After surviving a brain injury and living with multiple debilitating chronic illnesses, I want to help others learn from my experiences and inspire people to never give up despite what obstacles they may encounter and to stop using illness, a job, children, marriage, etc. as an excuse for why they can’t pursue their dreams, their calling. I live with mild aphasia (I can’t think of the word I want to say or I say the wrong word), yet I am drawn to a career in public speaking. I use my satirical sense of humor and blunt honesty to convey my message. People tell me they would never know that I had a brain injury. I believe God saved my life for a purpose. I am sure there were easier ways for me to get the message, but S/He knows how stubborn I can be.
I want to motivate people through my story. There needs to be better relationships between doctors and patients. Clinicians need to hear the patients’ whole story to facilitate better care. Narrative medicine workshops help clinicians recognize and interpret their patients’ stories; these types of active listening and reflective writing skills can be useful to both clinicians and patients, as well as in many other industries (in any client service industry where stories are conveyed).
I have spoken on various topics, including:
*How a Routine Hospitalization Put Me into a Coma—and It Could Happen to You.
*Why a Trip to the Hospital Can Kill You.
*Can Getting a Chronic Illness Be a Blessing?
*How I let go of anger, accepted my new circumstances, & started emotionally healing. And you can too!
*How I was able to adopt an attitude of never giving up, of overcoming all obstacles. And you can too!
*How to be your best advocate—how patients can help themselves.
*Don’t be a victim! Be a part of the solution.
*The Medical Marathon: How I found the courage to run and lose weight despite a debilitating brain injury.
*The Capable Disabled: People with disabilities CAN do anything they want—in their own way.
*Is Happiness a Choice?
*What Everyone Needs to Know about Living Well with Arthritis.
*What Everyone Needs to Know about Living Well with Lupus.
*How to Transition from Your Former Dream Career to the One You Want Today.
*A Bad Case of Food Poisoning Helped Me Rethink My Career.
*How much should parents tell their children about a parents’ illness?
*Deaths by medical mistakes is the 3rd leading cause of death in America.
*And other topics.
*Also narrative medicine workshops can be taken by clinicians, patients, or anyone interested in learning better communication and listening skills.