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this week’s Q & A on cancer

this question wasn’t directed to me personally but to a whole group of people. I did respond to it and wanted to post it here. I’m hoping it is helpful to the questioner and potentially to others as well…

QUESTION: Anyone know of any good resources for supplements/herbal medicines/foods/anything else that can support you while you’re taking chemo? My aunt has just been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the lymph nodes and starts chemo next week.

ANSWER:
Hi there,

This is an interesting email for me to see personally and I’m going to speak candidly here from my experience and what I would do if I was in your aunt’s shoes and then in your shoes. My journey to food, health etc began when I watched my mother have cancer, be on chemotherapy, radiation and not yet FDA approved drugs also while watching my neighbor and who I considered to be a “surrogate second dad” on the end stages of diabetes simultaneously. To answer your question below, I’d recommend herbs that support the liver first and foremost, however, being on chemotherapy is literally taking poison in one pill and then taking other drugs to make sure that vital organs don’t shut down so that the poison can do its thing. So adding herbs to the mix will take a lot more care and planning so that they really support and don’t complicate matters. Since this is in the lymph system, more care needs to be directed to draining/caring/supporting the immune system and the lymph. I’d actually recommend having her get a “scholarship” and going to Hippocrates in Florida for their healing program but if she doesn’t want to, she can do many things to support and care for herself.

I recently met a woman who refused chemotherapy - she’s a fellow “jersey girl” who now lives in VT if your aunt wants to interview her. Her doctor gave her 3 months to live and told her to take chemotherapy. She refused. She did have surgery though and she supported herself with herbs and food and other modalities. She used things like essiac tea for the liver and still takes it and swears by it to this day. That was 15 years ago for her. I love her story. If your aunt wants, I can connect her to you. Her doctor who had threatened to refuse to be her doctor because she refused treatment then asked her to go “on the road” with him to universities to show how alternative treatments can be more than complimentary.

I also am friends with a woman who, on her 2nd bout of breast cancer and while on radiation went on raw/living food. Her oncologist told her that fresh fruits and vegetables were bad for her while on radiation. She not only made it through 30+ days of radiation and still was able to function and work (and felt good which is something people say is not possible while on radiation - even her oncologist was floored), she has continued on over 6 years now in a healthy body. She says her body is alkaline now and no disease can enter because her inner environment is no longer conducive for disease to thrive. I can connect you to her as well. Her story is also amazing because she did the mainstream modalities along with her own and has succeeded (and then some!) She’s in her 50s and has more energy than me!

Other than that, I’d recommend greens superfoods for the supplement question - something like VitaMineral green or Pure Synergy (although Pure Synergy has potent herbs in it.) I’d recommend eating fermented miso and eating seaweeds to help pull the junk out of the body. I’d recommend green juices/smoothies to be on the top choices for food support and HEALTH. Not eating sugar, meat, dairy, stimulants or refined anything would be top on the list too. Meat/dairy acts as a fertilizer for disease, illness, obesity, heart disease, etc (please refer to “The China Study” for the longest, largest and only peer reviewed nutritional study out there.) Sugar and refined foods and processed foods also feed/fuel cancer cells (and other illnesses, too.) It’s something like 1 TBSP sugar shuts down the immune system for 2 hours so if you ever want to know where your cold or flu came from, check your diet first… Cultured veggies are good but in a cancer environment, it’s recommended to keep the cultured veggies simple (only fermented cabbage or only fermented radishes but not mixing them into a kim chee type thing.)  Diet would have to change. People can say that that is too hard for them but for me, cutting me open or giving me pills with horrific side effects is too hard for me. My head/heart tells me I’ll do a green juice fast first and feel uncomfortable in the short term because it is the least invasive thing that might/would produce long term benefit. It’s also the cheapest medication/treatment/prevention, out there. A wise elderly woman recently stated at a showing we did of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead that she always thought organic food was too expensive until she went to the hospital and got a $10,000 bill - she said, “suddenly organic food seemed cheap to me!” It’s all about choices and priorities and more choices. :-)

If this were me, I’d do this first before invasive and potentially devastating “therapies” like chemotherapy. (I had always said that I would eat raw/living foods if I ever got cancer and wondered why I would wait until a major illness set in to begin. So I began my living foods journey 10 years ago… We all have cancer cells in us so why wait until we’ve fertilized and flourished them to then decide to change and have that change be that much harder? Saying this, though, whenever the change is made is ultimately the right time to make it.)

All this being said, whatever you aunt chooses to do is *her* choice and the best thing for you and her family to do is to fully support her in whatever she chooses to do. Your loving email and concern for her is just lovely to see and I wish you all the best in this journey.  It was difficult for me to watch my mother’s “buy in” on western medicine only. I watched my conservative brothers and I try to get her to juice and try things like shark cartilage (we never were raised on this, although we were raised on food from scratch and local foods.) I was impressed to see my one brother do research for her on complimentary medicine. He actually pointed me in that direction, bless him.  My mother’s full trust was in western medicine only. She could swallow the horse chemotherapy pills but choked and gagged on supplements, vitamins and juices. I’m saying this because a person’s openness and beliefs plays a big important role here. My mother, it turned out, was resigned to die and she picked out the dress she was going to be buried in from the moment she was diagnosed. That was her choice and when we finally let her be in her choice, the journey for her was a lot more graceful and honoring. I obviously don’t know you or your aunt. I don’t know what her wishes are or her openness or willingness to try other things and it’s not in anyone’s best interest to push things on her that she doesn’t want.  It’s not easy (and I speak from much experience here) to offer things to family/friends as alternatives and then just let them be to do whatever they choose to do.  I’m doing this with my family all the time and I’m not always successful in the letting them be part. If your aunt wants this, she will find it for herself, and then you can help her in whatever ways it aligns with you the best.

I hope this helps. I’m here to help and not harm. I always realize that my lifestyle can be “threatening” to a good many people and I email/speak from the place of my heart and my own experiences. Everyone is free to do what they want. Free will.

With any and all recommendations that I write here, they are best made when the person needing the information does their own research and makes their own decisions. That’s better than taking what I or others say as the be all and end all of everything. I wouldn’t want anyone to do exactly what I say. Your aunt’s situation is specific to her and her body and she needs to find out what will work best for her.

My best to you,
Linda

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2 Responses to “this week’s Q & A on cancer”

  1. Holly Says:

    This is the most beautiful, loving and realistic approach to wellness I think I have ever read. You share your experiences but you also emphasize that each person needs to check in with themselves and do what feels most comfortable and also how we need to support others’ decisions even if they differ from our own. I really appreciate that accepting outlook. Imagine how different the world would be if we all practiced “live and let live” (along with self-honoring and not self-punishing).

    The other thing you really said that struck me was deciding to eat raw foods if you ever faced an illness, and then thought well, why wait until then? That’s exactly how I always thought (”I’ll dive more into this as my health dictates”) — why not start now? You’ve really inspired me to do more, and do so now.

    One other thing. What you said about the difficulty of change, yes — altering diet has to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. But you are so right — it’s harder for me to get cut open/etc. too, I’d much rather prevent issues than cure them.

    Thank you, thank you, for this insightful post.

  2. linda Says:

    You’re welcome Holly! And thank you for reading and responding, too. I really appreciate you taking the time to do that. We all inspire each other and that’s awesome! :-)

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