Of course we all hope we'll never need to make any cancer decisions…
But everyone knows how prevalent cancer is, so we probably will. We've all lost someone, many of us have lost several of our loved ones to this rotten disease. You may know that my Mom died almost 3 years ago and when she was diagnosed, it all happened so fast and we were quickly pressured into starting treatment because the cancer was growing! When I brought up some alternative options to Mom's doctor, she really made me feel like an idiot. I wasn't surprised, and kind of doubt Mom would've been very open to these other treatment options anyway (she was raised like most of us to wholeheartedly trust those in white coats with lots of letters behind their names), but I sure wish I knew more back then, so I could've presented any alternative ideas more convincingly.
|By the way, be sure to click here to check out the Truth About Cancer series for SO much information that I wish I'd known when my Mom was diagnosed! If it's not live right now, register anyway so you'll be notified when it's live again later, they replay this fairly often.|
Read on for more about how you can be READY and better equipped than I was with the right information when it may be your turn to make those dreaded cancer decisions…
Natural is normal!
Since beginning this blog 10 years ago I've been blessed to meet SO many wonderful people and hear stories of how surviving and thriving with real food and holistic, natural methods for healing are not only possible, but it's normal! Just take a look at all of these stories of natural healing and remedies here if you haven't yet! This is how people have healed themselves since time began and before we were so dependent on pharmaceuticals, which as we all know from the long drug commercials, are loaded with side effects. “This drug for depression may make you suicidal…” HUH?! Did you know that over in India, hospitals using only homeopathics are the norm? (Joette has taught me that and so much more.)
But sometimes we do need the drugs
Yet as I've said here before, there ARE times when we might need the drugs, and in those times we'll be thankful for them! (I talk more about that here: How to Get Rid of a UTI Fast Without Drugs – Plus: When I was Thankful for Pharmaceuticals!) Sometimes the conventional option might be the best way to go, and we should at least give it a good look so we're aware.
Cancer Decisions — UGH. Which path to follow?!
So what do we do? When it comes to stressful choices in life, making these big cancer decisions as far as types of treatment would be some of the worst.
- In certain types of cancer the alternative treatments have proven their effectiveness quite well and it may be a great option to pursue since they usually have fewer side effects, if any.
- For other types of cancer, you might have the doctors telling you that with conventional treatment, the survival rate may be 70-80-90%, and in that case, you definitely want to give that route a good look. However we all know that the conventional treatments of chemo and radiation are really hard on the body. Even if patients survive these treatments, they could end up with life altering long-term side effects, or worse, it could make them much more susceptible to another type of cancer later.
There's just so much to keep in mind!
~Enter Susan Murray and another option: INTEGRATIVE cancer treatment
So any cancer decisions you're facing will likely be a choice between the world of conventional vs. alternative treatments, but there actually IS another option…
When Susan emailed asking if I'd look over her new book, I was intrigued as I learned more. She and her husband went through the terrible moment all parents fear: finding out that their daughter Laura had cancer.
So like any good Mom would, she got to work and researched like crazy, but as she wrote, this is the problem: “One of the more frustrating aspects of a cancer diagnosis is how rapidly patients or their caregivers are forced to make decisions about treatment. No sooner had we learned Laura’s diagnosis than we were forced to make a decision about how to treat it.”
Thankfully Susan had learned about the Weston A. Price foundation prior to the diagnosis and knew that there is SO much out there to explore that so many just aren't aware of. After hours and hours of more research, she had the courage to face her daughter's doctors and implement many holistic approaches, all while she walked the delicate walk of making everything work together along WITH the conventional treatments. Using this integrative approach, she talks about tip-toeing around the doctors (and the times she flat out told them NO), working with her husband who was definitely more in the conventional treatment “camp”, fielding the questions from concerned friends and family, dealing with insurance companies, and more.
Much of the book included personal family blog posts sharing the details of their journey. This gives you a very good feel for how cancer affects a family in all the different ways, including the many everyday challenges, emotional effects, and she even lets you in on her feelings of “survivor's guilt”.
In the midst of all of that there is SO much good advice for those wanting to face this minefield of blending the conventional and alternative approaches to cancer.
Some of these alternative treatment ideas were simple, things like…
If you're taking chemo, drink bone broth and eat gelatin. The glutamine in gelatin protects from chemo toxicity! (Read more about broth: bone broth for rookies. And find grass-fed gelatin here. When facing cancer diagnosis, you likely just won't have time to make broth, thank God now there is an affordable REAL bone broth for sale just like homemade.)
Have you ever even heard of an oncology doctor telling their patients this? People need to know these things!
Other alternative ideas in her book were quite controversial — read my recent post about that here, and Susan discusses all of these at length in the book.
She also goes into how/why they declined the “typical” general anesthesia for her spinal tap procedures, the measures they took to preserve their daughter's fertility, how they avoided TPN and tube feeding, how they battled neutropenia (low white blood cell count), and a whole chapter on the specific supplements they used to build up Laura's immune system and handle the various side effects from the treatments.
These gut health/immune-system-building suggestions are important, beause as we all know, gut health affects everything!
Here's one tip from the gut health/immune system post that applies especially here regarding support during radiation or chemo treatments
It's a paragraph I ran across in Dr. Kleinsmith's book, First Milk Diet, the Anti-Aging Secret:
Radiation and Chemotherapy
During radiation and chemotherapy treatments, the routine use of colostrum can provide substantial support. These treatments, which inhibit growth and metabolic processes, do not discriminate between healthy and cancerous cells and may have undesirable consequences. Bovine colostrum, with its immune and growth factors, restores and maintains metabolic functions while inducing the rebuilding of damaged tissues and promoting the development of new cells. At the very least, it can help to provide cellular energy to fight the disease and the fatigue that naturally accompanies cancer and its treatments.
For chemotherapy and radiation treatments, colostrum should be considered as a front line food; experimentally it “enhances the repair of rat intestinal mucosa damaged by methotrexate” and “ameliorates chemotherapy-induced mucositis”.
(References for the science behind these statements can be found in his book on page 26.)
Here's an example of how Susan's research saved Laura's hearing:
Wednesday, Laura had her physical therapy session and then was back at Duke for an audiogram which was “perfect” according to the audiologist! We’re so glad we insisted the doctor administer Amifostine with the Cisplatin during her chemo treatment. It is the Amifostine that protected her hearing—Cisplatin is famous for causing hearing damage, especially in children who receive it. Cisplatin is also known for causing renal failure, but the Amifostine also protects kidney function. If any of you know of someone who must receive Cisplatin, please tell them about the rescue-drug Amifostine. Laura’s doc initially advised against it because of possible side effects, but after significant research, we learned that it may have been the mode of administration that caused the problem in other patients and insisted that she receive the Amifostine subcutaneously. So glad we did! And the doc is too. He said most of his patients’ hearing tests are abysmal, and is thrilled with Laura’s intact hearing.
Another excerpt you might find interesting:
When we discussed our concerns with her medical team, we were given prescriptions for three additional medications, each having serious side effects when taken just on their own. I was told shortly after diagnosis, when I thought honesty was the best policy, to stop giving her boswellia extract for her headaches, as the medical staff was unfamiliar with this safe and effective herb. Curiously, they had no qualms with us giving our daughter the potentially fatal over-the-counter pharmaceutical acetaminophen, aka Tylenol, known to be the leading cause of liver failure in the United States.
Throughout the book Susan also talks about the real food diet she had her daughter on — how refreshing to read a book about cancer by a true real foodie who is quite familiar with the benefits of nutrient-dense traditional foods and the teachings of Weston A. Price. Her section on real food begins with this exasperating piece of info:
Shortly after Laura's diagnosis, I asked her neuro-oncologist about the best diet to follow during treatment. “She should eat lots of fruits and veggies,” was the extent of his dietary advice.
Wow. I guess shouldn't be surprised, but still…
So Susan goes on to give real advice in this area. This includes more about Weston A. Price, and expressing how thankful she was that she already had a good handle on nutrient-dense diets before her daughter's cancer diagnosis.
I found local family farms that raised and produced beef, chicken, pork, and dairy products using traditional, sustainable farming practices. Little did I know at the time that I was putting into place a diet that would help heal cancer!
The typical hospital diet uses toxic, chemical-laden, conventionally grown ingredients including cheap, rancid, highly processed, genetically modified liquid oils such as soy, corn and canola that not only lack nutrition but are high in inflammation-promoting Omega-6 fatty acids and trans-fats.
The notion that sugar feeds cancer cells has enjoyed considerable discussion in natural health circles. While it tends to be a controversial topic — the data is divided — we erred on the side of caution. With very few exceptions, Laura abstained from eating anything that contained added sugar, particularly refined sugar and artificial sweeteners which are linked to a number of health issues. The sad irony is that while we were doing everything to try to support Laura nutritionally, nearly every oncology department we visited made cookies and candy freely available to patients.
We declined all hospital food for Laura preferring to bring in nutrient dense, home-cooked meals. (Find easy recipes here on my blog!)
Do you see what a GEM this book will be for those having to make some big cancer decisions?
I always get excited when I know a post I'm working on will help SO many people, and this post was definitely one of them. You can get her book here below PLUS scroll down for more resources she recommends, those that were a great help in her own research.
Get Susan's book here, either for yourself so you're ready in case you ever need to make similar cancer decisions, or for someone you know who is fighting the cancer battle now: Walking on the Ceiling.
One important note from me (Kelly):
Be sure to check out my post about fasting here, there's a part about how much it could help cancer!!!
Susan's favorite resources:
At the end of the book Susan lists her most helpful resources that were a big part of her research and helped shaped their many cancer decisions on this journey, so I thought it would be helpful for you if I included them here.
- The Truth About Cancer series — note that this is up again FREE for a short time. (If you're reading this later, just be sure to enter your email in, then they'll let you know as soon as it's up again.)
More you might like:
- No matter what, PARENTS should have the right to choose their child's treatment and make their own cancer decisions. You may remember this: Shocking Details on the Horrific Case Against Jacob Stieler’s Parents. (Or see all the posts on Jacob here.)