The Marriage of the Two . . .
When the Big "C" comes into your life, you want the best line of defense. You want the best care that will give you the best odds. I not only wanted to use traditional medicine but I wanted to incorporate integrative medicine into my treatment. I wanted to stack the deck.
I strongly believe in integrative medicine. As a Reiki practitioner I have experienced first hand the healing that can take place when used. Treatments are natural, non-invasive and don't interfere with any other protocol. I want to treat my cancer with a marriage of the two - traditional and integrative. When I was diagnosed, I contacted my friend, Maureen Anderson, who is the head Doctor of Integrative Medicine in Beaumont. She recommended that I see Dr. Michael Walker, a Naturopathic Oncologist. I was all for that! He would be able to give me recommendations of natural things that would help me through chemo and it's side affects.
My appointment is for Tuesday, June 27th. I make the appointment in Royal Oak, as it's closer to my house. I arrive early, which helps since I forgot to fill out the paperwork that was given to me when I made the appointment. Did I tell you I was on information overload?
My friend, Maureen greets me in the lobby and takes me back to her office. We chat about her daughter's upcoming wedding. So happy for Erin! I ask her about Michael. She tells me he looks young, but he isn't that young and we're so lucky to have him. Okay then, I'm intrigued to meet him.
While, I'm filling out the questionnaire, Dr. Walker pokes his head in, and yep he's young. We finish up our conversation and I go to his office. We start with why I'm there. I explain the diagnosis, telling him it's my second dance with the Big "C". I tell him I'm looking for help to deal with the chemo and it's side effects. I do ask him as a Naturopathic Oncologist how he feels about chemicals going into my body. After a lengthy discussion, bottom line is it's the proven treatment to treat cancer. Yes, the cancer was removed with the mastectomy but to guarantee no rogue cell has gone elsewhere, the chemo will cover my entire body to kill off any runners. It's like a dandelion, if it's yellow and you remove the plant, root and all from the ground it won't come back. But if that dandelion is the white one with all the seeds, when you remove that weed, the white fluffy seeds fly everywhere. The chemo is just guaranteeing I've taken care of any white fluffies. (Okay, he didn't say white fluffies, but that works for me).
Diet has a huge impact on quality of life, especially during chemo. Now the oncology nurse has told me there is no diet to follow, they just want me to eat. Dr. Walker tells me otherwise. I tell him there may be a bonus here, I'll lose some weight. He doesn't want me to lose a lot of weight; body mass helps with chemo. Well there will be no problem in the body mass department.
He would like me to follow the Mediterranean diet. I basically like most things on the list until her says he'd like me to eat oily fish 3 times a week. I do not like sardines or anchioves. I'm in luck, I do like salmon. I agree to eat it twice a week. The rest of the time I'll eat chicken with red meat occasionally. He gives me information about a study in Spain. It's found that following a Mediterranean diet can prevent recurrence. Keep stacking the deck Dr. Walker.
We discuss the effect of chemo: nausea, fatigue being the main ones. It's like listening to a broken record. I can never seem to get away from those two. We discuss the effects it can have on my heart. He wants me to take Ultra Omega-3 and UBQH to give my heart a boost while going through chemo. He also puts me on a Probiotic to help my stomach handle the chemo. I am to begin before I start chemo. I guess I'm a pill popper now; something new for me.
We discuss what services in integrative medicine will really help me with the chemo. He suggests acupuncture the day before treatment. It will help with the nausea. I ask about Reiki. I'm not sure if I should have a treatment prior, during or after the treatment. The answer: any time I receive it will be beneficial. Further on down the line, oncology massage and guided imagery will also help.
We discuss exercise. He reiterates what Dr. Hanna and Donna have told me. Exercise will help my energy level. Even if it's a small walk a day, it will help. He said swimming would be a great form of exercise. As soon as I go home, I'm ordering a mastectomy suit from Land's End so when I get the green light to swim, I'm ready!!!
Dr. Walker lets me know he will work with my oncologist all through my treatment. He tells me to call should I have any problems arise. I've just begun with him, he plans on working with me all the way through radiation.
I have another expert on my side, someone else who has knowledge to help me navigate through this journey. I'm feeling optimistic!