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Dr. Lj Johnson is a women’s hormone coach, specializing in endometriosis, PCOS and fibroids. She’s living with endometriosis herself, and has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years.
She’s got quite a story – including being a peppy morning news fitness coach (while feeling like her body was out of control) – and working on The Biggest Loser reality show. She’s got stories and a lot of wisdom to share- and her energy is contagious. She shares information, tips and ways you can help yourself not just treat the symptoms, but get to the root of the problem.
Guest Spotlight: Dr. Lj Johnson
Dr. Lj Johnson holds a PsyD. IHP. FDNP. and IIN, and is a women’s hormone coach specializing in endometriosis, PCOS and fibroids.
Lj has worked in the women’s health and fitness industry for over 20 years while overcoming her own diagnosis of endometriosis. Lj’s passion is to empower, motivate and educate all women that they too can have quality of life despite their symptoms or diagnosis.
Connect with Dr. Lj Johnson:
Buy Me A Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Ljspowerhouse Lj Shopify: https://ljspowerhouse.store/
Work with me: https://ljspowerhouz.systeme.io/f248b1a4
Free Facebook group: https://bit.ly/3KvL4nE
Ljs podcast: https://apple.co/3AV7QnA
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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.
Dr. Lj Johnson
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Live Your Life. Not Your Diagnosis. I'm your host, Andrea Hanson. Now I have to tell you, I'm looking out my window right now. And it is just a blanket of snow. And I won't lie. I'm not ready. I am not ready for snow and everything's snow brings, but. Here it is. And the first snow, really, the first snow is always really special to me. It's I think it's pretty, it makes everything extra quiet.
And it makes our healer girl very frisky and very zoomy and Incredibly cute. So it's fun. But I got to tell you, we get over it very quickly.
But for now, I am really, really enjoying I don't know if it's snowing where you are, but whatever the weather is outside, where you are, I hope that you are enjoying Dr. L J Johnson is who we're talking to this week. She is a women's hormone coach. Specializing in endometriosis, PCO S and fibroids. And she's got quite a story. Including being one of those Pepe morning news, fitness coaches that you see. But doing that while she felt her body was just out of control.
And she also worked on the biggest loser. That reality show that was on a while ago. She's got stories. And a lot of wisdom to share. And her energy is infectious. So if you're me and you listen to podcasts while you're hiking. Or walking or working out. I bet you're going to get a little bit faster while listening to this because
she just brings that much energy. So please enjoy this week's episode and visit Andrea Hanson coaching.com for more on Dr. LJ Johnson. Resources we talk about in the show. And transcripts from today's episode. Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. To you inspire you To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free. Listener discretion is advised
[00:02:41] Andrea: Dr. LJ Johnson holds a PsyD, IHP, FDNP, and IIN and she is a women's hormone coach specializing in endometriosis, P C O S and fibroids. LJ has worked in the women's health and fitness industry for over 20 years while overcoming her own diagnosis of endometriosis, l j's passion is to empower, motivate, and educate all women that they too can have quality of life despite their symptoms or diagnosis.
Hi, Dr. Johnson. How are you?
[00:03:13] Lj: Hey, hey, Andrea. I am super excited to be here just listening to that bio. Sometimes it just reminds me, I'm , Baby, it's been a long road, but I'm still, I'm keeping on keeping on
[00:03:23] Andrea: Heck yeah, I totally understand. I I loved reading through it too. I'm just excited that I didn't trip over all of the different acronyms
[00:03:32] Lj: And what? Those acronyms are amazing, but I'm , Look here, I gotta eat dinner. , pee poop. Do all those things just everyone else. I may know more about all the other stuff in the background, but I'm still human, everyone else managing chronic illness and seriously just trying to live my best.
[00:03:48] Andrea: Yeah, a hundred percent. So go into that really quickly. For people who don't know, I H P F D N P, what is it that you specialized when you were studying
[00:03:57] Lj: So when I was studying, I specialized more in the mental health, the psychology now, and, and as we talk about my story, I spent more of my time in the beginning, in the fitness journey, working on more the aesthetics of the body. , how we're going to look great, how we're going to lose 15 pounds, how we're going to chase that cellulite away, , all of those fun things.
And then all those initials came as my own body was not responding to all of this stuff that I was traveling. And I was , Ooh, I think it's time to go back to the, to the drawing board. So that's when I really got into integrated medicine and functional medicine as to not. What we can do aesthetically, what we can do on the outside, but really getting to the root cause in this met metabolic chaos that's going on underneath, trying to figure out what's really going on.
Because all this stuff on the outside and the fluff, it was no longer working. So it shifted my entire world. I mean, despite the fact that I was managing multiple chronic illnesses, it was a thing of where the education I had really taught me to just treat symptoms and put bandaids on symptoms. And it got to a point where that wasn't even working for me.
it didn't work for me. So I was , I can't travel the world telling everyone else about stuff that's not even working for me any longer.
[00:05:03] Andrea: That makes so much sense that as we go along and are educating ourselves either through school or getting trainings and all, , there's so many things that you can get educated in, even outside of school. As our body changes, as our situation changes, it's we're pulled towards certain things and then we realize
this is something that helps me understand my body and myself better. And then it also allows me to help other people because we know, as much as we'd to think that we're unique little unicorns, , if, if we have something going on with our bodies and ourselves, chances are other people are too.
[00:05:39] Lj: Right. That's what I call hiding in plain sight. That's what I was doing. I was the fitness professional that you've seen on Channel nine at 5:00 AM in the morning telling you the fitness move to do what, to balance your hormones, , eat this, eat that. And then all of a sudden it was , okay, I'm saying that at 5:00 AM and then at 7:00 AM I'm debilitated by period pain and
I can't get off the couch, I can't go to work for the rest of the day. But I appear to have everything in control. And so a lot of the people that I work with, especially even listening to this podcast as a chronic illness warrior, , we should get an in me, we should get an award of, how all the acting we have to do, or we're acting everything is okay, , everything isn't okay.
But we wouldn't dare let anyone know. And so for me, I had to stop hiding in plain sight. I was miserable, I was doing all the right things, but my body just really needed different support. And so the more I tell my story, it's not only, , to help others. Yes, I have a business. But it's also for people to realize that you are not crazy just because your doctor doesn't have the answer.
Just because you can't figure it out. Just because you need a team of specialists. There's nothing wrong with you, you're not broken. But with what I work with, a lot of people don't talk about it. Nobody wants to talk about period pain and cramps and bloating. , they're , Okay, girl, , you got a uterus.
Keep pushing past it. But a lot of people don't realize that there is a bigger issue, and it's not just period pain. It's not just, , murder scene periods passing out during your cycle. , we normalize those things, but it's that's not really how it's supposed to be.
[00:07:03] Andrea: Right. Well, and it took you a while to get diagnosed, right? And, and I was watching one of your, uh, live streams on, uh, your Instagram account, which caveat is fantastic. So I will have it in the show notes. listeners, go check out the, her Instagram. It's fantastic. But you were talking that you actually think that you started developing this at 14.
[00:07:27] Lj: Yes. So it took me 16 years to get diagnosed. So you said, with my story, I started my period when I was 12 and it was the whole , welcome to womanhood. And you're , Okay, you're 12, right? You don't know what that means. You're just , Great, I gotta wear these pads and I'm bleeding and. I hope I'm okay.
Am I broke? Am I dying? , there's all of that. So it was two years of just kind of figuring out my body and at the age of 14 it went from, , just having a period and it being uncomfortable, , being a little bloated, , maybe pooping and having a little discomfort or being constipated to where I was having debilitating periods.
I was not able to concentrate. I was passing out during my cycle. Um, I was not just a little constipated, my bowels would stop every diagnosis I had may have been asthma, allergies, , sinus issues, all of that.
Once I got close to my cycle, it was none of my medications worked. So, for example, that inhaler that I could have puffed on, , when the asthma was bothering me and I was working out, , seasonal allergies, it would be fine. Come close to my cycle. Inhalers wouldn't work. Prednisone wouldn't work.
my body was so inflamed that my regular maintenance medication was no longer good enough. And so that was the biggest turning point for me. I had already been dealing with asthma and allergies. I had already been dealing with, , chronic pain. But when it came to my cycle, I mean I was bleeding all the time.
I'd be bleeding outside of my cycle. I got to where I was having chronic pelvic pain all the time. So it wasn't just , Oh, I got a little PMs. I got a little butt lightning. I'm chronic pelvic pain 24 7. It always felt there were pens and needles dancing on my bladder. I always was constipated.
There was not enough water and fiber and teas in the world to get my bowels to move. Um, , I was coughing up. On my period, I was, , having nose bleeds on my period. It was just all of these things. And so as I even describe it right now, people are , Oh, it's just a period problem. , If we would just turn that period off, you'd be better.
But the thing was is I had endometriosis, which is not a reproductive disorder, it's not a bad period, it's not a, , period problem. It was systemic inflammation throughout my entire body, and that hormonal imbalance fluctuated with my hormones, which exasperated my situation. So it was 16 years of chasing all of these symptoms, and then finally one day being able to connect all of those dots.
[00:09:38] Andrea: That must be so hard, especially as a young girl first, getting your period dealing with all of those hormones, dealing with every, I mean, that's middle school, that's high school. that's crazy with all of the things that we go
through in that age. On top of that, you're dealing with these very abnormal things that are happening.
My my hunch is people were telling you , Oh, it's your period. Nobody likes their period. It's horrible. Of course you have cramps, right? What helped you get through that?
[00:10:12] Lj: Well, the biggest thing for me is when I was in pain, I reached out to my mother and as a black woman, as a woman of color, I was set down very quickly and told that I didn't get to complain about pain. , it was not real. I was not feeling the pain. I needed to be a strong black woman and keep pushing past it.
And so, , I bought it to an extent, but then it was trying to explain to my mom, , there are days I can't walk. I hear what you are saying, but black woman, white, purple, green, I don't care what you're talking about. there's something wrong with my body. So there was a lot of dismissiveness that I had to deal with, not only in my childhood, , going into college, , young adulthood, all of that.
There was a dismisses named nature from my family, my mother, but also from medical professionals. So for me, I honestly just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn't care that, , everyone was saying it was a period problem. Cuz then once again, I'm talking to my other friends, they're not passing out, , in the bathtub during their period.
They're not, , constipated for two weeks with their period. They're not coughing up blood on their period. So I was , Okay, there's something different going on with my body. So it really just forced me, especially in my profession where I, , my gift in calling is to help other people heal themselves naturally.
But I'm , Look here. Honey, you can't even heal yourself. there's something not right. And so it was, it was very hard. I'll be very honest. I didn't have the support, the community, All the things I offer now is because I wanted all that stuff when I was younger. , I didn't have podcasts to listen to.
I didn't have a clubhouse room, I didn't have Instagram, , telling me that it was okay to talk about period pain and bloating and all of these mystery illnesses. And so for me personally, I'm a researcher. I to do the research. I to do the do the due diligence. So I think it was a little easier for me to kind of figure out, , what was going on, some of my medical background.
But essentially, I said, I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I got tired of people telling me it was all in my head. I got tired of not being able to go to work, not being able to take care of my children, not being able to run. I have a business, I mean, let's be honest, when you're an entrepreneur, you are running your business in the very beginning.
You don't have a va, you don't have an assistant, you don't have a team. You can't show up in your own business . You're, , you can't do anything. You're not making any money. So I just got tired of opportunities in life passing me by, and I really had to just kind of step back from my practice, step back from what I was doing, and just go back to the drawing board.
I said, , everyone thought I was this healthy image because I was the person they watched on the news every morning in Colorado. But it was anything but that, I was suffering every single day. Every single day.
[00:12:42] Andrea: And so that suffering, it sounds you were trying to get the, the chronology here. You went to school, you, you got your, your id, you started your business. You were doing a lot of health and fitness
type things, and you, but you still were dealing with not knowing what was going on with your
body and trying to figure
[00:13:04] Lj: Absolutely. Yeah. So I started off really, really strong in the fitness industry. So most people re, , know me from Fitness on the Rocks, or I said, , giving fitness tips on Channel nine every morning in Colorado. All of these things. And so what happened is as my education progressed, yes, it helped with my kneeling journey.
Yes, I was all into fitness. Yes, I was teaching everyone all these. It got to a point where it was not working for me. So despite my education, despite all of the initials and all that fun stuff, it's , okay, what I'm pedaling, for example, the whole, if you want to lose weight, cut back on your calories.
Well, I had already cut back on my calories and I was a fitness professional. I was doing all the things and I was gaining weight. I mean, there's nothing more humbling than going to a conference and someone congratulating you and asking you when you're due, and you're having to explain to them that you're just super inflamed and puffy and you're bloated and it's endometriosis.
there's nothing very . There's nothing fun about that. People are , What do you do? And you're , Uh, this isn't even my food baby. This is my bloated hormonal. I don't know what's wrong with my body belly. ? It was that is what started happening to me. So it started affecting not only my physical health, but my mental health.
I started to question my own sanity, , is there really something wrong with me? , I'd walk around saying things , I hate my body. I hate my uterus once again, because I was being told that it was a period problem. , I was doing birth control, I was doing all of these things, and so, , my education progressed.
But it's interesting, as my education progressed, it's my health, my health failed even the more, right, The stress of graduating. I mean, I graduated high school. When I was 15 years old, I went straight to college at 15. There's a lot of pressure I made. I didn't make my first c, I think, into my master's program.
So, , academics and all of those things were very great for me. It was easy for me. But my health, , the stress, , coming from a strong military family, that type A always being perfect, that perfectionism, I mean, it was tearing my health.
[00:14:57] Andrea: Was there anything that you relied on at either a mindset tool or was there a go to that helped you get through that portion where you were doing really, really well in your business and in your career? Your body was, , going the other way.
It sounds you're torn between two , polar opposites. Were there go-to tools that you used that helped you just in your day to day
[00:15:25] Lj: That's an amazing question. I love that. First thing I know, people are , Give us the supplement, tell us the tea. I'm sorry. It's not that sexy. It was mindset. And that is one of the main thing I work with my patients right now. ? Yes, I can tell you the juice cleanse, , I can tell you this, that and the other.
We can change your diet, all of that. But the first thing is, is I had to believe that I could truly heal myself. I had to actually believe it. And it's hard. Let me tell you. When you wake up in the morning and you're crawling back and forth to the bathroom, it's really hard to, , look on your affirmations or , say your affirmations, I feel amazing today.
And nothing's a, yeah, that's all fine and great, but you can't walk right. It's going to take a little bit more than
thinking positive thoughts. So I am really. Hone in and be , All right, this is what I'm dealing with, but I deserve health. I want more. , it was almost comparing myself. I hate to, to other people, they're functioning just fine.
They're raising their children, they're going to work. I've gotta find what works for me. So it was a lot of mindset work. I mean, there were days I'd get up and say, my affirmations and I didn't feel amazing, right? I woke up to a murder scene period. , I've gotta change my sheet. you're already running late to work, right?
You're already stressed out and let's be honest. Then you gotta change your clothes, change your sheets, shower all of this stuff every morning cuz you have this, , period issue. You think that's just debilitating. So number one, for me, I had to really. Speak it and manifest it. No matter what my body was doing every day, it was reminding myself, I deserve to be healthy.
Now, what healthy looks for me may be different than you, than maybe different than 10 other people on the podcast that are listening, but I was , I deserve health. Right? Secondly, I had to get a community, and so I love community, and I could talk about this one for an entire different. Because community is so important, but what I will say is you need to find the right type of community.
Now, I have had a chronic illness community, not just with people that deal with endometriosis, but just chronic illness because chronic illness is chronic, right? The support you're going to need when you're 15, you're going to need support at 25. I'm 43. I still need support. Girl going to need some support at 62.
It just is what it is. But what I will say is as I progressed a along my journey, my community had to change. And so sometimes what I would realize is that the community, for example, that helped me raise my two young children as a single mother and get me through the divorce, was not the community I needed to really step up my business and my healing.
That was not the community I needed to do what I'm doing now. And so I encourage people to, , make sure you're doing the affirmations and the mindset, find your community, but also be aware that sometimes you outgrow your community. And if you stay in that old community, I hate to say it and I know some people are tuning me out right now, but
I'm , stick with me. If you stay with your community sometimes too long and you do not feel that community is pushing you to your next best self, the community is not, , bringing out the best in. Then it's become a toxic community, and at that point you need to find a new community. So it was a lot of mindset and a lot of community.
[00:18:27] Andrea: So I, I love what you said there, and I just want to reiterate one of the things that I think can be hard for people , cuz , I'm a, I'm all about mindset as a mindset coach. That is the, just the go-to, I think mindset is so freaking important and a lot of people have problems with it because when you're saying things , I, deserve health, or this is going to be great and I'm going to get through this.
It can be so hard to believe, but belief is what is necessary when it comes to mindset, right? We can't just tell ourselves a bunch of things that our brain is just going to start saying , Nope, that's not true. So I love that you said, , instead of saying , No, things are great, it's, this is what I want, this is what I deserve, this is what I can have, and starting.
Because it's the idea of moving towards something. If you can't look at what's going on right now and think This is fabulous, I'm so grateful. If you can't do that, that's okay. You're not out in the mindset game. Look at what you can believe. If you believe that you deserve better, if you believe that you deserve health, if you de believe that you deserve healing, that's where you can go and that's where you can start.
And the second thing that you said that I love is something that people don't always think about, which is your community, which is so important, can change. I did the same thing. And I know I, had a community when I was first diagnosed, but it was in my twenties.
And just in general, so much changes right in your twenties. And so I had a hard time because I knew that I had to change my community and it kind of organically started to change because I was being just drawn towards different people and away from some people. But I felt I was not being loyal.
I felt I was, , turning my back on people. I thought I was being rude. I would all of these judgments came when I just organically was changing communities. And I didn't realize no, this. 100% normal because a lot of times what got you to one point is not going to be what gets you to the next point.
And so I love that you brought that up cuz I think it's such an important thing that a lot of people don't think about that it's totally cool to not only change yourself and change things that you're doing just with your own healing, but changing the people around you.
[00:20:47] Lj: It is, it's huge. And I think some people are really for community and they're , I see the power in community. Or there are people , I don't, ,, I see no power in the community. Right. And so the I, ,, no power in the community. You're in one. But then those who love community, sometimes I feel they get stuck.
And you said,
the community, even me recently, I've just moved. I've made a huge transition, but I also had a big shift in my healing journey. I had to remove myself from the community that I had, , that helped me raise my children when I was getting divorced, , helped me through the divorce, helped me through the beginning of my healing journey that no longer served me, that became toxic to me.
That actually started pushing me back. And once again, chronic. My life is riding on this, I'd almost lost my life two years ago due to mold exposure and all these other things on top of the chronic illnesses I was already managing. So I had to really pull myself back from my community and reevaluate.
And I had to just really admit that the community that had gotten me through the last 15, 20 years is not the community that has been helping me these next two years and will put me in the next 20 years of my journey. And so it's, it's a scary place. you said, you're , Who do I call? Who do I text?
Where do I go? But sometimes you have to just kind of pull back. And reevaluate. And once again, it's chronic illness, so it's going to be there. , don't worry. The diagnosis, honey, it's going to be there. You're, you're good to go, right? It's your community that sometimes will need to fluctuate. And that's the same thing with nutrition.
What I do now to heal myself naturally and really keep my endometriosis and remission is not what I did, , 10 years ago. It's not even what I did two years ago. As your body develops and changes and evolves, you get wiser and stronger. You have to make those shifts. And I think that's something, I mean, I feel I may be just rabbit holding, but give me
[00:22:30] Andrea: No, you're not.
I, it's, This is amazing.
[00:22:33] Lj: Yeah.
It's when you're in chronic illness, people are , All right, these are the vitamins I took. This is what I did in 1998, , and now you're in 2022 and it's not working. And you're , Well, that's why, , all natural doesn't. Is that that all natural doesn't work? Or do you need to get a fresh set of eyes on the situation?
, it's kinda the workout. Are you still doing the workout? that from Jane Fonda, she's amazing. But I bet your body has changed and if you're still doing that same, , VHS workout, your body stopped responding after six weeks. So you really have to just pivot as your body changes, because with chronic illness, there's going to be the ups and downs.
There's going to be the five steps forward, the 18 back. , it's just, you want to be making some movement. I just think sometimes when, you said, as a mindset coach, you are, your mindset is so just broken or you don't have that community to where you're not moving at all. You're stagnant. And I think when you're managing chronic illness, the stagnation, I mean, I'd almost rather be going back a few steps and knowing that I'm moving rather than just stagnant.
Cuz I think at that point, if you're not going forward, you're not going back. You honestly, you begin to drown.
[00:23:36] Andrea: Yeah, I, I agree. I think being flexible is one of the biggest tools to have. I mean, it just, I always backtrack it, right? just in life, it's one of the biggest tools to have, and then you add chronic illness on top of that and it becomes a hundred times more important. But I think having. Just keeping one eye on what are we doing?
Is it working? always evaluating, always being, you said, being the researcher, but of our own bodies and our own situation, our own environments, our own community, all of that. Keeping an eye on , okay, is this helping me? Is this holding me back? Is this giving me energy? Is this sucking energy?
Do I feel I'm moving at all? Do I feel I'm stagnant? It's constantly asking these questions and not to the point where I don't love the idea. I mean, I'm a coach, right? But I don't love the community of coaching, because a lot of times it gets so focused on, you've gotta level up, you've gotta just do it.
You've gotta be all in, let's fucking go. ? It's all of this. And that's not what I'm saying. Cause I don't think that's helpful either. To always be pushing yourself forward, but always evaluating yourself to knowing that, you said, you're not stagnant. Knowing if you're moving backwards and knowing why and what the change is and being willing to change anything from the supplements to the food, to the types of workouts that you have to the doctors that you have, to the community that you have, it's, , it's all, it's all in flow.
none of that is just going to stay the same throughout, even, even close relationships that you're going to be in. Right? I mean, being married for years and years and years, that relationship is going to change over time and it can be in a good way, but it's still something that changes. And so getting used to things pivoting and flexibility I think are so, so important.
[00:25:32] Lj: Absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:25:35] Andrea: Now you said something earlier that I want to highlight again and actually just ask a question because I was very curious about it. So endometriosis, you've said this is not a period problem, but it sounds . That's how a lot of people view it. Do you think that is one of the things that stands in the way of getting it diagnosed, having people listen to you, having people take you seriously?
[00:25:57] Lj: all of those things. All the things that you said, it's the misconception that it's a reproductive issue. It's the misconception that it's just a period, It's a misconception that , Oh, she's just a weak woman.
She can't manage it. So let's talk about what is endometriosis? Endometriosis is uterine tissue found outside of the uterus. So it is not uterine lining, it's not retrograde, period. I'm going to say that again. Cause a lot of people are , What? I thought it was period. If it was, it'd be a lot easier for us, but it is not.
So endometriosis is uterine tissue found outside of the uterus. It is hormonally driven. These lesions also create their own hormones and really have an impact on your period. It is a hormonal imbalance. It is chronic systemic inflammation throughout your entire body. So remember, those lesions can be outside of your uterus or they are outside of your uterus.
So they could be in your knees. They could be in your shoulder. I've had some of my lungs, I had some removed from my sinuses. They can be anywhere in your body, outside of your uterus. When you are having those issues, it will cause inflammation throughout your entire body. It confuse your organs. It also has autoimmune factors.
So for many of us that deal with endometriosis, , we call ourselves endo warriors cuz we, once again, we're at war and that's a whole nother thing cuz my goal is to have endo warriors go from endo warrior to endo conqueror. But circling back to the definition, you are fighting that chronic systemic inflammation.
24 7 all the time. So your body is inflam. So it is not a period problem, and a lot of people that deal with endometriosis have a lot, I mean, severe, severe health issues outside of the period. Right. So the murder scene period and the cramping and the bleeding. Yes. That is very much present that endometriosis is a full body disease.
And so it is the fact that the medical community, I hate to say it, it's just , oh, it's a period issue. , LJ just has a bad period, , no LJ doesn't have just a bad period. , what's going on? Or these endometriosis lesions are fusing my organs, , it's causing bleeding. I said, I would have nose bleeds, I'd be coughing up blood.
These lesions are throughout my body and that inflammation is attacking my entire system. Right? So for example, when you twist your ankle, yeah, yeah, your ankle hurt, but typically, , there's inflammation going on. There's just discomfort, right? Your body is fighting that. But when you're dealing with endometriosis, it's that twisted ankle.
but it's a broken ankle that you can't get set, you can't fix with surgery, and it's affecting your entire body and you're dealing with it every day. Your body is always trying to heal that ankle. So with endometriosis, your body is constantly fighting these lesions that can spread and cause all of this damage throughout your entire body.
[00:28:32] Andrea: So while you're not being diagnosed, it's causing all of this damage throughout your body,
[00:28:38] Lj: Tons of damage. Not to mention that some have silent endometriosis, so they have zero pain whatsoever. They don't know there's an issue until they're maybe on their fertility journey not getting pregnant. They go in and their doctor's , Oh yeah, there's endometriosis everywhere.
So for me, mine was not silent. I was definitely having a lot, oh my gosh, a lot, a lot of pain. But other people that have endometriosis may have no pain whatsoever. Yet it started, , having other issues with their body.
[00:29:04] Andrea: So once you're diagnosed, what is able to change? is there treatment? Is there sur there's surgery, I'm sure. what is there that that changes the prognosis?
[00:29:17] Lj: That's a really great question. So the golden standard, as far as I'm concerned with all the controversy out there, the con, the golden standard to be diagnosed with endometriosis is a laparoscopic procedure. They actually go in and diagnose it and see the endometriosis lesions. You cannot be diagnosed through an ultrasound.
, sometimes they can see it in an mri, but unfortunately, laparoscopic procedure actually going in, having a procedure, , the two or three cuts going in and looking, that is the golden standard to have it diagnosed. That does not remove endometriosis, even though they may biopsy, take a little out, clean out what they can.
That is not the golden standard for removal, just for diagnosis. The golden standard to have it removed is excision surgery. Done by an excision specialist. Now, unfortunately, there are millions and millions of people that deal with endometriosis, and when I say a handful, I'm talking about maybe 250 max excision surgeons.
Now there are OB gys that go in and do endos surgeries. I personally would not recommend that. I mean, once again, I know you have to deal with your budget, your insurance and what is available because it's not extremely accessible. But excision surgery, I'm going to say that again cause I know some of you're , what?
Once again, go to my Instagram, we have lots of information on there. DME book a call, get on a free discovery call. We can talk about it more. But excision surgery done by an endometriosis excision surgeon is the golden standard to have it removed the base. The best way to explain that is cision surgery is kind of when you're picking weeds, you actually get down on your hands and knees and you pull out that root.
That is excision surgeon. You're excising removing the endometriosis lesions that needs to be done by an endos surgeon that eats, sleeps and breathes endo. Because what looks endo to them, they're going to recognize immediately. And ob, they could totally overlook it, right? Nothing against them, it's just not their specialty, their training.
So excision surgery is actually removing it. What? Typically happens is people get ablation and that's kind of mowing the weeds, right? You can mow your lawn every Friday until you get down on your hands and knees and just put your back into it. Let's be honest, right? Those weeds are going to come back every week.
And so that's the same thing with ablation. It's just burning the uterine lining Once again, not going to do you a ton of good, cuz remember at the beginning of a definition, endo is outside of the uterus, so burning the inside of your uterus. So you said, there's just a lot of misconceptions out there.
Um, just trying to sweep it under the period rug because , if we sweep it under the period rug, we can do ablation. If we sweep it under the period rug, we can just be , lj, you're fine. Just take your birth controlled, Stop complaining. However many of us are put on hormonal birth control, different procedures, et cetera.
It doesn't really change our situation because it's not a contraception issue, it's not a period issue, it's something way bigger than
[00:32:01] Andrea: it's Something that I'm reminded of is, with ms, with multiple sclerosis, you'll have a flare up and if it's a big enough flare up, , you're having a flare up. Um, and you can go in and it's you're praying, you're , Maybe it's not it, maybe it's something else.
And it's almost , If somebody wanted to tell me , No, you're fine. There would be a part of me sometimes. And , I never would do it, but I was very aware that there would be a part of me that would be , Okay, great. It's not that, okay, I trust you. I'm going to go home and not do anything.
Because you said, , I, I was always very aware that if somebody else would just tell me that it was nothing to worry about, it would be a little bit of a, um, I don't know the word. Not a comfort, but
[00:32:52] Lj: It is, it's, it's an odd comfort. But then on the other side you're , Great. It's not anything. But then I would do the same thing, but I'd be , But it has to be something.
Cause I haven't been to work all week, so
I just got my emergency appointment on Thursday. I've missed all of last week of work.
I've missed three days of this week. I'm being threatened with the writeup, but I, but I swear there's something going on, but you just told me there isn't.
[00:33:14] Andrea: Yeah, there's that other side of us that kind of goes, Oh hell no, that's not
[00:33:20] Lj: Something's
[00:33:20] Andrea: That's not Something's not right. Something is not right. And then, , you can get to that point where you're , Okay, you gotta put your foot down because it's just too much. But, but I get it. I get that on a certain, on a certain level and for some certain people it might be , Okay, it's okay.
I don't have to go through surgery and all this kind of a stuff. It's just, it's always interesting, I think, to think about the different, the different ways we can go in and the different conversations we can have and the different just paths that we can all go on when it comes to, to chronic illness and treating the chronic illness.
[00:33:56] Lj: And it's honest. I hate to say it, it's a full-time job that we didn't sign up for. There is no 401K attached. There are no additional benefits. Do not pass. Go. You're not going to collect $200. It just is what it is. , but accepting that, you said, getting that mindset, getting the community, and then the next thing, plugging in with coaches ourselves that are going to get you straight to the money.
I'm all for diy, I love to look at YouTube and Pinterest and be , Ooh, I could do all these things, but let's be honest, baby. Some of those things, I don't know what I'm doing. I do not know, and there's no need for me to go in a circle. And I did that with my healing journey. And I, as I say this and things that makes me think of a series of Instagram reels I need to do of how I made the mistakes, how I did a lot of this on my own and it just had me going in a circle versus getting a coach, which was going to get me straight to the money.
Part of it was realizing that I did know everything. Part of it was also realizing that , I need help. But that's hard to kind of come to that. I need help when you're on top of the world in every area of your life, but your health, it's , you don't even kind of want to admit cuz you're , I'm running this major company, I'm over here making the money moves.
I'm , the boss fade. But it's , okay, all these things are amazing, but you have this one pile that's not amazing. So it's almost , crap, okay, maybe I'm not superwoman, maybe I do need some help. And that's where I, I said, sick and tired of being sick and tired.
[00:35:15] Andrea: So you touched on it, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you made during your journey?
[00:35:20] Lj: Yes. Oh my gosh. I'll call myself out in a heartbeat. So I'm , this is a good question. Um, mistake number one. I thought that I could, cuz I was having a lot of the hormonal issues, I thought I could out exercise the hormonal imbalance. , if I'm gaining weight, don't worry, I'll just teach another cycle class.
Uh, I'm gaining weight, don't worry, I'll just restrict my calories. My nutrition, and this is a thing, I'm a nutritionist, so it wasn't just, I was just picking out cookie cutter diets. It was honestly all of that old education of the, , eat six meals a day. Rev up your metabolism. Oh, if you got a little extra waistline, oh you're gaining some weight kicking, a little more cardio.
It was honestly all that education that got me, I needed to really just pull back and realize that this archaic way of, , calories in, calories out, we're going to out exercise the weight, , the spot treatment, , what are the exercises I can do to slim my. Okay. I mean, I guess you could do some of these exercises, but let's be honest, if you're not pooping two, three times a day, if you're estrogen dominant and your hormones are jacked up, there's no amount of crunches that you're going to be able to do.
So it was a lot of that realization of , okay, some of this training that I had to just do the aesthetic stuff wasn't really going to help me with the root cause stuff. So I kind of had to, , step out of that industry. Um, , I worked for the Extreme Weight Loss Show, Biggest Loser. I mean, I was doing some of that stuff behind the scenes, so I knew all the, the aesthetic stuff.
But at the end of the day, 10, 15 years later, I hate to say it, you haven't quite seen a reunion have yet. Because some of the things we were doing were not lifestyle changes. That's a whole nother podcast we could
do not lifestyle changes. Chasing the aesthetics rather than getting to the metabolic chaos, rather than figuring out what's the emotional component, what's going on, ?
And physical, financial, There's so many things. So the biggest thing, I said, hopefully that answer is why am my big things, nutrition. Some of the training I had, I had to let that stuff go. The other thing, when you're highly motivated, Type A and educated, we're just , Baby, we got this.
, it just is, , I'm helping other people.
How could I do. Right. I got this. You're , I'm at the top of my game. Ok. Yeah, Maybe so. And then you're , I'm going to DIY it. And so what I did is I went from pharmaceuticals, right? Pills for every ill, I just switched over to And guess what? I had a supplement for every symptom. Still not getting to the root cause.
And so the more training I got, I was kinda , Oh yeah, I guess I could take 10 supplements for my gas and bloating and my belly weight, or I could do some GI mapping. , look at some stool samples, which is not all that fun, but really get to what's going on with my gut. So then I'm not always guessing and bloated, , Oh, I guess I could take some ashwaganda, , or whatever for my.
Oh, but it'd probably be better to just check my hormones and see that my detox pathways clogged and figure that out. So it was all of a sudden the more training I got, I was , Uh, baby, you just moved from one problem to the next. A bunch of supplements are a bunch of pharmaceuticals. Now you have a bunch of supplements and you're still chasing, Which is why I do what I do now.
Cause I'm , I've been there. , I have no problem investing in myself, , going to a naturopath, going here, going there. , you get past a I know everything, but it's I was DIYing and that is probably the biggest thing. I mean, I've did so many things wrong, but those would be the biggest too.
And the biggest thing I see now, especially with social media and so many outlets to share your story, , give your little tidbits and this, that, and the other. But here's the thing, the things that helped me put my endometriosis in remission, and that has really accelerated my healing journey. , helped me get past the mold exposure where I almost died of mold and all of those things.
That protocol, if I typed it all out and handed it to you, May or may it not work. And what happens is we're on social media. We've got Dr. Google, the girl on Pinterest, the chick on TikTok, who's sponsoring a vitamin that she's never taken, but she's cute, therefore she's making 20 grand. Now she's TikTok and got you buying the vitamin, knowing nothing about it.
That DIY approach is honestly what's throwing a lot of people into a healing crisis. And I did it myself, right? I was just taking bits and pieces, trying to do it on and it just really was not serving me. That's my long answer to
[00:39:34] Andrea: No, it was, I think it's a perfect answer cause it's, I think a lot of people can really resonate with that. Number one, thinking that we're looking at a holistic approach with, doing the pharmaceuticals, which I agree there's nothing wrong. I'm totally cool with pharmaceuticals.
But then you're doing this supplements, which again, supplements are great too, and you feel , that's what's going to work. And let's look at this article over here and oh, let's look at this person talking about it and let's look at this video about it and let's start adding things in thinking that that's, , what's going to help us And.
I think what you said earlier was so smart. It's the idea of getting to the root of what's happening. It's when we are throwing a bunch of supplements and um, I don't want to say throwing pharmaceuticals cause I feel that's a little bit more .
It's a little bit
But We think that's what's working.
And if it's not working is just something else needs to be added. And that's mowing. it's not getting to the root issue of what's going on. And a lot of times if you get to the root issue, so many of those can be cut out because it's not actually what you needed. I mean, I get it. I did the same thing, I would go through all these different trainers that held all
these different really cool things that they were into. And, uh, I mean, I could just list off 20 different things, 20 different, paths that I went down and it didn't help because that wasn't getting at the root cause.
So I think it's, I think it's a really important thing to talk about and I think it's, it's something that a lot of people can resonate with.
And I think, , another thing I just thought about I know asking for help can be really hard. But realizing that we can't see ourselves. The way other people can see us. And sometimes that's a really good tool to use is, , somebody else is going to be able to see so many different things that we're going to overlook because of our own biases, or just because we're in our own heads,
and so when you're working with somebody, somebody who knows what they're doing, right? I'm not saying let's just randomly go to somebody or ask your best friend. That's not what I'm talking about. But going to somebody you, if they have, um, endometriosis and they're looking at things, going to somebody else that can really not just call out things that you didn't even see but just mirror back things that you say or talk about all the time and completely have not realized that it's a really big clue.
And I think having that mirror back at you is, I, I think it's priceless.
[00:42:14] Lj: It can definitely shift your trajectory. It can definitely just kind of shift you to where you need to be. And sometimes maybe it's not a huge shift. sometimes, , I've had people just even do a free discovery call with me and not even work with me and just say something and I'm , Oh, this.
And they're , Oh, I never even thought of it that way. it could be something that simple. And that's why I always even, , the podcast, it's just listening to this and getting that motivation. Find your, finding your community, finding your why, and just really deciding , This is my diagnosis or diagnosis.
, you've got a long list and then this is what I deserve. What's going to help me get from A to B? I mean, it's really that simple. I mean simple, but not simple, but it's , okay, this is what I'm dealing with, but what are the next steps? And I think sometimes we get the motivation, , coming up on a new year or excited, whatever, and it's , okay, but then you have all that energy and you don't know where to direct it.
And so it's really just once again, , setting up that mindset and getting that community and then really just getting the support that you need that's going to take you straight to the money rather than the hamster wheel that could just take years and really do nothing for you to
[00:43:21] Andrea: So tell me about, now that you are getting to the root of what's going on and really paying attention to your health in a different way, you have that diagnosis, but you still have a business, so what's the difference? you said, it's a full-time job, Lord knows our, our chronic illness is a full-time job.
So how do you manage that now to be able to keep your health in check and run a business?
[00:43:46] Lj: I love that question. The biggest thing is recognizing my go, go, go high energy that you may have picked up over the mic. Right?
That going, going, going right, Always going. But realizing that my body needs rest. And I think that was the biggest thing for me. Cuz once I got better, , then you're going balls to the wall.
You're working these crazy hours. And so what would happen is I'd be kicking butt January, February, and March. All of a sudden my body's , Oh, you don't want to take care of us. Cool. April ain't going to look so good for you. Right? Then I'd crash, and then I'd come back from May, but then that's my birthday month.
So then I'd overdo it and so it really taught me to listen to my body, to turn my period into my superpower, to work with my cycle to, for example, , when you're feeling more outgoing, , that's when I'm doing all the reels and the tip talks and this, that and the other. And then also honoring that when I'm on my cycle or when I'm in a different season to kind of sit back and nourish myself.
The thing is, is I was always pouring from my cup, but then eventually my cup was. So I had to learn, , as I'm running a business in managing chronic illness, I can't always, , blame the low energy, Oh, oh, it's my endo. Oh, it's this, that and the other. No, it's not me slowing down and really listening to my body.
, we say we listen to our body, , we're coaching our patients. , listen to your body, your clients do all, And then it's , we are not drinking water. , it's, it's been an eight hour day and we've had 10 ounces of water. We we're living on coffee, but we're telling everyone else, right?
So it was , uh, yeah. So I had to kind of realize , If I'm taking care of others, that is fine and amazing, but I also need to implement that self care and slow down. That was one of the biggest things. The other thing is I really focus on my why, because when I wake up and maybe I don't feel amazing.
Yeah. , I'll be honest, this morning I woke up and I had a pinch of a headache, but I'm doing some detoxing, so it could have been that. Oh my God, , now what? Oh, I don't, , I'm going to have to cancel. And it's , yeah, I could have did that. But I'm , No, I'm not going to cancel. I am good.
I'm going to get up and do my lemon water, do what I need to do. , Worst case scenario, if I have to cancel, I will. But it was , I'm not going to let just waking up and the symptoms be somewhat present, knock me into a whole spiral. I have to just choose that today is the day. Maybe my energy's a hundred percent, maybe it's 50%, But using what I have, and I think as a business owner when managing chronic illness, the days that we feel amazing.
Yes, we need to put in 110% but not overdo it. Because what happens is we'll overdo it and then we get burnt out and our body's , Oh, you want to ignore us again? Guess you'll be back in the hospital with the flare. Then we recover from the flare, then we come back 110%. So for me, I know how to regulate my energy.
Now. It's not that I'm not getting 110%, but I know that just because I'm feeling amazing, I'm not going to work a 16 hour day, run my body into the ground. But before I would do that, and then when I'd crashed, it was all my chronic illnesses problem. And it's , Oh, is it that? Or is it that you're not regulating your energy, You're not aware.
I mean, that's probably one of the biggest things for me.
[00:46:42] Andrea: I love, It's you just talked about my life right there, .
It's, It's very true. It's, very true. Yeah. It's you get excited cuz you've got that energy and you've got that focus and then you do all the things and then you need a couple of days. And , for me what I had to, It's so funny cuz I'm such a rule breaker.
I've always been a rule breaker and it helps me a lot. But for some reason when I was setting up my own business, I was , oh, okay. They said I needed to do five posts a day. I needed to do this every day. I needed to do two hours of that every day and da da. And I so easily fell into that trap of I'm not going to get a good, , my business going if I don't do all of these things that people say.
And that is not something that is congruent with. Energy and the rollercoaster of energy that you can have, especially when you have a chronic illness. And so that was one of the big things for me was to be able to step back and say, No, that that is crap advice. Honestly, it's kind of crap advice just anyway, but especially for someone with a chronic
illness because it, Yeah, it makes you push into something that's just, it's a mold that is not going to fit
[00:47:53] Lj: And it's not authentic and it won't last. It may last for a year. Maybe it'll get you through the beginning of your business, but sure enough, right when it's time to level up or whatever you want to do, your body's going to crash. And then once you come back, it's you're starting your business all over, right?
You went from posting five times a day and stressed out about that to not being able to post for five months. And you, , people don't know who you are. You come back and you just start all over again. And then it's that whole busy body thing. So it's also the mental health portion of that, knowing that managing a chronic illness, physical health is probably the first thing that we is always on our mind.
But if your mental health is not where it needs to be, your spiritual health, those have to all be in balance.
[00:48:31] Andrea: 100%. So I am sure there are people listening right now that are in that mode where they're thinking, what? I am focusing more on the outside and I need to be focusing more on the inside. I've been going to the supplements, I've been going through the, , crazy nutrition diets. I've been going through the working out in 80 different ways to try to manage this, and it's just not working.
Clearly. I need to pivot clearly. I need to start looking at what the root is. Where does somebody start?
[00:49:04] Lj: The first thing you have to do is I, something we've already said is, make it up in your mind. Decide in your mind. I repeat, decide in your mind that you deserve something better. You deserve health, and then step back. And also allow yourself to just take it in that it may look different than it does for everyone else you deserve.
But it's going to look a little different cuz you're managing chronic illness and then set up your goals. Because I think sometimes it's , well I just want to feel better. I don't want to be in pain. Okay, why don't you want to be in pain? Why do you want to feel better? Is it because you want to have more time with your family?
Is it because you want to start a family? Is it because you have this amazing business and you're paying these? I mean, let's talk about it real talk. You're paying all these monthly subscriptions, you're paying for all these things in your business and you don't have two nickels drugged together cuz you haven't got a client.
, why do you want to feel better? what truly is your why? And then I feel once you break that down and you're , This is my why, this is why I want to do what I want to do, then sit back and see what support and what help and what training you need to take you to that next.
[00:50:14] Andrea: Ugh. I think that's so good and it's so different from what a lot of people hear, cuz it's not often where people think
it's where you need to start,
[00:50:22] Lj: It's true cuz they're , Oh, what? Nutrition paying, What do, you're on Amazon app right now looking for the supplement. You're waiting for me to tell you what's going to kick the brain fog? And I'm , I'm telling you, it's bigger than that. But if you get the foundation right, it's sturdy, it's steady.
You can build from there. It's just, we try to do the quick stuff that, , that's unstable and then you're always chasing another gimmick. So I know it's not as sexy as the start that you want, but it will bring the
[00:50:47] Andrea: Look, I often see that the real results do not come from big, huge, sexy, Oh, this is it, magic pill kind of a thing. It starts with the sometimes frustrating thing of saying you just gotta sit back and look at your why. Cuz sometimes you're , that's not going to work. That's not enough.
But it's little tiny steps that that make the biggest changes. Why do you not want to be in pain? That I think, is a genius question because that is not a question that people ask because of course I don't want to be in pain.
Why is there even a why here? But at it on that level can just change your trajectory so much.
[00:51:25] Lj: It's breaking it down, you said, the, the quick fixes. The Amazon and your health, , the DIY and all that. , pay an extra 2 99, get it tomorrow. That stuff's not going to work for us. we really need to slow it down and get more granular. Um, , I think people love doing vision boards, , at the beginning of the year.
but it's , for chronic illness, we need that vision board probably I'd say every six months. Reevaluating what that vision looks . Reevaluating what your health is looking . But if you have that, why it's, it's just so much easier.
[00:51:53] Andrea: , it's funny, it reminds me, I was talking to a friend who also has a business and she was talking about a five year plan, and I was , I have not had a five year plan at any point in my entire life. that. , Maybe I'll do a year plan maybe. And the second half of that year is going to be a little sketchy.
[00:52:11] Lj: And we may have to shift and pivot cause we are managing chronic illness, invisible
illnesses here shift. We, we need to be flexible, you were saying.
[00:52:18] Andrea: That's exactly right. Dr. LJ Johnson, thank you so much. I have loved having you on. I know people are taking notes and learning so, so much, and you've given them so many things to think about, so thank you very, very much.
[00:52:34] Lj: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Okay. Did I lie? Dr. LJ Johnson is great. And so many nuggets that we can take with us and start right now. My very favorite thing that she talked about was getting to the root of the issue.
Now I'm a very visual person. So the analogy of mowing the lawn versus getting the weeds up by the root was so helpful for Now I know that sometimes getting to the root of an issue seems a ton of work. And sometimes just mowing over the top of something to suit the symptoms can be really tempting.
And sometimes treating the symptoms is all we can do in the moment. Right, but she's so right. That in order to truly heal. We need to stop focusing on treating the symptoms and start focusing on the actual problem. And look as with all great advice. This goes for anything in life. Yes, it goes for our health, but it could also go for our relationships, our career path, our money.
Our finances, anywhere we see symptoms. There's a root. Underneath that is causing them to grow. And often all we need to do is get quiet. And just tap into our inner wisdom to find out what to really do about it. Now next week on Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis. I'm talking to Helen Mallaburn.
She's coming to us from the French Alps. She's a Hasimoto's recovery specialist. And a nutritional therapist and she's living with Hashimoto's. And I think two or three other auto-immune disorders as Her story is pretty crazy, but it's also really relatable and she healed herself and is sharing her story and all sorts of nutritional tidbits with us.
If you don't want to miss next week's episode or really any of them. Hit the follow button to subscribe. And we'll see you next week until then take If you the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five-star rating and review. Follow us on apple podcast, Amazon music or wherever you're listening right now. To see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode
visit AndreaHansonCoaching.com. Thank you for joining me And until next time take care
About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis
Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.
I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.