How This Member Reversed Her Severe Autoimmune Disease

Parsley Health
October 19, 2017

"Nobody knew what was wrong with me. After two years, multiple endoscopies, and seven different 'top-rated' NYC doctors, my symptoms were worsening."

At Parsley Health, we’ve helped thousands of members feel better with root-cause resolution medicine . With our Member Stories  series, we zoom in on a member’s health journey, what brought them to Parsley, and their road to recovery.

Sarah was suffering from a chronic allergic and autoimmune disease that gave her inflammation and plaques in her esophagus. Sarah also had acne , Candida , anemia, and fatigue , plus her inflammation levels were through the roof.

Here's how Sarah treated the root cause of her autoimmune disease, got more in tune with her body, and finally felt in control of her health.

My name is Sarah Kurz, I'm 36 years old, and I live and work in New York City. I am an artist and my studio is in East Harlem. I am often out visiting museums, galleries, and enjoying the city with friends and family. Life would be dreadful without painting, pilates, traveling, and of course, my health.

Feeling dismissed at the doctor

In 2014, I was diagnosed with a chronic allergy/autoimmune disease called eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE). I had periodic acid reflux and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), so my PCP sent me for an endoscopy. After getting the results, my PCP and GI doctor immediately sent me to an allergist, who did allergy blood and skin testing. I showed up allergic to over 45 foods and multiple environmental allergens. I was told to “simply” avoid these foods and take an anti-histamine, and was dismissively sent on my way.

I was in complete shock. I was never aware I had any food allergies and had no idea how I was going to live like this. I had never even heard of EOE before.

Seeking holistic support for EOE

After doing some research online, I decided to seek a second opinion with an EOE specialist at Mt. Sinai in New York. While this doctor was much more knowledgeable about my autoimmune disease, the typical six-food elimination diet proved unsuccessful. My esophagus was still extremely inflamed and covered with eosinophils. Although I did not want to be on a steroid for the rest of my life, it was recommended I try Flovent, which is the only approved medication for EOE. I immediately developed thrush, a side-effect that made it impossible for me to continue the treatment.

Although frustrated and scared, I did not give up looking for another EOE treatment option. Hitting dead ends with conventional medicine, I decided to see a functional medicine doctor that I found online. I appreciated his holistic approach and openness to non-traditional forms of tests and treatment. The follow-up, however, was inconsistent, brief, and impersonal. I was not seeing any results, and the treatment was random, without a clear path forward.

After two years, multiple endoscopies and over seven different "top-rated" NYC doctors, my EOE symptoms were worsening. With no answers, I still had acid reflux and consistently choked on food. I had intermittent stomach pain and digestion problems, as well as anxiety and depression, sinus headaches, Candida, anemia, acne, and hormone imbalances.

Finding a medical team at Parsley Health

I heard about Parsley Health through friends and online resources. I liked that I would be working with a team of people, instead of just a single doctor, and the membership included a lot more than just medical visits.

I chose Parsley Health because it does advanced, comprehensive testing and would treat me for all of the health problems I was experiencing, not just my EOE. Moreover, I wanted to address the root cause of my health problems—I was tired of pills and quick fixes that didn't work.

"For the first time, I felt heard by a doctor."

My initial consultation with Dr. Robin Berzin (the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health) was extremely thorough. We discussed all aspects of my life, from my history with my autoimmune disease and other health concerns, to my stress level and personal life. For the first time, I felt heard by a doctor.

Robin listened to my concerns, took detailed notes, and asked me about my health goals. My health goals? Usually, the doctor tells me what my health goals should be. This is when I realized Parsley is completely different. How refreshing and smart—doctors who open communication to allow for buy-in. Given a voice, I was encouraged to take responsibility for my health and understood my path to healing would be a collaboration.

Health coaching to hit her goals

Next, I met with my health coach, who asked me a variety of lifestyle questions, including about my eating, sleeping, and exercise patterns. She also wanted to know about work, personal relationships, and stress management.

After going over all aspects of my life, we set specific health goals for me. She bluntly told me I would not heal if I did not learn to manage stress better. She knew I needed to hear this. I was shocked when she scientifically broke down how all aspects of my life were negatively affecting my health. I immediately started meditating and finding ways to relieve stress.

After a round of testing, Dr. Berzin put me on an autoimmune/low-histamine diet and a variety of supplements . My treatment was extremely tailored and explained in detail. My health coach helped me adopt the new diet within my busy lifestyle, putting the least amount of restrictions on travel, work, and socializing possible. Both Dr. Berzin and my health coach were committed to my success as much as I was. I had never before experienced this level of collaboration, engagement, and determination.

"My brain fog , sinus headaches, Candida, and acne resolved."

After only three months, my results were astounding. My EOE symptoms were gone, and I had no reflux or dysphagia. My blood tests showed remarkable improvement—my inflammation markers and eosinophil count dropped significantly, to within normal range. My brain fog , sinus headaches, Candida, and acne resolved. My anemia and hormone imbalance are still improving through supplements and exercise. Biopsies from a recent endoscopy revealed almost zero eosinophils on my esophagus and my GI doctor declared this my new baseline.

Not only have I learned how to manage my autoimmune disease, but now I believe there is a chance it could go into remission. Although I still have flare-ups from time to time, I have such hope and renewed faith in the body’s ability to heal itself without medication.

Leaving fear behind for good

My improvement has allowed me to be less fearful in a variety of ways. I am no longer scared of living with a chronic autoimmune disease. I am not afraid to say "no" and take the time necessary to make my health a priority. My overall quality of life has improved, although there are days when I get frustrated with my diet and new lifestyle.

One of the most surprisingly difficult adjustments was dealing with close loved ones’ reluctance to fully accept and support the changes I had to make. Because of this, my health coach has been invaluable in her understanding and guidance.

"Parsley’s real strength is how it combines a variety of elements."

Through Parsley, I’ve learned my health is a combination of multiple factors. I feel my absolute best when I’m following my diet, taking my supplements, meditating, and getting enough sleep , exercise, and fun.

Parsley’s real strength is how it combines a variety of elements, including tests, nutrition plans, doctors, coaches, online patient portal, supplements, etc., to help patients improve their health. They provide a holistic approach that helps patients make and sustain real lifestyle changes while becoming more in tune with their bodies.

Want to become a Parsley Health member? Schedule a free call  to learn more about Parsley, how to use insurance  to pay for your Parsley medical fees, and more.

Parsley Health

Parsley Health is the doctor that helps you live healthier, longer, by treating the root cause of symptoms and conditions. Our medical teams—staffed by leading clinicians and health coaches—spend more time with you, order the right tests, and prescribe food, sleep and movement alongside medications so you can get better—and feel better.

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