Cancer & Illness Healing Stories

A weekly column for individuals who have overcome cancer or a seroiusness illness or who are currently patients.
The column will also include excerpts from "Draw No Conclusions", my new book about my 4 year journey with cancer. Due to be released in 2011


If you decide to do an alternative program either concurrently with your conventional program or solely by itself, I would take a few steps before discussing it with your oncologist.
In the last five years oncologists are becoming more open to this multi-dimensional approach. Both my chemo and radiation oncologists were very open and knew I was doing an alternative program concurrently with the treatment. And these programs were absolutely valuable. It’s the general feeling by my team of doctors that it really saved me from any bone loss in the jaw and improved my salvia flow. The alternative program can both protect you and enhance the conventional treatment
I would not immediately discuss this with your oncologist without getting a sense of his feelings about this. Hint around it. You will get a sense of their openness. Remember, oncologists are experts in their area; they are not fluent or knowledgeable about alternative supplements. It’s difficult for them to keep update with new chemo agents. But make sure your alternative doctor or practioner has extensive experience working with conventional protocols. A good sign is if they work closely with oncologists—this was the case with my herbalist, Donnie Yance. In fact, Donnie lectures to conventional docs. There are a number of cancer centers around the world that incorporate a multi-dimensional approach.
If you solely do an alternative program your oncologist will more than likely attempt to talk you out of it. They will try and get details about what you are doing and who you are doing it with. My standard response: “I’m exploring another option right now.” And their reply: “What option?” Your reply: “I prefer not going into it”. They will keep pushing you but just keep smiling and saying—“I prefer not going into it.” They will give up at some point. I can vividly remember going to see a new oncologist and his nurse asking the standard questions: “When were you diagnosed? November 97? That was a year and half ago, what have you been doing since then?” “An alternative program.” “What kind of alternative program?” I reply with my standard answer said firmly—“I prefer not to go into that.” Remember no matter what they say—don’t go into it! For example: They need it for their records, they want to see if it will interfere with their regimens—all kaka! If you have found a world-class alternative doctor, they will know if you are doing anything that will interfere with conventional therapy. You don’t want to open yourself to a long lecture on why you are making a mistake, so on; so on…What you can say to them, is this: “What supplements are contra-indicated with this chemo or radiation?”
What you ideally want to do is find an oncologist who can monitor you. To put together a team that are all on the same page. How do you make this happen? First, believe that doc is out there. I assure you they are. I found them but it took some time and determination. And if one does not appear right away, enroll your present oncologist into supporting you. This can be a great lesson in of itself. It starts with not judging them and knowing they are doing the best they can and their perspective comes out of a long educational process that had no opening for other ways of healing. If you have no judgment of them, it will help them have no judgment of you. Remember the rule—what you feel inside will be reflected back to you.
Be patient with this process and keep centered. If you can bring a friend along on your doctor visits this can be very supportive to not getting reactive or giving anyone an opening to try and talk you out of your decsions. And this will happen—so be prepared.

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