Cindy Kennedy is a certified family nurse practitioner who has been working in women’s health for more than 19 years, practicing gynecology. She is the owner and founder at Living with Lyme, a company that was developed to help those who are infected and affected by Lyme disease. Kennedy also hosts the popular podcast series Cindy Kennedy’s Living With Lyme, the podcast where she educates, advocates, and collaborates about Lyme disease.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. I was an only child and spent much of my time alone using my imagination and being creative. One recollection was pretending to tie my rocking horse up to the TV stand, getting back on it, not untying it, and pulling the TV over on myself. No injury just got a lecture. Remember, back in the ’60s, TV’s were big and not flat screened as they are today. Being an only child I learned to be self-sufficient and to be able to rely on myself.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

Definitely not to sweat the small stuff. I would have become less stressed a long time ago.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

“You should consider seeing a therapist because I find nothing wrong with you.” Conventional medicine has become so closed-minded that if it does not fit into what they learned in school, then it does not exist. For instance, Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis and should not be determined by lab tests alone. Standard labs that perform testing may not be the fully accurate and only test for one Lyme strain. There are many more. Also, it is not usual for a conventional provider to screen for the other infections that tick’s spread which could be the underlying reason for a person’s illness.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

My darkest period was just as I described above. Being told nothing was wrong, so it must be all in my head. I went years feeling unwell, depressed, forgetful, confused, and in pain. I saw a dozen providers over a 4 year period before a doctor suspected Lyme disease. I spent the next 6 years working on getting well trying all sorts of treatments. A missing link to a full recovery was finally realized through a stroke of luck. As a new functional medical provider, I opened accounts with different companies and was able to get testing at a reduced price. I opted to get a Mycotoxin test and to my surprise, I was toxic with several types of mold. I then started a regimen to rid my body of these toxic substances.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I am very empathetic with the ability to listen. Most people just want to be heard and validated.

What is your morning routine?

This is a great story. Once I was able to go back to seeing patients in person at my center due to COVID, I had to figure out what time I was going to wake up. My husband asked me what time to set my alarm. I said 630-7:00. I now wake up to music at 6:37. It still makes me laugh. I try to follow the same routine, but it wavers a bit. I most certainly put on my coffee right away, prepare my supplements, make my lunch, feed the dog and 2 cats, and have a healthy protein-packed breakfast. I plan what my husband and I will have for dinner. I walk the dog for a good 30 minutes in any weather and when I return I practice yoga postures on some days, or take a sauna on others. Next is a shower, dress, kiss hubby goodbye (he is still working from home) and out the door, I go.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Regular sauna therapy. The world has become a toxic place. We carry a toxic burden that will impact health at some point and sauna therapy is an effective detoxification treatment. I also take a variety of supplements to give my body the cofactors needed for effective cellular health.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I love my lists. The best part of a list is crossing out an accomplishment. Also, if a task takes less than a minute then I do it right away and keep it off the list.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Ya know, this is a great question. I really want to say books I have read to my children, like Mercer Mayer’s, “I Was So Mad”. It offers a perspective on real feelings and how we should think them through before reacting. That’s right, being level-headed! Now if I have to be more serious, two books that have had an impact on my life to date are, Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Albom’s book takes a hard look at life, adversity, and finding true meaning for what is important. Pausch’s book brought me to tears as he faces terminal illness and gives the “last lecture” to highlight childhood dreams and the true meaning of time. Time becomes much more precious knowing you have limited time to live.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

You bet I do. “People who matter, don’t mind while people who mind don’t matter.” Also, “Healing Takes Time and Patience.” As a functional medicine provider, I constantly have to remind my patients that the issues they are dealing with did not happen overnight and will take time to unravel and improve.