Elizabeth Coolidge-Stolz


You can use the Talk to Us
page options to send
messages and receive
updates from us.
Tell us what works best
for you. New ideas?
We're listening.

e-mail us your thoughts
This is a community as well
as a website. Tell us what
works well and what we can
do to be more useful to you.
 With the passion and
perspective of many people,
we will all be stronger.
I have been a doctor, a patient, a woman with chronic illness,
and the mother of a child with multiple medical challenges.  Medical knowledge didn’t save me when I had a head injury
in my twenties: It was the unwavering love of my husband. 

The idea of focusing on healing the heart, mind, and body
in an integrated way was born while reading one of Tony
Hillerman’s novels about the Navajo people. In one book,
an elderly Navajo woman had a conversation with her
earnest young white doctor. He talked about her terminal
cancer, telling her to remain in the hospital for supportive
care. She talked about going home to have a healing
ceremony. He thought she didn’t understand her condition.
She understood perfectly.

Their painful talk marked differences in age and life
experience as well as culture.  I suspect he viewed death
as I did when I was a medical student and resident, as an
enemy to hold off as long as possible. The woman knew
better. She had lived fully and she was going to continue to
live, even though that meant getting ready to die.

She didn’t think the healing ceremony would remove her
cancer. The ceremony was more important than that.
It would bring her back into balance with her spirit, her
family, the land and history that had sustained her through-
out life. The experience would help her heal from within,
find the balance that would guide her to death as it had
guided her through the earlier parts of her life.

I believe we need to heal from within, that understanding
and accepting problems and challenges within our hearts
gives us the grounding, the opportunity, to push forward
with healing mind and body so we find balance and live as
fully as possible.

These ideas are explored in Healing Woman, the essay
I wrote that gave the name to this website and community.
You can access it from the home page. Also on the home
page is our menu of Foods for the Heart, for the Mind, for
Smart Patients, for the Body, and for the Future.

Create the recipe that works for you. Enjoy your visit and
come often. You are always welcome here.

After earning my MD degree, I trained in internal medicine in a Boston,
Massachusetts hospital with the goal of specializing in oncology, cancer
care. A car accident and head injury ended that clinical career.

When I had healed enough to find a professional position again, my
husband Jeff and I thought about what had originally drawn me to
academic medicine---the urge to make a difference, the ability to explain
concepts clearly to colleagues and to people with no medical background
– and I found my way into medical publishing and patient education.

At the same time, I became involved with patient-led organizations such
as the Epilepsy Foundation and began to talk and write about medical
advocacy. My mistakes as a patient, being passive and afraid to ask for
a second opinion for fear of offending my first doctor, taught me that
medical knowledge does not make a smart patient, someone who can
identify the care they need and work effectively to get it.

It was a privilege to be the leadoff speaker for the 1997 opening plenary
session of the Epilepsy Foundation of America national meeting, which
focused on women’s issues that year.

After that meeting, I started speaking to various groups of people with
chronic illness and parents of children with medical issues, using my
story as an introduction to the concepts and skills of patient advocacy so
other people could get needed healthcare in a way that turns doctors and
other medical providers into teammates.

Over the years, I have talked to varying groups, some hundreds of
people in size, some I could count on two hands. I have also worked
with individuals who needed help to become effective representatives
for themselves or loved ones.

The Healing Woman website is the next step in offering what I’ve
learned through education, my personal experience, and the
experiences of many people who have shared their lives with me.
The goals of Healing Woman are twofold: to help people take owner-
ship of illness and health and to empower them with knowledge and
skills so they have as much control as possible over their bodies and
their lives. I hope people learn to make decisions they can live with
and know every day they are living as fully as possible.

Healing Woman is devoted to helping individuals heal spiritually,
mentally, and physically, as well as to helping the healing of families
and communities. This web site is not devoted only to women, however,
or even to humans.

Love is healing, whether given or received. Being needed pulls you out
of yourself, making you more helpful to others and easing your own
healing.  My husband found that to be true when I was hurt, and I’ve
discovered it over the years working at home as a mother and with our
cats and dogs as companions.

Copyright © 2010-2013 HealingWoman, Inc. All rights reserved • Legal Information