1993: "My Pivotal Moment"
In 1993 I was faced with two situations that made me realize that there was more to being a doctor than I ever learned in my medical training.
This story begins with my diagnosing cancer in two of my patients. The first was a young woman in her 20s that I had diagnosed with breast cancer right before her wedding; the second was an operating room nurse diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
As I supported them from diagnosis through exploration of all traditional and non-traditional treatment options, our relationship gradually transformed from strictly doctor-patient to advisor-confidant. These special women were both having similar experiences. They were being told that it did not matter what they did or how they lived their life, that traditional medical treatments (surgeries, chemo, radiation, etc.) would fight their disease. However, they intuitively knew that this was wrong. Lifestyle had to have some impact on their health. They also realized that there were possibly other solutions available to them that they didn't yet know of, such as herbs and acupuncture.
So my patients decided to ask me the important questions. "What can I do besides what my oncologist is telling me?" Does how I live my life and what I eat affect my disease?" All of us knew instinctively that the answer was "yes." I now understood that I needed to learn the specific answers to those questions in order to support these two courageous women in the ways that they wanted to be supported.
They also asked me questions like what happens after a person dies. This led me to realize that I needed to ask that question of myself in order to help my patients find their own individual answers. It was becoming evident to me that what a person believes about death and dying also has a dramatic impact on the experience of living with cancer.
I then went on to teach myself about the effectiveness of herbs, mind-body medicine, nutrition, energy medicine, and relaxation techniques. This education gave me the foundation I needed to develop the model for my medical practice, "Holistic Healing; Modern Medicine."
I became keenly aware that there was more to being a medical doctor than just prescribing medication and performing procedures. I realized that my responsibility is to help my patients make informed decisions about their health based on the best scientific information available, while honoring and respecting their desires about the use of Holistic interventions.