Thursday, 8 October 2015

Cancer Resources and Stories That Inspire

Cancer is a funny old thing. Most of us sort of assume it’s something people get, and the causes are likely to be a mix of environmental and genetic, and that doctors know best about how to treat it—surgery, drugs/chemotherapy, and radiation. Most folks find a cancer diagnosis pretty scary. But there are some inspirational people out there whose stories may challenge conventional thought. 

Following along from my last blog post about my own experience with radiation following breast cancer surgery, I’d like to share this handful of interesting and inspiring resources:

Dr Lissa Rankin
I’m currently reading Dr Lissa Rankin’s latest book The Fear Cure, in which she examines the role of stress and our response to it as a factor in chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. While stressful events are a moderate predictor of ill health, our individual responses to those stressful events, and our overall view of the world—is it safe or dangerous?—is an even bigger predictor. She includes useful exercises and guidelines for folks who might want to change to a more health-promoting mindset. Lissa’s earlier book Mind Over Medicine is also excellent. And worth sharing is this Facebook post from Lissa on the key recovery factors identified by over 3500 individuals in the Spontaneous Remissions Project—these are all folks who defied prediction and recovered from apparently incurable, terminal conditions including cancer.

The number one most common factor from the Spontaneous Remissions Project is food. In general, a switch to organic foods—mostly fruits and vegetables—with a tight curb on sugar, meat, dairy, and processed foods was identified by many as an essential element for recovery.

Jaxon (from his website)
One Kiwi who has shared his story and enthusiasm for green juices, smoothees, and alternative treatments is Jaxon who, in 2008, at the age of 26 was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He’s still here, and looks amazing! His website A Creeps Guide to Cancer is an inspiration.

In a similar vein, Chris Work, now 36, had surgery for stage 3 bowel cancer twelve years ago. He’s still here today, does an awesome website called Chris Beat Cancer, and he also looks amazing. Like Jaxon, he pushes healthy food hard.

The cover says “Number 1 best-selling book on cancer in the world”—this is Dr David Servan-Schreiber’s Anti-Cancer:A New Way of Life which documents his crusade to change our perception of cancer following his own diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. Observing that we all have cancer cells in our bodies, he wondered why some people develop cancer and others do not. Again, he hits nutrition hard, recognizes the role of stress, and advocates mediation. This is a wonderful personal story of survival and quest with a ton of useful information packed in. Five-star stuff.

One woman’s miracle cancer story is Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani. This is not only a cancer survival story but also an account of a transformational near death experience. Her story is not about food but about self-forgiveness and spiritual awareness. An interesting and inspirational read.

Donna Eden’s wonderful book Energy Medicine is not about cancer or any other diseases, but about being healthy and joyous through understanding and nurturing the lines and patterns and sources of energy within and around your body. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want to increase your understanding of how your body circulates fluid and energy, how to clear stagnant areas and strengthen meridians and chakras, and useful exercises for all sorts of problems, this book is a gold mine of wisdom.

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, the discussion boards are a great place to meet up with others in the same boat and share stories, worries, tips, and learnings.

Ultimately, the most important thing you can do when faced with a cancer diagnosis--yours or for someone you love--is become educated. Don't blindly assume the cut/burn/poison routine is not only best, but the only thing you can do. Before and while you are making health care decisions, the best single resource I can recommend is Ty Bollinger's new documentary series "The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest".  This trailer doesn't do it justice--there is just so much information here from so many health care professionals, scientists, and individual who have beat cancer about what they know, what they've learned, and what they've done. (At the moment, the documentary is being run live and for free, but I suspect after that, you'll only find snippits on YouTube and will have to buy it to see the whole series. It's not being run on television, but it should be!)

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