I have always had a longstanding passion for integrative health. I grew up eating organic fruits and vegetables, whole grain, lean meats, and fish. Growing up in an Armenian household, home cooked meals were the norm. I have continued that tradition in my own home and have raised my children understanding the impact of nutrient rich food on our health. I have taught them to pay attention to how their bodies feel when they make food choices. Along with a healthy diet I have always tried to keep active and have fun with my family and friends outdoors. My greatest blessing in my life, aside from my two children and husband, are the friends that surround me. I am grateful for the wonderful circle of friends that allow me to be myself, never with judgment. We support each other during our happiest and saddest times.
As a health care practitioner I am afforded the opportunity to have all the up-to-date medical literature available to me. I know about breast health and try to keep up on new technologies as they become available but 10 years ago my life changed forever. I cannot say I routinely performed self breast exams but luckily did, one summer night . Feeling a hard almost lumpy bump made me stop and question if I had ever felt it before. Waiting after my cycle (which is what we are told to do by our GYNs and midwives) I returned to that spot still feeling this strange hard lump. Luckily, because I perform examinations in radiology several days a week in my hospital as a swallowing disorders specialist, I mentioned to one of my friends, a radiologist, what I was feeling. His advice,“ let’s just do a mammography and alleviate any concerns you are having”. I always questioned mammography and wondered if radiating healthy breast tissue would prove to be an antiquated procedure in the future, but I decided that it would help me feel better by having that examination. That day I had a mammography with negative results. The radiologist then performed a sonogram which is often recommended for young women with dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue limits the radiologist’s ability to see abnormal growths or tumors as the density of the tissue appears white, masking the ability to visualize any possible growths. The sonogram was negative. But the lingering question in my mind was “what is this bumpy lump that I feel?” My persistence in asking the question and my doctor friend’s advice to have 1 more diagnostic test just to “feel better” led me to have a breast MRI 10 days later.
I went to the MRI office by myself, not considering the potential that something could be wrong. I didn’t have any history of breast cancer in my family, ate organic food my whole life, never smoked or took birth control pills and breast fed my boys for 2 years each! My risk of something being wrong was slim, I thought. While I waited in the reading room with my radiologist friend to view the films, I realized that something was clearly wrong. As the color drained from his face when the films came up on the screen he proceeded to tell me that what he was seeing was “not good”. It took me a while to even enter the thought of breast cancer in my mind. He quickly called a breast surgeon and scheduled me for a lumpectomy/biopsy in 2 days. My self-breast exam was to save my life. I was eventually schedule for more invasive surgery and later chemotherapy. During this process my family and friends were by my side each day. I intimately realized the power of friendship and relationships that help us heal.
During my recovery one of my friends offered me a energy healing session. This was my first experience with REIKI. Many years later my medical institution offered certification in REIKI for medical professionals. I experienced the impact of energy medicine as I began to use this form of healing with my patients. I continued with my training until I became the highest level in REIKI as a Master Teacher.
I recognized that the combination of conventional medical with alternative methods could facilitate the body’s innate healing response. This passion for integrative health was finally solidified when I was enrolled in the inaugural class for Integrative Health and Lifestyle certificate Program at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine. This program traditionally offered to physicians during their fellowships years now became available to licensed medical professionals. It allowed health professionals from various backgrounds to share their knowledge and learn about the impact of integrative health to change the way medicine is practiced. I successfully continued my education at University of Arizona’s Integrative Medical program and became a Certified Integrative Health Coach. In recent years I have appreciated the role that physical activity can have on improving health. This brought me to further my studies to ultimately achieve nationally recognized certification as a personal trainer and exercise fitness specialist.
I believe that an integrative approach to care will assist my patients and clients to optimize health. My private practice focuses on an integrative health coaching model. It is partnership between you and I in the healing process. It allows appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing process. Whether I am seeing you for communication and/or swallowing impairment, or health and wellness, I believe that integrative health recognizes that good medicine should be based in good science, be inquiry driven and be open to new paradigms. My practice focuses upon the promotion of health and the prevention of illness and the use of REIKI to help you achieve your ultimate goal of wellness. It is my honor to work with you and help you on your journey to ultimate mind-body-spirit wellness.