In the midst of immeasurable loss, there’s still much to celebrate.

I’m writing this post on a plane heading home from the FLCCC conference in Phoenix, a 3-day extravaganza of enlightenment, inspiration, innovation, and connection. As often as I find myself speechless (roughly never), it’s even rarer for me to struggle to express myself in a medium I consider to be my second or third divine calling—right after birthing my two remarkable daughters and maybe my uncanny ability to get a stain out of pretty much anything. But until they come up with a term that simultaneously means energized, galvanized, gratified, reaffirmed, fortunate, humbled, happy, outraged, and emotionally hung over, suffice to say if the weekend was a book, its title would have been Chicken Soup for the Fringy Right-Wing Conspiracy Theorist’s Soul*.

*Also, I just realized that I must and will publish such a book, so consider this an official call for submissions.

The overwhelming majority of conference attendees were medical providers of one sort or another, and the presentations ranged from breakthroughs in cancer care and anti-aging medicine to the shaky state of our financial system and the frightening reality of vaccine shedding. At the end of each information-packed day, my hand hurt from taking notes and my heart seemed to beat with a renewed sense of purpose.

The very best, most amazing part? My twenty-one-year-old daughter drove from San Diego to meet me there, not merely to bask in the presence of brilliance and expand her already magnificent mind, but because she’s a vocal leader in a new generation of critical thinkers.

If I were any prouder, you’d need to get me my own parade.

There was a lot of talk of loss, as there would have to be at any gathering of frontline healthcare workers in the midst of a global medical genocide. I’m not just referring to the tragic and unprecedented loss of human life—from the babies that aren’t being born to the loved ones who were forced to endure an unwanted medical procedure or were sentenced to die frightened and alone—although those things certainly came up. Grief isn’t and never was the sole province of death in the physical sense of the word.

There were powerful discussions about the widespread demise of faith in our medical system and the tyrannical government that controls it; the incomprehensible elimination of our God-given freedom to speak and seek information freely; the somber mourning of careers and callings that were destroyed like so many generational family homes along Lahaina’s shores; the baffling death of curiosity and interest in scientific debate; the heartbreaking departure of human compassion and kindness in the face of discord; and the definitive end of the halcyon days of human existence when you could hold a different belief than someone else—even a controversial conviction about something considered universally sacrosanct—and the two of you could respectfully disagree and still enjoy Thanksgiving dinner together without anyone stabbing anyone else with a wishbone.

(Above, L-R, Betsy Ashton, Dr. Flavio Cadegiani, Dr. Kristina Carman, Kristina Morros, CRNA, present ‘Building a Bullet-Proof Immune System’ at FLCCC’s 3rd educational conference, ‘Healthcare Revolution: Restoring the Doctor-Patient Relationship’)

My closest friends affectionately call me Pollyanna; my glass isn’t half-full, it’s overflowing. I’m fond of describing myself as “whatever the opposite of depressed is,” never to offend anyone who suffers from debilitating despair but to put into context my innate and almost certainly unreasonable hopefulness. I am the world’s most annoying morning person—ask anyone who lives with me or has agreed to meet me at the gym at 5AM—because I wake up every damned day with the excitement of a Golden Retriever puppy in a tennis ball factory, chomping at the bit to do all the things I was put on this earth to do (except maybe scoop the litter box and grocery shop but YKWIM). I believe that thoughts are energy and energy is what changes the world—for better or for worse—and that if you can’t see it, there is an exactly zero percent chance you will ever have, build, or experience it.

Yes, the past four years have been marked by unfathomable, gut-wrenching loss. But floating from one conference activity to the next on a wave of wisdom this weekend, I couldn’t help but acknowledge how profoundly much I’ve gained, too.

Covid didn’t create a corrupt medical system; it exposed it.

The nefarious plot to control, weaken, and enslave humanity is hardly new, but my own drive to not just expose but to take part in extinguishing it absolutely is. “Friends” who shunned, mocked, or unfriended me for not sharing their warped and externally curated worldview don’t exactly fit any working definition of “friend” I’ve ever encountered, and their absence in my life opened up precious space I’ve been fortunate to fill with an extraordinary stable of strong, like-minded, fully awake souls. I just got to share a weekend of wonder that wouldn’t even have existed in the absence of Covid with one of my favorite humans on the planet, one who is already carrying her own torch into a world she’s determined to set on fire. In the best possible way.

Lance Armstrong has repeatedly referred to his testicular cancer diagnosis as “the best thing that ever happened to me.” In 2005, Apple founder Steve Jobs told a class of Stanford graduates that being very publicly fired from the company he built in his parents’ garage wasn’t merely his life’s greatest blessing but the thing that freed him to enter one of the most creative periods of his life. In a speech to the UN on her 16th birthday, Malala Yousafzai spoke of surviving a brutal Taliban attack on her life, an assault she invited by having the audacity to pursue an education. “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions,” Yousafzai said, “but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage were born.”