My Cat Had Cancer and Taught Me How To Cope With Illness

cat helping owner with illnessWritten by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW
May 5, 2020
Published at Tiny Buddha 

“This post was republished with permission from You can find the original post here.”

It is such a privilege to be a guest author for the Tiny Buddha Community. I encourage all of you to visit no matter your interests or desires for self-growth. This community offers beautiful stories, messages of hope and inspiration, and a sense that "you are not alone"

“A cat purring on your lap is more healing than any drug in the world, as the vibrations you are receiving are of pure love and contentment.” ~St. Francis of Assisi

We all know what it is like to be sick. At some point in our lives we get the flu or a bad cold, but we know the course—get lots of rest and before you know it you are as good as new. But for some of us, we live with chronic illness.

Chronic illness brings with it day-to-day symptoms, the ones you cannot get away from. Coping with chronic illness is really tough.

You wonder if you will ever get well, grieve the things you used to do or want to do but can’t, stress about how to maintain employment, and feel invisible to those who don’t know what it is like to be sick.

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Lanai Cat Sanctuary--Purradise Found

LYS Lanai Cat SanctuaryWritten by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW
May 1, 2020
Published in Costco Connection Magazine 

Thanks Costco Connection for featuring the Lanai Cat Sanctuary as an excellent travel destination! 

Lanai Cat Sanctuary--Purradise Found

Clinical social worker and Costco member Casey Hersch (Right), who studies trauma and how pet companionship can be healing (, describes Hawaii’s Lanai Cat sanctuary as “a magical place offering something special for everyone.”

The mission of the sanctuary (, home to more than 600 rescued cats, is to save cats, while protecting endangered island birds. Costco member and executive director Keoni Vaughn, along with a team of doctors, paid staff and volunteers, prepares the fully vetted cats for adoption around the world.

“Our priority is animal welfare and [giving rescue cats] the freedom, safety and space to interact with humans,” Vaughn says. Donations and sponsorship are essential to the sanctuary’s success and admission is free

Podcast DX: Crohns illness, trauma, attachment, and resiliency

Today, I am a guest on PodcastDX. An overview of autoimmune illness and Crohn's disease is offered and I share my own story living with Crohn's disease and childhood trauma. I point out why trauma and stress are significant to healing and offer clinical perspectives rooted in social work and psychology. I also share some of my favorite healing resources. The PodcastDx team is not only nice and personable, but they are dedicated to bringing this information to you. No wonder they have an award winning podcast! 

PodcastDX ( is an interview based podcast series in a "peer-to-peer supportive format." PodcastDX give tips and support for common healthcare conditions. PodcastDX understands that their listeners share the same challenges, navigating the complex medical world. They hope to make it easier for those with a new diagnosis or a long term struggle with illness.

****Check out their excellent resource page accompanying each episode. They have put together a wealth of information including user friendly links along with professional and personal recommendations from their guests*


Beata Onefater: Ballroom Dance Champion Coping with Cancer

Beata Onefater is recognized as one of the top female dancers in the dancesport industry. In 1998, Beata and Michael Wentink became the undefeated world Latin champions and were the first South African couple to win this title. While her career is unprecedented, there is another aspect of Beata's life that many do not know about. At the end of 2015, she was diagnosed with stage 4 Ovarian Cancer.

Several years later, Beata shares in this candid interview with Casey Hersch, founder of Light Your Sparkle, what it has been like coping with ovarian cancer.

Beata is an inspiration to all of us living with chronic and life threatening illnesses.

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David Feinstein on Energy Psychology and Healing

In this video, I interview Dr David Feinstein about Energy Psychology and Our Health.

Dr David Feinstein is a clinical psychologist who has received 9 national awards for his books on consciousness and healing. He has served as faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of medicine and, with his wife Donna Eden, has built the world's largest organization teaching energy medicine (Eden Energy Medicine)

  During the interview the following topics are discussed:

1) Overview of Energy psychology including examples

2) Where to learn about Energy Psychology techniques or find a clinician certified in the methods.

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Autoimmune & Coronavirus: Beating the Panic & Fear in All of Us

Safe at home Tiny BuddhaPhoto Credit: tinybuddha.comWritten by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW
April 7, 2020
Published at Tiny Buddha

“This post was republished with permission from You can find the original post here.

It is such a privilege to be a guest author for the Tiny Buddha Community. I encourage all of you to visit no matter your interests or desires for self-growth. This community offers beautiful stories, messages of hope and inspiration, and a sense that "you are not alone" 

“The problem is not the existence of stressors, which cannot be avoided; stress is simply the brain’s way of signaling that something is important. The problem—or perhaps the opportunity—is how we respond to this stress.” ~The Book of Joy

For the past few weeks, I took pride in being able to keep fear at a distance.

My motto was “Don’t let the fear in. The fear makes you a vulnerable host to coronavirus.”

Since I have Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune condition, I know about stress and how it harms my immune system. Stress steals energy from the necessary functions my body performs to keep me alive. Fear adds stress to the body.

As I drove up to the parking lot of my favorite grocery store, people were gathered outside—and the store wasn’t open, yet. My sensitive nervous system scanned the environment and registered that something was wrong.

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Karen Drucker--releasing stress and fear through music

Several years ago a dear social worker colleague gave me a small box. In the midst of my busy life, I placed the box on my dresser and forgot about it. It is very unusual for me to leave a present unopened. In fact, I cannot recall a time in my life where I didn't enthusiastically tear open a present. I love presents. Who doesn't? But this small gift must have needed to wait for me until the right time and right place. I stumbled upon the unopened package when I was going through a very tough time physically and emotionally. Revealing its contents, I discovered a cd by a local musician, Karen Drucker. Her music is now a resource for my mind and body--a way I can recalibrate and calm my nervous system after stress. 

Below is one of my favorite songs. Please play and sing along with it. You cannot help but hold on to the very important words of affirmation, I relax, let go, release, and surrender---All is well. This catchy tune will stay with you no matter how hard you might try to resist. Frankly, I would rather have these words going through my head than my stressful anxious thoughts (what ifs). What a great way to replace anxiety--with words of affirmation! If you love it, check out her CD Songs of the Spirit III, one of my favorites, available on amazon*

*This post contains affiliate links

  If you want to hear more of Karen Drucker's Music, I highly recommend this cd---

  *FTC Disclosure:, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

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