Amy Stenehjem, M.D. works as a Private Health Advocate, Medical Detective, and Healthcare Navigator, helping her clients, from all over the United States, navigate their health issues and healthcare systems to discover renewed health and happiness.
As a physician and a patient, she has a unique perspective and understands the many challenges associated with illness. Dr. Stenehjem uses this insight to help those with complex medical issues find the appropriate doctors, diagnoses, and treatments. She also teaches her clients how to more effectively manage symptoms, improve their quality of life, and discover joy despite their health struggles. Click to learn more about her work.
Despite facing several health challenges including Autoimmune Ovarian Failure, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and an Undifferentiated Autoimmune Connective Tissue Disease, she graduated with honors from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and went on to receive her medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. She then completed her residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rusk Rehabilitation Center in Columbia, Missouri, with the distinction of serving as Chief Resident.
After medical residency, Dr. Stenehjem and her husband moved to the Twin Cities where she worked as a staff physician at Park Nicollet Clinic and later Physicians’ Diagnostics & Rehabilitation, specializing in the care of patients with musculoskeletal injuries, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, osteoarthritis, neck and back pain, chronic pain, and autoimmune related joint disease.
In late 2009, Dr. Stenehjem’s life began to shift dramatically with the presentation of periodic and peculiar episodes of a high fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and debilitating fatigue. Each “fever episode” was followed by progressive shortness of breath. After the fourth episode in May 2011, she found that she was experiencing shortness of breath and dizziness with even minor activities such as walking a few steps.
Completely perplexed as to the cause of this mystery illness, her doctors in Minneapolis referred her to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Stumping physicians in numerous specialty groups over several months, she eventually received a diagnosis of Dysautonomia, specifically Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a disease caused by damage to the Autonomic Nervous System which controls all of the automatic activities of the body (including breathing, blood pressures, heart rate, and body temperature). Later it was determined by physicians at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that the cause of the random fever episodes was a rare Autoinflammatory Periodic Fever Syndrome.
In 2012, Dr. Stenehjem developed a constant headache and sore throat, associated with extreme fatigue. In addition, minor neurological symptoms she had experienced for years, began to dramatically worsen. She was diagnosed with and began treatment for Chronic Activated Epstein-Barr Virus (essentially chronic mononucleosis) and Lyme disease. Later she began treatment for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and Mold Toxicity, which are often found in connection with chronic viral activation and Lyme disease.
In 2016, Dr. Stenehjem created this website to help fill the void of accurate, reliable, and useful information available online for those struggling with complex medical issues. Her articles have been well received and featured on The Mighty and Huffington Post.
Over the years, Dr. Stenehjem has spent countless hours researching her symptoms to find the correct diagnoses, treatments, and doctors. And through these efforts, she has discovered renewed health. This research has revealed that there are many layers of illness that are often associated with complex health issues. Dr. Stenehjem believes renewed health can be achieved, no matter the level of illness, by slowing “peeling away layers of the onion” and addressing primary and secondary causes of illness with a measured, thoughtful approach.
In 2018, Dr. Stenehjem created the consulting firm, Mastering Health & Happiness, PLLC, where she helps clients throughout the United States find renewed health and happiness.