Yum. Check out that food shot. I love Food. Nutrition and eating well is 100% the greatest preventive medicine you can count on. I've been spending some time with my Dad who has some advanced form of Throat Cancer that we are looking into quite intensely. But you know, Privacy, is a very important thing I cherish. I studied and worked in Public Relations, not because I wanted to know how to deal with the Public, but because I wanted to know how to protect my and my loved ones' privacy. There's a whole blog post I will do on Public Relations and Privacy in the Age of Transparency - coming soon to a theater near you. Riveting. It will be Riveting. I guarantee this.
So I share thoughts with care. One thing to note is that Preventive Medicine is the best care. As Kristin Sundberg, Acupuncturist, likes to explain, in the old days in China, you don't pay your Chinese Medical doctor if you get sick, you paid them to keep you well. And really, we take a lot of our bodily functions for granted until one of them is taken away from us - most of the time temporarily - like not being able to taste food the same way when you have the flu, for instance. Thankfully, there are a lot of temporary losses of bodily function which heal. But as you get older, things change. The body becomes more Vata - as we say in Ayurveda, more Airy. And this means that you have to take greater care of the Body as you Age.
But of course, I am no extremist. Have never been. I grew up a middle child in a family of incredibly intelligent, artistic, opinionated, Private Hermits. Did I say Hermits? Yes, I am an extrovert in a family of Introverts. My brother - who will laugh if/when he reads this - may be the lesser of the introverts - but he is an introvert, nonetheless. So being a Leo extrovert in a family of very intelligent, spiritual, artistic Hermits makes one a very, very careful Leo who loves to honor and guard her family's and friends' privacy.
And because I am a non-extremist, I've needed science. I need the scientific approach of careful observation before drawing conclusions. So I spend a lot of time scrutinizing everything and questioning everything before I say Yay or Nay to something. So cancer is an infinitely complex disease, one that requires a lot of attention. And its treatment demands the same intense level of scrutiny and careful observation.
One thing to note - is that cancer thrives on Sugar. There are many insulin receptors on cancer cells. And they just gobble gobble gobble up sugar. And my folks live in Sugar Land. I went to high school here (partially) - Sugar Land is the home of the Imperial Sugar cane factory and ummm, big Texas houses. So bye! bye! my sugar habit. Bye bye sugar. It's good to minimize the stuff, really, for many reasons. Agave is a great sugar substitute. And I love honey. I share this stuff not to be pedantic, preacher-ly - now don't do this and don't do that - Life is no Fun like this. I share this as one of the observations - cancer cells have loads of insulin receptors. They thrive on sugar. So as a preventive measure, minimize your intake of sugar.
And then of course, we know to minimize alcohol and tobacco - as they are linked to cancer and many other things. I could go on about the physiological effects of these two things in the body. The biochemistry and destruction of beautiful healthy cells alcohol and tobacco create are fascinating. Oh - everyone should study physiology. Powerful stuff. But of course, everyone's body is different, and there are no absolutes. Vices will always be vices and, therefore, particularly alluring to the sado-masochist in all of us. So by all means, eat, drink, smoke, do drugs, be merry. For tomorrow ye may die. Or not die, in which case, you might suffer, depending on your genetic disposition and particular circumstances. As we all know from the Buddhists, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Which is where Choice comes in.
Moderation. I'm a middle child moderate. My mom, when asked about Austin, Texas, where I live, says, "Oh yes, it's full of hippies." Which makes this hippy daughter Laugh! But I am by no means a hippy extremist. I encourage everyone to take all things into careful consideration before rejecting or whole-heartedly buying into anything. You have to put Caveat Emptors all over everything nowadays or someone will sue you for grossly mis-informing them. So let me not mis-inform you, my friends. I am no hippy extremist. I might be a hippy, but no, no, no extremes over here. And one of the things that I understand, is that I will never ever take anyone's choice away from them - even if I may influence or inspire a choice - the choice is always yours.
Choice is our only freedom. And I agree with Caroline Myss, Guruji and Ramana Maharshi who all pretty much say that we really have no choice, things are written. The only choice we have is Attitude, mainly. This makes a lot of people go, Harrumph! Well, I chose which shirt I was going to wear this morning. Did you, really? Think about it, how many shirts do you have, and when did you buy them? And where? Who made the shirt? Did you choose the shirt you are wearing?
But if everything is written, and it's written that I will smoke and drink crazy amounts of alcohol and eat crazy amounts of sugar every day - then I have no choice but to continue these ways. Nah. Hogwash. Cowardice. You still have choice. You have Choice which you use to deal with your cravings, with your habits, with your thoughts, with your emotions, with your feelings. We are not a bunch of helpless lemmings sitting around following our samskaras (negative grooves or patterns) into certain suffering and death. We are human beings. And we have many powers, all of which are useless, without this thing called Choice.
And where does Choice reside? It resides in the 5th Chakra, in the Vishuddha Chakra, the purification chakra - in the Throat. This is the center of Free Will in the body. It is the place where we choose again and again to either be Congruent (in Yoga) with Divine Will or In-congruent with Divine Will. Which has never been easy to fathom, oh Divine Will and ego-Will - you fabulous things.
Guruji, Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D., my Sat-Guru was a medical doctor. But he was also a Guru. I love hearing people tell tales about him. Makes me laugh. I don't believe the half of the stories told about Guruji, but I believe the other half. I won't tell you which half I believe. I just nod and smile. Or cackle. Oh I love to laugh. In either case, it's all subjective, so we focus on not arguing about petty things. But one thing he did like to say about people who drank and smoked a lot was that if you know the science behind it all - then your fate is easily told. But Guruji didn't have to say this - anyone can say this. Keep running over your foot with a truck - the inevitable crushing of bones will happen, kind of thing. It's a known fact that Guruji was paralyzed due to a stroke for the last ten years of his life. The stories as to how he got this stroke are fascinating. But again, I don't bank much on people's stories. Stories are good. But Truth is a different matter.
One gets sick, one gets cancer, one gets pneumonia, blame your karma, blame the elements, blame each other, blame the planet, blame the environment, but the disease is there. So deal. And that's what I focus on when it comes to studying Guruji and his stroke - the Dude knew how to Deal.
So with my Dad's cancer treatment, we Deal. And the family of intelligent, artistic Hermits I come from have slews of doctors, both Western, Eastern and alternative whom we are turning to for help. And of course, God. Growing up, my mother, the Pathologist, would come home with the most horrifying stories of Surgeons botching surgeries all over the place. Oh yea. As I have been meeting with doctors, dentists, oncologists all week in order to scrutinize the treatment they want to give my Dad's throat cancer, I have to admit that I probably give them that same face my mom gives her fellow doctors. I can summarize the face as this: "What do you know?"
This is what they - the U.S. Western medical establishment knows about my Dad's particular throat cancer (all cancers are different mind you, please note, I am specifically talking about throat cancer and in the lymph nodes, where my Dad has cancer) - that at my Dad's age, 77, surgery is not an option. It is almost certain death - his carotid artery is close by, you see. And this leaves radiation and chemotherapy which have side-effects. The two permanent side effects of radiating the throat area are permanent loss of salivary glands which results in a dry mouth and loss of taste and it may also permanently damage your jawbone so much that your mandible might fall off. What is your mandible? Your jawbone. So what would you choose? Hmmm.
Alternative medicine is what I would choose. And my father agrees. The look on his face when these folks describe the side-effects of radiating his throat. And the look on my face. Hmm. We'd rather fly to the Philippines and Europe where there are many alternatives. Not to mention the many alternative protocols available to us in the U.S. Thankfully, there are alternatives.
Doubt is a wonderful friend to have when it comes to others' cutting open your body or feeding things into your blood system intravenously. So question your doctors. Ask, research, love. And prevent. I call the Cancer Hospital, Chernobyl. You know, the nuclear power plant that went bonkers. Every other person nuked. Everyone needs to visit the Cancer Hospital and bring love, light and laughter. There are angels throughout this Cancer Hospital. Angels all over. And I can tell that the younger Cancer patients can more easily handle the chemo-radiation. But the old folks. Woah. The old folks. Some of them look like they have dementia.
If I am over the age of 70 and have dementia, please Lord, do not give me Chemo and Radiation. C'mon. At the end of the day, what is most important for me is to see my 77 year old Dad as he is today - after a week and a half of getting a feeding tube put in, more nutrients swimming in his body- swinging his golf club around, playing music and singing. There's no measure for this kind of Freedom. No measure but love.