In the past 2 months my mother has undergone intensive chemotherapy for her diffused b-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but for the first time she has done this with the true assistance of eastern medicine and naturopathy. As I mentioned in a previous post, we heard about this professor of Chinese medicine who treats cancer as a ‘chronic illness’ with herbs and other support. She is not throwing away millions of dollars of science and saying you don’t want to treat cancer with chemotherapy. But equally, when you have not been ‘cured’ from 3 previous doses of chemotherapy you also wonder ‘what else’ could I be doing to help my body fight its attacker. That is the discussion we have been having, and if it is not making her feel worse, then we figure why not give it a go and try to support her body while doing chemo. From what I understand, an Eastern medicine approach looks at the patient individually and then might say, patient X needs support with with liver to ensure the chemotherapy is being absorbed properly, patient Y needs to have some Chinese herbs to support her lungs and so on. I was thrilled to listen to this professor with my mum, and also to hear him discuss that most cancer patients in Australia are in fact vitamin D deficient…hard to imagine since we live with the sunshine, but we also ‘slip, slop, slap’ and cover up when we are in the sun, not enough time for the sun to penetrate our bones.
Obviously, it’s a work in progress, and I can’t say what it is that is helping my mum, she appears to be doing quite well given the circumstances, and whether in fact she is recovering differently this time or if there are other ‘things’ at work. But I wanted to put down in writing the importance of combining both approaches to getting well. Sometimes, there is a simple western fix. And then sometimes acupuncture can help. But I think it is up to each individual to monitor this for what works best for them. For me, that’s about bridging the gap between east and western approaches to health.