2020: A Year In Review

We made it!! Happy 2021 Everyone! 🎉

To keep with tradition, I want to share our ODC year in review below (or should we just pretend like 2020 never happened!?) *Crickets*

I hope you find it entertaining in the least, insightful at the most. Writing these out each year reminds me of the letters more distant family members and friends would send when I was a child, with their Christmas cards, sharing about how everyone is doing. I loved when people sent these little updates, so I hope you enjoy ours as well! Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy! (Or just pass - you won’t hurt my feelings! More gut health knowledge will come in future emails!)

Further, I was considering making this 100% Oswald Digestive Clinic related, but as the founder of the clinic, it’s nearly impossible for me to separate myself from the clinic, and I think transparency in a business is so important as well. So here I have a full 2020 story, ODC and Ashley combined.

Lastly, by no means do I want anyone to compare their year to mine in any single way. We all have our own journeys and paths through this life. I am so sorry to anyone who lost loved ones this year, who went through an incredibly traumatic time in other ways, and/or even worse. Your heart is with me and I hope the universe surrounds you with love and healing energy to get through.

So where to start?…. January 2019 I suppose! The month I got what I’m 99% sure was COVID.

Remember that YouTube video I posted about getting the flu for the first time in for as long as I can remember? Yep, well, in hindsight, that was likely COVID. I got sick during a weekend surfing trip in LA (no, I’m not a good surfer haha, but it sure is fun), where I stayed at a hostel near the ocean, ate delicious ethnic street food, and was doing everything that one would want to do if they are trying to catch COVID. And it took me at least a week to recovery fully! I was down for the count for 2 days, bed bound, sleeping, and totally broke down and placed a delivery order from Whole Foods for supplements because let’s face it: As someone who at that point rarely got sick, I was desperate!! I even bought homeopathy for the first time in my life! The first day of supplements was the first day I started to feel better. Maybe a coincidence, maybe not.

So back to work it was! At ODC, we had a lot of changes happen over the past year! If you remember, Marcie came on board at the end of 2019, and I started to transition away from client care to focusing on other foundational pieces for the business. Having Marcie has been a blessing, and has really allowed me to prioritize the growth of our business, with the ultimate goal of creating job opportunities, growing our team, and the big WHY is to help more people improve their gut health and improve their quality of life! I’ve been there, and I know gut issues are just awful. At least 61% of Americans are struggling, and we have the tools to help most people, so I’m fired up about growing and making an even bigger impact in years to come! So I had hired a business expert to help us grow in the way that would help us reach our goals, and the first couple months of the year were busy busy busy! I didn’t win all those hardest worker trophies in grade school for nothing! (Yes, I am a millennial 😆😜)

So then came March, the month I had started a tradition in 2019 to take a few weeks off to travel. I feel blessed to have gotten to this point in my career and business where this is a possibility, and so I wanted to do all I could to make it happen. 2020’s destination: Bali. Which is now one of my favorite places in the world! The people are incredible, the food SO delicious, the nature magical, and so many self care opportunities - spas, yoga, and all the other hippie stuff that I totally love. However, the Dengue Fever virus that is passed by the mosquitos in the area, is something I could have passed on LOL. Alas though, the viruses just loved me this year (more on that later), and I came down with a case of Dengue Fever at the same time Bali was experiencing COVID cases. If you remember, I made a YouTube video about this as well. Long story short, I thought I was going to die. My platelets and white blood cells were dropping, and I was starting to internally bleed. I had to cancel my flight home, at a time when people where struggling to get home because of COVID.

But the blessing in disguise? This experience helped me to release fears that I wasn’t sure I would ever get rid of. Wow.

Eventually, the labs started to improve, and the doctors gave me an okay to fly. I showed up at the airport only to find that my flight was cancelled! So I ran all over the airport to find, in the basement, the office of the company I was to be flying with. Some sweet woman spent 90 minutes and found me a new flight, which I got to JUST in time, prior to departure. I mean, Bali would not have been the worse place to be stuck lol. But I was ready to come back at that point, especially after my cab driver told me his healthy 30 year old neighbor died recently from Dengue.

Then came April. Some of you may know, that in April, I was still on staff as a per diem at Regions Hospital. It was fun for me to go in, work occasionally, see my friends, and also a great way to keep up with the knowledge of in patient and acute gut issues. So when I got back, it was only a matter of time before I would have to go in and work in the COVID units, or, I would have to resign. I was watching the news daily and needless to say, I thought this would be the end of me. Death by COVID after a near death experience with Dengue. Yep - welp, I had a good run. Eventually, my fears improved, and I worked one weekend. However, at that time, I realized I just did not have the energy to keep up with allll the changes in the hospital, and so, I just had to focus 100% on Oswald Digestive Clinic and decided to resign. This was only fair for our clinic, Marcie, and clients, too.

In the clinic, we trialed group consults, but with everything going on, it seemed like too much for people and so we stopped it. This is something I’d like to come back to and create once again in the future! Maybe 2022 or 2023!

Summer was quite the experience, I’m sure similar to many of yours with the whip lash of everything going on. To add to COVID, Minneapolis and eventually other places in the US experienced civil unrest, which I’m sure most of the world had heard about and if not, there is plenty to look up online about this. OH, and I found out I have mold toxicity from environmental exposure (likely a piece to why I caught a couple viruses earlier in the year!) I’m on the mend, thank goodness for functional medicine.

In the Fall, ODC took on a big team of nutrition interns from the University of Minnesota, some of which got class credit for the internship experience! These interns got to learn about functional nutrition and running a private practice, while helping our clinic with creating different resources for all of you. In the future, I plan to create a more structured semester-long opportunity for students looking to learn and gain experience.

Also in summer to fall, we created our very first Heal Your Gut Course!! This was a HUGE project, and I’m thrilled to have a few handfuls of people in there! The feedback has been great so far, people are already getting results, and I can not wait to constantly improve this year to year and continue to launch it! Maybe we’ll see you in the course sometime in the future!

And then, December came. A time to reflect, and create a plan for 2021. I’ll be continuing our weekly Facebook LIVES at 12 pm CT on Thursdays, and will be creating a NEW YouTube video each week to share at 10 am on Tuesdays! These will be different than the LIVES, so that will be a new and exciting thing. We of course continue to take new clients, and there is one BIG announcement that I’ve been saving to share for 2021. Maybe the biggest and most exciting thing our clinic has yet to do, in all its 5 years (our ODC business anniversary is January 9th in case you want to celebrate with us!! Any excuse for delicious food, right? 😜). But I can’t tell you what this is quite yet (although I’m pretty sure I’ve already leaked it once or twice… it was too exciting not to share lol, until I decided I would not until about mid to end of February or March, once everything is a bit more in place.)

The best part of 2020? All of you. Cheesy, I know, but it’s so true. All your cards, messages, and simply seeing you feel better, makes this all worth while. We would be nothing if it weren’t for all of you. I can’t thank you enough.

Our clinic will continue on for years and decades to come. I have total faith in our ODC team, all of you and other community members, and know we will always ebb and flow through hard times and good, to reach our ultimate goal of improving as many guts as possible. So in case you like my dad jokes, you’re in luck, we’re here to stay 😉

So like cleaning a home, 2021 can feel like a fresh start. But don’t get caught up in needing to set a resolution and be perfect. Life is a up and down journey, and we are here to support you as needed on your gut health part of your overall journey.

My wisdom of the year?

The Universe has our back. Struggle is important on the journey of success, even if we can’t understand why at the time.

Community is the bedrock to everything. So thank you for being a light during this wild year of 2020, and for our on-going friendships that will continue into 2021. If there’s ever anything I or our clinic can help you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

After all, as Ram Das once said “We are all just walking each other home.”

Love, Peace, and Happiness.

Ashley

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