Alternative Integrative Therapies Part 3: Confessions of an Oncology Nurse

This post isn’t what I planned to write about today, but after watching a video about how western medicine treats cancer, I had to share it with you.  For the past few months, I have witnessed some disturbing things at the infusion center I volunteer at, so watching this video clears up some of the suspicions I had about what could be going on in our healthcare system. Before I go on, let me give a little back story as to what I’m getting at. First of all, I truly believe that everyone who is involved with the direct care of cancer patients, does so because they want to help them get well, but the more our healthcare is taken over by major corporations who answer to shareholders, the quality of that care diminishes. We are not  seen as patients by some who run these institutions, instead we are “cash cows.”

The infusion clinic where I’m at gets all kinds of people from a wide range of ages, to get chemotherapy. Some come for other reasons but most are there because they have cancer.  It’s the ones who are over the age of 70 and are frail to begin with which bother me the most. I can think of three patients off-hand who were over the age of 80 who suffered from the side effects of their treatments and soon died as a result. Since I am limited to what I can ask patients, I have no idea whose idea it was to give something as toxic as chemo to an elderly patient, and let’s be honest chemo and radiation are poisons. I know that’s true from all the research I’ve done and because my doctors warned me that accepting treatment meant accepting the risk of getting a different cancer down the road caused by the chemo I was about to take. I was lucky. I am young and healthy compared to many others who come in.

That being said, chemo/radiation kicked my ass. I was in bad shape, but with the little strength I had, I searched the Internet, determined to change my diet and lifestyle for the better. My doctors told me to eat whatever I wanted and they prescribed Ensure for me when I was an inpatient. That just didn’t sound right. My instinct told me that healthy food was my ticket back to wellness, so I found other survivors who felt the same way. Not only did I recover from cancer but I did so much faster than my doctors expected. Some say I’m a miracle and maybe I am but I did my part. My willingness to look for alternative ideas saved my life as well. If I had gone back to eating processed foods, I’m sure I wouldn’t be here today, which brings me to this video that I hope you will take the time to watch, especially if you are newly diagnosed or found out that your cancer treatment isn’t working. Even if you choose to go ahead and get conventional treatment, at least you know there are alternatives and complimentary treatments available. So make yourself comfortable and see what this nurse has to say about our healthcare system.

Be Well and Stay Informed,

Ingebird

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Twenty-Percent of Patients Are Misdiagnosed!

photo credit: zap2it.com

photo credit: zap2it.com

I just watched an episode of “A Healthy You,” hosted by Carol Alt, a cancer survivor and model. One of her topics was about being misdiagnosed. According to her research, 20% of patients are misdiagnosed! From what I hear from patients I visit in the infusion center, that number sounds about right. I was misdiagnosed by 2 different doctors for a year before I was correctly diagnosed with cancer. The first one said I had a bacterial infection and the second said it was hemorrhoids.

I accepted their different diagnosis even though my intuition didn’t agree. I almost died because I didn’t question them and seek out another opinion. Let my story be a lesson to you. It’s so important for you to take charge of your own health! You know your body better than anyone else, even someone with a medical degree.

knockout-suzanne-somers-book

Suzanne Somers writes about her story of being misdiagnosed in her book, “Knockout” only, she was told she had cancer, which turned out to be wrong! If she hadn’t listened to her intuition, she could have died from treatment, she didn’t even need!

Don’t be afraid to speak up and stand up for yourself. Yes, you might get some flack from your doctor, if he/she is the kind who thinks he/she knows everything and isn’t willing to listen to you… but think about it, do you want someone caring for you that has an ego that big??? Fire that doctor and look for someone else. Your life depends on it.

Be well!

Ingebird

Finding Balance

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

Getting well from cancer was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was also my biggest “wake up call.” Oprah once said, “Difficulties come when you don’t pay attention to life’s whisper. Life always whispers to you first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you’ll get a scream”. Cancer was a symptom of how out of touch I was with my own body. Looking back, my body asked me on several occasions to change my behavior but I just wouldn’t listen. Finally when it screamed from the pain of cancer, I paid attention.

Some say getting cancer is a gift; I won’t go that far, but it was a valuable teacher. My lesson was a painful one though. My family says I’m one of those people who sometimes need to learn things the hard way. Maybe they’re right, but this time I got it. There is no going back. My life has changed forever and for the better.

Just think how many people sleep walk their way through life, always doing what they are told by others, without questioning anything. The past three plus years I have done a lot of self-reflection. I questioned everything and threw away those beliefs that never belonged to me, but were given to me by someone else. Growing up with an alcoholic mother who thrived on chaos taught me to keep the peace, even when it was detrimental to my well being. How many relationships and jobs had I stayed in far too long because those “anxious” feelings felt familiar? I was a victim and didn’t understand that I had the tools inside me to change that. By changing my views and attitudes, the kinds of people I encountered became different. It’s like I gave off a vibe that said, “Don’t mess with me.” Abusers stayed away.

Cancer gave me permission to put my needs first. For the first time in my life, others took care of me which was hard at first because I was always the caregiver. Now I take time out for myself everyday; before that, going to bed at night was the only time I had to rest. My days are still busy but I strive to find balance. If someone asks me to do something, I make sure I really want to do it. I stopped multi-tasking. Doing too many things at once just led to mistakes and for me not being “present.” I spent way too much time in the past, worrying about the future and not enjoying the present moment. My astrological sign is Libra and it’s all about balance.  My life had been out-of-balance for decades and it took a life crisis to change that.

Libra-Balance

Post cancer my life still has some ups and downs but I deal with the “downs” differently, meaning I no longer “freak out” when things don’t go the way I “think” they should. What usually happens is that things go better than what I expected anyway. If I get out of my own way, I always land on my feet. The word “should” is no longer part of my vocabulary. Ok, it is, but not as often. “Should” is to restrictive. It doesn’t allow for other possibilities and these days my world is full of possibilities.

Now I choose to listen to my inner voice, my intuition. It tells me when to slow down and seek balance.  Daily meditation and yoga keeps me grounded if things feel uncertain. Staying calm and centered helps me make better decisions.

Who knows if I would have eventually figured out a better way to live without having the cancer wake up call. It doesn’t matter anyway, but what does matter to me, is that I figured it out before it was too late.

Namaste!

Ingebird