Risa’s story

From Jorge D Faccinetti, co-founder – Take the bull by the horns. This is an expression that most likely originated in the American West, where it was a common but dangerous practice to wrestle with steers. Controlling a steer is not the easiest of tasks but apparently, I am told, grabbing its horns is the easiest way to control it to bring it down. We use this expression to appropriately describe when one decides to approach, confront, or deal with a problem or difficult situation directly and with clear, confident action. So, taking the bull by the horns is a very appropriate description to describe what Risa Heidt is doing after her acromegaly diagnosis.

I first met Risa when she connected with us through Pituitary World News. A few months later, we met in person at our recent patient conference in San Francisco. She shared her story, her challenges, and her thoughts and ideas. I was instantly impressed with her positive energy.

Click on the image to download a pdf

I’m always amazed when I hear these diagnosis stories. When people get a tough diagnosis like acromegaly or any pituitary disease for that matter, it typically feels like an unexpected bucket of ice-cold water in your face. This is a condition that profoundly affects the way you live and requires a tremendous amount of adjusting. Still, people like Risa get on with life and quickly decide to make their diagnosis something positive. So today I wanted to share her plans.

First, she is planning a Ride for Rare Disease: Canada to Mexico covering the length of the Pacific coast, 1845 miles in all to help raise awareness of the disease. The ride is scheduled for September and October of 2020. You can read more about it here and download a brochure with more information. “I went from being an extremely active endurance athlete and outdoor enthusiast, to barely being able to get out of bed,” she writes, “Initially, my doctor wouldn’t listen, I wasn’t being heard. So now, not only must my body heal, I must also heal my soul. I have a long road ahead of me and an uncertain future. I am learning to use my voice and I want to inspire and encourage others to use theirs. My goal is to bring awareness to Pituitary Diseases, the earlier the diagnosis, the better. “

Risa is also a Gestalt practitioner and hopes to use her skills to help people with pituitary disease with the coping mechanisms needed to deal with the day to day challenges.  “Throughout 2018 and 2019, I have been enrolled in a certification program for Gestalt training to become a practitioner,” she writes.  “I have been immersed in this work for years, and I have now finally become certified. Gestalt Therapy treats the whole person, taking all parts of self and bringing them together to make us whole. I don’t look at someone as having issues that need to be fixed or removed. I see that we all have past traumas and hurts that need to be brought to the surface and mended so that we may move forward in a healthy way.” Click here to read the complete story and learn about her practice and future plans.

We look forward to following her future plans and the bike ride on the magnificent Pacific Coast Highway next year. I, for one, may join her in a section, maybe around Redwoods National Park or on the beautiful coast of the California Oregon border.  By the way, 30 miles is my limit. No hills!


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