My first picture books were medical texts owned by my father (a fan of all things medical). I didn’t understand what I was looking at but I was fascinated. Medicine and healthcare often permeated our family conversations. My mother brought us up on wheat germ, whole grains, vitamins, raw milk and homemade yogurt decades before the first Whole Foods opened its doors. She even practiced and taught yoga beginning in the late 1960’s.
I was poised to go into medicine, but math happened and I ended up as an English major, and then became a librarian because I liked to read. This led to jobs in a medical research library and a corporate library for a large insurance company. Still restless and eager to help others, I entered Brooklyn Law School as a part-time student so I could continue working; graduated, passed the Bar Exam and was licensed in New York and New Jersey. Ironically, I spent most of my law career surrounded by medicine as a personal injury lawyer handling medical malpractice cases, and a collections attorney working for hospital and medical groups.
While taking a 17-year detour during which we had 7 babies; I became a La Leche League leader and a lactation consultant. That restless’ what should I do when I grow up’ feeling came back and I knew that law wouldn’t cut it. I researched different health related options but didn’t want to be in school for 10 years. I finally applied to acupuncture school and took my first class in January 2005.
In the meantime, I still had children at home, my medical collections law job and the rest of life. School was a challenge, I was older than 99% of the students and most of the teachers. Not used to studying (never a great student) I struggled with a few classes a semester and took several leaves. I also completed my EMT certification and rode with the Springfield First Aid Squad to get more experience in handling patients.
Finally, in my last few semesters I was able to focus more on my studies; The more I learned about Chinese medicine and acupuncture, the more I wanted to learn. I loved seeing patients as an intern in our school clinic, and learned how much I really enjoyed helping and healing. I graduated from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in December 2015.
This is the answer to the question that I am frequently asked “Why did you; (a middle-aged Jewish woman with 7 children), go into acupuncture?”
I want to accompany my patients on their path to well. Ultimately, you are responsible for your health, not the medical establishment, and my job is to be your guide on this journey.