Peanut Butter Pie


I had a heart attack. No, really. Last Friday. At 4 PM.  It’s not the first post after my glorious vacation I expected to write. I had chicken croquettas planned, like the ones I’d tasted all over Spain. I wanted to do a quick and delicious linguine with clams like the one I had sitting right on the beach in Positano on the Amalfi Coast. I wanted to show you pictures of the glorious markets I visited in Barcelona, Nice, Majorca.

For those of you who know me as the organic queen, the healthy diet maven, the person who traps you at a party and talks you into a glazed-over stupor about some recent finding on artificial sweeteners and their effects on blah, blah, blah, this news come as a shock.

It certainly knocked me on my proverbial butt, to be carted out of my house on an ambulance stretcher, after my brave and beautiful daughter, Lily, called 911. I almost talked her out of the call because things like this are not supposed to happen to her mother, and it was probably just going to be a vacation-induced-super-reflux or some other whiny weakness I was going to be supremely embarrassed about in an hour or two. But then I locked eyes with her and simply said “I’m afraid.” and she said, “I’m calling.” She told me later that she had just finished reading a book for her required summer reading assignment in which the protagonist, a 9-year-old girl, fails to call 911 when she sees her mother having a seizure, and feels responsible for her death forever after. Lily finished the book 30 minutes before she had to make that call for me. If I ever doubted that there are inexplicable and meaningful serendipities in life and not just mere coincidences, this last thing has cured me of that corner of cynicism in my psyche forever.

Over the course of 4-days I was intubated, EKG’d, ultra-sounded, blood-thinned, opiated, angiogrammed, statinized, poked, prodded and monitored by the excellent and caring staff of Hunterdon Medical Center and found out, after some head-scratching by everyone involved, that my heart was completely healthy, blockage free….except for a tiny “tear”, inside the layers of one minor artery in my heart. It’s a rare condition, about 300 documented cases and it’s known as Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD). From what I’ve been reading (obsessively) about this, it effects mostly woman, mostly younger women (than the typical heart patient), or pregnant women and may be related to hormonal changes and levels that soften or weaken the lining of the arteries. Or not. There is not much definitive research on it.

I came home last night and early this morning while browsing my email and my favorite blogs that I’ve missed. I came across one that left me crying the tears I’d held back all weekend while facing my own fragile mortality, while talking calmly to my son, to my husband, to my daughter, while thinking “could this be the last time I see them?”  Jenny of In Jenny’s Kitchen asks her readers to make a Peanut Butter Pie in honor of her husband, Mike, who died of a sudden heart attack just days before. He was in his 40’s. They have young children, little girls. I wept for Jenny and Mike and the girls, and I wept for the chance I got to live through it, to come home, that he didn’t. I wept to release the fear I’d been holding in and the fear that is still right behind the light tightness in my chest that reminds me I’m just at the beginning of my healing process. I wept in gratitude for the chance to heal.

My heart, my healing, aching heart goes out to Jenny. Below is her peanut butter pie. Make it and enjoy it with the people you love…or do something else to remind you of who and what is immediately and ultimately important. I wrote this “poem”  from my bed, tethered to three different IV drips of blood thinners and fluids, a heart monitor and a blood pressure cuff that woke up and squeezed my arm every so often to see if I was still there. To use a cooking analogy, let me just say that what became important to me this weekend reduced down to a very specific and rich realization: nothing matters…only how much you love and the people you love. Everything else is strictly garnish.

My heart is spilling enzymes…mmmmm.

It’s demanding my attention. It’s gripping me by the throat and saying look at me, give me what I want. I am tired. Tired of being so tight and protected. Tired of being held in, held back, wise-assed and just plain asinine.  Tired of longing for more and more, when so much has been graciously given.

 My heart wants blood thinners. It wants an easier flow. It wants to bathe easily in life force and love. It wants to gallop like a young girl’s. It wants to be seen and heard and palpated and embraced. It wants it’s picture taken with neon nuclear fluid running through it and more pictures again with a candid camera shot up through my hand so I can see what is really, really there. It wants to fill up with the only thing it needs to heal.

 My heart is enlarging, one ventricle at a time…the right one saying…expand, expand, expand.

 I hope that everyone knows how much I love them.


Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
from In Jenny’s Kitchen

Serves 10 to 12

8 ounces chocolate cookies

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan.  Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.


90 responses to “Peanut Butter Pie”

  1. Sharon says:

    Rachel – I know it sounds odd, but I think it would be great if everyone could have the kind of “near death” experience we’ve each had and live through it. Turns out there is real wisdom in the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Your post brought tears to my eyes. Not sure I’ll make peanut butter pie (OMG), but I am sure sending both Jenny and you my love and healing energy.

    • says:

      Thanks Sharon…I know what you mean…it’s not something you want to go through, but it sure puts everything into crystal clear perspective…and thanks everyone for your love and support…it’s the “medicine” I need….

  2. Lisa says:

    WOW!! Rachel, I am so sorry to hear about your scare!!! And I am so relieved to know
    you are alright. Your always eloquent writing really touched me and reaffirmed what really matters. Heal my friend… and know you are loved.

  3. Mari says:

    Rachel,thank God u r ok and Lily was wise enough to dial 911 and that she was home at the time. I am thinking if heart problems can happen to you there can be no hope for those of us who love junkfood! It is very true that the only thing that matters in the end is relationships- with God and with those we love. I am relearning that right now as I sit at my mom’s bedside watching her die. I love u my friend and will remember u and doug and your kids in my prayers. Mari

  4. Monica says:

    So sorry to hear such heartbreaking (and startling) news, and I hope that you are recovering quickly and are free of pain. And I’m glad you sound in such great spirits…that is so vital to the healing process. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story of love, family, friendship, serendipity and new beginnings. Oh, and for the recipe, too!

    If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know.

    Take care and feel better soon, my prayers are with you.


  5. Brenda Varner Judin says:

    My Dear Rachel,
    I very nearly keeled over myself when I read this post. I was stunned to even contemplate this frightening episode, worried for you and acutely aware that Doug, Lily and Max must have been beside themselves as I know they love you so much. I am so proud of Lily. So glad she did not hesitate to act and called 911. Grateful she had read that book. Let that be a lesson to us all.

    I am thankful you are home and that while you do not have all the answers you need or some quick fix that can just whisk it all away- you understand more and can take care of yourself and do everything possible to give your body a chance to heal. And it will.

    I know I don’t have to tell you how much I love you but I will anyway – I love you. Girlfriend…You’re my New York Sister. You are loved, needed and treasured by so many people. I know this will resolve itself because you are so strong. You are so aware of good health that you are prepared to heal. I will think of you daily and send my good thoughts to you and to the Heavens above where I know for sure that a very, very special angel is watching over you.

    I am so sorry about your friend Mike and pray for his family also. As we say in the South, “Bless their hearts.”

    Love you. Be Good. Take care. I am always and forever here if you need me.

  6. charlotte says:

    Dear Rachel,
    We have never met…My dear friend Rita Ross, for whom and with whom you cooked, forwarded your post to me. I am honored to read and share your experience and your powerful words.

    These last few weeks have been very stressful for me as two very dear friends had BIG medical promblems…one a Brain aneurism and the other a diagnosis and surgery for Pancreatic cancer. Both have come thru the ordeals and are home and recovering. How lucky they are and how thankful I am to see my friends come thru the dark tunnel of medical chance to see the side of recovery smiling at them.

    I join your friends in wishing you all good things…Keep living the life you love with your loving family and friends and your fabulous food…

    • says:

      Charlotte, what a beautiful note! Thank you. I’m so glad Rita passed the blog on to you and thanks for reading! It’s good to hear your friends have made it through and are healing. I’m overwhelmed with everyones kind thoughts, wishes and sentiments…thanks again! Rachel

  7. Kevin B. says:


    When I first started reading I thought you were kidding. I was startled to see that you were not. What an ordeal for you and to have Lilly there right with you; part blessing, part horrifying I would imagine. Traumatic events have always been a little bit scarier to me with a physical reminder of Love standing in front of me.

    I am not surprised that you have the entire situation with such grace to be able to write such a beautiful letter within a week of having a heart attack. I send you and your family much love, knowing that you will thrive through this event. I know we are not in contact much any more but not a day goes by that I don’t think of Doug and your family. You have all been such a blessing in my life.

    Once again, sending you Love and Light,


  8. Jennifer Hohn says:

    My name is Jennifer,

    I am one your husbands clients. I hope you get better soon. I will keep you in my prayers, for a speed recovery. Thank ou for sharing yor story. It definently reminds me not to take my health or my life and loved ones for granted.

    Take care,

  9. David Heath says:


    I’m a patient of your husbands and he just shared this news with us all. I’m glad to hear that you are okay and wish you a speedy recovery.

    My thoughts will be with you!

    – David

  10. Lyn Sheldon says:

    Dearest Rachel,

    As always, I am amazed by your strength and courage. Your experience brought me to tears. You are an inspiration…you teach us all how to BE!

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Rest…beautiful one…you have so much more to do! With Love, Lyn, Bill, and Kali

  11. tim says:

    So sorry to hear about your experience. I wish you the best of health. Time for some heart healthy recipes!

    • says:

      Tim, David, Clare, Jennifer…my husband loves his work and I can see why…he gets to hang out every day with some very kind, generous and caring people who come through his office. Thank you for your well wishes, prayers and kind words…they mean a lot to me and will definitely help my healing process! Rachel

  12. Rachel – we’ve never met but I have heard about you from your husband who I have see for chiro care. I just read your piece about your sudden heart attack and was moved by your courage, touched by your family and buoyed by your love.
    I wish you a warm healing journey. Sounds like you have great tribe to guide the way!

  13. Dee says:


    You do not know me. Your husband was the chiropractor on board for the company of August: Osage County. I was a member of that company and benefitted from Doug’s work. I’m sorry for the trauma this past weekend. What’s the quote? Adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it. What laudable character you have. The glass is half full and filled with love type of gal. Heal swiftly. The world needs more people like you! As a side note, your garden slaw (its title, yes?) was a hit in Maine at my family’s home in July. I’m known as the worst cook in the bunch, but I gained a bit o’ status with your salad. Everyone wanted the recipe. Thanks for your generous blog.

    Take care, Dee

    • says:

      Dee – You don’t know how much your comments mean to me…my mom was a brave survivor of the holocaust, with stories of dodging Nazis and living by her wits and willing heart. To think I may have inherited a tiny bit of her courage and humor when facing adversity, makes me feel humble and happy.

  14. crystal says:

    Rachel, we haven’t met but I’ve known and been treated by Doug for over ten years so I’ve heard about you and follow your blog. I read this one while on vacation experiencing the simple things that make life so precious. You are so right about what’s important, and I’m grateful to have this moving reminder along with the recipe. I’m glad you’re on the road to recovery and that you shared your experience with such eloquence. God bless.

  15. Rosemarie says:

    Just a note to wish you well and hope that the heavens shine on you to get you back on your feet and healthy again.

  16. Ken M. says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I’m one of Dr. Doug’s extraordinarily-grateful-I-found-him chiropractic patients. I wanted to extend the best wishes I can for a speedy and full recovery.

    Please allow yourself the necessary time to recover. Don’t rush. Hero’s know when to accept help from others.

    All the best,


  17. Angelica Consiglio says:

    Dear Rachael;

    I am so happy that you are okay. Heart disease is the #1 killer in America, and kills 10x more WOMEN then ALL cancers combined. I say this because women really do not know this fact, and it is so important to share stories as such as this one to raise awareness. The statistics are truly scary. Heart disease is no longer just a “man’s” problem anymore. Most women are not aware of this, so thank you for this post. February is Women’s heart awareness month, and I wear a “red dress” pin nearly all year around to help the cause. Please take the best of care! You are so right about family being so important and the rest is simply garnish! Thanks for your thoughts…

  18. Mark says:

    Hey there. I just got off the phone with Doug and I’m so glad to hear that you are on the mend. I’ve been absent for quite some time, but I definitely plan on coming out for a visit as soon as you are up for company.

    Btw, love the site! I’ll share it with my folks, especially Dad, who loves to cook. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and look forward to seeing you soon.

    Be well,

  19. johanna day says:

    Wow Rachel!! What a story. What a story. And so beautifully told and appreciated greatly. You are going to be so fine and healthy. Stay still!! I know that is hard but….
    Your husband Doug is my doctor. I adore him. I met you once when you came to see August Osage County. I liked you immediately then, and now…adore you.
    Thank you for writing what you did. Thank you. It woke me up in more ways than one. I am a total foodie and cant wait to suscribe to your blog. Not sure how to do it because i am a bit of a dunce when it comes to these things. Ill do it. And i will make that pie when i can, but will have my sister lisa make it. Sending her this..
    Much love to you and your family. Powerful love being sent your way.
    Johanna Day

  20. Joan and Bill Albrecht says:

    Dear Rachel:
    Bill and I were shocked to hear of your cardiac scare. We give kudos to Lily for her clearheaded actions. Staying quiet and doing all the medical field recommends is very important… thankfully they won’t restrict your fingers from becoming a blur over the keyboard. Life is precious, and I don’t know what haze we are all under to think we are invincible, but when we become aware of it’s fragility, it pops the appreciation level up 5000%. Please know Bill and I are keeping you in our prayers for a speedy and complete recovery.
    Love you, Joan and Bill

  21. Gina Trello says:

    I am a patient of your husband and I wanted to send you get well wishes.
    Everything happens for a reason and hopefully you come back better than ever!

  22. Lois Howe says:

    WOW! If ever there was a lesson in doing everything you want while you have your health this is it. I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to someone who is the picture of health. I know you will consume anything you can written about this condtion and do all the right things to get back to your life 110%. I worked with you last year at the photo shoot and wish you only the best.
    Be well!
    Lois Howe

  23. Rachel, I love you. For your wit, charm, glamour,talent,
    And yes…heart. That injured heart that was strong enough
    To keep you going, even through this; I believe there is
    Much to be said for its strength. And it’s not surprising.
    My heart is with you, and your wonderful family. I would
    Like to hug you all, and say congratulations on having
    A Mom and wife who is so special, she just couldn’t
    Go yet, even when the odds were so tough.
    Please know that I am, and Eric is so grateful that
    You are healing, and with us. And also please know that
    Yearning and hard work, got you adored!! If we can do anything,
    Please let us know. Will be in touch!!! Much love, marc

  24. Linda V Dongieux says:

    I was so upset and sorry to hear about your recent ordeal. What a scary thing to happen!! Your daughter Lilly is a real hero. Things like this make us realize just how many things can go wrong with the human body, even one like yours that you take such good care of. Having said that, through my years of Fibromyalgia with a lot of sickness and pain all over every day of my life since my mid-thirties, I came to realize a long time ago that the average person does not in any way appreciate when God has blessed them with
    good health. It is completely taken for granted until you lose it and when you do, then you realize how mundane most things are that people get so upset about. I also have had a heart problem. For years before I turned 50, I tried to tell my doctors that I felt something was wrong with my heart, but they just blew me off. Finally things got to the point that I started blacking out at home, then, they started listening and come to find out my heart rate would just drop out of the blue to a rate so low that there was not enough oxygen getting to my brain or the rest of my body. So, at age 50 I had to have a pacemaker implanted in my chest with leads(wires) running down into my heart that would shock my heart to keep it beating at least 70 beats per minute. I never dreamed somthing like that would happen to me at such a young age, I kept thinking, this is something that happens to someone that really old, but there I was. Then I understood why things at been so hard for me for so long trying to raise two children with a husband gone most of the time. My poor body just wasn’t getting enough oxygen to keep going sometimes, but I was angry that things could have been better for so long if only the medical doctors had listened to me, the patient. Anyway, it sounds like your problem is definitely one that will heal if you give it some tender loving care and that is what you must do, no matter how hard it is to do that very thing. My Dad had a heart attack at age 57 and he lived to be 75 and still smoked every day and it was not his heart that finally got him, it was lung cancer from the smoking. With the type of healthy life that you live, you will be able to get well and live a long life and a good life, just let everyone else take care of you for a while and I know how hard that is for Moms to do. I wish you the very best and I am praying for your speedy recovery. Take care.
    Linda Varner Dongieux

    • says:


      So great to hear from you! I am so sorry for all your trials and struggles with your health and the medical community. I’ve heard bits and pieces through Brenda over the years, but thanks for sharing your story with me and my readers. I know it can inspire and have meaning for many people. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and prayers for my recovery and please know I’ll be thinking of you and sending you my best wishes for health, strength and happiness. Rachel

  25. Linda Florreich says:

    Rachel, I am so sorry to hear from Doug what you have been going through. I am thankful that you are at home and recuperating. Please know that I will be praying for your complete healing and strength and peace for Doug and your children. Rest and allow the Healer to heal you.
    Many blessings, Linda Florreich

  26. Adam Cates says:

    I am a patient of your husband and have enjoyed reading your blog whenever he sends it out. I am so sorry for your heart scare and am thankful your doctors were able to diagnose it quickly. All the best to you (and your sweet family) as you recover. And that peanut butter pie sounds amazing!!! You’re a girl after my own heart! 🙂

  27. Lee Bynum says:

    Hi, Rachel,

    I doubt that you’ll remember me, but I used to work with Dr. Willen back in 2003. I’m sorry to hear of your recent tribulations, but I’m glad you’re on the mend! I wish you, Dr. Willen, Max, and Lily the best!

    Take care,
    Leon Bynum

  28. Lucy Cook says:

    Hi ,hope you both remember me and John. Dorothy told me about your recent illness. We are both so sorry and pray that you will be feeling much better. I’m on facebook but not very good at it. I’d like to be friends on face so we could keep in touch. We never know what tomorrow will bring, so it I so important to live in the present. Know we are thinking about you. Lucy and John Cook

    My e-mail is

  29. siobhan says:

    My husband and I are patients of Doug’s and I was shocked when I saw his email.

    You and your family are in our thoughts…and our peanut butter pie.

    Rest. Heal. Love. Hold tight.

  30. Ashley Williams says:

    Dear Rachel,

    Although we have never meet, I’m an every-so-grateful patient of Dr. Doug’s. Wishing you a healthy recovery and keeping you and your family in my thoughts. : )

    Best Wishes,
    Ashley Williams

  31. Cesar says:


    I’m a patient of Doug and a spinning buddy and just learned about the ordeal you had to go through. When I read your story my eyes were full of tears, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, very scary for you and your family indeed but Im sure you will be totally over it very soon. Lots of healing thoughts for you. My prayers for your speedy recovery and love for you and your family.

    All the best,

    Cesar Fernandez-Chavez

  32. I only know about you through Doug and sure glad you’re doing as well as too be expected after something like this. We sure will be praying for you and the entire family for your speedy recovery.

  33. Wanda & Kailyn says:

    Hi Rachel, my daughter and I are patients of your husband. My 14-year-old daughter is still raving about how great her back feels and refers to Dr. Doug as ‘the best chiropractor…ever!”
    We’re sorry to hear of your ordeal and undoubtedly a difficult one to recover from. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. It is both scary and inspiring. It is true that in our daily lives we forget who and what’s truly important.
    Your husband mentioned to us, during our visit, of his 15-year-old daughter and “What a great kid she is”. Well, how much prouder you two must now feel that she had the where-with-all to summon the courage to take charge and make that call.
    We wish you a full and speedy recovery.
    We look forward to reading your next post as we’re also foodies who enjoy cooking.

  34. Carol says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I am beyond impressed by your courage, clarity, and openness. Thank you for sharing your experience, and making us all realize that life is what we shape it to be.

    Thank goodness for your beautiful daughter Lily for being strong and a warrior for her mom…

    I am wishing you a speedy recovery and a peaceful healing process. Dr. Doug has shared beautiful stories about your family, and I am wishing you EVERYTHING WONDERFUL!!!

    You are in our thoughts, and stay organic…

    Carol D


  36. Suzanne says:

    Rachel – I am a former patient of your husband’s. He helped heal my back at a very stressful time of my life, and I’m grateful for his healing hands and advice. Your blog is wonderful! You are a wonderful writer, and it is compelling and interesting to read your beautifully-crafted words. Thank you for sharing your experience. I especially loved your poem as I’m at a point in my life when I’m trying to let my heart rule more of my life – trying to get out of my head, trying to play more. Your blog was an inspiration for me to keep going! Life holds unexpected challenges so why wait another minute to really LIVE? Thank you and may God bless and keep you and your family.

  37. Lee Martino says:

    Dear Rachel,

    We do not know each other, but your husband saved my job last summer when he put my leg back together. I was in NY from LA working and hurt my leg. He was so wonderful to me and his healing allowed me to continue working. I am so grateful to him as are many others! I am wishing you a speedy recovery and will keep you and your Family in my prayers.

    All the best,
    lee martino

  38. Elise says:

    Chef Rachel – I am also one of your husband’s clients. You will also be in my thoughts and prayers for continued healing! Take good care!

  39. Rachel,

    Simply, thinking of you and your family and I’m so happy that you made it through a terrible scare. Here if you need me!


  40. sharon rasa says:

    Morning Rachel…Needless to say..I had to reread Doug’s note a few times …just to let the words sink in. So many emotions were stirred. Yet, reading Peanut Butter Pie was like serving a perfect “souflee.” Good ingredients, perfect timing & a willingness to surrender the whole process to nature. Will place you all on our alter of “prayer whispers.” Somehow, I think this is yet another beginning of something wonderful. Warmest wishes..Sharon R

  41. Linda Kelly says:

    Wow! Rachel, you grab 300% out of every minute and max every opportunity. Thank you for so relevantly and eloquently sharing your experience. Love your zest for life– it is infectious! Will keep you in my prayers– for a speedy and complete recovery. You are a blessing! With love, Linda

  42. Debbie Burke says:

    Well done on getting thru it! I wish you a speedy recovery and all the best!

    Debbie Burke

  43. Delaine says:

    Hi, Rachel! I see Dr. Doug every month and he always says the most beautiful things about his family. You are so very loved and I wish you a quick recovery!!!

  44. Nick DeVito says:

    Get well soon. Try to just relax. I like your blog, its really great.

    Nick DeVito

  45. Wishing you a speedy recovery so you can keep sharing these wonderful blogs. I’ve known Doug for many years and he has spoken so lovingly of you. I have no doubt with your friends and family around you all will be well soon. I’m making the Peanut Butter Pie today.

  46. Niva Zuckerman says:

    Dear Rachel,
    I used to be a pateint of Dr. Doug when I lived in NY. I moved back to Israel 6 years ago.
    Dr. Doug used to mention You and your kids in almost every appointment. Always speaks of his family with so much love.
    I hope you come out stronger from this experience, and please give your body the time it needs to heal.
    I enjoy reading your blog and hope that soon enough you will be able to do all those things that you love.

  47. Jeff Elsass says:

    Dear Rachel,
    I’m so glad to know you’re doing ok. As always, no matter what you are going through, your gifts and love constantly shine through in the sharing of your experience within and without. Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my father last September when he went in for a routine shoulder surgery, and due to unknown advanced atherosclerosis of his heart, there were complications with the anesthesia and he went into cardiac arrest, then a comma, and a week later my mother, sister, and I agreed to take him off life support and be with him as he took his final breath.
    Thank you for sharing you rich realization, I agree completely: Nothing matters…only how much you love and the people you love.
    I know that strong, amazing spirit of your’s is bringing you through this healing in shining brilliance and I will be sending prayers and healing energy to you to assist.
    Much Love to you and your family,
    Jeff Elsass

  48. Paige says:

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. You must be so proud of your brave girl!

    Be well,

  49. Melissa Mahon says:

    I am one of your husband’s many grateful patients and through the years, it always warms my heart the way he talks about his family. Recently, as I admitted my fears and frustrations with grad school apps and trying to decide if I was heading down the right path, he was joking about you guys both in school with a new baby, and how sleep was no longer on the menu. Frankly, it gave me the boost I needed, knowing that this was a road well traveled by other successful couples like yourselves.

    I was dumbstruck by your news and just felt compelled to reach out and send you my support and well wishes. So often life is all about planning or preparing for the tomorrow. I can imagine how grateful you are to have this “2nd” chance. And I can also imagine how frustrating it will be to remain calm and still and patient while your body heals. Not today or even next week, but soon my guess is, there will be days when you are so disappointed that your body seemingly let you down in this way. Because your spirit will be up and running way faster than your body. I am currently a dancer and undergoing fertility treatments on top of 8 shows a week and applying to grad school. The treatments have been unsuccessful for the last year and I am so dumbfounded by my body not responding to my request. Dancers rely on this body/mind connection to bring our world to life. —I’m telling you all this, because in one of my darkest moments of fear and frustration, I got some pretty great advice from my wife Leslie. She said, that your body is not currently letting you down. A weakness in your body was exposed. It was surprising. But ever since, your body has and will continue to find every possible solution, compensation, work around…whatever it takes to manifest what you have requested. This is simply more challenging than any piroette or performance I’ve attempted so far. But rest assured, even if the process is slow. Your body is going to show up for you. It will mend, it will heal, and you will thrive.

    That advice really resonated with me, in my darkest moment there. And now, I’m trying to be patient, but with a quiet faith that my body will not let me down. Because in fact, it never has. And I am sure the same is true for you.

    Incidentally, it sounds like you’ve got very special kids, so there’s no better gift than to be on lock down and have the opportunity to really listen to them, because almost no one really gets the opportunity to give their kids the undivided attention they all long for ( I’m also a teacher and hear that from teenagers everyday!)

    So here’s to careful thorough healing and enjoying yourself along the way. You are already victorious, not unlike Harry Potter, you are the girl who lived.
    all the best!

  50. Nili Bassman says:

    Rachel…. I, too, am a client of Doug’s, and he has kept me working when my body did not want to. I am a huge natural foods advocate (was raised on it before it was hip, and am so grateful for that because it has shaped my life) and I’m also a big ol’ lover of food and cooking. I read every posting on your blog and I love it. It’s something I have thought about doing myself in the future actually: combining two of my loves: food and writing. Your posts always cause my taste buds to salivate. This one also brought tears to my eyes. I absolutely think the universe sends us what we need when we need it–hence your daughter’s book. And I am so relieved that you are okay and healing–I’m relieved both for you and for your family. (And all of us whom you touch!) Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts with us. Thank you for reminding us of the simple blessings that surround us daily. I’m sure that “tiny tear” was simply your heart’s way of trying to make room for even more love. (Next time rest assured that it’s limits are already ever expanding.) Sending healing energy to you. ~ Nili Bassman

  51. Kerrie says:

    Hi, Rachel I am very happy for you and your family that you made it through this scary ordeal. I am saying prayers for you and hope you have a speedy recovery. I just recently had bad pains and debated back and fourth to call 911 I didn’t want the embarressment of it only being gas. Which it was thank God. I realized now with your story no matter what it is better to be safe than sorry. I am glad your okay.

    Kerrie Exum

  52. Lisa DeRoze says:

    Dear Rachel~
    Opening your email I expected to find your “funny take” on a new recipe and instead I read your story and am taken back with emotion and many tears. You have touched my heart and opened it wide open. I am praying for a quick and speedy recovery although I know how serious your illness is. We all love you and will be thinking of you.

    Many hugs
    Lisa DeRoze

  53. Lila says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I am a patient of your husband and a fellow foodie. This was a lovely post, accompanied by a recipe for what is by far my favorite combination of foods — chocolate and peanut butter! Oy, so good. Get well soon, I’ll be needing more recipes of this sort ;).

    All the best,

  54. Seth Barrish says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Doug was a former student of ours at The Barrow Group and as we love him, we love you and wish you all the best and a speedy “inactive” recovery. All our love,

    Seth (and Lee)

  55. Dear Rachel,

    I am so glad you are getting better. Thank you for being brave and for sharing your stories with us.

    My best and warmest regards to you and your family.



  56. Dear Rachel,

    I am glad to hear that you are doing better. I just had my second major surgery in less than a year so I can certainly understand what you have been through, since I had a rough time with the last one.

    Please take it easy as the doctors told you. They told me the same thing and I think that is what will help us to heal the fastest. I am also a person who likes to work, but when you gotta you gotta.

    Get well soon!!!

    Bev Macphee

  57. Wanda & Kailyn says:

    Hi Rachel, my daughter and I are patients of your husband. My 14-year-old daughter is still raving about how great her back feels and refers to Dr. Doug as ‘the best chiropractor…ever!”
    We’re sorry to hear of your ordeal and undoubtedly a difficult one to recover from. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. It is both scary and inspiring. It is true that in our daily lives we forget who and what’s truly important.
    Your husband mentioned to us, during our visit, of his 15-year-old daughter and “What a great kid she is”. Well, how much prouder you two must now feel that she had the where-with-all to summon the courage to take charge and make that call.
    We wish you a full and speedy recovery.
    We look forward to reading your next post as we’re also foodies who enjoy cooking 🙂

  58. Nahanni says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for writing so eloquently about your experience, and for reminding us what really matters. You are so loved, so let your heart feast on that while you STAY IN BED and rest. God bless Lily for calling.

    Sending more Love your way,
    Nahanni from Toronto

    PS this is the first time I’ve seen your blog, and it’s fantastic! Love the site, and congrats on all your success. Now stay in bed.

  59. Marjorie Glantz says:

    Rachel, I’ve been in shock since your mother-in-law (my aunt) sent me an email with the news. I immediately thought, “I pushed her too hard to walk in 100º weather in Spain, made her eat too many fatty foods, sleep in my son’s less then sterile room… Thank God it happened AFTER the trip.” I’m happy to read that you are better and on the mend and it is so nice to see you have so many well-wishers. I always knew Lily was a God-send. She is my new “Teenaged” hero!!
    Besos y abrazos from us all.xxxMarge

  60. Brian Hampton says:

    Rachel —

    So glad you are doing well and got through that. How scary that must’ve been. One of my favorite foods is peanut butter, so I am definitely going to make this recipe and celebrate with the people I love.

    What an inspirational blog. (Dr.) Doug tells me often what a great writer you are, and he is correct.

    Continue to heal and cook and love!

    🙂 Brian.

  61. Matt Nelson says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I am a client of your husband’s and am so glad to hear you are recovering…

    I loved your poem and the message of this post as I love anything that reminds me of what’s real and truly important in life…

    I also enjoyed hearing about the synchronicity of your daughter’s reading. I know the more I live in the flow, open to seeing such “coincidences” — which I, like you, don’t believe are coincidences at all — the more readily they appear.

    I wish you a swift, full recovery and thanks again for sharing this!

    My best,

  62. tanya r. says:

    my prayers are with you and cannot wait until you are writing about your full recovery!!!!

  63. Miriam Bernabei says:

    Susan forwarded Doug’s email to me. OMG.. what a shock!! Thankfully you’re home and on the mend… and that you and Lily had the presence of mind to get the help you needed. My thoughts and prayers are with you for a full and speedy recovery!!
    Miriam (from Susan’s tap class:)

  64. Hi Rachel,

    As I read Dr. Doug’s email while sipping on a freshly brewed cup of Seattle’s Best coffee overlooking the shores of Lake Union with Mount Rainier far off on the horizon, I wasn’t sure if was for real or not, as I read on I realized that it was. Rachel and I send our very best to you for a full a speedy recovery. May your positive and upbeat attitude serve you well and may your wonderful family support and give you strength to experience a rapid return to your full and vigorous life.

    Eli Kornfeld

  65. Francia Manantan says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I’m one of your husband’s many happy patients. So happy that you’re feeling better now. Health is the most important thing in our precious life. I wanted to share this health qoutes by Izaak Walton.

    ” Look to your health; and if you have it, praise GOD, and value it next to a good conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of;a blessing that money cannot buy”.

    All the best to your health and God Bless!


    • says:


      Thanks for your well wishes and the quote! Its so true…normally I’d make a joke about how it would be OK to have money AND be healthy…because heaven knows I’ve experienced a lack of the former..but it’s not until I’ve experienced the lack of health, that I realize how trivial the money part really is. Thanks to you and everyone who has taken the time to send their thoughts, prayers and inspiration. It has all gone very far toward making me feel hopeful and putting me on the road to healing. xoxox Rachel

  66. Jeanne C. says:

    Bless you and your healing heart.
    – Jeanne

  67. Courtney says:


    I met you very briefly at Ikea one day when you and Doug were shopping to outfit his new office. In that short introduction, it was clear that you are a dynamic and strong woman. By the looks of this site, you are very well loved and cared for. Hopefully with the combination of your inner fortitude and the love coming your way, you will be on your feet again soon.

    Wishing you perfect health!


  68. Eileen Colon says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I am just reading about your ordeal- i hope that you are feeling better. Please take good care of yourself- REST!!!!!

    Always speaks so highly of you and your kids- you mean the world to him. Please let him know that you are in my prayers!!!!!!

    Eileen Colon

  69. sandra says:


    so happy to read your blog… you are such a strong woman… and your writting was eloquent..
    wishing well

  70. dylis croman says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I am one of your husband’s patients. I hope this finds you healing beautifully. Your story truly reminds me of just how fragile life is. I am so so happy that you are ok.

    Sending you and your family lots of strength and love.


  71. Laura says:

    Dear Rachel,

    My heart goes out to you. I had a heart attack caused by SCAD in March of ’09. Thank you for telling your story, and I’m so grateful that you’re still with us to tell it.

    best wishes,

  72. Hi Rachel,

    My 2 SCAD’s were in April 2010 and left me so scared and confused that I had to create something positive from it which is my website that you visited ( ). Judging by all the surveys I’ve gotten back in the last 6 months since the site has been up, there are a lot more than 300 cases.

    Thank you for sharing your story here and putting the link on my message board. I’m glad you are doing what you need to do to focus on yourself and get better. Keep doing that, for your daughter. Thank God she was there for you when you needed her, and thank God you are still here for her.

    Stay strong and heal well.


    • says:


      Thanks for turning your experience into something positive. Your site was the first thing I read about SCAD on the internet and it did help me feel connected to others, and made me feel like I wasn’t crazy or imagining that burning in my chest and it was a comfort to know what to expect in the weeks and months after my SCAD. I’m trying to turn my experience into a positive thing in my life too…”living out loud” in my blog and elsewhere. I’m only 8 days out from my angiogram that diagnosed the SCAD so I’m still in that scared stiff phase…scared of every twinge and imagined side effect of the meds…but this too shall pass!
      Thanks for reading the blog…and I hope you’ll keep reading!

  73. Bonnie says:

    A mutual friend Chris sent me your blog. I am so glad she did.
    Thank you for sharing yourself and your beautiful thoughts
    with all of us. Sending you healing prayers and love,

  74. Michael Michalisin says:


    All the best as you continue to recover. It’s so great that you’re surrounded by such loving support.

    Michael (patient of the great Dr. Doug.)

  75. liz strader says: certainly touched a cord with your my world weeping is healing..i wept in gratitude as you reminded me how precious every moment in life is..congradulations to your brave daughter for responding as she love to know the title of the book to pass to my teenage niece..ive been a long time fan of dr dougs healing skills as hes gotten me unjammed so many times when working those 70 hr work weeks backstage on making my bro a peanut butter pie with love to all while out here in oregon..back to nyc in oct..and will be calling your dr husband as my hip has sorely missed him..sounds like you are right where you should be the middle of a concious loving stong womyn..we will wait on future recipes and wisdom..wiser for knowing you and your family..a patient of dr doug..liz strader

  76. judy hamburg says:

    rachel hi
    I was so shocked to learn that you were rushed in a ambulance to the hospital with a “heart issue”… happy to learn that you are healing. Dr D speaks of you all the time & I so enjoyed reading the manuscript you wrote & sent to me( didnt finisg thought ..sorry) anyway ..I hope to meet you one day & finally meet this extremely “everything gal” .. you are so talented! please REST.. dont stress……let others do for you now…..
    my well wishes to you ,doug & your beautiful daughter( the fur children too!)
    all my love & good wishes..Judy Hamburg

  77. Dan Brillman says:


    I am a patient of your husbands and he such an awesome guy. He speaks so highly of you and your children every time I go visit. You are a very strong woman and a great writer! I hope you continue to get better!

    Dan B.

  78. Bob Gecik says:

    Rachael I was so surprised and happy to read of your illness and that you lived through your ordeal. Sounds like you are truly blessed Our prayers are with you and Dr. Doug.


  79. Margie says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I’m one of Dr. Doug’s patients. I was sorry to hear what happened . I hope you are feeling better and wish you a speedy recovery…


    • says:

      Just want to say thank you again to all for your blessings, thoughts, prayers, for sharing your own stories and for your wonderful feedback for the post. Doug and I feel so completely humbled and grateful for the relationships we have with you all and the all the support and love. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m feeling stronger everyday and you’ve given me a strong reason to just keep myself and the blog going! ;-)))

  80. Courtney says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I am a fairly new client of Dr.Doug, and after reading this I was inspired. I wish you a smooth and healthy recovery. Thank you for posting such a delectable recipe!

    Best regards,


  81. Karen Charest says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I got an email from your husband and was very sad to hear what had happened.
    I am making sure that you checked your thyroid and everything is fine with that.
    About 4 years ago my doctor thought I was having a heart attach and sped me off to the hospital. I took all of the tests and nothing showed up and finally one of the doctor’s asked, “How is your thyroid?” I realized at that moment that I hadn’t been taking the pills Doug gave me for my under and overactive thyroid, because you know, life gets hectic sometimes. (No excuses any more). I’m sure you have already checked it out, but just in case you haven’t I’m mentioning it.
    All my best to you and your family.

  82. Roxanne says:

    We’ve never met, but I feel like I’ve known you forever. I’ve been a patient of Dr. Doug when he started his practice in NYC. We’ve lost touch since me and my family moved to the west coast then recently connected when visiting the east coast this summer! Your husband is extremely proud of his family and all of your success. It was so exciting to hear about it all. Consider me a big fan of yours!
    I’m so sorry to hear about what happened. Take your time with healing and I hope you are healing rapidly. Looking forward to reading up on your next recipe! Thank you for sharing your stories and recipes!
    Best wishes to your and your family,
    Roxanne and family

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