7 Alternative Skin Cancer Treatments

7 Alternative Skin Cancer Treatments

Sometimes people want to try alternative cancer treatments immediately after they are given the diagnosis of cancer. For others, they want to combine both alternative treatments with conventional ones like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. And for some people, they start researching alternative cancer treatments after conventional ones have been exhausted.

If you're looking for holistic cancer treatment, you have choices that aren't just “pie in the sky” options. They really can work. Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in the United States. The most common types of skin cancer are...

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Why I Don't "Fight" Cancer - Part 1

Why I Don't "Fight" Cancer - Part 1

I don't know about you, but I don't identify with much of the militaristic language surrounding cancer, most especially The *War* on Cancer.  That being said, I totally get that we're all so different. If being a fighter and kicking cancer's ass works for you, great! Keep it up! Disregard this post.

If, on the other hand, you haven't really found yourself embracing the imagery of a life on a battlefield, I just want to say, "You're not alone. Me neither." I like using the term "cancer thriver" and the image of being on a "journey" instead...

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My Risk Factors & Dense Breasts

My Risk Factors & Dense Breasts

I had pretty much no risk factors for developing invasive breast cancer.

I used 2 online Risk Calculators (see below) to determine my risk of developing breast cancer when I was given the diagnosis at the age of 35. One risk calculator said that I had a 98.75% of remaining breast cancer-free for the next 10 years (until age 45). And the other risk calculator said...

...

"Women with dense and extremely dense breasts have a modestly increased risk of breast cancer and experience reduced sensitivity of mammography to detect breast cancer." (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

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Hey Everybody... I'm Diet Queer*...

Hey Everybody... I'm Diet Queer*...

Dude. Can we talk about how much all of us are in each other's business about what we EAT?!

Then... add to that a cancer diagnosis and people REALLY want to know what you eat, what you don't eat, and why you do or don't eat something in particular. Whew! It's a lot.

At a recent party someone asked me, "Oh, are you vegan?" I said no.
Someone else said, "Are you gluten-free?" Again, I said no.
Then a third person wanted me to explain my diet.
I flippantly answered, "Actually, I'm Diet Queer.* I don't fit into any category."

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If I Gave a TED Talk... take 1

If I Gave a TED Talk... take 1

We all fear it. The C word. And then on June 1, 2015 when I was 35 years old the C word happened to me: aggressive breast cancer. Then it began... the chaotic, confusing, panic-filled storm of decision-making. How do we make these decisions? What’s the best way to discover the path we're meant to take? I want to share the ideas that have worked for me and what I’ve learned along the way. I feel that our society and most doctors do not give us the tools to confidently make quick, life-altering decisions when we are drowning in fear.

I courageously looked fear in the face...

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How My Body Talks to Me

How My Body Talks to Me

When I tell people that my body talks to me and tells me things, most of the time they get a gleam in their eye that feels like they're thinking, "Oh, you're a little bit on the crazy side. Okay." But Carsten, my friend at Hufeland Klinik in Germany that I wrote about here, was very intrigued and asked me, "How do you do this?" with what felt like the implication of how he could also hear what his body says. I explained that my body does it a few different ways...

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A Poem for Our Souls

A Poem for Our Souls

In March 1999, I was in my second semester at college and taking an "Introduction to Poetry" class. Analyzing the poem "Aubade" by Philip Larkin was hard and I'm so glad I chose to become intimate with it. The professor wrote, "You really took a risk choosing such a challenging poem." Because the topic of the poem is his fear of dying and being dead, I thought a lot about it when I was writing the blog Before & After... 

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Liz's Thoughts

Liz Cancer576

A few weeks ago Liz commented on my blog. She was at Hufeland Klinik this past Spring... awesome! As I perused her blog posts, I really like what she had to say about a lot of things including the term "surveillance." My oncologist is doing this with me as well... she says that what they call it when they follow a patient given a diagnosis of cancer that is not using chemotherapy or radiation. (And some oncologists refuse to do this and tell you to find another doctor!)

"The continued use of militaristic language within cancer circles is just plain disturbing.  I’ve cooperated through their surgery protocol, a true cadet.  Now, when I refuse to continue the fight with chemical guerrilla warfare, I’m a defector, double-crosser, rebel, renegade.  I’m put under surveillance.  The word conjures up the darkest of images of cancer warfare.  Where’s the compassionate language one would expect from a health care system sworn to do no harm? Maybe that’s the rub, 'sworn to do no harm' yet, the establishment is largely responsible for losing the winnable war against cancer."

You can read more about her journey after a diagnosis of Stage 3C1 Uterine Cancer on her blog: https://cancer576.wordpress.com/

 

The Song "To Beat the Devil" by Kris Kristofferson

"To Beat the Devil"
Johnny Cash singing the Kris Kristofferson song

If you waste your time a-talkin' to
the people who don't listen,
To the things that you are sayin',
who do you think's gonna hear.
And if you should die explainin' how
the things that they complain about,
Are things they could be changin',
who do you think's gonna care?
...the truth remains that no-one wants to know...

And you still can hear me singin' to
the people who don't listen,
To the things that I am sayin',
prayin' someone's gonna hear.
And I guess I'll die explaining how
the things that they complain about,
Are things they could be changin',
hopin' someone's gonna care.
...I don't believe that no-one wants to know...

 

Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?!

Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?!

So many times during my journey after being given a diagnosis of cancer, people have judged the diagnosis as bad, the worst, and very horrible at the least. Maybe this diagnosis of cancer is ultimately bad, but we don’t know that yet. And maybe this diagnosis of cancer is ultimately good, but again, we don't know that yet. I've heard others say how grateful they were for a cancer diagnosis in their life. I want to get there too! I think what helps me most is the work I do everyday whether it's...

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Life Is Beautiful

Life Is Beautiful

That morning, when I woke up... I felt like a veil had been lifted from my heart and everything was BEAUTIFUL. I looked at the leaves on the trees in the park across the street and it was so beautiful that it made me cry... I listened to the words of songs that I love and they were so beautiful that it made me cry... all day, throughout the entire day, my heart and my eyes just overflowed with the incredible feeling and realization that (as cheesy as it sounds)... Life Is Beautiful. For the most part, I've found life to be really hard and challenging and painful and filled with lots of suffering...

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A Song by Dar Williams

A Song by Dar Williams

I lived in Duke (my pickup truck) for 5 months from May through September 2004. After the rafting season was over in mid-August in Colorado, I spent 6 weeks driving through Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and northern California by myself. It was AMAZING. I went to hot springs and camped and hiked and mountain biked. There were lots of ups and downs on this solo-journey. Lots of reading and journaling and figuring myself out. Mainly I probably was obsessed with when and who and how I was going to get married...

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Could Declining Chemo Be Evidence-Based?

Could Declining Chemo Be Evidence-Based?

"When a patient chooses a form of therapy out of conviction, while accepting the fact that death is inevitable someday, that patient will never be a failure and never regret the decision." Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon's Experience with Exceptional Patients by Dr. Bernie Siegel, MD

I often felt that when I told my doctors that I had decided to decline chemotherapy, they heard me say, "I'm going to do nothing to prevent cancer from coming back. Literally nothing." When quite the opposite was true...

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First, Do No Harm

First, Do No Harm

UGH. Why??? Why was I put through this pointless emotional down and up yet again yesterday? Why??? What purpose does it serve me or the medical establishment to make each step start with PANIC instead of PEACE?! Let's assume everything is healthy and benign until proven otherwise... not -- let's assume there is scary cancer everywhere all of the time and cross our fingers you luck out and we don't find anything.....

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A Song for Our Souls

A Song for Our Souls

There are lots and lots of things I love in this world, and one of the closest things to my heart that I love is the church that I go to. Highlands Church in Denver, Colorado is a place and a group of people that each and every time that I'm there shows me the love of God. In June 2015 we had my Surgery Blessingway Prayer Circle there and so many came to support me and pray for us before my mastectomy.

This summer we had the opportunity to have Heatherlyn be an "Artist in Residence" at our church. So... wherever you are at... whether you need this song sung over you... or you know of someone who needs this song sung over them... I encourage you to spend 4 minutes with this song and your soul... 

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How to Make Blood Draws Go Easier...

This morning I had my blood drawn. Prior to a mastectomy and removal of 5 lymph nodes after being given a diagnosis of cancer, I never had ANY problems with blood draws. Now... it's often a bit tricky.

Because the lymph nodes were removed from my right armpit, it's highly recommended that I never have a blood draw, IV, or even blood pressure taken on my right arm. There's other things too... 

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I'm back from my 2nd treatment in Germany...

I'm back from my 2nd treatment in Germany...

Wow. Where do I even begin? So much has happened in the 6 weeks since I last wrote an update; therefore, this will probably end up being a bit on the very long-ish side (…like almost 2,800 words on the long-ish side). The weeks I spent at Hufeland Klinik in Germany were just as magical as they were last year. Before I left I thought, “Am I hyping this place up too much? Am I going to be disappointed?” Not.In.The.Least! I flew back to Philadelphia on Tuesday, June 22, 2016 and... 

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