Whenever someone tells me they have to do chemo, or they ask me if I had to do chemo, I cringe. I think when we have the attitude that we have to do any kind of treatment, we dis-empower ourselves. If the treatment offered for cancer was a known cure, it would be a different story. But there isn’t a cure. With any of the treatments in Western medicine — radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy — there are statistics about how likely it is that the treatment will put your cancer into remission. It’s never 100%, and they don’t use the word “cure.” It’s always your choice what recommendations you follow.
The first time I was diagnosed with breast cancer, in 1989, the chemotherapy that was recommended for me would increase my chances of survival by 5%. And there would be major side effects and damage to my body. Even with those odds, I did one treatment because I didn’t know what else to do. But I stopped after that one treatment because I couldn’t believe in it, and the odds weren’t worth the damage. I searched for other strategies to address the cancer.
When I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2007, the proton beam radiation treatment recommended had a 97% cure rate and the side effects were minimal. I chose to do that treatment.
I didn’t have to do either of the treatments. My doctors made recommendations, I looked at the odds and the effects, and I made choices. I chose to do the proton beam radiation treatment. It may seem like a subtle difference, but I think any treatment can be more effective if you choose it instead of feeling like a victim.
In the 23 years I have been dealing with cancer, I have learned that there are two approaches to treatment. One is to treat the disease, attacking it somehow from the outside. The other is to increase the health of the person diagnosed with the disease. There are many strategies we can employ for strengthening our bodies’ ability to fight the disease.
Often, it’s a combination of the two approaches that lead to the most desired result. We call it Integrative Medicine. When we go to our doctors, we learn about what they have to offer to treat the disease. There is still a need for available sources of information about how we can strengthen ourselves — body, mind, and spirit — to create a terrain that doesn’t support the growth of cancer.
This is the need that Healing Journeys was created to fill. Although there is more support for Integrative Medicine than there was 20 years ago when we started, I think there is still a big need for the information and inspiration that we offer in our Cancer-Fighting Kitchen workshop and our Cancer as a Turning Point, From Surviving to Thriving™ free conference.
The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen workshop in Sacramento two weeks ago was an awesome event, attended by 130 people. To quote a couple of the participants:
- Thank you Lise for sharing your great intellect as well as beautifully, well-pronounced words and quality communication! Thank you Laura for not only walking your talk but also singing and dancing. Thank you both so very much for being and weaving together all day long. What a professional sisterhood!!
- I feel so much more confident that I can continue to be cancer free because of this information.
Healing Journeys hopes to offer our free Cancer as a Turning Point™ conference in the San Jose, CA area in 2014, and we need your help. We’re a tiny but mighty organization that makes a huge difference in the lives of families touched by cancer. As you decide who your contributions will support at the end of 2013, please choose Healing Journeys to be included in your giving plan. Your contributions go directly to support our programs, and you make a difference.
Click here to make a Safe & Secure, Tax-Deductible contribution online, or for the printable Mail/Fax form.
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In the Spirit of Healing,
Jan Adrian, MSW
Founder and Executive Director