Hi, my name is Jessica Doncses and welcome to Optimize to Thrive!

For the past 15 years I've worked in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industries. I've always had a passion for exercise and a healthy lifestyle which has served me well for the most part.  

I started to question the medical orthodoxy however, when 5 years ago I experienced a bout of Thyroiditis. At first I was prescribed a course of antibiotics because the Nurse Practitioner assumed my low grade fever, fatigue, heart palpitations and unexplained weight loss of 10 lbs in 5 days were due to an infection.

I didn't feel like I was "sick," but who was I to question the medical professionals that I worked so closely with over the last several years.

A week passed and I had no improvement, so I went back to the doctor's office, this time seeing the doctor. He asked me about my symptoms and if they had improved.  I suggested that I felt no improvement and his first response  was, "How is your prescription insurance?"  My answer, "Very good, why?"  "I'm going to write you a script for a stronger antibiotic, but it's expensive."

I should have started objecting then, but who was I to question him--he's supposed to help get me back to feeling good, right?

Fast forward and after getting some blood work done and taking the "stronger" antibiotic I still had no relief, but the blood work, a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) offered the first clue as it came back at 0.001.  Basically my Thyroid had crashed and I had no uptake when I did the prescribed Radioactive Iodine Scan.

Needless to say, additional testing took place and continued to uncover issues with my Thyroid, which turned out to be the culprit or so I thought (more on this later).  So this meant more appointments with specialists and trials of prescription Thyroid meds.  

Ultimately I went to a non-conventional MD who focused on just hormones, and he got me on a dose of Armour Thyroid that allowed me to start feeling like myself again.  I was able to feel pretty good for a few years all while following up with my new Dr.  As time went on my dose of Armour needed to be increased based on my symptoms and labs.  

Also,  at this time I had frequent hormone testing performed and it consistently showed very low Testosterone along with low DHEA, Estrogen and Progesterone.   Throughout all of these tests never once could any of the physicians answer a simple question of mine, "Why are my labs so low?"  All they ever wanted to do was put band-aids on the symptoms by upping my Thyroid dose and recommending bio-identical creams for my low sex hormones.  At the time I was in my early thirties and the idea of using bio-identical hormones the rest of my life didn't sit well with me.   

I knew that this approach of treating the lab results and avoiding the cause of the issues wasn't right, so I started looking for an alternative and discovered Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® and how this unique program could provide more precise insight into the health issues I was experiencing.  This concept made so much sense to me that I jumped right in and began the certification process to become an FDN-P.  I learned the importance of looking at my symptoms as clues and how combining this info with objective Functional Lab results could provide the answers I was looking for.   With these simple components I could now uncover the H.I.D.D.E.N stressors I was dealing with, and finally explain the whys that my Drs. couldn't answer.

 As I went through the FDN course we uncovered that I was in HPA Access Dysfunction (Adrenal Dysregulation), had gut dysbiosis and pathogens.  It turns out the dysbiosis and pathogens were stressing my system and taxing my Adrenals, leading to  fatigue, low sex hormones and poor digestion.  This cascade of issues was really taxing my health and my ability to Thrive.  These were my H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors that my Doctors never thought to investigate because looking for the root cause of issues wasn't part of their medical approach.

Once I uncovered these Stressors my training made it possible for me to customize a Health Building Plan that addressed my Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Supplementation needs.  Following this time tested and proven protocol allowed for me to see improvements in my health and well-being for the first time in months if not even years!  I have gotten back to hitting my goals at the gym and riding the rough mountain bike terrain in North East PA.

Let me help you make the improvements to your health that you desire and deserve.  

I've also compiled some of my favorite reads on health and nutrition. Take a look at what I've read.