Category Archives: Conventional Methods

Chemotherapy, Surgery, Conventional Companions

How did 2 get into Radical Remission? Listen Saturday

Join me on the air Saturday at 7 p.m. EST with Marcia McMahon, in radical remission from stage 4 breast cancer. Marcia hosts the Peaceful Planet show at  Www.bbsradio.com/peacefulplanet. We’ll cover a wealth of holistic information on thriving beyond cancer, including spiritual approaches , diet, and traditional therapy.
Marcia is a creative artist and reiki healer. Visit her website at www.divineconnectionswithreiki.com
Peaceful Planet with Marcia McMahon

How to Release Your Scar Tissue after Treatment

By Lauren Cadman, PT, with Heidi Bright

Editor’s note: I went to see Lauren after breaking two fingers in three places this past fall. Physical therapy could not address the excess scar tissue in the affected joints. After eight myofascial release treatments, I now have full use of my fingers again. I am grateful for this healing modality and want to share it with you.

photo kit from John Barnes

Do you have pain left over from a cancer procedure that physical therapy has not helped reduce? Do your scar tissues and the areas around them still hurt? It might be time to consider myofascial release.

“Myo” means muscle and “fascia” means connective tissue.

This safe and effective hands-on technique involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into areas of the body that are restricted, dense, and tight. This process decreases the tightness to alleviate pain, reduces the thickness of scar tissue, and helps restore normal sensation and motion.

Myofascial restrictions can be caused not only by surgeries to remove cancerous tissue, but also by chemotherapy and radiation.

Breast cancer patients, for example, undergo lumpectomies or mastectomies that leave behind scar tissue. Even without surgery, these patients may develop fibrotic tissue as a direct result of chemotherapy or radiation.

Scars also can grow inside the body like vines, reaching into other regions of the body, like the respiratory diaphragm and into the neck and shoulders. Patients may experience pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back after treatment for breast cancer. Patients who have been treated for cancer in other areas may experience pelvic, back, and leg pain.

This tissue resembles what I like to describe as “a wet sponge drying out to a dry sponge.” The tissue feels thick, tight, and gristly when palpated or touched.

The trauma and inflammatory responses in the body create myofascial restrictions with tensile pressures of about 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures. That’s a lot of pressure.

These restrictions do not show up in many standard tests (including x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, or electromyography). Instead, they are detected using palpation, or touch.

Once scar tissue has formed, myofascial release techniques applied below and above the scar region can be helpful in eliminating the pain and softening the scar. It can be extremely helpful in improving tissue mobility, pliability, and hydration.

The time element in MFR treatment is vital. It is essential that the practitioner apply sustained pressure to the tissue for a minimum of 90 seconds. This low-load gentle pressure applied slowly will allow the connective tissue to soften and elongate.

Being free of pain and being able to move more freely can help provide emotional benefits for those treated for cancer.

Cancer treatment should not end with interventions to treat the cancer. Too often patients are left with residual problems, some of which can be addressed with MFR to help them return to more optimal health.

If you or someone you know has been down this road, consider adding myofascial work to the health care plan.

Balance the soft tissue, decompress the joints, alleviate the residual pain, and restore your energy.

 

Lauren Cadman, PT, Premier Wellness and Myofascial Release

https://www.premierwellnesspt.com/index.html

Free Dedicated Helpline Coming Sept. 1 for Leiomyosarcoma Guidance

If you or someone you love has Leiomyosarcoma, you will soon be able to call a new helpline offering free counseling support. The designated phone number will go live Sept. 1, 2018, and is a collaborative effort between the National LeioMyoSarcoma Foundation and the Cancer Support Community. Operating hours will be Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The phone number will be announced by Sept. 1. International rates apply.

Trained CSC professionals and counselors will provide information, counseling, and navigation services in both English and Spanish at no cost to callers.

Medical advice is not provided, and must be directed back to the patient’s oncology care team. Information provided on clinical trials and genomic/genetic testing must always be further discussed with your oncologist/oncology care team.

Cancer Support Helpline services include, but are not limited to:

  • Connecting callers to local or national resources, transportation services and other local programs where patients live, providing direct coordination support to patients
  • Short-term cancer counseling and emotional assistance
  • Treatment decision planning in support of the oncological care team
  • Financial navigation and counseling regarding the costs of cancer and its treatments
  • Specialized information on finances / financial planning guidance
  • Clinical trials navigation/information and search assistance
  • Genetic/genomic information assistance
  • Access to an online distress screening program, CancerSupportSource®
  • General information about the Cancer Support Community

For questions, please contact Annie Achee at annieachee@aol.com.

NLSMF also has created a new website about life changes: https://nlmsflifechange.wordpress.com/

How to Prepare for Death More Quickly Than the Emperor of China

The emperor thereupon ordered Xu Fu to gather a group of several thousand young boys and girls and set out to sea to search for the immortal men.

Records of the Grand Historian, translated by Burton Watson

Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BCE), who became the first emperor of China, longed for immortality. He ordered expeditions to follow up on legends of immortals. He probably swallowed mercury, believing it was the elixir of life.

Yet he also had been preparing for his death since he was thirteen years old. He ordered the creation of a massive terracotta army built for his huge mausoleum. When he did die, at age 49, his preparations probably were in order.

The emperor’s eternal army was rediscovered in 1974, and a small portion is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum until Aug. 12, 2018.

Qin Shi Huang didn’t make his death preparations easy on his subjects. Are you making yours easier for yourself and your loved ones? It only takes four documents, not a huge clay army. Mine are ready, and I intend to live another fifty years. I hope I have to update them many, many times.

It is best for all concerned if you have an advance health care directive, a power of attorney for health care, a general financial power of attorney, and a final will and testament.

Instructions for how to create these are in Thriver Soup, p. 101-103, written by a top-tier lawyer. You probably can pick up some simplified versions of a couple of these documents at the front desk of a hospital.

Better to be prepared, like an emperor, because you can’t predict when the grim reaper’s chariot is going to run you over.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

As you prepare your living will and health care power of attorney, it might be a good idea to consult with a hospice nurse about the advisability of some procedures.

Source:

Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian, translated by Burton Watson (1993). http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/history-shi-huang-emperor-china/5818.aspx

How Safe are Your Medications from Thieves?

A woman with stage 4 lung cancer was found dead in a wooded area in Kentucky, and investigators believe the motive for the murder—by her cousin with two accomplices—was to obtain her narcotic painkillers.

The suspect knew where she kept them, and she had just received another shipment of 120 pain pills on June 8. She disappeared from her home June 9, and her body was found six days later.

Storing opioids

If you have pain killers, where do you store them? I tried locking things in a footlocker with a padlock. My teenager could crack into it within minutes.

I have talked with others who have had cancer treatment. Do they lock up their painkillers? Usually not. Like me, some don’t realize many painkillers are basically heroin pills and addictive.

Here is a list of opioid medications:

Do you have any of these? If so, are they effectively locked up?

“My child wouldn’t take these.”

That’s what I thought. My child did take them. And became an addict. And if he hadn’t, a friend of his might have found and taken them.

I found a digital lock box is the best solution for controlled substances in my home. It costs more, but I know only I can access the contents.

Other addictive prescription drugs to lock up:
— Tranquilizers and depressants, including barbiturates and benzodiazepines, like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium.
— Stimulants, including Ritalin and amphetamines such as Adderall.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
According to 2015 government estimates, more than two million people are addicted to opioids. Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Please put your medications in a digital lockbox.

Sources:

https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/crime/article213429614.html

http://local12.com/news/local/new-allegations-about-cancers-patients-robbery-murder-revealed

https://patch.com/kentucky/across-ky/terminal-cancer-patient-murdered-her-painkillers-report

https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/prescription/opioids-and-morphine-derivatives.html

https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA17-5053-12/SMA17-5053-12.pdf

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/03/22/most-addictive-prescription-drugs-on-market.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-opioid-prescriptions-dropped-20170707-story.html

Remember the Rachels on Mother’s Day

Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.

Matthew 2:16-18, New Living Translation

Rachel was an early biblical character who died giving birth to her second son. She was buried by the road to Bethlehem. Bethlehem would later become the birth location for a king, according to Matthew’s gospel. And Herod, the jealous and frightened ruler at the time, sent his soldiers to kill all the male infants and toddlers near Bethlehem to remove this new threat. One cannot imagine the kind of imperishable grief such an act would produce on a vulnerable population.

This story is part of the birth narrative of Jesus. When was the last time you heard a preacher talk about this trauma in connection with the nativity story? It seems to me that mothers who grieve their children appear easily overlooked.

The world is full of Rachels who weep disconsolately for their deceased children. My friend Joan just lost her daughter to diabetes.

With the current opioid epidemic, mothers who are cancer patients need to be wary. I was told in 2011 to “stay ahead of the pain,” and was sent home with a month’s supply of what I now realize were heroin pills. Recently I talked with a cancer survivor who also had leftover opioids and a teenaged son at home. I urged her to get a digital lockbox or return the pills to a pharmacy. Even if her son doesn’t find or use them, a friend of his might. Then the treacherous slide into heroin overdose begins.

If I ever doubt myself as a mother fighting for her children, all I have to do is look at this Mother’s Day card my deceased son made for me about ten years ago. I’m seen as firm with my words and my sword… with a kind smile on my face, all centered in a heart glowing with love.

I’m hardly alone. Even my son’s memorial garden was just visited again by Rachel’s weeping. A mother bird in the sweet gum tree had fought valiantly for her eggs, evidenced by the circle of feathers; but her efforts simply weren’t enough. The nest fell to the grass and her babies were hungrily consumed.

Mother’s Day is approaching. Ugh. For me, and for perhaps hundreds of thousands of mothers, this time on the calendar is a terrible reminder of broken hearts and empty arms. Despite all we do, sometimes we still lose our children. Some mothers lose their only children—I know two such women who lost theirs to heroin. I have heard of one woman who lost all three of her children to heroin overdoses. Losing your children is bad enough. Add on the stigma of death to drugs and you have an unfathomable nightmare.

I am most fortunate that one of my brothers will be here and we will spend the day making and eating delicious meals our mother made when we were growing up—a time of innocence. My younger son will get to indulge with us. (He loves to tell me there’s no food in my house.) Foods I typically now avoid, yet that give comfort and solace to an empty heart. Corn fritters, hamburger pie, cheesecake, springerle. I’ll still be weeping for my child, as I do nearly every day, yet with social support I also will have some consolation.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Mothers fight for their offspring, though not always successfully. Many of these mothers are single. It can be such a lonely time, especially with the isolation that can come from losing a child to drugs.

On Mother’s Day, please pray for or send positive intentions to the Rachels everywhere. Those who have suffered heavy losses need comfort and love—a kind word, a simple text, a card—something to let them know they are not entirely alone.

Message in a Cardinal

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young;

Deuteronomy 22:6, JPS Tanakh 1917

The compassionate act for a hungry person of ancient times was to take only the eggs from a bird’s nest and leave the mother. This created benefits: humans had food and birds could again reproduce, making more human food.

Fortunately I can walk to a store open 24 hours every day and get a variety of foods to eat. I don’t need the eggs in the nest by my porch to satisfy my survival needs.

The cardinal nesting by my side door probably is the one that tried to create a nest on my porch light. Hanging from this light fixture is the beautiful wind chime given to me by Kay so my deceased son could make it sing for me.

Perhaps the mother bird gave up when the door kept swinging open and shut, open and shut. So she moved to the tree next to the porch. As close as she could get without the constant disturbance.

Her nest cradles two eggs. I enjoy seeing her as I walk by.

How did those eggs get out of her little body?

How does she know to sit on her eggs? The sea turtle lays her eggs and abandons them, returning to the sea.

How does she know to leave the eggs alone? If she were human, I imagine she’d be neurotically inspecting the eggs, rolling them around, listening for any sounds.

Nope. She sits calmly, quietly, still as stone. Watching. Waiting. Being.

She makes me wonder about my way of being as a mother. I was anxious, wanting everything to work out perfectly for my two offspring. Instead, one turned to drugs, and three years ago lost his life.

Would I blame the bird if one of her eggs broke, or if a hatchling fell out of the nest, or if a creature ate one? Today I found a broken robin’s egg on my driveway, not five feet from the tree where the cardinal nestles. This is life. These things happen. We do not control outcomes, especially with terrible illnesses like cancer and addiction.

James Hillman (American psychologist, 1926 –2011), in his book The Soul’s Code, calls the inordinate self-blame of grieving parents “the parental fallacy.” It is false to think we have enough control to manage every outcome. We can try and influence, yet ultimately, it is not up to us.

Perhaps this is why the cardinal tried to build a nest right above my son’s wind chime and the robin lost her baby. Maybe it’s a message, like, “It’s not your fault, Mom. You did everything you could. Sometimes terrible things happen. And I am near you now, singing through the wind chime, watching you through the eyes of a bird nesting by your door.”

They are reminders to have compassion for myself, as I have compassion for these mother birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“’Thriver Soup’ saved my life!”

Jacqui Roell, a Registered Nurse, says, “Thriver Soup saved my life!”

Jacqui was diagnosed with Stage 2b lobular breast cancer and a friend urged her to read Thriver Soup. The first thing Jacqui read in the book was, “I thought I had been sentenced to die. Instead, I had been invited to live joyfully so my soul could prosper” (p. 19).

Jacqui was not expecting to read something like that. She set Thriver Soup aside.

She had already decided not to do chemotherapy or radiation. Eventually she wanted to see what I suggested in the way of alternative treatments.

She opened up Thriver Soup again, and read, “At the start of my cancer journey, I had a long talk with Vince and Connie Lasorso at Whatever Works Wellness Center. For decades they have offered complementary treatment methods and emotional support to cancer patients. They told me the story of a woman who worked in the local holistic community and got cancer. She rejected all conventional treatments and focused on a variety of alternative healing practices. She ended up dying of cancer, acknowledging at the end that if she had received conventional medical care in the beginning, she probably would have survived. That story struck a note with me and I decided to follow what my doctors recommended.” (p. 25)

Jacqui says, “That was huge for me. It made me take a step back and reconsider my options. It gave me permission to do what my doctor wanted me to do, while also taking care of what I needed to do spiritually and mentally.”

Using the practical tips in Thriver Soup for managing chemo and radiation, Jacqui did conventional treatment.Thriver Soup is my bible,” she said. “It is amazing and made a huge difference for me.”

Jacqui finished treatment January 12, 2018, and is free of evidence of disease. Yet she continues to read and refer to Thriver Soup, because the ideas can apply to any and every area of life.

“Everyone should read Thriver Soup, including caregivers of people diagnosed with cancer,” she says. “It can help caregivers support their loved ones by learning about complementary treatments that assist the patient. This can reduce the patients’ experience of stress.”

Jacqui spoke at the Feb. 17 HIME Wellness event at Crossroads Mason in Ohio.

I will be speaking at 10:30 am and 1 pm on Saturday at Kent Cook Institute, and at noon on Tuesday at Main Street Books, both in Davidson, NC.

On Thursday, March 1, I am the headline speaker at 2 pm at the Annie Appleseed Conference in West Palm Beach, FL.