As a long-term survivor of ovarian cancer, my mission is to advocate for two things. I wish to encourage women to take a more determined, pro-active stance regarding their health and a more integrative approach to wellness and aging. To claim our power to choose for ourselves is a right, whether deciding on a course of treatment or simply seeking greater well-being or dynamic aging.
- that my experience offers useful insights and powerful direction in learning to become a partner in my own cure and healing. We need help at times when prevention is the goal or at moments when dealing with fears, diagnoses or treatments.
- in our inherent wellness and the body’s wisdom and desire to seek balance and healing. The body has a tremendous ability to heal. If we learn to get out of our own way, the body seeks to restore balance. However, symptoms are valuable signals of imbalances. Rather than rushing to remove a symptom, we can listen to our bodies and seek to determine and heal the root causes of that symptom. That does not mean we should self-diagnose, only a qualified health care practitioner has that ability. Choose that person wisely.
- that one of the most profound healing acts—is having the courage to change when our body, mind or spirit signals us to do so. If we keep doing what we did before, our cells and interior environment may not improve and challenging conditions may persist, worsen or recur.
- that each of us has power, the right and the obligation to use our inner wisdom, intelligence and force in matters pertaining to our health. A scary diagnosis is not the time to delegate all decision making to an ‘expert’; it is rather the moment to fully exercise these inherent rights, leading to a positive partnership and collaboration with our physicians and caregivers.
- in personalized health and fitness programs designed to suit each individual’s different circumstances, constitution and needs. One size does not fit all because we are all bio-dynamically different with unique genetic signatures.
- that dialogue between smart and savvy women is not simply compelling and pleasurable, but is an effective healing tool. Women must advocate for themselves and for each other, especially in matters of health and well-being.
- there is a difference between being cured and being healed.
- more in treating the whole person, rather than just the illness or its symptoms which often relates to an organ system.
- that a serious or life-threatening diagnosis can be a wake-up call. Though challenging, the message that our immune system can no longer self-regulate is valuable. It invites powerful reflections on what is most important to us, and offers us the chance to make necessary transformations to body, mind, spirit to positively affect our life and our behavior.
- that those of us living today have extraordinary access to healing modalities, including (but not limited to): meditation; breathing techniques; applied kinesiology; energy work; exercise and movement; spiritual practices; time in nature; dietary adjustments; holistic dental approaches; and vitamin, mineral and homeopathic substances, nutritional advice, among many others to include both conventional and alternative treatments. But we need a plan to implement wellness.
- that the quality of mainstream health care in the United States (as well as other developed countries) is deteriorating under pressure from managed care and struggling economies. The system is broken, often failing either to protect or to really fix the problem. For that reason, prevention, knowledge about our own health, and effective self-advocacy in dealings with all health practitioners are more important than ever before.
- that most illnesses are multi-causal. Illness takes time to develop, going through several stages; often stemming not from what we did yesterday, but what we’ve been doing for many years, not forgetting our inherited constitution and genetics. Yet when we change course, healing can be surprisingly powerful, often resulting in sudden, visible improvements to both mind and body.
- that most serious illnesses, especially cancers, have an emotional and spiritual component, and that real healing becomes most effective when heart, mind and spirit are unanimously involved in the healing process.
- that a positive paradigm shift is occurring in human, and specifically in female, consciousness, inviting us to look more deeply into what may be off-balance in our lives. This may include concerns regarding climate change and food production.
- that our best health emerges when we take guilt-free time, to rest, renew, and self-nurture; when we are “good parents” to ourselves. We are human beings, not human machines, as we age, we must learn to pace ourselves. When we realize that, yes, we are indeed good enough for anything we want to do, we must stop, breathe deeply and not try to do and be everything. Women are ‘scanners,’ always looking to protect the surroundings; this can sometimes get us off track. We must train ourselves to dispatch that sinuous, negative voice that seems to whisper insistently that we are not worthy of our deepest desires.
- that the outcome of an illness is never carved in stone, no matter what the ‘experts’ say.
- We are all dynamic, ever changing beings, and change is always possible. Even a small alteration can produce transformative results.
- I BELIEVE that our culture’s fear and distaste for ageing causes damage while masking reality. Growing old can present difficulties, but age confers the wisdom and strength of experience as well as opportunities to rediscover meaning in our lives, to deepen our beliefs, and make valuable and energizing spiritual connections.
- I do not BELIEVE in ever giving up, tough as times can be. But if one wants to give up something, try fear, negative thinking and sugar!
In the course of my diverse career in communications and the arts, I have worked for organizations including Sotheby’s Parke-Bernet and magazines including Harper’s Bazaar, British Vogue, and Town and Country both editorially and as a photographer. I have lived in both New York and London and have traveled around the world, visiting places including Baghdad, Tehran, Kyoto, Karachi, New Delhi, and more. In the midst of all these professional challenges, I was or became all of those things that women are: daughter, grand-daughter, mother, wife, sister, grand-mother, and friend.
Welcome to Vitality Lifeline’s Reading Rack. Each month, we plan to review a book we find timely and think you’ll enjoy. On top of that, we’ll frequently make suggestions o other books, new and old, diverse, often eccentric and always well-written. We welcome your thoughts and input. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute to the list or comment on our selections.
The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman
Gut: The Inside Story by Giulia Enders
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis