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Surviving Tsunami and Stroke
in Japan 2011

Paperback 6” x 9″
84 pages with color photographs
ISBN 978-1-63381-061-7


Rising Above the Wave

by Walt Christie

On March 10, 2011, Walt and Ellie Christie boarded a plane in Los Angeles for a life-changing trip to Bhutan. As they flew over the Pacific, the plane crossed over a huge tsunami generated by Japan’s Tohoku earthquake. At about this time, Walt suffered a stroke and was left paralyzed and unable to speak. When the plane made an emergency landing in Osaka, Japan, to let them off, Ellie was left with an impaired husband in a country in disaster where she found no one who spoke English. This is the story of Ellie’s state of mind, their eventual medical evacuation, Walt’s recovery, and the way the world changed for both of them.


Walt and Ellie Christie met in 1982 when he was giving a lecture on the evolution of consciousness. Walt was a psychiatrist based in a hospital where Ellie was teaching mind-body medicine to family medicine residents. Ellie first traveled to Nepal and Tibet in 1988, a few months before they were married. In 1995, they made a trip to India and Nepal and another one to Dharamsala, India, to take the first course in English at Men-Tsee- Khang, the Dalai Lama’s medical school.