'I am so Happy Now,' Integrative Medicine Patient Changes Lifestyle, Improves Health

By Jeffrey Field
December 19, 2017

Jason HulveyJason Hulvey didn't know how unhealthy he was. He just knew something had to change.

"My health was declining," he says. "I was overweight, out of shape, had low energy, and I knew if I continued this lifestyle, I would not have a long, happy, healthy life."

Hulvey, 44, works a full, stressful schedule. He and his wife Lisa own eight businesses. He had a poor diet and didn't sleep well. He often found himself struggling to focus.

And he hadn't seen a medical provider for years.

Hulvey's father and brother both had heart attacks. He worried about having one of his own. After a sleepless night, he decided to follow a friend's advice and call Integrative Medicine at The University of Kansas Health System. He hoped he could learn how to have more energy, while lowering his risk of heart disease and cancer.

"I knew if I decided to go into the program, I would have to accept a new lifestyle," he says. "Mentally, I knew I would have to be strong, but in the long run, I would be happier, healthier and a more energetic person."

At his first appointment he answered a lot of questions about his health and lifestyle. There was also a lot of lab work, which showed he had high cholesterol, low testosterone and an overactive immune system.

"My first reaction verified something deep down I already knew," he says. "I was unhealthy, I needed to make changes and the Integrative Medicine program would help me become the healthy, happy person I wanted to be."

Additional tests revealed something that had a profound impact on Hulvey's health and energy – a gluten intolerance.

He knew dietary changes would be a big part of his path to better health. It was overwhelming to think about, he says, especially cutting way back on sugar and alcohol. Dr. Leigh Wagner, formerly of Integrative Medicine at The University of Kansas Health System, started him out with a few basic parameters that were easy to follow and fit his lifestyle.

"Leigh really worked with me at the beginning, simplifying my meal plan, giving examples of proper meals to cook and explaining what type of dietary traps to avoid," Hulvey says.

He noticed changes within the first two weeks.

"I had more energy. I was also more relaxed, my body seemed to handle stress better and my thought process improved," he says.

There would be more changes over the months that followed. Hulvey lost 28 pounds, reaching a weight he hadn't seen since high school. His libido and sleep both showed tremendous improvements. He's been able to manage his stress better through meditation. Computer programs and supplements have helped improve his memory and concentration.

"I simply didn't know before entering the program how unhealthy I was," he says. "Now I know because of how great I feel."

Lifestyle changes are a long-term commitment and Hulvey admits he's not always the perfect patient. He credits Wagner and Emily Day, APRN, with keeping him on track.

"They help motivate you. They want you to continue to improve," he says. "Emily reviews my information and labs on a routine basis. It is a relief someone is watching over me continually."

He says he feels a motivation to improve his health between office visits and phone consultations.

"I am so happy now that I have made the changes and both Emily and Leigh are working diligently to keep me healthy," he says. "I know I am not the best patient, but their patience and understanding have kept me moving in the right direction."

Hulvey said his experience has given him peace of mind and – he hopes – long-term health and vitality. When the day comes for him to retire from those eight businesses, he wants to travel and enjoy time with friends.

He says he knows many other people are still living the type of unhealthy lifestyle he left behind. He hopes those people will consider Integrative Medicine at The University of Kansas Health System.

"Life is stressful. Take care of yourself. Decide to make a change," he says. "Your life will be changed forever."

This story is part of a series of interviews with Integrative Medicine patients who agreed to share their experiences in our clinic. If you'd like to learn more, call 913-588-6208 to make an appointment with a member of our team.

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