Seven years ago, when Jennifer Galloway was told that she had an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Disease, it didn’t take her long to figure out her next step. She wasn’t going to cry. She wasn’t going to wallow. She wasn’t going to let it define her life. She was going to fight it.
And she was going to win.
Hashimoto’s Disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, occurs when antibodies attack the cells in one’s thyroid, resulting in symptoms such as an enlarged thyroid gland, tiredness, weight gain, muscle weakness, joint pain and more.
Her diagnosis was disheartening, to be sure. Even more disheartening, however, was the doctor’s plan on how to treat her.
“I was told, ‘Well, there’s not really much we can do,'” Galloway stated. “They said, ‘Once your health starts to deteriorate, then we can just put you on medication and we’ll manage you that way.’ And that wasn’t really good enough for me.”
So, she took matters into her own hands.
Galloway has worked in the medical field for years. She’d been a nurse for 14 years, and she started working with Dr. Joseph McGinley when he opened his own practice, The McGinley Clinic. Following that, she decided to forge her own path.
“I wanted to offer primary care, but in a little bit of a different way,” Galloway said. “I wanted to go out on my own. So he helped me with that and provided me with a space.”
That space is at the newly-renovated “M” Building (the former Wells Fargo Bank), located at 234 E. 1st St. in Casper, Wyoming.
In addition to serving as an events space, The “M” Building also houses Dr. McGinley’s practice (that’s where the “M” got its namesake), McGinley Orthopedics, Wind City Physical Therapy and, now, Jen Galloway FNP-C Primary and Functional Medicine.
Galloway’s practice, as the name implies, offers both primary care and functional medicine, designed to offer patients a variety of treatment opportunities for whatever may ail them. From yearly exams and sick visits to medication management and women’s health, Galloway combines western medicine techniques with a more holistic approach, designed to not just treat a symptom but to find and attack the “root.”
That’s what Galloway did when she found out about her own diagnosis. She didn’t just want to take medicine and hope things get better or, at the very least, not get worse. As an already curious-by-nature woman, Galloway wanted to find out exactly what was going on with her, why, and how she could fix it.
“When I got diagnosed, I was kind of surprised,” she revealed. “I’ve always been a pretty healthy, active person. At the time, I didn’t really know about about this disease, but after doing my own research, I found that most people don’t just have one autoimmune disease and, if you do have an autoimmune disease, you can have a lot of other things, like food intolerances and things like that.”
The more research that Galloway did, the more she realized that medication wasn’t going to treat her disorder; it was just going to mask it. She wanted to actually combat the disease, so, to do that, she took steps to change her eating and lifestyle habits.
“I found that cleaning up my diet was a significant benefit for my overall health,” she said. “It just made me feel better. And that’s kind of what led me down this road, which is realizing that using food as medicine is actually a really good approach to helping with a wide variety of illnesses.”
To be clear, Galloway isn’t telling her patients to forego the Tylenol and start drinking lotus root extract or some other plant that’s hard to pronounce but doesn’t actually have any discernible health benefits. What she’s suggesting is a compromise.
“I’m not about ‘Oh my God, you have to throw out everything in your pantry and we need to just completely overhaul everything you’re doing,'” Galloway laughed. “That’s not what I’m going to do. I meet people in the middle and I make suggestions that I feel like people can sustain. I want people to think about longevity. What is your life going to look like 20, 30 years from now? Are you going to have longevity but also quality of life?”
Galloway said that she wants her patients, her friends, her family, her neighbors, to have a good, long, fruitful life. She doesn’t want them to just live; she wants them to live.
“I don’t want you to be in your sixties or seventies with a chronic disease that leaves you so sick, you can’t play with your grandkids or still be active in your retirement years,” she stated. “That’s not what we want. We want you to feel good and be healthy. And the choices you’re making today are going to reflect your health later in life.”
That desire to improve her patients’ quality of life is a major component of her practice. She offers men and women’s healthcare, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chronic disease, weight management, nutrition and lifestyle recommendations, and more. She also offers procedures such as skin biopsies, removal of skin lesions, ear irrigation, etc. And she treats all of these things with functional medicine.
“I will prescribe medication if I feel like it’s necessary,” she said. “I’m not averse to prescribing medication. What I am averse to is masking a symptom with a medication when we could actually find a root cause and reverse that.”
Our health is a journey, with many different ups and downs. Health isn’t solely about eating right, or dieting, or exercising, or taking some kind of medication. It’s a combination of all of that and more, and it takes an actual understanding of the human body and what it’s capable of to be able to make the right choices for a specific person.
“I feel like ever since COVID, people are starting to become more and more proactive about their health,” Galloway shared. “I’ve sat down with patients and have told them, ‘This is what you need to eat as far as grams of protein or carbs or sugar.’ I’ve specifically spelled it out for people and I base my dietary and exercise routine recommendations on what the patient has going on in their life, because everybody should have individualized care. It’s never just straight, across-the-board answers for people. I don’t do the same thing for every single person. I tailor my care based on what that particular patient has going on in their life.”
Part of that process includes actually taking the time to sit down with her patients and discuss their lifestyles. Galloway’s initial consultations can last up to an hour, because she really wants to sit down and understand everything that is going on with those who come to her. Health is a journey, and Galloway wants to walk alongside her patients throughout that journey.
“I feel like it’s necessary to spend that amount of time to actually get to know somebody,” she stated. “I want to go over their goals and what they want for their health. I don’t feel like I can learn anything about a patient in a 15-minute visit, so my consultation is an hour. I just feel like that’s necessary.”
Galloway wants her patients to feel seen, to feel heard, and to feel understood because she knows what it feels like to not be.
When a doctor told her that the only way to treat her newly diagnosed autoimmune disorder was to medicate, she knew there had to be another way, a better solution. She found that better solution and, now, she wants to share it with her patients.
“A patient of mine recently shared something on Facebook that said ‘I feel like no matter what is going on, Jen is always going to be in my corner and she’s always going to be there to support me and make sure I feel the best that I can,'” Galloway said. “And that’s how I want to set my practice apart, with customer service. I want my patients to know that we’re here. If you call, we’re going to answer the phone. We’re going to call you back. We’re going to take care of you. My patients’ health is my number-one priority and I’m going to do everything I can to take care of my patients the best I can.”
For more information on Jen Galloway FNP-C Primary and Functional Medicine, or to schedule an appointment, visit their website or check out their Facebook page.
PAID FOR BY JEN GALLOWAY FNP-C PRIMARY AND FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE
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