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Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

As a pediatrician, married mom of three biological children and one foster son, my life was busy, rushing off to my office four days a week, seeing patients for three and working as a medical director of a local physician organization for one. I balanced this with rushing off to shuttle my kids to after sports and other after school activities. All of this changed one day in August of 2018 when my 14 year old son, Andy, was killed in a car accident. I felt like my life was over, and in some ways it was over, and a new life was forced to begin in its place. 

Grief is seldom discussed openly in our culture, and the death of a child makes people feel even more uncomfortable. On this blog and podcast, ‘Losing a Child: Always Andy’s Mom’, the topic is approached openly and honestly, speaking to people who have lost loved ones and experts who help care for them. Whether you are a parent experiencing loss or someone who wants to support another going through this tragedy, this blog and podcast strives to offer hope and help.

May 11, 2023

Since starting the podcast, I have often discussed how the mind and body are closely intertwined and how during our grief, one affects the other. Grief doesn't just make us sad. It impacts every aspect of our lives including our bodies. Just a few weeks ago, Gwen and I did an entire episode focusing on how our bodies are affected by grief. As we were preparing for that episode, Gwen suggested talking with today's guest, Cindi, due to her expertise in the area. Unfortunately, numerous scheduling difficulties made that impossible, but after talking with Cindi, I now understand why Gwen felt so strongly about having Cindi on the podcast.
Cindi is a nurse by training so knew a lot about the functioning of the body. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a teen so knew the medical system long before her nursing training even started. I think all of us instinctively know that there is a body-mind connection, but it is not something that is really taught in Western medicine. We learn a disease model and are taught which medications or procedures to use in order to cure the disease state. 
When Cindi's newborn daughter, Jessica, died during childbirth, Cindi really began to see just how much grief and stress impacted her physical health. She was living in chronic stress and although the body is amazingly resilient in many ways, it can only adapt and compensate so much. For Cindi, the chronic stress eventually led to liver failure which forced her to stop taking her arthritis meds. No arthritis medication meant that even getting out of bed was almost impossible. On the advice of a trainer, Cindi turned to functional medicine for answers and it completely changed her life.
Now, Cindi's body and mind are both healthy, and she truly feels like she has an understanding of how grief and other life stresses affect the body. She works with individuals and their doctors to help them find a way to help their bodies find a state of wellness. To learn more, join Cindi's Wellness Warriors Facebook group or email her at