Hi, I’m Gail Marek.
This is a family photo of me and my husband.
I’m a Christian, a wife, and a mother—with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).
This sounds really boring, but one of the things I enjoy most is process improvement. That sounds so dry and un-loving but stick with me. Analyzing things to death is something that happens inside my mind as a by-product of just waking up in the morning. I’m constantly—and subconsciously—on the hunt for ways to improve things.
Making things better, easier, quicker, and more efficient feeds my soul. I’ve practiced this one skill over and over again in my career and have noticed the bleed over into my personal life as well. I’ve simplified and automated the majority of my financial responsibilities, organized the bejesus out of my home life (i.e., when my brother in law asks what size chain another relative’s chainsaw uses, I offer to share my ‘note’ with him via the cloud), and repeat the same dinner recipes until they’re absolutely delicious and second nature in the kitchen.
This is what I do. Refining a sequence of events, until the result is repeatable, reliable, and better than I found it, is my sweet spot. It’s like breathing.
The last frontier that required my insanely methodical, yet gentle touch, was my own health. My life was somewhat in order, but my health was a train wreck just a few short years ago. I’m happy to say that’s not the case any more! The condensed timeline of my story is below.
All throughout high school the same ‘sore spot’ on my leg would come and go. Nothing ever came of it, it would just be sore (like a black and blue mark) then the discomfort would fade.
I thought I had acne under my breasts, but it wasn’t healing. My primary care provider recommended I see a dermatologist.
Long story short, HS was never mentioned and I ended up on isotretinoin (accutane). I specifically remember stopping the medication because my lipids got too high (not because it worked), but now I can’t remember if the medication helped what was really HS, not acne.
At some point in 2005 or 2006 the HS under my breasts faded away (never to come back again).
In April of 2012 I gave birth to my second son. To keep a long story short, a few months after giving birth, my HS nightmare began.
Between 2012 and 2016, a single HS lesion on my right inner thigh continuously opened and closed. The cycle was agony because when it closed the resulting pain prior to it opening again was unbearable.
My team of dermatologists didn’t know what HS was until I typed “straw under my skin” (referring to the tracts, or tunnels) into a search engine, and diagnosed myself. They agreed with my findings.
Three or four outpatient ‘surgeries’ later and the hack job the did on my leg only made the HS worse.
They recommended skin graft surgery. I told them I was going to look into whether or not anything else could help me.
They laughed and said I’d be back when the pain got to be too much to handle.
My HS miraculously resolved on it’s own.
After years of living with HS, I decided to get certified as a primal health coach to learn more about how I ended up without it. In April, I passed the final exam!
The problem was, I didn’t want anyone to know I had HS!
After spending two years building a health coaching business focused on something totally different, I finally conceded. I have no interest whatsoever in helping people lose weight (other than the weight loss that comes with winning against HS!).
Win Against HS was born.
Mission: Less HS
If your health is a train wreck because of HS, get in touch!
I’d love to help you put HS in the rear view mirror.