As a child, I thought my dad was the strongest man in the world, someone who could take anything on. He had incredible strength - throwing me and my siblings up in the air repeatedly, and also so knowledgeable in all subjects from religion, to history, to sports, to nature. He was an amazing teacher and my idea of a Renaissance Man.
As he got older and began to struggle with his health, I watched him become weaker, vulnerable, and dependent on my mother more and more as he struggled with diabetes, kidney failure, and more surgeries and procedures than I can count. This was difficult for him and I witnessed him go through bouts of hopelessness about his health.
Then one day, while hanging curtains in the bedroom, he blacked out and fell face down from a 2-foot height. Initially, he could not feel or move his arms and legs - he was paralyzed from the neck down. It was determined that he broke two vertebrae in his neck and needed to have surgery to stabilize the spinal column. The surgery was a success, but there was a long road ahead for him - some feeling returned to his arms and legs, but he had pretty severe shooting pain and weakness, and was dealing with some bladder control issues as well. Frustrated that he was only sent home with a list of pain meds and orders for physical therapy, I immediately started him on a regimen of supportive nutrients and acupuncture treatments as soon as possible. Within six months, he regained full use of his arms and legs, the bladder issues resolved, and he was actually in good enough health to be added to the kidney transplant list. Soon after that, he received a new kidney and a new lease on life! The hopelessness that he was feeling before the accident was replaced by excitement for trips he could plan with my mom.
Although caring for my dad was not part of the "plan" for becoming a doctor, it made me realize how important it is for people to have access to alternative medicine and not to underestimate the impact it can have on someone's life. My dad is a prime example of how powerful naturopathic medicine and acupuncture can be. As a doctor, I am inspired every day by my patients and the amazing resiliency of the human body.
"It's the love for the patient that heals" - Ronald H. Odama
Dr. Danika Odama completed her studies at Bastyr University, where she earned her Naturopathic Doctorate (ND) degree and Masters in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. She also completed additional hands-on training in Shanghai, China through the prestigious Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is a member of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine (AARM). Patients appreciate her gentle approach that combines Eastern & Western medicine to meet their individual needs.