Health Counseling For Managing Illness

Live life to the full whatever your medical issue or illness

You’re More Than a “Patient”

If you’re living with a diagnosis like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease or cancer, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by doctor visits, medications, tiredness and the daily flood of health information in the news. It’s easy to feel limited and defined by your condition. I can help.

I’ve worked for years as an advisor to Illinois’ largest orthopedic group (including arthritis, rheumatology and sports injury recovery), and have helped doctors and heart and cancer patients among others learn to integrate the best of Western medicine with nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices to maximize (and simplify!) health and well-being.

I Will Help You Rediscover You

I always start by telling my clients, “You can so do this”: no matter what your illness might be, you can live and feel better. We’ll talk about the kinds of foods and activities you loved before your diagnosis, and you’ll learn that you can still eat and enjoy much more than you might think. If you bring me your favorite recipes, we’ll figure out how to make them work (and taste great) with new ingredients that meet your health needs. We’ll also discuss strategies for reawakening energy for the passions and interests you might feel your illness has put the brakes on.

As we work together, you’ll find that you are in control: I’m there to help and encourage, not to be yet another person assigning lists of do’s and don’ts. I’ll teach you proven foods and techniques to help you live the fullest, most joyful, healthiest life possible for you. As one cancer survivor famously wrote, it’s possible to have a major illness without the illness ever having you.

Small Steps: The Three “R’s” For Managing Illness

1. Review

In our first session, I’ll review your current diagnoses, medications, diet and level of physical activity. I’ll listen carefully to where you are and where you’d like to be, and map out the first steps of a realistic plan to help you feel better. Often a few simple changes can make a big difference (like understanding which foods work best with which medications, or adding probiotics to help restore your body’s natural balance). I can also help you understand and implement instructions and health improvements suggested by your doctor and other health professionals – who all too often don’t take the time to talk with you about how your condition and medical treatment will affect your daily life.

2. Reenergize

As we work together, we’ll talk about which specific strategies will help you the most given your current energy level, occupation and family schedule (if your health plan isn’t based in your real life, it just isn’t going to work). We’ll take a good, hard look at how you’re stocking your kitchen, and discuss how making changes to the way you eat can help you feel your best from the inside out. I can offer options you might not even imagine exist: replacement products and ingredients, weekly menus, and recipes for healthier (but still delicious) versions of your favorite comfort foods. I’ve also witnessed first-hand the striking power of certain green foods to heal and invigorate (my sons tease me for quoting from the Superhero movie Green Lantern that green “is the strongest source of energy in the universe”), and I have years of experience in making these foods delicious even for non-veggie-lovers (like my sons, and many of my clients).

We’ll also look at which daily activities tend to give you more energy and motivation and which tend to leave you feeling sapped. Sometimes saying “no” to the things that drain you (like committees or certain social groups) can be the best way to say “yes” to yourself, giving you more time and energy to rebuild and reconnect with your true priorities.

3. Renew

Even with – especially with – an illness, you deserve to have a life that’s recognizable to you as yours, and I promise we’ll take lasting steps to maximize your health and minimize the ways in which you may feel your illness has come to define you. We’ll make adjustments to your nutrition, lifestyle and exercise goals as we go based on which changes you discover most inspire and excite you. You can so do this!