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Our doTERRA Story

From Wheelchair to Machu Picchu: Journey in the Search of Hope

 

We are Mark and Kathryn Easthope. Let us tell you about our journey of learning and discovery with doTERRA essential oils. We want to share how they have changed and improved our lives and the lives of our family, friends, and community.


Since 2004, Kathryn has suffered with debilitating back pain. At first, it was intermittent. Her back would seize once or twice a year for a month or so at a time, during which she was unable to do anything but lay in bed or on the couch all day and all night. As a single mom this made her dependent on her children and extended family members to take care of her.


In 2007, we began our life journey together. This is a second marriage for each of us. We each brought 5 children to the marriage, giving us a marvelously crazy family of 10 children! 


Kathryn's back pain was still intermittent, and she was still  able to do things for, and participate in, her newly blended family.


Over time, her back pain became more of a problem. She worked around it as best she could. She ignored it, worked through it, and pretended she could overcome it. She knew that just as long as she kept moving and ignored it, she would be okay.  Once she stopped whatever she was doing or sat down, however, the pain would take over and put her back to bed for a few days to a couple of weeks or even a month (sometimes longer). This has made being a wife, mom, and step-mom difficult, as she has not been able to fulfill all of her wife and mother duties and responsibilities. Mark, has been so supportive through every seizing episode by running the house, taking care of the family’s needs, meeting her needs, going to work, and so much more. Eventually, she was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease.


Through trial and error, she learned pretty quickly what activities or movements would exacerbate her back pain and what would not. She has had to give up doing some of the things that bring her joy and help her feel involved in her family and in her life. She could no longer rake the yard, shovel the snow, vacuum the carpet, mop/wax the floor, clean the bathroom, plant the garden, pull weeds, water the garden, run, jump on the trampoline, jumping jacks (okay, no jumping at all), ride a bike, roller blade, play volley ball, play soccer, play soft ball, play pool, lift more than 15 pounds on a good day, go hiking, dance with her husband, ride in the motorboat, water ski, go tobogganing, build a snowman, ice skate, stand for long periods, sit for long periods, and everything in between. Yes, even intimacy has been affected.


As the back pain has taken over her ability to participate in life, leaving her stuck in bed while her family has been able to enjoy the sunshine on a beautiful, hot summer’s day, depression has become another issue for me to deal with. How frustrating and depressing it is to watch your life pass you by while you are powerless to join in. Being stuck in bed meant that she could not participate in or enjoy her life.


She was so heavily medicated that she could not be present for her family, especially at important family gatherings, like celebrating children’s birthdays. She would have to be carried downstairs from where she was laying in her bed down to the dining room where the family was waiting to start dinner. She was physically there, but she was definitely not present to enjoy, enrich, or play with her family. After dinner, she would sit, completely spaced out, waiting for Mark or Thomas (one of our children) to take her back upstairs and put her to bed where she would sleep the rest of the event away while her family grew closer together and built fond memories without her.


Mark has taken her to doctor after doctor to see what could be done to help with her pain. Unfortunately, surgery has not been an option for her. The only option she has had from the medical community is to get corticosteroid shots in the lower lumbar (lower back) area, chiropractic, and heavy medications for pain management. She is incredibly grateful for the relief that these options have provided, but she knew there had to be a more natural, effective way to manage her pain and retain her cognition at the same time.


In 2012, Mark's mother gave us a doTERRA Family Physician’s Kit for Christmas. Kathryn had heard of essential oils before, but didn’t really know what they were. They were something she wanted to learn about at some point in her life but it never seemed to be convenient or a priority. Suddenly, here they were in her hands just waiting for her to learn about their powerful health benefits, no excuses. 


There was a little booklet that came with the oils; It was a mini ‘Modern Essentials’ book. As she flipped through the little booklet, she was surprised at all of the health concerns listed that could possibly benefit from the particular essential oils suggested.

She was a little skeptical about how one little drop of a liquid could make a difference. It was when she saw that melaleuca (also known as Tea Tree Oil) could help with her warts that she just had to open the bottle and see what happened. She had had a very large wart on her index finger for years. It was painful and impossible to get rid of. She had been to the doctor 8 times to have it frozen off. Before that, she had tried Compound W products – including their freezing product – it was no help. In fact, once this wart had been frozen at the doctor’s office 8 times, the wart grew and was more painful than before. When she started using doTERRA’s Melaleuca, her wart was the size of my knuckle, was raised off her finger about 1/4,” and it was bleeding and very tender. She put one drop of Melaleuca oil on her finger twice a day for 2 weeks. She was amazed as she watched that ugly wart heal, shrink, and disappear off her finger with no scabbing, no pain, and no chemicals. That wart has not been back since! WOW! She couldn’t wait to try another oil to see what it could do for her and her family!


In the fall of 2013 Kathryn had the opportunity to attend a doTERRA Convention with some friends. It was there that essential oils changed her quality, and way, of life. She traveled to the convention in my wheelchair. On the second day of the convention, one of the classes she attended spoke about the muscular calming and soothing characteristics of the oil called ‘helichrysum’. She was skeptical. 


She was receoving a corticosteroid shot in her back every 3 months. They helped manage the pain for a few weeks but not much longer than that. She already knew that essential oils helped with so many other health concerns, but this instructor didn’t know her pain. How could an essential oil help her?


Well, it just so happened that she had some helichrysum with her. That night she decided to put it to the test. Instead of taking her regular medications to help her sleep through the pain, she used helichrysum and frankincense essential oils topically on her back where it hurt the most. Amazingly, the pain settled down and she actually slept! In the morning, she was able to get up with minimal pain. She re-applied the oils during her morning routine. Kathryn and her friends then drove the hour to the convention Center in Salt Lake. Usually, that hour drive puts her in her wheelchair. When they arrived, she got out of the vehicle and walked! She was so excited about the possibility of freedom of mobility but was also a little nervous about getting stuck without her chair, so they brought it in with them. 


Kathryn sat in her wheelchair during the morning session. At lunch, she was super excited to be able to get up and walk! A lot of people saw her get out of her chair and thought she was really weird that she sat in a wheelchair and then got up and walked. Little did they realize that they were witnessing a miracle… her own personal miracle. She left the chair right where it was and took advantage of her newfound freedom of mobility!


The next day was a real test. Kathryn had a 14-hour drive home to endure. Amazingly, she was able to get out and walk at each stop. When she arrived home late in the evening, she got out and walked! She was even able to help bring in the suitcases!


At first she thought that she was having a pretty good day. She had those. However, after using the oils day after day and having good results, she knew that the oils were making a difference.

It is so important to note that she still receives corticosteroid shots in her lower back quarterly. However, those shots are supported and even extended by her use of the essential oils.She has found that, for her, the combination of the two work together to provide the relief she needs.


Since the essential oils have changed their lives over the last several years, Mark and Kathryn have continued to learn about the powerful benefits that the oils have to offer. While Kathryn must engage in daily self-care through exercise, eating right, managing stress, using the essential oils, and getting enough sleep in order to manage her condition, she has found that taking the time to look after her health is well worth the effort. 


During the times that Kathryn was trapped in a wheelchair or in her bed, wondering if she would ever be healthy again, she began to lose hope in her dreams. She had always dreamed of going to Peru and climbing Machu Picchu since she was in high school. She couldn't even make it to the washroom alone some days. How was she ever going to travel and climb a mountain? 


Through her consistent efforts to manage her pain with the essential oils, her world began to open. She was still not able to do the things that exacerbated her pain, but she could do some of the basic things, like dressing herself and personal hygiene, cooking, and even traveling a little more. 


In January 2018, for their anniversary, Mark surprised her with a trip to Peru the following June! They were going to climb Machu Picchu together! It was a dream come true! A dream that she had lost hope in years before. Mark and the essential oils gave Kathryn the hope she needed to believe in her dreams again!  Now, we have to decide where we want to go next!


Today, Mark and Kathryn continue to learn about the amazing benefits of the essential oils and their endless uses that can support and care for their family, friends, and community. 


There are other lifestyle strategies that Kathryn has in place. They are:

  1. What you eat is incredibly important. Some foods cause or contribute to inflammation, and other foods reduce or control inflammation. Some foods that cause inflammation are sugar, gluten (particularly wheat gluten), processed cow’s milk, corn, eggs, and soy. Through a lot of food experimentation, I found that for me, potatoes are a problem, so it was necessary to eliminate potatoes from my diet. That was a huge change in my lifestyle because we ate potatoes at least 3-4 times per week. Making the change was not easy for me, but I can tell you that eliminating them has been completely worth it. When I eat the foods that cause inflammation, I feel it throughout my body, especially in my back.
  2. Exercise! I know that you hear that a lot from a lot of other sources. I am here to tell you that even if you are not able to get out of bed today and it has been a while and you are in extreme pain, that the answer is to start with very, very, very small movements like stretching at first and go from there. Do what you can tolerate. Do not push any further than that! If you have to, start by wiggling your toes. Small, consistent stretches and movements will make a world of difference. Start small and work your way toward small goals. eventually, you may find that you can do a little more that you could do just last week. You may even be surprise by how much you can do right now! Movement of any kind will serve you far more than if you are sedentary. Movement gets the blood moving and assists the body in several different functions, such as digestion, elimination, moving nutrients around, getting oxygen to the brain and vital organs. Movement also does wonders for depression! So, get moving!
  3. Hot/cold packs. I have found that even with using the powerful essential oils and shots together that I still have my rough days. Nothing is perfect, it is? When the muscles in my back are feeling tight – and I can tell when they are headed toward seizing – I take out my hot/cold packs and alternate every 20 minutes (in addition to everything else). Start with either hot or cold, whatever you want first. Keep trading off at least 2-3 cycles. Gauge how many cycles you need according to how you feel and how tight the muscles are. You may need to repeat this process a few times before you find the relief you need.
  4. Have a great mindset. What you think is how you feel! Our emotions, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs have an incredible connection with the human body. What we feel emotionally becomes how we feel physically. The realization that I have the power to decide how I am going to feel changed my life! There are days that I have realized that I was also talking myself INTO bed and wheelchair. The awareness of what I am thinking or believing has empowered me to take more control over how much physical pain I am in. There are many days that I talk myself out of bed. Once I’m out of bed, exercise, move around, use the oils, and eat good foods, I am on my way to having a productive and awesome day!
  5. Avoid the the things on my “do not do”list. This is probably one of the most difficult things to accept. I already know how I will feel if I were to do the activities that I know will cause pain in my lower back, like vacuuming, shoveling, raking, mopping the floor, dancing with  my husband, jumping on the trampoline, running, scrubbing the toilet, etc. However, recently I have attempted a few of them just to see where I am with those things. I have been able to gingerly add a couple of limited things onto my activity list, but the rest are still an absolute no-no. I like to be active. If I want to stay that way, I have to behave myself and stick to the things that I know I can do and find purpose and fulfillment in the things that make me feel great instead of pushing myself to do the things that cause pain and put be back in bed or my wheelchair. I prefer to be independent, active, and productive. I do miss doing some of the things I cannot do anymore, but the payoff is worth the sacrifice.
  6. Don’t give up on you dreams! Always have a dream. I vividly remember one day laying in bed on a hot, sunny summer’s day. My family was outside playing in the sun, and I was laying in my bed, alone, staring at the weeping birch tree outside my window and wondering what the purpose of my life was supposed to be. Was this really what I had to look forward to for the rest of my life? I was told that my health would only continue to decline. How much worse was it going to get? At that moment, any dreams I had of doing something amazing, like climbing Machu Picchu, were impossible. My hopes and dreams were fading into nothing, like the nothing I was becoming while laying in bed, heavily medicated and unable to think clearly because of the medications. Depression takes over in those dark places. There is hope! Your dreams take you out of those dark places and into brighter, more vibrant living. Optimism is able to reduce perception of pain to a greater degree than pessimism. In turn, negative thoughts can increase subjective pain.
  7. Manage stress. There are many different kinds of stress in our lives. There is emotional/mental stress, physical stress, social stress, spiritual stress, and financial stress.We respond to psychological stress with the same hormones as with physical stressors.  How we perceive and respond to stress is the most important thing to keep in mind. Think of how a zebra responds to stress. There he is, munching on the grass, enjoying the sunshine. Then, suddenly, a lion appears (stress occurs). The zebra’s stress response begins with hormones in the brain. The zebra runs (fight or flight response). The zebra gets away, its stress response ends and stress hormones dissipate. The zebra goes back to enjoying his lunch. The problem is that in this day and age, we do not have the same physical release (fight or flight) for our stressors that we had decades ago. In addition, most of us are “stressed out” vs. just being “stressed.” Being stressed out is more damaging than just having acute, short, stressors that we are able to deal with quickly. Instead, we are unable to deal with the stress in the normal manner where stress hormones rise and fall quickly, turning the acute stressor into a  chronic stressor.  We all have stress in our lives, and if we can’t eliminate or escape from our stressors, our stress hormones have nowhere to go and they wreak havoc on the body by affecting our memory, tissue breakdown (there is a strong link between stress and tissue breakdown in the brain and in the skeleton, causing us to gain weight, contributing to heart disease, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, irritability, makes us age faster, and so many more effects.  Meditation, yoga, getting in touch with your “inner self,” music, taking a bath, reading a good book, spending time with people who lift you, singing, dancing, traveling, sleeping, cooking, exercising, or even cleaning are some great suggestions to help you manage stress as effectively as you can if you are not able to avoid stress in your life.
  8. Get enough sleep. Getting more, or enough, sleep is easier said than done, isn’t it? Who has time to lay around for 8 hours doing nothing? I can think of a hundred and one things to do during that time. What is amazing is that in that time, you are doing far more than you realize while lazing about sleeping. Your body is repairing itself from damage done during the day. While in REM sleep, you are dreaming and allowing your mind to file information away. You are helping your body with blood-sugar control and lowering your risk of diabetes and obesity. You are helping yourself to be in a better mood, controlling your appetite, and increasing your ability to concentrate. In this hustle and bustle lifestyle that we all live in, it is well worth your time, health, productivity, relationships, and effort to stop and get the proper rest your body needs. In studies done, the amount of sleep needed at different stages of life transitions over time. Babies, of course need the most amount of sleep..
  9.  Use the essential oils. If you do not know what oil to use or how to use them, we can help. Put the time and effort in to learn about the uses and benefits of the oils. It will be well worth your time. You may even be able to fulfill one of your bucket list items that you thought was lost forever. 
  10. A really good whole food supplement. This is, quite frankly, the foundation of it all. It should really be #1 on this list. I guess I saved the foundation for the bottom of the list. How fitting. I use the LifeLong Vitality Pack from doTERRA. It contains 6 of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory substances on earth. When I take it consistently every day, my entire body feels better. If I miss it for even a day or two, my back is the first to notice the difference. LifeLong Vitality is a pack of 3 products designed to work in concert with one another. I will go into greater detail about all of the incredible health benefits and supports for the body that it offers in another post.


Our goal is to share with people how they can create the life they want, to find their purpose, to show them how they can be fully present in their relationships and be able to have fulfillment and enjoy their passions, and to be able to enjoy the freedom of mobility through:

  • Good, nutritious, wholesome foods
  • Movement/exercise
  • Essential oils and oil-infused products
  • Have a great mindset! What you think is how you feel!
  • A really good whole food supplements


Thank you for your interest in our story. If any of our story touches your heart or makes you think of another in your life that could benefit from our story, please share it with others.


Our desire is to change lives one bite at a time, one drop at a time. We would love to share our wealth of essential oil knowledge with you. Please contact us at hopenaturalwellness@gmail.com or text/call Kathryn at 403-382-8885 if you are intrigued to know more.


We share our story in class, presentation, and seminar settings. If you would like us to share our story with your group, no matter the size, we can set that up! Please contact us at hopenaturalwellness@gmail.com or text/call Kathryn at 403-382-8885.

  Little did they realize that they were witnessing a miracle… her own personal miracle.