A Passion for Health Care

In June’s Tidewater Women, meet three proactive executives who work behind the scenes at local hospitals and strive to improve the health and well being of our communities in A Passion for Health Care.

Don’t miss TW’s 2018 Healthy Body Guide, where you’ll find local businesses whose mission is to help you discover a healthier pathway in life. Learn more local women in health-related businesses in our June special advertising section, Women in Health! 

NEW THIS MONTH: TW has freshened up its design and sports a playful new logo—just one of the ways we are celebrating our 20th year in publication! It’s been our privilege to be your trusted resource since our first issue premiered in 1999. We hope you've been inspired by TW’s informative, entertaining articles every month, as well as the stories of amazing women who live and work here in Tidewater. We couldn’t have made it this far without you—our loyal readers and advertisers. Thanks for being there! Stay tuned for exciting specials and fun planned throughout the year.

Pick up TW’s June issue in over 800 locations on the Southside and the Peninsula. To find a copy near you, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 757-204-4688 and she’ll be happy to direct you to the nearest location. You can also find exciting  content and our monthly calendar of events online at www.tidewaterwomen.com.

Set Sail with Sea Scouts

Ahoy, Matey! Some lucky kids in Tidewater are learning about sailing, team building, and leadership through a branch of the Boy Scouts of America called Sea Scouts. Learn all about how youth are discovering their “sea legs” and how your teen can join the fun in Tidewater Family’s June cover story: Set Sail with Sea Scouts.

Still haven’t enrolled your child in summer camp? It’s not too late. Check out the last installment of TF’s Summer Fun Guide, also in the June issue. Plus, learn about swim safety and mindfulness for families, as well as adventurous outings to enjoy with your kids this summer. Pick up your copy on stands today! Call 757-204-4688 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out where to pick up your copy.

Need ideas for what to do on a rainy day? Please visit our website for tips and trends from previous issues. Plus check out our Go-To Guides, featuring businesses that offer goods and services your family needs, and much more. Dont forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Plan for Their Future—and Yours!

Today's women have often been called the Sandwich Generation—caring for their own children while helping their parents make decisions about retirement communities, health care, and legal and financial options. At the same time we are anticipating our own retirement and taking steps to ensure our future will be secure. Tidewater Women’s July 2018 Retirement Living Guide will offer resources to help area women help their parents (and themselves) discover ways to enjoy their golden years to the fullest. Its the perfect place to get the word out about your retirement community or businesses/organization that offers assistance to retirees.

Plus, we’ll also feature our special advertising section, Women in Business. Here’s your chance to tell the story behind YOUR business to area women in a 250- or 500-word article. Call 757-204-4688 and we'll be happy to send more information!

To celebrate our 20th year of bringing quality information to local women, we currently have special Celebration Rates available. Call 757-204-4688 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn how you can get in on our 20th anniversary festivities!

Deadline for this special issue is June 15, so dont delay!

Fun in the Sun

Yippee! Summer’s finally here, and families everywhere are ready to head outside for Outdoor Fun. Now’s the perfect opportunity to share the exciting activities you offer and, at the same time, inspire families to try doing new things together. It’s what makes families grow strong and kids grow healthy!The good news is Tidewater Family’s July issue will feature our 2018 Outdoor Fun Guide with awesome recreational ideas and places families can go to get active and get outside.

Seeking students for your private school or preschool? We have just the ticket! Tidewater Family’s July & August issues will feature our Pre-K/Private School Guide, a special education section that appears four times a year. It’s the perfect place for you to get the word out about your school to area parents. Call your sales rep or 757-204-4688 for details!

Remember TIDEWATER FAMILY is your go-to guide for local parents. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today to reserve space for these special issues. Deadline is June 11, 2018.

Dream Destinations for Adventurers

Who knew the capital of Chile would be so cosmopolitan? Join Peter and Peggy in this dream destination as they explore Santiago and nearby wine regions and learn about Chilean culture, cuisine, and people in June’s TW travel story: Sultry, Sophisticated Santiago.

Last month in TF, Peggy fulfilled every girl’s dream of staying in a castle in Ireland: A Place with Heart. This month, come along on Part 2 of her journey through Ireland for some music and unexpected spiritual connections in Smiling Irish Eyes

I added them up: more than 4.5 million copies of Tidewater Women have circulated throughout the seven cities since Peter and I published our first issue in May 1999. I’m not exactly sure, but I think that many magazines would fill a football field! We’re so proud to be bringing you useful, inspiring information each month.

We’re ready to celebrate our 20th year in business! Starting with this issue and for the next 12 months, we will be freshening up Tidewater Women—making design changes and adding new departments. But don’t worry we’re not changing everything. We’ll continue to feature columns by your favorite writers along with our monthly calendar and Art Beat as well as  featuring stories about our region’s amazing women.

Of course, we wouldn’t be here without our advertisers—you know who you are. It’s thanks to you that we are able to bring this publication into the hands of area women each month.  If you’re a former advertiser, we would love to welcome you back. Print advertising still reaches a lot of folks who prefer not to receive advertising messages digitally. To tempt you to return, we are offering rock-bottom rates to celebrate our anniversary year. See the back page of this issue and give me a call. New advertisers are also most welcome. Let us help you reach potential clients and grow your business!

It’s been an honor to know that over the course of nearly two decades our magazines have touched countless women in our community and maybe even changed their lives. In fact, the best part of my job is when readers take the time to write and tell me how TW has impacted them. I remember one reader writing to tell me she read a column of mine about not giving up on your dreams, then saw an ad in the same issue of Tidewater Women for a graduate degree program at Regent University in counseling and decided to apply.

Our readers tell me all the time how much they love TW and never miss an issue. One woman wrote to tell me she looks forward to it every month as though she were getting correspondence from a friend. Not long ago another reader wrote the following: “Thank you for publishing this inspirational magazine. As a 64-year-old, I sometimes feel ‘irrelevant’ in today’s world. This publication gives me the ‘warm fuzzies’!”

Letters like hers give me the warm fuzzies, too.

Of course, not everyone lets me know when something they read in Tidewater Women influences their lives. Maybe a health column by Dr. Hardy prompted someone to visit a doctor. Perhaps one of Lindsay Gibson’s columns gave a woman the courage to take baby steps toward a more fulfilling future.

Isn’t that what everyone wants? In today’s crazy world, we all need a friend cheering us on and helping us find our way through the maze of life. I’m thrilled that Tidewater Women has been able to serve as a faithful friend to the community of women in our area for nearly two decades. We hope to continue serving for many years to come.

Share your thoughts about Tidewater Women by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’d love to hear how TW has impacted your life. We also welcome your suggestions for new departments, distribution locations, and feature articles. Please like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter on our website. Last but not least, kindly contact a couple of our advertisers this month and thank them for supporting our community of women.

 Happy summer!

When she was five years old, Amber Egyud, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer for Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, fell off a wall and cut her head. “After that trip to the ER, I always wanted to be a nurse,” she said.

Today Amber is one of a number of women health care leaders who work at the executive level in area hospitals, ensuring that patients receive high quality, technologically advanced care. They are making a difference behind the scenes, striving to improve the health and well being of our communities. Let’s meet three of these proactive executives.

ADVOCATING FOR PATIENTS
Amber Egyud, DNP, RN, a Pittsburgh native, moved to the area in September 2017. “My family and I love vacationing in the Outer Banks,” she said, “so I was excited when I learned of a job opportunity in Chesapeake.” Chesapeake Regional Healthcare is an independent health care system which includes a 310-bed hospital.

Amber began her career with a nursing diploma from Ohio Valley Hospital School of Nursing in 1994. She first worked in a physician’s office, then in critical and emergency care for nine years. Amber went on to earn BSN and MSN degrees from Carlow University in Pittsburgh before completing a DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) from Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, PA.

While Amber was working on her doctorate, she met the founder of the Project to End Human Trafficking and realized there was a need for health care providers to better recognize and treat human trafficking victims.

“I learned that many human trafficking victims are American teenagers,” she said. “A girl meets a guy trolling at the mall, and they start dating. She may end up enslaved and addicted to drugs.” In order to meet this need, she developed screening tools and healthcare specific training sessions for providers.

Making a difference is important to Amber. “Nurses have a calling to serve others,” she said. “Every day I want the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Amber feels the challenges in health care will increasingly involve managing population health. “The quality of care outside of the hospital is becoming more important,” she said. “We are redefining patient models.”

As more services and care transition to outside of the hospital, patients who are hospitalized are more acute, requiring nursing education that keeps up with new technology and evidence-based practice.

All healthcare fields will continue to offer great opportunity for both men and women, Amber predicts. “Nursing is one of the most diverse careers,” she said. “You can work from the bedside to the boardroom.” She sees nurses as the best advocates for patients because they spend the most time with them.

Spending time with family is Amber’s favorite leisure activity. She and her husband, Tim, have four children ranging in age from 18 to 28 and three grandchildren. “My very favorite is being with my family and reading on the beach or by a pool,” said Amber, who lives in Moyock, NC.

PARTNERSHIPS ARE KEY
As President of Sentara Leigh Hospital, a 250-bed acute care facility in Norfolk, Joanne M. Inman loves engaging with patients, physicians, and staff members. “I get tremendous joy and energy by getting to know them as people,” she said.

When she was a girl, the Prince George County native wanted to be a doctor, but a love of history led her to major in foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. A need to understand and empathize with others prompted her to add a bioethics minor.

“While I loved the strategic aspects of international politics, I couldn’t escape the desire to contribute to the well being of people and local communities in a personal, meaningful way,” Joanne said, “Something in my gut told me I was meant to work in healthcare.” The turning point in Joanne’s career trajectory was an internship at the UVA HIV/AIDS Clinic. She was struck by the compassion and commitment of the care providers. Her mentor, who was both a physician and administrator, suggested she consider health administration.

The opportunity to inspire others on a large scale and innovate for better patient outcomes appealed to her. She completed a master’s degree in health administration in 2004 and began working for Sentara Leigh in 2005 as Director of Patient Care Services. In 2012 she became Vice-President of Operations at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital before returning to Leigh as president in 2016.

“I also love to strategize and collaborate with physicians and leaders to improve our delivery system,” Joanne said. “There is something very gratifying to me about helping others realize their goals and make the patient experience better in the process.”

Joanne believes partnerships are key to good health care—not only traditional patient-provider partnerships, but also unconventional partnerships with new commercial entities such as Walmart, Amazon, and pharmacies now entering the healthcare field.

Sentara’s Optima Health, an insurance provider, is one example being studied in other states. When the insurance provider is a part of the healthcare network, better outcomes and savings benefit everyone involved, notes Joanne. “Better outcomes for patients must drive all decision making,” she added.

Joanne sees healthcare as a rich environment for women. ”Women are moving into leadership roles, partly because so many women work in the field,” she said. “At Sentara, diversity of the board translates into diversity of leadership throughout the system.” The May edition of Forbes Magazine recognized Sentara as one of the nation’s best large employers.

When I talked with Joanne, she was spending her day in back-to-back meetings. She told me that her husband, Ryan, also works for Sentara, in the corporate sector. “I thought our paths would never cross at work,” she said, “but on his second day I had to give a presentation to a group and there he was.” She laughed at the memory. “It was awkward, but he didn’t say anything, and it all went well.”

Joanne and Ryan live in Virginia Beach with their two daughters, Carter and Georgia. She describes Carter, age six, as a soccer fanatic while three-year-old Georgia is “ready to take on the world.” The family enjoys music, outdoor activities, and traveling. “It’s important to be part of the community, active in church, and in the activities that make the Hampton Roads area such a good place to live,” Joanne said.

NETWORK OF CARE
Nursing runs in her family, says Nancy Littlefield, DNP, RN. A picture of her mother’s nursing school graduation from Bryn Mawr hangs in her office at Riverside Health System, where she’s one of two Executive Vice-Presidents.

“I always wanted to be a nurse,” she said. As a child, she tended to imaginary wounds on her dolls with Band-Aids. Her brothers would sneak in her room and shave the hair off her dolls, telling her the dolls were going through chemotherapy. “My brothers were terrible,” she recalled, laughing. “In fact, they still are.”

Nancy began her career as an ICU nurse after receiving a nursing diploma from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She went on to earn her BSN from George Mason, her MHA from VCU and DPN from ODU. She has worked in hospice as well as hospitals in nursing and leadership roles, giving her a broad understanding of health care. She came to Riverside as CNO and Senior Vice-President in 2013 before being promoted to Executive Vice-President/CNO in 2017.

Nancy has responsibility for the oversight and coordination of nursing and clinical practice across the Riverside Health System, as well as leadership and oversight of Human Resources and Lifelong Health. When I visited her office, her desk was covered with pots of succulent plants intended as gifts for the nurse executives who work under her. They, along with all of the Riverside nurses, would receive handwritten notes of appreciation for National Nurses Week.

Relationships are very important to Nancy. She started Ladies Leadership Night Out for Riverside employees, which attracts two hundred women per meeting. She describes the events as wine and cheese and networking. The speaker or speakers may or may not be health care professionals. Nancy’s goal is for those attending to “look at those around us and help develop them.” Some of the Riverside male doctors have asked to attend so as to better understand the women with whom they work.

One of the challenges Nancy sees in nursing is that many of today’s training programs offer more classroom work and lab simulations but less clinical time whereas schools associated with hospitals require many hours of clinical work in addition to classroom study. Riverside has its own College of Health Careers offering RN, LPN, Surgical Technology, Radiology Technology, Physical Therapist Assistant, Nurse Aide, and Medical Assistant training. The college had its first graduate in 1918.

“There is a nationwide shortage of medical personnel at all levels,” Nancy said. “As a result personnel are expected to perform at the top of their training level.” A shortage of nursing faculty and the high cost and years of commitment needed for training in medical specialties are contributing to the problem, she said and noted that some hospital recruiters are looking into ways to help with loan forgiveness.

Riverside offers a continuum of care including acute care, rehabilitation, home health care, hospice, long-term care, and skilled nursing care in Newport News, Eastern Shore, Tappahannock, Gloucester, and Williamsburg. This allows for good communication from one provider to another within the network.

In recent years, Nancy has experienced this from two perspectives, as an administrator as well as a daughter of aging and ill parents. Her mother, 91, is an Alzheimer’s patient in a memory care unit.

“As a daughter, I am seeing our network from the patient’s viewpoint,” she said. “As CNO I can see problems that need to be fixed. Health care literacy is very complex.”

The Williamsburg resident enjoys gardening, reading, knitting, and refinishing furniture. Her daughter and two sons live in Virginia, and she has eleven grandchildren and another on the way. So far none of her children have followed her into nursing, but perhaps one of her grandchildren will.

The women in this story share a passion for healthcare, for the patient, and for our communities. Their innovative spirit, desire to foster relationships, and caring compassion enable them to lead by example and meet every challenge as a new opportunity. As healthcare trends continue to change, these leading ladies are finding ways for their organizations to better serve patients’ needs.

Susan Williamson is a freelance writer and resides in Williamsburg with her husband and labradoodle. 

Welcome to Tidewater Women’s exclusive June calendar of events!

Friday 1
Family Fun Friday - 10 a.m. 1st Fri. thru Sept. Enjoy hands-on crafts, activities, and art discoveries. RR ($) Chrysler Museum 664-6200 (N)
Friendly Friday Yoga Flow - 10-11:30 a.m. Every Fri. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Bodacious Bazaar Spring Festival - 10 a.m.-7 p.m. thru Sun. Browse quality crafters, vendors, artists, and wineries. ($) HR Convention Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 255-8680 (H)
Stretch, Flex & Tone: Chair Class - 12-1 p.m. Ages 50+. Every Fri. Gentle activities to help improve joint mobility. RR ($) MacArthur Center 625-5857 (N)
Seasoned and Sassy - 2 p.m. Every Fri. Get active & socialize! Black Library 441-5806 (N)
Summer Carnival - 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 2-10 p.m. Sat.-Sun. thru 6/19. Rides, games + traditional state fair foods. Mt. Trashmore Park 285-2990 (VB)
First Friday Concert Series - 5-8 p.m. 1st Fri. thru Oct. Music by Bobby “Blackhat” Walters. Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center 393-8543 (P)
First Friday Street Parties: Hot Gumbo Brass Band - 5-8:30 p.m. Music, food & fun. TCC Plaza, Granby St. 623-1757 (N)
Meditation: Unwind the Mind - 5:30-6:15 p.m. Most Fri. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Center, 156 Newtown Rd. #A2 504-4425 (VB)
“Life’s a Beach” Opening Celebration - 6:30-8:30 p.m. Exhibition on view thru 7/1. The Artists Gallery, 608 Norfolk Ave. 425-6671 (VB)
Gov. School for the Arts Film Festival - 7 p.m. ($) Dalis Black Box Theatre, 254 Granby St. 451-4711 (N)
VB Farmers Market Friday Hoedowns - 7-10 p.m. Every Fri. thru Oct. Enjoy live local music! 3649 Dam Neck Rd. 385-4388 (VB)
Paint Night - 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Every 1st Fri. ($) Downing Gross Ctr. 247-8950 (NN)
Ja Rule & Ashanti in Concert - 8 p.m. ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)
Little Theatre of Norfolk: A Little Night Music - 8 p.m. Times vary thru 6/10. Explore the tangled web of affairs centered around actress Desiree Armfeldt. ($) 801 Claremont Ave. 627-8551 (N)

Saturday          2
Lynnhaven River Now: Bird and Plant Walks - 7:30-9 a.m. Every 1st Sat. RR Pleasure House Point Natural Area 962-5398 (VB)
Hampton City Schools 5K: Race to the Stage - 8-11 a.m. Help raise money for scholarships. RR ($) Matteson Trail, 320 Butler Farm Rd. 727-2000 (H)
Therapeutic Yoga - 8:30-10 a.m. Every Sat. Also Mon. 7-8:15 p.m. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Family Fishing Clinic - 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Ages 5-14 w/ caregiver. Learn the basics of angling. Supplies provided. RR ($) Munden Point Park 385-2990 (VB)
Clean the Bay Day - 9 a.m.-noon. Come together for a common cause! RR call for locations 385-1100 (VB)
Farmers’ Market - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Every Sat. Olde Towne Portsmouth 397-6395 (P)
AIDS Walk: Hampton Roads - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Opening & closing ceremonies, guest DJ + brunch. RR ($) Bennetts Creek Park 484-3984 (S)
Suffolk Farmers’ Market - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Every Sat. Enjoy locally-grown goods, artisan crafts + family activities. Suffolk Visitor Center Pavilion 514-4130 (S)
Old Towne Antiques to Flea Market - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Every 1st Sat. 70+ vendors. Middle Street Garage 339-1876 (P)
Free Weekend - 10 a.m.-5 p.m. + 1-5 p.m. Sun. Enjoy the arts. Peninsula Fine Arts Center, 101 Museum Dr. 596-8175 (NN)
Blackbeard Pirate Festival - 10 a.m.-6 p.m. thru Sun. Entertainment, children’s area, fireworks + more. Mill Point Park 727-8311 (H)
Yoga Class - 10:30-11:30 a.m. Every Sat. Stretch your best in this vinyasa flow. Donations ($) MacArthur Center 627-6000 (N)
Create Your Own Milk Chocolate Bar - 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Every 1st Sat. Choose your own toppings. ($) The Royal Chocolate 557-6925 (VB)
King Lincoln Park Day - 12-5 p.m. Children’s activities, exhibits + more. King Lincoln Park 926-1400 (NN)
Spark Your Creativity - 1-3:30 p.m. Exercises + discussion to mine your creativity. RR ($) Muse Writers Center, 2200 Colonial Ave. 818-9880 (N)
Beer Preview Party - 5-8 p.m. Games, live music, + more. ($) O’Connor Brewing Co., 211 W. 24th St. 623-2337 (N)
Zoo to Do: Crocodile Rock - 6-10 p.m. Adults. Animal pop-ups, silent auctions, dancing + more. RR ($) Va. Zoo 441-2374 (N)
Downtown Hampton Block Party - 6-10:30 p.m. Every Sat. thru Aug. Music, food trucks, vendors + children’s activities. Queens Way 727-1271 (H)
Fireside Chat & Chomp - 7:30-8:30 p.m. Every Sat. thru Oct. Mingle & hear campfire tales. Northwest River Park 421-7151 (C)
John Prince in Concert - 8 p.m. ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)

Sunday            3
Prayers for World Peace - 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Most Sun. Adults. Two guided meditations on how to apply Buddhist teachings. Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Ctr. 504-4425 (VB)
Drag Yourself to Brunch - 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Every Sun. Age 18+. High-energy entertainment from female impersonators. RR ($) Croc’s 19th Street Bistro 428-5444 (VB)
Sunday Brunch -11 a.m.–3 p.m. Every 1st & 3rd Sun. RR ($) Sweetwater Cuisine 403-7073 (VB)
HerDance: A DanceAsana Experience for Women - 4-6 p.m. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Groovin’ by the Bay - 6-9 p.m. Every Sun. thru Labor Day. Enjoy live entertainment with a little funk. Buckroe Beach & Park, North First St. 727-8311 (H)

Monday           4
ODU Video Day - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Learn about audio, editing, and showcase your expertise. RR ($) Innovation Research Park II, 4211 Monarch Way, 683-7150 (N)
Monday Yoga Flow - 10-11:30 a.m. Every Mon. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Cardio Quick Class - 12-12:30 p.m. Every MWF. ($) Seven Cities Dance Studio 362-4973 (H)
Lunchtime Meditation - 12:15-12:45 p.m. Most Mon. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Center, 156 Newtown Rd. #A2 504-4425 (VB)
Saints Alive Senior Chorus - 12:30 p.m. Every Mon. St. Paul’s UMC, 437 Providence Rd. 543-5721 (C)
Yoga for Special Needs - 4:30-5:45 p.m. Every Mon. A class for those w/physical challenges. RR ($) Wells Therapeutics 313-4962 (VB)
Chesapeake Dances: Millennial Monday - 5-8 p.m. Silent disco, concessions, dance floor + cash bar. Chesapeake Conference Ctr. 382-2531 (C)
Sophisticated Steppers - 5:45-7:15 p.m. Every Mon. Seniors dance. ($) Cuffee Community Ctr., 2019 Windy Rd., 382-6411 (C)
Manic Monday Bike Rides - 6-8 p.m. Every Mon. Gain confidence & navigation knowledge. MacArthur Center Green 627-6000 (N)
VB Bee Club - 6:30 p.m. Every 1st Mon. Learn about backyard beehives. Croc’s 19th St. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (VB)
Functional Forum - 6:30 p.m. 1st Mon. Health news. Holistic Family Practice 685-4325 (VB)
Peace Circle Group w/ Rev. Laura - 6:30-8 p.m. 1st Mon. Unity Church of Tidewater, 5580 Shell Rd. 804-818-6084 (VB)
Drum Circle - 7-10 p.m. Every Mon. Donations accepted. Mystic Moon 855-3280 (N)

Tuesday           5
New Member Expo - 7:30-9:30 a.m. RR ($) Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, 21 Enterprise Pkwy. 262-2000 (H)
Yoga in the Galleries - 8:45-9:45 a.m. Every Tues. RR ($) Chrysler Museum 664-6200 (N)
Yin Yoga - 10:45 a.m. Every Tues. Seniors. Improve flexibility and strengthen muscles. RR ($) PrimePlus, 7300 Newport Ave.  625-5857 (N)
The Women’s Forum of Coastal VA - 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Topic: Navigating & Thriving in Your Company’s Culture. RR ($) Cox Communications, 1341 Crossways Blvd. 683-7150 (N)
Business Education Seminar - 12-2 p.m. Team engagement is all about the relationships. RR ($) Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, 21 Enterprise Pkwy. 262-2000 (H)
Spring Break Field Day - 12-3 p.m. Corn hole, games, bounce houses + more. Paradise Creek Nature Park 399-7487 (P)
Keep Me in Stitches - 2-5 p.m. Every Tues. Knit & crochet for cancer patients. Grace Comm. Church, 1725 Salem Rd. 404-6593 (VB)
Cooperative Co-Parenting - 4-8 p.m. Every 1st Tues. Prevent problems related to divorce. RR ($) 135 Hall Ave., 624-6666 (S)
Peppy Steppers - 5:45-7:15 p.m. Every Tues. Seniors. ($) W. Branch Comm. Ctr. 382-6411 (C)
Life 101 - 6-7:15 p.m. Every Tues. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
YMCA MixxedFit Class - 6:30-8:30 p.m. Every Tues. Enjoy dance-inspired fitness. Donation ($) MacArthur Center 627-6000 (N)
25 Mics: Spoken Word and Open Mic Night - 7-8:30 p.m. Every 2nd Tues. Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center 247-8950 (NN)
Magic of Harmony Show Chorus Rehearsals - 7-9 p.m. Every Tues. Visitors welcome. Tabb H.S. Chorus Rm. 566-8600 (Y)
Spontaneous Theater Troupe Training - 7-9 p.m. Every Tues. RR ($) Fellowship Center, 620 14th St. 472-0662 (VB)
In-Depth Study Program - 7-9:30 p.m. Every Tues. Meditation, chanted prayers & more. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Ctr. 504-4425 (VB)

Wednesday     6
Kiwanis Club Meeting - 7:15 a.m. Every 1st & 3rd Wed. Change the world one child at a time. Pop’s Diner, 1432 Greenbrier Way 469-4945 (C)
Writing Camp for Adults - 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Breakout sessions on journaling, poetry, publishing + more. RR ($) Muse Writers Center, 2200 Colonial Ave. 818-9880 (N)
Harmony & Fitness Yoga - 9:30 a.m. Every Wed. ($) Eliz. Gardens 473-3234 (Manteo)
Crocheting - 10 a.m.-noon. Seniors. Every Wed. Bring supplies. South Norfolk Community Center 543-5721 (C)
Mandala: Luminous Symbols for Healing Workshop - 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Adults & teens. Learn to use Prismacolor pencils on black paper. RR ($) Ocean View Arts 961-0808 (N)
Chesapeake Social & Newcomers Club - 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Every 1st Wed. except July & Aug. RSVP by preceding Friday. RR ($) Traditions Grill, Chesapeake Golf Club 966-9000 (C)
Food Truck Hump Days - 4 p.m. Every 1st & 3rd Wed. thru Sept. Gourmet dishes + children’s activities & entertainment. Courtyard Square Park 408-2245 (C)
Harmony Health Guided Paddle & Yoga Tours - 6 p.m. Every Wed. & Fri. thru summer. Rudee Inlet SUP 563-3075
OBC Trivia Night - 6-8 p.m. Every 1st Wed. ($) O’Connor Brewing Co. 623-2337 (N)
Weekly Meditation Class - 6:30-8 p.m. Most Wed. ($) Fred Heutte Ctr. 504-4425 (N)
U.S. Coast Guard Band Concert - 7-9 p.m. ($) Willet Hall, 3701 Willet Dr. 393-5144 (P)

Thursday         7
Paint 4 Fun - 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Every Thurs. Seniors. River Crest Community Ctr. 436-3100 (C)
City Center Farmers’ Market - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Every Thurs. City Center at Oyster Point 873-2020 (NN)
Art Connections - 1 p.m. Every Thurs. Seniors. All mediums accepted. PrimePlus 7300 Newport Ave. 625-5857 (N)
Ask the Artist - 5:30 p.m. Every Thurs. Engage with works of art through artist talks. d’ART Center 625-4211 (N)
D’Art Firsthand - 5:30-7:30 p.m. Every 1st Thurs. Make & takes, demos + lectures. RR D’Art Center, 740 Duke St. 625-4211 (N)
HR Writers: Show and Grow Your Prose - 5:30-8:30 p.m. Enjoy readings & critiques. RR Gus & Geoge’s Spaghetti and Steak House, 4312 Va. Beach Blvd. 639-6146 (VB)
Planetarium Show: The Mystery of Stonehenge - 8 p.m. Every Thurs. in June. Explore the stone circle and search for alignments of stars and planets. Chesapeake Planetarium 547-0153 (C)

Friday              8
Hampton Roads Leadership Summit - 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Young professionals and local leaders are encouraged to attend and learn best practices for engaging with the community and fostering collaboration. Spon. by ODU and Sen. Mark Warner. RR American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St. 441-3079 (H)
Norfolk Harborfest - Times vary thru Sun. Enjoy entertainment, Parade of Sail, fireworks + family activities. See festevents.org for complete lineup. 441-2345 (N)
World Oceans Day - 11 a.m. thru Sun. Enjoy live animal presentations and special activities. ($) Va. Aquarium 385-3474 (VB)
TGIF Summer Concert Series: The Fuzz Band - 6-9:30 p.m. Every Fri. Entertainment + children’s area. Constant’s Wharf Park & Marina, 110 E. Constance Rd. 514-7267 (S)
Hurrah Players: Randy Roberts Live! - 7 p.m. Times vary thru Sun. Enjoy this multi-media tribute to some of the world’s most beloved performers. ($) Perry Family Theater, 112 W. Wilson Ave. 627-5437 (N)
ODU Juried Student Exhibition Opening Reception - 7-9 p.m. View student artworks in drawing, graphic design, painting + more. On view thru 7/15. Gordon Art Galleries, 4509 Monarch Way, 683-6271 (N)
Muse Jam - 7-10 p.m. Every 2nd Fri. Read your work, play music, or just listen. Muse Writers Center, 2200 Colonial Ave. 818-9880 (N)

Saturday          9
KayaXpedition - Call for times. Kayaking, canoeing + stand-up paddle-boarding festival. RR Oak Grove Lake Park 421-7151 (C)
Community Yard Sale & Craft Bazaar - 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Get rid of your clutter & browse crafts! RR ($) for vendor spaces. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 807 W. Mercury Blvd. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 321-482-8051 (H)
Volunteer Day - 9-11 a.m. Be a river hero. RR Paradise Creek Nature Park 399-7487 (P)
River Cleanup - 9 a.m.-noon. Every 2nd Sat. All ages. Locations vary. Spon. by Lynnhaven River Now. 962-5398 (VB)
Buckroe Beach Farmers Market - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Most Sat. thru Nov. Browse local produce, baked goods + more. Buckroe Beach Gazebo, First St. 877-2933 (H)
Camera Boot Camp: Intro to Manual Settings - 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Learn about shooting modes, image storage capabilities, file types + more. RR ($) Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
VB Pet Expo - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Also Sun. Bring your pet for spa treatments, activities, demos + more. VB Convention Center 385-2000 (VB)
Shipwreck! Exhibit Opening Weekend - 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Also Sun. Enjoy pirate-themed music, giveaways, and family activities. ($) Nauticus 664-1017 (N)
Summer Celebration Wine Festival - 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tastings, music, food and craft vendors. Lee Hall Mansion 926-1400 (NN)
National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Monthly Meeting - 11 a.m. Every 2nd Sat. Stanhope House, 2715 Stanhope Ave. 264-1748 (N)
D’Art Firsthand - 1-3 p.m. Every 2nd Sat. Make & takes, demos + lectures. RR D’Art Center, 740 Duke St. 625-4211 (N)
Revealing Party: A Touch from Above - 6-8 p.m. Anointing oil w/ fragrance. DAV building, 3019 Portsmouth Blvd. 335-2486 (P)
Nice School of Dance: Belle’s Story: The Magic of Make Believe - 6:30 p.m. ($) Harrison Opera House 664-6464 (N)
VBSPCA: Dancing for Paws - 7 p.m. Enjoy this celebrity dance competition. ($) Chrysler Hall 689-1926 (N)

Sunday            10
Untamed Arts: Photography Class - 9:30-11:30 a.m. Ages 16+. Build confidence and improve photogenic techniques. RR ($) Va. Zoo 441-2374 (N)
Eckankar: The Light & Sound Service - 11 a.m. Tidewater Eck Center, 1500 E. Little Creek Rd. 588-5683 (N)
Second Sundays Williamsburg - 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy living history, various artisans, and more. Merchants Square 879-3029 (W)
Phelps Brothers Music Festival - 12-5:30 p.m. Instruments, pictorial history + more to celebrate these local legends. Lakeside Park 467-2149 (C)
Family Fest - 2-4 p.m. Gallery scavenger hunt, create, explore + more. Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
Raw & Vegan Food Summer Potluck - 3-6 p.m. Create & share delicious plant-based meals. The Wellness Mission 499-4820 (VB)
One Love Caribbean Steel Drum Band Performance - 5:30-7:30 p.m. Elizabeth River Park 382-1359 (C)

Monday           11
Job Search and Career Exploration - 5 p.m. Every 2nd Mon. Learn about various topics. Jordan-Newby Library 441-2843 (N)
Food for Thought: Men’s Health - 5:30-7:30 p.m. Also 6/16 @ 2:30 p.m. & 6/29 @ 5:30 p.m. Learn how the male body works and how to keep in shape and in health one step at a time. Holistic Family Practice, 1213 Laskin Rd. #108 685-4325 (VB)
Women’s Voices Book Club - 7:30 p.m. Every 2nd Mon. New members welcome. Barnes & Noble, 4485 Va. Beach Blvd. 671-7929 (VB)

Tuesday           12
Butterfly Container Workshop - 9:30-11:30 a.m. Invite butterflies to your yard! RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Slayer in Concert - 5-9 p.m. ($) Veterans United home Loans Amphitheater 368-3000 (VB)
Psychic Development and Opening Your 3rd Eye - 7-8:30 p.m. Also 6/26. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)

Wednesday     13
Coffee & Conversation: Hydrangeas - 9:30-11:30 a.m. Grow these stunning blooms in your home garden. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Coffee Connection - 7:30-9 a.m. Spon. by Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. RR ($) Riverside College of Health Careers, 316 Main St. 262-2000 (NN)
SWaM Certification Information Workshop - 9 a.m.-noon. RR ODU Women’s Business Center, 4111 Monarch Way, 683-7150 (N)
Croc’s Cooking Class - 6 p.m. Every 2nd Wed. Incl. tastings and wine. RR ($) Croc’s 19th Street Bistro 428-5444 (VB)
Family Camping Basics - 6-7 p.m. RR Northwest River Park 382-1359 (C)

Thursday         14
AMA Hampton Roads: Reality or Science Fiction? - 11:30-1 p.m. Learn how the Port is using augmented reality to bring in new business. RR ($) Slover Library, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 664-7323 (N)
Pink Bag Lunch: Planning Your Life & Legacy - 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. RR ($) Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce 262-2000 (H)
Alzheimer’s Support Group - 1-2:30 p.m. 2nd Thurs. Beth Sholom Village 420-2512 (VB)
REVIVE! Lay Rescuer Training - 2-4 p.m. Learn how to respond to an opioid overdose emergency. RR Human Services Dept., 258 N. Witchduck Rd. 385-0803 (VB)
Rolling on the River Food Truck Series - 4 p.m.-Sunset. Every 2nd & 4th Thurs. thru Sept. Food trucks, lawn games + music. Elizabeth River Park 382-6411 (C)
Summer Concert Series - 5:30-8 p.m. Every Thurs. thru Aug. Towne Place at Greenbrier, 725 Eden Way N. 627-8611 (C)
Weekday Wine Down - 6-8:30 p.m. Sample wine & paint your own keepsake glass. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Conversations about Climate Change: Tidewater Film & Discussion - 6:30-8:30 p.m. Spon. by Lynnhaven River Now. RR Brock Environmental Center, 962-5398 (VB)

Friday              15
Garden Trails - 9:30-10:30 a.m. Get wellness tips on this energetic fitness walk. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Reptile Awareness Day - 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Keeper chats, education carts + Zoodoption special. ($) Va. Zoo 441-2374 (N)
Evelyn Ott School of Dance: Game On! - 7 p.m. ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)
Open Mic Night - 7 p.m. Every 3rd Fri. Share music, poetry, stories & more. Christ Episcopal Church, 111 S. Church St. 407-6333 (Smithfield)
Party at the Pier - 7-10 p.m. Enjoy food trucks and dancing to music by The Buckshots! Little Island Park 385-2990 (VB)
Eckankar: The Sound of Soul - 7 p.m. Tidewater Eck Center, 1500 E. Little Creek Rd. 588-5683 (N)
Tidewater Stage: Dial M for Murder - 7:30 p.m. Also 6/16, 22, 23, 29 & 30. Don’t miss this spine-tingling play! ($) Regent U. Studio Theatre 352-4245 (VB)
The Black Jacket Symphony: The Eagles’ Hotel California - 8 p.m. ($) Sandler Center 385-2787 (VB)

Saturday          16
Old Beach Art Market - 9 a.m.-noon. Every 3rd Sat. Browse mixed media artwork. 19th St. & Cypress Ave. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (VB)
Summer Solstice Festival: Conscious Club - 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Enjoy entertainment, children’s activities, community gardening + more. Sattvic Space Yoga & Healing Studio, 1308 Airline Blvd. 655-3322 (P)
Elite Fleet of VB - 10 a.m.-5 p.m. See intricately designed, radio-controlled model boats. ($) Nauticus 664-1017 (N)
Social Cycle Norfolk Bike Education Class - 12-1 p.m. Every 3rd Sat. How to prepare a bike camp kit + more. MacArthur Center 627-6000 (N)
Church St. Community Theatre Ensemble: Ceremonies in Dark Old Men - 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. A single woman supports a struggling Harlem family. ($) Murray Center, 455 E. Brambleton Ave. 625-0222 (N)
Z104 Shagfest - 4-10 p.m. ($) Veterans United home Loans Amphitheater 368-3000 (VB)
Lakewood Dance and Music Center Recital - 6 p.m. ($) Harrison Opera House 664-6464 (N)
Film Screening: The Readings - 7 p.m. Enjoy this Japanese documentary highlighting Edgar Cayce’s work. Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. 457-7202 (VB)

Sunday            17
Zoo Parent - 9:30-11 a.m. Refreshments + goodies for those who adopted an animal through Zoodoption. RR Va. Zoo 441-2374 (N)
Daylily Walk & Talk - 10-11:30 a.m. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)

Monday           18
VB Jaycees: First Citizen of VB Banquet - 6-10 p.m. Honoring Mr. J. Morgan Davis of TowneBank with music & dinner. RR ($) Hilton VB Oceanfront, 3001 Atlantic Ave. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (VB)

Tuesday           19
How to Finance Your Business Venture - 10 a.m.-noon. Learn about business credit and personal credit, debt financing and equity financing. RR ($) ODU Women’s Business Center, 4111 Monarch Way, 683-7150 (N)
Botanical Business - 1-3 p.m. Negotiate your way to a successful landscape. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Summer Film Festival: Gold Diggers of Broadway - 6:30-8:30 p.m. All ages. Enjoy classic films. Main Library 727-1312 (H)
Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience - 7:30 p.m. The Long Island Medium returns for live readings and personal stories. ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)

Wednesday     20
Adults with Disabilities Social Group - 3-4:30 p.m. Every 3rd Wed. Enjoy socializing and entertainment. Bayside Library 385-2689 (VB)
Dream Big Summer Solstice - 7-9 p.m. Group intentionality, meditation + partnered exercises. RR ($) On the Beach at 68th St. 729-2716 (VB)

Thursday         21
Third Thursdays - 6-9 p.m. Enjoy music, demos + activities. ($) Chrysler Museum 664-6200 (N)
Terrarium Workshop - 6:30-8:30 p.m. Create a miniature living tabletop display. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)

Friday              22
Wilderness Survival Weekend - Call for times thru Sun. Explore dunes, maritime forests, and marshes while learning survival skills. RR ($) False Cape State Park, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 421-3929 (VB)
Seven Cities Music Competition - 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Also 6/29. ($) Central Library 424-5718 (VB)
Meditation Class - 5:30-7 p.m. Learn techniques for grounding, centering, and connecting. Holistic Family Practice, 1213 Laskin Rd. #108 685-4325 (VB)
Hardee’s Latin Fest - 5:30-11 p.m. Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Food, high-energy tunes, vendors + more. Oceanfront, 24th St. Park 333-0921 (VB)
PrimePlus: Musical Revive: The Beat of ’68 - 6 p.m. Seniors. Produced by Hurrah Players. Silent auction, piano bar + more. ($) Norfolk Masonic Temple, 7001 Granby St. 625-5857 (N)
Funhouse Fest - 7 p.m. Also Sat. 4 p.m. Enjoy stellar performances, food + fun. ($) Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg 282-2822 (W)
Hampton Jazz Festival - 7:30 p.m. Times vary thru Sun. RR ($) Hampton Coliseum, 1000 Coliseum Dr. 838-4203 (H)
The WorD: An Open Mic for Poets, Storytellers & Fabulists - 7:30-9:30 p.m. Zeiders American Dream Theater, 4573 Bank St. 639-6146 (VB)
Generic Theatre: Hand to God - 8 p.m. Times vary thru 7/15. When one devout young boy discovers that his hand puppet has a life of its own, all hell breaks loose. ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)

Saturday          23
HR Writers: Traveling Pen Writers Workshop - 9:30 a.m.-noon. Learn about crafting the memoir. RR ($) TCC Blackwater Bldg. 639-6146 (VB)
Adult & Family Yoga - 10-11 a.m. Learn to relieve stress. RR ($) Va. Zoo 441-2374 (N)
Fresh & Fruity Kombucha - 10 a.m.-noon. Make this potent fermented beverage with detoxifying and energizing ingredients. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Master Class w/ New Waves Artist Marie Fornaro - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Investigate piecework within cross-cultural and contemporary contexts. RR ($) Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
VB Farmers’ Market Honey Festival - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 3640 Dam Neck Rd. 385-4388 (VB)
Musical Soul Food Festival - 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Enjoy the best in gospel music and entertainment. Chesapeake City Park 888-474-9990 (C)
Arts on Tap - 12-4 p.m. Paint your own pint glass and enjoy live music and more! Spon. by Young Audiences of Va. ($) Bearded Bird Brewing, 727 Granby St. 466-7555 (N)
Tidewater Arts Outreach Senior Series - 2-3:30 p.m. Ages 55+. Mini tour + collage workshop. RR ($) Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center 393-8543 (P)
TBMA Monthly Bluegrass Concert: Fentress Station - 7 p.m. See the best in bluegrass talent. Donations ($) Hickory Ruritan Club 421-0297 (C)
The TRD in Me: A Hip Hop Benefit Dance Concert - 7:30 p.m. Dancing, silent auction + more. RR ($) TRDance Center, 325 Granby St. 626-3262 (N)

Sunday            24
Eckankar Book Discussion - 11 a.m. Newcomers welcome. Tidewater Eck Center, 1500 E. Little Creek Rd. 588-5683 (N)

Monday           25
Ben Franklin Circle - 6:30-8 p.m. Learn to apply Ben Franklin’s 13 virtues to 21st century values and leadership. Central Library 385-0150 (VB)

Tuesday           26
Intro to Edible Weeds - 1-3 p.m. Learn to identify & prepare the nutirional wonders of wild weeds. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)

Wednesday     27
SWaM Certification Application Assistance - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Become certified as a small, women, and minority business. RR ODU Women’s Business Center, 4111 Monarch Way, 683-7150 (N)
Dr. Philip Snider: Healthy Living - 1 p.m. Tips on diet, exercise, and making healthy choices. Larchmont Library 441-5335 (N)

Thursday         28
Project Learning Tree: Workshop for Early Childhood Teachers - 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Spon. by Lynnhaven River Now. RR Brock Environmental Center 962-5398 (VB)
Biological Control: What’s Bugging You? - 1-3 p.m. Avoid pesticides and invite beneficial bugs to your garden. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Business Connection After Hours - 5-7 p.m. Spon. by Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. RR ($) Falcon Creek Luxury Apts., 4900 Falcon Creek Way 262-2000 (H)
Artful Insights: New Waves - 6:30-9 p.m. Explore the exhibition and join the artists for drinks + Q&A. Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
Rascall Flatts: Back to Us Tour 2018 - 7:30-11:30 p.m. ($) Veterans United home Loans Amphitheater 368-3000 (VB)

Friday              29
BLS, CPR, and AED Certification - 8:30 a.m. Spon. by Ericka’s Heart CPR & Health Ed. RR 3083 Brickhoue Ct. 618-1585 (VB)
Michael David Winery Tasting Event - 5:30 p.m. Sample wines and enjoy a perfectly-paired dinner. RR ($) Yiannis Wine Shop, 401 N. Great Neck Rd. 463-9463 (VB)
Sandstock: A Tribute to Rock & Roll - 6:30 p.m. Also Sat. Enjoy this beach-inspired variation on “Woodstock” on two dueling stages. Oceanfront 24th St. 385-7873 (VB)

Saturday          30
Gaming for Adults: Tabletop Roleplaying - 2-4 p.m. Create a character and get adventuring. RR Joint Use Library 822-7800 (VB) Q

Please call to confirm. RR - Reservation req’d. ($) Fee (C) Chesapeake (H) Hampton  (N) Norfolk

(NN) Newport News  (P) Portsmouth

(S) Suffolk  (VB) Va. Beach  (W) W’burg

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Our main metaphor for dealing with illness is one of battle. But rather than seeing yourself as a warrior, a better image might be that of a farmer. Living well with serious illness is like tending a garden in which you’re planting seeds to feed your soul. You may not have control over your physical condition, but you can direct the kind of inner experience you want.

Although illness can be daunting, you can decide to become an intentional creator of your best possible life under the circumstances. Learning to cultivate nourishing inner experiences is a doable mission statement that no illness can take away from you.

We all live with the life-threatening illness called being alive. Serious illness just puts this in sharp focus. Too often we feel that losing control to an illness means we have lost control of our life and identity. But the ultimate challenge of illness is to appreciate life in a way that doesn’t require having control every step of the way. You may not control the length of your illness, but you can grow your psychological resources through mental discipline, emotional management, and finding meaning.

MENTAL DISCIPLINE
Human beings all have a built-in negativity bias, meaning that fear tends to rule our minds. This bias helps ensures our survival, but it makes things worse when you are facing a long-term challenge like serious illness. If you let your mind wander, it will drift toward fear like a car out of alignment.

Fear lives in the future, not the present moment. You can reorient yourself to the present instant by repeating the phrase, “Right this second.” Each time you say it, you will experience a brief oasis of mental rest. Another good one to ask yourself is: “Is anything horrible happening right this minute?” The honest answer will always be no, and that realization is deeply relieving. By repeating these deliberate shifts in thought, you learn to manage your fearful mind.

Mindfulness and meditation take you to your central core, where illness and worry can’t exist. This has tremendous physical and emotional benefits, calming your adrenals and lifting your spirits. You practice mindfulness every time you immerse yourself in seeing something as if for the first time. This deep attention pulls us into the present moment that stills the mind. You can practice mindfulness with the most mundane activity, such as washing the dishes, walking, or waiting at a stoplight—anytime when you release time pressure and just be present.

Meditation empties your mind, rests you in stillness, and stops you from taking your thoughts seriously. By focusing on your breathing and letting your thoughts drift by without attachment, you experience a new dimension of yourself. Somewhere under your mind’s obsession with control, there is a still, interior spaciousness that you will find refreshing. If you would like to try meditation, Headspace.com has a series of free 10-minute meditations that give you a feel for it. With these practices, you farm your inner resources into nurturing calm and energy.

EMOTIONAL MANAGEMENT
When you have an unexpected health challenge, remember that it costs energy to suppress feelings or even to judge them. Let your feelings have their cycles; they are an important part of your body’s healing. Jotting down your fears can be very freeing and stops the thoughts from spinning in your head. By putting fear on paper, it shrinks into a form you can deal with.

Once you have poured out your worries, you are ready to cultivate warm, positive, and energizing emotional experiences. In neuropsychologist Rick Hanson’s book, Hardwiring Happiness, he explains how amplifying good experiences increases your well being and peace of mind. Taking a few extra seconds to prolong and savor a good experience lays down neural tracks in your brain that make it easier to rebound into positive feelings whenever you get low. Every time you become deeply aware of a good feeling, you are fertilizing happiness.

FINDING MEANING
When illness diminishes the power and self-determination you’ve always taken for granted, you can restore it in other ways. If you can find some meaning—some good thing—in your illness experience, you will feel less like a victim. Victor Frankl’s  Man’s Search for Meaning is an inspiring read that explains how a sense of meaning supports survival under the worst circumstances.

Finding meaning takes you from victim to participant, from randomness to significance. Just be sure that the meaning you discover is one that steers clear of guilt or punishment. Your true meaning will always have a strengthening quality.

As you put structure on your experience of illness by building these skills, you will feel better. If you choose to become a farmer of peace and contentment within yourself, your experience of life will be back under your control.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that occurs when there is too much of a certain bacteria in the vagina. This overgrowth changes the normal balance of bacteria naturally found in the vagina. Women in their reproductive years are most likely to get bacterial vaginosis, but it can affect women of any age. Researchers do not know the cause of BV or how some women get it. We do know that the infection typically occurs in sexually active women.

BV is linked to an imbalance of “good” and “harmful” bacteria that are normally found in a woman’s vagina. BV seems to occur in women with a new sex partner or multiple sex partners. We also do not know how sex contributes to BV. There is no research to show that treating a sex partner affects whether or not a woman gets BV. Women who have never had sex rarely get BV. You cannot get BV from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools. Bacterial vaginosis is not regarded as a sexually transmitted disease. Several different types of bacteria that are known causes of BV are Gardnerella vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, and Mobiluncus species.

Women who have intrauterine contraceptive devices for birth control seem to have an increased risk of BV. Also in that category are smokers, early age of first intercourse, new sexual partner, higher number of lifetime sexual partners, douching, recent use of antibiotics, and an increase in number of sexual partners in the month before diagnosis.

There are no specific preventative measures, however, using condoms with new sexual partners may help to protect against various infections. Other options include: keeping the genital area clean. Using plain unscented soap and having your partner also use the same kind of soap; take showers instead tub baths; wearing cotton underpants or pantyhose with a cotton crotch; not sitting around in wet clothing, such as wet bathing suits; after urination or bowel movements, cleanse by wiping from the front to the back (vagina to anus) and changing pads or tampons frequently.

The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are slightly different for each woman. Approximately 50 percent of women don’t even have any symptoms. Those that do experience vaginal discharge that has increased in amount and is a milky white to grey in color. The discharge often has a foul odor that is referred to as a “fishy” smell. This smell is more noticeable after intercourse. Many women also experience vaginal itching and irritation.

Treating bacterial vaginosis is typically done through a specific antibiotic. Metronidazole (Flagyl) or clindamycin (Cleocin) are often used. They come in both pill form and vaginal cream form. The medication can be given anywhere from 2 to 7 days to treat the initial infection. It’s common for bacterial vaginosis to recur within three to 12 months despite treatment. Researchers are exploring treatments for recurrent bacterial vaginosis. If your symptoms recur soon after treatment, talk with your doctor about treatments. One option may be extended-use metronidazole therapy.                     

A self-help approach is lactobacillus colonization therapy, which attempts to boost the number of good bacteria in your vagina and re-establish a balanced vaginal environment, possibly accomplished by eating certain types of yogurt or other foods containing lactobacilli. While current research shows there may be some benefit to probiotic therapy, more research is needed on the subject.

Treatment is usually recommended for women who have symptoms, women undergoing surgical procedures, and some pregnant women. Testing and treating male sexual partners is usually not recommended. To diagnose bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may:

• Ask questions about your medical history. Your doctor may ask about any previous vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections.

• Perform a pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor visually examines your vagina for signs of infection and inserts two fingers into your vagina while pressing on your abdomen with the other hand to check your pelvic organs for signs that may indicate disease.

• Take a sample of vaginal secretions. This may be done to check for an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in your vaginal flora. Your doctor may examine the vaginal secretions under a microscope, looking for “clue cells,” vaginal cells covered with bacteria that are a sign of bacterial vaginosis.

• Test your vaginal pH. Your doctor may check the acidity of your vagina by placing a pH test strip in your vagina. A vaginal pH of 4.5 or higher is a sign of bacterial vaginosis.

Many patients ask “What happens if I don’t get treated?” BV can cause some serious health risks, including:

• Increasing your chance of getting HIV if you have sex with someone who is infected with HIV;

• If you are HIV positive, increasing your chance of passing HIV to your sex partner;

• Making it more likely that you will deliver your baby too early if you have BV while pregnant;

• Increasing your chance of getting other STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

These bacteria can sometimes cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can make it difficult or impossible for you to have children. So if you think you are suffering from bacterial vaginosis, call and make an appointment with your healthcare provider now.

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