Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica De Leon and Cassie Warren.
Jessica and Cassie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Jessica: Years ago, my 89-year-old Diabetic grandmother was told by her Western Doctors that she her blood sugar levels had spiked so high, she needed to have both of her legs amputated. My grandmother, being the strong willed woman that she was, laughed and sought another opinion. She found an Acupuncturist who told her they needed to do acupuncture 1x/week, start on Chinese Herbs, and do some major diet changes. My grandmother lived to be 98 years old with both of her legs. When I saw the changes in her health, I knew that I too wanted to be someone that showed people there was another option. It really is like a dream come true, to be in a position where I am able to provide high quality care, while at the same time spreading the word of this beautiful medicine.
Cassie: I found acupuncture in my mid-twenties after nearly two decades of knee pain. I had explored a lot of different options throughout western medicine, with mixed results.
After finally being referred to a local acupuncturist I experienced nearly immediate results. I know this may not happen for everyone, but it truly inspired me and set me on my road to becoming a medical professional. I dreamed of being able to provide that feeling of relief and overall well-being to as many people as I could. I am so happy to have found a partner that has the same goals as I do – to provide the best care that I can and to give people access to the great benefits of Eastern Medicine.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Jessica: This journey has definitely had its ups and downs. I can honestly say I am not the same person I was when I first walked into Acupuncture School. Learning to think in a different way, test after test, and then of course the boards. Balancing work and school is never easy, never mind adding friends and family into the mix. Then after the boards, learning how to start and run a successful business. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the practitioner that I wanted to become.
Cassie: Pursuing your dreams is never a smooth road. Not including undergrad, becoming an acupuncturist takes just over 4 years. Then comes the hardest test of your life, the California State Boards (CALE). To make things a little more difficult, I got pregnant at the end of the program, which meant passing my grad exam as I was coming off of morning sickness. Then, studying, taking, and passing CALE while my daughter was still an infant. It was tough, but I survived and learned a lot about myself in the process and wouldn’t change it for the world.
When in Tao Acupuncture & Herbs – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
At When in Tao Acupuncture & Herbs, we pride ourselves on taking the extra time and getting to know our patients. Seeing the patient as a whole, not just a symptom or ailment is extremely important to us.
That’s what is beautiful about this medicine and we try our best to pass that on to our patients. We strive for a non-discriminatory, open, safe environment for patients of all backgrounds. While we love treating our patients, it is also very important to us to educate our patients about long term wellness and lifestyle changes.
I love that Jessica is bilingual because it gives us the opportunity to help other communities. I’m trained in Shonishin which is Japanese needleless acupuncture, so I am able to treat children (and adults) that aren’t quite ready for acupuncture.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Jessica- There is no way I could have made it through this journey without my mother and my fiancé, Justin Connolly, in my corner. My mother has always been my motivation for just about everything in life. She left Guatemala when she was 15 in order to give me a better life, everything I do is for her. And Justin is my rock, believing in me nonstop and never doubting me for a second. Not to mention the endless love and support from my family, both the De Leons and the Connollys.
Cassie-I was, and still am, very lucky to have such an amazing support group. My husband, Jake, has kept me going through and encouraging me, helping me study, you name it. My daughter, Madeline, that keeps me striving for better. My parents were extremely encouraging also, even though in the beginning they didn’t really understand what acupuncture and Chinese medicine was. And I couldn’t have done it without my three ladies – Jessica De Leon, Brianna Del Castillo and Donica Schmidt.
Having such a solid group of strong women to bounce ideas off of, talk through tough cases, and laugh with has been amazing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
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