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Veteran schoolteacher Anna Crowley has given out plenty of “As” and “Bs” to her students over the years. Yet when it came to testing her own immune system each new school year, Crowley typically took home a failing grade—in the form of colds, coughs and annoying viruses. What seemed like an endless onslaught of illness became a dreaded rite-of-passage for the Waukegan High School business teacher.
Lesson Plan for Wellness When her health took a dramatic turn in the summer of 2016 with a diagnosis and treatment for endometrial cancer, Crowley knew that now—more than ever—she needed to boost her immunity to ward off any potential school-based bugs.
“I just know how it goes when you work in a classroom,” explained Crowley, of Lake Forest. “So last year, returning to school with a compromised immune system, I wanted a natural way to ward off all of those potential viruses.”
Knowing the importance of taking her powerful, cancer-fighting drugs, Crowley asked her oncologist for a referral to a physician with expertise in boosting immunity more holistically. He recommended NorthShore Integrative Medicine Medical Director Leslie Mendoza Temple, MD.
During her first appointment, Crowley immediately felt a sense of relief. Dr. Mendoza Temple reassured her that combining traditional medicine with herbal supplements would encourage her body’s ability to heal itself.
Making the Grade with Natural Remedies She prescribed optimizing supplements like medicinal mushroom extracts, the herb astragalus and vitamin D. Mushrooms have powerful immune-boosting properties and are packed with nutrients, explained Dr. Mendoza Temple, who holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
“I’ve been inspired by Anna's diligent self-care and strong desire to stay calm and focused in the face of receiving conventional cancer treatments, with the added pressure of working and caring for family,” noted Dr. Mendoza Temple. “She has the gift of resilience and a positive attitude that definitely saw her through this battle, with individualized integrative medicine treatments alongside for support."
Crowley followed her holistic plan religiously. Not only did her fatigue go away, but she did not miss one day of school due to illness, except for her critical radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
“I give Dr. Mendoza Temple credit for keeping me well,” she said. “With my school district's backing and NorthShore’s immunity boosters, I made it through.”