Katina’s News & Events

The Resiliency Quotient: Are You A Survivor or a Thriver?

The Resiliency Quotient: Are You A Survivor or a Thriver?

“Life is not for chickens” one of my friends said to me, shaking his head, as he listened to the litany of my recent 18 months: my husband walking out on me unexpectedly after ten years, a cancer scare and ensuing hellacious kidney surgery laying me up for 6 months, 3 burglaries involving a stalker, a serious car wreck, and 5 house moves all within 18 months time! On top of that I was also writing a health care book on a one year publishing house deadline, raising my teenage son and doing over 80 international speaking engagements simultaneously.

“You are the most resilient person I have ever known,” were his next words. I quietly nodded, for the first time paying attention to the fact that I was exhibiting enormous ‘bounce back’ from relentless crisis. These words gave me a moment to pause and reflect.

Was John correct? Am I truly resilient? Do I just deal with life’s blows and power on, or am I a crumbling tearful wreck behind closed doors yet put a brave on face to the world? In that moment I sensed myself inside, tuning into the real ‘knowing’ me and yes John was correct, I bounce back! I deal with the crisis in phases; go into shock, cry, disregard it, get angry, then finally accept the rotten card I got dealt, think logically and creatively, set a goal and work my ways forwards with intention. I envision myself 100% strong, healthy, glowing and energized. Then, I put it all behind me and look ahead to a better, brighter, more exciting role or place I want to be enjoying. Soon, my ambition and enthusiasm replace the sorrow and overwhelming upset, and sometimes I even get inspired to leap ahead and do something grand, that helps others or changes my life grid all together.

Am I a fluke? No. Epigenetic Medicine says survivors all visualize themselves down the line — even when in wars or chemotherapy trials or after being decimated by natural disasters — in a better place. They typically see themselves happy and united with loved ones in their future. They do NOT crumble to the immediacy of their rightfully fearful or sorrowful feelings, but move through them and beyond to a better tomorrow. The moment of turmoil or terror is not grasped to tightly but more or less stepped over in the moment (to be returned to often when life returns to normal and they can process it). Survivors ignite the powerful mind-body-spirit pathway we all bear, which turns on brain endorphin production, elevates adrenalin release and stimulates the immune system.

According to Dawson Church, author of “The Genie In Your Genes” and leader of the EFT (emotional freedom technique) therapy, we all bear a gene ‘set’ that can be turned on and help us become resilient and actually thrive in spite of disastrous life calamities. “Some families exhibit a natural tendency to pull themselves through near death and catastrophic crisis” says Church. “In these instances, whether by example of pure DNA genetic predispositions, we see a small percentage of people overcome the most extreme adversities and not crumble or get locked into bereavement, illness, phobias from trauma, and conversely many will. The fact is we can all turn on this resiliency gene set.”

My immigrant Greek grandfather left home at age 11 with his 13-year-old brother. They slept on warehouse tabletops in Romania for 5 years as they packed potatoes and sent their money back home to their widowed mother and younger siblings. As street urchins they lived rugged lives, emigrated to NYC, worked 12 hour shifts shoveling coal into the big burbling furnaces of the St Regis Hotel. And then went on to become food market owners and live into their late 90s.

My father was left for dead in the WW2 jungles of the Philippines, survived a hellacious car wreck, and then 20 years later shot 18 pulmonary embolisms post-op to be declared dead and yet make the decision to ‘come back’ to life.

My ten-year battle with misdiagnosed chronic Lyme disease, left me bedridden for 3 years. I lost all the American emblems of success; career & income, marriage & home, health & well-being. Emotionally, physically and spiritually broken, death knocked on my door too many frightening times. With my then 80-year-old veteran father coaching me, I chose to live. I embraced a thorough process of self visualizations, prayer, positive thinking, and the WILL to live long enough to see my then 8-year-old son be a man of 18. Today he is 19 years old and I am 100% recovered, have been for 6 years.

My resiliency quotient is not unique. You too can bounce back and live the life you desire. And, this requires inner mental work and some dedication to yourself and patterns. Psychologists have found certain attitudes and actions to be effective in encouraging greater emotional resiliency.

Here are some absolutely salient factors to mind.

  • Accept responsibility for your life and actions. Some events are out of your control, but you can influence the emotional outcome.
  • Think positively. If you are struggling with this, just saying the words over and over, “everything will work out fine” is a good place to start.
  • Teach yourself to accept change. Rearrange your furniture or buy some clothing of different colors than your usual wardrobe. In accepting change during a low stress time, you can better adjust when an unexpected change does occur.
  • Develop your self-confidence. Learning a new skill is the simplest avenue. Take sketching classes, learn yoga, train for a 10k race.
  • Be true to yourself by practicing authenticity. Facades end up limiting you severely in the end.

Many people experience anxiety during this sort of self-discovery process. You may want to see a therapist or counselor for emotional support and confirmation of your self identity during this blossoming journey.

  • Connect with your inner faith. Prayer, meditation, walks in the woods, and community service are all ways to tune in with your personal power and inner beliefs. Teach these things to your children. It will serve them well in life.

I believe in the power of the mind, of the calling of your heart and the will to make your life your own. Outside help in the form of health care practitioners, therapists, medications or nutritional changes maybe useful supports to a struggling body. But, the greatest potentials lie within your own grasp. The tools are born to you and must be honed. Practicing gratitude and honoring both your ancestors and those near and dear who offer you solace or vision of hope are beautiful allies. Believe in your tomorrow.

Lyme Disease Awareness: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe this Summer

Lyme Disease Awareness: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe this Summer


Approximately every 30 years, an infectious disease epidemic sweeps modern civilization: AIDS, polio, diptheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, yellow fever, malaria.

Medicine is initially unprepared and millions of lives are lost or compromised. Then science rallies, treatments or vaccines are discovered, the epidemic is quelled and life begins to stabilize for mankind.

Sadly, we are waking up to the reality that migratory birds have introduced infected ticks of every variety to all regions of the United States and the world. In 2016, Lyme Disease is not just a East coast illness; it is rampant in many areas, from the deep South, to the Great Lakes, the Pacific northwest, Canada, Scandinavia, and over 89 countries of the world.

Statistics coming from ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Disease Society) are indicating that Lyme disease is the infectious disease epidemic of the 21st century and we do not have a vaccine or a frank effective treatment regime for chronic or misdiagnosed cases.

Once considered a two-week infectious illness transmitted by a bite from the tiny deer tick, 40 years of clinical discovery has illuminated that Lyme disease is a far more complex condition. The organism is a spirochete corkscrew-shaped bacteria, akin to syphilis, that quickly burrows its way from the bloodstream into connective tissues, joints, muscle fascia, organs, glands, and eventually to the spinal fluid, brain, and spinal nerves.

The Center for Disease Control acknowledges between 300,000-500,000 cases of Lyme Disease are contracted annually in the United States, but a mere 10% are properly diagnosed in the early weeks of an infection, due to an outdated generic ELISA test the typical physician uses that produces a 70% false negative finding. The remainder of cases are often misconstrued as autoimmune illnesses or mental disorders, such as Lupus, MS, fibromyalgia, CFS, RA, ALS, or others.

Borrelia burgdorferi is a slow-reproducing bacteria – six weeks – versus staphococcus or streptococcus, meaning antibody production is late to manifest via blood testing, yet symptoms are readily surfacing.

Muscle and joint pains, stiff neck, headaches, pronounced fatigue, brain fog, depression and even a bull’s eye skin rash, confuse individuals and physicians into believing a rogue virus or maybe a ‘spider bite’ could have induced the malingering symptoms.

Most often, if not treated with six weeks of tetracycline antibiotics immediately, an individual is left with a constellation of odd symptoms in multiple bodily systems, lumbering along trying to find resolution, typically with little success.

The best steps you can take are awareness, prevention, and early diagnosis by a Lyme literate physician. Follow these tips to minimize Lyme disease risk:

  1. Avoid all areas of tall grasses, forest underbrush, beach dune grass, overgrown foliage.
  2. Keep your grass cut short and woodpiles away from the yard or patios.
  3. Do not feed wildlife, and eliminate bird feeders. It is important to deter rodents, birds, mammals of any type, as they are ‘tick taxis’ potentially dropping them into your habitat.
  4. Wear light-colored long sleeve and full leg clothing when gardening, hiking, fishing, camping, and even running or golfing. Spray kids with permithrin tick repellant before soccer practice!
  5. After ALL outdoor activities, remove all your clothing, including socks and underwear, and run them for 30 minutes on HOT heat in the dryer, as high temperatures will kill and shrivel ticks, since they thrive in moisture. Do a full-body scan for any potential ticks, especially the warm areas of groin, neck, armpits, back of knees. Brush your hair and shower using a washcloth or loofah pad.
  6. Pets can carry ticks! Do not let your pets sleep in your bed. Brush them daily outside and keep them protected with a tick repellant such as Vectra or Frontline. Pets are notorious for carrying ticks into the house, as they brush up against the foliage ticks reside in. Give your dog the LymeVax immunization annual shot.

If you think you may have Lyme disease, insist upon the IgeneX Labs initial Lyme panel which is 4 tests combined, including the more accurate Western Blot test and borrelia b. DNA fragment. The fastest accuracy testing is from Global Lyme Diagnostics in North Carolina, with a state of the art antigen screening. Do not accept a negative on an ELISA test. Seek assistance from ILADS.com and LymeDisease.org.

With the warm weather upon us, we are in peak tick hatch out season. Following these prevention tips will help keep you pro-active and aware.

Katina is teaching with neurologist Dr. Jodie Dashore, at The Rowe Center, Rowe, MA, 10/13-15/17. http://rowecenter.org/wp/events/tick-action-getting-serious-recovery-lyme-disease/

Stay well and get well with Dr. Jodie and Katina.