University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education Associate Professor Cristy Kessler has published 5 S.T.E.P.S. to Being Your Own Patient Advocate. The book chronicles Kessler’s personal medical journey and provides strategies for others who face difficult medical situations. Kessler is a bone marrow stem-cell transplant survivor, but the life-saving procedure came after years of pain, fatigue and frustration.
In 2006, Kessler was diagnosed with three autoimmune diseases that were destroying her internal organs. Treating her for symptoms associated with scleroderma, ankylosing spondylitis and vasculitis, doctors were unable to eradicate the diseases. Without any promising treatment or health insurance that would cover the stem-cell transplant in the U.S., Kessler traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, where she received the transplant at Anadolu Hospital on March 21, 2011.
“It dawned on me while I was presenting at a conference in England that, after all I had been through to get my stem-cell transplant, I have, in fact, learned a lot about healthcare,” Kessler said. “I then asked myself why I couldn’t develop something for all patients, similar to what I do when I am teaching teachers, that would help them navigate their own journey.”
Kessler teaches in the Institute for Teacher Education’s elementary program and has served as a role model and an inspiration for countless students, colleagues, friends and family.
Kessler said she hopes to encourage others through her own determination to live. The “5 S.T.E.P.S.” she describes in the book are sensibility, teamwork, education, perseverance and patience and sustainability.
“It doesn't matter if you are dealing with a long-term health issue or are someone who visits the doctor once a year for a physical exam; there is valuable information for anyone, patient or caregiver,” she said. “If nothing else, there are a few stories that will make you laugh.”
Read the UH Mānoa news release for more information.