I grew up with a phrase that was often times repeated, “Enjoy the journey!” There is a lot of peace that can come with that statement. While not every day is easy to enjoy, every day can be used to teach us things about ourselves. Allow me just a moment to tell you about my journey and how the Life Enhancement Clinic came to be.
I was born and raised in Texas City, TX and from the age of four years old, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. There was a brief stint of wanting to be a garbage man mixed in that time period, but for the most part, my focus and direction were always to be a doctor. One of the biggest influences in my life at that young age was actually our family doctor. This was back in the day where he still made house calls, carried the black medical bag, and took care of his patients from cradle to grave. I remember as I grew older I was inspired by the relationship that he was able to create with his patients.
Fast forward to 1990 and our family moved from Texas to North Dakota. It was a memorable day because not only were we leaving our entire family behind in Texas, but we were leaving on my 12th birthday. I attended junior high and high school in Mandan. My plans were still to be a doctor. I began to weigh out my options. I considered working in ER/trauma. I had the opportunity to observe in a large Emergency Department in Houston, TX with my aunt. I remember asking the ER physician who had been practicing for about ten years how he liked his job. His answer to me? He stated, “I liked my job.” That really made me start rethinking the trauma route. I considered cardiology, family medicine, and general surgery. Then one day in high school my focus changed.
I was stopped at a stoplight one day before school. Simply waiting to turn on Main Street, head to the school and get my day started when…WHAM…all of the sudden I was struck by the car behind me. After the unmistakable surge of adrenaline and the confusion as to what happened, I was able to get out of my car and go through the “post-accident ritual”. The police report, the exchange of insurance information, then contacting my insurance company, etc, etc. Later that day, though, the pain in the neck started, the headaches started, and the overall body aches began in force. The over-the-counter pain relievers didn’t help so I went in for something stronger. Those didn’t help the greatest so an orthopedic consult was scheduled. At 17 years old I met with an orthopedic surgeon that rushed me through an examination, talked about living with pain, and the future route of potential surgery. Not something I wanted to hear at that point in my life.
This experience…the bump in the road on my journey of life…lead me to a chiropractor for the very first time. Let me be really honest with you, I came from a very medically-minded family. We thought chiropractors were “quacks”. We thought chiropractors hurt people. But when you are in pain, you are willing to try different things. The pain-relief that chiropractic care brought me was life-changing. I spoke with the doctors who were treating me who had been in practice longer than ten years and they still enjoyed their practice. I saw the relationship they established with their patients. Missing was the rushing through the medical machinery, gone was the impersonal doctor-patient relationship…instead I saw the ability to provide real solutions, to real people, in real pain. The concepts of “natural healing” were totally foreign to me. I was awed by the medications, surgeries, and life-saving interventions that made medicine look so amazing.
My neck pain was gone, my pain was gone, and my career direction was aimed at chiropractic. I can still remember some of the comments from family members, “Why don’t you go be a real doctor?” I felt I was making the “real” choice and this choice would allow me to help others and establish relationships with my patients at the same time.
I attended Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, MN. During my chiropractic training, I was equipped with the knowledge necessary to competently evaluate and treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and neurological complaints. I was able to intern at Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury, MN in an integrated health setting. My journey led me deeper into the fledgling field of chiropractic neurology and a lifelong passion to learn was started with my first class with the Carrick Institute of Graduate Studies. I graduated from chiropractic school…on my birthday no less! What a sense of accomplishment that was! I later received my diplomate from the American Chiropractic Neurology Board and received the distinction of a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist.
I was working in a clinic trying to learn the hoops required to jump through with insurance companies, Medicare, documentation and all the minutia of clinical practice. It was during this time that my journey led to me experience some low back pain…severe lower back pain. This was a frustrating part of my journey. I was a chiropractic neurologist and yet my lower back was killing me!? This all led to being run through the medical machinery to rule out things like multiple sclerosis. I had nerve conduction studies, electromyography, head/neck MRI, head MRA, spinal tap, visual evoked studies, lab tests and on and on. After struggling for a whole summer with this issue things began to resolve and my journey began to uncover the path towards clinical nutrition and applied kinesiology.
By changing my diet, incorporating clinically proven supplement strategies, and cleaning up my environment I began to feel better and stronger. This lead me to pursue and obtain my Certified Clinical Nutritionist degree and become the only CCN in the state of North Dakota. My experiences and clinical training lead to the dream of starting my own practice…the Life Enhancement Clinic.
I can vividly remember driving back from a seminar in Minneapolis with my wife, Jendi. During that car ride, we came up with the name and logo for what we felt encompassed our goals and vision for health care. We wanted to enhance and improve the quality of patient’s lives. We wanted to take people that were frustrated with the medical model and offer them something different. Our logo summed up our goals. We wanted LEC to utilize a caring and compassionate touch, utilize functional neurology, perform spinal manipulations, and have a Christ-centered approach to our entire practice.
In October 2005 the Life Enhancement Clinic dream became a reality. We opened our doors for the first time. Since that time we have continued to strive for excellence in wellness care. I love the opportunity to connect with my patients. I love the opportunity to provide hope for individuals suffering and in pain. I love the chance to treat infants, children, adults, and the elderly with options that are safe, natural and effective.
“To restore hope and health in individuals not enjoying wellness by guiding them through cleansing, nourishing, and balancing their bodies.”
My journey shaped me as a clinician. I went through some ups and downs but it is the final product that matters. Life Enhancement Clinic was designed to be a place where we can help improve the journey that someone is currently making. That’s who we are.