Modern vs. Natural

I have to admit, yesterday’s post about my new drug schedule was actually a bit of a lead up to this one. I haven’t spoken too candidly yet about my decision to take the drugs I am on, and I decided now would be as good a time as ever to address it.

There is a world of information out there about ways to treat cancer, and the world seems to be divided into two camps: those who treat it with “modern” drugs and those who treat it through a more “natural” approach.


 Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with any form of illness can surely relate to the amount of information available in both areas. On one hand, our doctors tell us to try certain kinds of treatments, on the other hand there are books upon books out there saying that modern medicine ignores treatments that have been used for centuries.

When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, the green tea started flowing. A lot of people said I needed to get a juicer immediately, eat more “sea vegetables,” and start taking supplements.

I think a lot of this is inspired by what we see in the media. It’s in documentaries like Crazy Sexy Cancer, where a woman with a slow-growing incurable cancer virtually stops the growth of the disease through lifestyle and diet. We often hear more about the miracles on TV than we do about the everyday treatments.

What some people miss however, is that there is a big, BIG difference between someone like me and someone like Kris Carr. Her cancer is “incurable” and mine is “curable.”

Hodgkin’s disease is one of the first types of cancer they tested chemotherapy on decades ago. It is one of the most responsive types of cancer through chemo, and one that actually goes away with modern treatment. A significant number of people diagnosed with Hodgkin’s in their 20s live into their old age because of aggressive chemotherapies, despite the treatment poisoning the body in the process. This book was invaluable for educating me on chemotherapy and its purpose.

I read articles in the New York Times and LA Times yesterday about how Steve Jobs put off surgery for nine months after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in lieu of “Eastern therapies.” At the time of diagnosis, he too had a possibly curable disease, and putting off surgery and chemo may have changed that. Reading this made me angry. When a doctor presents you with something that will save your life, no matter how harsh, how can you look the other way? How is your life not valuable enough?

My point, is that given the choice, I will always choose the treatment that is proven to work best. I was lucky to get a common cancer with a well-known treatment. There really was no debate or need for a bunch of extra opinions because my diagnosis and treatment is so cut and dry.

For now, my focus is on taking my chemo drugs and hoping they work their magic. My oncologist says I will always have a little piece of cancer sitting on top of my heart, so I imagine I’ll invest in that juicer just yet. Because when the chemo is done and I’m left with a poisoned body, I will continue to do what’s proven best to halt further cancer growth and make my body healthy again. I’ll just make sure to do it on the advice of my doctor first.

Posted on October 21, 2011, in Cancer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 58 Comments.

  1. Very informative, thank you. I completely agree that I too would do as much and as quickly as the doctors advised me to stop the spread of my cancer, I would maybe consider alternative therapies in addition to, but the idea of putting off treatment to explore them is crazy.

  2. *stands up and claps*
    While I am always about natural alternatives, I am also of the mind that doctors are doctors and are a crapload smarter than I am about those things. Education is key in treatment and once you get to the point where they are a viable option for maintenance, I think that’s a great idea. Heck, I do that stuff now, so “natural” supplementation makes perfect sense. It’s just not a viable substitute at times. Right now, your decision shows maturity and trust in those who are looking out for your best interests–health and recovery.

    So blast that crap out of there with whatever you need, fall in love with your juicer and move on from this crap! :)

    • Yes! And as much as I’d like to compliment therapies, a lot of your “common sense” therapies go against what the chemo is doing. As educated as I try to be, there’s no way I’m going to fully understand what’s happening with the cells in my body, so I’m not going to pretend like reading a few books makes me smarter than the man with the PhD telling me not to drink green tea (can’t have antioxidants on my chemo, go figure)

  3. I love this post… You’ve hit the nail on the head. When my boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer (He was 27) he immediately went into surgery and dealt with it head on and on the instruction of his doctors… However there are people that take it upon themselves to tell him how he should be treating it – with everything from herbal medicines to cutting out dairy from his diet entirely. Yep – Someone actually suggested the cause of his cancer was too much milk. Aside from finding this ridiculous it is also incredibly scary to spew all this nonsense into someone who is going through something so incredibly difficult and is already questioning ‘why me? what did I do?’
    I’m all for alternative medicines and I’m against unnecessary medicating but with something like cancer when they are treatments available proven to have a success rate that has to be the first port of call.
    Wishing you all the best Susan… You continue to inspire,

    • Thank you Jenn! And yup, there are all kinds of suggestions out there because something worked for somebody’s co-worker’s brother-in-law. Like I’ve said before, I don’t automatically shoot these things down because I’m ALL for learning as much as I can and using what I can to help this process. But no two cancers are the same or can be treated (and cured!) the same way. It’s science!

  4. So wise indeed. You are doing everything right, for you and by you and your beliefs. I really admire that.

  5. Loved this! You are so level headed and smart. You are inspiring me to stand up and speak up…


  6. The whole modern vs natural medicine is such a interesting debate. It’s actually one I’ve had lately with myself about certain things that I’m treating (which obviously are far less serious than yours.) I wish that doctors didn’t have to be all one or the other. I wish that doctors could blend both practices into their recommendations. I also wish that naturopath care was covered by OHIP because as much as I want to explore other options, it’s not financially possible for me right now. I’m lucky to have a doctor that’s open to other options but he did say to me “I can’t comment on that, I’m not trained that way, you’ll have to see a naturopath for that.”

    • Yes and yes. I really wish there was a way to integrate the “two offices” so to speak. And in terms of nutrition advice, it would be nice to have access to people with more specialized areas of interest. You’d be surprised by how hard it is to find someone who is really knowledgeable about how to eat while on chemo! Everyone at the hospital just tells me to drink Ensure… really??

      • In “Anticancer”, Dr. Servan-Schreiber supported both modern and natural medicine. He underwent brain surgery, took chemo and radiation but also altered his diet, exercise regimen and mindset. I felt like his approach was very balanced and refreshing to read. The natural approach to things is a great way to potentially prevent cancer or even lessen its aggressiveness (though who am I to say sans medical degree); however, as for fighting cancer all by itself, I certainly would not leave that up to chance.

        • I think that’s why Anitcancer was one of my favourite books about natural methods, because he was open to how BOTH could benefit you. Who says it has to be one or the other?

  7. Excellent post. I’m all for alternatives and have been fortunate enough to find a family doctor who supports me in my use of alternate therapies to control my used to be chronic, now occasional unexplainable pain. But I also understand that when facing down cancer you need all the ammunition you can get your hands on and in most cases, that means western medicine.

  8. Absolutely perfectly thought out and so well written. Brilliant post!

  9. Each person’s situation is different and you share good rationale to help with the decision making process about treatment.
    It is a difficult concept in a sense; subjecting your body to poison to kill the disease so it can heal. I even think about when people are in remission, and you see them smoke and how we ay have opinions about that. Essentially, it is their body and they can choose what to do, good or bad.

  10. you are a smart woman..wise beyond your years!!

  11. As someone who has treated patients with cancer (and hopes to do much more of it once I complete my training), I think this is such a beautiful and important post. As you state so clearly, there are many conventional or Western therapies that can dramatically increase a patient’s chance of surviving cancer. Yes, many of them are physically difficult to tolerate and come with side effects, but they are nonetheless the best treatment options we have so far. What is difficult for many people to understand about examples like Kris Carr is that they are just anecdotes, not proven therapies. While her lifestyle choices may have slowed her cancer (and were almost definitely not harmful), we can’t possibly know what would’ve happened if she hadn’t made those choices or whether her lifestyle choices would be beneficial to someone else with cancer. It’s very appealing to think that we can cure cancer without using toxic drugs, but so far except in very rare situations there’s no good evidence that we can.

    Reading through some of the comments, I really want to dispel the myth that conventional medicine is opposed to natural medicine. While it isn’t possible for MDs to be as educated on natural medicine as naturopaths, many of the things that MDs encourage their patients to do fall under the scope of natural medicine. I regularly encourage my patients to quit smoking, adopt healthier eating habits, get more exercise, and take certain vitamin and mineral supplements, as all of these things contribute to good health, in some cases much more than any pill I can prescribe.

    • “Anecdotes” is a great way to put it! And a good thing to remember when we hear these stories.

      And I agree that a lot of doctors are more open to natural methods than we give them credit for. One thing that I’ve learned through this experience is that doctors DO want their patients to be well and succeed. They don’t often close the door on something unless they think it will affect a better treatment.

  12. Sadly for every miraculous story of a person cured of cancer by natural means there are a dozen others who shrugged off the doctor’s advice and didn’t pull through. When it comes to cancer I would want a treatment that has been studied throughly and has the highest success rates!

    Also I think once a person has chosen a treatment path they should be left alone. A friendly referal to an article or some research is fine but not too pushy. I have a friend who is into herbal stuff and she jumps all over people when they get sick because if they had been taking this or that herb like she recommended they’d be fine. So annoying!

  13. I work for Kaiser Permanente, and Siddhartha Mukherjee is our Saward Lecturer tonight. I’m so excited to hear him speak!! I’m totally with you on listening to your doctor and choosing the proven route. On the flip side, I’m all about personal choice and if someone wants to go the (unproven) natural route, that is certainly their option. Then both paths should leave each other alone :)

    • I also work for Kaiser Permanente! Woo-Hoo!

    • Ooh ooh! Take notes for me! Haha.

      And yes, as someone else mentioned, we should try our best to respect whatever treatment plan a person chooses. In the end, only the person inside the body has the right to choose what they do or don’t want done to it. Even if we don’t understand why.

  14. I think you are a very wise and brave woman. I would try everything and anything that was thrown at me. I wouldn’t turn away from alternative medicine but I would go with what doctors know. They always know more than me! Continue to be strong! P.S. love the new puppy

  15. Susan you should never question your choice, In my lil ol’ opinion you are now getting a combination of the two drug regimens used in the treatment of HL. I think you might be at an advantage because of this. In my case I am terrified at the thought of what the toxic drugs are doing to my body besides killing the cancer, but with 3 young children I didn’t have much of a choice now did I? I have also have read about some of the natural dietary approaches, but I choose to use these in combination with my treatment and doc’s approval. I am though, as soon as I am done with my Chemo if God permits, going to go see a Dr. of natural medicine to detox and help my body, my immune system and my nervous system recover ASAP from the Chemo.

    Take care Susan

    • Yup, me too. I’m not doing much of a natural approach now because really, right now it’s all about surviving chemo. But I will amp things up when the chemo is done and really want to work at recovering my body the best way possible.

  16. When I read the story about Steve Job’s delaying his surgery ultimately being his downfall I was saddened.

    And perhaps this is horribly selfish of me. But I hope to have you around for a VERY long time and if for now that means taking the modern meds, I hope you do. <3

  17. In traditional Chinese medicine (as far as I understand anyway), they do follow the concept that you sometimes need to “fight poison with poison”, so the idea of injecting poisons into your body to kill cancer isn’t necessarily a non-holistic approach. It’s just that modern medicine has come up with more advanced “poisons” to combat the illness. When my dad was battling cancer, he used various Chinese herbs to cope with the side effects of chemo and radiation.

    Take care, Susan, and have a restful weekend!

  18. Susan, I’m glad that you are standing up for modern medicine. I believe that modern and natural all have it’s place (I think we’ve all felt the benefits of chicken soup when we are sick). You are exactly right in choosing what is ‘proven’ to be effective. In the end it’s all just chemistry.

    As you pointed out, if you have an “incurable” cancer, you may feel like you have nothing to lose by trying unproven methods, it’s certainly better than not trying.

  19. We’ve been discussing this in my global health course. There is such a wide variety of treatment approaches in the world today that vary by culture and beliefs, and I think we need to accept their presence and be respectful of all of them. For me, I have seen where modern medicine has failed. But I think a lot of that has to do with lack of research/information/modern medicine still having a long way to go. However, I think modern/Western treatments can do wonderful things for people as well.

    I think a lot of it goes back to the idea of paternalism in health care. Who should be making decisions about our health? Us, because we are individuals with rights, or doctors, because they may know things we don’t? It’s a sticky issue and I think it’s going to be debated for a long while!

    • How about both? The opinions of doctors should not be easily discounted because they have so much knowledge on health matters. However, it’s important for patients to be their own advocate, research thier conditions extensively and participate in the process. They need to ask as many questions as possible, get second opinions, etc. When I was dealing with a rare but very curable form of cancer, I actually brought some things to my caregivers attention that they did not know. I wrote to a specialist in the UK for a second opinion and for access to study information. Because I researched my condition I could talk term for term with the doctors and make an informed decision on what treatment approach I took. Obviously, there was no way possible I could have as much knowledge as my doctors and I respected that. It just made me more comfortable and empowered to participate in the process.

      • I think you are right: patients have a responsibility to learn about their health condition if they want to be able to make informed decisions about their health. I think the ideal scenario is when doctors and patients work together to decide on the best approach.

        In my class we talked about the relationship between doctors who think they are acting on behalf of the patient when the patient doesn’t know best. How do we draw the line there? What constitutes a person’s ability to make informed decisions about health? This kind of gets away from what Susan was talking about, but is just some food for thought I’ve been considering lately.

        Congratulations to you on your fight against cancer!

        • Thank you.

          You ask a very valid question about drawing the line. The thing is, we can’t, as patients, necessarily control the personality of the doctor(s) we are dealing with. We can only control the variables we work with, which means a best case scenario of us being our own advocates and potentially having our doctors respect that we have questions and opinions, even if they don’t feel they are as informed as theirs. We’re always going to run into doctors who downplay our emotions or opinions. In my case I was very lucky because I had doctors (from my family doctor right up to a specialist oncologist in my cancer) that respected that I took charge. It would be a different situation altogether if they were not open to hearing my opinion or answering my questions. Maybe it’s me being an optimist or being naive, but I think most doctors appreciate an informed patient and are willing to guide them through the process. It all depends on the type of research done and the way questions are asked. I know there are doctors out there who absolutely hate Google because they feel like their patients are overusing it and getting unreliable information, which may make their jobs harder. Or they may feel that a patient may not interpret the data in an appropriate manner. The patient has to sort through and find reliable sources and go into their appointments armed with that.

          It’s difficult because when you’re diagnosed with cancer things happen so quickly, which causes some people to feel too overwhelmed to retain what’s being said to them, let alone learn about their condition. I understand that. It wasn’t my personality to hand over complete control because the more I know the calmer I feel. Though my chemo nurse said some patients don’t even want to know the stage of their cancer – they just let their oncologist take care of everything. As in the more they know, the scarier the experience becomes.

          Given the different personalities of doctors and patients, the differences in severity of the situation, time to deal with the diagnosis, etc., I’d say that even if we drew a line it would be a blurry one. The power is ultimately in the hands of the patient to decide what they want done to their body, whether their opinion is informed or not. Susan mentioned Steve Jobs opting to begin with a holistic approach. His oncologist may have advised him against that and felt he was making an uninformed decision, but it was his decision to make and he was the driver.

    • I think a lot of it has to do with what health ailments you have as well. Because let’s face it, as advanced as we think we are, there are still things that we just don’t know how to cure with modern medicine. (that’s why we’re still using mustard gas kill cancer, ha). A big part of it too is the fact that we don’t have the proper testing methods in place yet either, so we can’t even get a proper diagnosis to treat some ailments. Definitely lots to debate and think about!

  20. So very wise and well-stated! When I was diagnosed with melanoma I knew there were things I could do in the future such as wear protective clothing and take in more antioxidants, but I still had the doctor go in and take out the tumor! Nothing wrong with going with modern science when it is the most effective treatment.

  21. I’m hardcore about using natural methods for healing our bodies because I had several health issues and healed them through raw food treatment and lifestyle change. I know that if I get cancer I would go the natural route but as my husband said ‘if the chance of treatment working is over 90% then go with treatment.’ So that’s what I’d go by.

    I can see that is sort of your mentality too. I did watch my uncle go through Hodgkins Lymphoma treatment every seven years and finally pass away from it so maybe after a second occurrence I’d go another route.

    • You bring up a good question in mentioning recurrence. It’s easy for me to say chemo is the way to go when it’s working on me the first time. But just thinking about how it could poison my body a second or THIRD time is scary. That’s why I hope on taking a more ‘natural’ route as a preventative measure once my current treatment is over.

  22. Yeah, he didn’t take care of his body at all between occurrences and I’m sure that had a lot to do with the fact it came back so many times. He was in his twenties the first time and back then, the 80’s I think, it was SUPER rare to have cancer so young. They easily ‘cured’ him but every few years it returned worse than before.

    He smoked, drank, was obese and generally abusive to his body. I’m sure he never exercised a day in his life. You’re in much better circumstances to fight back after it’s gone.

  23. I am all for modern medicine–to a degree. If I have to take something for the rest of my life to be OK, then I am not OK with that. If I need to take something for a bit until I am well, then I am all for it. When my mom had her stroke, one doc tried to put her on medicine and send her on her way, when in reality she just had to have her heart patched up and now doesn’t require any medicine. Now that I am dealing with all this GI shit, when my doc told me to take some reflux medicine.. I questioned it. Okay, so it creates relief.. but couldn’t I just change the way I eat and have natural relief? That’s where I think prescribed modern medicine has got to go. If there is a natural way to aid something, then do it. In your case, though, I say take that medicine! Take it all day til the cancer is gone! Marshall is toootally anti-medicine. He refuses to go to the doc.. sometimes I wish he would =\

    Anyway, love you!

    • Yeah, I’ve been really lucky that I’ve had good doctors up to this point. I mean, can you imagine what would have happened if that night I went to the after hours clinic with the “kink” in my neck, the doctor shrugged me off? But thankfully she took my complaint seriously, when I actually could have died of a cancer-caused blood clot later down the road. I do think it’s a shame that a few “bad docs” can ruin someone’s faith in all the others. I am just super sensitive to this stuff these days (seriously, I cry every time I hear someone dying of cancer). But in the end we’re only the boss of our own bodies. Although, try telling my mom that.

  24. Beautifully put Susan!!! Sending warm wishes to you!!!

  25. you are awesome, susan. i love that you blog about it all…

  26. Patrick Swayze used chemo he died and so did Michael Landon no one blamed them or the medical community. But it seems a lot of people are blaming steve jobs because he used natural remedies. But he lived longer then most people with pancreatic cancer. People have the right to use what ever they want. But I just wish people would look at all the facts. feeding people crap food in hospitals having bake sales for cancer fund raising does not make sense. I have many people in my life who had cancer I was supportive what ever route they went. People act like Chemo is the only way to fight cancer. More people need to look into the cancer society .

    • You’re right, people do have the right to use whatever they want. But cancer is a VERY emotional disease, and I think it’s really hard to just look at the facts when there are so many emotions tied up in it. Dying is no joke, and no one ever wants to think they made the wrong choice. There are just so many questions surrounding having this disease, it’s hard to come to grips with the idea that we may not have as much control over the outcome as we like…

    • Steve Jobs also had neuroendocrine cancer, which is a very slow growing type of cancer. He happened to have it in a bad place, but the standard treatment recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network is to just monitor the growth of this type of cancer if the person is asymptomatic. I’m a nurse practitioner, and I just saw a 78 year old man last week who was diagnosed with this type of cancer (also located in his pancreas) in 1996.

      • Also, just to clarify, I’m not saying chemotherapy is the ONLY way to treat cancer, I’m just saying the type of pancreatic cancer he had makes a big difference. Adenocarcinoma is the type of pancreatic cancer we typically hear about, and it’s prognosis is very difference. I guess my point is that no two cancers, even if located in the same place, can be compared because no two people (except identical twins) have the same genetic makeup.

  27. My husband has had cancer three times and if he had tried to cure it with herbs or juicing I would have kicked his ass, threatened divorced, tied him up, thrown him into a van and driven him to the hospital, whatever it would have taken to have him get proper treatment. If juicing/cutting out milk/herbs etc worked to treat cancer then scientists still wouldn’t be searching for a cure. Anecdotal data does not become hard evidence because someone wishes it to be so. People say that big Pharma doesn’t want people to get natural treatment so that they can keep on making money, but people forget that there are a lot of natural health guru types who are making a killing trying to dissuade people from getting traditional medical treatment. I’m for getting both types of treatment. Sure, go on a vegan macrobiotic diet, but take whatever medicines/treatments the doctor prescribes. This will sound harsh but I feel very little sympathy for Steve Jobs. He was a billionaire that could have afforded the best medical treatment and would not have had to wait to see doctors or have surgery, but he chose to wait and try different unproven natural methods.

  28. As someone who works in Evidence Based Medicine (and for an agency that strives to make sure EBM is the basis of the Canadian health system), I’m definitely biased toward giving you the thumbs up for this post.

    If you had chosen another route, I probably would have sent you an email saying “here is what science says- the choice is obviously yours, but please look at the evidence”. Said evidence is NEVER perfect and will never apply to everyone. But it is offered as the “standard of care” for a reason.

    That being said- I really do think that there are complimentary medicine elements that are very powerful but their roles are exactly what their name suggests- complimentary.

  29. Susan, it was the funniest thing yesterday after chemo. I was walking outside and there was a group of people from the hospital next door, smoking. I turned to my boyfriend and said, ugh that is so gross. Bit ironic since I had just spend the last 3 1/2 hours being pumped full of poison!)
    I think you are totally spot on with your post. There is a big difference between incurable and curable. But yea, that said, we’re looking in to a juicer as well!

    Oh, and guess what! I woke up this morning and my collarbone lymph node was down to half its size! It now sticks out less that my port site! Pretty excited… not that it means too much, but its a visible sign that something is going on :D

  30. You continue to show remarkable wisdom and sense! I totally agree with you – when statistics say conventional medicine will have the best possible result (cure!), how could anyone chose otherwise?

  31. “When a doctor presents you with something that will save your life, no matter how harsh, how can you look the other way? How is your life not valuable enough?”

    A person’s choice of treatment plan is based on their personality, their life to date, their personal experiences with doctors, and their scope of knowledge of how others, with the same condition, treated with the recommended treatments, fared.

    Steve Jobs wasn’t a stupid man, but he was a very driven one. He embraced Eastern religion which doesn’t focus on “life at any cost” but instead believes in reincarnation. Also, he may have had many deeply negative interactions with modern western-style doctors. But even if didn’t, he had pancreatic cancer.

    Pancreatic cancer is one of the most fatal because it has virtually no good treatments and most of the treatments that do exist have extremely low success rates.

    Knowing his odds of survival were low even if he attempted the recommended treatments, and not coming from a modern western philosophical perspective of “life at any cost,” I can easily imagine Jobs placed a higher priority on avoiding the complications of a modern western treatment plan, in favor of finishing various things he was working on, which he felt important to the world and wanted to leave as his legacy.

    If you aren’t afraid of death, and you haven’t seen your kind of cancer being treated with a good outcome, you aren’t swayed by doctors telling you this will save your life.

    If you don’t think treatment will help, but know such treatment might limit your ability to stay the course and finish what you see as your life’s work, maybe you make Steve Job’s choice.

    Different cancer, different person, different situation, different philosophy, so different things were important to him.

    On the flip side, I know women written off by their Western MDs, as beyond treatment. “Just go home and die” was basically what they were told. They had 4th stage Ovarian Cancer. They recovered fully through lifestyle and diet changes, and Eastern therapies such as Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.

    You just have to make the choice that’s right in your own eyes, and forget about being upset with people whose choices are not ones with which you can agree.

    • Sophia, as a physician, I absolutely agree that patients have the right (and should have the right) to make decisions that are in alignment with their beliefs and philosophies. What saddens and frustrates me, however, is that there is a lot of misinformation about both Western and natural/complementary medicine that can influence the decisions that people make, often with devastating consequences. There are few things that frustrate me more than a patient turning down a therapy that has been proven in clinical trials (the best form of proof we have) not because they’re afraid of the side effects or because they’re in disagreement with Western medicine, but because they’ve been convinced that an alternative therapy that has no evidence behind it is going to be effective. People die unnecessarily as a result of decisions like this, and it’s absolutely tragic.

      With respect to Steven Jobs having pancreatic cancer and therefore not having any good treatments available to him, the evidence would suggest that this isn’t the case. Job’s didn’t have the conventional form of pancreatic cancer, which indeed has few treatment options and a poor prognosis, but rather a rarer and much more treatable neuroendocrine tumour (see here for details While we can never do more than speculate what would have happened to Jobs had he undertaken the treatment recommended by his doctors when he was first diagnosed, I think it’s unfortunate that he didn’t at least give himself the best chance at survival by trying the therapy that has been proven to be effective.

    • I think it’s an interesting point about how “life” may not be the end goal based on a person’s belief system. That is certainly not the headspace I am at right now, which is probably why I have a hard time wrapping my head around some of this stuff. Like I mentioned above, it’s hard to always predict what course cancer will take, so we can’t always know if another treatment would have worked better. Sometimes cancer will do its own thing and it’s hard coming to terms with the fact that we may not have control over it. Depressing, yes. But something I’ve had to embrace in order to deal with what is happening to my own body.

      “Different cancer, different person, different situation, different philosophy, so different things were important to him.”

      Yes and yes. “Cancer” is SUCH a broad term that refers to so many different kinds of diseases. No two cancers are the same, and I really hoped to point out with this post that no two cancers can be treated the same. I wasn’t saying that my way would have worked for Steve Jobs, but more that maybe his way wouldn’t work for me…

  32. Amen. I agree 100% Susan. You are one smart cookie.

  33. Plain and simple, I think it’s a personal choice but for people to assume that we’re still looking for a cure because we haven’t found one yet is nonsense. Medicine is an industry and a business and I think people need to start seeing it that way. Someone pointed out very correctly that Steve Jobs was a billionaire who could have afforded “the best” treatment, and I feel it sums up what I’m trying to say perfectly. “the best” is whatever is considered to be the most expensive and “the best” is whatever will pump more money into the medical industry. Aside from the Cancer you are treating Susan, and a few others, the success rate of Chemo and radiation is exceptionally low. It’s frustrating to read people throwing out arbitrary facts and numbers and say that for every one person who beats cancer on an alternative therapy there are dozens who die. That is not a fact, and it’s completely false. The success rate of chemo (on cancers other than the one you have) is about 3%. I have a hard time thinking about what I would do if I were in anyone’s shoes if I had cancer because I haven’t had it, but I hope that (like you) I would do all my research and make an informed decision about what I was going to do. I also hope that we can one day dispel so many myths about cancer and holistic/natural medicine. It’s a shame that the medical community is so corrupt but it’s also a reality that we need to accept before we can move forward and actually win the battle against cancer because since the 1950’s we haven’t made any improvement. (not my fact, something that was said by the an MD on the board of the ACS). I wish you the best in your battle and I read your blog every day so I hope you always keep blogging. I did not mean this post to offend anyone, I just felt it had to be said.

  34. ‘This book was invaluable for educating me on chemotherapy and its purpose.’….. the link just leads to an unused wordpress site, please let me know which book it is! thanks!!

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