Dr. Ylona Hartford

2013 was a life-changing time. 

I had spent half of December  of 2012 hospitalized with debilitating headaches, and in January 2013, my neurologists decided to call in the neurosurgeons to put in a VP shunt.  This is a device that helps to pull spinal fluid out of the brain and drain it into the abdomen. 

Why did they do this?  Because I had what was called pseudotumor cerebri. Simply, this meant my body was producing too much spinal fluid for my body to process.  It is most commonly seen in obese women.

Four months after this surgery, I started school to become a naturopathic doctor.

See why 2013 was life-changing?

Many of you know part of my story, but for those who don’t, I will share some now.

“There is always reason for hope.”

I am a board-certified naturopathic doctor as well as a professional opera singer.  In working in the holistic health field for almost a decade, I have helped over 400 clients begin to own their own health and improve their wellbeing and to even to heal from things like allergies and eczema to getting off dialysis and even eliminating brain cancer.  I have also published a book used by other natural health practitioners and naturopathic doctors to help their clients.

However, I haven’t always been healthy.  In fact, just a decade ago, I struggled.

Always being sick and tired was so very painful because it made even the simplest daily tasks hard.  Even before this, I had so many surgeries and tried so many medications with so little success through so much of my life.  I used to go to bed thinking’ “They shoot horses who are broken, why don’t I just end my pain and stop being a burden on my loved ones.”  And I’d wake up wishing the universe would have just taken pity on me and ended it all while I slept the night before. 

I started to wonder if I was crazy or if it was possible to change my health journey.

This brain surgery was the thing that finally caused me to snap. I thought to myself, “Enough! There has to be a better way!”  I needed to get support and reclaim ownership over my own health or give up and suffer for the rest of my life.  So, I drew a line in the sand and started school to become a naturopathic doctor because I knew I needed to learn how to truly be well.  I wasn’t willing to go another year being sick and tired.  In fact, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired!  

It was scary, but remaining so sick was even scarier.

And you know what?  Facing that fear was so worth it!

Because today, my life is amazing!  I no longer feel awful all the time!  Who knew that was even possible?!?  Instead, I experience energy and look forward to moving and eating well and getting out there and simply enjoying life.  Most mornings, I wake up feeling so very grateful for my life.  I should have invested in myself sooner!  My life isn’t perfect, but it is SO very good!

So why do I mention 2013?  Well, it was a decade ago I had the shunt put in.  This is a device they don’t take out.  If they do, they put in a new one.  It is so rare to be removed that there isn’t even handouts for the removal surgery, and if you are familiar with physicians, they have handouts for everything. 


On 11-17-22, just about 6 weeks shy of the decade mark, I will have my VP shunt removed.


I have been having some issues with it, and my neurosurgeon agreed–I have done so much work and healed myself to the point where I don’t need this shunt any more!

I share this because I know sometimes being sick can be overwhelming.

You may lose hope.  I know I did in the past.

However, there is always a reason for hope.

I share this because You CAN change your story.  After all, I have changed mine.

Our bodies are incredible.  My body, that I used to curse for betraying me, is incredible. 

Listening to our bodies and giving them what they need can create miracles.

Since becoming a naturopathic doctor, I have had the honor of helping so many others.  However, my greatest journey has been healing myself.  I have healed my own allergies, fixed my hypothyroidism, corrected hypertension, balanced out high blood sugar, and even lost over 120 pounds by focusing on health and not weight.  

And now, I can say I have healed my pseudotumor cerebri (also called idiopathic intracranial hypertension).  I have managed to get to a point where my body doesn’t need this device to support it.

I appreciate you witnessing my story.  I am so very blessed.




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Using natural modalities, Dr. Hartford works to transform her clients’ health every day. She has worked with hundreds of clients from all walks of life. Let her help you find the natural solution for your natural health.

Dr. Ylona Hartford

Traditional Naturopath


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