Matinum

Taking Charge of Your Health


– [Narrator] This podcast,
including any related materials such as show notes, links,
and supportive materials, is provided by Metagenics Institute, the educational arm of Metagenics, Inc., for general informational and
educational purposes only. This podcast does not
constitute medical advice and should not be considered
a substitute for discussions between individuals and
their healthcare providers. The podcast presenters’
views are entirely their own and do not represent the
views of Metagenics Institute, Metagenics, or any of their research partners and collaborators, collectively referred to as affiliates. Metagenics Institute and its affiliates do not endorse or recommend any specific healthcare providers, products,
or other items or services that may be discussed or
mentioned in this podcast. Podcast participants
may receive compensation from Metagenics Institute
and or its affiliates. Metagenics products are not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. – When Dr. Jill Carnahan was
a third year medical student, she was diagnosed with an
aggressive form of breast cancer that threatened to take her life. Even with access to the most current research and medical care, she found it nearly impossible to navigate her own cancer care. – I didn’t know if I had six weeks or six months or six years. So, it was this massive stop and pause and reevaluate life and everything because you don’t even know
if you have another day. And I remember my oncologist calling me, and her voice was cracking on the phone, and she’s like, “Jill, I
don’t know how to tell you, “but you have cancer, and
you have to, you know, “fight this with your life.” – This marked the beginning
of a radical shift in the way that Dr. Carnahan views
and practices medicine. Being the only survivor
in her experimental treatment group of 12 women, prompted Dr. Carnahan to search for a more soul-satisfying way of
honoring the Hippocratic Oath that she took as a doctor. Learn why Dr. Carnahan walked away from a high salary position as director of a well-known medical
facility to start her own functional and and
integrative medicine practice, how she transitioned away
from allopathic medicine, and how we can all support this emerging shift in medical care. Join me, Dr. Sara Gottfried,
in an illuminating discussion with Dr. Jill Carnahan in this episode of The Practice. (lively instrumental music) – It’s Dr. Sara Gottfried. I am so thrilled to be with
Dr. Jill Carnahan today. Hi, Jill, how are you?
– Hi, Sara Good to be here. – So happy to have you. So, I love your work. I love reading your
practitioner newsletter. You are one of the experts
in functional medicine, and I love the way that you teach. I want to start with your story
because I think that pivot that so many of us went through, from allopathic medicine to
practicing functional medicine, or however you frame it. Can you tell us about that pivot because I think it’s so
important, especially, you know what–my heart goes out to the allopathic physicians who are maybe watching
us or listening to us who are still stuck in that system, and they’re burned out, their HPA is crashing, they’re struggling. I mean that was certainly
part of my story. And I feel like, we have
such a message of hope. So, let’s start with your story. – I love story cause it really drives, and all of us have story,
so mine is no different. I went to medical school
at Loyola in Chicago, and it’s interesting because
I always had the heart of kind of a naturopath, wanting to do things more holistically. And as I got accepted to
allopathic medical schools, I thought, you know what, if I really want to change the system, I
have to infiltrate (laughs) and actually go from the inside out and get a great science-based education. I love, and I know we both love science. And so I wanted to have
the best foundation for a great career to actually
change and move medicine. So, early on I had this kind of desire to do things differently, and I remember there were
certain things in medical school that I didn’t completely agree with. But I got through, and during medical school
things really shifted. So, I was 25 years old, 2001, and I suddenly found a lump in my breast, and of course, the end
of the story is I got an invasive aggressive breast cancer. And I almost didn’t get it checked out because at 25, you think
you’re invincible, right? – [Sara] Right. – At the insistence of
family and friends, I did, and biopsy and ended
up getting a diagnosis of a very aggressive, as it is in young women, we know, of ductal carcinoma or breast cancer. You know now I’m healthy, thriving; I’ve totally overcome the cancer. But at that point, I didn’t know if I had six weeks or six months or six years. So, it was this massive stop and pause and reevaluate life and everything, because you don’t even know
if you have another day. And I remember my oncologist
who had the biopsy calling me and you know, in medical
school, these are your friends, they’re your people that are teachers and they’re, you know, colleagues, mentors. So she knew me well, and she called me, and her voice was cracking on the phone, and she’s like, “Jill, I
don’t know how to tell you, but you have cancer, and you have to, you know,fight this with your life. – [Sara] Oh, my gosh. – I was bound and determined to find the best way to treat it. And I just remember so clearly I was a third year medical student, so I had access to the best journals, the best doctors, the best opinions. And I remember having
stacks and stacks of like just one decision on radiation therapy, and being completely overwhelmed because the data isn’t as black and white as we’d like to think. Right? – That’s right. – So it was so overwhelming to– And I had access to the best information, the best knowledge, and
even had the training of how to look at data, and I still– there was no black and white answers. So, what I ended up
doing is I went through three drug chemotherapy,
conventional radiation, and then multiple surgeries. And I was with a group of young women in Chicago at the time,
we were all under 40, and this is such an
important part of my story. There was 12 of us, and I’m
the only one still living. – Oh, my gosh. – That’s how devastating this
disease is in young women. So, again, a lot of
people see me and think, “Oh, well, cancer, whatever. “My mom had it at 65.” But it’s a different
ball game when you’re 25. – It totally is. Your life was on the line. – It was totally on the line. And I really believe part
of my passion in doing what I do now is driven by
this life and death experience, going from doctor to
patient in one second, and all of a sudden
being on the other side. And I remember as I saw
a radiation oncologist and chemotherapeutic doctors and all of the different people involved, deciding each one, you know, I want to be like that. I want to be like that. I don’t want to be like that. (laughs) Like the personalities and stuff. Cause as you see those bedside
manners in those people, the compassion really
shaped who I am today. So, I got through that, and
what I did do is I chose to have all of the conventional therapy, but I also chose to
have prayer, meditation, naturopathic therapies,
nutritional supplements, just all of the other things
I could possibly have. And I always say today,
the chemotherapy has such a toxic effect on rapidly dividing cells, especially the gut. And six months after
my diagnosis of cancer, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, another life threatening illness. – Of course, related. – But, of course. Now we know with functional
and integrative medicine, we know there’s a complete connection with toxic agent inducing leaky gut and then that leaky gut
inducing an autoimmune disease. And of course, I had high risk gene for both Celiac and Crohn’s. So, it was the perfect setup. All that to say, then the
last 17 years of my life, I’ve been absolutely passionate
about healing the gut, and about toxic exposures,
and about why does cancer ever develop in a young person. Because over those years, I’ve
not been healing from cancer, I’ve been healing from the side effects of therapy for cancer. – Wow. I’m so moved by your
story, it’s a little hard to like, form words right now. But part of what I hear
is that you had a sense of integration before
your diagnosis at age 25. That diagnosis–I really hear like, how it came together for you. I don’t know if you had an epiphany or if was just sort of the
experience of seeing how the data was not black and white, seeing how there were all
these different behaviors among the clinicians that
were taking care of you, having that sense of I
want to be like that, I don’t want to be like that. Like I can so relate
to all of those things. But I can really see how you
accelerated the integration, and you started to have
that more functional look at first you own experience, and then, of course, with your patients. So, integration is really important to you, and I also hear how
important the science is. I want to ask about prayer
because I really believe in the power of prayer, and it’s something that I heard a lot about when
I went through my medical training at Harvard Medical School. Like I remember, it was
right around the time that some data got published
about the power of prayer, especially, I forget what it’s called, intercessory prayer, right?
– Yes – When someone prays on your behalf– – The long distance intercessory is like– – And how effective it is.
– Exactly. – So, tell us a little bit about prayer, like the meaning for
it personally, and also is that something that you
integrate in your practice? You know, is faith part of this process? – I love that we’re talking about this, because who I am at the core
is a very spiritual being. We all are, but just
how do we tap into that? And I’m super open to any person’s walk. But for me personally, that faith journey was part of all this formation. And I remember with the cancer
diagnosis, shortly after, God kind of downloaded this
verse to me, and it was, “This sickness is not end in death, but for the glory of God.” And for some reason it
just shot to the heart, and I like owned it and
knew that was my promise that it–I knew from day
one I wasn’t going die. And I knew that somehow, I would have purpose and
meaning in the suffering. God just really showed me at that time that Jill, there’s going to be purpose. You don’t see it right now. And so that’s the thing about all of this and faith and prayer is we
don’t always see it immediately, so it takes this belief of
something greater than us. And at that moment I was so sure, I knew. It was like I–almost
like God spoke to me, and I felt it, and I
owned it, and then I knew, okay, I’m going to survive. And somehow this horrible
thing where I lose all my hair, and I get so sick, and I
have scars on my breasts, and lo–, I mean all the
things I went through, I would never wish on my worst enemy. But I knew, I was like somehow, someday, this will have
purpose and meaning. Now, there’s so much meaning and purpose because it drives everything I do. And it’s always easy
now looking back to say, “Oh, gosh, of course that ended happy.” But during the struggles,
they don’t always feel like they’re gonna end happy. – No, certainly not when
your hair’s falling out, and you’re retching in
the toilet, and you’re– – Yes, all of that. (laughs) – Absolutely. Breast strains, which I think
are the worst possible thing. – You’re in this place of unknowing. You’re suffering so much
pain, and so much not knowing, but that sense of peace that comes, and I think that was from the prayers. And even the healing. There was like some
greater purpose happening. – I’m just–I’m so
moved, and I’m tearing up because I hear the truth
in what you’re saying, and it’s–I feel like with
the challenges that we have, the breast cancer
diagnosis, Crohn’s disease, it’s on us to interpret the message and to determine, as best
we can with our guidance, whatever that is, higher power, whatever you call that
higher, that guidance. It’s on us to figure out that
message and to figure out like how do you–how do you
then pay it forward. – Story drives everything,
but this is a story that comes so from my
heart, cause I’ve lived it, and so, when I see a patient, I can sit in front of them and– We were taught in medical school
to remain objective, right? – Yes, which you talk about yourself. Which is all well and good. (laughs) But you know what I’ve learned? I’ve learned like, gosh. Number one, intuition is so
powerful, and probably more powerful than any sort of scientific study I could bring to the table. And so, I’ve learned to
actually re-get in touch with my spirit and intuition,
and it is right on, and I prove with the science. But I go with that,
and I actually trust it because it’s so–and there’s
studies on that, too, there’s that sense and the intuition. – So, you do that with patients. You do that with your
teaching of practitioners. Talk a little bit about
how you divide your time and also, with the kind
of life that you have, where you’re so focused on
your healing, you have to be, you’re a breast cancer survivor, you reversed your Crohn’s disease. How do you make sure that
there’s primacy on your self-care while you’re also traveling
around and speaking? How do you–how do you take
care of yourself in a deep way while living this big life? – Yeah, well, I just
have to laugh because I– If you’ve seen me with my
luggage for three weeks, three days or two days,
I do not pack light. And I finally learned this line. It’s great. You know, it’s okay to be high maintenance if you’re high performance. – Yeah, I like that, that
is pretty good. (laughs) – And I’m like, that
is–that’s me. (laughs) Cause I’m like–cause literally,
I’m taking my hot pot, my air purifier, my food. I order groceries when I get to the hotel so that I have clean food. Like I’ve had to really
setup an environment wherever I go that is
safe and that actually I’m sleeping, I’m eating
really clean, I’m– And I’m actually now
today way more resilient, so if I had a bad meal, or
I hadn’t drank for 15 years, but if I have a sip of wine, God forbid, it wouldn’t take me over the edge. So little things like–I
always talk to patients. It’s almost like you’re on a tightrope, and just the slightest breeze
will take you over the edge. And I lived many, many
years in that state, and now I’m much more resilient. But it’s been so long of practicing where literally I would
take, and I would make time for prayer and meditation, or make time for exercise in the morning. So, whatever things would keep
me in that space, I just– It took a lot of extra time and effort and extra luggage. (laughs) But I just was like, for me,
I need these things around me to keep myself in a good spot. Like sleep is a big one,
and when we’re traveling doing these things, we’re out
late, and we’re not getting– So if I could, I would make
sure flights were no earlier than 10 o’clock cause in the
airport you know how that goes. – Yes. – So like my flight times are later. My speaking times, if
possible, they’re not at 7 a.m. So, I would just try to make these things in my lifestyle built
around to protect me. And it’s not always possible,
but to the best of my ability, I’m really strict on the
boundaries for my health. And then what do we say yes to? And for me, I’ve just been
working through values and trying to really align
with what are my values, and how do I make sure every
decision aligns with those. Because, I just had an
opportunity a month ago that was crazy insane for
any of us in this world of financial gain or whatever else, and I went and interviewed,
and I just turned it down cause it didn’t align with me. Cause I was kike no amount of money is worth the stress or whatever that wouldn’t fit with my values. – Yes. – And I’m finally in a place
of confidence in who I am and my values and knowing that that will always lead me
in the right direction, even if it’s not financial
gain, that’s fine. (laughs) So trying to make decisions. And it’s always a battle. I mean, I continually learn. I don’t have it right all the time. – It’s a work in progress.
– [Jill] It is. – But I hear the congruence. Like I think that congruence
piece is so important. And you know, another thing
I love about your work is the practitioner
newsletter that you send out, because I hear your spirit. It’s part of the subtext. I also hear about the latest studies and your interpretation of
them, which I value so much. And I want to make sure, you know, again, for the clinicians that
are listening to us, I want to give them
some action items about what they can do, like with
scheduling their flights and with carrying their
air purifier with them in their luggage.
(laughs) I also just don’t pack well. Like I never learned to be an adult when it comes to packing, so I– – So more choices. (laughs) And shoes. – Right. You gotta have a lot of shoe choices. Very important. They raise oxytocin, right? – Totally, right? (laughs) – Yeah. So, can you talk a little bit
about your practitioner work and especially the newsletter? Because I feel like that’s
a easy way for clinicians to start integrating these
principles and hearing about the latest science. – Thank you. Cause I’ve worked really hard on that and making it really just–it’s all free. So, it’s just giving away, and it’s really stuff that I learned. What happened is I have this
clinic, I love my patients, and I started speaking,
and then I realized I’m actually a total introvert. And so, it was funny the
first time I got on stage, and of course, years ago, I was nervous. But then I realized, I
have a message and a story, and I have a purpose,
so now I’m not nervous. I love it. And so I have a whole new shift
in really educating doctors and giving them not just
education and science but giving them permission
to step outside, to do something different,
and also just to have heart, and to not lose– We get so bogged down with
the strain of the finances or the paperwork or all
the difficult things that I think sometimes we lose
why we went into medicine, which is the love of patients,
and the wanting to heal, and the wanting to encourage. And so most everyone I know
who’s went into medicine has those things, so for me
it’s part of that encouragement and inspiration hopefully
goes into everything I do. – So tell me a bit about your future. You are one of my go to
resources for thought leadership, on the gut, on mold exposure. I’ve learned so much from you. And on environmental toxins in general. What’s happening next for you? Like when is the book coming out? – Yeah, that’s part of the balance. That was another down load. Like in 2013, I was at a retreat, and I just knew I was supposed to write. And for me it was like–I was like, “Oh, who am I? “What? You know, can do this or not?” And that was years ago. And God was just like, “You know what? “If I call you to do this,
I’ll take care of the rest. “So you just be obedient and act.” And so I knew, okay,
whenever the time comes. And what’s funny is that at that time I thought, “Okay, next year.” That was 2013. But what happened is
I’ve had so many stories. I always say, “God you’re
giving me another chapter here.” Cause then I had a mold
exposure and learned about mold and became the mold expert. And personally, I went through a divorce that was very, very difficult. So all these things are like lessons, and I feel like I’m finally
ready and at the point. So, I’m hoping next year will be the book. – Yay. (claps hands) – So thank you. – Okay, super exciting. I can’t wait to support that book. – Thank you. – So, as we wrap up, any
final things you want to say about the path that
you’ve been on, especially for my beloved allopathic
physician who is listening and is stuck like I felt stuck,
you know 15, 20 years ago, stuck within this model of
chronic disease management that doesn’t work, that
doesn’t address the root cause, that isn’t systems biology? So, any last words speaking
directly to that person? – Oh, you’ve given me such
great excitement to talk. So, for you listening out
there, this is so huge because you’re sitting
there, and you’re overwhelmed with the paperwork, your
overwhelmed with having to see patients quicker,
more–not really getting to do what you were called to do or meant to do, or what you went to medical school to do. And what’s keeping you back is fear. I guarantee it. I was there. I’m sure that Dr. Gottfried was there. And I just want to give you permission. It is not gonna be easy
necessarily, but I promise you it will be worthwhile,
because it gives you the heart and soul back
of why you went into that. And it will take compromise. I remember when I started
my practice, 2010, I left a salaried medical directorship at a well-known hospital
that was–you know, paid me very well, completely
left that, started over. I used my savings the first year to practice and to see patients. And fortunately, I didn’t go into debt, but then it just slowly started to go. And if you have the passion
and will, it will work out, I guarantee it. You can actually keep
your conventional practice and start into something else. So you can weave them in so you have some sense of security. But honestly, it will be the
best decision you ever made because you’re following your heart and why you actually went in to do that. And there’s those of us who’ve done it, so we’re happy to be there as resources and answer questions, and I
think that’s important, too. But if you are afraid, just go forward. – Beautiful. Thank you so much. That was just a, I think, a
genius way to encapsulate it, because it is fear… – It is – That keeps us stuck
in that burnout mode, the emotional exhaustion. And when you have the courage, even like a little teeny twinge of courage to step out of the box, like to–to like hear that
whisper of there’s another way, it makes all the difference. It makes all the difference. So, it’s not easy, but
alignment, congruence, that sense of I am working
totally in congruence with my values. It just changes everything. – It does. Something I heard a long
time ago that’s helped guide so much of what I do is love
and fear can’t co-exist. And so whether it’s a
relationship, or professional, or your children, or any of these things, when you have fear, you
cannot feel or come in contact with the love that you
have for that subject or that passion or that person. So, for me it’s been a
constant process of– And I’m fearful by nature,
but I’ve continued to push that aside and choose love. Love is my highest value,
and that choice of love is how we serve the world
and serve our patients. And so if you’re like
oscillating back and forth, you cannot have fear and
love, and you have to choose. And obviously, the choice
to love is just so profound and gives us joy. It’s a confirmation. – I love it. Okay, we’ll finish with love. Thank you, Dr. Jill Carnahan. – You’re welcome. Such a joy. – [Narrator] Thank you for being with us for this episode of The Practice. You’ll find extensive show notes, including links and
supportive materials over at ThePracticePodcast.tv . While you’re there, explore other topics and us the Ask and Answer button to ask your burning questions
and give your insights about the topic. After all, the future of medicine lies in dialogue, not dogma. Let’s transform medicine together by connecting on Twitter,
Instagram, and Facebook. You’ll find all the links
at ThePracticePodcast.tv . This podcast, including
any related materials such as show notes, links,
and supportive materials, is provided by Metagenics Institute, the educational arm of Metagenics, Inc., for general informational and
educational purposes only. This podcast does not
constitute medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for discussions between individuals and their healthcare providers. This podcast does not create
a doctor patient relationship and should not be considered a substitute for the independent professional judgment of any physician or
healthcare professional regarding the appropriate course of action for a particular patient or individual. Metagenics does not make any guarantees regarding the accuracy,
completeness, or usefulness of this podcast for
any particular purpose. Listeners may use this
podcast at their own risk, and patients should not
disregard or delay seeking advice from their healthcare providers based on the content of this podcast. Participation through
the Ask and Answer button is optional, and no participant
should feel obligated to provide personal details
including about any diagnosis, symptoms, or any other
health-related information. Neither Metagenics Institute
nor any of its affiliates seek this information,
and it is not necessary to participate in the dialogue
regarding this podcast. The podcast presenters’
views are entirely their own and do not represent the
views of Metagenics Institute, Metagenics, or any of
its research partners and collaborators, collectively
referred to as affiliates. Metagenics Institute and its
affiliates do not endorse or recommend any specific
healthcare providers, products, or other items, or services
that may be discussed or mentioned in this podcast. Podcast participants
may receive compensation from Metagenics Institute
and or its affiliates. Listening to this podcast
does not obligate you to purchase, use,
recommend or prescribe any Metagenics or Metagenics
Institute products or services, including their educational materials. Metagenics products are not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Unless approved by Metagenics
Institute, this podcast must be used only for personal,
non-commercial purposes. This podcast, has no
independent economic value and is intended to comply
with all applicable laws: it may be rescinded, revoked, or amended at any time without notice. Listeners who are patients
should talk to their healthcare providers if
they have any questions regarding the content
discussed in this podcast. Listeners who are healthcare
professionals may obtain more information by visiting
MetagenicsInstitute.com, calling 888-690-8500, or emailing [email protected] (lively instrumental music)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *