Karen Garcia, a guest blogger, is 5 and a half years out from her breast cancer diagnosis.
She decided to use ‘alternative’ therapies rather than the standard of care prescribed by her oncologist. We asked her to write a series of articles surrounding her decision and the subsequent practices she has used. This has got to be a scary place. Much of what you decide to do, guided by intuition is not covered by insurance. Since our site is based upon making choices for what you feel is right for you, we feel this and other articles should support that point of view.
We invite you to discuss this by submitting comments below and on our social media pages.
I am more than halfway through my sixth year as a cancer conqueror, which is what I call myself. Every time I hear of someone receiving the news that they’ve got cancer or I hear of someone who has had a recurrence of cancer, I think about how the choices are made as to the treatments and therapies that will be used.
I have to admit, just like probably everyone else who receives a cancer diagnosis, my initial reaction was one of fear and disbelief. I did what I imagine a lot of people do — I cried, curled up in a ball at a friend’s home, until I couldn’t cry anymore. And then, as I drove home, I called another friend to let her know what the doctor had told me. It wasn’t too long after that call – and because of that call – that I was able to move away from fear and feel somewhat empowered.
My friendship with the person I called that day – Linda – began in a very serendipitous way. One afternoon, several months before my diagnosis, I received a call from this woman I didn’t know from the man in the moon. She had gotten my phone number from someone else — who I also didn’t know — and to this day I have no idea how he had my phone number to give! Linda is a very holistic, spiritual person who contacted me thinking I might know like-minded women in the community she could interact with. We developed an immediate rapport over the phone, and I asked if she would like to meet.
We quickly became friends and spent quite a lot of time together over the months leading up to my cancer diagnosis. Because of how close we’d become, it was just instinctive that she be the one I called on my way home. I told her the surgeon had explained to me the lump was malignant and that my options for treatment were surgery, chemotherapy and, possibly, radiation.
On that call, as I headed home, Linda made a statement to me that changed the course my life would take. She said, “You do know those are not your only options”!
Well, you can imagine my surprise at hearing those words. Obviously, no, I did not know those weren’t my only options! She proceeded to give me a couple websites I could visit to find out more information. Being the information junkie that I am, I began doing hours, days, and weeks of research … and I haven’t stopped.
At this point, I began to notice other “messages” being given to me (the first being the way in which my new friend had come into my life). Being a spiritual person, I believe the “Universe” was guiding me on this unexpected “journey.”
I moved into a new apartment five days after my diagnosis. While unpacking a box of books, I found two on top of all the others in the container that I didn’t remember buying: “Making Miracles; An Exploration Into the Dynamics of Self-Healing” by Dr. Paul C. Roud, and “Love, Medicine & Miracles; Lessons Learned About Self-Healing From a Surgeon’s Experience with Exceptional Patients” by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel. Both of these books opened my eyes to how miraculous our bodies are given the right tools for healing.
I also read a book called “Getting Well Again” by Dr. O. Carl Simonton, an oncologist, who, along with this wife at the time, Stephanie Simonton, had founded a clinic for cancer patients to help them understand the importance of the mind/body connection in conquering the disease. This book also explained that there is a gift in having a diagnosis of cancer and that I needed to figure out what mine was.
I did figure it out. But that is a topic for a future blog post.
At this point, I made the decision to fight and conquer cancer using alternative, holistic treatments and therapies, rather than the traditional ones that had been explained to me. Of course, my surgeon (and some friends and family members) was none too thrilled to hear I was refusing to do the standard, allopathic treatments. However, I have never doubted whether or not the path I chose was the right one. It has been the right one for me.
And that is what I feel each person who faces a diagnosis of cancer must determine — what is the right path for the journey ahead. The decision should be made having as much information as possible, along with the love and support of the people important to him or her.
After all, it is your life, to live out for as long as you have, in whatever way you are “guided” to do and conquer cancer on your terms! (http://www.conquercanceronyourterms.com)
By Karen Garcia