My name is Rob and this is my story
I founded Syndio Health because healthcare failed me.
Like many of you, I went through 5+ years of misdiagnoses and years of seeking what could help me manage my debilitating conditions and symptoms. Doctors misdiagnosed me with everything from spinal cancer to soon-to-be paralysis and left me writhing in pain and hopeless. As I hobbled around like a 90-year-old man at the age of 18, I soon realized that healthcare often doesn’t help you find answers… even if those answers do in fact exist.
After $50k in doctor shuffles and an emotional roller coaster, doctors concluded: “we don’t know what's wrong with you, but likely, it’s some form of degenerative paralysis.”
Whether I’d actually become physically paralyzed or not didn’t matter to me. What mattered was finding out what was wrong with me and finding out what I could do about it. My all too familiar “doctor shuffle” led to no answers and the development of new and equally crippling conditions: chronic anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
I worried every day, “what the hell is wrong with me?” I had no answers and no way to find peace. This uncertainty is what ultimately paralyzed me.
After years of struggle, I eventually broke down and hit a point of complete and utter hopelessness. Although I was not suicidal, death seemed to be the only real option for relief. For the sake of my family and myself, I fought on.
Finally, the universe gave me a break. I stumbled on an article describing the condition Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and was elated that it matched my experience almost exactly. Hopeful, I went to a new rheumatologist so I could seek a diagnosis and finally experience some closure. To my relief, the doctor confirmed my AS. I finally knew what was wrong with me.
With newfound closure I was excited, yet my relief was short-lived. Diagnosis marked the new beginning to an equally grueling journey in trying to find what could help me. Ankylosing Spondylitis doesn’t have a cure and can lead to full paralysis. Doctors offered expensive medications that would only treat symptoms, could cause liver failure, and would put me and my family further into debt. I decided to look elsewhere.
On top of my new diagnosis, my anxiety and OCD brought me to a new low. I couldn’t sleep, I was anxious every day, I struggled to interact with people, and I began dipping into depression as a result of having zero control over my life and my health. I hit an all-time low and got so bad that I had to drop everything and move home to live with my parents. I was a burden to everyone around me and lacked the strength to deal with the absurdity of my conditions. I felt truly broken.
So what ultimately changed my life?
Ultimately, what changed my life was learning from a community of people who were in the exact same position as me. I spent hundreds of hours on internet forums and eventually connected with several people who had learned to manage their AS through a starch-free diet. By no means does this diet work for everyone, however, research theorized it could starve the bacteria correlated with AS and stop your body from attacking itself (refer to research article).
I tried the diet for a month and to my surprise I slept without pain medication for the first time in five years. It wasn’t perfect, but my life was forever changed. My pain reduced 90% and I re-discovered a life free from constant, debilitating pain. I never imagined that day would come.
We as people with chronic illness are not medical experts. However, we are experts in the experience of living with these conditions. Beyond that, we are the ones most incentivized to learn how we can live the best life possible since we have to live with these conditions every day.
My five year journey helped me realize that we can all learn from each other’s experiences. The only power we have is to accept the things we cannot change, fight for the things we can, and receive through others, the wisdom to know the difference. We can all choose to welcome a mental shift to accept, fight, and learn from life’s struggles, however, we don’t have to do this alone.
This is why we founded Syndio Health. We want to empower you to find answers, share knowledge, and take action on your conditions with others. In the hope you come out living a happier, healthier life with chronic illness.
As sincerely as I can say it, you are not alone and we deeply understand your struggle. Our commitment is to enable you to make better informed health decisions by leveraging a our community’s experience. Our promise is to do our best in helping you discover what can change your life, just like other people helped me.
Syndio Health is not an empty promise to find a miracle cure, nor is it a replacement for a doctor or professional medical advice. Our site is a resource that helps you leverage the relevant holistic solutions inside and outside traditional healthcare with the support of a community behind you.
If you’ve gotten this far, we appreciate your time in learning what we stand for. We have big plans for the future and envision a world where health is equitable for all. We hold strong values and are driven to keep true to our mission: to build technology that empowers the individual, unifies underserved communities, and transforms healthcare for all.
Thanks, and if you have any notes or questions please shoot me a message directly.
Here's to better days 🎉
Rob and the Syndio Health Team