Man, beating cancer is time consuming.
I thought, a little naively, that coming to an Oasis of Healing would be more like...well, an oasis. Go to the spa, cure a little cancer, maybe get a mani/pedi -- with non toxic nail polishes, of course.
Turns out, curing cancer is a full time job, leaving little time for spa activities (the nerve!). Here is a list of all the treatments I am participating in during my stay (I've linked each therapy to additional pages with more information):
Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT): This is a low dose targeted Chemotherapy. This involves starving the cancer cells by lowering my blood sugar and then injecting insulin with the chemo drugs. Since cancer cells use 19 times more sugar than normal cells, it helps direct the chemo to those greedy little bastards, minimizing the destruction of my healthy cells. I also get to rock this awesome ice helmet while I go through IPT. This helps protect my hair follicles and reduces the risk of losing my hair. Not going bald would be a huge perk. To most people in the world of traditional medicine, IPT, although controversial, will be the reason I'll be cancer free. I receive this therapy twice a week.
Vitamin C Therapy: Studies have shown that high doses of Vitamin C not only improves the immune system (a necessity when trying to rid your body of cancer), but also kills cancer cells. Essentially, Vitamin C is good for the healthy cells and bad for the cancer cells. Win win. Without a PICC line or a Port, this takes FOR-EV-ER. 2-3 times a week I am hooked up to an IV for hours while 50-100g of Vitamin C is pumped through my blood.
Oxidative and Oxygenation Therapies: Oxygen plays an important role in keeping our body healthy. We all need oxygen to live (duh). Cancer cells, however, like to live in a world without oxygen. There are a number of therapies that increase the amount of oxygen in the body (click on the link to read about all of them). One of these therapies involves taking out some of my blood, inserting oxygen into it, and then putting it back into my body. You'd think just taking in giant, deep breaths would be sufficient, but apparently this is more effective. I have yet to do this, but apparently you feel like you can conquer the world with all that extra O2 in your body.
Lymphatic Decongestive Therapy/Massage: Our lymphatic system is a critical part of disposing toxins and waste in the body, including cancer cells. Oftentimes our diet and lifestyle lead to a stall in this flow. The purpose of this therapy is to get your system moving again to help detoxify the body. The process of this therapy involves me laying on a massage table while the therapist waves little glass wands over my lymphatic system. Basically it feels nothing like a massage and more like moving a vibrating light bulb over my body. I do this about 2-3 times a week, typically after IPT days.
Structural Integration Therapy: This is my favorite therapy. The other patients call it the "hurts so good" therapy. This basically realigns the connective tissue (also known as fascia) by massaging the tissue back into the correct alignment. For me personally, my left leg tissue is totally out of whack, most likely from the all the scar tissue from a childhood injury. Because of the way the tissue is in this one strand, it has thrown off the entire alignment in my body. Also, my ankles are too tight and the tissue needs to be lengthened so that my feet have a full range of motion (which will also improve my poor circulation). The coolest thing? This therapy will fix my bowlegs! Although apparently Kate Moss is also bow-legged so maybe I should leave them alone. The best thing about this therapy? Once you've fixed the tissue, it stays like that forever. I do this about two times a week.
Infrared Sauna Therapy: Another therapy I can get on board with. Basically, I sit in a sauna. The combination of the heat and infrared helps to eliminate toxins in the body. In addition to oxygen, cancer also hates the heat. Maybe I need spend my winters on a tropical island to keep my cancer away? Hubby, are you listening? It's for my health...
Colon Therapy: Oh, the joy of having cancer and choosing a non-traditional path of treatment. I think we all know what is involved here, but if not, I lay on a table while water is flushed in, which then flushes the, um, waste out. Pretty shitty way to spend the hour (pun intended). Just another way to eliminate the crap (oh, I crack myself up) in the body. Someone told me a story of a woman who hadn't eaten corn for over 15 years because of health reasons. During her colonics, they found a kernel of corn. That's how long your shit can stay with you. It's time to let it go. Unfortunately, I have to do this 2-3 times a week, but this will decrease in the upcoming weeks.
Coffee Enemas: This is "do it yourself" version of a colonic. Except instead of water, you use coffee. Yes, coffee. Apparently, the caffeine helps stimulate and cleanse the liver and gall bladder. This is especially important during cancer treatment because of all the dead cancer cells that end up in your body. The enema helps get it out. And no, drinking coffee does not have the same effect. I asked. I'm supposed to do this every day, but so far, I've managed this once with the help of Momma Bear. Talk about a bonding experience.
Yoga: Another therapy I love. Yoga. Calms the mind, exercises and relaxes the body. There are a million articles showing the health benefits of yoga for everyone, including cancer patients. But really, I just like starting my day in a warm room, lit by a fireplace, where at any point I can lay on my mat in child's pose. I do this pretty much every day.
Raw/Vegan Diet: Probably the most important part of this process is my diet. Until I am cancer free, I'll be on a very strict raw, vegan diet. The idea is to strengthen your immune system so that your body can start ridding itself of toxicities, including the cancer cells. This post from another blogger sums it up best. If you want to know what I'm doing and why, definitely read it since it's pretty spot on.
Juice Cleanse: This involves a 14 day fast where I consume nothing but fresh juiced veggies (and minimal fruit). Yep, you read that right. 14 days. Again, we're trying to rid the body of all the toxins that have been building up over the years. I don't care what it does, fasting for two weeks when I'm already a twig seems nuts (mmmm, nuts...). Nevertheless, I'm now on day 5. And like some sick masochist, I've spent the past 4 days looking up food recipes on Pinterest. Who does that? Everyone keeps telling me that Jesus and Ghandi fasted as if that's supposed to help me. Last I checked, I had very little resemblance to either of these men.
So that's it. Piece of cake, right? All of this keeps me so busy, I haven't even had time for retail therapy!