“We went camping a lot and would lay under the stars together,” says Dr. Alex Fennelly. She and her husband, Dr. Sampson, would look up at the big sky and they knew in their hearts that someday their family would be a little bigger. Dr. Alex had had hormone issues in the past, but they were finally balancing out. They thought their journey with infertility was coming to an end but later that summer things started going back in the wrong direction. A direction she knew too well and they continued to struggle with infertility.
“I have always struggled with hormone imbalance,” says Dr. Alex. “They put me on birth control for years because I had severe ovarian cysts and I had already had a surgery for removal at the age of 13.”
“It was really hard as a young girl with your hormones changing. Just really hard,” she says. She had periods that lasted 10- 12 days. Because of horrible cramping she was missing school and because the problems were never resolved as she grew older, she would miss work. These symptoms of hormonal imbalance would go on to include infertility as she grew older.
She went to doctor after doctor and specialist after specialist. The only solutions traditional medicine had for her were surgeries or birth control. “I was even under chiropractic care that whole time but even the adjustments weren’t making a difference. It was something more than just the spinal issue,” she says.
Hormonal imbalance became her normal. She didn’t have any other options but that would change.
The Wellness Way Was Something Different
5 years ago, her mom went to see Dr. Patrick Flynn for a rash, and they found she had a gut infection. When Dr. Alex saw the results that Dr. Patrick was able to get for her mom, she went to shadow him at his clinic in Green Bay, WI. She saw the clinical results he was getting for his patients, and she wanted to bring those results to her patients, that’s how Dr. Alex and Dr. Sampson became the 2nd affiliate Wellness Way clinic. She was excited for what this could mean for clinical results for their patients, but it also made her wonder about her own hormones.
“Just by listening to him talk about hormones and what he was teaching us made me dive into actually testing my hormones and finding out why they were so imbalanced,” she says. Dr. Patrick explained how most women have never had their hormones tested and if they had, they haven’t had all of their hormones tested. “I had been to every doctor known to man and no one had ever actually tested my hormones. They just jumped to surgery or birth control pills, which weren’t helping.”
Through thorough testing of her hormones and her body, Dr. Alex found out she had food allergies, inflammation, gut infections and a sluggish liver that just wasn’t functioning. Because the body works like a Swiss watch, these issues were keeping her hormones from returning to balance, or homeostasis. Everything works together.
Dr. Alex took the steps to remove the triggers. She got her liver functioning and went through a few detoxes. After that, her hormones started to normalize. “I was feeling really great and we felt like it was finally going to be our time to start a family,” she says.
A Continued Struggle with Infertility
They took many camping trips that summer and Dr. Alex was enjoying the normalcy balanced hormones could bring. Things took a turn for the worse at the end of that summer. They couldn’t figure out why Dr. Alex’s symptoms returned, and their struggle with infertility continued.
Months of frustration later, Dr. Alex did a panel of tests, and one of them indicated she had biotoxin poisoning. Dr. Alex had mold poisoning. “We finally had an answer and some relief,” she says.
“The problem was we didn’t know if the mold was in our house, in our car, or at the clinic where we work all day,” she says. They searched everywhere for the source of the mold. Three years ago, they had built a brand-new house and they just couldn’t find where the source could be.
They had multiple mold experts out to their house, clinic and their cars to test the air quality. They couldn’t find anything except for a slight abnormality in the master bedroom. Dr. Alex and Dr. Sampson kept searching but didn’t find mold. They re-caulked and sealed master bedroom shower. She was still having symptoms. They continued to search.
A long year later, they found the source of the mold. It was her pillow. The same one she took on camping trips with her husband and laid on as they looked at the stars on dewy grass. She didn’t know the moisture from that dewy grass was trapped in the pillow leading to mold growth. The mold was right under her nose as she breathed in, every single night. “Mold can happen in a new house or an old house. For us, the source wasn’t our house. It was my pillow.”
It Takes Time to Heal
That started the long process to heal their bodies from the mold exposure, and they never gave up. “We knew the power of The Wellness Way Approach,” she says. “We just had to give it time. To be patient while allowing our bodies to heal. We trusted the process.”
“That’s not always easy to do. It’s hard to be patient, especially after 2 years. You start to kind of lose hope after a while,” she says. “To see the clinical results that we had with our own patients and the successes other offices have had with infertility, we just knew we were in the right place.”
“At times, I wondered how we are going to get through this because it felt like we were going in circles a bit,” she says. It took time to heal their bodies. Dr. Alex started having panic attacks and having seizures. They sold their house and moved into a camper to simplify. To help reduce stress and get away from all the belongings that could be contaminated with mold spores.
Don’t Give Up Hope
“As soon as we moved out of our house, we got pregnant,” she says. At first, she was nervous to announce the pregnancy because after so many ups and downs she wanted to be sure it was all real. It’s real! Dr. Alex and Dr. Sampson are expecting their first child in March of 2019.
“The whole thing was extremely humbling, the mold poisoning, the infertility, the pregnancy itself has been really hard,” she says. “There have been so many facets to our journey. I know my experience means we will be able to help so many more women who are experiencing hormonal imbalance or mold poisoning. There is so much that goes into supporting a healthy body.”
They are excited to welcome a baby into their family after their struggle with infertility and what they have learned through The Wellness Way. “With this pregnancy, we really give all credit to The Wellness Way Approach. We give credit to what it stands for and what it allows doctors to do with their patients,” she says. “For those who are experiencing infertility I want to say, keep having hope and make sure you are getting tested. Without getting tested, you can do everything right and still struggle with infertility.”
“Don’t ever think that having a baby just isn’t in the stars for you,” says Dr. Alex. “What’s holding you back might be right under your nose, or pillow. You have to keep digging until you find out what it is.