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The Story Cure: How Storytelling Restored My Health and Vitality

We had an amazing group of authors in this year’s Bring Your Book to Life® program. And something interesting happened for one of them, Storyteller and Consultant, Dr. Senem Donatan Mohan: the book she was working on became a program, The Story Cure.

In my first conversation with Senem, I was struck by the premise and promise of her book (and now program). As writers, we sometimes forget how powerful, even magical, our stories can be. When I learned that storytelling restored her health and vitality, it both moved me and drew me in.

Senem Donatan Mohan creator of The Story Cure
Senem Donatan Mohan

I invited Senem to write a guest post to share some of this power of storytelling with you. If The Story Cure resonates with you, check out Senem’s upcoming free program on October 23 here. [Note: you will need to scroll down the page a tad to get to the sign-up box for the free session vs. the 10-week class.]

By Senem Donatan Mohan

At twenty-six, I noticed a rod-like growing nodule on my thyroid gland. An endocrinologist examined the nodule and concluded: “This nodule is growing. It might turn into cancer. It is better if we remove it as soon as possible.”

The word ‘cancer’ scared the hell out of me. Although I tend to act cautiously and slowly about medical interventions, without doing any further research, I booked the operation for two weeks later.

“Would my body be alright without a thyroid gland?” I asked the radiologist who scanned the gland.

“Of course,” she said. “Thyroid is a growth hormone. It’s important during childhood but not so important in adulthood. You just need to take daily thyroid hormone until the end of your life. Other than that, there’s no problem.”

Her words were comforting, and everything went straightforward during the operation.

Three months after the operation, I had heart palpitations and constantly became dizzy. When I consulted the endocrinologist, he declared that the thyroid medicine needed dose adjustment. Despite the frequent dose adjustment, my heartbeat and blood pressure irregularities continued for more than two years.

During this time, I researched the thyroid gland. Unlike the comforting perspective of the radiologist, I learned that the thyroid hormone plays an essential role in our metabolism throughout our whole life, and its instability might cause serious health challenges. The more I researched, the more I regretted my quick decision about the operation. Finally, I found several studies where practitioners managed to shrink and eliminate thyroid nodules naturally without any cutting and removal.

How did I accept the removal of a body part of mine so easily? I didn’t even ask for a preliminary biopsy because the doctors further scared me that the nodule might be benign, but it could be a ticking bomb in my system, suddenly turning malignant. So they did the biopsy after they removed the nodule. It turned out the scary-looking rod-like nodule was benign, and I will never know its intention by growing bigger.

Looking back now, I realize I gave away my power and expected the doctors to fix me. Unfortunately, I became sicker after the operation. Before, I did not have any hormone instabilities. Now, I am dependent on lifelong medication. Furthermore, I needed to cope with hormone deviations and a suppressed immune system at that time.

How Storytelling Transformed My Health

A couple of years later, I came across storytelling. The imaginary world of stories lit my inner fire, and the fire sparked my creativity. As I improved in visualization, my creative expression became more vivid and authentic. In the meantime, my general practitioner (GP) decreased the thyroid medication dose based on my blood test results. “Your body stabilizes the hormone medication much better than before,” was his diagnosis.

Senem storytelling for the story cure

In the beginning, I did not notice any connection between my improved state of health and storytelling. Later on, I learned that, in many ancient traditions, the thyroid gland dwells in the seat of creative expression. In the old days, shamans healed people with irregularities in their throats by letting them chant a song.

Further, I found scientific evidence that the frequency of a person’s own voice brings the thyroid gland into resonance, meaning that the gland operates at its best. These findings encouraged me to research the connection between creative expression and health.

Learning About the Medicine Wheel

In 2018, I joined a Medicine Wheel training. The Medicine Wheel is an ancient tradition of indigenous people who live in Central and North America. The wheel contains four components based on the four elements (fire, water, earth, and air). Indigenous people use the physical and energetic qualities of the four elements to balance the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of living beings. When all four parts of our being are balanced, we live a healthy life. When one comes out of balance, it energetically affects others, and we experience dis-ease.

Storytelling cured her health

The Medicine Wheel training expanded my research focus to a holistic approach to the relationship between storytelling and health. Simultaneously, storytelling enabled me to spend more time in nature and open up my senses. I felt more alive than ever while listening to the song of birds, observing the spider spinning her web, smelling the linden trees and savoring the colors at twilight.

In time, my immune system grew more robust. I used to get cold frequently and recover in weeks. Now, I barely got sick and just needed a few days of rest for recovery.

Along with my personal experience, I, fortunately, witnessed breakthroughs in many of my clients’ lives. When they became aligned with their authentic nature through the help of storytelling tools, they enhanced their impact. They learned how to cultivate more joy and vitality in their lives. They learned how to adapt quickly according to the ups and downs on their way and embrace the miraculous quality of life with a sense of child-like awe.

The Story Cure

The emerging developments encouraged me to write a book about the concept I called The Story Cure. Then, in March 2022, I signed up for the Bring Your Book to Life® program. The course helped me develop the program for The Story Cure, and I decided to focus first on offering the system I developed in Bring Your Book to Life® so that I could put it into practice and get feedback from my target market and future readers.

Healing stories of the story cure
Telling Healing Stories

I launched a 10-week online course about The Story Cure. In this online course we will explore the powerful connection between our communication skills and our health. You can find more details and check out the program here. You will also be able to sign up for a free introductory session on October 23 by scrolling down on the page (before you reach the course description). For the 10-week course, I am offering a 10% discount to Lisa’s community when you enter the code: lisa10.

About Dr. Senem Donatan Mohan

Storyteller and Consultant Senem Donatan Mohan holds a Ph.D. in natural sciences and has performed research for many international science projects. Her publications were cited over 300 times. Besides her academic career, Senem has worked as a performing artist, director, and consultant for over 20 years. Since 2013, her focus has been on storytelling. She is the co-founder of Seiba International Storytelling Center located in Turkey. Senem has trained hundreds of people throughout Asia and Europe to develop their storytelling skills to connect with their natural health and well-being using those skills. In her courses, she holds a safe space so people can discover their inner storyteller and express it in their unique way. Learn more at senemdonatanmohan.com or by following @senemdonatanmohan on Instagram.

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Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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