Twenty years ago Kristin Russo’s world changed forever.
“I was working as a security guard and my life’s dream was to become a police officer. That all changed in an instant, and I found myself in unfamiliar waters.” says the soft-spoken 47 year old, her brown eyes gazing downward. In her late twenties, Kristin was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) an auto-immune illness that attacks the joints,causing pain, swelling and stiffness throughout the body. Progressive in nature, if left untreated, RA can create permanent joint damage, making it difficult to perform even the simplest of tasks. Often times, those affected with this debilitating and painful illness are unable to physically care for themselves or live independently.
“I was in constant pain physically, but it was also emotionally devastating.
Everything I had planned for my future was in question. I grew up in a household where hard work was part of what defined you. My parents set a wonderful example. Their work ethic rubbed off on me, so when I was diagnosed with RA and my doctor told me there eventually would come a day when I wouldn’t be able to work anymore, I had no idea what my new normal was going to be. How would I define myself now if I didn’t have a career? I felt lost, helpless and hopeless…. and depression set in.”
Deterred but determined, Kristin was very proactive in working with her team of doctors, where they created a plan to help manage her RA with medication, which eventually enabled her to work part-time and maintain a quality of life that kept her busy, but not fulfilled. “I was working and socializing, but there was still a piece of the puzzle missing. I remember looking for something on the internet one night and an ad kept popping up to win a free massage at Body Logic. I never win anything so I didn’t even bother to enter, however I did call them to set up an appointment with a chiropractor, something my doctors and I had discussed. I made an appointment with Dr. Scott Kuper. I remember being slightly nervous on the drive over and not really knowing what to expect. The moment I walked through the door I felt a sense of peace and calm. There were smiling faces to greet me and the wonderful scent of lavender and peppermint. It was a far cry from some of the other offices I had been in. It was serene, not sterile. I knew this was a place where I could feel safe. The energy is so positive.”
“I met with Dr. Scott and he asked me questions, not just about my physical health, but about how this illness was affecting me emotionally.
He sat with me for as long as I wanted to talk before- as well as after – my exam. He also educated me and gave me advice and explained everything about my exam in terms I understood. I didn’t feel like I had to go and google everything after I left!” says Russo, shaking her head and smiling. After her initial and follow-up exams, Dr. Scott and Kristin came up with a plan that was specific to her condition, customizing a routine that included regular chiropractic visits and massages along with stretches and exercises she could do at home. He also recommended she see Dr. Amanda Meyers-Kuper for nutrition counseling. “That was a game changer for me!” says Russo, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “Dr. Amanda and I talked about a nutrition plan combined with supplements that would work in conjunction with my medications and the chiropractic program Dr. Scott had devised. It was a light-bulb moment for me. I realized how a comprehensive approach to total health and making lifestyle changes could lead to the quality of life I thought I had lost forever. For the first time I believed there was hope that I could not just survive, but thrive!”
And she has indeed thrived!
Kristin discovered a passion for cooking, using recipes from the nutrition plan she and Dr. Amanda created. Kristin’s eyes come alive with excitement as she talks about her newfound love of creating healthy meals. “I absolutely love to cook! I find myself spending hours looking up gluten free recipes along with creating my own. I enjoy doing it for myself and sharing it with others.”
Kristin is enjoying life to the fullest thanks to a positive attitude and a care team of doctors and medical professionals. Life has new meaning. “But you know, that’s the thing about life. Sometimes you have to adjust your sails if your ship doesn’t come in, so that’s what I did. In fact, I just went on my very first cruise with my family. I couldn’t have done that without the help of Body Logic. I have to say, not winning that contest was a winning decision for me!”
Interview and article by: Susan Haas