Sherrie Page Guyer

Virginia-based writer specializing in health topics.

Back to School, Again!

What in the world was I thinking?” It was one of many questions I asked myself as I fumbled trying to connect my phone to a security app that would’ve allowed me through the university’s firewall. Here was one more thing I had yet to figure out as a newly enrolled middle-aged student. Along with registering for classes, uploading vaccine records, and accessing the entire library, everything was now online, including most of my coursework. I’d decided to go back to school for my Doctor of Nursin

As part of admissions, colleges should require high school students to take mental health courses (opinion)

As a nurse and wellness coordinator at an all-girls preparatory school in Richmond, Va., I have a front-row seat to the stress our students go through to build perfect college résumés. I see it in the classrooms, hear it in the cafeteria and now, during COVID, discuss it with them over Zoom. All around me, students are frequently overwhelmed and exhausted. I’ve known star athletes, straight-A scholars and class leaders -- kids accepted by their first-choice college -- who struggle, too often sil

A New Stage

Halfway through the show, I turned off the TV. It wasn’t that bad of a comedy, but all I could do was imagine my daughter, Alex, in the lead. Her soulful spunk would’ve added the extra dimension the role needed; I often mentally recast her in parts. Alex’s career change from actor to exercise instructor was hard for me. I simply couldn’t understand why she chose to use her rich alto voice to command clients to “feel the burn,” over wowing an audience with a strong blended harmony. A spunky the

Moms Come First

Motherhood connects women worldwide. Taking care of mothers means healthier families, less poverty, and stronger communities. Midwives for Haiti, a Richmond-based non-profit, has built a bridge from Virginia to Haiti to keep women alive to raise the children they bring into the world. The number of orphaned children in Haiti is estimated to be over 750,000. Midwives for Haiti saves women’s lives, allowing children to have mothers. There is no organization better suited to celebrate the month of

Kids & Food Allergies

Nearly six million American children have life-threatening food allergies. If that stat wasn’t on your radar before, the tragic death of Amarria Johnson, the first grader who died from ingesting peanuts at her Chesterfield County school in early January, has significantly raised awareness. Allergies can lead to death when exposure causes anaphylaxis, the term for the immune system’s overreaction to a food protein. Anaphylaxis can affect the entire body. The most dangerous reactions involve the

Teen Mental Health Is Suffering. Here’s How the School System Can Help

May is mental health awareness month, and it’s no secret that this past year has challenged everyone’s mental wellbeing. For teenagers alone, they’ve faced their own set of challenges — from virtual college tours to Zoom classes to socially distant gatherings. The pandemic has only worsened teen mental health. Over the last decade, the number of teens with debilitating anxiety and depression has risen nationwide, with 17% of youth between the ages of 6 to 17 experiencing psychiatric illness and

Sea to Sea

Shuffling uncomfortably in the salty, humid air, 23 St. Catherine's students and I stood in the middle of a weed-ridden field that had been a Japanese coastal neighborhood of colorfully painted homes and businesses. Now, nothing remained except foundations and mud — mountains of stacked, bagged mud. As I was trying to envision the force that had swept away all evidence of life, a worn, compact silver car came to a squealing halt before us, and an angry Japanese man jumped out, screaming at us.

Eat, Pray, Richmond

I started 2012 on a beach in Tulum, Mexico. Divorced almost two years, I still struggled with the intensified demands that came with being a single mom — the full-time job, two kids with busy after-school schedules, needy pets, a historic house with old pipes, no time for myself, bills, bills, bills. Now over 40, I was challenged by obstacles that many women face earlier: how to balance a checkbook (use checks with carbons), change air filters (this should happen every month — who knew?) and mow

Talk About Diversity

Despite living in a country that guarantees basic freedoms to all, struggles with issues of race and tolerance are recurring themes in our society. How do we raise our children to respect differences, when diversity is so difficult to discuss? Kids can surprise you with some doozie questions. Local parents revealed some tough ones: Why is it such a big deal that a Black man is President? Why do all the yard-workers speak Spanish? Why do only Black people get off the bus stop at apartment buildi

Deciding to Vaccinate With Gardasil?

You may find it difficult to acknowledge that one day your children will be sexually active. However, taking steps to keep them healthy when they are, is an action you can take as a parent. Vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) with Gardasil, provides nearly 100 percent protection against the most common strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer. Despite such powerful numbers, many parents choose not to vaccinate their c

The Joy of Eating?

We live in a world where our kids get programmed to worry more about what they look like than about character and academic success. According to national statistics, 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat; 42 percent of first- and third-grade girls want to be thinner; and over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors, including skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. Stigma against the

Artsy Socks

Artist Diego Sanchez finds himself an unlikely retail rock star these days. His vibrant painting, Composition #76, has been reimagined as a puzzle in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) Shop. The puzzle has been so popular that the shop is now rolling out socks. Sanchez’ “fun, happy work,” which is in the VMFA’s permanent collection, translates beautifully to retail items, says Dana Masters, the museum’s product development coordinator. “Diego is known in the community,” she adds. “People a

Yoga for Kids

Stop. Relax. Breathe. For many of us, the stresses of the holidays ramped up at Halloween and haven’t loosened their grip. Too often we focus on all that needs to get done between now and the New Year, instead of on the spirit, beauty, and joys of the season. Are our kids feeling the same way? “Yes,” states children’s yoga instructor Nitya Griffith. “Kids’ lives are extensions of the busy world of their parents. It is common for children to rise early to rush to school where they deal with acad

Slippery Slopes

I married a skier. While this would be a bonus for frostbite-loving women, I was terrified of strapping planks to my feet and sliding down the steep face of a snowy mountain. My perfect vacation was lying on a sunny beach with a novel and a strawberry daiquiri. Before we had children, my husband, Ed, tanned happily by my side. But once we became parents, he was determined to make us a ski family. Living in Richmond, I thought I was safe from icy cliffs. However, I soon found out "Virginia skiing

Broadway Baby Off To College!

We’ve all heard that life upon the wicked stage is a difficult career, full of rejection, brief highs, and lots of blood, sweat, and tears. Getting into a college bachelor of fine arts (BFA) theatre program is no different. My daughter is a freshman majoring in musical theatre at NYU. During her college application process, I wished for a parent support group. I longed for a primer, like a What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Broadway Baby. No one told me about the extreme competition, additio

Volunteer America!

Our parents told us that, and we, in turn, tell our children. Resources aren’t distributed evenly; somebody always winds up in need, while others have more than they need. If you’re lucky enough to be in the latter group, it’s not just good policy but good parenting to encourage your children to adopt generosity as a character trait. A giving nature will not only make a better world but a better person. Charity and volunteerism have become accepted ideals in America, the world’s leader in both

Making Friends With Cooking

I was raised by a single mom who worked long hours. Neither of us had time to cook, so dinner was often a Lean Cuisine microwave dinner with a generous bowl of ice cream for dessert. I’ve always loved gathering around food—in restaurants, at parties or entertaining at home. But it never crossed my mind that I could actually learn to cook. Now, with a son in high school and a daughter off at college, my time is more my own. Could I discover my inner chef? In the past, generations of family live

All the Single Ladies Learn to Grill! Or, Not.

With its raw meat and fire, grilling has long been the domain of men—and something I long put off learning. After my divorce, I bought a fancy gas Weber, but it came without the skill set. Still, I figured out tricks to getting good steak. When a neighbor would ask, “What may I bring?” I would light up, as if the thought just occurred to me: “How about manning the grill?” I screened dates for their ability with charcoal. I even cajoled my teenaged son to pick up the torch. Finally I admitted t

Food Is Love

"From our first taste of sweet mother's milk, we relate food to our attachments with loved ones," the nutritionist explained. "Food is love." Grandma loved me dearly, and most of my memories of her involve food. Whenever I visited, she'd dish up my favorite meals. None of her recipes were healthy, but they sure tasted good. Breakfast meant pancakes cooked in enough vegetable oil to produce a delicious crispy rim; lunch was always shiny chipped ham on white rolls served with a thick, sweet drink

An Infinite Ripple

Working hard as a nurse, I understand the call of a holiday. Last year my family and I skimmed steep water slides, walked white sand beaches, and sipped piña coladas by the pool at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. It was extraordinary, but it bothered me that we were in a foreign country and our only cultural experience was being served conch fritters by a Bahamian waiter. I left Atlantis refreshed, but with nothing more to show than the fact that I could no longer button my pants. I wanted s