Hello! I’m Theresa.
My name is Theresa Kulikowski-Gillespie, and I wanted to share a bit about myself so you know more about me and my background. I was a gymnast for 21 years (1982-2003), and I can honestly say gymnastics was my first love. I slept in my leotard, grips and beam shoes as a little girl, watched my idols Kim Zmeskal and Svetlana Boginskaya any chance I could get, and had a dream of winning the Olympics someday.
Theresa at the 1995 World Championships (far right next to bela karolyi)
As a team, we won the bronze medal!
I had talent and the work ethic to excel in the sport and became an elite national team member at the junior and senior levels, earned a spot on the 1995 World Championship gymnastics team, and became the first alternate for the 1996 Summer Olympics. After falling one spot short of my Olympic dream and then tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in my knee, I decided to pursue collegiate gymnastics and was offered a full ride scholarship to the University of Utah in 1998.
Theresa at the 1999 NCAA Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah
I earned the NCAA all-around and balance beam titles and runner-up on floor and vault
I had a successful collegiate gymnastics career winning the NCAA all-around and balance beam titles my freshman year and another balance beam title my junior year. Although I attained several accolades and titles, it wasn’t always smooth sailing! I tore my other ACL my sophomore year and struggled with quite a bit of depression and disordered eating throughout my career.
Upon retiring from the sport, I struggled immensely. This depth of suffering drew me to the practice of mindfulness and meditation. I had read a book called “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama in college and, remembering how powerful that book was, started reading more on meditation and implementing these practices into my daily life. Over the past several years, I have realized just how powerful and life-saving these practices truly are.
Theresa as the battalion physician assistant in tikrit, iraq 2010
This was my little aid station that I worked out of…
I became a physician assistant (PA) in 2007, joined the Army as a PA from 2009-2012, and then married my husband, Steve, (who is still in the Army). I deployed to Iraq in 2010 as the battalion PA. Unfortunately, I got quite sick right before returning from Iraq, and the following year, noticed a significant decrease in my exercise tolerance, ability to recover from stress, and my overall health.
Over the next several years, my life felt like it was turned upside down. I got married in 2013, had my son Mason in 2014, and about three months post-partum my entire body just crashed. I literally thought I was going to die. I had every symptom possible from intense muscle fatigue, inability to stand for more than a couple of minutes due to low blood pressure, brain fog, anxiety, insomnia, absolutely no stress tolerance, and the list just goes on. I started researching everything that I possibly could within conventional medicine, functional medicine, naturopathy, energy medicine, nutrition, and meditation and saw too many medical providers to count. You name it, I tried it. I had to quit working in 2015 and have been a full-time mom and wife along with trying to restore my health and inner balance since then.
Here are a few pics of my beautiful son, mason, and my wonderful husband, steve…
Needless to say, this has been the most challenging time of my life, AND it has also taught me more than any other life experience. I have come to understand the power of self-compassion and self-love which has allowed me to more fully have compassion and love for others and for all of life. So, I am now in a place where I want to share all of the knowledge that I have learned along with the life experiences and understanding that have developed over my lifetime. I have lived the extremes of high level athleticism to the other end of physical disability. I have learned the power of self-love and compassion and have learned how to be present for my life no matter what is arising.
I would love to be the support and guidance that you might need to navigate this wild ride of life! We’re all in this together, and we can’t do it alone. I’m here for you every step of the way.
2002 Graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Utah with a double major in Exercise Science and Psychology
2003 Completed a third major at the University of Utah in Pre-Physical Therapy
2007 Graduated with a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Utah
Worked as a physician assistant from 2007-2014 in several different areas of medicine to include: pulmonary, sports medicine, internal medicine in the US Army, psychiatry at the Veterans Administration, and family medicine.
Served as a physician assistant in the U. S. Army from 2009-2012 and deployed to Tikrit, Iraq as the Battalion Physician Assistant for 10 months.
Developed a group called THRIVE which implemented mindfulness, meditation, and increasing joy in one's life while working at the Veteran’s Administration hospital in 2012.
1993 Junior Elite National Team Member
1994-1997 Senior Elite National Team Member
1995 World Championship Team Member, earning bronze team medal
1996 Olympic Team Official Alternate
1999 NCAA All-Around and Balance Beam Champion
2001 NCAA Balance Beam Champion
2002 NCAA 3rd All-Around
2003 AAI Award Recipient
2003 NCAA Top Eight Student Athletes