Oct 31, 2023
Welcome back to another episode of Warriors Unmasked. Today, we delve deep into the transformative journey of Colorado native, Risa August. Not just a Gestalt practitioner, Risa stands out as a patient advocate for rare pituitary diseases. Beyond her academic achievements – a BA in geography and a certification in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy – Risa's story is a testament to human resilience, especially having lived with a pituitary tumor for over a decade.
Risa's roots trace back to Ohio, where she grew up in a military family. This nomadic childhood exposed her to the challenges of constant change, but the real battles lay within her home, an environment marred by the dark cloud of her alcoholic father's abuse. Despite the chaos, young Risa became the household's peacemaker. This role, while noble, brought with it the immense pressure of striving for perfection, a quest that she later realized was more about seeking validation and acceptance.
Fast forward to her adult years, Risa's pursuit of perfection saw her achieve significant milestones, such as competing as an Ironman athlete. However, her life took a turn in 2011 when she began to notice alarming changes in her body. Despite the physical prowess she showcased the previous year, a 500-mile bike tour proved to be an unexpected challenge. Multiple doctors were puzzled, and Risa began questioning her own sanity.
The mystery unraveled in the summer of 2018. Plagued by severe headaches and sleepless nights, Risa pushed for an MRI. The diagnosis was an enlarged pituitary, marking the beginning of her battle with a rare disease. This unexpected twist in her journey, however, became a platform for Risa to inspire countless others. With her past experiences and challenges, she's been a beacon of hope for many, underscoring the message that true strength, happiness, and peace come from within.
Risa's journey is not just about the battles she faced but also about the lessons she offers. From the significance of self-reliance learned in her youth to the insights garnered from a life-altering diagnosis, her story serves as a reminder of the human spirit's indomitable strength. If Risa’s journey resonates with you so far and you want to learn more, hit play to hear our full conversation!
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Episode Minute By Minute:
00:00 Introduction + messages from our sponsors
03:01 Welcome special guest, former Ironman athlete Risa August
04:12 Risa starts off talking about her childhood
06:29 Risa talks about most of her life was spent seeking for more
10:00 Risa talks through her formative years of life, always having to work hard for something
12:30 Risa opens up about her body not feeling normal and seeing physical changes in 2011
15:59 Risa began to feel extreme anger and hopelessness while she was not feeling herself
19:53 In 2018, Risa is diagnosed with a rare disease that was causing all her issues
24:04 The struggle of battling her disease and her disconnected marriage
27:04 Risa talks about her emotions going into the surgery
28:44 What life looks like on the other side of surgery for Risa
30:14 Risa talks about resting and having no energy for months after surgery in recovery
31:20 Saying yes to preventative radiation treatments and the side effects to that
34:00 What is a Gestalt practitioner and how this became a passion for Risa
41:00 Risa talks more about her coaching and book and how to keep in touch with her
43:38 Risa shares her experience on a 41-day bike ride
49:46 What would Risa say to someone who is walking a similar path with the same questions?