We are all unique individuals. We come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and when one of us gets cancer, we bring along our personal health history — in other words our treatment has to be custom-made.
Take me for example — I was diagnosed with stage four rectal cancer. The cancer had spread to my liver via my lymph nodes. Once cancer finds its way to the liver, it’s a quick jump to other organs, using my lymph nodes as an expressway. When I first arrived to the emergency room, I had already lost over 50% of my blood. No one can explain why I did not stroke out before that. For some weird reason, my body acclimated to it and my vitals continued to be normal. The thing I had going in my favor was, I had no other health problems. No diabetes. No high blood pressure. I was a good candidate for a kick-ass treatment and kick-my-ass — they did!
Most people who get cancer already have other health problems, so their treatment plan has to be different. For one thing, their cancer treatment cannot interfere with their other medications and vice versa.
Then there are the different kinds of cancer and where the tumor is located; all that information has to be taken in to consideration when figuring out a course of action. So many of us become shell-shocked we get the news we have cancer and go along with whatever the medical team wants — we forget that we do have a say in the matter. A patient told me recently that she didn’t have a choice but I am a firm believer — we always have choices — we just need to find out what they are.
Lately, I have been reading more and more stories about cancer survivors who did just that. There are a growing number who choose to do alternative treatment and they are successful, but what is missing from their story, is their health history before they got cancer — meaning did they have pre-existing conditions before their cancer diagnosis? Some omit what stage their cancer was — information that is critical.
Having cancer that has metastasized is quite different from one whose cancer is in early stages. A patient with stage one has more time to research all the information available to them — time is on their side. The clock is ticking for a stage four patient.
Making a decision about health treatment is a personal one and whatever the patient decides is always the best choice for them. I do believe having as much information available — conventional or alternative is critical in helping you make the best choice for you. What is right for me, might not be right for you.
As soon as I was out of the hospital, I was on the Internet… searching for survivors and answers as to why I got sick and how I could get well. I found survivors that shared information that made sense to me, but what makes sense to me might be too drastic for someone else. It’s all about what we resonate with and where we are on our life journey.
I chose conventional (hard-core) treatment and I added alternative treatments — dietary change and cannabis. It worked for me, but then again I was a vegetarian before I got sick. I was aware of the importance of eating healthy early in my adult life because my dad died prematurely from heart disease. He always ate fatty foods, and was obese. I was determined to do better. Little did I know (because it was not labeled) the vegetarian foods (genetically altered soy and corn; rBGH dairy) is the reason I got sick. I was always open to alternative lifestyles. I have gone to acupuncturists to help me with a variety of ailments. They even helped me get through menopause.
I was once called a “hippie” mom and they were probably correct. There were many people in my circle of friends that were shocked that I was the one who got cancer. I lived a pretty boring life. No drugs. No alcohol. No cigarettes. That’s why I know it was the GMOs and why I am so militant about going after Monsanto and its friends in the biotech industry. They are literally getting away with murder… but that’s not what I want to write about now.
I am not into organized religion and I get pissed off when someone tries to shove their religious beliefs down my throat. I don’t want to come across the same way when it comes to recommending alternative/complementary treatment… but I do want to offer options — many doctors still fall in line when it comes to using the “slash/burn/poison” treatment and either won’t consider complementary care, or don’t know about it. All the conventional do treatments come with warnings, and you can bet there will be some side effects, some worse than others.
I still have “chemo” brain, even though my last treatment was over two years ago. I have a harder time trying to teach someone something. I am better off showing them. I also forget people’s names or lose my train of thought when I am talking or even writing. I can just cover it up better when I’m writing. I have problems with balance, another chemo side effect. I need a walker when I’m outside alone. I look like I’m drunk if I do walk without one.
My hip has been damaged from radiation treatments. I have the bone density of an 80-year-old with osteoporosis and could easily break my hip if I fell. I am not complaining, I knew the risks before treatment began and for me, it was acceptable. I beat cancer and that was number one for me. The rest is just details and part of my new normal.
On the other hand, expecting to get well by just eating some broccoli or taking a few supplements without the supervision of a healthcare practitioner is not a good idea. There are medical professionals available who will help you use alternative treatments correctly to achieve maximum benefits.
I do believe that I healed sooner than doctors expected and the cancer cells died faster because I added complementary care. My immune system got hammered from chemo and radiation, but my diet got me back on track quicker. I will review a book in the near future, “Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients,” by Russell Blaylock M.D. that confirms what I am saying.
There are more and more doctors who are progressive and will incorporate alternate/complementary treatments. I think it’s because we are becoming more savy; we read labels and ask questions when it comes to medical care. But it also depends on the patient. The patient’s body, mind and spirit have to be taken in to account. Are they open to non-conventional ideas? I like to think of myself as pretty open-minded — I am willing to listen to new ideas… as long as there is evidence it works. I am fully aware there are many quacks running around, charging ridiculous fees, selling questionable cures.
For me, a combination of conventional and complimentary care was right for me, but who knows, if I were diagnosed in an earlier stage, I could have gone completely alternative. I do know the choice I made at the time, with the information I had, was right for me.
Earlier this year Angelina Jolie chose to have a double mastectomy. She did not have cancer, but her odds were good that she could get it in the future because she carried the gene that causes breast cancer; two of her close family members already died of the disease. Even so, some were critical of her choice…but lets not forget…it was her choice and she did what was right for her.
I will continue to share information when I find it — offering options that I hope will help individuals make health treatment choices that are right for them. I do suggest that you find a doctor that is willing to treat you in the method you choose. I have heard some doctors don’t like giving up their control when it comes to medical care, but remember treatment should be a partnership. The bottom line is — it is your body and you decide what happens to it. I was lucky, my team of doctors were open to all my alternative treatments; they just wanted to know what I was doing or taking, especially supplements.
I do strongly suggest, whatever you choose, be sure to include a healthy diet as part of your treatment plan — meaning no junk food, no processed food and try to eat organic, especially if you eat meat. The meat these days are full of additives that will make your skin crawl. Animals we use for food are pumped with antibiotics and hormones, which lead to an increase of super bacteria. The food industry addresses the problem by washing the meat with chemicals like bleach or ammonia– not something that works up my appetite.
Eating vegan, watching my stress levels, meditating, taking appropriate supplements and staying positive help me stay healthy. But that is what works for me, your mileage may vary…
Peace and Health!