Fight Horror: Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be in Charge and….

Fight Horror: Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be in Charge and….

By: Holly L. Thacker, MD • Posted on December 19, 2012

Today, the heroine teacher, Victoria Soto, is being laid to rest. She died in the horrific Connecticut school shootings while valiantly trying to protect her young first grade charges. The nation mourns these deaths which ranks as one of the deadliest school massacres in the history of our country. This occurred last week on the same day that 23 Chinese elementary children were stabbed.

As we try to make sense of what is utterly insensible, discussions range from gun control, to gun toting school officials, to the need for more spirituality, to the understanding, identification, and the support for treating mental illness as well as the important communications that most people with mental illness are not dangerous. What is certain, is that there has always been evil and devastating acts since the beginning of time.

I learned of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy on Friday afternoon after completing a large "shared medical appointment" with 15 women. After sitting for 90 minutes admonishing my patients to engage in their wellness and move more and sit less, I took to our Cleveland Clinic skyway to take a brisk walk and take a look at my twitter feed. I immediately saw the heart crushing news - every parent's nightmare.

Wanting to help and reach out, I tweeted to our Speaking of Women's Health Twitter followers:

"Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be in Charge! Our SWH mission #Gratitude for first responders and #heroes who were #Strong #inCharge #CTshooting"

At the time, I did not know the specific story of Victoria Soto who was strong, brave and died while protecting her students, but I knew that there were brave first responders on site and that hero stories emerge out of the ashes of devastation. I later saw the video of a grief-stricken father in tears expressing his gratitude of having being "blessed" with being able to have been the father of one of the beautiful little girls who had been killed.

Gratitude. In the face of utter grief, pain and devastation. Gratitude. I have witnessed that most powerful expression of gratitude amongst many of my patients suffering with illness, disability, metastatic cancer and other devastating losses. The patients who feel gratitude are the strongest, the bravest, the happiest and the most resilient. They choose to focus on what is good and positive and by doing that, they remain in charge!

With gratitude,

-Dr. Holly L. Thacker

Holly L. Thacker, MD, FACP is nationally known for her leadership in women’s health. She is the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Health Fellowship and is currently the Professor and Director of the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at Cleveland Clinic and Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Thacker is also the Executive Director of Speaking of Women’s Health and the author of The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause. Her special interests and areas of research include menopause and related medical problems including osteoporosis, hormone therapy, breast cancer risk assessment, menstrual disorders, female sexual dysfunction and interdisciplinary women’s health.

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