Interview: Lisa Tamati talks about Relentless
When extreme endurance athlete, Lisa Tamati, was confronted with the hardest challenge of her life, she fought with everything she had. Her beloved mother, Isobel, had suffered a huge aneurysm and stroke and was left with massive brain damage; she was like a baby in a woman’s body. The prognosis was dire. There was very little hope that she would ever have any quality of life again. But Lisa is a fighter. She absolutely refused to accept the words of the medical fraternity and instead decided that she was going to get her mother back or die trying. Relentless tells of the horrors, despair, hope, love, and incredible experiences and insights of that journey. It shares the difficulties of going against a medical system that has major problems and limitations. Amongst the darkest times were moments of great laughter and joy. Lisa talks to NZ Booklovers
What inspired you to write this book?
After going through this incredible often times, horrific, difficult and some amazing journey with my mother Isobel, from the brink of death and massive brain damage at age 74 to bringing her back to full health, full independence again by age 77, against all odds and all medical prognoses. I wanted more than anything to inspire, share, educate and encourage others facing terribly tough challenges in life to keep fighting and keep believing. I wanted to share the mindset required to take on such a massive challenge and have a chance at succeeding. Wanted to encourage people to take ownership of their own health and to approach their way of tackling any health issues with a new lens. So this is a book firstly about an unrelenting love and the bond between a mother and daughter up against the worst odds and what we did in order to live to tell the tale
What research was involved?
I spent four years researching the latest therapies, studies and tools in the world of brain rehabilitation. Studying on my path everything from hyperbaric oxygen therapy to nootropics, functional neurology, to chiropractic, from diet and nutrition to epigenetics and functional genomics, to infrared light therapy to exercise and biohacking. I gathered the best minds in the world in each of the fields and learnt from them and applied their teachings to mum's rehabilitation protocol and this alongside thousands of hours of retraining her brain, rewiring so to speak all the connections needed to live an independent life.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
I found the process extremely difficult and I had many false starts and difficulties getting the jumble in my head down onto paper in a way that was coherent and good story telling. I had a wonder co-author, my dear friend who had accompanied me throughout this journey with my mum Cushla Young. She structured what was chaotic and helped take my ramblings and make everything coherent.
If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.
Christina Aguileras "Fighter" song.
So I want to say thank you Cause it
'Cause it makes me that much stronger Makes me work a little bit harder It makes me that much wiser So thanks for making me a fighter Made me learn a little bit faster Made my skin a little bit thicker Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the lead characters of you and your mum?
Funnily enough I have a production company in Los Angeles interested in my life story. There's a lot of hoops to jump through before that ever happens but mum and I have jokingly discussed it and I would be Gal Gadot and mum would be Helen Mirren.
What did you hope readers will take away after reading Relentless?
I hope they will be empowered to take control of their own and their loved ones health, that they will not take "no" or "there is nothing we can do" as the final answer. I hope I have through this book shown them that if you are "Relentless" if you persevere and never give up and when love is the motivating factor you can achieve extraordinary things. I also hope to open up discussions around some of the issues facing our current medical model, the blinkers that the system has on and opening up talks about why some of the most incredible and powerful therapies like Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and many others are not being embraced despite the proof for anyone willing to look. I am now proud to call myself a 'biohacker' and never again will I give up my power to be responsible for my own health. I want to give a glimpse too at what's coming, why personalised, predictive, preventative health is the future and the exciting developments taking place at the cutting edge of science.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
Have I finished? Seems like you never quite finish when you publish a book, always so much more you should be doing to get it out there in the world and on all the platforms, the publishing world is one crazy place. But seriously we celebrated with a huge book launch in my home town just before we all (just days after) were put into lock down, so I was grateful we had one hell of a party to celebrate but I must admit it has been pretty devastating to launch a book in the middle of a world wide pandemic, (note to self not to repeat that one) as I had the whole nationwide launch tour cancelled and most of the media and of course bookstores couldn't sell books.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
Super Human by Dave Asprey. I am a dedicated biohacker and Dave Asprey and his work is just full of brilliant information that I use everyday to improve our lives, our longevity and health.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
Definitely planning another book, this one will be a coaching/self help book and at the moment I am inundated with requests for help from other people who have read the book and who are facing brain issues from traumatic brain injury, to strokes and concussion to dementia etc so I am busy working on a brain rehabillitation course.
I am also studying functional genomics and we are now offering epigenetics testing (one of the therapies I used with mum) to our clients and we are having huge success with that in the corporate space and with athletes and clients.
I am also loving doing my podcast "Pushing the Limits" and continuing through this, to get access to some of the greatest doctors and scientists and overachievers in the world and sharing their insights with my audience.