So I am aware, very aware, that I’m at the phase now of, “Ok, good, it’s gone. Treatment has been very successful. Now how do I keep it away?” How do I stay cancer-free and in remission?
I’m referring back to Dr. Kelly Turner’s Radical Remission, and Dr. Lissa Rankin’s Mind Over Medicine, and Dr. Nasha Winter’s & Jess Higgins Kelley’s The Metabolic Approach to Cancer and their company Remission Nutrition. There are many big lifestyle changes that can drastically improve a person’s chance of survival long-term. Or as Dr. West said at our last appointment, “It is very possible at this point to consider ovarian cancer as a manageable chronic illness.” (This may not be a perfect direct quote but basically that is what she said.)
In any case, I need to continue growing my health game, and not let myself backslide in any way. Grant said to someone recently that the worst thing for me is that I’m just going to have to be healthy for the rest of my life. That’s not so bad, is it?
As they state in The Metabolic Approach to Cancer,
Dr. Nasha’s personal cancer experience began over twenty years ago when a diagnosis of stage IV ovarian cancer veered her away from pursuing a conventional medical degree and toward the study of naturopathic medicine. To treat her own cancer she used an integrative approach fortified by a traditional whole food diet and environmental adaptations. Using “alternative medicine” is the reason Dr. Nasha not only remains a cancer thriver today, but is healthier and more vital than before her cancer diagnosis. (Winters, Nasha. The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies (Kindle Locations 378-382). Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.)
So, she will be one of my models in this.
I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m 99% cancer free at the moment. Maybe more than the average person, as the average person has cancer cells going on at any moment in time. In any case, my goal is to help my Body-Mind-Soul to be as healthy as possible, capable of dealing with any cancer cells, and really, more to the point, supporting the body well enough that cancer cells don’t happen at all.
My friend Tim recently asked me what kind of terminology felt good to me about my role in this dance with cancer. “Warrior” maybe? And I have struggled with that term, because I don’t really want to be at war with my body. Something about how I was managing my body poorly caused it to finally wear down into a state of cancer growing, and/or the inability to stop the overgrowth.
Maybe it’s my IFS Therapy training that causes me to want to be careful of pathologizing any “parts” of my system, as all parts are welcome, and all parts have a positive intention. They move into extreme roles when under duress. Maybe that is true of body parts, too.
One of the resources we have accessed in this journey is Dr. Charles Majors, and his book, The Cancer Killers. (Well there that is again. “Killer.”) In his book and videos he discussed how cancer is really a symptom, an adaptation.
It’s become obvious to some researchers that much of the prevalence of this pernicious disease is largely the result of a normal, adaptive survival response by these cells to the toxic world both outside and inside our bodies that we expose them to. (Majors, Lerner, & Ji. The Cancer Killers: The Cause is the Cure, Maximized Living, Orlando, Florida. 2012. p. 31)
So I don’t want to fight it, I want to heal it. For that reason I appreciate Dr. Nasha’s term: Cancer Thriver.
This has now become a marathon, a practice of endurance, for me. The emergency is over. But the wellness must continue.