In 2007, I found a lump and was pretty sure that the diagnosis would be breast cancer. The shock was in how advanced (stage 3) the cancer already was in spite of my annual mammograms, self checking, and occasional ultrasound. As a cancer patient, life becomes a round of doctors, tests, surgeries unpleasant chemotherapy, radiation, and emotional turmoil resulting in little energy to handle the fear and stress. It is as hard on the patient family and significant other as it is on the patient. In my case my GP was the one who recommended InspireHealth and shortly thereafter two other people – one of whom was a total stranger – also strongly suggested I check out the clinic. I am so glad that I did. My husband and I each received the benefit of learning how to deal with the diagnosis in a positive and helpful manner.
What we found was a place of healing, peace, and support that far surpasses anything else offered. The environment is gentle and positive, as are the people working there; and it is truly awe-inspiring to see just how many patients are helped and in how many ways. The medical doctors each have different strengths and backgrounds and all are committed to offering more than just mainstream medicine. Instead of just treating the disease they treat the whole person using many adjunctive therapies which can be used in combination with mainstream medicine. As well they offer support to the family involved with the patient and grief counselling is available to anyone who needs it.
The LIFE Program helps all who attend learn about ways they can help themselves to heal, or if that isn’t the outcome, to at least live as fully as possible in the time left. Incorporating real patient examples and education on things such as nutrition, exercise, meditation, massage, natural methods and remedies, and even decision making, the two-day LIFE program shows a cancer patient that there is much they can do to help themselves. In fact decision-making is probably one of the most beneficial lessons I learned during my treatment year. It helped me to decide and then talk to my oncologist about going on a pre-cancer diagnosis, booked and paid for, vacation between surgeries. And later on during my chemotherapy treatment I was able to make a decision as to whether I would continue with the monthly misery or stop altogether. I chose to continue, but with a change in the drug concoction so that I was better able to tolerate the chemotherapy and finish the recommended six sessions. As well, I was better informed and able to make a decision about living with the greater risk of recurrence or taking the various anti-cancer drugs such as Tamoxifen and the newer Aromatase inhibitors, which have side effects that I found intolerable.
In my case, after discussing this with my husband, InspireHealth doctors, and my oncologist, I chose to live with the higher risk of recurrence. These decisions were all my own, but I received help and advice, as well as accessible information, so that making the decision was born of an educated rather than an emotional response.
It is now 2010 and I am healthy, active, still a member and an advocate for InspireHealth. I believe in the clinic and its healing environment so strongly that I recommend it to everyone I meet if I learn that they or someone they know is dealing with cancer. Thank you InspireHealth.
Johanna Rundell InspireHealth member