MEET DR. LUKE:
A local chiropractor understands what it is like to endure a health crisis without a correct diagnosis. Today, he restores hope to his patients at Tri-County Clinic of Chiropractic.
Luke Moja, D.C., a chiropractor who recently joined the team at Tri-County Clinic of Chiropractic, says his passion for helping others regain their lives comes from his own personal journey after Lyme disease left him with chronic health problems that took years to diagnose.
“My illness started around 2006,” Moja recalls. “I was in college [Stetson University in DeLand, Florida] when I started having digestive issues. The following year, things really fell apart and my health totally crashed — continued digestive issues, extreme fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, and other crazy symptoms. Somehow, I finished school and graduated, but something was clearly wrong with me.” He had always been an active, healthy young man interested in fitness and athletics. He worked as a certified personal trainer and graduated from Stetson with a degree in Integrative Health Sciences in 2008, even though his own health had abandoned him. After graduation, he moved home with his parents to search for answers. “I saw so many doctors and specialists, but no one could figure out what was wrong with me,” he says. “A few doctors implied my illness was all in my head or gave me some vague diagnosis like, ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,’ but I knew there was a reason for the decline. I kept searching for answers.”
His weight dropped dramatically. The once fit, muscular 6’ 3” young fitness guru who was a “picture of health” weighing in at 190 lbs. was shocked to see 135 lbs. on his bathroom scale. Other debilitating symptoms developed including irritability, insomnia and anxiety.
But in the midst of his health crisis, Moja never lost hope that he would find the answers he was searching for.
“Thoughts about giving up popped into my mind from time to time, but I was able to get through the really bad days,” he says. “I’m lucky. My family is so supportive and my faith in Christ helped me push negative thoughts out of my head.”
Finally, in 2013, Luke Moja was diagnosed with Lyme disease and heavy metal toxicity from mercury, lead, aluminum, and other toxic metals. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. He doesn’t know when or where he was bitten, but says that he has spent a lot of time in the great outdoors and tick bites were common.
Though he had an explanation for the mysterious illness, the treatment protocol didn’t heal him overnight.
“Today, I’m so much better, but not perfect. I have ups and downs, and the Lyme disease still flares up here and there. I have improved enough to work full-time, and that’s a blessing, and I am grateful for where I am and how far I have come.”
He says the experience taught him many valuable lessons.
“I was a Christian before I got sick, but going through the experience has strengthened my belief and my relationship with the Lord,” he shares. “Contracting Lyme disease and not knowing what was wrong with me rocked my world, but from that experience, I learned to put God first. I learned to rely on his strength and not my own.”
His faith remains strong. Luke attends Connection Church at the STC Toombs Auditorium in Vidalia. He encourages others facing mysterious illnesses to be relentless. “Don’t give up,” he says. “Find a good doctor who will help you find the root causes of your illness and not just treat the symptoms.” In 2018, Moja returned to school. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, Florida, in 2021. After graduation, Moja moved to Vidalia and joined the team at Tri-County Clinic of Chiropractic.
“My parents [Dave and Lynda Moja] and I moved to Reidsville in 2015, and I was a patient at Tri-County before going back to school to become a doctor,” he says. “And I interned there during my final semester of chiropractic school.” The staff adores him.
“When he told us of his interest to go to chiropractic school himself, we were very excited for him, and we kept seeing him periodically on his school breaks when he was in town visiting his parents,” notes Heidi Reuschling, D.C., C.S.C.S. “We loved hearing how school was going along the way, and then we were even more excited when he reached out to us to do his internship with us. I was really proud of Dr. Luke for being able to start and finish chiropractic school with his class for multiple reasons.”
Reuschling knows how difficult chiropractic school can be for a student with no underlying health conditions, and since she knew about Moja’s battle with Lyme disease, she knew it was even more difficult for him to keep a full schedule and have the energy to get through the rigorous requirements necessary to complete a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.
“For me, it feels full circle — to have a positive influence on a patient that motivates them to become a chiropractor, and then to have the joy of working next to them once they have their degree!” she adds.
As for Moja, he says his own health crisis has made him a better doctor.
“It has given me a great deal of compassion,” he says. “I also feel my illness made me a better listener and helps me relate to what others are going through because I have been through it before, too. Because of my own health problems, I researched natural health and nutrition extensively so I have a lot of knowledge to draw upon when I’m helping a patient — more than what I learned in school. I’m extra motivated to help.”
So far, so good. Moja says every day is a gift, and he loves to witness the progress in each and every patient he treats.
“I have a heart for people who are going through difficult times,” he says. “I know what it is like to not be able to do the things you love, and so it brings me a great deal of satisfaction to see them living their lives again. I love to see a patient’s improvement each time he or she visits, but most of all, I love to see them happy. That makes me happy, too.”