Monday, April 18, 2011

To each his own path

When I got diagnosed with cancer, people came out of the woodworks to give me advice on what to do to get better. Everything from topical salves, herbal remedies, vitamin-infused drinks, Vitamin C shots, the list goes on... I have nothing against any of these remedies, however, it gets a little overwhelming when I've got a lot going on otherwise. I know people mean well though, and so I listen and am grateful for their concern and willingness to help.

This journey has taught me that everyone has their own path though. Not everyone can rely soley on Western medicine and put their bodies through often harsh and toxic treatments. On the other end of the spectrum are the folks that rely soley on natural remedies that provide their bodies with the best nutrition and stress management techniques to increase their immune response and rid themselves of the cancer. I fall into the group of people that choose to do a little of BOTH.

Why??? For one, I am young and the mother of 2. When you're faced with a life threatening disease and a less than 5% chance of survival, I believe you do EVERYTHING you can to live. The other reason I believe that doing both, western and holistic medicine, is right for me is because it's working so far and I'm not out of options yet. Right now, while I'm healthy and tolerating treatments well, I believe that I can endure anything that comes my way. I am sure that if I were really sick and weak and my quality of life was poor I would feel differently, but for now, I feel good and will continue on with western medicine until something changes. There are such amazing things happening in medicine today. In particular for melanoma, many great advances with research and treatments has been made in the last decade. There is hope for us now, where there wasn't 10 years ago. And I have hope that in another 10, even 5 years, there will be even greater options.

As for the holistic side to it, I have always believed that eating healthily is KEY. A lot of really intelligent researchers out there believe that cancer can be avoided or prevented by diet and lifestyle changes alone. I believe this to be mostly true, but not entirely. I am living proof that cancer can happen to ANYBODY. Nobody is immune to cancer, and at the end of the day, I believe we are all given challenges to overcome no matter the circumstance that could have caused it (like for me, years of sun damage). Eating low-fat, high fiber and nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables is crucial. Lean proteins, little dairy, and whole grains is also a must for me. Lastly, eating primarily whole foods and very little processed foods with preservatives and refined sugar is also important. Do I eat perfectly? No, of course not. I don't think it's possible to do this and I don't think we are expected to either. I think it's all about moderation, balance, and getting the proper nutrition first before eating the occasional "junk" food.

Combined with diet, I take supplements to boost my immune system and also help absorption of certain nutrients that I may be lacking of or not processing correctly. Juicing or making green smoothies is something I do daily to get a higher concentration of important vitamins and minerals. I know it makes a positive impact because I can see a difference in my energy levels. I've always been super active and athletic, so exercise is something that has always been there for me. Not only does it keep my physically strong, but it helps with stress reduction as well. I'm trying to incorporate more yoga into my routine because I know of the many benefits it has physically and mentally.

For my mind, I do hypnotherapy and acupunture. Acupunture helps me deal with the side effects of the treatments better too, but it also helps move the lymphatic system, boost immunity, and reduce stress. Hypnotherapy has made a huge impact on me as well. It helps me visualize a positive outcome to treatment and in my life. It has empowered my subconscious mind to know how strong and capable I am. It has helped me sleep better and clear my mind when it becomes jumbled. I am so grateful to have these other "avenues" to aide in my path to being healed. For me, it is a combination of everything that has made the difference, not just one thing. Along with that, I believe that having a large support system of not just family and friends, but doctors and other healthcare professionals on your side is important in the road to healing. I am one lucky son of a gun to have all of that and wish it upon anyone that is going through something similar. We all deserve the best!!!

1 comment:

emandmichael said...

I love this!! You are right on, as usual! ....the marketing person in me must mention your creative use color and bold in your sentences. I might steal this from you for my blog! Tonight I am excited to meet many other melanoma warriors like you. Wish you could be there. Emily