Why I Do What I Do...
Hi, I'm Kelly Engelmann...
I felt compelled to share my story with you as it relates to my ability and my passion in helping you navigate your health and wellness journey. I see a lot of people seeking to live a better life, wanting to look good and feel their best. They look at me at this area of my life and somehow believe that I have always had a healthy lifestyle or that wellness is just easy for me. I can stand here and share with you that there are very few challenges that you will face in the pursuit of wellness that I have not faced, either through myself personally with my own physical challenges or through a close family member.
I started clinical practice after receiving a Master’s in Science in Nursing from the University of Southern Mississippi, as a family nurse practitioner. And I got at the time, what I believed to be the best job ever. I had a great physician who loved his patients and who loved teaching me. And I would still be there today… I was there about 8 years and I would still be there today if God didn't have other plans for me. I was so blessed to get, what I believed at the time, to be the perfect position to practice unconventional medicine.
While I practiced there one of my primary focuses was to help patients with osteoporosis, I would hear from these women over and over, basically the same thing. They would say, “I was doing just great until I hit 50 and my body just fell apart, first it was high blood pressure, then cholesterol then weight gain, then thyroid dysfunction.” Hearing that same story over and over really had me questioning WHY, and hungry for more knowledge. At the same time I was hearing that theme in my clinical practice our family was hit with a catastrophic crisis.
My husband at the time was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer and was given a prognosis of 36 months unless he could find a bone marrow donor to have a bone marrow transplant. At his visits to MD Anderson we would go and we would question, what else could we be doing? He was getting weekly blood transfusions, he was using an iron chelator to keep his liver healthy to prevent excessive iron overload.
His diet was terrible, it was heavy in sugar. He would start his day…he loved to drink cold coffee and he would start his day with a cold coffee which was a quart of whole milk (conventional) and instant coffee and I would stop counting at about 6 teaspoons of sugar. So what I know now is that cancer feeds on sugar. But what we were told then was just eat whatever you want and whatever you do, don't lose weight. I was a runner, I’d been a runner since age 14, and I believed heavily that it was a “calories in and calories out” approach to nutrition. That’s all I knew about nutrition. We pretty much ate what we wanted because we could.
I was constantly reading and searching but at the time the Internet was sparse, I felt like I was running a race against time to find a donor and honestly that was the primary focus. Our relationship suffered, we dealt with stress very differently. My way of dealing and coping was to work and to run. I was running about 35-50 miles a week. Completing a total of 10 marathons back-to-back until my body just physically couldn't do it anymore. Never really dealing with the emotional side of such a devastating diagnosis.
About two years into his diagnosis, he was still getting transfusions weekly, he had tried some experimental treatments with MD Anderson, but there was no donor in sight. We were introduced to a concept of whole food nutrition in a capsule from a physician friend of mine. At the time we had not had anyone suggest that nutrition was important. No one in his care actually cared to discuss nutrition when we brought it up.
We had not changed our diets at all. He was still drinking his cold coffee and I was still eating sugar as well. But we did decide to add this fruit and vegetable concentrate to our diet. About 3-4 months in he went in for his weekly blood transfusion and when they tested his blood…they were like, “Well your counts look pretty decent, let’s hold off a week, just have you come back next week we’ll recheck your counts and see where we are.”
So he did, we went back in the next week they were still looking good. And after the third week of going in and being checked and not needing a transfusion they sent us back to MD Anderson. They wanted to repeat a bone marrow aspiration because they thought maybe one of the experimental treatments was working. So we went back to MD Anderson and what happened at that visit really had everyone kind of shaking their heads, not really understanding why. The bone aspiration showed no changes, his counts were still low across the board from the bone marrow. But the cells that were actually getting into the peripheral circulation were maturing. So those cells looked somewhat healthy. He was not needing transfusions. So none of us really knew what to think. They basically told him, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, and we’ll check back with you in another 3 months.”
So, honestly at the time caught up in the confusion associated with it we didn’t really know what to think. Was it the whole food nutrition concentrate making a difference? Was it the experimental treatments? I started really vigorously searching the literature on nutrition. At the time I could find some nutritional conferences that they would host about twice a year and I started going. I was hungry for information not only to help my husband and my family but also to help my patients.
There are many facets to the story that I just won't get into but just know that the life experience of walking through such a confusing time with a loved one who ultimately lost their battle with cancer pushed me beyond being content with the knowledge I gained in my primary education. I needed to better understand how our individual biochemistry works. How can we activate genes for longevity? How we can turn genes off for disease? Since that time I've been running a much different race. At that time I was running a race only looking for one answer, a bone marrow donor, the donor that was never found.
The second race I ran was the race of seeking knowledge and this quite honestly will be my life long race. I completed a fellowship in Anti Aging and Regenerative Medicine with the Academy of Anti Aging and Regenerative Medicine as well as a second masters from the University of South Florida Medical School in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine. And the race I have my eyes on now is taking that knowledge and educating the public about the truth. Helping them understand that the “calories in and calories out” approach to health and wellness is no longer effective in today's society.
Today we must be more concerned about the quality of our food, about the drivers of our stress in our lives. My goal is to change the health of our nation one person at a time. That’s a HUGE goal. In order to do that I’ve teamed up with a phenomenal group of healthcare professionals across the nation that share that same vision. I’ve also developed the best team imaginable here at Enhanced Wellness Living. We each carry with us our own individual stories of how life has shaped us but together we share a common vision of creating a force in our community that is active and visible in making a difference everyday.
I want you to understand that the decisions that you make everyday in how you take care of yourself and your family add up to the quality of your life. The pursuit of wellness is the heightened ability to protect yourself against physical, emotional and environmental stressors. Do you have a plan for that? I know I didn’t have a plan for that. I didn’t even understand that, years ago.
The field of Functional Medicine where we’re not just looking to place a label on a disease, but we’re looking for the root cause, looking to understand your individual genetics. Looking to understand your individual biochemistry and using that information to develop a plan that is sustainable for you and your family.
Me and my team at Enhanced Wellness Living look forward to helping YOU either develop or refine your plan. The plan for the life that you’ve always wanted... a life of vitality and purpose.