Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Good Cancer



The Good CancerToday I have a wonderful guest post from Cortney of Green Drink Diaries. I first discovered Cortney when she shared her 14 day cleanse with me. I unfortunately couldn't do the cleanse at the time due to breast-feeding but it opened the window to Cortney's story. This woman is amazing and today she is sharing part of her story with us!


"The Good Cancer" 

In 2008 I was diagnosed with a rare, slow progressing form of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I had a good prognosis- Stage II- cancer on both sides of my body with one lemon-sized cancerous lymph node removed for biopsy. We should have been relieved- Hodgkin's Lymphoma had one of the highest success rates with chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Some had the nerve to say- "Well at least that's the good cancer to have." 

My husband and I remember intensely listening to the nurse while he told us about all of the side effects the chemotherapy would cause. 

"You may have some nausea, but we have drugs to help with that...and anxiety and depression, but we have some drugs to counter the feelings of sadness and anxiousness, and hair loss will occur but we have wonderful wig shop...and infertility and early onset menopause occurs in a percentage of patients but we will refer you to a fertility clinic before you begin treatment..." 

"Wait, I'm sorry," I interrupted. "Infertility? What exactly ARE the infertility rates?" 

The nurse answered, "Depending on the study, age of the patient and overall health, anywhere from 30-70% for female patients in going into early menopause. Egg quality can also be impacted which is why we suggest a pill that functions by basically shutting the ovaries down during the chemotherapy process." 

My husband and I glanced at each other for a moment. We had only been married for 3 months and wanted more than anything to have children. This cancer thing was changing everything. 

"The Chemo Room" 

The nurse broke the silence, asking us if we wanted to finish up with a tour of the chemotherapy room. He pointed out the lovely view of Atlanta and the cushy chairs and personal TV's. All I noticed were the people. They looked ill, hooked up to IV's and many of them sleeping with scarves or hats on their heads. I imagined myself there with my husband, Kevin by my side. 

We began our drive home in silence. 

Kevin started THE conversation. "It just doesn't feel right." 

"It's cancer...and chemotherapy- it's not supposed to feel right." I responded. 

We agreed that NOTHING 'feels' right about treating cancer, nonetheless HAVING cancer in the first place. 

Our Holistic Cancer Journey Begins 

That night my husband began exploring what would be our healing journey over the next 3 years. He began searching on the internet for people who had beaten their cancer without chemotherapy or radiation. 

Stories of authentic survivors who used alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation were difficult to find, but once you found them you saw and heard an intensity in their belief that was legitimate. THEY REALLY BELIEVED ALTERNATIVE CANCER THERAPIES WORKED. 

Initially I was extremely opposed to my husband's idea. Why would doctors continue to prescribe chemotherapy and radiation exclusively if these nutritional protocols worked? It sounded completely bogus. AND there were people on the web selling books, claiming to have cured their cancer with nutrition, but with no specific details to help elaborate their claims. It seemed too risky to me, but then so did the chemotherapy. 

I had to do some research on my own. I just wanted this cancer "out of me"...but I also didn't want to risk my fertility. 

I started by reading a book my husband had ordered called "Cancer-Free: Your Guide to Gentle, Non-Toxic Healing" by Bill Henderson. Bill had begun to investigate alternative cancer protocols after he lost his wife to cancer. He specifically hated the effects of the cancer treatment. 

His voice rang out to me. When I read, I still had moments of doubt and skepticism, but his voice seemed to penetrate through that. He helped educate the cancer "patient" about how cancer develops, spreads and how his protocol fights it. I decided to give the "alternative" treatment a 3 month trial and after the first month gained approval from my oncologist that he would monitor me throughout my healing. 

"Lemonade From Lemons" 

After 8 months of intense dietary overhaul, supplements, detoxification procedures, and prayer I was in remission from my cancer and almost 3 years later am still cancer free. The "unproven" holistic cancer protocol worked for me. 

The ironic part? Shortly before my remission I found out I was pregnant. I delivered a healthy baby girl who is now 22 months old and is THRIVING just like her mom.

My cancer diagnosis and treatment changed everything about what my family believes regarding human health. We use very few products that contain chemicals or are made artificially. I try to home-make some of our hygiene products such as shampoo and deodorant. We don't use pharmaceuticals for anything unless an emergency occurs and I am becoming much more knowledgeable about natural remedies. We also try to eat mostly organic and as raw and vegan as possible. 

It's also important to remember to practice balance. There are times that you won't be 100% natural and that's OK. The mental beat-down from extremism can cause more bodily stress reaction than eating a non-organic potato chip. 

You can read a much more detailed version of Cortney's story on her blog, Green Drink Diaries where she writes weekly about holistic cancer therapies, natural health, green smoothies, and other great family-friendly recipes and tips. 

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