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Nov 29, 2023

A Journey to Healing: Dana Smith, Owner of Nutrishop of the Lowcountry

Cheryl Ricer

Photography By

M.Kat
They removed the part of her brain that was triggering the seizures, and she has been seizure-free for six years.

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In 2014, Dana Smith, who grew up an adventure junkie in Orange County, California was stopped dead in her tracks—but not by any risky undertaking of her own choosing. “There are times that are meant to make or break us, and I have experienced a lot that could’ve broken me but didn’t,” she said.

Smith, who now lives on Hilton Head Island and owns Nutrishop of the Lowcountry explained. “The time that was meant to break me was one summer night in my backyard by the fire under the stars. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes, taking it all in. The next thing I remember, I couldn’t move or even open my eyes.”

Those around Smith at that moment were scared to the point they called EMS, who took her to the hospital. Within a couple of months, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. Going from medication to medication with no reprieve, her quality of life was diminishing. She tried to stay positive and keep good health at the forefront of her daily choices. She went to the gym regularly, had a clean diet, and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

But things didn’t improve. They worsened. She lost jobs due to the frequency of seizures; she had a seizure while driving and wrecked her car; and she was no longer able to live alone and had to move in with her mom. At her worst, Smith was experiencing 200 seizures a day, and she truly believed she was going to lose her life to her condition if she didn’t take extreme measures.

So, she did. In 2017, Smith elected to undergo an invasive surgical procedure that would help to precisely locate the source of her seizures. “In my kitchen the night before my surgery, I shaved my head, prayed for answers, and never looked back,” Smith said.

After that procedure, her neurosurgeon informed her that based on the findings, they could operate again, this time removing the part of the brain that was causing the seizures. However, side effects such as losing all her memories, losing motor skills, and more, were possible. For Smith, an adventure-seeker from childhood, the surgery was worth it for the hope of a better life.

“In September 2017, I entered the hospital for a temporal lobectomy, more scared of this risk than of any other I had ever taken,” Smith said. “I prepared for the worst. I wrote letters to everyone in my family and placed them in a folder on my computer in case I didn’t wake up.”

As she was waiting to be taken to the ER, a young resident doctor who had played a big part in her getting to this point came in, held her hand, and prayed over her. In that moment, Smith knew that God had a plan for her and that she was going to be okay.

They removed the part of her brain that was triggering the seizures, and she has been seizure-free for six years. Best of all, Smith has all her memories and is fully functioning without any issues.

“Because I trusted in God and my amazing medical team who believed in me, I didn’t take no for an answer,” Smith said. “I am a born fighter, and I was not about to let my condition dictate my life and allow myself to be a victim of my circumstance.”

Smith’s story doesn’t end there. After years of being unable to fully live her life and enduring the beating her body took from all the medications and surgeries, she was determined to reach her full potential. Through her ordeal, her weight was up to 230 pounds, so she returned to the gym, and went to Nutrishop, where she had always turned for her general health and fitness needs. Through working out, eating healthy, and using the right supporting supplements, she now sits 80 pounds lighter and is healthier than she’s ever been.

“With my second chance at life and some unexpected events that happened, like losing my dad during Covid, I took a big leap and moved across the country to South Carolina to begin a new chapter,” Smith said.

She found personal and professional happiness moving to the Lowcountry and decided to open a Nutrishop franchise, where she now offers her new community a source for quality supplements and a place to find support for their daily lives.

For 20 years, Nutrishop has helped individuals achieve various health and fitness goals by offering top-quality dietary and nutritional supplements and services coupled with unparalleled personalized attention—all at guaranteed low prices. Their focus is on your results, with free 45-second body composition scans that allow you to discover what you’re made of and how to enhance yourself naturally, along with free customized meal plans. Their NutriGuide® is a personalized DNA testing kit designed to identify genetic variations and offer specific dietary and nutritional supplement suggestions, lifestyle changes, and more.

“I was given a heart to help people,” Smith said, “and after everything I’ve been through, I know firsthand how important it is to take care ourselves. I know that I was given all the challenges I faced in order to provide me the tools to think outside the box and inspire others.”

Smith’s challenge now is encouraging others who may have been dealt some hard cards in life to understand that those events do not have to define the future. And her purpose through Nutrishop is to share her story, inspire people, support them, love on them, and show them just how beautiful life can be after the hard times.  

To be inspired, supported, and strengthened in your own personal journey, visit Nutrishop, located in Port Royal Plaza, 95 Mathews Dr., Suite D8 or online at nutrishoplowcountry.com. For more information, email lowcountrynutrishop@gmail.com or call (843) 686-6500.

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