Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Annie Appleseed CAM conference. The conference was loaded with information about complimentary cancer therapies. The wellness side of the conference highlighted the mind-body connection and we learned there is much we can do to support ourselves both during and after treatment. One thing I will never forget; the amazing stories. I met a man who had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer at age 21. He was told there was no treatment and facing three good months. He decided he did not want his sister to get his room, and went on a healing mission. Today, 35 years later, he is very much alive and well, sorry sis. Marissa Harris was diagnosed in 1998 with stage IV pancreatic cancer. 18 doctors told her there was no hope, no treatment and that she would die in three months. The 19th doctor told her those other doctors don’t know when they are going to die, so how can they know when she will. He offered her hope and a treatment plan. I had breakfast with her Saturday, and not only is she alive, she runs marathons! What was her cure? She changed her conceptual framework. She learned how to manage stress, and how to handle fear. Diet, exercise, acupuncture, and self-love were part of her treatment. She spoke of the anger when her oncologist recommended Chemotherapy. She said her hair was her most cherished asset. The doctor told her that sometimes you have to lose what you think is most important. Amazing woman, and yes, the hair grew back just fine.
I also came away from the conference sad. For all the progress that has been made finding cures and preventive measures, what do you say to the father of a nine year old boy who has just finished treatment for pancreatic cancer? Do you suggest a better diet, more exercise? No, that is surely not the cause for his cancer. It means that we as a community must be vigilant in protecting our children and our environment; we must reduce the toxic load, stop dumping chemicals into our drinking water, stop the overuse of pesticides and learn more about the effects of toxins. We will never know the cause of this boy’s cancer, but hopefully we can help prevent others from developing this terrible disease.