Bryan Tublin struggled with knee and leg pain, and could not find answers to get his inflammation under control until he consulted a practitioner with a holistic perspective. Since then, he has been on a journey towards holistic health, and recognizes that mental and emotional health are huge factors in anyone’s overall wellness.
Bryan’s story is part of Rupa Health’s Be Your Own Healthcare Advocate series, where we share the stories of patients who take their health issues and wellbeing into their own hands.
What do you do for work?
I am the Co-Founder of Kitava.
What health issues were you experiencing?
From 2012-2013, I experienced chronic pain in my knee and leg due to an overuse injury suffered from running. Poor treatment and advice from traditional doctors and physical therapists, as well as my own ignorance, led me to "push myself through the pain" for over a year, leading me to eventually feel pain whenever I put weight on my leg. Since there was nothing "structurally wrong" with my knee, there was no easy cure, which led to a depressive spiral that further exacerbated my ability to heal and recover.
How did you go about finding a solution? How many doctors/experts did you see during this time period? Tell us about your journey.
The only thing I knew about my ailment was that "inflammation" was causing the joint to swell abnormally, causing pain with any weight-bearing activity. After seeing half a dozen doctors and physical therapists over the course of a year, I realized I had to take my health into my own hands. I began researching on the internet to learn what causes join pain; purchased an e-book on the topic; and found a local doctor that specialized in a more holistic theory of knee pain than anyone else I had come across.
I also discovered the power of food to help heal and reduce inflammation. This line of research was the most powerful and enlightening, as I became aware for the first time of the power real, nutritious food can have on how your overall health. Since then I've become an avid practitioner and advocate of real food and eating for health, and have dedicated my work to spreading this message to as many people as I can.
What does it mean to you to "be your own health advocate"?
Being your own health advocate means taking responsibility for your body, mental state, and how feel every day. You know yourself better than anyone, so why not be your own best advocate?
When did you realize something wasn't right? What symptoms were you experiencing?
Swelling, tightness, and pain in my knee.
How long did you struggle before either getting a diagnosis or starting to feel better?
Over a year.
Tell us about your lowest point. What happened, how did you deal with it?
Read this: My Knee Story, Part 2: Reflections
What ended up being the most helpful resources or treatments for you?
- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet based on the book, "It Starts With Food"
- Seeing Dr. Scott Dye in SF
- Learning about mindfulness, meditation, and stress reduction as a way to combat depression and promote healing
What was the most frustrating part of your journey?
Not getting better, and not knowing when or if I would recover.
What was a high moment or a turning point in your journey?
When I realized I needed to just start moving again, whether I thought I was ready to or not.
How has this experience impacted or shaped your life today?
This experience exposed me to the concept of holistic health, and gave me new perspective on how to balance physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I learned that being physically fit, eating an extremely strict diet, or having a successful career doesn't mean you're necessarily "healthy."
True health takes balance, which is something I still strive for today.
What motivated you to keep going in search of answers? What made you determined to find a solution?
At a certain point I realized I WOULD heal and get better. You can either wallow in self-pity forever, or cultivate a positive mindset. I chose the latter.
Some people say "things happen for a reason." I don't believe in that. YOU CREATE THE REASON THINGS HAPPEN. This is done through a positive, forward-looking mindset, and choosing to implement the lessons learned toward something more positive than would have ever happened prior to your struggles. Good can come out of any situation - no matter how shitty - but it requires you to believe it can happen first.
How did holistic or integrative care shape your journey?
At a certain point I realized my stress, anxiety, and depression about being injured was hindering my ability to heal. That's when I began focusing on the mental and emotional side of my recovery, which was a game changer in terms of beginning to make meaningful progress.
How difficult was it for you to find a holistic or integrative practitioner? What were the main barriers here?
Extremely difficult. It took me years after I was healthy to find someone I would say even spoke the same language as me in terms of holistic health.
How are you doing today?
Fully recovered from my initial injury, I've regained my ability to be fully active again. I successfully completed the NYC Marathon in 2016, weight lift and cross train regularly, and can move without major issues. Of course I've had setbacks, and still struggle to balance the mental / emotional side of life's daily stressors, but overall things are night and day from where they were during the darkest times.
What do you do to stay healthy today?
Lift weights, run, meditate, tai chi. Eat food that makes me FEEL GOOD.
How do you define "being healthy"?
Thriving mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Feeling engaged in life and connected to a greater purpose. Benefiting from and contributing to meaningful relationships.
What advice do you have for someone that's trying to figure out their own health concerns?
Introspect. Get to know who you are, and dig deep into what's really going on at the root of your symptoms. You know yourself best, and only you can truly commit to getting yourself better. And you WILL get better :-)
At Kitava, Bryan strives to provide healthy and clean foods without sacrificing great taste, based on his belief that food nourishes the body and soul.