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Heing

"Don't focus on the cancer. It's not a death sentence. Once you get through the 1st phase of the fog, and the medication is working, stop focusing on the cancer and live your life."

To hear more about Heing's journey click here

My diagnosis

Sharing the news that I had lung cancer was one of the hardest things I've had to do. In fact, it was so uncomfortable for me, I asked my husband to tell my family. For my friends, I sent out a mass email to let them know of the huge change in my life. Everyone was very supportive, but it was an emotional roller-coaster, as I'm sure you can appreciate.

My treatment

Once I got through the first phase and the 'cancer fog', and the medication was working, I stopped focusing so much on my illness and started living my life again. It was a nice surprise to find out there were options outside of chemo. Targeted therapy allowed me to be active. I found I could still do many of the things I wanted, including travel.

My team

I had an interesting, and much appreciated, relationship with my doctor. We would actually have back and forth dialogue about my treatment options. It was as though we were colleagues, rather than a typical doctor and patient. We each do our research, and then he executes the plan. We're a great team!

Of course, having my husband as my primary caregiver and being surrounded by family and a whole circle of friends continues to make this journey that much easier and richer.

My adjustments

The biggest change I had to get used to was not working. Leaving my job however, allowed me to focus on improving my health. In fact, it became my new job. I worked with different specialists, like naturopaths, nutritionists and acupuncturists. I started to eat foods which were better for me and exercised more regularly. I sent a message to my body: no more negativity, just relax and do the best you can. So far, it's working!


BOOKS

  1. Dispenza, Joe. You Are the Placebo.
  2. Turner, Kelly. Radical Remissions.
  3. Block, Keith I. Life Over Cancer.
  4. Deacon, Gillian. There's Lead in Your Lipstick.
  5. Quillin, Patrick. Beating Cancer With Nutrition.
  6. Segersten, Alissa and Malterre, Tom. The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.
  7. Servan-Schreiber, David. Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life.

ONLINE

  1. www.lifeovercancerblog.com
    This is the blog associated with the Life Over Cancer book. This continues from the book with comments on up-to-date cancer research articles, etc.
  2. www.cancer.ca
    This is the Canadian Cancer Society website. The most useful tool on this site, in my opinion, is their latest cancer statistics report. You can learn everything about the statistics of cancer in Canada here: incidences, mortality, survival, prevalence. Eye opening stuff!
  3. www.nutritionfacts.org
    This is a series of videos on anything nutrition based on scientific articles, written by Dr. Michael Greger, MD.
  4. www.ewg.org
    This is the Environmental Working Group's website. They ranked 48 fruits and vegetables based on pesticide residue. I use the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen to know which is safe to buy non-organic or too toxic to not buy organic. There are also articles on seafood, household cleaners, cosmetics, etc.
  5. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
    Pubmed is a database of published biomedical literature. You will need to have a fair understanding of health sciences to better appreciate the research. This is where I go to cross-check health-related information, eg. advice from healthcare practitioners, drug interactions, etc. You have access to abstracts but will need special access to read the entire article (mostly not needed). Keep in mind, I think evidence-based medicine can be overrated so take the information with a grain of salt and always question what you read.

My opinions

This experience has taught me a number of things. I would say, if you do what's right for you, chances are you won't regret it. Follow your gut. Get a second opinion and if a certain type of treatment isn't working for you, then stop it. You may also want to stop your cancer research, reading all the blogs, the different stories, etc. At some point, I find you just have to let go and move ahead with your life. Besides, with the continuing advances in treatment, lung cancer isn't a death sentence anymore. You've still got a pretty good life ahead of you!

Healthful Reads

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer or if you just want to do what you can now to reduce your risk of cancer, you may find my list of resources helpful. I wish I had this list when I was first diagnosed. It would have helped me find my way in this healing journey a little sooner. Keep in mind, there is no one book or document that has all you need to guide you on your journey and my chosen path may be different from yours, but these books and articles are what helped me. I have included healthy living books that I think would be a great addition to anyone's list of books to read. Always follow what you think works best for you.