Interview with Ed Goldman

Thank You to Ed Goldman from www.bizjournals.com for the following piece on Wellness Within:

photo credited to Michele McCormick

Spend just an hour with Patti Brown, the founder and executive director of Wellness Within Cancer Support Services, and you can see why most of the roughly 250 clients she works with from throughout the Sacramento region each month trust her immediately with their inner lives.

Brown’s clients, whom she sees at a tidy house just off Roseville’s historic main drag, Vernon Street, are current and former cancer patients trying to live with the fear and anxiety that can ravage their self confidence and courage as surely as the disease can affect their bodies. Trim and soft-spoken — with warm hazel eyes that seem at once empathetic and cheerful — Brown converted the office of her marriage and family therapy practice into Wellness Within’s inviting space six-and-a-half years ago.

“There’s a big difference you feel between driving here and driving to a hospital,” she said one recent morning. “Hospitals are wonderful for medical treatment but people (who are) already frightened may get even more nervous going to a formal institution.” In fact, major Sacramento area hospitals refer patients to Wellness Within.

Once there, a variety of classes, talks and therapies, such as yoga and meditation, are available, as is a lending library of self-help and -actualization books. And here’s the part that often surprises and thrills Wellness Within’s clients: Everything is absolutely free.

Wellness Within — which considers its clients to not only be cancer patients and survivors but also their families — relies entirely on grants and donations to sustain itself. It holds an annual gala in the fall at the Rocklin Event Center, and a farm-to-table event in June.

“We encourage people to be the authors of their own lives, since cancer frequently takes away that ability,” Brown said. “We help them learn that they’re not the sum total of their disease at a time when everything seems like a blur to them.”

Sharon Camissa, who helped arrange this interview with Brown, seconds that notion. “I felt as though I was a hostage to my fear when I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma,” she said. This was in November 2013. At the time, she was employed by Sacramento Superior Court to assist judges with the management of criminal cases with defendants who represented themselves. Prior to that, she had spent 20 years as a public defender. “My whole body felt tense — not because of the cancer but because I was so afraid,” she added.

A close friend knew about and took her to Wellness Within, a visit that ultimately turned transformative. “I needed some convincing,” she said with a smile.

“It’s the ‘woo-woo’ element,” Brown said, and both women laughed. “We’re just starting to fully appreciate the mind-body connection in our culture.”

The Journal of Clinical Psychology backs that up in a recent article: “Along with the vital signs of temperature, respiration, heart rate, blood pressure and pain, it is time for healthcare professionals to recognize emotional distress as a core indicator of a patient’s health and well-being.”

Sounds like a good thing to keep in mind. And body.

(The center’s address is 609 Oak St., Roseville, CA 95678. Its phone number is (916) 788-0333 and its website is wellnesswithin.org.)

 

Original piece posted at bizjournals.com on Feb 9, 2017.

Ed Goldman’s newest book, “And Now, With Further Ado: More Gravitas-Defying Profiles and Punditry from the Sacramento Business Journal,” is available at Amazon.com.

 

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