Last week we looked at what CAM therapy is, and this week we’re going to explore three types of therapies that are worth including in your patient’s or client’s treatment regime, and we’ll take a closer look at the evidence available to support their use in cancer.
Let’s start with the safest types of CAM therapy - those that involve no drugs, no needles and no drastic dietary changes.
Complementary therapies that promote emotional wellbeing
This first category of complementary therapies includes journaling, mindfulness and (quite possibly my favourite!) nature immersion.
Journaling is a practice that has grown in popularity in recent years, perhaps fuelled (or even fed!) by the explosion of beautiful stationery available on the market. Both my 8-year old daughter and I are self-professed stationery-addicts - we can’t walk past a Paperchase store without being drawn in by all that glitters…!
I’ve been journaling myself for about 2.5...
A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended a “superconsciousness” workshop called Supergenius Life with the hilarious Ryan Pinnick. This guy has arguably struck the perfect blend between humour and self-help - one minute sharing heartbreaking stories, the next having the audience in stitches, but all the while bringing it back to practical, applicable principles you can use to get over your own barriers to growth and experience the best version of your own reality possible.
During the workshop, we spent some time working on our own personal life vision. What I found really interesting about this exercise was that, unlike every other time I’ve sat down to do some “visioning work” and I start with my career and business goals, this time I started with my family life. It came to me so naturally that I couldn’t help but write about my hopes and dreams for my family.
And when the time came to move onto work and business, the words flowed from the tip...
It was probably about a year ago that I first heard of Sophie Trew. It was a patient on a Facebook group (Sarcoma Patients Exploring Integrative Medicine) who told me about Trew Fields Festival and recommended I connect with Sophie, and earlier this year I interviewed her for this blog (see our interview in May here).
This weekend past was Trew Fields season #3 and I went along to learn and connect and soak up the atmosphere, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the big shifts I’d have personally. More about that later.
But first, I want to give you a quick rundown of the major highlights for me, along with the key insights and lessons learned.
Keto - fad, fake or breakthrough?
The first speaker on the cancer awareness stage was Rob Verkerk of Alliance for National Health, speaking about keto - not “the ketogenic diet” (although that was part of it), but rather, the notion that we as a society don’t activate ketosis nearly enough these days.
Life can seem so unfair at times.
Why is it that some of the most beautiful, kind and big-hearted people are the ones who get cancer?
I used to think like this - in fact, I used to be quite one-dimensional in my thoughts about suffering in this world.
That is, until I met a family who flipped this notion on its head. This family taught me what it truly meant to rejoice in all circumstances, even through suffering.
And since then, I’ve had the honour of getting to know many different people whose attitude to sickness, suffering and life’s big disappointments have totally blown me away.
Including the guest on this week’s interview.
It is my absolute pleasure to share with you an interview with the lovely Talaya Dendy of On The Other Side.
Talaya was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has spent a lot of time reflecting on how her mindset has impacted her healing journey. This year sees her celebrating her 8th cancer-free anniversary, and here she...
In recent weeks, a number of people have asked me what I think about mindset and cancer, and this has got me thinking about the impact mindset may have on a patient’s prognosis.
I’m not much of a Twitter-er, to be very honest with you. I think it’s a confusing social media platform (IMHO!) and I just find it all a bit overwhelming. But now and again, I receive a notification that someone who I may have previously interacted with has tweeted something.
Sometimes I’m drawn in to take a closer look, and on one occasion very recently this was the case.
Somebody living with terminal cancer had read an article in which the author’s turn of phrase really upset her. The author of the article had written something about having “beautifully navigated” cancer and survived.
The author of the Tweet, however, had felt that the phrase inferred that if you were terminal, you somehow hadn’t “beautifully navigated” your cancer experience....
I took a little break last week. It was half term here in Leicester and I had booked some annual leave to enjoy time out with the family (although I did end up spending a huge chunk of that time writing a paper for work, but never mind!)
However, I had also fallen prey to the dreaded lurgy that was doing the rounds. I hadn’t been looking after myself properly - you know, the usual drill...burning the candle at both ends, not eating a terribly great diet, making excuses about exercise because I was “too busy”...(I’m sure you’ve heard this sort of thing before!).
Maybe you’ve been there yourself?
Heck, maybe you’re there now too?! (I really hope not, but if that is the case, reach out and let’s chat - helping others is one of my core values).
But then something shifted in me. You see, I’d presented my research at a conference on the 23rd of May - a conference called “Why is Moving Medicine?”, which was kind of ironic...
This week I had the absolute joy and pleasure of interviewing the hilarious Petra O’Hara. I met Petra recently at a business “discovery day” session and I instantly warmed to her infectious personality and knew right away I had to interview her and share her story with you all.
Petra was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago, and describes this episode in her life as “the best thing that’s ever happened to me”. She talks candidly about her frustrations and fears, things that irked her, and how she used her incredible sense of humour to get her through the tough times.
Click on the video above to watch our interview and be inspired by the belief that her cancer experience brought her to: NOTHING is unattainable.
Go ahead and grasp the nettle!
Be the BEST version of your professional self
No one gets into this line of work with selfish ambition and an hollow tin chest! I’ll bet you are a giver to your CORE.
But we’re all human and...
To continue our theme of sharing inspiring stories, this week I’m delighted to share the story of the lovely Erica Beven, founder of Blinking Thinking, which has quite literally done all the blinking thinking for you when it comes to choosing beauty and hygiene products that are safe to use during chemotherapy.
Erica and I connected on Instagram back in March this year, and I knew instantly that I wanted to share her story with you. I am truly inspired by people like Erica who create something beautiful out of something as “ugly” as cancer.
Erica was diagnosed with breast cancer when her daughters were 6 months and 5 years old. Having been told she had to use a pH neutral shampoo, Erica found herself standing in her local pharmacy just one hour after her first chemotherapy treatment. Overwhelmed by the choice of shampoos on the shelves, of which none appeared to be pH neutral, she went home empty handed.
Fast forward a few years and Erica has channeled her energies...
This month, I have the honour and privilege of sharing the inspiring stories of three formidable women who display unimaginable courage.
We kick off this series with none other than the amazing Sophie Trew!
Sophie was diagnosed with a blood cancer when she was just 23 years old. As a journalism graduate who knew nothing about cancer or its causes, she called upon all her research skills she’d developed as a student and delved into the world of integrative cancer therapy.
This incredible young woman built her own integrative recovery plan alongside her chemotherapy regime and within four months, her scans were clear and she embarked on a quest to learn how to heal her mind, body and spirit.
Fuelled by Sophie’s dreams and ambitions to bring together people in the cancer community who inspired her recovery, Trew Fields was born: the UK’s first Cancer Awareness festival and a legacy to those Sophie knew who died of the disease. Trew Fields represented a place to give...
Can you believe it’s May already?! This year is fast slipping through my fingers…but what a year it has been so far!
As I sat on my egg chair in the garden this morning with my first cuppa of the day and my cats sat either on or near me (!), I was flicking through the pages of my journal.
It randomly fell open at December 31st 2018...and I was sweating over the fact that I wouldn’t have my course finished by then. I read on and saw that I’d actually finished it by 5 January 2019.
Five whole days late…
Devastating, I know…! (Seriously, somebody needs to invent a *sarcasm* font!)
My point is this: sometimes we can be so set on our “perfect” plans that we don’t see all the growth and the learning and skills that we’ve acquired along the way.
As we enter the month of May, I have a series of interviews to share with you. I’ve reached out and connected with a number of people who have lived through the cancer...