Over two decades as a medical oncologist, first at the University of Washington and then at the City of Hope, I witnessed many patient stories. But then my uncle died of leukemia, and my grandmother of lung cancer. It had become personal! So I changed my strategy, went back to school to study epidemiology and genetics, and focused on cancer prevention, first in families with cancer-associated gene mutations. But, only 5-10% of cancers are hereditary… I wanted more impact! Then came the day that changed my life: my husband was hospitalized for a drug overdose. His addiction took us on a wild ride of financial ruin that led me to stress-related weight gain, high blood pressure, and… yes, cancer: melanoma—cured with surgery alone, because, fortunately, I knew how to recognize it early.
Everything changed when I took a step back from taking care of everyone else and gave myself permission to take care of myself. I began a long, slow, but deliberate path to “Physician, Heal Thyself.”
Along the way I became affiliated with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, through which I found other like-minded healthcare professionals who prioritize proactivity over reactivity. And then my concept of 360-Wellness was born.