I attended my first breast cancer support group last night and it was amazing that the main subject of conversation is much like that of every diabetes meetup I’ve ever been to.
You must be your own medical advocate. You must educate yourself on your condition. You must be willing to search out alternative therapies, nutritional recommendations and own your recovery and/or self-management.
I’ve told my story of the diabetes misdiagnosis before. Here
I was amazed, last night, to hear of breast cancer stories sounding quite the same. One participant was diagnosed as stage 3b and then they found cancer in her sternum. She was told she could live another 3, fantastic years. Her reply. . I don’t think so, I’m looking at another 50 if I have anything to do with it. She started combing the internet for new studies, new therapies, anything she could find to battle her cancer. She was able to bring a new radiation therapy to her Dr. that he hadn’t suggested because it was so new. Well, what does she have to lose in trying it, right?
I mentioned some information I’d read on the Gerson Therapy. There aren’t a lot of published studies to verify this works. . but, plenty of anecdotal evidence. She said she’d read about it as well, but, “you’ll never find an M.D. to go along with that.” I was happy to report that when I’d mentioned it to my Dietician, K, I was told that indeed, there is a Dr. that offers it as an alternative medical practice. If I should have recurrence and choose to use that method of treatment, it’s available to me.
I’ve had plenty of people, in the diabetes community, smirk and say, “well, you don’t have to go THAT far,” when I asked about raw diets, juicing, vegan, paleo, etc. I’ve been told sooo many times, “you’re a Type 1, you can eat whatever you want.” Well, that’s really not true for me. I’m a 1.5, LADA and have shown signs of insulin resistance.
Seriously, I read some of the other T1 blogs and am jealous to know they’re using, maybe, 20U of insulin a day and I’m celebrating that I’m down from 115U to 50U a day. It’s quite evident to me that I’m not a typical T1 when I eat 3 Oreos. I should be able to bolus 3U to cover the 33 grams of carbohydrate, sit down and screw them open, scrape out the yummy cream filling, gnaw on the outside chocolatey goodness and have my glucose levels return to 100 within two hours. Instead, I was 340 for over 5 hours. While I love Oreos, they certainly aren’t THAT good. So, I’m back to my fruits/veggies, legumes and things that keep my BG in line.
I’ve also really battled cancer-related fatigue. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill- wow- I’m-really- tired tired. This is a my-body-is-shutting-down-get-out-of-the-way tired. I’ve had to find nutritional therapies and exercises that have cancer survivors in mind. I can’t just start running on a treadmill to build my strength and energy.
I must be my own advocate. I must know MY body, well enough to know what it needs to thrive. I must take ownership of the process of providing my body with nutrition and keeping harmful substances out of range. I must confer with my Dr. to make decisions, not just blindly follow his/her lead. I must ask questions, even if the Dr. doesn’t like it. I must push for answers, even if it seems there might not be one.
If I sit around and wait for a Dr. or anyone else, I’m at their mercy, their schedule, their ability to fit me into a list of 200 patients that need decisions this week. I may be overlooked, I may be ignored. . .where’s the hope in that?
BUT. . . by taking control and owning my own health management, I have more hope. I know how hard I can fight, how much I can accomplish when I put my mind to it. I know the resources I have available.
Now, you may ask, where’s your big, bold God in all of this? Well, I also know what He’s capable of. I know that I must do everything in my power to honor this body He’s gifted me with and then, the rest is up to Him. But, I want to know that I was a faithful steward with His gift. I want to know that I did everything possible to live up to the potential He sees in me.
Now, THAT’S HOPE!