I am a medical/science journalist who became interested in integrative medicine — combining alternative and conventional treatments — during my recovery from a stroke. When I was in my early 40s I woke up from routine surgery with half my body paralyzed as the result of a microscopic piece of tissue that had broken away and traveled through blood vessels to lodge in my brain. I was told after a modest recovery that I could expect to be disabled for life. With two young children and a busy life, this was not an option for me. So I researched and incorporated alternative methods such as acupuncture, the Alexander Technique, craniosacral therapy, Pilates and massage into my rehab program and recovered completely. I also found these methods helpful in dealing with Marfan syndrome, an inherited disorder of the connective tissue.
Now I want to spread the word to others: Do not give up hope! We can take responsibility and “own our health,” even when faced with serious illness, pain, and injury—not as passive recipients of medical treatment, but as active partners with our doctors. Modern medicine cannot yet cure such conditions as chronic pain, arthritis, degenerative disease or digestive problems. But what if we asked our doctors to see us as more than a collection of symptoms? What if we asked them to help us strengthen and nourish our own potential to heal? How can we become more resilient to disease and pain? These are the kinds of questions I have explored in my books and hope to discuss with others through this blog.