Having the courage to stand your ground


Stand solid, stand alone if necessary.

When you have cancer, it brings out opinions in people. “You should listen to your doctor”, “I heard this herb cures cancer, you should take it”, “How can vitamin D prevent cancer, that’s ridiculous”, etc…

When you have cancer, or any other chronic condition, you will get suggestions from all directions from friends and family. This can be simply overwhelming, to the point where you just don’t know what to believe, and who to listen to.  But, do you know what?  Through all that confusion, it simply means that these people care enough about you to try to help.

Sometimes it could be a doctor’s recommendation that you don’t agree with, or feel the need to investigate her recommendation before you make a decision. In our western society, we are raised to listen to authority, especially our doctors.

I’ve come to realize since my diagnosis in 2010, that I can be an empowered patient.  It took me awhile to not only educate myself on what options are out there in the world that are not just surgery and drugs, but to muster up the courage to question, research, form my own opinions and ultimately act on them.

This courage is not easy. Sitting face-to-face with a well-respected oncologist and not taking her advice is difficult, especially when she looks at me disapprovingly for even daring to question her recommendation. I’m not one to cause conflict, but I am one who knows what I want.  I take an integrative approach to my health – using both western and so-called ‘alternative’ or complementary methods.  I don’t dismiss either, and I think all methods should be considered and the best way chosen for a particular condition.

Do you ever question when your doctor grabs a prescription form rather than discusses what could be the root of your ailment?  If you don’t, you should, especially if you have a chronic situation.  Our bodies have the capacity to self-heal, and sometimes we should not readily accept that it’s normal to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic digestion problems, etc. Most western doctors don’t have the time, or interest, to talk to you about holistic health care. I don’t blame them, but you can take control of your own research and decisions.

If you are someone who has that little voice in your head when you have a health condition and really don’t like to take drugs or have surgery, then please listen to that little voice and take the time to explore, see different doctors, and talk to lots of people about alternatives.  If you find something that you believe is right for you, have the courage to stand your ground despite what others think.

Standing your ground applies to anything in your life, not just what you choose for your own healthcare.  Honour yourself. Honour what you believe is right for you. Listen to what others say but still do what is right for yourself.

Stand your ground, respectfully.


I recently wrote this post: ‘Can you let go of someone’s bad decision?’.  It’s about letting go of someone else’s decisions, but in the context of the above post, turn it around 180 degrees… can you help others let go of your decisions?  Help others realize they need to respect your decisions and not judge?


Allopathic, alternative and integrative health care

integrative medicine

Integrative medicine is the usage of both conventional western medicine and alternative medicine methods. It’s about caring for the ‘whole person’.

One systemic problem I see in western society healthcare is when medical professionals only use allopathic (drugs and surgery) or ‘conventional western’ methods. But in fairness to our western-trained medical professionals, I understand the dilemma that they often do not have enough time to consider the ‘whole person’.

When faced with a health issue, some people have a mindset of ‘just give me a pill and I’ll be on my way’.  The problem with drugs and surgery is that they just address the symptom, not the underlying reason that the issue developed in the first place.

There is still a stigma around the terms alternative or complementary methods.  Partaking in things like acupuncture, herbs, massage therapy, nutrition, yoga, meditation, etc, is sometimes looked upon by skeptics as ‘oh, you like those alternative methods’.  Anyone who says that is ignorant about whole person care (I say ‘ignorant’ in a respectful way; meaning they just are not well-informed). Many of these methods were developed hundreds and thousands of years ago and were largely lost by western society in recent years.

A newer term is blossoming in the western world today. It’s called integrative medicine or health care.  Here is what integrative medicine is:

  • A practical strategy, integrative medicine puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health.
  • The patient is an informed and empowered partner and the medical professionals personalize their care to best address the individual’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances.
  • Emphasizes regaining health, prevention, health maintenance and early intervention, and utilizes all appropriate, evidenced-based and personalized therapeutic approaches.

One very important thing to understand is the integrative medicine does not dismiss conventional western medicine (ie, drugs and surgery), it works in conjunction with them.

I personally feel that conventional methods alone are a narrow-minded approach.  However, it does take time assemble various  professionals who can provide services whose approaches work well together.  What I’m noticing here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is that ‘integrative clinics’ are popping up all over town. This is a good thing, but there is no standard for what such a clinic would provide, so the patient needs to take control of their own approach to health care.

There is a wonderful integrative cancer care center in Vancouver, British Columbia, called Connect Health.  They treat the whole person from a root cause viewpoint.  A truly inspirational and amazing organization.

If you or a loved one is facing a health issue, do consider an integrative approach.

The reason I decided to write this post is in the hope that if you or a loved one is ever faced with a health issue or simply want to cultivate optimal health, you will consider an integrative approach rather than automatically succumbing to only western medicine drugs and surgery.

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