What would you if your dream life that you had studied for, worked for, lived and loved was suddenly taken from you? Would you be able to redefine your life? Pick up the pieces of what was left and start over and begin a brand new life; relearning things you thought you knew and apply what you knew in this new life you now had to live? Would you be despondent, angry, depressed or excited about the venture of a new start? We know that medical issues happen and life changes and with it comes times when it is necessary for redefining life, and this is what happened to Dr. Betty Halpern, or Dr. Betty as she is lovingly referred to by her friends and former patients and colleagues. This is her story of redefining life.
Dr. Betty Halpern – The Prelude
Betty Halpern grew up in a family of doctor’s and it was always assumed that she would follow in those footsteps. As a young child, she made house calls with her parents and she learned the art of empathy and the realization of how therapeutic it was to the patient while watching her parents care for these people on such a personal level. The time she spent with her father was at the hospital, where she would read X-rays with him. Her father’s uncle was considered the father of radiology. Although she wanted to be a teacher, she was slated to be a doctor, and she loved medicine.
Dr. Betty attended Baylor and started as an emergency medicine doctor, but moved to Internal Medicine. While at Kelsey-Seybold, she realized that she wasn’t going to be able to have the type of practice that she wanted, as the banks weren’t apt to loan a female doctor money during that time, so she took matters into her own hands, which is a recurring theme in her life. Dr. Betty answered a medical question on a radio morning show, which turned into a radio show that she did with Steven’s & Pruett for 11 years, and that gave her enough money to open her practice.
She lectured for drug companies and traveled all over the nation, taught for free for one month at Baylor every year and was dealing with two children of her own that had learning issues. She was constantly redefining life and loving every minute of it.
Death of the Life
When things fall apart, they tend to fall apart quickly, and that’s what happened with Dr. Betty. Within one year, she got divorced, her home was struck by lightening and she got black mold in her house and lost all her belongings. She became an empty-nester with her kids and her business partner both leaving and her mother also dying from cancer.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Dr. Betty went in for a routine medical procedure and came out with vision problems, fainting spells, low blood pressure and migraine headaches. At one point, during an MRI, she was so convinced that she had a brain tumor, she was at peace with dying, but she lived, and she had to relearn everything because of her loss of vision and other impairments. But, that theme of Dr. Betty redefining her life and taking matters into her own hands came into play and she designed her own mental rehabilitation and did things the doctor’s told her she would never do again.
It was two years after Dr. Betty had gotten ‘sick’, when she was unpacking boxes in her new home, where there weren’t so many hallways and more natural light, which helped her to navigate her way around easier, that she found her paints and canvases. She had forgotten that she used to paint and more importantly how much she loved it. When she started to paint again, she used it as part of her therapy. She used the painting to get out the anger and frustration over what had happened to her and to mourn the death of her old life and celebrate the birth of her new life.
The art of Dr. Betty is as beautiful as she is. When you meet this warm and loving woman you would have no idea that she has been through such redefining life moments. She is intelligent, funny, thoughtful, smart, witty, charming and talented. Her art spans from the whimsical to the serious undertakings of the black male role model in a child’s life in a positive way. Each piece has meaning and is filled with light and brightness. Some will make you laugh and some will make you think, but they will all make you want them hanging on your walls.
You can find the art of Dr. Betty here. She hasn’t yet made it into a gallery, but we have no doubt that one day she will. In the meantime, she paints in her home, which is strewn with canvases everywhere, between toys for her granddaughter and the dogs that she has taken in, and of course, her life partner, Barry Warner.
Dr. Betty Halpern is the epitome of redefining life and she is the epitome of redefining VIPs and we adore her.