Breast Cancer Support

One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer in the US every year – which translates to most of us either having direct experience with the disease or knowing someone who has it. Breast cancer is so widespread, it has become both universal and personal.

Finding your own path

Because the disease is so prevalent, you’ll find there are many sites on the Internet dedicated to breast cancer, and lots of people will offer you advice.

It’s important for you to know there is no “one path fits all” when dealing with breast cancer, and not everyone’s advice will be relevant to your situation. Take time to educate and center yourself until you’re coming from a place of peace and confidence in your decisions. When you’re able to listen, your body and mind will tell you what you need. Decisions which are rushed and based in fear will not serve your highest level of health.

Ideally, you want to create a program that feels right to you, that will help ensure your health through treatment, recovery, and long-term survival when “active” treatment is done.

The journey is not an easy one, but it presents you with an opportunity to change your life in a very deep way. I am here to help you with that journey; I can partner with you to help you understand what your body is telling you, identify your options, and design a program that fits your situation, starting right from the diagnosis.

The Diagnosis

Those who have recently received a diagnosis of cancer are often shocked, scared, afraid of the treatment, and worried how this will impact their life and family.

Yes, a diagnosis of cancer is life changing, but with the right approach to treatment and care, it can also be a life-awakening event.

That’s why it’s so important to have the right medical team – doctors and health professionals who listen to you and see you as a whole person and employ mindful attention to your treatment and care decisions.

The ETMS Approach to Supportive Cancer Care

I have been fortunate to be a student of Donnie Yance, founder of the Mederi Center for Natural Healing, in Ashland, Oregon. A clinical natural herbalist and certified nutritionist, he developed the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS) approach to treatment of cancer and chronic disease.

The ETMS approach strives to individualize your care and treatment. Many physicians worldwide now believe better results can be achieved if cancer treatments are personalized, based upon specific biologic factors. These factors occur at the cellular level and are unique to each person.

Advanced testing provides insight into specific tumor biology and risk assessment and can help you with your oncologist, make informed treatment decisions.

Genomic testing, or gene testing, provides information about the unique genetic makeup of you and your cancer. Testing for specific biomarkers can provide insight into diagnosis, prognosis, what are the driving forces creating the makeup of your cancer, and the likelihood of response to treatment. With this information, you can receive the supportive care for your personalized clinical management.

Putting Together Your ETMS Protocol

The ETMS approach utilizes the information provided through your pathology report, extensive blood work up, and these advanced diagnostic tests, to create a protocol that is specific to you. Focused Clinical Nutrition and botanical medicine are the soul of this approach, because they work together to…

  • Provide foundational supportive care while you’re undergoing chemotherapy
  • Minimize side effects of chemotherapy such as fatigue, anemia, weight loss and cachexia, neuropathy, depression, and anxiety
  • Calm your nervous system, and reduce your stress, as we heal in the parasympathetic mode.

The Importance of Nutrition

A main component of the ETMS approach is utilizing food and nutrition to support your body through the cancer treatment. A medicinal smoothie is one of the ways we are able to get high-quality nutrition into your system. Despite being “medicinal,” the smoothie tastes delicious, so you look forward to drinking it daily, and it is easy to make, so there is not a lot of preparation when you’re not feeling your best.

EMTS allows for many different dietary options: paleo, vegan, and, of course, gluten free. I use the diagnostic tools Chinese Medicine provides me to help you figure out what works best for your body and mind during this time. A cancer diagnosis and treatment demands changes in so many areas of your life; adjusting not just what, but how you eat, becomes one of them.

Some guidelines I follow are:

  • Food, and the nutrition it provides to your cells, plays an important part in reducing risk of further illness and in improving your health.
  • It’s important to have a healthy relationship with food, so I encourage you to eat with intention and mindfulness. The concept of eating “on the run” or while working doesn’t serve your health.
  • Whole-organic foods are free of toxins and provide the most nutrients, so we’ll concentrate on using those.
  • Refined, processed, commercial foods should be avoided. They provide little nutrition and lack cancer-suppressing phytonutrients.
  • Ideally, the food you eat is fresh, prepared with love and with the intent to nourish your body and your soul.

Including and supporting those around you

Immediate family are, of course, directly impacted when a close family member is diagnosed with cancer. Cancer treatment is a very time-consuming and stressful undertaking.

If there are children involved, there is no one way to approach how the family will address this; it often depends on the age of the children. If necessary, I have child psychologists, as well as couple and family therapists, that I am able to refer you to for consultation, to help you decide what is best for you.

One way to support others is to help them know how best to help you. Often those close to you feel helpless, afraid to do anything for fear of making things worse. Others take on too much and get overwhelmed. Spouses and partners usually become the primary caretakers in addition to working and taking care of the household and children. This is too much for one person to do, and if you feel guilty for the burden you’re putting on them, that doesn’t help your healing either.

I can help you teach your support network to accept help. Sharing responsibilities relieves some of the burden on the caretaker and allows your friends to contribute in a way that is meaningful for everyone. I have created and will share with you a spreadsheet that details necessary tasks like food delivery, child care, house cleaning, and other errands. This allows people to contribute in a manner that best suits them while ensuring no one person becomes overwhelmed and no important detail slips through the cracks.

Moving forward, together

It’s easy to become overwhelmed, but I always encourage the women I work with to realize, from the very beginning, you are the boss of your treatment decisions. Your doctors, adjunctive health practitioners, and other members of your medical treatment team will give you their best advice on science and studies, but ultimately you know your body best, and it is up to you to decide what your treatment path will be.

Undergoing cancer treatment can demand a great deal from you and your family. While your oncologists address the tumor, I focus on your health, starting from recent diagnosis, through treatment, and after active treatment has been concluded.

With science as my foundation, I work as close to nature as possible, taking into consideration the influence of emotional and spiritual aspects of the mind and psyche. This, I believe, is how we get you through this difficult time but also how we set the foundation for long-term health.

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