I recently had the privilege of giving a speech to a packed house of incredible people at the Hay House I Can Do It IGNITE conference, where I shared the stage with my mentors, teachers, and friends – Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Doreen Virtue, Cheryl Richardson, Danielle LaPorte, Kris Carr, Kate Northrup, Gabrielle Bernstein, Latham Thomas, Alisa Vitti, and more. For those who missed it live, I wanted to share with you my notes from my speech. So here you go!
What if I told you that caring for your body was the least important part of your health?
I learned this, not in medical school, but as a patient.
I was a 24-year-old third year medical student on rounds in the ICU, when I felt my heart begin to pound, faster and faster. I felt a lump in my throat, my chest felt tight, I couldn’t breathe, and I could hear my blood rushing in my ears. I took my pulse. It was 230 beats per minute.
The Diagnosis: Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
The Treatment: Lay off the caffeine and keep right on seeing patients in the hospital
Nobody ever suggested that my heart might be acting up because I was being sexually harassed by the surgeon who was supposed to be my teacher. For 12 solid weeks, I had been scrubbing into surgery, while my teacher thrust a suction catheter into my hand and said, “Suck me good, Lissa. Suck me hard, Lissa.” This went on Every. Single. Day.
A year later, I was at a beachfront resort, wearing a sexy black negligee and preparing to have sex with my husband. Although I was smiling on the outside, I was cringing on the inside, because having sex felt like getting stabbed with a knife, like razor blades were slicing into my vagina and tearing me open. After sex, when I’d urinate, it felt like I was covered with cuts and taking a bath in vinegar.
The Diagnosis: Vulvar vestibulitis
The Treatment: Antihistamines, estrogen cream, antidepressants, and maybe some day surgery to cut out the diseased part of my vagina
Nobody once asked me whether my vagina might be rebelling because I had married a guy who wanted me to drop out of medical school and have babies so he could be the doctor in the family.
High Blood Pressure
When I was 27 year old, my doctor noticed that my blood pressure was alarmingly high. She referred me to a cardiologist, who ordered a whole battery of tests which failed to reveal any explanation for my 180/100 blood pressure.
The Diagnosis: Chronic hypertension
The Treatment: Three drugs that still didn’t control my blood pressure
Nobody ever suggested that my blood pressure might be high because the doctors in charge of my education expected me to work 17 hour days, even when I was sick. When I had the flu, I was throwing up and had such severe diarrhea that I assumed my teachers would send me home. But instead, they hooked me up to an IV, pumped me full of anti-nausea drugs, fitted me with a diaper, and told me to scrub into surgery. When I then passed out and dropped my instruments into the patient’s abdomen, I assumed I would finally get to go home, but instead, they put me on a gurney, took me to the recovery room, pumped me full of more fluids, and sent me back to the operating room. Not to mention that I was in the middle of a divorce and I had attended four funerals within a year.