Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer
My Mom's Holistic Journey Through Breast Cancer
I apologize in advance if you do not agree with any of the information, these are my personal opinions. I can't make any guarantees; I only describe what has worked for my mom. I truly believe in natural therapies, either used by themselves or in conjunction with conventional medical treatments, may support the body in the healing process.
About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. develop breast cancer.
Women get diagnosed and think, "My life is over. What do I do now? Where do I start? How do I continue living like this?" I am here to answer all of those questions and help you turn your negative circumstances into a positive, self-loving journey.
First, breathe. You are going to be okay. This is just a chapter being written in your book of life. You are where you're supposed to be. You're probably wondering, why me? Well because God chose you! He gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.
I spent most of summer 2016 traveling throughout the Philippines with my dad and when I returned in August, I came home to some shocking news that my mom had been diagnosed while I was away. It felt like my whole world came crumbling down. At that moment, I had an epiphany. There was something more to this. I looked at her and told her there is something more to this. Cancer does not run in our family, she overall eats healthy, and she exercises regularly. I wanted to dig deeper and find out where this cancer came from and how she developed it. I took a mind, body, spirit approach and started doing my research and speaking with holistic healers. This was my mom's opportunity to have a personal revolution.
I found what I was looking for after discovering Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer, a German doctor who developed testicular cancer after his 17-year-old son was murdered. He was mind blown and noticed that this was no coincidence. He started doing research on the history of his past cancer patients to see whether they had suffered some shock, trauma, or distress before their illness.
Inescapable shock is phase one of cancer. This occurs approximately 18-24 months prior to the diagnosis of cancer. The individual experiences a psycho-emotional trauma, which affects their sleep and the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the primary hormone responsible for inhibiting cancer cell growth. Prolonged chronic stress decreases your amount of melatonin, which affects your sleeping patterns, resulting in cancer cells being able to thrive. As discovered by Dr. Hamer, every type of cancer has a different specific psycho-emotional cause. In other words, the emotional cause of the left breast is different to that of the right breast and so on. After reading this research, we came to a realization that this applied to my mom's journey. My mom filed for divorce months prior to her diagnosis and the divorce was final May 31, 2016. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer July 8, 2016. The accumulation of stress over the years and the significant loss in her life is what we believe triggered her cancer. No one is to blame; it is inevitable when something so shocking and sudden happens. Suppressed negative emotions (anger, resentment, grief, hate) fuel cancer at the cellular level. Finding a way to remove these toxic emotions is critical to long term cancer recovery.
With that being said, we accepted it and began her journey.
With me being into holistic health, a light bulb went off in my head that my mom's journey was going to be different. Her and I were going to take an alternative approach and I'm so grateful she was open minded in trying all of my ideas. At first, I begged her not to do chemotherapy. The doctors told her that the cancer would spread throughout her body if she didn't do chemotherapy. After much thought, she decided she was going to do chemotherapy using holistic remedies on the side. I was happy and accepting with her decision, this is her personal journey after all. Follow along as I write about what has helped my mom throughout her journey and what can hopefully help you, a family member, or a friend.
No matter which illness or disease, we can choose to accept it, to look at what our body shows us and to heal deeply. Take one day at a time.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions. Acupuncture has been used for about 200 years in the United States. Research suggests that the therapy can benefit cancer patients. It has been shown that acupuncture reduces nausea and vomiting after surgery or chemotherapy. In addition, research has shown that it can relieve pain, possibly by triggering the body's pain-killing chemicals. It can also help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and hot flashes. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to relieve some of the most horrible side effects of traditional cancer treatments. It is not a “cure” but a way to manage the symptoms. It is a holistic, safe option.
Diet. Over time I have come to believe that understanding food is essential. It's hard to comprehend that for so long I was unaware of the nutritional value of the food we were consuming. Something we participate in, three times a day, is so ignorantly practiced. I cannot fathom how important your diet is. That is one of the first things you should examine when diagnosed with any illness. I was already aware of the vegan lifestyle so I passed the information along to my mom and let her decide what she was going to do with her diet. I truly believe that your health is your wealth, especially when you have cancer. It is so important to watch what you're putting into your body. If you're a cancer patient that is eating McDonald's, drinking soda, and smoking cigarettes, you're only doing harm to your body.
First, cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment. Acidic foods include meats (especially red meat), sugar, grains, certain dairy products, processed food, soda, and fish.
Cancer cells cannot survive in alkalinity so the best decision is changing to an alkaline diet. Taking action to make your body more alkaline is vital in the battle against cancer. Alkaline foods include whole fruits and vegetables. Drinking alkaline water, which has a higher pH level, is also a bonus.
Chlorella is also super healthy for you! Chlorella is a great source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Chlorella's high levels of chlorophyll have been shown to protect the body against ultraviolet radiation treatments while removing radioactive particles from the body. It also strengthens your immune system. Chlorella comes in different forms. You can simply take a tablet of it or get it in powder form and make smoothies or cook delicious foods with it!
After learning these things, my mom eliminated a lot of sugary foods, processed food, meat, milk, yogurt, and soda out of her diet. Put the right foods into your body while you're undergoing chemotherapy, it is the least you could do for your health.
Meditation. Let’s begin by acknowledging that millions of people have used meditation for general health and mental health benefits for thousands of years. Meditation will change your journey from a negative one to a positive one. This practice can alter the cellular activity of cancer patients. There are many different types of meditation; it is just finding one that works for you. Regular meditation can give clarity, insight, and peace of mind, which may improve your wellbeing and health. You do not have to be religious to meditate. If you just have a little patience and give it time, anyone can learn to meditate. It is a very modern and popular type of complementary therapy. Meditation can reduce anxiety, stress, pain, difficulty sleeping, slows down aging, and increases your happiness. Through present moment, non-judgmental awareness, the body and mind can access internal healing resources and deep compassion. The benefits are endless. All you need is a quiet place away from distractions to quiet your mind. You can sit or lie quietly. It is important to make sure that you feel comfortable but in a position that slows you to be aware and paying attention. The amount of time is your choice. You may find it a little difficult if you’re new to meditation but if you try it daily, you will find it gets easier and gradually you will become less stressed. Regular practice is key.
A controlled study published in 2000 looked at 90 cancer patients who did mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) meditation for 7 weeks. They found that people who meditated had 31% lower stress symptoms and 67% less mood disturbance than people who did not meditate (Cancer Research UK).
I truly hope that the practice of mediation might one day become a regular clinical treatment that doctors will integrate into the overall care of patients. If you are interested in exploring mediation, there are many resources and tips which you can take advantage of. Simply do some research online, get a book, or find a meditation teacher to help you get started. Happy meditating!
Journal. Sometimes it is hard to find time to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. I gave my mom the idea to journal because I journal myself daily and it has helped my life change in a positive way. I have more of a grateful heart, my goals are clearer, and I feel I can express whatever is on my mind. When you write down your thoughts, you give yourself an opportunity to work out your feelings, which may help you relax and find reasons to be happier and more hopeful about the future. It is also nice to write down experiences of your journey along the way. Research shows that taking as little as 20 minutes a day for 3 months, to write, will produce long lasting benefits to your physical and emotional health. Find a quiet space and journal your heart out. By putting your thoughts and feelings into words, you will not only be able to better cope with your experiences, but you will also be able to look back at your journey and see just how far you've come.
Reading. As soon as my mom was diagnosed, I went and bought her two books. I love reading so I thought why not grab her some books that could potentially help her. I bought Congratulations, You Have Cancer by Leslie Bishop and Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do by Greg Anderson. Both books give you a different, empowering outlook on cancer. Reading stimulates your mind, reduces stress, expands your knowledge, improves your focus, and brings tranquility. I highly encourage reading inspiring books!
Essential Oils. Lavender and tea tree oil were two of the most used oils in my mom’s journey. We did a couple things with the lavender oil. First, rub 2-3 drops in your cupped palms, and then use the inhalation method to draw the scent all the way into your brain to calm your mind. Second, put the lavender oil in a diffuser and let it diffuse all night while sleeping. It is a very calming oil that helps you relax and sleep better. Also, did you know lavender is anti-tumoral oil? It has phytochemicals that inhibit cell growth. Lavender is one of my favorite essential oils! Besides all the positive benefits, it smells absolutely amazing.
My mom also used tea tree oil many, many times. During chemotherapy, you may notice some changes in your finger and toenails. The nails may looked bruised and have a dark, black color near the beds and nails also may become thin or brittle. Tea tree oil has tremendous anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties. Furthermore, tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic that can remedy discolored nails and prevent fungus, in addition to repairing and strengthening damaged nails. My mom put a few drops on her nails and rubbed it in a couple times a week to keep her nails healthy and strong. Nails contain a lot of sulfur, and another way to strengthen them is to eat foods that are also high in sulfur – like broccoli, onions, and garlic. The sulfur in these foods will not only help to repair nails but will give them added shine.
Positive Affirmations. Positive affirmations are so important during your journey. If you start your path with thoughts like “I will never get better, why me, I am going to be so sick, I’m depressed” then you will create that reality. Positive affirmations trick your subconscious mind into believing your words. You must believe it to receive it. Most people are very critical and don’t use kind words when talking about themselves. If we’d like to see real change in our life, we must learn to re-program our thoughts and keep them positive. “I am” is one of the most powerful statements we can make. Whatever follows “I am” starts the creation of it. We have the power of choice. Once we are aware of this power, we can take action to break the cycle and replace those limiting beliefs we have about ourselves. It will only be tough if you let it. You must make it a habit every day if you want to re-train your brain.
When my mom first got diagnosed, the first thing I did was write positive affirmations on sticky notes and hung them on her bedroom mirror so she could see them daily.
I wrote things such as “I am healthy, I am conquering my illness, I am strong, I will become free of breast cancer, I am here for a reason, I am surrounded by love, I am beautiful, I accept myself the way I am” and many more. She was reminded of these every single day and it kept her in a state of gratitude. Affirmations can help to inspire real blessings. As Buddha said, "What we think, we become."
Go Into Nature. Research shows that being in nature has real health benefits. Even a five minute walk may improve health. The sun supplies us with the best source of vitamin D. Getting enough sunlight has also been linked with the prevention of diabetes, auto immune disorders, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. While were breathing in fresh air, we breathe in phytoncides, airborne chemicals that plants give off to protect themselves from bugs. Phytoncides have anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities which help plants fight off diseases. When people breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell. These white blood cells kill virus-infected cells in our bodies. Studies show that being in nature reduces blood pressure as well as the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Spending time in nature, looking at plants, birds, water and other aspects of nature gives the cognitive portion of our brain a break, allowing us to focus better and renew our ability to be patient. Patients also recover from surgeries faster when they have a nature view. Think of it as a prescription with no negative side effects that's also free. Get outside!
Support Groups. Having support during your journey is crucial. My mom attended cancer support groups, church groups, and met a lot of other breast cancer patients going through the same thing. You are not alone in this. You need people you can turn to for strength and comfort. The cancer journey can feel lonely at times but don’t feel like you have to deal with everything on your own. Patients who have strong social supports like good friends and family, tend to cope much better. My mom has made new lifelong friends through her cancer journey. It is an amazing feeling to be held in true love by the people around you.
Cannabis. Cannabis is a healing plant we are given from Mother Nature. How many people have died from marijuana? Zero. Marijuana is one of the best herbs on the planet that has been used for thousands of years. A Harvard study from 2007 finds cannabis cuts tumor growth in half in as little as three weeks. In addition to treating the disease of breast cancer by inhibiting the ability of cancer cells to spread, cannabis has many other benefits for cancer patients. It helps with anxiety, sleep, appetite, nausea, vomiting, and pain. The list actually goes on but I thought I would share the main ones.
After extensive research, I came to the conclusion it was best if my mom used cannabis and CBD oil. So I got brownies infused with cannabis and CBD oil.
What is CBD oil? Cannabidiol oil is a natural, non-psychoactive concentrate extracted from hemp. CBD doesn’t get you high like THC does. THC causes euphoria by binding to special CB1 and CB2 nerve receptors in the brain. CBD does not bind to these receptors, so cannabidiol does not get you stoned. CBD and THC can work together with the body’s endocannabinoid system to induce cancer cell death, inhibit cell growth, and prevent the spread of cancer cells. Another pathway for CBD to effect cancer cell death is the Caspase Cascade, which breaks down proteins and peptides in the cell. When this happens the cell cannot survive. Again, these processes are specific to cancer cells, no normal cells are affected. CBD oil is 100% safe to use during chemotherapy or radiation. CBD has anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, and anti-oxidant properties.
My mom put 2 drops of Plus +CBDoil in her mouth daily. You can purchase directly through them here: https://pluscbdoil.com/
Deodorant. Have you looked at the ingredients in your deodorant that you use daily? It is important to realize what you are putting on your skin. A few studies in recent years have theorized that aluminum-based antiperspirants may increase the risk for breast cancer. Your sweat glands in your armpits release toxins when you sweat to keep your body cooled off. If you are using some type of toxic deodorant to clog the pores, that causes the toxins to then become trapped. Where do they get trapped? Your lymph nodes, which are located right under your arms. How do you avoid this? You buy aluminum free deodorant. Any brand that says “aluminum free” on the front will work perfectly.
Although there has been no proven evidence between breast cancer and deodorant, it is better to be safe than sorry. Throw away your un-natural, toxic deodorants and get something that your skin will love.
Exercise. It is important to take care of your body, cancer or not. An increasing number of studies have examined the benefits of exercising during cancer treatment. Physical activity reduces fatigue and can enhance your physical well-being and spur recovery. Exercise is also known to improve cardiovascular function and to protect bones. It gets your endorphins going and elevates mood, offering relief for the feelings of depression that may accompany a cancer diagnosis. Yoga is also an amazing form of exercise. If you are feeling weak and tired, walking is great too. Yoga or walking is better than doing nothing at all. Too much rest can lead to loss of muscle weakness, body function, and reduced range of motion. At least 20 studies of people with breast, colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancer have suggested that physically active cancer survivors have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and improved survival compared with those who are inactive.
Always listen to your body though, don’t exercise if you’re not feeling well. Exercise as you are able to and don’t push yourself too far while you are in treatment. Physical activity and relaxation techniques are great ways to relieve stress. Reducing stress is an important part of getting well and staying well.
I did my homework. I've researched as much as I possibly could. I listened, read, prayed, and most importantly, I believed. I hope this brings a little more insight into your life about breast cancer. Sending my thoughts and love to anyone reading this who has been affected by cancer. Good luck!