In February 2016, the day before a long awaited trip to Puerto Vallarta and San Pancho, Mexico, I experienced bilateral pressure in my shoulders which spread to my chest, upper arms and back while I was driving to my health club to take a Pilates Mat class. By the time I arrived to the classroom, I felt horrible, the worst I have ever felt in my life. I approached a classmate to ask for help. She took one look at me, sat me down on the floor and began calling for the instructor and emergency services. The EMT's arrived within minutes - I demonstrated an abnormal EKG - twice. To the ED I went where my husband met me and the doctors were prepared to run a full cardiac workup. My father died of a MI at 41, this was in my health chart history. Still hoping this was an errant episode (I really wanted to go to Mexico) I tried to persuade the docs that I was ok. After all, I felt soooo much better after they had given me the aspirin and the nitroglycerin! Ha!
All the test results showed something quite different. I had a seriously blocked LAD, and the Troponin tests showed elevated cardiac enzymes. My body was trying to have a major heart attack. Two days later I underwent a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG), single. The recovery was demanding and challenging, successful, yet frustrating. At OHSU, the hospital where I was attended, we had no support group for cardiac patients. During my early recovery period, I so wanted to meet with others who were trying to recover like me. I felt frustrated and, oftentimes, alone. (I have tremendous family support and from friends and clients.) But as well-meaning as they can be, sometimes, they just don't understand the way another cardiac survivor and thriver can. Two years later we are an excited group with a new Chapter of Mended Hearts at OHSU, supported by Dr. Shimoli Shaw and our Project Coordinator from the Center For Women's Health, Chelsea Smart. We are so very excited to be a part of such a terrific organization.
Below is a short bio of the work I love to do!
A devoted practitioner, Geri has an established private practice specializing in serving the massage and bodywork therapy needs of those clients with serious medical considerations. Individualized sessions are based upon meeting each client where they are today.
In order to best serve this clientele Geri has embarked upon extensive training and experience in hospital, clinic, and private settings. Geri successfully completed the Certification Program at the Peregrine Institute of Oncology Massage Training, an intensive 300 hour program, receiving her Diploma in November 2011. She has more than 9 years experience with inpatient clinical settings including a position at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute's Acute Care as the Massage Team Coordinator and Medical Team liason as well as the LMT New Hire Trainer. Geri has 3 + years’ experience with inpatient hospice administering palliative touch therapy.
Geri is an accomplished teacher of Meditation and Contemplation. A practitioner for more than 25 years, Geri has received several transmissions to teach guided meditations to others embarking on this path.
Geri is also an engaging, inspirational speaker, trainer and mentor, with a desire to inform and uplift audiences with her passion for her work - just ask her clients, patients, students and colleagues who have experienced her very special passion to the field of Oncology Massage and Bodywork Therapies.