Andrea Stong, Co-Director of Dreams Life & Wellness Center, is from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. Andrea is Master Teacher certified in Reiki and Chios Energy Healing, a Certified Ordained Minister, Spiritual Intuitive and a mother to two beautiful children. Andrea enjoys spending time with her family and being in nature. She also enjoys comedy, music, dancing, meditation, chakra work, energy healing, expanding her consciousness and exploring different avenues for a holistic lifestyle.
She has spent much of her life healing from several autoimmune diseases. In her journey of healing, she found essential keys to optimal wellness.
Andrea has a passion to assist others to find total healing by creating a balanced Mind, Body, and Spirit connection. She feels the best approach to achieving total healing is to dig deep, understand and connect with each client and take a holistic approach, looking at the entire picture of their life and well-being. This way, together, we can target specifics in what may be the root cause to the mental, emotional and/or physical symptoms the individual may be experiencing; finding ways to better manage stress, avoid repeated patterns and begin to create new healthy ones. She has assisted numbers of others awaken into their path of empowered purpose and personal truths, and optimal health and well-being; supporting them throughout.
“My experiences have brought me to why I am so passionate about supporting anyone and everyone with the desire and intentions to change their lives and obtain optimal health in the mind, body, and spirit. Ultimate healing is a very real possibility, if you are ready to allow it.”
When I was in my sophomore year in high school I started to not feel myself. My symptoms grew and grew into more serious problems where I just couldn’t function. I was experiencing extreme exhaustion, severe widespread joint pain, weakness, debilitating migraines, skin rashes, jaundice, deep painful boils covering my back, shoulders, and chest, weight loss, nose bleeds where blood would fill up a cup several times a week, stomach discomfort, and heavy and painful periods. Starting out with my pediatrician, the doctors couldn’t seem to figure out why I continued to get more and more ill. I was finally recommended to The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to see numerous specialists. As I continued to get worse and time went on with a diagnosis still a mystery, I was warned that what I was experiencing could have been cancer, so, to the cancer unit we went for testing and bone marrow biopsies. Results- no cancer (whew). Then they got concerned it could be AIDS. Results- nope (phew again). After countless MRIs, CT scans, blood work where my veins could have collapsed, ultrasounds, x-rays, and going to many different specialists through months…they were making progress. It was finally recommended that I get a liver biopsy. Looking and feeling like I was dying (and I was). I received a diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis and I was going into liver failure. The Autoimmune Hepatitis (my own immune system doesn’t see my liver as my own, so it then attacks itself) caused scarring which led to 4th stage liver cirrhosis, last stage liver cirrhosis before complete failure and has no cure.
I remember so clearly laying in the hospital bed beyond fatigued and in pain. My parents were in the room and my specialist came in. I was sleeping just before he came in and I continued to act like I was asleep as he spoke to my parents about what they discovered. I was mortified hearing the diagnosis and my prognosis. It wasn’t good. At that very moment, I felt like giving up. I was going to die anyways. My future life expectations changed quickly and I became a different person.
I was put on massive amounts of Prednisone, an awful steroid medication with countless harmful and dis-functioning side effects, and another anti-inflammatory/immuno-suppressant. In order for me to live, we had to shut my immune system down to stop it from attacking and destroying itself, myself. I gained 40 lbs in a matter of 3 weeks from starting the Prednisone, I looked extremely swollen and puffy, like the marshmallow man with something called a ‘moon face’. The medications wreaked havoc on my body so quickly, I was in shock. I started losing massive amounts of hair on my head where handfuls were coming out in the shower, yet gained hair on my body, my skin was thinned out causing stretch marks, I was profusely sweating with awful night sweats, the insomnia was horrific, the hunger pains never went away yet my stomach was in quite a bit of discomfort, it caused anxiety where I felt I was going to jump out of my skin, my perfect vision quickly diminished and had the beginning stages of cataracts, and I began having the beginning stages of osteoporosis. But, yes, I was alive.
After years of ups and downs and trying different transplant medications and immuno-suppressants, the disease wasn’t being controlled as well as the specialists had hoped. I never could get in that “safe zone” with my levels. I was told with such long term use of these types of medications and since everything is filtered through the liver, and mine was more than 75% covered in cirrhosis scar tissue, my liver couldn’t function and keep up on processing those medications forever. They warned me that considering the condition I was in that I would die most likely in my mid-40s, never be able to have children, need a liver transplant most likely within 7 years, and that I would most likely develop liver cancer and/or lymphoma within 3-6 years. Wow. Hearing that punches you in the stomach like nothing else. So that’s it? That’s my life? I became what I called a “realist” (pessimist) and grew more hurt, sad, angry, confused, and just every depressing emotion that can be felt. It was so discouraging and defeating to never feel well, never even know what it was like to just feel “okay”.
My parents truly tried everything they could to help me. We went to an organic farm, tried numerous different diets, saw nutritionists, did acupuncture, just did everything we could from the resources we had at the time. I was also young and really wasn’t ready to stick to such drastic lifestyle changes. High school was worse than it usually could be for a young girl and I was teased for the sudden weight gain. It was extremely difficult to go from an active and fit teenage girl to a plump and puffy ill person. When the word got around that I had “Hepatitis” the cruelties spread into rumors that weren’t true. People hear “Hepatitis” and automatically think the virus and how its spread. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, not only a virus. It was just a really difficult time in my life (I allowed it to be, as well). Even through the struggles, I managed to maintain a job and work through high school and also graduate high school early.
My health still continued to get worse when I was in college where I felt it necessary for my health to leave. Shortly after I left college I found out I was pregnant. I was 18 years old, not married but in a serious relationship, and completely shocked since I was told that I would be unable to conceive. We immediately told my specialist and when we went to discuss my situation. I was advised to abort the baby, my son, Landon. I knew in my heart that everything was going to be okay, and felt peaceful about keeping this miracle. The pregnancy actually put me in the best place with my health and the disease went into somewhat of a remission. I ended up having a healthy baby boy, Landon. My health went down-hill again after I delivered and we had to start all over again to get me back to a somewhat controlled state. Landon began to show signs of being unhealthy. Landon had projectile vomited, at times 4-5 times per day until he was close to 2 ½ years old. Dealing with my son’s health issues and also trying to manage my own was a difficult task. I got married and became pregnant right away, I had complications through my second pregnancy which made it difficult. I had my daughter, Amelia. She, thankfully was also healthy. I got divorced a year or so after I had my daughter Amelia; the relationship was abusive and unhealthy.
My kids then started to become ill, showing symptoms more mild than what I had initially felt before being diagnosed, which caused me to worry. This was beyond the average kid colds and flues. Both of my children developed chronic ear and sinus infections. My son also had strep throat more often than not. Antibiotics weren’t working anymore and they were only 3 and 5 years old at that time. They ended up needed tubes in their ears, adenoids removed, and my son had his tonsils removed. My son had post-surgery complications and both, Landon and Amelia, developed chronic pneumonia and asthma. My son was also diagnosed later with ADD/ADHD and anxiety. My children have experienced a lot in their short lives from an unhealthy broken family situation, seeing me ill, and experiencing their own health issues.
Through this time, I was then diagnosed with fibromyalgia, lupus, and mixed connective tissue disease. I knew the trauma I had experienced flared these ailments up within me. The widespread pain, tightness, tenderness, weakness, and inflammation in my joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments through my entire being, the debilitating migraines, and the constant fatigue was unlike I ever experienced before. The pain was breathtaking. I wasn’t able to get my key in the ignition of my car to turn it, open my kids Sippy cups, or just do the simple things most do without even thinking. Every movement was a painful, exhausting struggle. I was told there was nothing they could do to treat me except antidepressants to subdue my nerves, but even that was going to cause more strain on my liver. I went to the Mayo Clinic and other doctors to get additional opinions and the prognoses were the same; that there was nothing they could do because of the state of my liver and we just had to wait until my liver started failing again, my kidneys start failing, and/or cancer of some form set in.
They checked me for cancer every 3-6 months to catch it before it could spread. I felt like a ticking time bomb just waiting for death to strike me.
After being denied of any hope to ease my symptoms or my long term survival, the more I let myself become a victim to the diseases I was diagnosed with, the pain I felt physically and emotionally, the trauma I had gone through on so many levels, the pity party I always had for myself, and the negativity and fear I let control my life, the more I sulked in my misery and the worse everything got, especially my physical health got worse. Why me, why me? This wasn’t fair.
For too long, I was stubborn and I clearly needed to learn more before ‘accepted my self love and worth’. It was a 13 year battle. I finally said NO to those doctors and called bluff on all their claims for my life. I told whatever that was killing me…to get out…out of my body, out of my heart, out of my mind and out of my soul. It’s no longer welcome and I was going to make sure it went away and stayed away. Through changing my children’s and my own lifestyle, receiving energy healing, changing my heart, my mind set and thought patterns, reclaiming my power, making choices based on my self love and worth, and truly forgiving myself and others… my life drastically changed into loving light, optimal health, awareness/consciousness, and vitality. I made this happen because I wanted it that bad. I wanted it more than I feared it. It was hard work initially… to let go, to be open, and to just ‘be’…all at the same time. To breathe. It’s follow through, consistency, commitment, discipline, motivation, and dedication.
It was my own desire and intent to manifest those things and make it happen. Faith. Believe. Own it. Be positive. Once I took full responsibility and accountability over my life… the past, present, and future…I found purpose, understanding, and peace. I let down those walls and tackled the fight or flight response my body was used to going to. My perceptions changed…. I found that challenges through life are to learn, grow and expand within those moments. To guide us into honoring ourselves and creating harmony between the two opposing truths that lie within each of us.
I know my purpose is to facilitate and support others healing on all levels. I never thought I would ever be talking about how good I feel or how happy I am. It’s a choice and daily practice. We are all on different journeys and paths. We are all a continuous work in progress, every day. And at the very same time we are the masterpiece that we have always been. I am a continuous work in progress., I am a masterpiece.
The tug of war between the heart and mind. Let the heart win.