Complementary medicine and other healing habits I get to try…


The healing power of food

It’s been about three weeks since beginning chemo treatments for this liver metastases I’ve got, and nearly two months since diagnosis. The first two treatments were NOT SEXY. I did not tolerate them so well. Even with making extreme efforts to help each treatment go better, I have not seen any improvements.

It’s the nausea I’m most concerned with. The first two days of a treatment are fine, then when the chemo pump comes off is when the nausea sets in. Then I don’t want to eat or drink, which causes the side effects to be even worse. To start, I began with two prescription anti-nausea meds, plus one that was infused along with the chemo. Then I was prescribed another, I bought two herbal anti-nausea tinctures, fresh ginger, ginger tea and candied ginger. Plus I had the medicinal marijuana oil and vaporizer pen. If any of those don’t work, than the others will, right? None of it seems to work on those nausea days, so then I must wait to be productive until the chemo has settled out of my system.

Starting out, I found it extraordinarily difficult to keep a medication list because it was continually going out of date faster than I could print them out, yet it has been helpful. New symptoms, new supplements, new medications, more symptoms, medications to counteract the symptoms, etc, get it? I surrender! You know when you go to a new doctor office, you fill out patient intake paperwork, which includes a medical history, a list of current medications, etc. My medication list was just too long, so I’ve typed and printed a list of my prescription meds, supplements, how and when I take them, what dose, strength and duration. Now this handy list I print and give to the doctor will help determine which medications will conflict with which.

Also, I was getting stuffed full of pills each day, and how am I to know the ones need, which ones are working? My complimentary care oncologist went over the whole list and marked the ones I could leave out of the regimen for now, and ones that will be most helpful. That took the quantity of supplements down to a far more manageable half quantity, thank goodness.

Other side effects have included extreme fatigue, body aches (flu-like), neuropathy affecting finger tips, lips, teeth, constipation, diarrhea.

Holistic treatments to augment chemotherapy:

support_iv_cancerSupport IV therapy – infusion at Dr. Panutich’s office (my complementary care oncologist), and this contains amino acids, minerals, vitamins. It will do two things: agitate the cancer cells so the chemo acts more effectively, and nourish the healthy cells by protecting digestive lining (which tends to get burnt out from the chemo), muscle strength and soreness, dehydration, immune support.

acupuncture_needles_sticking Out from Feet

Acupuncture & Community Acupuncture

Acupuncture – two sessions per week; one with my naturopathic doctor, Dr. Shaver, and one at a community acupuncture session (Group acupuncture? Really?). After the first treatment, I did not notice a difference. After the second and third, however, I felt very relaxed, pain-free, and I do believe that with the chemo side effects, the acupuncture will work – we’ll see!

Medical Cannabis Oil

Medical Cannabis Oil

Medical Cannabis oil – a really, really potent concentrate of the leaf. Just a dabble of this makes my head spin, and I take it at night when I’m going to sleep.


Vaporizer Pen – Medical Cannabis

The Pen – this is like an e-cigarette, except it is filled with marijuana oil, no nicotine. This should provide relief for nausea almost instantly. Again, we’ll see!

Continued exercise – strengthening, stretching, cardio, meditation. All are keeping my spirits and strength up and allowing me to feel accomplished.

Healing Habits:

I’ve been asked whether I follow any special diet, if I’m taking anything special for treatments, and yes, I am. Mostly, I am pretty moderate, but I do avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, grains and dairy. I drink some when at a celebration, I can’t get by without some sugar, because it makes me happy. Grains, pasta, etc, I substitute yams. Matt and I harvest from the garden for most of our food. It’s sort-of a non-strict Paleo diet, the goal is to eat nutrient dense foods. Of course everyone has their food fetishes, their “needs”, but this is a good overall lifestyle. Along with the healing food, getting some creative time, some writing, visiting with friends and family, wearing comfy clothes, “getting out”, taking naps, and…

…just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!


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  1. I signed up for this as I always do like to write & you inspired me more to do so …
    Being a survivor of an event #1yrd theres more?!
    to be exact that happened 20Yrs ago in Oct 1994 & from then its been literally a katt W/9 lives 🐈😎& I have no idea why,??
    Therefore survivors of many things in different ways must stick together & I firmly believe I need to broaden my creativity & the ❤️ I have for living life to the best as WE know & to not let a stranger control what I should do W/my medically challenged body & on this day election day is most important as most days are but just the idea Michelle, my point is I want you to know that only ppl that go W/what they go thru such as yourself, its great to be able to tell you that keep doing what you & listen to what your instincts tell you!
    I am so glad no matter how nauseating yes I know that feeling is that youre not alone..
    I hope I make sense as the injury/s have that impact even though I know what i mean but somedays are better/worse than others & this electionday I have on the brain per se!
    as in to get it over with & hopefully it goes as blue as the sky is rt now! 💙
    I hope YOU have a good day & yes I love my sugar/sweets a lil too much ha! but I think that comes from no alcohol in 4yrs Oct32014 & Ill gladly take my candy now.. Sawweeet! ❤️🐈😎!
    Love & lite 2 U always!
    Excuse my errs as itll get better as I did this in a matter of 12 mins on my iPhone so there wont be much editing as I just was compelled to start ASAP..
    Just wait til I use my PC .. I will look like author Judy Blume haha!
    Laughter is my medicine & tons of it!!😄🎆

    • cancer4me

       /  November 4, 2014

      Well! Thank you for writing and sharing your story, Judy Blume-in-disguise! I think of it this way: recovery is not necessarily going to go in a straight line, but instead make progress then get setback. I think realizing that makes it easier to recover with patience! Take care of yourself!

      • cancer4me

         /  January 21, 2015

        Yes, like one step forward, two steps back? Ha, eventually I’ll catch up!

    • cancer4me

       /  January 21, 2015

      Well said, my friend, agreed on all counts! I’d like to hear your story, do you write about it? It sounds like you have a survivor attitude. Thank you for your wonderful observations.

  2. Anonymous

     /  November 4, 2014

    Sending You a big hug!!!!!

  3. Anonymous

     /  October 19, 2014

    The very strong feeling of wanting to get back to more “normal” things, like having sugar, visiting with friends, getting out, having writing and creative time is quite understandable. I understand. It is difficult to go through all the crap that any cancer patient has to go through and yours has been a real test of your strength and youth. Keep up as much of the exercise and positive things you want and have had in your life so that you remain strong. Take care of yourself–but don’t overdo it–and keep looking for any little way to slip in the good things.
    Love and hugs from Kay

    • cancer4me

       /  November 4, 2014

      Thank you Ms McGary! Yessss, keeping the routine, and not overdoing it = two very good life lessons I am taking to heart especially now. I hope you are doing the same 🙂 And finding fun time! I realized after a friend brought her two daughters over for a craft party yesterday, that this is part of recovery: getting good, fun, creative, social time. XOXO Love you Aunt Kay!


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