Episode #52: Adrienne Nolan-Smith
Adrienne Nolan-Smith is a board certified patient advocate, speaker and the founder of WellBe, a media company and lifestyle brand focused on bridging the large gap between the healthcare system and the wellness movement to help people prevent and reverse chronic health issues naturally. She received her BA from Johns Hopkins University and her MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. She lives with her husband in New York City.
Adrienne Nolan-Smith isn’t interested in healthcare approaches that slap a band-aid on the problem. For her, it’s all about getting to the root cause. That’s something that’s been important during most of her health journey, from the time she was nine years old and was diagnosed with Lyme disease. On today’s episode, Adrienne and I talk about how her mom’s pursuit to find treatment options for her and her brother led to some unconventional scenarios, but also helped them both find remission. We also talk about the importance of root cause medicine, and the ways that patients have to learn how to advocate for themselves in today’s conventional healthcare system. Finally, we talk about the kind of person that Adrienne’s mom was, and how her death shortly before Adrienne attended business school helped shape her life’s purpose.
Here are some of the things Adrienne and I chatted about:
Her Lyme diagnosis at age 9, and how her and her younger brother’s symptoms diverged
Her mom, the ferocious researcher, approaching their Lyme diagnoses like a consulting project
How her mom’s experience with postpartum depression later helped her kids manage Lyme
The different treatments she experienced when she was young (including one involving cows)
Her memory of the time her mom had to draw her blood in a baking hot car (and what ensued)
Going into remission and being in great health in high school, and how that changed in college
How having Lyme empowered her during conversations with conventional medicine doctors
The naturopath who helped her determine the root causes and factors affecting her health
Why, if she’s in a restaurant and needs a quick bite, she eats french fries instead of a salad
The attention she pays to diet and the role that her gut health plays in her overall health
Her mom’s diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder shortly after Adrienne’s college graduation
Becoming her mom’s caregiver, which was her first exposure to the mental healthcare system
How her own life’s purpose became more clear to her after her mom died by suicide
Taking a job in healthcare to see if what she thought was the problem really was the problem
How WellBe has evolved since her time in business school, and what’s next for the company
Her decision to become a board certified patient advocate, and what that role involves
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