Why am I still here almost ten years after finding out that the breast cancer has spread to my bones? Isn’t that the question? I find that the opinion is varied depending on who you talk to. Of course if we knew for sure we could bottle it up and hand it out for others with cancer.
I was recently at a conference where there were hundreds of nurses. One of them was talking to me about my cancer. She decided quickly that I had a type of cancer that was strongly responsive to the chemotherapy agents and hormonal drugs that were or are a part of my treatment. “Lucky for you,” she said. Was she trying to tell me that all I needed to do was take the medicine?
It could be that I was just healed, a miracle occurred. Many people that are of the same faith as I am would believe that. “ How else could you explain it?” they would ask. My response is that I know many people who have prayed for healing without my results. I for one am not going to try to figure out God. I am thankful for all that I have been given, including each day. I like to think though that maybe my willingness to do something played a role.
My dietitian would petition that I could have made a difference by eating well, eliminating hormones and strengthening my immune system. “Food is fuel for your body, feed it right.” Who could disagree with that? I do know that I felt great through most of my treatment and I was eating better than ever before.
What about the other stuff such as exercise, visualization, and stress reduction? Do they make a difference?
The answer is I just don’t know. Maybe it is a complicated equation: 27% nutrition, 36% drugs, etc. It seems unlikely to me that it is only one thing that keeps me here over time. I believe that it is likely the combination of a lot of factors along with an attitude of positive belief that I can make a difference.
The trend in cancer care is becoming more and more integrative. Not a minute to soon, that’s for sure. Cancer Centers are becoming a place to go and not only receive treatment, but learn about healing as well. That is key, as we spend a lot more time at home than we do at the cancer center.