I’ve been avoiding writing about what treatments I’m doing. On the whole people are quite tender when you bare your soul, but mention what you’re putting in your body and they get all self-righteous and judgmental. Well, that’s been my experience at least.
In cancer care there are the advocates of conventional, scientifically proven Western medicine – the ‘cut it, burn it, poison it’ brigade who are wary of anything outside this context and recommend a ‘balanced diet’ when pushed for complementary strategies. Then there are the advocates of alternative natural remedies who berate the ‘harmful, toxic’ synthetic treatments recommended by my medical physicians.
I find myself teetering between these worlds, hesitant to tell any of my practitioners everything I am doing, and choosing my shots in each conversation in order to duck the download of cautionary advise that comes my way if I mention too much about what I’m really up to. This is tricky for an open book like me, but definitely conserves my precious energy while I navigate my way through various healing paradigms.
My UK medical team is exceptional, including my GP who has gone way beyond the call of duty in his support since I was diagnosed. I am fortunate to be in the best possible hands and grateful for all they are doing to keep me alive. At the same time I believe that complementary treatments are also making a difference and I am determined to integrate these with orthodox protocols to maximum effect.
I wish these worlds would collaborate instead of being so positioned against each other. My life is on the line so I’m not taking sides. I want to combine the best of what’s on offer, not choose between them. Or as my marvellous non-positioned acupuncturist put it:
“You have terrorists in your house Sophie. The chemo and radiation are the SAS – here to take ‘em out. The rest of us are taking care of the citizens, the land and the building structure, which are so often destroyed by conventional treatments. It’s the best kind of teamwork.”
I loved that. It helped me merge these methods in my own mind and I have embraced all of them gratefully. There is a lot out there, including conflicting advise that can leave you spinning. Cooked food or raw food? No sugar or natural sugar? This supplement or that supplement? You need to be savvy. Do your own research. Follow your own intuition. Become your own best physician because no one will have your back like you do. Take charge!
I am blessed. Five months ago I was given very limited options for treatment. Now, with the help of a fundraising team and the power of providence, I have pulled together a team of amazing practitioners who are doing what they can to save or prolong my life, among them some highly experienced medical physicians who specialise in treating cancer.
That said, I can’t even get the doctors to collaborate or talk to each other about how their various prescriptions interact. Most want me to do it their way rather than find out about other ways. The exception being Dr Dana Flavin who would collaborate with any and all of them if they were willing to do the same. She’s all about the patient and couldn’t give a hoot about who else is on my team, as long as they’re doing me good.
I am not making specific recommendations to anyone. I am my own guinea pig in many ways and, in the unlikely event that I ever go into remission, we will never know which of all these treatments made the ultimate difference. I am just doing what makes sense to me, what makes me feel better and what empowers me to look to tomorrow knowing I did something proactive today.