It’s Christmas! We are cooking and opening gifts and listening to Sam’s selection of Christmas classical. The kitties are eating the turkey liver and the lights on the tree are twinkling and the friends will come knocking this evening. Yoga is in few- yes, we cooked in the morning so we could go to yoga this afternoon. Awesome.
I’ve been considering the various implications of all kinds of adjuvant- read, in addition to the traditional slash/burn/kill of chemo/surgery/radiation- treatment. There is a homeopath about an hour from where I live who has a whole cancer care centre. While initially I thought I’d go to Inspire Health, which is a Vancouver-based integrative care centre, it seemed like this particular homeopath, who, in the words of another homeopath, “has treatments available nowhere else in Canada.” Sounds good, right?
I have to say, I was convinced. Entirely. My family was going to pay, though I considered asking my friends to fund, partially, via the oh-so-popular breast cancer fundraising that so many of my young breast cancer buddies are relying on to pay for American treatment. It sounded really important, entirely critical, to hear the naturopath describe the importance of heating the breast area on a water bed before and after chemo, and to listen to him describe the endless benefits of IV vitamin C, even though I’ve been told again and again not to take any vitamin C while on chemo. I took his diet recommendations seriously, strictly controlling my diet: no flour, no sugar, no estrogen, no chemicals, no non-organics, not too much fat. I swallowed his vitamins, embracing his philosophy entirely. After all, I have breast cancer: I might as well do everything I can and then some, and try all the cures and remedies and magic potions, right? Unless, of course, it hurts.
And hurt is exactly what it could do, I learned, when my oncologist had a really big, forceful opinion about this place and this naturopathic doctor, and his vitamin C and his water beds and why on earth I’d fork over so much $ for something without a lot of evidence behind it, and something that, in her opinion, would actually be harmful. His studies, the ones he showed me to get me entirely on board? The oncologist, Dr. G., raised her eyebrows and her voice at their shady methodological approaches, no end points and not large enough sample sizes! In the end, convinced as I was by this naturopath, I can’t go ahead unless Dr. G. gives the thumbs up. She referred me to another naturopath, one she likes and trusts and who’s work is more reliable. I’ll see that person, soon. I really think naturopathic care is critical and important, but I’m not about to make moves that clash with my oncologists’ ideas.
I do think the naturopath had some important ideas about diet, but also, I think those ideas are generally good ones for people living in the world- like no-flour-and-no-sugar, and organic everything, especially meats and dairy. Well, OK. I mean whole grains are less processed, and too much sugar makes me very shaky when I balance in yoga, and I’m all for eating as much local and organic as possible. However, as a wise someone reminded me, if cancer were caused by diet or by sugar/flour/non-organic consumption, or even by estrogen consumption, cancer would be distributed across the world’s populations wildly different than it actually is distributed. So we know eating doesn’t cause- or cure- cancer. And also, we know bodies generally feel better when we eat less crap. Likewise, the environment feels better when the carbon footprint is smaller, when food is grown locally, when fewer fields are sprayed with pesticides.
I hope your Christmas was as lovely as ours. We cooked and ate and drank (organic) wine and couldn’t decide if we liked the (sugar-free!) lemon ice cream I made. We watched our little orange kitten race around the house like he was full of redbull and the boys played music and sang and the lights on the Christmas tree twinkled and sparkled. To you and yours, I hope it was magical.