I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Lisa Higgins, a practitioner of massage and other alternative and complementary treatments. For those cancer survivors who struggle with lymphedema, Lisa’s services can mean relief from pain and suffering that conventional treatments often prove unable to address (and may have caused). Having met breast cancer survivors suffering from lymphedema, I appreciate the value these services offer to people seeking to find balance in bodies that are disrupted by disease, illness, toxicity, and stress. When I finished chemotherapy and radiation, I visited with a local naturapath and pursued several approaches to detoxifying my body. Lisa’s blog discusses natural means of addressing many of the conditions that sometimes stump conventional practitioners. She also discusses treatments that complement conventional treatment. You can check out her blog– Lisa Higgins – massage across the table at ozhigginswordpress.com.
It is one of those interesting coincidences that such a practitioner has nominated me. In about 2003 or 2004, seven or eight years before I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, I was feeling sick and could not identify a cause for it. I actually worried that I might be dying. I say “worried” but will admit that I was not worrying terribly. I told my friend Dominique that I sometimes felt like a dying creature and that I had no strong desire to reverse the trend.
Dominique introduced me to Dr. Kevin Pearson, a naturapath. Kevin became my doctor and then a friend. He helped me rediscover my desire to live. I think some of that treatment (including craniosacral therapy, the taking of tinctures of essential oils and flower essences, and process work) I received from Kevin and other practitioners to whom he introduced me seemed very “woo-woo” to me at the time. I was conventional at the time and yet very underserved from a health standpoint.
Kevin died of rectal cancer. I observed his non-conventional treatment of his disease with respect but also great discomfort. He never wavered in his commitment to treatment consistent with his views that some of modern medicine was out of step with the ordinary rules for the preservation of life. He succeeded in reducing the size of his tumors. He sustained his life a long time. I think his body succumbed not to the cancer but to his weakened state resulting from cancer treatment. He was not a peaceful patient. He fought hard for life.
Had I never met Kevin, what might my cancer treatment experience been like? First, I would have received my diagnosis while in a state conducive to shutdown. Instead, I felt ready for treatment and hopeful that it would succeed. Second, I had made some changes in my life. I worked out with a trainer for some time after I met Kevin. I may have had cancer, but I was physically strong. I needed eight packs of blood when I was admitted to the hospital. My doctor could not believe I was walking when I showed up at his office for an appointment to discuss “heavy periods.” In the words of Caitlyn, my trainer, I had a freakishly strong upper body. I ended up needing that after my hysterectomy. I was eating better. When my surgeons questioned my fitness for surgery they put me through a battery of tests and found none of the expected diseases present. Third, I was open to advice about alternative and complementary treatment. I had positive experiences with Kevin and his colleagues’ care. I had undergone about a year of hypnosis and had learned to hypnotize myself, a skill that helped me cope. I was treated at a county hospital and received the standard care. There was no multidisciplinary team advising me on diet, use of supplements, stress reduction, or how to recover from conventional treatment’s side effects. When Dominique showed up at the hospital with a biofeedback tool that she thought might help me deal with pain from a thoroughly toasted bladder, I accepted her help and it did help.
I understand from reading Lisa’s nomination posting and the link that she provided to another blog that explains some of the award’s history (http://sopphey.onimpression.com/2012/05/liebster-blog-award-origins.html) that this is a sweetheart award. I need to do some nominating to pass it forward. I will do that after I have a chance to reflect on this experience.
For today, I want to appreciate the people like Lisa Higgins, who care for and treat people to help them find health and happiness in balance. If my blog helps lead someone to feeling better, then it is a way to repay the practitioners who have helped me feel so much better.
Thanks, Lisa, for this nomination!