Letters to the Editor – October 2014

Reader Shares Her Story of Surviving Breast Cancer

I am writing this letter under a ‘pen name’ due to my less than flattering comments about the Ontario health care system.

In 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I ended up having surgery, then chemotherapy, during which it was discovered that I tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation (which explained the cancer), so I decided to skip the radiation and go right for a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I had concerns around all of the options available at Princess Margaret Hospital, so I went to the U.S. for the surgeries – New Orleans. There’s an excellent surgeon there who specializes in the surgery I wanted. It was two huge surgeries and a long recovery (which I’m still working on), but it all went off without a hitch – no complications, no major trauma, good results.

Through it all, I’ve received excellent support from my naturopathic doctor, Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, and osteopath. All in all, I got pretty lucky with this one. So many things went right that could have gone way wrong!

It was more than luck, though. I was manically researching all of my options all of the way through. The toughest thing about going through cancer treatment is not the treatment itself (though that’s a challenge). It’s having to be a wickedly strong advocate for yourself against a system that’s so inadequate – at a time when you’re at your absolute weakest. Honestly, that was the toughest part…

Here is a quick summary of what made the biggest impact on my recovery:

1) I kept my diet super clean before surgery and ate only anti-cancer foods (and even wore raw organic cabbage leaves on my breast) in the hopes of shrinking the tumour while I waited for surgery. The tumour didn’t shrink, but it did migrate into more superficial tissue during that time – which surprised the surgeon.

2) Working with a naturopath who specializes in cancer really helped me tremendously through the chemo and surgeries. I had regular high dose IV’s of vitamin C – which helped to reduce the side effects of chemo (and is supposed to be cytotoxic to cancer cells). Also, I injected myself daily with mistletoe – and still do, though less frequently now (to boost my immune system and help prevent a recurrence).

As well, the ND had me taking a huge amount of supplements throughout chemo in the hopes of protecting my digestive and immune systems as much as possible, including:

  • Glutamine (or l-glutamine) to support my digestive and immune systems during treatment;
  • Signature Marrow Support (a mix of panax ginseng, astragalus and ashwagandha) to support  immune and adrenals;
  • After chemo, I did a series of alpha lipoic‎ acid (high dose through IV) to help with peripheral neuropathy from the chemo, and also did glutathione injections to help my liver recover, as well as high dose vitamin C IV throughout the treatment and afterwards. (I still do the occasional one.)
  • The ND also prescribed AOR’s ALCAR throughout to support cognitive function (I had a strong case of chemo brain), and I was on a host of other things – vitamins, minerals, milk thistle, Estro adapt, fish oil, and lots of antioxidants after the chemo was over (ubiquinol, resveratrol, r-lipoic acid, pine bark).

Note: My naturopathic doctor is Dr. Eric Marsden (at www.marsdencentre.com) up in Vaughan. He runs an excellent centre, treating all stages of cancer. He has an IV room and a hyperthermia machine (apparently there are only two in Canada, and the other is in B.C.). He is no longer taking on new patients, but there are other excellent practitioners who specialize in naturopathic oncology. (Editor’s Note: See article by Dr. Paul Hrkal, ND, on page 34 in Vitality’s October 2014 issue.)

3) As well, I started juicing every day – a fresh organic green juice – and still do that every day.

4) I also did acupuncture and yoga during the chemo period.

5) I’ve done a lot of other things but they’re mostly relevant to the double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery (like osteopathy and myo-fascial release).

Truthfully, recovery has been slow – even with all of this support. It’s been a steady progressive improvement, and I shudder to imagine where I’d be without all of these supportive natural therapies.

Sally Johnston, Toronto

Former ‘Superwoman’ Thanks Vivian Kulaga

I was very impressed by Vivian Kulaga’s article ‘Can Being a Superwoman Make You Sick?’ in Vitality’s Sept. 2014 issue. Baby boomer that I am, I bought – hook, line and sinker – the myth that woman could do it all, have it all, and be it all. What a myth indeed! In trying, through my child rearing years, to live up to such unrealistic expectations, I made myself quite ill. Fortunately I came to my senses before things really got out of hand health-wise, but I have to admit that was due more to luck than intelligent planning.

It was only after reading Vivian’s story that I really came to understand why I’d come so close to more serious health challenges – ie the link between stress and illness.

B. Brown, Calgary

Electromagnetic Radiation from Xrays

Further to the discussion of WiFi transmitters (Vitality magazine’s Sept. 2014 issue), let’s talk about x-ray machines – the mother of all electromagnetic radiation emitters, widely used in medicine and dentistry.

After having my teeth x-rayed (a total of 5 negatives), I was surprised that suddenly I couldn’t understand the dental technician; I could hear sounds but couldn’t make out words, and I became bleary eyed. The confused state lasted only about 2 minutes.

Thinking about it later, I wondered was it possible that the quanta of electromagnetic radiation, packing some 66,000 eVolts of energy at 20 X 10-17 metre wavelength, had neutralized the synapsis – hence the momentary disruption of messages (to the brain)? Normalcy returned when the hydrogen bonds were re-established.

During X-rays, a patient’s body is protected with a radiation-absorbing blanket, but not the head – where the maximum radiation load is applied. Perhaps a specialist would like to comment?

R. Manook, Toronto

Successful Recovery Using Applied Kinesiology

Confronted with disease by age 3, I’ve had much exposure to conventional medicine. I suffered from severe anxiety attacks and stomach cramps, my muscles ached from head to toe, and I was always tired. Over the next 10 years, no answers were found to explain the array of symptoms I was experiencing, and no diagnosis was given. I was deemed “hopeless” by the medical profession and encouraged to cope the best I could.

Motivated to find a solution, my parents began to explore alternative modalities. To this end, I discovered a holistic therapy that changed my life at the age of 13 – Applied Kinesiology. During my first session, muscle testing techniques revealed that I had a severe intolerance to gluten, lactose, and artificial sugars/sweeteners (I suppose my regular breakfast of whole wheat toast with sugary jam and cereal, and milk was not the best way to start the day, when my symptoms happened to be at their worst!).

In addition, through a combination of acupuncture, osteopathic, chiropractic, and manual muscle testing techniques the following discoveries were made: my energy meridians were imbalanced; my breathing patterns were disturbed; I had a cranial fault; several spinal vertebrae were out of place; and I had other gross biomechanic disturbances.

To top it off, nutritional testing and psychotherapeutic assessments unveiled several nutritional deficiencies and stored emotional blocks from past traumatic events that were also disrupting my health and well-being. It is no wonder to me now that conventional medicine failed to find the problem: with an unwavering focus on standard assessments and lab tests, they naturally ignored all of the mentioned factors that were causing my symptoms.

Once my family had a comprehensive understanding of the problem, finding a solution was feasible. I began a holistic regimen consisting of manual/physical therapy, dietary management and nutritional supplementation, colour therapy, acupressure, and positive remedial self-affirmations. The results were dramatic. Within months my symptoms disappeared and I resumed a normal lifestyle.

At age 14, newly empowered with good health and a sense of vitality, I was inspired by what holistic medicine had done for me and immediately began to study it. I acquired textbooks, watched webinars, attended workshops and lectures, etc. By grade 12, I achieved a level of academic excellence which earned me the Ontario Scholar Certificate, a feat I was told I could never achieve. After only 2-1/2 years, I graduated with honours from the University of Ottawa’s 4 year B.A with Specialization in Psychology program. I next directed my studies to holistic medicine and opened my private practice.

In my practice, I have seen patients with a broad spectrum of human disease, from minor sport injuries to so called ‘incurable’ musculoskeletal, biochemical, and emotional disorders. Where conventional practices give up on patients, I have consistently witnessed holistic therapies that offer these patients a hopeful road to recovery. I confidently advocate the efficacy of the techniques, as exemplified by the rapid healing process experienced by my clients.

Bridging eastern and western medical philosophies in a scientifically compelling format, holistic healthcare systems offer the necessary tools to identify and address the root causes of disease. Holistic therapy not only helps clients to improve their health, but also has the beneficial side effect of profoundly increasing self-awareness of their Mind, Body, and Spirit, thus empowering them to harness their innate healing capacities.

Shawn M. Persaud B.A CBP Director, Holistic Healthcare & Education Specialist, Certified BodyTalk Practitioner  Visit www.thechhe.com

Readers: To have your day, send an email to: letters@vitalitymagazine.com. To submit your letter by regular mail, write to: Vitality Magazine, 356 Dupont Street, Toronto, ON M5R 1V9

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