From the Archives: Fall 2009 issue of Lupus Now
Healing the Whole: The Art & Science of Integrative Care
by Jenny Thorn Palter
As a professor and researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of California, Davis, Concha Delgado-Gaitan, Ph.D., is a respected and award-winning author, best known for her work in the fields of anthropology and education.
Her newest book, though, is not about her work on the traditions of immigrant families or the role of public health in culturally diverse communities. It’s called Prickly Cactus: Finding Sacred Meaning in Chronic Illness, and it’s about her journey of discovery as she embraced the concepts of holistic healing to manage her lupus.
As a child, Delgado-Gaitan was in and out of the hospital with bouts of rheumatic fever and was even confined to a wheelchair for a period of time. Her initial lupus diagnosis came in 1991, but she didn’t begin to incorporate the holistic approach to her health care until an acute relapse occurred in 1993, leaving her in terrible pain, unable to walk or work.
That was when Delgado-Gaitan realized she needed to do more than try to cope with the ever-changing health effects of lupus: She needed to gain control over her health in its entirety.
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