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Eating the Right things... natural healing Eating the Right things... natural healing

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Unread 07-31-2003, 03:37 AM
Eating the Right things... natural healing

I am getting more and more interested in a new eating program and more natural healing methods. SirenSong you have mentioned some really interesting things... Right now, with all of the nausea that I'm having, I find that eating watermelon really does help, so there has to be something to it. I think that if this treatment scheme I'm on right now does not work and they want to put me on a new chemo treatment, I will hold off on it and try something more natural. I have to give it a try. Can you suggest some web sites?

I have been really sick with this chemo and radiation. The side affects are really devastating to me and I'm normally a really strong person. Right now, just walking around the block is making me so tired I have to lie down. To me that's ridiculous. I know that many of your ladies are on much harder stuff than I have been on, so I can only think that perhaps I'm just not handling this very well. The burns that I have from radiation are terribly painful and my skin is burned and black and without elasticity. I'm not trying to whine and have a pity party... but I really want to try something else (at least give it a chance) if this regime I'm not does not work. I wont know for another 3 weeks if I'm better or not. So I think that will give me plenty of time to look and study natural alternative. If anyone can suggest some natural things, I would be interested. Obviously, I'm hoping that in 3 weeks I will be here saying I'm cured... but that may not happen, so I'm trying to think ahead.

Tammy, how is the bloodroot working out for you?

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Unread 07-31-2003, 08:08 AM
Eating the Right things... natural healing

Just sending a BIG HUG your way, Maria. Not only is the chemo tough but to add to that the side effects of the radiation at the same time, well, that's a horse of a different color. I know, because I'm doing both the chemo and radiation at the same time, too. I'm finished with the external radiation and I can say that the side effects passed (well, they're still passing) fairly quickly. I've got two internal radiation treatments done with just one left and two more chemo's to go. So my message is: Keep the faith, just do what you can do on a daily basis (no one can expect any more of you) and view this as a positive... that this IS an aggressive treatment but you ARE young enough and strong enough to handle it. One day you'll get to a point where you realize that this will be over and you'll be glad that you followed the prescribed treatment. I know in my case, too, that I'm glad to have done both therapies at the same time. It was/is tough but when the last chemo is done, so am I (or rather, I don't have to look at starting up 28 external and 3 internal radiation treatments). I have faith that one day my body will heal and will get back to normal.

Oh, another suggestion for you that helped me: Wash your clothes (especially cotton underwear) with baby formula cleaning solutions. We have something here called Dreft that I've used. Maybe it was psychological, but it did seem to help. All those harsh cleaning agents, bleaches, and fragrances are out.

And I haven't walked around the block in months! I'll just add that to the list of a hundred other things I haven't done in months. No housecleaning, no food shopping, no cooking, you name it. Sometimes I think that I'm a shadow of my former self. I can't tell you just how painfully independent I "normally" am. I NEVER asked for help from anyone. Well, you know what? That's o.k. This is the time when my husband, family and friends have to be there for me. I would be doing the same for them if the tables were turned, wouldn't I? I've got chemo induced anemia and I just started Procrit last week. It's "working" now but I don't think I'll really see the impact for several weeks. So I know that one day, I'll be back walking (and this from a girl who used to walk more than 1 mile to the office each way every day!). And for now, it's o.k. that I don't have near the energy I'm used to.

Keep focusing on the positive, sweetheart. I know the pain is so tough and it's so discouraging. Try not to think in terms of "what if" this doesn't work. It will work. I'll tell you, too, that it was during all the radiation that I really began to feel like a *survivor*.

All that being said, of course, we should all eat better and healthier and adopt a healthy lifestyle. I always thought I did but I guess there's always improvements!

God bless, Maria.
Unread 07-31-2003, 09:30 AM
Marie & Maureenie:

YOur posts were exactly what I needed. Maria, I feel the same way you do. I am so tired of being tired, not having energy, and no desire to really do anything. This is not me. I was so depressed on Tuesday! These were supposed to be my 2 "good weeks" between chemo and instead I have been in pain with my back - which is a muscle strain - and I got something for it yesterday. I know we have to plow through, but I feel so bad. My husband said to me the other night that I have to just "be" with it. That made a lot of sense to me. I can't change it - this is what I am doing to get over this - I have my 3rd chemo next week and then I am halfway done! but that made a lot of sense. Don't fight it, just be with it. It will be over before we know it.
And I do believe our bodies are strong, and yes, ask for help.

Maureenie, I don't know how you are doing it, doing both at once. you are wonderful!

Take care everyone and all my love!
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Unread 07-31-2003, 11:31 AM
Eating the Right things... natural healing

Hi, Maria!

I briefly considered not doing chemo, but after doing some research, it did seem to me that doing chemo and making huge diet/lifestyle changes would give me the best chance. I know that I will have a lot of work to do to rebuild my immune system and undo some of the damage that chemo has done. I need to get my system to a place where it can fend for itself.

I normally have an over-abundance of energy, so I only started feeling tired after my last chemo. It was frustrating to me until my friend reminded me that most people feel tired all through chemo, and I should consider myself lucky that my energy level is so high. I've been walking or doing yoga (just started last week), but today I'm too tired . . . and it's too hot outside. So I'm just trying to listen to my body. I do feel better when I walk, though.

In terms of diet, I might suggest that you continue with the chemo and make some diet changes. I think chemo can do a lot of good, and the fact that I believe in diet as medicine doesn't mean that I don't believe that chemo should be a first-line action against cancer. If your current chemo fails, I might try another one before giving up on chemo entirely. It's up to you -- and I would defer to the judgment of others on this issue.

For books, I recommend "A Cancer Battle Plan" (author last name: Frahm), which focuses primarily on raw foods, detoxification and supplements. I learned a lot from this book. You might also want to read "A Macrobiotic Approach to Cancer" by Michio Kushi. While these two books share some principles, they are very different and they recommend different things. Jocan recommended "A Woman's Guide to Healing from Breast Cancer" by Nan Lu, but I just started reading it . . . and I haven't even gotten to the "diet-related" part yet.

The watermelon and pears recommendation actually also came from Jochan.

Interestingly, there is a chart in the Macrobiotic book that relates a country's incidence of cancer to that country's level of fat consumption. The US is No. 5, but Denmark, the Netherlands and another Scandanavian country are in the top few. I think the UK is also ahead of us. The Asian countries -- whose diets tend to minimize fats and animal-based products -- are at the bottom of the chart, as they have the lowest incidence of cancer.

From all my reading, I've noticed that the following concepts tend to pop up the most frequently:

1. Get rid of dairy products and meat. Lean towards fish. You can still get enough protein from vegetable sources even without dairy and meat. If you eat lean meats, like chicken, get the hormone-free kind. If I use cheese, I'm doing the soy cheese thing.

2. Sugar is a cancer feeder. Use sparingly. (I used to eat lots of sugar every day. Now I might have sugar once a week.)

3. Processed foods are bad. Try to eat things from the earth in their most simple form. A baked potato. Broccoli. Steamed fish. Etc. Avoid hydrogenated oils of all kinds. (Most cookies and crakers have them, so read your labels.) I keep reading that things like almonds, miso soup, oatmeal, Japanese sea vegetables, etc., are "helpful."

4. Raw foods and juicing help oxygenate your system. Cancer cannot grow in an oxygenated system. Vegetable juices are more important than fruit juices. Also, juices should be made at home with a juicer, since the most important enzymes die within 15-30 minutes of juicing. The store-bought brands won't do the same thing.

5. The liver is central to health. This gets stated in book after book. So maintaining liver function is important. Systemic enzymes and raw foods can help. There are liver detoxes that you can do (probably not while you're going through chemo or radiation). A common one involved three tablespoons of olive oil and twice as much lemon or grapefruit juice. Sounds yucky, but it's supposed to be good. My masseuse has been doing the lemon-version detox for a month (and she refuses to eat sugar). Her mom died of ovaca.

6. There are a lot of supplements that can help your body recover from chemo and help prevent cancer. I'm not allowed to take many of them during chemo, but I'll start up with a full program once chemo concludes. You can search on my name on this board for a huge list that my nutritionist recommended. The ones whose names seem to pop up the most are:
-- Maitake mushroom with D fraction (Grifron brand)
-- Essiac tea (Flor-Essence brand, or find an herbalist and brew your own)
-- Milk thistle (helps protect your liver during chemo)
-- Vitamins C and E -- big doses are apparently very helpful (though I can't take either until chemo stops)
-- Systemic/digestive enzymes (I'm taking MegaZyme, but there are probably plenty of brands that are good)
-- IP6 -- helps move dead cells out of the body, helps protect the heart
-- Selenium (particularly in combination with Vitamin E)
-- Quercitin (nutritionist says that this has been shown to be helpful in dealing with ovarian cancer)

7. Exercise is really important. Qigong gets mentioned a lot, as does walking. I have fewer hot flashes when I've walked in the morning. (Today, I'm all suited up . . . but I walked outside and came back in . . . because it's just blazingly hot out.)

8. Meditation / prayer / visualization really does help. I have trouble quieting my mind sometimes, though.

9. Reduce your weight. Fat is bad. I started at 168 and am now at 146 or so. I am 5'9". I would like to get my weight closer to 140 or 135. Not for appearance (though that is a bonus), but for health.

Finally, it takes a leap of faith to be proactive in your own care. It also takes a leap of faith to have confidence that doctors only know so much. Their training covers certain things, period. A Western doctor will not be fluent in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has a lot to offer. Also, it is the rare doctor who knows anything about diet or herbs. I have had two doctors say that diet has no effect on anything. But I have read many things to the contrary.

I'm trying to take the "best" from what I read and what doctors tell me. While Aryuvedic (Indian) medicine brings up some interesting concepts, I'm choosing to pull the ones that resonate with me. In general, if I hear something a few times, I am more interested in working that into my program.

All I can do is try. I think it would do me a disservice to simply have chemo, and continue to have a nice bottle of red wine and a plate of cheese for dinner. I have to be an advocate in my own care, and I have to work at it if I want to stay healthy. In my post to LaurieC yesterday, I mentioned a woman named Donna. Her story inspires me.

I am happy to say that my CA125 remains at <6.3 (or less than 6.3), and has been there for the past three chemos. My doctor says that a CA125 cannot be measured below 6.3, as it's not detectable at that level. I will have to work at it to keep my number there.

I have personally decided to avoid HRT. But I might look into some natural remedies for all these "temperature control" issues.

And lest I forget, I have a lot of faith in God. I ask Him for help all the time.

I hope this helps a little. If not, PM me and I'll try to help in any way that I can.

My last chemo is Monday. My eyes fill with tears when I think about all this year has taught me . . . and how happy I will be to be finished with this phase of my treatment.

s, Maria!
Unread 07-31-2003, 11:40 AM
Eating the Right things... natural healing

Quick note to Maureenie --

Please try walking around the block. Even that little amount of exercise will help. On my super-tired-post-chemo days, I might only get one or two blocks in. But the next day, I can do a little more. Avoid hills, though. I walked up a block that had a slight hill, and I had to sit down because I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

That said, I'm not doing radiation, so that might make you way too tired. Try, though. Just walk down to the end of your block, and then back home. It's very good for the lymphatic system, and for helping your body work more effectively. Also, try some deep breathing while you walk: inhale for four, hold for four, exhale for four, hold for four, etc.

Unread 07-31-2003, 11:58 AM
Eating the Right things... natural healing

Hi Maria,
I agree with Siren's list of dietary and exercise suggestions. I do see an acupuncturist every other week where I not only get treatments, but herbs and dietary advice as well. The only thing she will not allow me is an excess of raw foods, the reason being that I am hypothyroid and too cold, and raw foods dampen my digestive qi (this is according to 5 phase Chinese medicine).

Another excellent book to read is "Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer" by Donnie Yance who is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist. I have an opportunity in a couple of weeks to attend one of his workshops. I will be happy to pass on all I learn.

For your radiation burns - I discovered a wonderful woman who has developed her own line of hand-crafted, natural skin care products. She is a real inspiration to me - she is a former oncology nurse, and a five time melanoma cancer survivor. She developed her skin care in direct response to her own cancer experience and those she cared for. The web site is The products may seem a little pricey, but a little goes a long way and are well worth it. I didn't have radiation, but the chemo made my skin so dry and irritated. I can't say enough good things about her products.

A big to you. Hang in there - you will get through this.
Unread 07-31-2003, 12:59 PM
Eating the Right things... natural healing

Siren, thanks so much for your gentle push. I am amazed at your energy and the amount of exercise you get in. I know I should try to do more and I will. I have to remember that I am putting my energies where I can and I am, for the most part, trying to work an 8 hour day (albeit from home) and for many of those days, I was also commuting to the hospital for daily radiation treatments (about 1 1/2 hours in total back/forth and with therapy). Thank God that's over! Makes me tired just thinking about it again! lol.

My doctor explained to me (when he told me that I was "officially" anemic) that cancer treatment is all about bone marrow suppression. You're right. With the combined impact of chemo and radiation, you can try to fight it, but you're not going to win. Can't wait for Procrit to kick into action. I just know that one day I will (and you will, too, Maria) feel like my old self again.
Unread 07-31-2003, 01:12 PM
Eating the Right things... natural healing

Moonflower --

I am reading a TCM book right now, and the person who recommended it to me told me that it also says to avoid raw food. It's so interesting! One person cured herself with raw diet. Another cured themselves using TCM practices (eating mostly cooked foods). Another found success with a Japanese macrobiotic diet (which is also mostly cooked). There are definitely varying schools of thought! I'm trying to learn as much as I can from all of them. I would love it if you did a big brain dump after your workshop. Also, I may try accupuncture sometime after chemo concludes. Has it been helpful to you? I'm going to buy the book you recommend also. PM me with info about the program you're on. I'm very interested! :-)

Maureenie --

After I typed my note to you, I forced myself to go for a 45-minute walk, even though it is soooo hot outside. I brought a bottle of water with me, and I made it home none the worse for wear. I had to force myself to go, though. :-) I tell myself that if I have time to watch any TV, then I have time to walk. Rest assured: I often have to force myself. It's much easier to just sit. ;-) I always feel better afterwards. I hope you will, too! Even if it's just one block!

Maria --

I hope that soap that Moonflower recommended will help with your radiation burns. Also, I smoked marijuana during my first three chemo treatments to quell the nausea. I have not needed to smoke it for my fourth or fifth treatments. I believe marijuana is legal in the Netherlands. I did learn that if you eat it (baked goods that you can buy from cafes in Holland), it will take 1 or 1-1/2 hours to kick in. If you smoke it, it has an immediate effect on the nausea. (I wasn't able to eat for six days; my sister's ex-boyfriend sent some over, since we were so desperate at that time. It really worked.) I am not a smoker nor a drug user. But marijuana really was the only thing that helped with my nausea for the first few treatments.

Unread 08-01-2003, 12:03 AM
Tried the Marijuana

Hi SirenSong

Thanks for the tip on the marijuana. I'm not a drug user, but did use it here. (you are right, it's very legal and very high quality here) Anyway, after I started having problems a few weeks ago, we went to the shop here and bought it. I only tried it a couple of times, as I got really high from it. (even though I had only 4 inhales of it.) I'm such a baby! lol I want to learn how to eat it... in brownies? I wish there was something I could mix it with, to smoke it. Some sort of natural tobacco, any ideas? Doing it straight is not good. I must say though that smoking does give relief and am all for legalization. It's just finding the right dosage one. I'm wondering, did you mix yours? Smoke it? Ironically I quite smoking cigs back in March of this year, so I don't want to mix it with tobacco.
Unread 08-01-2003, 05:18 PM

I'm so sorry to hear of your side effects. I know I was very tired after radiation, and after chemo also, but both at the same time... whew!!

I too, am starting to look into eating the right things, and am using visualization not only for my pain, but for my healing.

I think the bloodroot is really starting to take effect. If anything, it sure is cleaning out my body, not alot yet, but soon, once I'm on a full strength daily dosage, surely then. If I continue getting good news from my Dr., then I will surely know the bloodroot is working.

I hope you start feeling better Maria, and hopefully, you can jump right in, in the natural healing. It's taking me a little longer to get into the swing of things.

's and ers to you....

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