Jul 18, 2018

Kayla

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Edited: Aug 1, 2018

NAME: Kayla Janae Luhrs

ADDRESS: 4255 Lakeshore Drive, Juneau, AK, 99801

PHONE: 907.301.6427

EMAIL: wholelifepractice@icloud.com

WEBSITE(S): kaylamd.com (wholelifemedicine.org), mooncyclemedicine.org, ketwell.com, cornerstonenph.org

 

1) What inspired you to become a healer?

I witnessed my first birth at age 9 which occurred in the Spring of 3rd grade when my youngest sister arrived in this world. The doctor gave me the task of cutting the thick gelatinous cord tethering the slippery, loud, red-raced 10lb infant to my mother, after which I felt so faint I was whisked away by a nurse to the juice closet where I sipped Welch’s trying to regain my composure, beads of sweat dripping down my brow and tears streaming down my face so moved, emotional and nauseated at the same time.

 

The event inspired a school project about wanting to be an ob/gyn, complete with photos, (to my mom’s later parent-teacher conference horror). I think it was really the magic of the event that got my attention though, more than the medicine. I had a keen curiosity the inner workings of not only the body, but also the mind and spirit. For example how did the soul of my small sister find its way into her body, almost a carbon copy of mine though several sizes smaller, as if my mom had grabbed the outfit on the front of the rack and the one on the back and they happened to come complete with children. Or two different sizes of those Russian stacking dolls. We were buddies. I felt I understood her, how sometimes the degree of stress held in her little mind caused a snap creating a fit or a shriek or a meltdown. I totally got it, but, being the big sister, didn’t exactly have the same luxury. That’s the thing about stress though: its potential energy or matter. It has to go somewhere, and for me that was typically my stomach.

 

Dance is my true passion, and if you had asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, that is the answer you likely would have gotten. During a philosophy class at a yoga ashram in India the teacher explained: “Happiness is being in a no-thought state: people get the activity that produces the no-thought state confused with happiness”,. This was when I realized that as a child, dance was my meditation. Tuning the mind to the frequency of the body with the exclusion of outside worries or interference. In high school I began to nurture an interest in health more because I interpreted it as such a cornerstone for life, as having a healthy well-working body freed one to concentrate more fully on the profundity or our purpose in this life. Therefore I was interested in medicine, as it is somehow synonymous with “health” in our culture, because I wanted my own body to be as healthy as possible, and was interested in learning exactly how to do that. This was also the time when my friends were either riding or being pummeled by the wave of puberty and with it the minefields of sexuality and body image. I had known about sex and reproduction since the 3rd grade as well thanks to my mother’s well timed showing of a scientific video tape shedding light on the process using anatomical terms and describing the sperm’s movement beneath the lens of the microscope without a hint of emotion or skepticism. I think I was the one to enlighten most of my other friends, as well as make the ¼ mile trek from our high school to the public health department where we could get birth control pills or depo-provera shots without cash or parental oversight, each time one of them happened to confide in me about “doing it”, given the live-in birth control I had at home in the form of a 5 year old sister.

 

My parents are both teachers, who taught me from a young age to value education, and that college was a light at the end of the tunnel, especially so if something wasn’t going well on a more temporal-present level, similar to the heaven at the end of the trials and tribulations of Earth that I learned about in Sunday school; a view that became more and more oppressive to me as the years in the “just wait a little longer” stage drug on. At the time though, I thought preventing a teenage pregnancy was like saving a life as I wanted my friends to finish high school and get a chance at the college dream. This was before I made the startling discovery I was gay, but certainly in the midst of the angsty confusion leading up to it, and this small fact may have contributed to my women’s empowerment quest.

 

Meanwhile in health class I was taught the food pyramid as a way to eat, that food is calories and our bodies are machines that “burn” the calories and in simple, unemotional, math, we can make our bodies get bigger and smaller at will; of course making sure that we had 6-11 servings of bread, some “fruits-and-vegetables” and animal protein; learning to buy “low-fat” foods as a way to “take care of myself”. By then my stomach troubles were acting up more and more, sometimes I wouldn’t have any appetite, sometimes going through the day eating almost a dozen candy bars from the fundraising box in my locker that was supposed to be earning money for my dance team to go to New York City but instead was earning me a mental complex about why it was so hard for me to stop eating chocolate when I knew that it wasn’t healthy for me. I did go to the doctor for the stomach troubles without any clear understanding, explanation or treatment plan save “you’re not going to die immediately”; the symptoms qualifying me for “irritable bowel syndrome” though that was less vogue in 1998.

 

Not coincidentally around this time my mood seemed to start stalling out and taking unexpected downward shifts jolting me around like my stepdad’s 1980 Ford F-150, which I learned to drive the summer it turned 23 and I turned 16 in the mountains of my childhood home in Southeast Alaska. It was 18 months before that when my best friend Chelsea was in the backseat of the Honda Civic her parents bought from our family friends Steve and Mary, when the car, somehow out of control was airborne coming down one of the main mountainside roads and was hit by an oncoming truck killing her and our friend Courtney, also 14 at the time, on impact. The grief we channeled into a dance, which we performed at Chelsea’s funeral, her sister who had been driving, dancing beside me. My mom brought me to counseling. I don’t think that worked.

 

Native art was part of my educational curriculum from Kindergarten through high school. Elders would come into our classroom wearing their tribal regalia telling us how just decades before they and their relatives were celebrating the land, moving with the seasons, leaving essentially no carbon footprint, dancing in the moonlight connected with the animals similar to how I was connected to my dog Lacey who I got in Kindergarten and raised me along with my parents, SO happy to see me every single time I stepped foot through the threshold of my house. In 1st grade we created paper headbands that had different clan animals on them. I was in the Eagle clan that year. In 2nd grade we began our art projects and the teacher gave me a picture of a raven to color. I handed it back and told her that I was in Eagle clan, I just hadn’t worn my headband that day, as I noticed some kids and the elders were wearing clan regalia. She gave me a puzzled look. That was the day I learned about race. We are all humans though, and in Native art class I always felt that, respect for Spirit. Because the truth is, those people hold the secrets of that land, what medicines grow there, how to maximize health and happiness by living in synchrony with what is there; they literally taught the visitors how to survive, because they had been doing it, for centuries.

 

My junior year of high school I took a “vocational medical science” elective during which we got to “job shadow” two different health care professionals for a few months. After careful consideration I decided on an orthopedic surgeon and an acupressurist who specialized in nutrition and taught Qi Gong…and thus began my lifelong dichotomous education in the healing arts. Nothing stands out to me about the physical built office space of the orthopedic surgeon, very cookie cutter American medicine, and I’m really not sure who decided that environment is healing to anyone. I do remember in rather vivid detail though the shoulder replacement surgery I watched, first hand, 12 inches away from a full anesthetized person peering over the anesthesiologists shoulder as they sawed off the shiny humeral head and the surgeon handed it off barely looking as he began drilling to make way for the metallic prosthesis, using impressive physical force putting the thing in place. My days JoAnn however, I found rather rivoting. She taught me about “real foods”, bringing me to the grocery store to read food labels, warning against eating ingredients that I could not pronounce, teaching me about advertising: “petroleum is natural, that doesn’t mean you want it in your food!”, that breakfast should be as healthy as dinner, and nothing is interchangeable with leafy greens. She seemed genuinely happy with a sparkle in her eye, greeting me in the mornings with tea and showing me how hot her fingers would get holding different acupressure points. Some evenings I would go to the yoga studio in downtown Ketchikan, just above the creek, and attend her Qi Gong class which consisted to listening to a recording of an ancient master and focusing on my hands moving positive energy around my body.

 

As senior year of high school rolled around though, my heart was decidedly still in dance, so I forwent any advanced math or science classes in favor of a stage production elective and photography. I left Alaska to move to Prescott, Arizona where I attended Yavapai Community College taking general classes toward an art degree. One of the classes I took that first year was a “careers class” where we attempted to match our values and interests with potential career fits. I realized then that dancing would actually be a pretty difficult path. I was drawn again to my former interests in public and women’s health. I knew if I pursued a career in medicine I wanted to be a physician; I enjoyed deductive reasoning and wanted the autonomy to do what I thought was right. My natural curiosity combined with honed discipline made school an overall successful endeavor for me, and I actually really enjoy learning. There weren’t any doctors in my family, and in all honesty I had no idea what being a conventional doctor in society truly meant at that point in my life. But it seemed within my capacity, and I thought it a respectable enough profession, so decided to go for it.

 

Luckily for me, I was one of those people who kind of fell in love with medicine as I was in the path of pursuing it.

 

2) Describe your dream clinic/practice/workspace/job:

Currently my practice is a [small living room-medical office-yoga studio] hybrid. I meet people where they are at and we come up with fun, effective, efficient mind-body-spirit healing plans. I get paid what I need/deserve and feel utmost satisfaction in my work.

 

I have dreams of a healing center on the North tip of Douglas with a giant garden and a clothing optional spa where people can moon bathe. There are tiny houses that people can stay in, a fire pit, and a food cart that serves seasonal/local fare.

 

Yoga classes and workshops happen regularly and healing community spreads out like a ripple. I spend about 1-3 days per week seeing patients in my office, though my number is in most folks’ cell because they know in an emergency I’d be happy to help out. My screen time is minimal, but every day I work on my website, blog, book or this forum.

 

"...most everyone in town knows my name and most every hiking trail knows the tread of my boots"...from my previous vision board...

 

3) Describe your dream life:

My heart is in Alaska. My boyfriend Don and I continue to create and organize our healing, spacious and beautiful home on Auke Lake. We foster our sweet relationship daily.

 

I have so much fun taking care of myself, my family, my friends and the planet.

All my needs are met and I handle my resources well. I dedicate myself to decreasing suffering and being my best self. I dance. I make music. I feel amazing in my strong, able, radiant body.

 

I want to keep learning the secrets from my elders while prioritizing teaching the next generation. " ...growing their brains with curiosity, compassion and adventure alongside growing vegetables in their lunchbox gardens..."...from my previous vision board...

 

I make delicious, seasonal, healing food in my witchy kitchen pharmacy, and feeding [myself+others] comes easily and naturally. Most of [our] food comes from the garden or land. In my personal garden squares I grow mostly medicinal plants and fruit trees line our compound. I serenade our cow with my mini guitar so that she shares raw whole milk and I have keep yogurt, cheese and ghee on hand. On special occasions we fish.

 

At night I read in bed and go to sleep with the rhythm with the setting sun. Every morning when we set our daily intentions I ask if I can get a husky puppy and Don asks if we can have a baby, and someday one of us will be like “OK”.

 

Every day I wake up excited to be a human, do my work, and live the life I love.

 

4) What book are you most excited about and why?

Your Money or Your Life

Working through Vicki Robin's updated 9 Steps for 2018 over the past few months has directly contributed to my success with the nonprofit...I am great at starting things though, and have to admit, I'm not quite done! Therefore I am excited about the motivation of doing this together with my healing tribe ;-)

 

5) What are you hoping to take away from this course?

Inspiration.

 

6) Launch date...

11/6/2016 - "Whole Life Practice" LLC in Oregon

6/15/2017 - "Moon Cycle Medicine Inc" Nonprofit in Oregon

6/6/2018 - Kayla, MD [Juneau, AK branch of MCM Inc]

 

next project:

9/9/2018 - Fall Series (virtual and Juneau)

 

New Posts
  • Fresno, CA (currently in residency there), from Wyoming kimcranford7@gmail.com 307-413-4308 ***This is an updated version. I originally posted this accidentally as a comment under Dr. Luhrs's intro. Since then I had an epiphany while in the shower (where all the best ideas are had, am I right?) and have not been able to stop thinking about my dream clinic/life since. !!! :D *** 1) What inspired you to become a healer? I officially decided to become a doctor my junior or senior year in high school when the “career counseling” brigade began parading how important finding a path in life was to us unsuspecting 16 and 17 year olds. I now realize that the certainty with which I chose medicine was unnecessary and ultimately unhealthy, but from that day forward I pursued getting into med school with tunnel-vision focus and unwavering determination. For that, I am very proud, as it speaks to my ability to make anything happen that I doggedly pursue. In high school I decided upon “doctor” as my career path because I enjoyed biology, was a very good student, and figured that since I wanted to help people it was a great idea. All the unrealistic encouragement I got from all the adults in my life, none of them doctors who knew what it was actually like, only further consolidated the decision. I’ll never forget the disappointment on my art teacher’s face that she unsuccessfully tried to hide when she knew I would be majoring in some form of biology in college and not art. To this day, I wish I would have listened to her sense that pursuing an artistic path would be a great fit for me. The good news is that though I now know I don’t want to be a doctor when I grow up (better late than never now that I am one! ;), I do know that I am deep to my core a healer, whether or not I want to be. Since I was little I was an old-soul introvert, and my parents’ adult friends and acquaintances would often approach me and have adult conversations with me, baring their souls to me. It always struck my parents as odd that they would come around a corner and there would be me, a little girl, intently listening to one of their friends blathering on and on. I’ve always been a natural listener and love to hear people’s stories and discover what stirs their souls. This trait lives on in me but is currently subdued and somewhat in hiding, slightly traumatized by the pressures of remaining within the framework of a typical psychiatric visit that has to fit into 30-60 minute appointments including documentation, blah blah blah you all know this theme. My goal is to heal these wounds and see who I am after the stale and suffocating cobwebs of medical training have been brushed away. I miss my natural upbeat curiosity about humans, not “patients” (because really aren’t we all patients?), and the world around me. I want more time for this person to explore and contribute in a more meaningful way. I want to meet people where they are at in a way that is necessary for them to bare themselves to me so that I can help them find the powers they innately possess to heal themselves. If that is on a mountaintop or in their favorite coffee shop or on walks around the lake they love, then that is where I want to hold space with them, not in the confines of a traditional doc-in-a-box office space. Though if this traditional setting is what someone else requires, then that’s fine too. 2) Describe your dream clinic/practice/workspace/job: My passion regarding human health is steeped in diet and lifestyle. There is so much knowledge about how diet and lifestyle impacts mental health (and all health) that is not being utilized in typical medical care. My dream is to hold monthly retreats to educate people who want to take control of their lives and health, reclaiming their intuitive healing powers as human beings. These retreats would include hands-on learning how to cook a plant-powered diet, yoga, meditation, and lots of education on topics such as the mind/gut connection and how most chronic conditions including many (if not all) mental illnesses can be cured or at least drastically improved with an anti-inflammatory diet. For any retreat participants who want to have further individualized sessions with me after the retreats, I would like to see them via tele-health. I wrote the above paragraph prior to my first meeting with this group over Zoom. One piece of the above dream that didn't match my current reality was that I need to work full-time seeing patients in Wyoming as part of my contract with the state for med school, and I wasn't sure how retreat medicine was going to fulfill this requirement or if it even could. A second piece was that the pressure to become "expert" enough during the year off I am taking after residency to hold these retreats was too overwhelming for me, and I knew it would taint my year off with too much pressure, leaving without the ability to pursue the self-growth/healing that I intended for this precious time for myself. After meeting with you all over Zoom (might I just quickly say that I just love all y'all?!) and learning from Dr. Campbell that she is successfully running a telepsych practice and avoiding the over-prescription of psychotropics, I was ecstatic. I was so relieved to know that other people like myself not only existed in psychiatry but were making it work for themselves. Kendra, I cannot thank you enough! By saying "yes" to this conference even though I am "too busy" with residency blah blah, you and Kayla have forever changed my life, I can feel it! <3 So that Zoom meeting was two Thursdays ago. The next day after the meeting, Friday night, I was in the shower around 11:30pm (already needed to be in bed because me and my partner, Micah, needed to be awake at 3am to hit the road for a conference in Santa Fe we were driving to) when I was hit suddenly with the realization that I could run a telepsych practice similar to Kendra's in Wyoming and simultaneously still be in alignment with my goals in medicine and meet the contractual requirement I have with the state. My eyes bugged out, and I yelled for Micah to come into the bathroom because I could not stop the maniacal waterfall of enthusiastic words that thundered out of my mouth. I kept us awake excitedly talking about my dream practice until about 12:30am, leading to a very tired start to our trip, but it was so worth it, because I haven't stopped thinking about my idea for my dream practice since. The dream practice entails initially meeting in video sessions with patients for a two-hour evaluation after they fill out my online intake form to make sure they are a good fit for my approach. I think for this initial eval I will charge $400 and then have as many f/u visits (30-60 minutes) as is required to restore health for about $200-250. I will not accept insurance - Kendra, I read your website and your thoughts regarding insurance coverage are identical to mine, so bless you for being such a beautiful example for me. I am just bursting with gratitude right now knowing that I am not going to have to go this alone. Seriously, ask and you shall receive (see my answer to #5 below). Once my practice is full of enough patients I regularly see and my confidence regarding my functional/integrative/holistic knowledge is up, I want to invite these patients to week-long retreats as mentioned above where I teach them how to cook healthy meals hands-on and teach them yoga. It is all coming together! Next steps/goals: -- I would like to have my clinic website completed by end of residency so that I'm not fretting about it during my year off (graduation is June 2019, fucking finally!). -- Year off: yoga teaching certification possibly in India, visiting sustainable living communities as a vistor/live-in volunteer, attending conferences on plant-powered diet medicine, orthomolecular medicine, and integrative medicine. Kendra, if you read this, do you think that I need the integrative fellowship to run my practice well? -- Also during year off: attend Pam's retreat, likely in October 2019 3) Describe your dream life: My home base would be at one of the centers where I hold retreats. This would be a sustainable community designed and driven by people of the earth with a smorgasbord of skill-sets: farming, engineering, construction, education, and obviously many others, given we all possess so much untapped potential that isn’t explored due to being pressured to do one job or choose one career. Our current society is sick, and I am a community-builder who will bring us back to our self-reliant roots with the help of the tribe around me. The property would be filled with cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, and goats, and lots of beautiful plant life. We would not eat our furry friends, except for the eggs produced by the chickens and maybe some milk made into cheese from the goats for special celebrations. I would spend my time split evenly between my practice (a combination of primarily education via retreats and some via individualized sessions with patients) and enjoying my surroundings. I would wake up to the sound of water at a nearby river or the ocean and never again an alarm. I would start the day with a gentle yoga practice or meditation and work in the garden or in feeding animals. The first half of the day would be spent working on whatever projects needed work or play in the community (maybe leading a yoga class or two) and the second half of the day in my personal work projects that would feel like play compared to my current practice of psychiatry. 4) What book are you most excited about and why? Your Money or Your Life: I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time, ever since Kayla mentioned it a while back. I have been hesitant to jump head first into pursing my dreams due to heavy student loan debt and med school contractual obligations, initially planning to work for a lucrative state hospital to quickly pay down the debt. The more I allow myself to dream and tap into my purpose, the more I begin to recognize that, as the title of the book says, I can’t sacrifice my life for financial needs. My hopes are that in reading this book and engaging with you beautiful people, I can create both a life that I not only desire but that is also so purposeful that the money will manifest itself for me. I’d like to shift my cognitive set from feeling so burdened by the debt (to the point of feeling like a victim of my own choices) to feeling empowered to ninja it away using my skill set for the greater good. 5) What are you hoping to take away from this course? The courage and inspiration to set forth full steam ahead on a journey towards making my dreams a reality. Bonus: Maybe another friend or two! :)
  • NAME: Nancy Berg ADDRESS: 9714 Kipling St PHONE: 720-641-4710 EMAIL: nhinsey@comcast.net WEBSITES: in progress! 1) What inspired you to become a healer? Honestly, I always wanted to be a physical therapist. I was super athletic as a kid in school, I loved the science of the body, and it seemed to fit. I got rejected from PT school initially on a 1 English credit technicality--"creative writing" was not English. I then graduated, blew out my ACL, and had a small pause at my parents house for surgery and rehab. I then went out to see some of the world because, at that point, I'd never been far from home or Colorado (family trips to Kansas not included) and I wasn't sure PT school would accept me. Anyway, I left for a 3 months to Asia to ride my bike in New Zealand, which I did, and then ended up in Japan teaching English for 2 yrs and being away for a total of 3 years while travelling Asia between teaching. Eventually, I decided I either had to stay abroad teaching English or return to the US and pursue a career. Upon my return to the US, I found out about PAs, applied, and got into GW in DC to start a new chapter. This was in 1994. I think the science of medicine and relationship aspect (with people) in medicine is what drew me to the medical field in general. 2) Describe your dream clinic/practice/workspace/job: My dream clinic would be a combination of individualized care and group support through the clinic for various issues. I imagine yoga in the morning, private sessions, perhaps urgent appts in the afternoon, and a weekly group highlighting different needs. Perhaps one on Mediterranean cooking, women's group, diabetes/anxiety support, and allied medicine lectures. I would like to heal myself as well as heal others. My biggest challenge thus far has been securing a supervising physician. 3) Describe your dream life: Wake up yoga/exercise/meditation. Working hard 5-6 hrs. Get 12 y/o home and help him w/homework and take care of family needs. Wind down with a good book and stretching. 4) What book are you most excited about and why? Yoga and Herbs, so many people are asking for a more holistic approach. I'm really good at prescribing drugs, but need, want and desire a better way. 5) What are you hoping to take away from this course? I loved the Yoga and Herbs discussion piece of this, and, of course, I am trying to become well versed in Cannabis. However, I'd really like to take away a support group with whom I could email and joke, encourage, or ask questions for those with expertise in this transitioning time for us all. 6) What (was) or (is) the launch date of your clinic? If your clinic is already open, what is the launch date of your "next release" or your "next project"? I am shooting for Nov. 1st, but I have my current clinic lobbying me to stay, willing to accomadate any schedule to stay as they are in a crunch. I do feel a sense of loyalty, professionalism, and empathy as they are also trying to survive the trend of corporate takeover (they are currently independently owned). The last week has been emotional as they are pleaing for me to stay. Not sure what to do. However, their pleas have solidified my confidence to be independent as they treat me as a colleague, not an underling. I'm just having a hard time cutting the cord!!
  • Kathryn Little Jul 19 Kathryn Little 2523 college ave, fort worth tx 8173724878 katelittlemd@gmail.com 1) Im a problem solver and an introvert, although i love people. Medicine has given me a medium through which to relate to other people in a meaningful way. Being a physician gives me an avenue to create opportunities for problem solving and relationships. Growing up in a humanitarian aid setting also played a huge role as well- 2) Dream job/clinic/schedule - wake up early to meditate, excercise, plan- unhurriedly get kids out the door school, breakfast with husband, head to the office 2 days /week for 2or 3 client appointments that are unrushed. ive had time to do some reading and thinking about them beforehand so im prepared.meet a friend for lunch- or with my kids at school. another 2-3 sessions in the afternoon, in person or over skype. on other days Im at home, doing normal home /family stuff. my office is quiet, uncluttered, with lots of natural light. comfortable chairs, no clutter. there is free espresso at the common area down the hall. every 4-6 weeks I will leave town for a 3-10 day stretch to work locums ER or hospitalist. this offers a change of pace, helps me keep my skills up, and gives me time to catch up on reading and other business stuff that needs to get done. also, it pays all the bills so i can let my own practice grow at a natural rate, 3) im excited about the ayurvedic medicine book. im desperate for more tools to be able to help people with. traditional medicine plays such an important role in many situations, but really, *most* people could overcome a majority of their ailments without medication, it just more time and discussion compared to clicking the ”refill” button! I spent grades 3-12 in india, so many of it ”feels” familiar to me, although i dont know the specifics. so excited to learn more about this and apply it to my own life as well as the people im working with. 4) Im hoping to jump start a mind ”shift” in terms of what kind of physician im going to be. sometimes i feel like if i stop practicing the way i do now- racing around, stressed, hurried, pressured- that i wont know what to fill that newfound ”space” with. Do i have anything to offer? i think i do, but its hard to visualize because its such a foreign concept. im hoping to develop a clearer vision for how it can be. Also, i need to refocus on healing myself- sometimes i dont recognise myself.... surviving on diet pepsi and redbull. yuck😖