Taking the Scare Out of Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions

If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, that alone can scare the heck out of you. Then, to make matters worse, you’re expected to make a bunch of decisions about the treatments being offered to you for the type of breast cancer you have. I mean, let’s face it – you just found out you have breast cancer. Now you’re expected to make some really important decisions based on what your doctor is telling you. It’s enough to send you looney, and it’s no wonder people often make decisions they later come to regret. Let me help you take the scare out of breast cancer treatment decisions.

Let’s slow it all down, shall we? Watch my video. You have time to make these decisions. In all likelihood, your tumor has been growing for a number of years. Taking a little time out to come to terms with (a) the fact that you’ve been diagnosed, (b) the fact that you have a bunch of important decisions to make, and (c) you have no idea what you’re doing. Taking a little time will not hurt in the long run. Just don’t get stuck in that place and make no decisions at all – that wouldn’t be a good thing.

If you need help, send me a message. I have loads of resources and articles for you to delve into. I am available for coaching – call it information gathering. Whatever you want to call it, I can help. Don’t go through this alone.

Looking Deeper to Find the Cause of Breast Cancer

Looking Deeper to Find the Cause of Breast Cancer

When I was studying naturopathic medicine in the late 90’s, one of the things I was most impressed about was the fact that we were taught, when faced with a patient and an illness, to get to the root of the problem, to discover why the patient had the illness. I recall one instructor telling us that if you don’t find what is causing a person’s malady – or dis-ease – treating the symptoms was often not going to heal  them. It was impressed upon us that in order to heal from a disease you have to find out what is causing it.

Fast forward a few years, and I heard those awful words, “I’m sorry but you do have breast cancer.” I knew that in order to heal, I was going to need to find the reason for my manifesting this disease. I feel that is where conventional medicine totally fails us with regard to breast cancer – the recommended treatments do not address the reason why we got breast cancer in the first place and in many cases exacerbate the problem.

Cancer is a complex disease and can be caused by a multitude of factors, which is why I coach my clients to endeavor to discover what it was in the first place that caused them to manifest this disease.

Many already know. A whopping 90% of my clients tell me that they were under enormous levels of stress in the lead-up to their breast cancer diagnosis, and it was the same for me. Stress is a huge factor, because high levels of cortisol (the hormone that is released when we are under stress) impact our health in many ways.

18 years ago, Stanford University released a study which found that women with advanced breast cancer who had unusually high cortisol levels were significantly more likely to die sooner than patients with normal levels of the hormone. The women also had lower levels of natural killer cells (cells of the immune system that scour the body for cancer cells), and this reduced immunity was also a factor in the higher mortality of the women in the study. [1]

So for at least 18 years our medical professionals have known about the stress factor yet, to my knowledge, very few oncologists ever suggest that their breast cancer patients examine their stress levels or try to do anything about it. It seems they are too busy to read such studies, but a simple how-to-meditate course together with joining a support group has been shown to effectively lower cortisol levels and provide women with some much-needed social support – and these women are living longer.

Stress is not the only factor in breast cancer. As I stated before, there are many possible causes and here is a list of the 18 more prevalent ones:

  1. Stress and chronically high levels of cortisol
  2. Shift work, which disrupts melatonin release (see my article “Optimize Melatonin and Reduce Breast Cancer Risk)
  3. Lack of exercise
  4. Poor diet with inadequate fruit/vegetable/fiber intake
  5. Insulin resistance
  6. Epstein Barr Virus
  7. Obesity
  8. Environmental pollution, both in the home and outside it
  9. Overabundance of xenoestrogens, disrupting hormones
  10. Genetic predisposition (only 5-10% of breast cancer is due to this)
  11. Radiation exposure
  12. Poor breast microbiome (if you haven’t heard of this before, see the studies listed below under references)
  13. Compromised immunity
  14. Hormone replacement therapy
  15. Poor gastrointestinal health
  16. Poor dental health, including root canals in teeth
  17. Poor emotional health – an overabundance of toxic emotions
  18. Chronic inflammation

My goal by writing this article is to empower you with information so that you are better able to make your body hostile terrain for cancer development and growth. I am not telling you to ignore what your doctor has recommended for you. I do suggest that, in addition to whatever your conventional medicine doctor has recommended for you, one of the things to which you give a high priority is to discover the reason why you have breast cancer in the first place. It’s a lot of territory to cover, no doubt about it, but I encourage you to work with an integrative oncologist, or an oncology naturopath, or a functional medicine doctor, or at the very least (not to trivialize what I do) a breast cancer coach. All of us can help you find your way back to good health.

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of prioritizing stress relief. Sometimes it’s an improvement in nutrition, sometimes it’s a matter of dealing with a wonky gene (and that’s where functional medicine can help). It might be that you don’t methylate properly. It could be an environmental toxin. So focus on working with a trained professional, healing and getting past this. YOU CAN DO THIS!

References

[1] Stress Hormone May Contribute to Breast Cancer Deaths – https://news.stanford.edu/news/2000/june28/breast-628.html

Breast Cancer Linked to Bacterial Imbalances – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171006124004.htm

Breast tissue, oral and urinary microbiomes in breast cancer – http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path[]=21490&path[]=68289

GET MY BEST TIPS on healing from breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the  far right-hand side of each page of this website. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

How To Be More Assertive At The Doctor’s Office

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / photostock

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / photostock

How To Be More Assertive At The Doctor’s Office

One of the things I hear all too often from my breast cancer coaching clients is that they are tired of being bullied by their doctor when they want to investigate more natural ways to heal breast cancer, and many ask me for help on how to be more assertive at the doctor’s office.

Really – this is a big deal.  People who are going through breast cancer are having to make lots of decisions about their treatments in a pretty short period of time.

The decisions that need to be made are scary, and if the wrong decision gets made, it could be quite detrimental to one’s health and, ultimately, life.  So that part is hard enough.

Many of the people with whom I am working are wanting to go a more natural route.  Some may choose to have chemotherapy and/or radiation and use a blend of natural therapies, some don’t want the toxicity of chemotherapy or radiation at all, and some will depart from their oncologist’s recommendations when it comes to the subject of hormone blocking medications.

Dealing With The Dinosaurs

Regardless of a person’s choices, it has been my observation that the more forward-thinking doctors are okay with their patient’s choices and support their decisions.

Every once in awhile, however, we run across a dinosaur.  A doctor who absolutely refuses to see their patient’s argument and gets mad at them for having an opinion that is contrary to what is being recommended.

The dinosaurs are apt to say all kinds of negative things like, “Well you will be seeing me again in a few months when the cancer comes back.” or “You will be sorry that you made that decision.”

The most heinous thing I was ever told by one of my ladies is that her doctor told her “You are a dead woman walking.”  Can you believe that?  It  still makes me madder than a wet hen.

So how to deal with the dinosaurs?  

It can be a scary thing, going against your doctor’s orders.  I know a few women who just about have an anxiety attack when they know they are going to have “that conversation” with their doctor.

Assertiveness is a skill that takes practice.  It may be much easier for you to swallow your feelings and just crumble, but how will that make you feel later?  You won’t be happy about it, I promise.

Please note – I am not advocating that you go against your doctor’s orders or recommendations.  But if you have decided upon a different course of action and are dealing with a dinosaur, here are my best tips.

7 Tips On How To Be More Assertive At The Doctor’s Office

1.  Most importantly, know that this is YOUR body.  You get to say what happens to it.  If you are not happy about your doctor’s treatment plan, and you have done the research and decided upon a different course of action, that is your prerogative.  You have every right to do this.

2.  Don’t go in unprepared.  Think about what you want to say.  Print off the research that you have been reading that leads you to believe your course of action is the better one.  Prepare the words you want to use ahead of time.  Visualize the meeting beforehand, with you speaking your truth and your doctor listening, and it will go much more smoothly.

3.  Realize that by saying NO, you are not hurting the doctor’s feelings.  In an hour or two, he/she will most likely forget all about this conversation.

4.  Take a friend or spouse with you – someone who will absolutely have your back and support you if you start to crumble.  Another set of ears to listen and take notes is always a good idea.

5.  While you are in the doctor’s office waiting to be seen, do a little deep breathing.  This helps ease your worries and anxiety.  Breathe in what you need – peace, serenity, strength, resolve – and breathe out feelings of anxiety, worry, and fear.

6.  Be specific, calm, honest, clear in your words, and be respectful.  Make eye contact and use confident body language.  The doctor will see that you mean what you say.

7.  Keep emotions in check.  This is not a time to cry or shout or lose your temper.  Keep your voice even and firm.

At the end of the day, realize that your doctor works for you, not the other way around.  You are not there to please them.  They are there to help you get better and you get to have a say in what happens to you.  By all means, listen to their arguments for a particular type of therapy, but if it doesn’t make sense to you, you have every right to seek out another doctor’s opinion and you have every right to say no.

I wish you much healing on your journey.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

The Power Of The Mind Heals – Give It 100

Photo courtesy of Lusi / rgbstock.com

Photo courtesy of Lusi / rgbstock.com

The Power Of The Mind Heals – Give It 100

As a breast cancer coach I speak nearly daily with women who worry about whether or not they will survive this disease.  Understandable worries.  We speak of many things, such as nutrition, exercise, super foods, etc., and all of these things are important.  But of equal importance is the power of the mind to heal.

Faith, Belief, Hope

I had those same worries ten years ago when I was going through breast cancer.  Back then the Internet wasn’t such a valuable resource, nothing like it is now.  I had heard that we can harness the power of the mind to heal ourselves, and I had read about it in Ian Gawler’s books “You Can Conquer Cancer” and “The Creative Power of Imagery”.  But reading about something and putting it into practice are two very different things.  It requires a lot of faith and belief in what you are doing.  Not to mention hope…

It can be very scary, especially when you decide to go your own way, and against your doctor’s recommendations (I said yes to chemotherapy – eventually – but no to radiation and Tamoxifen, and I am daily in contact with many others doing the same).  But I decided I had nothing to lose and so I went in search of meditation teachers who could show me how to use the power of the mind to heal myself.

What I learned was that our powerful brain allows us to transcend our present reality, providing the power to open us up so that we may create new possibilities for ourselves.
 
Upworthy Video Inspires

I was thinking about this just this morning when I came across the most inspiring video on www.upworthy.com.  The headline read “They Said She Was Paralyzed, And She Couldn’t Afford Her Recovery, Then A Dancer Changed It All“.  Click the link to watch the video.

The dancer in the headline, Karen, didn’t know how to dance but challenged herself to learn it in a year and filmed 10 seconds per day of her progression.  Cynthia, the paralyzed woman, found Karen’s videos and decided that since she couldn’t afford the treatment to get better, she would simply challenge herself each day to keep going, to do a little more and then a little more, and soon she was walking!

I noticed at one point in the film she was also using meditation – it appears at about the 1:07 mark in the video.

I just wanted to share this with you today because it illustrates how powerful we are once we set our minds to doing something.  It can be something small like learning how to draw, or something huge like healing cancer.

But we can do it.  The power of the mind is truly awesome and we only use a small percentage of our big, powerful brains.

Would you like to challenge yourself?  There is a Give It 100 movement you can join – find out more about that here.

If that doesn’t appeal, I have a downloadable course called Change Your Life Meditation Course which explains how the power of the mind works and how you can create some healing for yourself.  I created it for people who live in small towns and don’t have access to meditation groups but anyone can benefit from it.

Thanks to Upworthy.com for the inspiring video, and to Give It 100 for encouraging people to try new things!

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.  You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.

The Healing Power of Music

healing power of music

Photo courtesy of Ambro and stock.xchng

Normally, getting ready for my day is a pretty mundane thing.  But today, my iPod was playing some really great music and I was dancing (trying not to be too critical in front of the bathroom mirror – just enjoying the movement and the tunes) and it got me thinking about the healing power of  music.

A Supercharged Brain and U2

When I was going through chemotherapy, the night following my infusion would generally be mostly wakeful.  Those darned chemicals were racing around my body and seemed to supercharge my brain.  So I’d lie for hours and listen to music.

You are never so attentive and mindful of a song and what goes into it as you are during the black of night when there are no distractions.  Using headphones also brings the music closer, you can hear every drum beat, every nuance of the singer’s voice.  It was pure magic – I would listen for hours.  (My favorite night-time listening music was by U2, I love them).

The Healing Power of Music

I found a wonderful website called caregiver.com – written for caregivers of dementia patients.  They had this to say about the healing power of music:

Positive results include elevated mood, increased socialization and appetite and reduction in agitation. These benefits are attributed to the stimulation the brain receives during a music therapy session, a sort of “cognitive workout” inspiring us to coin the phrase, “What exercise is to the body, music is to the brain.” The power of music often inspires physical movement and can be used in combination to encourage gentle exercise.

I was able to find a number of articles on-line that spoke of the healing power of music.  Benefits include:

  • Soothing jangled nerves
  • Calming mind and body
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Boosting immune system
  • Focusing mind and attention
  • And so much more!

PBS has a video you can view (you’ll have to wade through the commercial first) about the Healing Power of Music.  Pretty powerful stuff for brain injury patients.

Anyway – I believe music can be very powerful for those trying to overcome a disease such as cancer.  It can soothe your soul, help you through the treatments, and boost your immune system.  My suggestion?  Get an iPod or MP3 player and load all your very favorite songs on it and take it with you to your treatments.

I am currently also putting together some healing meditations for cancer patients and will post them when they are available.

By the way, the song I was dancing to in the bathroom?  Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, “Nowhere to Run”.  Yep, it’s an oldie, but hey – I grew up in the era of the Vietnam War and that song meant a lot to us!  Still sounds great today.

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Making Healing Choices

making healing choices

Image Source: stock.xchng/adamr

Making Healing Choices

Because every person is different – we come from different families, we have different ways of coping with life, different belief systems, different spiritual beliefs, different experiences, emotions and fears — all of this makes us who we are and directly affects how we make healing choices when dealing with a disease such as breast cancer.

One Size Does Not Fit All

I also feel that that very difference between each of us means that not one size fits all with regard to medical treatments, both conventional and alternative/complementary.  It is because each person is so unique that I feel medicine in the future will stop throwing the exact same therapies at each of us to help us heal from breast cancer.

We have already seen a leaning toward that future of medicine with chemosensitivity testing, although it is currently more prevalent in EU countries than here in the US.

Being a natural therapist, I needed to be able to make my healing choices from a combination of both conventional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine.  I was able to choose each modality and combine them to help me get to that healing place quickly and because I had the breast cancer background already (having gone through it with both grandmother and mother) and had studied it so intensively, I felt very blessed and fortunate to have those healing choices.

Honoring Choices

I believe it’s important to honor the wellness choices every person makes and to respect their religious and spiritual beliefs, even if they are quite different from our own.  Many doctors don’t take these important differences into consideration though – some act absolutely outrageously if one of us doesn’t follow their recommendations to the finest detail.

What Are They Thinking?

My own very good oncologist, although baffled at me sometimes, respected my decisions and did his level best not to say things like “You’ll come to regret that decision” or “Well, if you get it back again, don’t expect me to treat you.”  Amazingly, other cancer patients hear those statements all too frequently.

One of my subscribers was told by her oncologist that she was a “dead woman walking”.  That kind of negative, defeating statement fills me with rage!

It’s a pity that so many treatment providers tend to believe that the therapies they offer are the ONLY ones that should be considered.  I know they do their best, but what I’ve discovered is that the answers to healing come from many different directions.

It is so very important to have doctors and natural therapists that really hear you, respect you as a separate human being, and treat you accordingly.

Trusting Our Inner Wisdom

We need to trust our inner wisdom with any healing choices. Pay attention to your differences and make the best choice for you.  This is your journey and your body and you have every right to choose what happens.  Choice may be the only true power that we have during this difficult journey with breast cancer.

Can I Help You?

If I can help you on your path, I’m honored to do so.  I have years and years of experience with breast cancer, going through it with my mother, myself in 2004, and with dozens of coaching clients. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.  I also having coaching available to you, as well as How-To Courses. Lastly I’d like to share this quote from Buddha (this also appears on my “How I Can Help” page):

“Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don’t rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don’t infer or be deceived by appearances.  Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will only lead to delusion.  Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself, give up the bad and embrace the good.”

Beside you in the healing journey,

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