Book Review of ‘The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma’

My book review of The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is now posted on Amazon.com. It seems fitting to publish it during PTSD Awareness Month, now with the perspective of someone with first-hand experience in dealing with this problem in a loved one. In my free time, I’ve spent the past few months educating myself and exploring every valid treatment option.

While some of the case studies Dr. van der Kolk includes in the book are difficult to read (horrible child abuse in every possible form), they also prove that with the right approach, even the worst experiences can be overcome. He also offers an understandable description/distinction between traumatic memory and normal memory — helpful in recognizing why it’s not possible for people with PTSD to simply “get over it” without the proper treatment (which usually means a combination of therapies).

In their justifiable reaction to helicopter parenting, coddling, and the “everybody wins a trophy” nonsense, I find that some (not all) conservatives seem to dismiss the real problem of PTSD caused by early childhood trauma and the fact that actual child abuse does exist. Now I cringe when I see memes about how being beaten with a belt as a child helped someone grow into a responsible adult.

When I reunited with my guy after two decades, I had no idea that his background included horrific abuse from both parents (physical beatings, emotional torture, and ZERO affection), compounded by subsequent combat experience in the Navy. I met him right after his service in 1992 and after reading this book, I understand why those memories were suppressed 26 years ago.

After multiple emotional conversations with him, I find myself thanking God even more for my upbringing in a loving, stable home. At first, I even felt a twinge of guilt for being blessed with two good parents and four siblings. Home was a haven for me — not a place I feared to return to after school. But his entire childhood and adolescence was rooted in fear.

Sure, my parents disciplined and raised my brothers, sister, and me to be responsible, productive people. But it didn’t involve prolonged beatings with objects like bats and belts. That’s something I wish more conservatives and people in general would acknowledge.

Read my Amazon review here.

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Spiritual Intelligence with Ima Sumac Watkins

I’m excited to announce the debut of Spiritual Intelligence with Ima Sumac Watkins on the LYONS Radio Network. Even better, I’m honored and grateful to be Ima’s first guest during her inaugural broadcast on Saturday, June 2 at Noon Eastern.

If you’re unfamiliar with Ima’s work, she is a spiritual counselor and entrepreneur who helps others become, as she describes it, “spiritually grounded in reality.” Not only have I interviewed her several times on my own programs, I’ve participated in one of her group classes and benefited from private phone sessions with her designed to offer guidance and clarity for business and personal considerations. Ima is a gem and her work is effective. Most of all, I love her philosophy of empowering and teaching others to see for themselves and apply spiritual practices to their everyday lives — whether for improved health, better relationships, business success, career direction, or personal healing.

Please join us on Saturday, June 2 at Noon Eastern by clicking this link. Or, listen by phone at (646) 668-8494.

UPDATE: Due to technical difficulties, the show will be rescheduled.

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A Recommendation of Dr. John Carrozzella of Florida Hormones and Wellness

In a departure from my usual posts on writing and publishing, I’d like to make a recommendation of Dr. John Carrozzella of Florida Hormones and Wellness in Orlando Florida.

My work as a copywriter for SMART Growth Marketing creates an ongoing opportunity for me to discover new industries and professions, and hone my persuasive writing skills. A few months ago, I wrote copy for Dr. C’s (as he’s known by his patients) digital marketing campaign, which included an informative eBook on Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).

In 2002, I discovered the benefits of bio-identical progesterone cream through Arbonne, which became the solution I’d been seeking for most of my life. But until I wrote the eBook with medical information provided by Dr. C., I had no clue about the widespread impact of hormones and hormone deficiency on every aspect of health and well-being — from heart disease to diabetes — not only menopause or anything relating to sex. Having spent decades seeking alternatives to synthetic hormones, e.g. the pill, the panacea most gynecologists prescribe for irregular periods and other female health problems, I welcomed the discovery of bio-identical progesterone, which regulated my cycle with no harmful side effects.

Even back in the day at the age of 19, I remember challenging the doctor who explained that Provera, a synthetic version of progesterone, would not solve my problem, but would instead create a “false scenario” in my body so I’d get a period every month. “What’s the point of that? And why can’t we solve the problem so my body functions the way nature intended without putting synthetic garbage into it?” I remember asking.

I’m paraphrasing slightly, but I intuited at a young age that nothing good could come from taking synthetic hormones that failed to address and correct the issue — and worse, had the potential to inflict more harm over time. So began my decades-long journey from doctor to doctor, with the same frustrating results. Eventually, I learned to smile, say “thank you” and take the prescription for the pill, then rip it up as soon as I left their office.

Years later in 1998, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a complex condition that affects women in various ways. In most cases like mine, it’s not obvious by looking at someone’s physical appearance that they even have PCOS, which is characterized by acne, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, excess facial and body hair, and — as the name suggests, ovarian cysts. For me, it began with a strange outbreak of cystic acne on my chin (something I never dealt with as a teenager), prompting my first visit to a dermatologist, who took one look at me and declared, “I’ll give you something to clear up the acne, but this is a hormonal problem. You need to go back to your doctor and get to the bottom of it.”

I took his advice, which led to a referral to the Fertility and IVF Center of Miami in the spring of 2000, where a specialist determined I had simple ovarian cysts and endometriosis. After my outpatient procedure, the doctor handed me a prescription for the pill, which I accepted and never filled. By then, I knew it was pointless to engage in debate on the topic. Thankfully, the acne and the simple cysts cleared up and dissolved on their own, and once I discovered Arbonne’s natural progesterone cream, I experienced regular cycles. Problem solved. Or so I thought.

Dr. John Carrozzella

Fast forward to a few months ago. The acne on my chin returned with a vengeance, though this time it was not cystic. However, it recurred in an endless cycle, creating redness, discomfort and itching. Combined with the onset of insomnia, which is especially difficult for a deep sleeper like me, and low energy levels, I realized it was time to book an appointment with Dr. C. I called Jody, his Chief Operating Officer and former partner in SMART Growth Marketing, to start the process, which began with detailed blood work, followed by an office visit with Dr. C. to review the results and decide on a plan forward.

I spent about 30 minutes in his office, during which he explained that PCOS is a complex problem involving sugar metabolism, progesterone, thyroid, and androgen sensitivity. He noted that PCOS people tend to have insulin resistance but since my blood sugar was really good (72), that was not the case with me. While I was not a “clear-cut” case, Dr. C said it was rare for him to see patients who were 50 pounds overweight, with significant acne, noticeable hair growth and spots on their skin, high testosterone, zero progesterone levels, and a blood sugar of 120.

He also explained that other things can mimic PCOS, including gluten sensitivity. Not only does gluten play a role in skin manifestations, it is the number one reason people have autoimmune thyroiditis, a condition my blood work also revealed, along with a B12 and vitamin D deficiency.

I appreciated his thoroughness in not only explaining the causes and cures for my health issues, but in prescribing a course of treatment that incorporates medical-grade supplements, a gluten-free diet, bio-identical thyroid and progesterone, and Spironolactone for its secondary effect of blocking testosterone from the skin.

During our conversation, Dr. C was forthright, knowledgeable and open to answering my questions. He took his time, explained everything clearly, and made me feel as if my concerns were important. I wish every doctor practiced medicine in the same way, where they consider the unique needs of each patient and create an individualized protocol to solve their specific health issues. In six weeks, I’ll return to determine if we need to make any changes to this regimen, based on blood results. It’s another example of Dr. C.’s attentiveness to detail and concern for his patients.

It was definitely worth the drive to Orlando from South Florida to spend some time with Dr. C. and his wonderful staff.

For more information, visit www.hormonesandwellness.com.

And don’t forget to take the BHRT quiz.

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