Friday, May 27, 2011

Cancer Tips For the Newly Diagnosed

People often contact me when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. It's such a frightful time initially, most people simple don't know what to do, and just step in line with whatever the doctor tells them. I have put together a list of tips that should be helpful to newly diagnosed patients, regardless of the method of treatment you chose to go through.

  1. Your cancer did not appear overnight. That's right, you did not wake up one day and have cancer, it's been slowly growing in your system for years, YEARS, before you or your doctor discovered it. What does this mean? It means that there is no need to rush into a treatment plan. While you might not want to wait months or years, you have a few weeks to explore your options, get multiple opinions and do some resesearch before diving into a plan. Your doctor will likely attempt to immediately drag you into the chemo room, but hold fast little cancer patient. Take some time to discover what treatment options feel right for you. 
  2. Get more than one opinion. I've talked to people who had one oncologist insist they needed a port, another both chemo and raditation and another wanted to try localized chemo treatments, no port, all for the SAME cancer. It's also important to realize you will be working very closely with this person, so having an oncologist that is supportive and informative is very important. And if you are interested in incorporating holistic methods, or going holistic all the way, see a Naturopath as well. In fact, if you have more than one in your area, shop them too. They will also likely have different treatment suggestions. 
  3. Read this blog entry: What Your Oncologist Never Told You About Cancer before letting them cut into you.
  4. Before starting chemotherapy, read Chris Beat Cancer's excellent blog entry: Why I Didn't Do Chemo. Great source of information.
  5. Chemo and radiation are extremely hard on the body and can make you feel very sick. Ginger is great tool for battling the nausea. You can get them as chewable tablets, buy fresh ginger or pills. Personally when my stomach is upset I think slowly chewing the pills helps a lot. I have a friend that swears by this for enduring chemo treatments. Also, chemo can cause a lot of nerve pain and damage. Acupuncture is a great tool for healing this. Set up your appointments directly after your chemo treatment, therefore you won't be spending the night in agonizing pain. 
  6. Become a nutrition expert. It's so important to support your body during cancer treatments. Cancer feeds on an acidic state and loves sugar. Green smoothies are an easy way to get started. Check out Victoria Boutenko's book "Green for Life" and the "Green Smoothie Revolution." Crazy Sexy Cancer chica Kris Carr recently released a wonderful book called "Crazy Sexy Diet." This book gives you a step by step process for transforming your diet. She's a kickass cancer warrior and I highly recommend all of her books. 
  7. Shake Your Booty. I realize that fatigue is a big issue for a lot of cancer patients, but the more you move your body, the better you will feel and the faster you will heal. Your lymphatic system does not have it's own pump, it only moves when you move. When it gets sluggish, toxins can re-enter the bloodstream, making you feel sick. One of the best ways for cancer patients to exercise is the rebounder. This mini-trampoline is fun and easy and 10 minutes on it is worth 30 minutes of walking. It gets the lymph pumping and for those with little energy, do 5 minutes multiple times a day. Keep that lymph moving. Yoga is also a great tool. It helps with your breathing, flexibility, stress levels, etc. 
  8. Detox, Detox, Detox. It's so important to move those toxins out of your body. If they don't come out, they will just be recycled back into your bloodstream, yikes! Dry Skin Brushing, neti pot, enema's, parasite cleanse, colonics; these are all great tools. Read more about them on my blog entry: Detox Your World
  9. Not every treatment works the same on everyone. I have tried many different treatments during my cancer journey and some have had amazing results, and others not so much. However, some of the things that didn't work for me did wonders for others. Each person is different and the best way is to do something, and get frequent blood tests to see if the treatment is having an effect. Holistic remedies can be expensive, so there is no point wasting money on something that is having no affect. Also, if it's not having an affect, you definitely want to find something new that will benefit you.
  10. Read other cancer blogs. Here is a list of wonderful blogs that are written by people healing themselves from cancer: Chris Beat Cancer, Polly's Path to Health and Happiness, Crazy Sexy Life Blog, The Wellness Warrior, and Walkstrong.
  11. Take Care of Your Emotional Health. I believe that cancer is an imbalance not only of the physical body, but the emotional and spiritual as well. Plus, a lot of emotions can come up when diagnosed. Healing modalities such as EFT (emotional freedom technique), Reiki, meditation, affirmations, etc. can be a great help. Louise Hay is a wonderful woman who healed her cancer using daily affirmations. She has a great book called "You Can Heal Your Life" that I highly recommend. 
  12. Read this blog post: Let Your Ladies Hang Free: Why I Stopped Wearing a Bra.
  13. Educate Yourself. Read anything and everything you can on healing. There are a ton of resources out there and more coming out all the time. I've created an Amazon module at the bottom of this post with my recommendations of cancer healing books. Check it out!
  14. Get social. People who are not going through cancer treatments are often sympathetic, but don't always understand everything we are going through. Crazy Sexy Life is a social networking site run by Kris Carr that has over 23,000 members, all healing from cancer. Many of these people are combining converntional medicines with holistic rememdies. There are many "Groovy Groups" for supporting people going through cleanses, specific cancers, people new to yoga and meditation, recipes, etc. Great resource for support. 
  15. Buy This DVD. Cancer is Curable Now. An amazing look at the cancer industry and how you can heal now, without chemo or radiation. Watch it before you decide on a treatment plan.
  16. Read the incredible story of Jane VanBenthusen, who healed herself from cervical cancer after being told there was no cure. Read her story here: Jane VanBenthusen
This is really a starter guide. Dive into this, then if you have further questions or want more information, feel free to email me or leave a comment on this blog post. I wish you the best in your cancer journey. Click here to read about my personal cancer journey. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Cancer Journey

Seven years ago this summer a lump in my neck turned out to be Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. I like to joke to people that on Monday of that week, I received a promotion at work making me the General Manger of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. On Thursday I signed the papers for my first home, and on Friday, I was diagnosed with cancer. It's not really funny, but amazing to me that so many life changing situations happened literally at once.

When I found out my diagnosis, I was relieved. I had been suffering from severe depression, to the point of suicide and had prayed that something would happen to take me from this world. I felt like I got my wish. A few weeks after my initial diagnosis, I had an appointment with an oncologist, who discovered the cancer had spread to both sides of my neck and down through my chest. This is highly unusual, and at the time I believed it happened because I wanted to die. Why I still think that may have been a part of it, I've recently learned a bit more about cancer and it's possible the biopsy they did actually cause the cancer to spread. You can read more about this in my previous post, What Your Oncologist Never Told You About Cancer.

My parents were of course extremely concerned; my Dad's reaction to the news is the reason I initially decided to live instead of letting it take me. I told my doctor I would not be going through chemo or radiation and she told me I wouldn't make it to the holidays. Seven years ago. Never allow the doctors to scare you with a death deadline, you create your own destiny.

Once making the decision to heal holistically, I checked out every book, blog, dvd, etc. that related to healing cancer. I believe that any disease, is an imbalance in the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. Most western medicines only focus on the physical, and most of the time the symptoms rather than the actual cause. I started out by changing my diet, going on a strict vegan raw food diet for the first year. I lost over 100lbs, and completely stopped the spread of cancer. I also did some emotional healing. Check out my post on Healing With Energy Psychology for more info on this.

After a couple of years, things remained stable, and I got frustrated. I fell off the wagon, started eating junk again, ignored the emotional work, hadn't even acknowledged the spiritual work, and dove into work. I worked a lot of hours and had the weight of the world on my shoulders. In the Spring of 2009, I started having a lot of fatigue issues. I went in for my tests, and the cancer had spread like wildfire. I had cancer in my lungs, under my arms, kidney, etc. Everything on my blood tests was off the charts bad, my organs had started to shutdown, and this time my Naturopath, who normally is very supportive, told me there was nothing more to be done and to put my affairs in order, it would only be a matter of weeks. I realized at this point I couldn't jack around anymore. I had to make a choice: live or die, and that choice had to be mine. I couldn't do it for my Dad or anyone else, it had to be for me. I took a couple weeks off of work, ate lots of veggies, spent a lot of time in bed, because by this time I could barely move, and decided that I really hadn't given life a proper chance. So I made my choice.

Two years later and obviously I chose to live. This time, instead of focusing mostly on the physical and half-hearted with the emotional, I have undergone entire lifestyle changes. Physically I got back into a healthy diet, focusing on Green Smoothies. I incorporated Superfoods into my diet, reversing many of the poor results on my blood tests. Triton, my furry 142lbs newfoundland/great dane mix got my booty shaking with daily walks. I also bounce on a rebounder, and started getting into yoga. I detox my body daily by skin brushing, make regular colonics appointments, etc. I got certified in Reiki, an energy healing tool, and receive other energy healing from my Mom. You can read about how one of the tumors in my neck shrank in under 15 minutes with several witnesses in my post Healing With Tuning Fork Sound Therapy.

Emotionally, I started doing mirror exercises, reading Louise Hay, using EFT (emotional freedom technique) to release the emotional causes of my cancer, forgiveness exercises and much more. Spiritually I recognized my connection with the Universe, meditate daily, and next week will embark on a Spiritual journey as I fly to Oregon for a Vipssanna Meditation retreat.

So how am I doing? Tumors in my armpits are breaking into pieces. The primary tumor in my neck split into two, and once piece is shrinking, while the other is slowly pushing itself out of my body. Whoa! My energy levels are up, I am still anemic, but I did go up a point on my latest blood test. I'm healing, and with a little more work and a lot of faith, I plan on ending 2011 completely healthy and free of cancer, eczema, anemia and hormone imbalances.

The things mentioned are just a few of the healing tools I have used, but the ones I found most effective. Once I return from Oregon, I will get updated tests, and I intend to kickstart a new healing program. More on this later.

What do you do to stay healthy? Have you ever faced a major disease? How did you handle it?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Personal Cellulitis Battle and Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin

 Friday night, after spending 36 hours in agony, I finally broke down and went to the ER. My right leg had swollen like a balloon, and had a sore that oozed yellow puss. I tried many things to get the swelling down on my own, but alas, no luck. When I finally got in to the hospital room, they determined I had an infection called Cellulitis. I've been dealing with eczema for almost two years now, and have many sores, primarily on my legs. Apparently one of the sores got infected, causing the swelling and oozing. After a dose of painkillers and an anti-biotic prescription, they discharged me. The pain has greatly reduced, along with the swelling. Infections such as this can be dangerous without treatment. Upon reflection I'm a little surprised this hasn't happened before, due to the eczema sores. I have done everything under the sun to eliminate this skin issue, however, I think my immune system is just on overload with cancer, anemia, hormone imbalance, etc. However, there are many things that can be done to prevent these issues, and I know that as the rest of my body heals, my skin will as well.

Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It also is an important outlet for detoxing toxins from our system. Here are some tips on keeping your skin healthy, and dealing with skin issues.

Skin Care Tips
  1. Use Natural Skin Care Products. Throw out the hard soaps, the body washes filled with chemicals, and stick with natural products. Burt's Bee's makes a great body wash. I personal love Zum soaps, made locally here in Kansas City. When showering, it is not necessary to soap our entire body each day. My dermatologist told me that by washing our entire epidermis daily, we are removing protective layers, drying out our skin. The only areas that need to be thoroughly washed daily are under the arms, bottoms of the feet and our privates. Otherwise, I wouldn't do a full body wash more than once a week. The rest of the body gets clean during the shower process without the aid of soaps. 
  2. Throw Out Your Lotion. Instead of using lotions, many of which are actually drying and contain chemicals, I put coconut oil on my body after getting out of the shower. It's a great moisturizer and extremely healthy. 
  3. Dry Skin Brushing. Our skin is constantly shedding itself. Dead cells can build up on our skin, causing it to dry out, lose it's shine and block toxins from properly exiting the body. Use a skin brush daily before your shower will remove these dead cells, keeping your skin clean and fresh and healthy. Check out this article for more information: Dry Skin Brushing For Whole Body Health.
  4. Use a Moisturizing Skin Mask Weekly. Meghan from the blog Making Love in the Kitchen has a great recipe for a skin mask that will revitalize your skin. Check it out here.
  5. Tea Tree Oil. If you do have skin eruptions, tea tree oil kills bacteria and is a great tool. I would also suggest after cleaning the skin with the tea tree oil, using zinc oxide to heal the wound. 
  6. Proper Diet and Exercise. What we put in our body is often reflected in our skin. Highly processed, sugary foods will certainly make your skin break out. Drinking green smoothies will help you in many ways, including keeping your skin fresh looking. Exercise is also important for moving toxins from the body, many which are released through the skin. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails