Updated: Nov 1, 2019
A few months ago as I was cleaning off a bookshelf, I came across a DVD labeled "November 2007". When I put it in my computer, I was a little taken aback to be staring into the face of a 10-year younger version of ME: sweet, excited, and optimistically answering practice questions while preparing for medical school interviews.
I watched with fascination as the 21 year-old Kayla discussed her plans, hopes and dreams for the future.
Something that particularly stood out was how desperately I wanted to work with women, and how that passion was fueled by what I had already witnessed in regard to my own reproductive health and that of my young female friends. One way this interest manifest during medical school, was that I enrolled [myself] in a clinical trial for a generic hormone-releasing intrauterine birth control device.
I saw it as a win-win situation at the time: I would be helping science move forward creating affordable options for women in need, while being given free birth control and a 5 year hiatus from dealing with my pesky "hormone cycle".
I wanted to be known as steady, strong, dependable, and frankly able to work the long hours, day in and day out, that medical school and residency required of me year after year.
When the 5 year trial came to an end, coinciding actually with the end of my residency, I found myself at a crossroads. The hormonal IUD needed to come out, and I didn't know how to proceed.
Even as a young physician, I did not really understand my natural rhythm, and was actually scared of the unpredictable havoc that monthly cycling hormones might bring to my life.
It was around this time that I first came into contact with Suzanne Mathis McQueen's work in a Breitenbush hotspring upcoming events catalog. Described as a "social healer and entrepreneur who aims to change the way the world views women by changing the way women view themselves", Suzanne actually talked about what I considered hormonal madness as "a logical and holistic blueprint for balance, creativity, rejuvenation and personal empowerment".
What I found in the pages of her book was truly remarkable to me at the time. What struck me the most was the way this woman had taken "symptoms" or signals from her body, observed them, tracked them, studied the patterns, and from this was able to communicate with her body and make choices along with her cycle to maximize her health and happiness in a rather predictable way. This was much different than the typical viewpoint I had encountered that onerous symptoms are something to be immediately relieved, covered or stopped.
This book was the blueprint for the personal journey of getting in touch with my own mind, body and rhythm, which allows me the level of physical, mental and social wellbeing that I enjoy today.
"The doctor can't help you as much if you can't answer questions about yourself. YOU are the only person who can be an expert on YOUR day-to-day experience, which allows the physician to be the expert on translating [what is happening]. Take charge of your health because, in the long run, no one is keeping track of it the way you can."
Suzanne Mathis McQueen - 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks.
Last night our nonprofit held its inaugural community health event: a workshop for couples regarding communication, sexual health and rhythmic living.
As Suzanne and I were presenting one of my patients was in the audience, with her copy of 4 Seasons and 4 Weeks by her side, the pages leaf eared and the cover worn from days of use. When passing by the woman's seat Suzanne paused and picked up the book. "I love seeing copies of my book like this", she said. "It means people are using it the way it was meant to be used".
Dr. Kayla's 2018 Booklist Pick #3:
4 Seasons in 4 Weeks: Awakening the Power, Wisdom, and Beauty in Every Woman's Nature
Suzanne Mathis McQueen
My patients and I have been using this book over the past year, and we felt strongly enough about it that we invited the author to be our guest at our first community health event.
As my colleague Vida put it: "this book is "a must, must, must read (especially if you happen to have a uterus)".
If you think this sounds amazing
and wish you could hear Dr. Kayla present alongside one of her favorite authors
Suzanne Mathis McQueen
Here is your Yoga for TODAY:
Want to win a visit with Dr. Kayla? Its easy! Simply post your top book recommendation for 2018 on our Facebook page here.
Winner selected at random on January 31st, 2018!