Sunday, March 16, 2014

Take Care of Yourself

By contributing author Stefanie Stolinsky, Ph.D

We are at least partly responsible for our own health. So many things can go wrong that are out of our control; diseases that no one has been able to help or cure, accidents we didn’t see coming, betrayals we didn’t see coming. But we need to do what we can to prevent it all.  Like gambling, where you get only one chance to bet or scrape for a card (in “21”), we can’t afford to make mistakes that cannot be taken back.
My brother died three weeks ago. We weren’t close and I saw him and spoke to him maybe once or twice a year.  Long ago, my brother decided to leave whatever family he had and join the Church of Scientology where he found not only new friends, but also made them his family.
When he got sick, fifteen months ago with terminal Stage four prostate cancer, he never called me, his only sister, to tell me, to ask my advice (my husband is an oncologist/hematologist with boards in both), he decided to work it his way.  Not that that would have changed anything at all, but he knew that something that serious should be treated aggressively.  Instead, he decided on only “natural” ingredients and decried Kaiser’s attempt to treat him with by-the-book medications. Instead, he took off for Europe and “alternative” therapy which consisted of Oxygen therapy.  He lost two months of medicine doing that, and decided, apparently, all this is from a third person---his friend and confidante at Scientology---to explore Europe, noteably Austria.  He had a wonderful time, met wonderful people and really enriched his life.
When he got home, he finally gave in to American medicine and his PSA plummeted from 395 (a huge figure) to 1, a figure my husband found hard to believe, but nevertheless is in the files.  My brother was hopeful that he could lick the illness now and had told a friend he planned to spend the year exercising and eating right and curing himself.  The next few days, the metastases in his brain invaded a blood vessel and he was dead.  It is important to get your annual PSA and your mammogram (each year or year and a half).
My brother lived a very happy and exciting life with the Scientologists, even though it is not a belief of mine. They happened to be a great support for him. He traveled in his work for them and was a very important member of their publications department. He gave himself a life and enjoyed it.  Still, I think it is important to take care of your health in any and every way you can.  Making sure you see doctors and dentists regularly and getting whatever tests we do have to stem the tide of serious illness.

Maybe this would have happened anyway in exactly the way it happened, but maybe he would have bought himself much more time by going the normal route of accepted medical treatment. Maybe going around Austria and Hungary was the most exciting and positive thing a seriously ill person could do rather than suffering the exhaustion and depression of chemotherapy. But informed consent and a clear understanding of what you can do to extend your life is the best way you can give back to God and to yourself.

*****Stefanie Stolinsky, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist with a private practice in Beverly Hills.  She specializes in treating and evaluating trauma, adults sexually, physically and emotionally abused as children, and PTSD as well as evaluating neuropsychological functioning.  She is an international speaker and has taught training seminars in overcoming the aftereffects of child abuse. She has also taught licensing examinations to candidates for both marriage, family and child counseling and for the psychology licenses.  Dr. Stolinsky is a QME who evaluates workers’ comp cases including depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury and personal injuries.  Her book, ACT IT OUT: 25 Acting Exercises to Heal from Childhood Abuse,” was first published by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and was a best seller for nine years.  Recently, a second edition of the book was published by Praeclarus Press.  In it, Dr. Stolinsky describes her unique method, developed at UCLA, for working with the aftereffects of child abuse. In this therapy she helps survivors combine acting exercises with psychodynamic psychotherapy to help them overcome the aftereffects of abuse.  Dr. Stolinsky lives with her husband in Los Angeles.

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