My name is Dusty Swehla. I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, and have been working in the medical field since 1999. I began my career at Mercy Hospital in the Operating Room and spent 12 years there. Then, in 2011, I was offered the opportunity to work at Innovative Aesthetics and serve as the Director of Ideal Protein where I had the privilege of helping clients live a healthy lifestyle while losing weight and making good choices. I truly enjoyed providing the positive motivation, encouragement and compassion my clients needed to help them reach their goals.
During this time, I felt like I was living a double life. At work, I would put a smile on my face, speak words of encouragement to my clients and co-workers but, at home, I was battling some personal addictions that began to take their toll on my family. In 2014, I sought out a recovery agency in town to help me deal with my addictions through outpatient rehab, and began attending AA meetings, sought therapy, and was introduced to yoga and meditation.
I continued my work at Innovative Aesthetics but kept my treatment a secret for the first six months. The only people I shared this with were my husband and sons. I had been struggling with addiction for many years and had tried to stop on my own with many failed attempts. I was ashamed and embarrassed to admit I couldn’t overcome this addiction on my own, and I honestly wasn’t sure if it was going to work this time.
It has been over four years since I began this new journey and I have learned so many truths along the way. I have accepted my past, including my failures and things I experienced as a child. I am no longer defined by those things. I am a mother, daughter, friend, wife and sister, and I am living a sober, joyful life every day … naturally.
In 2017, while on a yoga retreat in Mexico, I had a moment of clarity. I began to consider how wonderful it would be to use my journey to help others who are dealing with addiction, trauma, anxiety and depression to help them move out of the dark place they may be living in and awaken to see the beautiful life that is at our fingertips.
The fulfillment of this dream is why I created Panda Marie in 2018. Among the services we offer are natural therapies to help with depression, trauma, migraines, PTSD, addiction, neck and back pain, anxiety and much more.
Dusty enjoys spending time with her sons Austin and Noah and stepson Riley, her husband Robert, her dog Marino, and her cats. She is an avid Hawkeye fan, Yogi, has a love for the outdoors, and helping others live their best life! Her certifications include Life Coaching, Yogafit, Craniosacral Therapy 1 & 2, Nutritionist, Reiki, Reiki Master, Karuna, Y12SR, Group Fitness and Balanced Body Barre.