Western education 2013

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

....... today is world cancer day......

...... and I'm sitting on the fence as to how I feel about today....

.... and only because we are still having to recognize a world cancer day.  In today's paper it clearly says that to prevent cancer you should eat well, exercise and donate?? to the cause.  I understand the first two all too clearly after having my eyes opened wide in the past 2 months of dietary research, but donate?? 

For those of you who know me, you know that I do not support the 'buy pink' movement that has created greedy business models of selling pink items to raise money for the cause.  In fact the majority of that money just ends up lining the pockets of manufacturers and most notably any organization selling them to support themselves.  A fraction of a fraction of the proceeds MAY get where they are supposed to.  Read the small print on the packaging if you don't believe me as to how little actually gets donated.  I will often encourage those wishing to donate to please donate directly to research and forgo the middle man.  Unfortunately, most people want something in return for the money they spend or they believe that by buying pink products that they are somehow helping out.

I have metastatic cancer.  With all the technology, surgery, chemo (after two diagnosis) and radiation I have been on, you would think that I would have improved my chances of living a long and uneventful life.....after all, billions of dollars have gone towards 'finding a cure'.  It is a business that employs thousands of people.... from the clinics to the pharmaceuticals and beyond.  It's BIG business and I am just one small statistic - a mom with metastatic triple negative breast cancer trying to improve my own odds - not by researching my cancer (that is scary and depressing) but by researching and investigating what I can do to support my immune system to allow it to do the job it was designed to do.

I am not against western medicine and the advances it has made but I am often perplexed at how they address just the cancer itself.  There is no push to create a better diet or exercise regime to support the body fighting the disease, only the poison administered on a regular basis that depresses and destroys the immune system, healthy cells and only a fraction of the cancer cells.  I said fraction.  Not all cells are erradicated hence the reason for a high return in cancers in a metastatic form such as mine.  The chemo they use is just to keep the cancer in check because they know it will not eradicate it.... its called 'buying time' and for some patients, this purchase comes as a high price.  Statistics are a science unto itself and the numbers can be crunched and massaged to reflect a more supportive data.  The radiation trial I was on would note somewhere that in my case, I failed to remain cancer free.   The up side.... I was 3 years out when I was re-diagnosed.  Uh, what about the fact that the cancer is the exact same DNA?  That information alone would mean that the radiation was ineffective and the chemo managed to kill most but not all of the cancerous cells and was agressive enough to migrate to areas it was not in previous to this.  So what are my chances?  What will be my prognosis next week once all the information is in?  We already know that the chemo will just reduce it and according to what I have read... eventually even that will not prevent the inevitable spread.... only increase the time it takes. This is 2014. 

I think it is a difficult choice faced by a patient to say one day...."listen, I've decided that chemo is just not for me, got alternatives?"  The fear here is always one of - If I say no today and then change my mind later, will they still treat me or put me at the back of the line?  Will it be too late?  What if I choose holistic measures and that just isn't working either?  What if my doctor doesn't support my bid to go with a mixed approach?  Would they be willing to continue care if it is not completely under their mandate of chemo/radiation regime?  What if the illness has progressed to the point where pallative care is required and they want to use chemo to reduce symptoms?  Is there quality of life in dying whle on chemo?  Does this drag out your final days?  I remember reading a blog from a woman, who, right to her last breath was still trying out different cocktails on what might finally work.  I have seen pictures of healthy looking women succumb to the disease while on chemo... they look like they are in a concentration camp.  The patient rolled past me a few weeks ago in a gurney while I was in the cancer clinic had that same pallour and vacant stare as they made their way back up to the pallative care unit on the 7th floor.  I'll be honest.... that part truly scares the heck out of me.  You can look in their face and imagine yours in their place and shake off that feeling as you walk away.  What is the right choice for you?  Only you can answer that.  Me, I am still sitting on the fence and being pro-active while doing so.  There is a lot to be said about a system that has survived virtually unchanged in their approach in 30 years.....

We are each different from the next - a walking chemistry set dictated by genetics, where you live, what you eat and how you  live.  So how is it that my cancer is treated the same way as most breast cancers when I have a triple negative cancer?  There are no receptors in my cancer that we can effectively bait.... but wait.... there was a scientist who discovered that cancer has insulin receptors that attract sugar in order to feed itself.... those trials are years away, if at all - using chemo baited sugar. Knowing this, I have eradicated processed foods and refined sugars from my diet. 

I am learning that there are a few of my relatives that have cancer.  Am I more suseptable?  If I knew cancer ran through my family, would I have ever smoked?  Eaten junkfood?  Drank like an idiot when I was young and invincible?  Worked amongst transmitters for the past 30 years?  Was there something I could have done differently?  My mother had a lump in her breast years ago but did not do a follow up.  Instead she just continued to eat properly and keep active.  She is still alive at almost 81.  When I asked her why she did not do the follow up she merely replied that she didn't believe it was a problem. The lump eventually went away.  My eldest sister claims she cured her own cancer after becoming a holistic healer but was quick to point out how stupid I was not to not want to place my life in her hands.... I think most healers would understand that a patient should consider all choices and frankly the stress she causes me could have helped to grow it over the past 2 years of constant emotional and mental harrassment from her.  Of all my extensive research on holistic healing, I have yet to find my sister's name on any list... which is likely why I went with western medicine.  All her tinctures couldn't stop our father's steady decline into full-blown Alzheimer's or our Mother's dementia.  The lists of things to take were extensive, expensive and made little sense to me.... because I was still eating the Western diet of fast food and other sugary treats. 

For me, it required a complete re-think of what I felt I needed to do to help me.  I work in a field of logical thought and problem solving.  I have learned to diagnose equipment merely by asking a number of questions.  
What should my body be doing that it currently is not doing?
My body should know when there is a virus, bacteria or cancer invading and be able to call upon the immune system to work at erradicating the invader.  With cancer that is detectable through CT scans and chronic sinusitus, I assume that the immune system is either not functioning or is unable to recognize the invader.  Why not?

How do we address the immune system when it is not functioning properly?
Through research and documentation of responses to changes introduced into the body.  Through food, document how you feel after eating?  Are you tired or energized?  Look at your skin.  Are you excreting urine and bowels properly?  Do you have aches, pains, bumps, lumps?  Are you on medications?  Are you overweight?

What measures are you taking to support your immune system?
What are you eating?  When is the last time you ate a raw vegetable?  What is in your fridge? What is in your cupboards?  Do you eat a lot of mucous producing milk products?  How often do you eat out? Do you eat refined sugar found in cakes, sweets, lattes etc?  Do you reach for pain pills for mild to moderate headache and pain?  Have you done a full cleanse?  Have you ever done a fast? Do you take fiber?  Do you walk every day?  Do you laugh or sing daily?  Do you get enough sleep?

Keeping track.
Keep a log of everything you do and how you are feeling that day.  This will let you know if you are on the right track to feeling good.  Be honest and write down everything!!!  You will be surprised at the end of the day how much goes into your mouth.  Write down your exercise program.  Start by measuring and weighing yourself..... your clothes are a much better guide to how you are doing. 

Where to start?
See your doctor and ask them to give you a physical so that you know what your starting base line is.  Have your blood sugar, hormones and general health tested. Have a list of questions ready so you do not forget what you wanted to ask.  Weigh and measure yourself.  Write it down into a log book and state what your goals are.  Take pictures of yourself wearing your bathingsuit from the front and side.  (I have pics from the summer and boy do I look way better today, only 6 months later).  Write down any and all symptoms you have including your sleep patterns ie do I get up multiple times to urinate or I toss and turn).  
Create a routine
Create a predictable routine for getting up and going to bed.  Ensure you start your day with a meal and try to reduce your caffeine intake.  After meals, write down if you are tired or energized?  
So what do I eat/drink?
Look for food only on the outside aisles of the grocery store....stay away from the packaged goods in the middle of the store.  Buy fresh and eat as fresh as possible - choose organic when you can.  Find a good butcher who sells grain fed, hormone and antibiotic free animals... check your local directory.  Drink fresh squeezed (not bottled) lemons into your filtered (not bottled) water every morning.  Check your PH level often to know if you are heading towards a healthy PH of 7.5.  Cancer and other illnesses love acidic bodies and sugar.  Do not eat out and if you do, try to stay as close to fresh - salad with no dressing or extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar and meat without breading.  Reduce the amount of meat you eat.  No pop or sugar free products (there is a link for other diseases).  Try to drink pure water.... fluoride and chlorine in your drinking water are not good. Use natural products on your skin.... your skin is the biggest organ and will absorb what you put on it.  I do not use underarm deodorant from the drugstore or shampoos (I purchase from HeavenScent).  Hair dyes should not touch your scalp so instead do foil wraps if you need to colour (I no longer color my hair or put on acrylic nails).
I use Barley Life (my site to order: every morning and order it through my own company as well as their brand of fiber.  Juice your veggies for a boost in your day or eat a fresh piece of fruit or vegetable.  'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead' filmaker Joe Cross can step you through proper eating on his website:

I am doing all the above and with the recent release of Joe Cross's film, I am now eagerly anticipating the arrival of my new juicer.  We all needed to hear this information and for many of you, it has come at just the right time.  I will leave you with a few pics of my newly seeded indoor greenhouse and the potatoes we purchased that do not have bud nip on them.

Here is my indoor green house which has a number of veggies that will take a few weeks to sprout.  I will keep uploading pictures as we go!!  We as a family are making these necessary changes and we encourage you to just start today... it is never too late.

I love that these potatoes are showing their eyes!!!  As my friend Pat Williams tells me "keep them in the dark for a few weeks and they should sprout eyes".  Pull the eyes off and cook with the healthy skins on!!

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