The word US Marine evokes the image of men and women who are tough, healthy, and strong in mind and body. When we think of Marines who accomplished and passed the rigors of Naval Flight School, we also think of a special kind of Armed Forces. When you meet Phil Sledz for the first time, you may not be surprised to know that he, too, was a U.S. Marine. Being able to achieve difficult goals and overcome challenges has been one of Phil’s passions in life. It is why he joined the Marines.
These qualities would prove to serve him well as he experienced the hardship of physical disability, and the stress and emotional turmoil that comes with this. What resulted for Phil is a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical transformation as he sought to recover from mobility problems, seemingly unending pain and serious illness.
How the journey began
In 1997, US Marine Pilot Phil Sledz sustained an athletic injury which resulted in two simultaneous disc herniations with radiculopathy. Radiculopathy refers to the condition caused by a compressed nerve in the spine that can cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness. By 2000, this injury culminated in a herniation. The chronic pain led him to obtain an MRI consult, where the orthopedist and radiologist showed him the images of his dehydrated, shrinking intervertebral lumbar discs. The complications left him with chronic pain, tingling and numbness that radiated into one of his buttocks, hip, leg and foot.
This surgeon told him, “Son, you have the back of a 60 year old.” Already walking with a limp, his nerves and muscles so damaged that he could only walk with what is called a “foot drop,” which is a condition caused by the inability to lift your feet normally when walking. Instead of a normal walk and gait, he had to raise his right leg high enough to accommodate a toe dragging step. This left him with an uncontrollable slap of the foot.
Phil Sledz was only 28 years old at the time. He felt heartbroken – a diagnosis like this would end his career as an F/A-18 fighter pilot, and his plans to be a future airline pilot.
During another medical consult, Phil was diagnosed by an MD with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare form of cancer which attacks the lymph nodes. In addition, Phil was experiencing a myriad of health issues that continued to deteriorate his once athletic body. Previously the beacon of physical strength and health, he was now so chronically fatigued that even the 14-16 hours per day of sleep did not relieve him of the deep exhaustion he experienced. During this time, 3 lymph nodes enlarged to the size of plums in his neck, armpit and groin. Add bouts of dizziness, a smorgasbord of gut and digestive problems, unintentional weight loss, night sweats, erratic fever, and brain fog, he was unable to perform required activities of daily living. He had documented over 34 symptoms as caused by his poor health.
Choosing Life and having a goal
After the diagnosis of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, Phil began a serious search of alternative methods for the purpose of recovering his health. After his herniation diagnosis, he sought a Chiropractor, and a DO who worked with three Naturopathic doctors. Together with structural and biochemical help from his practitioners, he finally began to experience pain relief: a 50% improvement using only natural methods. Prior to this, he was still using some conventional modalities, primarily oral steroids and prescription pain medication, to temporarily mask the symptoms. Side effects from these medications was making him feel worse, which served to clarify what was covering up symptoms versus what was truly proving healing for his body. Now having a flicker of hope that his health problems could be reversed or repaired, he was energized and began a further quest for knowledge that could help him improve and recover his own health.
The Health Detective is born
By late 2004, Phil decided to attend Chiropractic school. Prior to May 2006 he took the necessary prerequisite courses, and completed his Doctor of Chiropractic in 2011. Driven by a sincere desire to help others achieve a better quality of life, Phil, now Dr Phil Sledz, DC, continued his education. With the goal of Board Certification in Functional Medicine, “Dr. Phil,” as his friends and patients like to call him, has specialized in building health through nutrition.
By doing additional coursework in areas that include blood chemistry analysis, neurotransmitters, endocrine and autoimmune assessments, Dr Phil not only recovered his own health but discovered and met with many researchers who could bring his health goals to even higher levels. Overcoming his previous health challenges was the original goal, but now the bar was set higher: to achieve optimum health.
Further Discoveries in the use of nutrition to repair and heal health issues
Dr Phil Sledz, DC was fortunate to study with many knowledgeable people who have researched and created bio-available, effective formulations. These people include a Nobel Prize Finalist specializing in immune-enzymology, immune system disorders and holistic interventions for autoimmunity. While researching specific products, he consulted with a team of Harvard and Stanford educated researchers who produced a restorative joint protocol so effective that it had to be protected with multiple patents.
Dr Phil Sledz’s transformation from disability to optimum wellness gave him crucial insights and observations regarding the health recovery puzzle:
1) Only a highly functioning immune system, combined with improved cellular communication, can redirect your body towards optimal health.
2) When you see ONE PART of your body breaking down; it’s a clue that ADDITIONAL PARTS of your body are breaking down on a cellular level, at different rates. Conventional healthcare mostly focuses on the body part that is failing, versus the entire body.”
From Dr Phil Sledz, DC
“It’s my job as a detective to help you find this, and show you what can be done to safely arrest and redirect this process. Needless to say, my career in healthcare has been nothing short of spectacular; I have helped countless people achieve a higher level of health and wellness.
Due to diligence, focus and passion, I was able to elevate my health to the level I presently experience today. No limp, and can run 3-5 miles without any back or leg discomfort. I now experience more energy and less digestive issues that I can ever remember, even as a child. I have a healthy body weight, and my blood and immune system are measurably optimal. I lead by example; I show others that you do not have to live a life of misery and sickness if you don’t want to. You can have optimal health once again and feel good about living your body, but you must earn it!”
There is no magic bullet
“Restoring hope, confidence and self-sufficiency are key ingredients to successfully turning around the most severe health crisis. A common and erroneous belief is that there is a magic bullet that will fix everything, or that a person just needs to find the right doctor who can fix you. The truth of the matter is that you are responsible for your health improvement: it is your responsibility to embrace healthier lifestyle changes that can lead to your own health transformation.” — Dr Phil Sledz, DC
“Dr Phil” believes that with proper guidance, you can fix yourself – and experience the excitement of not only seeing but feeling the difference. He has built his practice on everything that has provided good results. He ascribes to the belief that by changing the quality of your health, you can change your life. Feeling great allows us to have great life experiences, something we all deserve.
The motto for the Marines is “Semper Fidelis, or Semper Fi”—Always Faithful. For Phil Sledz, this translates to his faith in helping others, so that they can live life well and feel free from what holds them back in life.