John Donne's often quoted line, "No man is an Island"1, speaks volumes and
captures something that is very true of the human condition, especially
when we face one of Life's Crises - our very survival depends on our ability
to reach out and receive the support of a circle of family, friends and
community. This is perhaps most true when facing the trauma of life threatening
and/or chronic diseases. Our ability to cope, to deal with the trauma of
diagnosis, to comply with often difficult and sometimes painful treatments
and to accept with equanimity and dignity prognoses and outcomes depends
on the support of our family, friends and community, our "Co-Madre".
This is especially true for those of us who come from and have grown up
in communal-centric cultures, those that place emphasis on the family and
community above individual self interest.
Dr. Marlena Vega, having had to cope with the ravages of Breast Cancer
first as teenager witnessing her mother and grandmother succumb to this
disease and then having experienced its ravages herself formulated and
teaches the "Co-Madre Model" through her lectures, writing and public
speaking. Her outreach program has established Co-Madre Chapters across
the country and amongst people around the world.
What is a Co-Madre Chapter? It is a group of people, family, friends
and community members who have experienced or are experiencing the trauma
of a life crisis. Dr. Marlena teaches, by her example, that no man or
woman is an island. Reach out and join together with your loved ones and
your community. Seek their support and approval for what you have to do.
Join together and support your loved ones, friends or neighbors who are
in crisis. Help them meet the challenge. Find the time and the love -
that's what it takes, time and love - to see that they get the treatment
they need and have the courage see it through. Advocate for yourself and
your Co-Madre; by joining together the seemingly impossible becomes only
unlikely, and the unlikely becomes tomorrow's reality.
Click on the links below to read more about Dr. Marlena's Co-Madre program
For more information about the Co-Madre program contact Dr. Marlena
at the e-mail address or phone numbers provided here on this Web site.
1 John Donne (1572-1631), from Devotions Upon Emergent
Occasions, Meditation XVII.