Trauma and Health in a World of COVID-19

I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 2007. I truly believed that the cancer was caused by childhood trauma I had experienced. I began writing my book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, and made the bold statement that: Unresolved Childhood Trauma Causes Health Conditions in Adults. Several medical people said my statement had no statistics to support my belief. Still, I continued to work on my book to explain how I survived cancer. In 2014, when my book was published, I continued to get feedback from people saying there was no evidence to support my belief.

I never wavered in my belief that adults can resolve childhood trauma, and survive it without becoming ill.

In a May 2020 article in TIME Magazine, I found this amazing information: According to a 1998 landmark study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the CDC, childhood trauma is strongly correlated with a person’s health as an adult. The study explored Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, surveying more than 9,500 adults insured by Kaiser Permanente about ACEs they may have faced as children. These included ‘psychological, physical or sexual abuse,’ ‘violence against mother,’ and ‘living with household members who were substance abusers, mentally ill or suicidal, or ever imprisoned.’

These study findings were from 1998 – that’s nine years before my diagnosis with cancer. I wish I had known about this study earlier. Nonetheless, my belief that childhood trauma affects adult’s health IS very accurate. (Note: Even one ACE in childhood increases adult health risks.)

Luckily, a company like Kaiser Permanente is investing in efforts aimed at reducing the number of ACEs in our communities.

It’s Time for TRUTH!

I would like to invite the people at Kaiser Permanente to consider my T.R.U.T.H. Program. (The Road to Unresolved Trauma Healing.) The T.R.U.T.H. mission provides trauma survivors with the opportunity to resolve issues to achieve a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

All over the world, we’re trying to eradicate the coronavirus. Why not end adverse childhood trauma, too, since over 60 percent of adults in the U.S. experienced at least one ACE in childhood, while 1 in 6 experienced four or more.

To find more information on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) please click on this link: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy

New 2019 Cancer Survey

New 2019 Cancer Survey

First Survivor Views Survey Highlights Barriers to Addressing Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Washington, D.C. – Barriers to accessing appropriate therapies to address the physical and psychological side effects of cancer treatment continue to persist for patients and survivors, according to survey results from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

Survivor Views, an initiative launched by ACS CAN in January, established a national cohort of cancer patients and survivors to complete a series of six individual surveys focusing on a range of public policy issues important to the cancer patient and survivor community. The results of the first survey, which are being released today, focus on patient experiences treating the symptoms and side effects of their cancer and access to supportive or palliative care services.

The survey found patients and survivors experience a wide range of symptoms and side effects as a result of their cancer care. While effective treatments exist for several of these physical and psychological side effects, the survey results indicate many patients and survivors are not accessing them for a variety of reasons.  Fifty-five percent of respondents reported physical limitations or difficulties completing tasks as a result of their cancer care, but only 26 percent reported being referred to physical, occupational or speech therapy by their health care provider. Similarly, 51% of patients reported anxiety or depression as a result of their cancer while only 10% reported being referred to a mental health provider for additional therapy.

Many survivors also reported adverse symptoms or pain well after their active treatment concluded. Of survey respondents who reported pain or other symptoms during treatment, two-thirds noted the symptoms resulting from their cancer or treatment continued well after active treatment concluded.

“Too many cancer patients and survivors are not receiving the appropriate treatments and therapies that would alleviate the side effects of their cancer care,” said Lisa Lacasse, ACS CAN president. “At a time when our health care system is facing incredible pressure to evolve, it’s clear that our approach to health care must become more holistic and provide patients with better coordinated options to alleviate the physical and psychological side effects of a cancer diagnosis. This coordinated, patient-centered care must continue well into survivorship as patients continue to live with the lasting side effects of their cancer and its treatment.”

Barriers to accessing prescription drug treatments to alleviate pain that often accompanies cancer treatment were also apparent in the survey results. Over half of cancer patients or survivors participating in the survey who have been prescribed opioids in the last 12 months voiced concern about their future ability to access appropriate pain medications. More than 40 percent of these respondents had already experienced barriers to accessing pain treatment.  Respondents reported these barriers had direct adverse impacts on their lives, including inability to work or participate in family or social events, setbacks in their ongoing cancer treatment, and the need for additional emergency care to treat uncontrolled pain.

Survivor Views is providing ACS CAN with timely, firsthand information that will drive our advocacy efforts forward, giving cancer survivors a voice in the issues directly affecting their lives,” Lacasse said. “The release of the first survey results focusing on patient experiences with treating pain and other side effects associated with a cancer diagnosis provides valuable insight into the shortcomings patients face in trying to manage their symptoms on a day-to-day basis and highlights that symptoms can extend months and years after treatment concludes.”

I found these survey results to be right on. Too many cancer survivors continue to deal with pain and side effects years after treatment. Now there’s proof! Thank you ACA for doing this enlightening survey!

Never Give Up!!!


It’s My Birthday!

It’s My Birthday!

Hi Wellness Readers:

Today is my birthday and it’s -10 degrees outside. My birthday lunch plans were rescheduled due to the extreme cold. Does this bother me? No, because I’ve learned that birthdays come and go but my life experiences will last forever. For instance . . .

Twelve years ago I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and given a six percent chance of survival. As dreadful as that sounds, I survived. The past 12 years have been a blessing to me and I will never take these years of life for granted. I’ve learned more about myself and this world than I ever dreamed. My greatest blessing was that I had the resilience to survive and see my wedding day! I am grateful for this miracle.

Yes, my wedding day is a miracle. I lived long enough to watch as our Minnesota governor sign the “Love is the law” legislation on May 14, 2013, making marriage legal for same sex partners. My wife, Rita, was at my side while I went through surgeries after surgeries, chemotherapy, two near death experiences — all to heal from cancer. And she is still by my side as life entertains and baffles us.

I’m grateful for this birthday today to remind me of all the people and things I hold dear. I’m a fortunate woman with a blistering past, but today I am whole and healed. Thank you Divine Spirit for all the good people in my life and the immense love that I feel every day.

I didn’t give up because I believe in love, truth, healing, and hope.

NEVER GIVE UP! EVER!!!

Writing Your Way Through Trauma Workshop

Writing Your Way Through Trauma Workshop

If you’ve experienced trauma and want a positive way to express your feelings, please join us for our “Writing Through Trauma Workshop.” You’ll learn how trauma can compromise your health and wellness, and learn ways to heal. Workshop 1.0 is for beginners who are exploring healing through writing. Workshop 2.0 is for writers who have taken Workshop 1.0 and want to pursue other creative forms.

These writing workshops are held at a safe and comfortable location. Please review the attached poster for details.

I hope you’ll join us.

Alexis Acker-Halbur
Workshop Co-Facilitator

New Program Coming Soon!

New Program Coming Soon!

One of the first lessons we learn as children is to tell the truth. For children who are physically, emotionally, and psychologically abused and traumatized, this lesson becomes a dire challenge. Frequently threatened and told to lie these children — now adults — grow further and further from the truth.

That is until now. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing with you a new program to help resolve trauma issues to achieve a healthy mind, body, and spirit. If trauma is making you sick, check out the T.R.U.T.H Program and find out how you can live a life of possibilities and promise.

T.R.U.T.H Program =
The Road to Unresolved Trauma Healing

Coming soon . . .