Hi! I am Kelley Suggs, CHES (that means certified health education specialist) a wife and mom with a holistic focus and the chief cook and bottle washer here at Lithe Wellness Solutions.
Here is the reason why I do what I do:
My baby was sick. He wasn’t sick in way that was terminal, but it was terrifying and frustrating and exhausting. Being sick was normal to my baby. As he neared a year old, the doctors, all of those doctors, told us that he needed more antibiotics. And chest x-rays. And Ranitidine to soothe his reflux. He ended up taking 12 doses of antibiotics, and some were painfully injected into his tiny little muscles. He had an unnecessary surgery and his growth fell off of the charts. We were worried and sleepless listening to him cough and choke through the night and his pillow case was worn from so much use as a tissue. Eventually, he had to be tested for C Diff, that ugly, life threatening condition that generally effects much older, much more geriatric populations. Before his first birthday, first haircut and first Christmas, he had his first hospital gown, first surgery and his first anesthesia. If you want to read more of our story, just scroll down, it is there. But a little more information first:
During that time I was devoted to conventional wellness programs (I was the Health Promotion Program Manager at an Air Force base and responsible for the health and wellness of about 8,000 people as well as a consultant to the Surgeon General) that focused on one part of a person: high cholesterol or stress or weight management. Eventually, I began to strain and chafe against the conventional, food pyramid style that I had to teach when I knew that wasn’t right and was causing more suffering than it was providing solutions and relief. When an opportunity presented itself, I broke away from conventional single system wellness programs and can now focus on the whole person. I focus on the whole person because I don’t believe that any baby, child or adult should suffer from a mystery illness or chronic ear infections or adult acne or joint pain, or be uncomfortable all of the time or have to go through all of that alone and isolated.
Gratefully, before I left conventional, corporate work site and military health and wellness programs I was guided to build the background and education I needed to be able to help you find your best solutions. Where I was once a consultant to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force, I now focus solely on the individual and what works for one person at a time. Here are some fun facts about me:
I once lived in a castle in Scotland.
I received my pre natal post partum fitness certification from Catherine Cram, a leading expert in the country!
I have written and published over 30 articles and been featured on TV and radio.
Volunteered around the country with AmeriCorps * NCCC where I met my husband.
I received the Presidential Award for Service (twice).
During my Air Force time, I got to work with my dream team of an Exercise Physiologist and Registered Dietitian (who both fondly considered me their hippy counter part).
I am certified as an Intrinsic Health Coach (did you know that there is actually a mathematical formula for intrinsic thinking? I>E>S). I also have a B.S. in Community Health Education with an emphasis in fitness and nutrition, and a couple of fitness certifications.
I suffered from severe adult acne due to a wheat intolerance. When I found out it was wheat, I stopped getting migraines and avoided a hysterectomy. Unfortunately for me, it shows up on my face when I cheat (I am not claiming perfection here). You will always know if I had a date with a muffin.
I think my kids hung the moon and my favorite part of any day is when one of them reaches for my hand.
We live on a hobby farm with several horses. LWS is based out of our home office and I love to take kiddos who come in to see me out to bring treats to the horses or chickens, if we have time after their appointment.
My passion is to help you find your solution to your best body whether a baby is on your horizon or you are fighting to feel good and your food is working against you. I can coach you and your family along the path to healthy body, mind, and skin allowing you to feel supported and sated instead of separate and alone. If you want more than the testing, we can set that up, too.
You can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (763.647.0522). Or go ahead and use this scheduling link to set up your free 30 minute Nourish Session, abdominal wall seperation check or Nutrition Response Test. Our physical address is 15135 Huber Ave NW, Clearwater, MN 55320.
Healthy and well wishes! Kelley
p.s. Why the word “Lithe”? It means athletically thin. Flexible. Strong. That is what I want for myself and my family. It is what I want for you. Looking for the rest of our story? Here it is:
Many people wonder why we eat the way we do, why we hustle our family out of church and away from the treat table, why it is so hard to go out to eat (aside from our busy toddlers) and why we think so much about food. It is really hard to explain. It was really hard to live. But we did-we lived through a journey that led us to unconventional food choices. It was an education not just in food, but in living. Here it is:
Brayden was sick. He was so sick for so long. He didn’t have a terminal illness but his constant coughing, his incessant runny nose, the inability for my 11 month old to fall asleep for any length of time without gagging and choking was killing us. We don’t have a picture of him before the age of two where his little mouth isn’t draped open as he struggled to breathe.
We went to the doctor every week from the time he was nine months old until he was well over a year. He had multiple cases of strep throat, never ending ear infections, RSV, H1N1, pneumonia, reflux, bronchitis and more ear infections. We were sent to the gastroenterologist, the pediatric pulmonologist and the ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists. He was prescribed 12 different antibiotics before his first birthday and was subjected to two different torture chamber style chest x-rays in the same amount of time.
The first time we saw the ENT, he took one look into his happy, cherub cheeked little face and ears and asked how long our little fellow had been this way. I counted back the months as he asked me if my beautiful little fellow was always this happy. I proudly answered yes and sheepishly told him “That is why no one believes me when he is sick”.
At that Friday morning appointment just before Christmas, just before his first birthday, Brayden was scheduled for emergency Eustachian tubes to salvage his hearing. He was also scheduled for three very painful intramuscular injections of antibiotics to try to clear up the persistent infection before the surgery. We scrambled through a pre-operative exam and held his chubby, little body to the table as he received his shots: one on Friday, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The emergency surgery was at eight a.m. Monday morning.
After his procedure, the Harvard educated doctor came out to meet with me and tell me how it went. They had to remove quite a bit of gunk, but with the drops he gently placed in my hands that would help with healing, instructions for keeping water out of his ears and wishes for a merry Christmas, he predicted far fewer ear infections for the future.
A lot of things were new when Brayden first started to get sick. We had just moved to our new house with a new climate, he was in a daycare center with 250 other kids and he had been on solid foods for about four or five months. We started making changes to see what would help. I cleaned like I had an obsessive compulsive disorder and cried because I couldn’t keep our wooden floors clean enough. We interviewed smaller daycares and started making changes to his diet, eliminating certain items while adding things that we had heard might help. In spite of all of that, his ear infections continued and his doctors were no longer helpful. The general practice doctor continued to write scripts and was unbothered by the sharp drop from 50th percentile to 30th percentile on the growth charts. The pharmacist greeted us by name as we passed by to pick up toothpaste and toilet paper. The pulmonologist couldn’t pin point the coughing but told us if we thought dietary changes were helpful to please continue them. I drew the line when the gastroenterologist recommended more tests.
No one could tell us why our little one, the first love of our combined lives, was so sick all of the time.
He slowly disintegrated into a toddler who was hyper emotional and susceptible to very low moods. We would find out later that his attention span was also quite a bit shorter than an average toddler. We no longer had a baby who could sit with his parents and a pile of books, but toddler without any interest. We continued to struggle with his health after the birth of our second son, Jack. Jack’s first ear infection provided our second big break at improving Brayden’s health because I refused to struggle through the antibiotic process again. After so many antibiotics, Brayden was in the process of being tested for C-Difficile, a dangerous and life threatening condition that is caused by the overuse of antibiotics, usually seen in geriatric populations in long term care facilities. The doctors had dismissed his diarrhea as a symptom of toddlerhood and too much juice. Our third general practice doctor finally understood my concern that this was not normal and after taking his case history and antibiotic use into consideration, she had him tested for several other antibiotic resistance related troubles as well.
When Brayden was first troubled by ear infections we had heard others had great success with chiropractors. I had met a pediatric certified chiropractor that was covered by our insurance, and I kept her card. When Jack’s fever started and he began rubbing his ears, I didn’t even bother with the doctor - I went straight to the chiropractor’s office. She adjusted baby Jack while he wiggled and massaged his lymph fluid away while we talked. She supported my efforts to improve their health and decrease the ear infections by cutting dairy out of their diet.
Cutting dairy out of our diet (I was breastfeeding baby Jack) was the only thing that had done what the Eustachian tubes were supposed to do: stop the ear infections for Brayden. It also lessened Jack’s reflux and gas issues. We remained puzzled by cradle cap, eczema and “toddler diarrhea”, but were exceedingly relieved to be able to sleep at night without waking up to coughing and choking. It had been a long road and we were worn out.
While Brayden was busy struggling to grow and breathe, my sister started to see a naturopath. He lifted the fog that enveloped her every day. He helped her to stop her near constant migraine pain and avoid a costly gall bladder removal. She recommended repeatedly that we take Brayden to go see him. We weren’t opposed to natural remedies; we had such wonderful success with our sweet chiropractor, but we were already struggling heavily to pay the medical costs that were covered by insurance, how were we supposed to cover the upfront costs of a naturopath that wouldn’t be covered by insurance? We knew we had to do something different. Gratefully, Brayden’s C-Difficile tests came back negative, but he was still struggling. So I made the appointment and sold our horse trailer to raise the cash for his appointment and some of his conventional medical bills.
The majority of our appointment with the naturopath was spent in education. He took about 10 minutes to diagnose Brayden and didn’t even need to listen to his long medical history. Brayden’s diagnosis was simple but frightening…and changeable. He had a toxic level of yeast in his short little body. He was only absorbing about half of his vitamins and minerals. He explained why my short, well fed toddler was growing so very slowly. He explained that eliminating the dairy had helped with the symptoms, but never completely eliminated the problems leaving behind the tummy and skin troubles. He explained that grains go undigested and unabsorbed by those under the age of five. He sent us home with temporary supplements for both of our children and dietary changes that would help them become healthy children with growth and breathing unhindered.
We followed his “prescription” to the tee. Drops were taken three times a day and no grains or sweets for Brayden, Jack or the mommy who was making his milk, until our follow up appointment two months later. Miraculously, things began to change. Baby Jack’s gas pains subsided, his reflux faded away and so did his eczema, cradle cap and the stiffness that held him like a board every day. The best news of all was that Brayden’s diarrhea stopped (even though he still occasionally drank juice!). Brayden’s snoring stopped. During the day, he could breathe without wheezing and could even pass air through his nose. He didn’t cough through his sleep or gag on his tonsils anymore.
I don’t wake up at night anymore because the house is quite, because no one is snoring or choking and I am afraid that means not breathing. I wake up because Brayden is growing and his little legs and feet hurt. I get to watch him sniff at flowers and spices and dirty diapers and mommy’s hair and daddy’s shaving cream, trying to figure out what smells and why. We are back to sitting with books, reading, telling silly stories and jokes with baby Jack. His low moods are few and far between and don’t last for hours, but for much more normal toddler lengths of time. In addition to running around and acting silly he will color or paint on his own again. He works on puzzles with concentration and success.
He is well on his way to a healthy life, saved from an eternity of sickness, of discomfort and mysterious pain and freed to a life that is comfortable and long, God willing. When we look back at those pictures, I wince at how sick he was. His cheeks always flushed, his mouth always agape, struggling for air, or blood dripping from his ears-all of that is such a stark contrast to the beautiful calm face we are graced with today. The same beautiful, happy eyes, ringed with his daddy’s dark lashes, the same cherubian cheeks, always in a smile. Now his closed lips curve into that smile too. It was a very hard fought, very expensive lesson in parenthood, nutrition, life and Grace. I am now a natural health practioner myself, and help families get through this much faster and easier than we did.
If you need help getting through the same thing, let me know. We can talk more. You don't have to struggle through it alone like we did.