A few years ago, I saw an invitation for an Open House at InspireHealth. Being an oncology nurse in Ambulatory Care and someone with a longstanding interest in integrated approaches to healing, I was curious to know more.
As I talked to the friendly staff and peaked into the yoga room, the kitchen, and the offices for the doctors, naturopath, TCM practitioner, and massage therapists, I was amazed by how different this healthcare facility felt. I half jokingly asked if InspireHealth were looking for a nurse to join their team.
Fortunately, I was subsequently invited as a guest to attend InspireHealth’s two-day LIFE Program. I found the experience highly informative, with presentations given by the centre’s physicians and associate practitioners. From their different perspectives, they discussed how to support our innate healing ability, minimize inflammation in the body, boost one’s immune system, and reduce stress – all through an integrated approach.
More than ever before, I recognized the value of integrated cancer care. As I walked out of InspireHealth, I knew my patients could benefit from coming here. It was clear to me that cancer patients’ outcomes from chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery could be improved by combining these traditional treatments with support for the immune system and one’s overall wellbeing and health.
In early 2010, I heard that InspireHealth was looking for a volunteer nurse. I had retired from nursing two years prior and was looking for a way to continue giving back to my community. I am now involved with monitoring Vitamin D dosages and blood levels for InspireHealth’s research department. I am also helping develop and deepen the relationship between InspireHealth and Vancouver oncology nurses.
I have talked to patients who are currently undergoing chemotherapy and who come to InspireHealth for group acupuncture sessions to alleviate and minimize the side effects of treatment. From their testimonials, acupuncture has enhanced their quality of life by reducing nausea without the often unpleasant side effects of anti-emetics. From a personal point of view, I have always taken good care of my health, but with the recent and unwelcomed appearance of osteoarthritis in my neck, I have an even greater need to do everything I can to support my health. In addition to daily exercise and yoga, I have committed myself to following InspireHealth’s anti-inflammatory diet and to meditating daily. The greatest reward for me is to be able to continue kayaking – my passion!
With the busy lives most of us lead we need all of the help we can get to learn how to maintain and improve our health and reduce stress. From my perspective as a nurse with forty years experience in a variety of healthcare settings – and now with a personal experience of integrated healthcare – it is imperative to incorporate these integrative practices into our lives in order to be as healthy as we can be.
Elizabeth Herejk, RN, BScN