With all the devastation and sadness that has been going on in the news, it has been difficult to focus on anything that is remotely positive. It's times like these that we like to reach out to our collective of selfless doctors who have love and service in their hearts and ask them to share their stories. There was no one better right now to inspire and uplift us than Dr. Chris Cucculu. He joined us on our 2018 Guatemala Mission with the purpose of providing specific chiropractic care to an underserved area, so they have the opportunity to live a better life that they otherwise wouldn’t have any access to.
How long have you been practicing Gonstead? What inspired you to learn Gonstead technique?
"I’ve been practicing Gonstead since 2014 as a 1st trimester student in chiropractic college. As a Doctor of Chiropractic I’ve been practicing for two years now. I think what really inspired me the most to learn Gonstead was learning how much of an impact Dr. Gonstead had on people’s health throughout the world. Like how many chiropractors can say they built a landing strip for an airplane and built a hotel next to the clinic for patients coming from all corners of the world? Gonstead was also a huge foundation of what we learned in my school curriculum too so it only made sense to go all in!"
What was a moment that you enjoyed most with the other doctors and volunteers?
"After the last day of taking care of patients, we had a nice dinner at a local restaurant and hearing how appreciative the hosts were for us coming and helping the people really hit me on a deeper level. They cared so much for their community and having us come to help meant the world to them. Learning about their culture and talking with everyone in the mornings before the shifts and afterwards discussing cases and how people were responding to care was such a wonderful experience."
What was a moment that you enjoyed most with a patient?
"There was a patient who had driven over 5 hours to be seen and she was assigned to my care. She showed me her MRI and areas which she had disc bulges in her neck and she was given no help prior to coming. Those findings were very consistent with what would be deemed “compensations” and as it turned out the problem was actually lower in her spine in her upper back. After her second correction she came in and she had just an incredible smile on her face and was tearing up. It was the first time she had that kind of help and it’s just an experience I’ll always hold close to me."
What was the most interesting case that you had when you were there?
"The most interesting case I had was actually a little boy whose mother brought him because of a tongue tie. It was not so much that he had a miracle, but when his mom asked if I could help I simply explained to her how the body works and that misalignments in the spine cause nerves to not function properly and as a result the body breaks down and can adapt to stress. I could see the light bulb go off in her head. I explained I wasn't treating the tongue tie, but rather helping his body work more efficiently and that alone meant so much to her."
If you had some advice for a student or doctor, what would you say to them?
"Practice as much Spanish as possible before you go! But seriously, it will help so that you can focus more on the clinical and know quickly how the patient progressed from the previous visit and ask specific questions that could push you to look closer at one area over another. As a student I would recommend asking as many questions as you can of the doctors and totally immerse yourself in the experience. It’s not everyday you get the chance to serve humanity in this manner so be as present as possible with the person in front of you and just show compassion for them. In all honesty, more doctors today are becoming less and less hands on. Putting your hands on them alone and feeling their problem is likely showing them that you care more than the average doctor and makes all the difference in the world."
What was your biggest take-away that you can apply/have applied to your practice coming back?
"For me it was an experience in which I was just about to graduate and was making the transition from being a student to a doctor. I always think of the book by the late Dr. Fred Barge D.C. PhC, Are you the Doctor, Doctor?, as I reflect on my experience on the trip. He talks about really stepping into the role and being that light for the patient. There were a lot of things I was uncertain about, but I did know that vertebral subluxations are a detriment to one’s health and the human experience and that you are always better off when you have a spine free of nerve interference. I knew that much and as a result, throughout the trip each day I served with more and more confidence and it is that aspect which I took away with more to help serve my current patients."
Dr. Cucullu currently practices in Pleasanton CA at www.interochiropractic.com. If you are as appreciative and inspired by his experience and wish to know more, you can check out his instagram page @interochiropractic.