EnlightenMed, LLC and Lyrical Life were founded by Dr. Steven Eisenberg, a board certified doctor of Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology and Hematology. He has five cancer centers in the Southern California cities of Poway, Escondido, Vista, Encinitas and La Jolla. Dr. Eisenberg uses music, humor and heart to transform his patients’ journeys through the minefield of cancer. Here’s his story.
I became a medical oncologist because I’ve always felt there was more to taking care of cancer patients than just ordering tests, devising treatment plans, pushing chemotherapy, comparing CT scans, and giving bad news to people. I wanted to help patients feel better using the wisdom of their body and mind to reduce stress during treatments in the present moment. It takes a lot more than a traditional Western approach to medicine to treat cancer. I believe in a holistic approach to healing that integrates techniques drawing on yoga, acupuncture and meditation. I encourage patients to incorporate psychotherapy and educate them about the importance of nutrition.
I also believe in the importance and power of connection in healing. And for me, I connect with my patients through music.
I discovered musician Peter Himmelman while I was in medical school in Philly. I’d see him perform live whenever possible, and was inspired by his rapport with his audience. He’d pick someone out in the crowd, and write a song about them on the spot. It occurred to me, why not try this with my patients? So I brought my guitar into the chemo room, and started singing. I’d sing silly songs, anything to help my patients laugh, and think about something other than their sickness.
One day a friend told me about a contest Peter Himmelman was having. You had to write in and say how Peter’s music had impacted you. The prize was that Peter would write a song about you. I entered, I won, and Peter wrote a song about me. I had no idea how powerful that was going to be for me. During that same time in my life, I was facing a health scare of my own. Everything turned out to be fine, but having a song that was my song, telling my story, was a source of real strength for me in a difficult time. Everything changed after that. I knew that I wanted to connect with my patients through song, and help them tell their stories.
After all of the grueling tests and analyses have been completed, I sit with most of my patients and ask them what makes them happy, what means the most to them — what moves, touches and inspires them. Then together, we write a song. For a lot of my patients, it becomes a personal anthem in their fight against this deadly disease.
I started EnlightenMed and Lyrical Life because I believe there’s a message in all of this that is much bigger than just songwriting. I’ve seen in my practice and in my own life how important it is to have that connection with someone when you need it most. I want to empower people to reach out to those that need it most, connect with them, create something with them, listen to them. I think when we come together we’re capable of great things, and I hope EnlightenMed and Lyrical Life can help bridge those connections.
Standing for the importance of connection when it comes to healing. Creating and sharing the strength required to heal. It’s about listening, engaging, expression, supporting, and loving human beings.
Coping with a serious illness is overwhelming, stressful, debilitating and emotional. Lyrical Life is dedicated to emphasizing the important role that personal connections have in the healing process.
Connecting on a deep level with one another is what sets us apart from other species. Music and laughter bring people together faster than just about anything. It’s sustenance for a healthy life. Connecting meaningfully with one another is what allows us to survive, stand strong, and celebrate living.
Lyrical Life was founded by Dr. Steven Eisenberg, who uses music and song writing to connect with his patients. But Lyrical Life isn’t just about doctors writing songs to their patients. It’s about reminding all of us about the importance of connection when it comes to healing. It’s about creating and sharing the strength required to heal. It’s about listening, engaging, expression, supporting, loving, and getting through the journey of life together.
Caring, loving, living life simply | Communication - both verbal and nonverbal | Compassion Ambassadors | Connecting people and ideas | Creativity & Innovation | Community | Collaboration & Teamwork
Didgeridoo - Went to Australia after Med School. Fell in love with the "didg" and took private lessons until I got circular breathing. | Improvisational comedy - study @ The Groundlings School in LA.
Google "doctor 'tunes' into cancer patients' needs" for my TED story. Peace.
18:32 Posted: Sep 2011
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18:21 Posted: Jun 2011
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