Joanna Wasmuth has always juggled a variety of roles and responsibilities, producing impressive results in her career while lovingly taking care of family and friends. Like so many women, Joanna has spent so much time and attention on others that she neglected herself - until now. Joanna has taken her strong work ethic, care, compassion, and business savvy and applied it to a new, and probably the most important job of her life—CEO of her health. “I need to be responsible for my own health,” Joanna says. “Your doctor doesn't live in your shoes. While they're wise and have great input, we also have to trust our intuition.” And with all the varying symptoms that accompany menopause, advocating for yourself and seeking the care you deserve is more important than ever.
Today, Joanna's prioritizing herself, her health, and finding peace and joy. But just a few years ago, she was driven to produce, often putting herself last. Joanna was on a plane several times a week, flying around the world for her job as a strategy consultant, commuting between her home in Miami and office in New York City. She was also making cross-country trips to Seattle to care for her mom and sister, who were both ill. There were early mornings, late nights, and lots of stress. “I was running myself into the ground,” she says.
Everything changed when, at age 44, Joanna had a hysterectomy that included the removal of her ovaries. “I was told that I'd just be put on an estrogen patch, and life would be normal, no big deal,” she recalls. Four day slater, Joanna had three life-threatening pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the lungs) and landed in the ICU. She not only faced months of recovery from that emergency, but she was plunged into surgical menopause with intense symptoms like debilitating joint pain, hot flashes that felt like she was “claustrophobic, suffocating, and burning from the inside out,” sleep problems, weight gain, and memory issues. And because of the pulmonary emboli, hormone replacement therapy was no longer an option.
“I realized that now my body is different, and I couldn’t just keep doing the things I used to do,” says the now-46-year-old. Thanks in part to the pandemic, she’s doing more Zoom meetings and traveling less, which has reduced her stress. “I've been given a second chance at life, and having beautiful moments every day is what I'm looking for now.”
As the CEO of her health, Joanna has employed some of her business systems and management skills, starting with a spreadsheet of non-negotiables. “What gets measured gets done,” she explained as she shared her list of 28 “things that I do to be well.” Some are daily practices like drinking 100 ounces of water, walking four miles (she uses the Conqueror virtual challenges to stay motivated and keep it fun), cooking plant-based meals, painting, and meditation using sound bowls (“It's just a few minutes of peace and resets my energy”). Others are weekly rituals, for instance, meeting with her Gennev health coach to stay on track, sessions in an infrared sauna, sound and light therapy, and strength training (three times a week). And monthly, she gets a massage, has acupuncture, and meets with a Gennev menopause-certified doctor. She marks off each goal in the spreadsheet as she goes, to help her stay on track.
She’s also adjusted her day to have breaks between meetings instead of scheduling them back-to-back. And when she has a stressful presentation or appointment, she rejuvenates by doing something that brings her joy, like walking on the beach or spending time in a favorite place. “As we do hard things, we can do them in a way that supports our wellness and our health,” Joanna says.
Joanna’s return on her investment has surpassed expectations, as her doctors frequently express amazement with how well she’s recovering. She’s a perfect example that no matter how bad the symptoms are, you can find a way to thrive. “This is a season of life where it’s not the end, it’s a new chapter,” Joanna says. “And it can be an exciting one.”
The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of aqualified medical professional. Hormonalshifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, andsimply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to otherpossible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointmentwith one of Gennev'stelemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.