot wait to see the positive impacts this will have for her clients, and how they are able to live their lives after healing!
2019 WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNER
Christine Garvin is a 2019 Women’s Leadership Award Winner in the category of “Education.” This article was written to tell her story and recognize Christine as an exceptional female leader in Western North Carolina.
Want to see Christine accept her award at the upcoming 2019 Economic Bruncheon? Tickets are available for a limited time at www.economicbruncheon.com