Review of the film "Life Interrupted: Telling Breast Cancer Stories"

As I prepare to teach another “Introduction to Acupuncture” class at the Cancer Support Community next week, I ponder my role as a Licensed Acupuncturist in the life of someone experiencing cancer. 

The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have concluded, from controlled clinical trials, that there is evidence to support the use of acupuncture for anxiety/panic disorder; depression; post-surgery pain; cancer pain; neuropathy and other chemotherapy/radiation side effects. 

“Cancer.” It’s a word no one wants to hear. At the same time, it’s a word that brings people together. 

RootstockreviewLifeBaldPaula
Photo credit: Life Interrupted film still

I had the opportunity to pre-screen the documentary “Life Interrupted: Telling Breast Cancer Stories” by Paula Mozen. I wanted to see and review it because I know storytelling is healing for the teller and for its viewers/listeners.

Mozen, a filmmaker, breast cancer survivor, and my neighbor, calls breast cancer “The Dreaded Sisterhood: The club you never wanted to be a member of.”

In this autobiographic film, Mozen states that “cancer took eight friggin’ years of my life.”

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A chance to heal yourself and the Earth one cup at a time

I have to admit I love my coffee. Most of the time, I drink a cup a day which I believe is moderate but I drink it pretty much everyday and therein lies my conundrum. If I do something every day, then there comes the time that I have to admit it’s a habit.Bozeman acupuncture coffee

The problem with coffee being my habit is it’s effect on my body (and possibly the planet) long-term.

A former Bozeman resident and acupuncture school teacher of mine, Brendan Kelly, L.Ac., wrote a book called “The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis”.1 As someone who did her Master’s thesis on the effects of climate on species distribution2 and who transitioned into a second career as a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I was immediately drawn to his title.

Kelly explains that the nature of coffee is hot. Not just hot temperature-wise, but after it’s ingested, it has a warming and stimulating effect within our bodies.

Long-term, this can deplete us - prematurely squandering our precious, deep, yet finite, reserves known

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Finding the right acupuncturist for you

When you decide it’s time to choose a dentist, physician or other healthcare provider, what’s most important to you?

Surely, the most important thing in choosing an acupuncturist is to ensure he or she is licensed and in good standing with state and national regulating boards. Safety is number one.

Ok, you’ve checked the credentials - now how do you choose?angie kociolek bozeman acupuncture

Do you look for particular personality characteristics? Do you prefer someone who sticks to the specific matter at hand or someone who asks how things are going in your life? Do you prefer someone who is serious and formal or someone who is outgoing and relaxed? How much one on one time do you like to have with your practitioner? There is no single right answer and only you can decide who might be the best fit for you.

In my acupuncture training, we covered Western biomedicine topics in addition to diagnosis and treatment according to an Eastern medicine framework. Interwoven in our practical studies, my teachers emphasized the importance of rapport.

Rapport is

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Self care to strengthen your lungs

With the equinox a month away on Sept 22, 2017, you’ve probably felt the crisp morning air telling us we are moving from summer into autumn.

Autumn is one of the best times for a seasonal acupuncture tune up! Angie Kociolek acupuncture woman tree

Now is the time of year when energy flows in and down. You may feel melancholy or contemplative. It’s nature’s way of reminding us it’s okay to let go. Yes, like the iconic image of trees dropping their leaves.

It’s also a time of the year when our Lungs are most susceptible to external pathogens. And for us in Bozeman, this year is a moderately bad year for smoke from many burning fires across Montana. While wildfires, in and of themselves, play a beneficial role in our ecology, the smoke they produce does bring what Chinese medicine terms an External Cause of Disease, namely Dryness. If you were born with a weak constitution or get sick frequently, you’ll want to be particularly mindful at this time of year. Taking Chinese herbal supplements is a proactive way

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For the love of Nature

It is so gratifying, as a small business owner, to contribute to Bozeman, a community I love and have called home for almost 22 years. For the month of June 2017, new Rootstock Acupuncture clients had the opportunity to select the "Support Story Mill Community Park" option when booking their first appointment. Eight new clients chose to do so!

Together, we raised $160 for Bozeman's newest and greatest park. Story Mill Community Park is not just any park - it has restored wetlands and trails that afford a true nature experience right here in town. This artist's sketch provided by the Trust for Public Lands captures the vision.StoryMill BridgerDrive Sketch

As a Master's student at The Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Florida, one of my courses was "Inner Development of the Practitioner." Nature journaling throughout the seasons was one of the assignments - the idea being that practitioners are most effective when we are able to focus our intention. 

Only when there is stillness inside, can we focus that intention. 

"On my way to this spot

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Taking this time to give thanks

This Saturday, my family and I will be heading south for a week-long road trip family vacation in the Utah desert.

woman desert thanks

Thanksgiving, for us, will be bountiful views of orange sandstone formations, hikes in curvy slot canyons, and the joy of being together.

I love this time of year when we get back to what is most essential to us and actively express thankfulness for the same. 

I am thankful:

  • For my family and our health
  • I get to balance being a mom with being a health care practitioner
  • For my “village,” including my son’s preschool “school family”
  • For the trust and connection I have with my clients
  • I get to be part of something bigger than myself at The Health Collective, through my community partnerships and as a citizen of Bozeman
  • For every opportunity to improve, learn and grow

Feel the warmth. Give thanks.

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Acupuncture can improve quality of life for allergy sufferers

If you and pollen don’t get along, then you probably know that tree pollen levels are high in Bozeman today and Accuweather maps our area as one of the three highest overall pollen counts in the nation.More importantly, you may be seeking relief from itchy, watery eyes; ear or throat irritation; sneezing; post-nasal drip or all of the above.

Evidence for relief without unwanted side effectstree pollen

Whatever you call it, “hay fever,” “seasonal allergies,” or “allergic rhinitis (AR),” acupuncture and Chinese herbs can bring you relief and offer an alternative to allergy medications and their unwanted side effects.

There is evidence that acupuncture is useful in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. It’s likely due to its potential to modulate the immune system.

A recent meta-analysis involving 2,365 participants found a significant reduction in nasal symptoms, medication necessity, and serum immunoglobulin E, an antibody that plays a role in hypersensitivity to allergens. Additional data “ultimately point to the efficacy of acupuncture treatment in improving quality of life in AR patients.”2

It’s best to

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Volunteering brings health, happiness and greater sense of community

The title of Kelly Pohl’s recent Bozeman Daily Chronicle guest column pulled me in: “Taking part in shaping community’s future.”peoplecircle

I love the questions she posed, “Can we grow while maintaining our quality of life” that we have come to expect in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley? “Can we grow and maintain the same expectations for public safety, access to nature, excellent schools, and a tremendous sense of community?” And I applaud her calls to action: “…Voice your opinion. Support the organizations that support your community. Vote. Volunteer…” 

Volunteering is in my blood

My volunteer history dates back to being a junior member of the Ironbound Ambulance Squad in Newark, NJ. I was a trained EMT and responded to emergency calls one night a week while in high school.

In my twenties I was a two-time Student Conservation Association volunteer (now known as Americorps). I educated the public on the environmental and cultural wonders of two very different but both incredibly wonder-filled places: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Grand Canyon National Park.

While in

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