Monday, December 6, 2010

What to Do?

Last week, I had an interesting experience and I'm still trying to figure it out. A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking with a woman at the cancer center. She had been exploring alternative medicines as well as taking anti-cancer drugs (I later found out she was on Aromasin and Faslodex and had gone over to Zometa and wasn't taking Faslodex). She had had breast cancer and had a nodule on her collar bone. Just as the chemo nurse came out, she had me scribble my name and telephone number on a piece of paper. "I'll take you to him when I go next" she said. Hmmm.

Last week, she did just that. "Him" was an Amish herbalist. I went in and he asked me what was wrong. I think I simply answered that I had breast cancer. He looked me in the ey, placed two fingers on my left side and said. "Yes, you do." I can't remember if I had said a recurrence of breast cancer, but he said, "You had this before and didn't get rid of it." Ok..He had me hold my arm out and didn't really tell me what he was doing....I gathered after the first push that I was to resist. He tore off a sheet with a diet and a list of herbal remedies he wanted me to use.

The diet is what has been around on the internet erroneously known as "The Johns Hopkins Cancer Diet"....which doesn't have anything to do with John's Hopkins. It is a plant based diet. You are only to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts (especially almonds), legumes (but not peanuts), real butter and no-salt added cottage cheese. All animal proteins, eggs, cheese, sugar, salt, white flour, peanuts and any other dairy other than the cottage cheese and butter is to be omitted. I have no problem with the diet, other than the fact that being Vegan with no eggs or cheese does take some work to make sure that you get the appropriate amounts of protein, especially for a person on chemotherapy. The diet is a good one and is very healthy for you in general...but I also didn't want to become a short order cook and I will have to cook darling daughter and dear husband animal proteins.

You are also supposed to make a quart of 50% celery and 50% carrot juice and drink it each day. It must be fresh. In theory, the celery is a detoxifier and the carrot has great anti-oxidant effects. I don't like celery. I went out and bought a juicer and made my first batch, throwing in an apple in an effort to counteract the celery. Did I say I don't like celery? I was successful last night with drinking a bit more than half. The concoction is over 6 large carrots and a bunch of celery. That's a lot of carrots and celery for someone to eat in one day's time.

While the healer doesn't charge for his appointments, you can buy the herbal remedies from him. I must say that after some research after I got him, his prices are good....but I still left a substantial amount of money....more than I should have.

The herbal remedies were Red Clover, whole apricots, Food Enzymes, Parsley tablets, and Pau d'Arco. I know that if I told my oncologist, he would probably have a bird. I researched each of the items. I immediately discovered that Red Clover, largely cited as a "cancer killer, but is something that I must stay away from. Red Clover contains isoflavones which produces estrogen-like substances in the body. More research is needed into isoflavones and phyto-estrogens, but the initial responses are mixed. I remember Dr. Bobrow saying "estrogen is estrogen and you need to stay away from it."

So....I am not going to take the Red Clover. The others seem to be more benign, but part of the problem with "herbal remedies" is that people tend to take them along with chemo and other drugs (like I am) and don't think about the interactions. In some cases, we don't even know all the interactions. After all, Digitalis (Foxglove) is an herbal remedy albeit a very powerful one . Much more research needs to be done on this topic, while in other areas it has been shown that some of the remedies just don't work.

Part of me says I shouldn't even look into this at least not right now. I will say that I can't bear the thought today of drinking any more of the carrot/celery mixture. In fact, my stomach is quite upset today.

The lady I went with had had advanced breast cancer and following this procedure and other drugs, her large tumor has subsided. Part of me says that this may work.....the other part of me says that I know that the Abraxane is working (the tumor markers fell substantially), and that perhaps any more exploration of this should wait until after I'm done with the Chemo in April. It is a puzzlement.

I do believe in the mind-body connection. Some of the other things which have been put forward are completely unfounded upon further investigation. Do I believe that this healer is trying to hoodwink people? No. He believes in what he does and some people probably have been healed. Others haven't.

I don't know how or why I happened to fall into this position, but it really is making me think. The world cancer patients live in is often scary and it isn't just because of the disease and the treatment one gets through western medicines.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I don't know what to say besides, good luck, my friend. I wish I could be of more help, but I haven't a clue about alternative medicines for cancer.