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. It’s somewhat hard to throw away millions of dollars of science and say you don’t want to treat cancer with chemotherapy, when you know it has helped people before. 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 decision my mum has got to and I am pleased to say she is doing everything in her power to support her body while doing the chemo. As Western medicine doctor will look at patient X, with XYZ disease and then treat them the same as patient Y who also has XYZ disease. However, an Eastern approach says, looks at the patient more 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, we just need some western medicine to help us. Sometimes acupuncture can help a sore stomach. 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.