Radical Remission. Radical Ideas. Ep5

During this week, October 3-7 2022, there is a repeat free airing of the Radical Remission Docuseries https://www.discover.hayhouse.com/radicalremission/, created by researcher and author, Kelly Turner, PhD. 

I commented daily on each episode as it was launched back in March 2020 in order to elaborate on my personal experience and hard-won convictions regarding cancer and cancer treatment and they are all still available here on my blog, Reflections. All of the episodes will be available for the duration so perhaps my commentary will give you a sense of which you want to dip into. I am sure that after this timeframe the documentary will be available through Hay House in other forms. 

One of the reasons for writing my play, Breastless, was to share the perspective that healing from cancer takes many forms. Even the writing of it played an important role in my healing of breast cancer.

I use story to reflect on these matters and to encourage others to ask themselves what they would do, what they believe and how they might help others. Kelly Turner uses her 15yrs of research into hundreds of cases of remission from life-threatening disease. 

This documentary leads us through the 10 elements that people who put themselves into remission had in common. It includes interviews with some ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Out of the ordinary, because their stories do not fit into our modern-day assumption that the scientific Western medical model has all the answers. These people all heal themselves as they embrace a wide range of approaches, including mainstream and “alternative” methods. 

For many years there has been a move amongst practitioners to avoid having their work described as “alternative” and instead use the word “complementary”, but I would even like to call into question that term too. To complement means to use Western medicine as the mainstay of treatment and to add into it other modalities to enhance it. What would happen if instead we started to view Western medicine, with all its brilliance and applications, as a complement to our own internal healing abilities; as just one of a broad spectrum of choices with which we can boost our own healing potential?

I would like to help shift our bias away from solely relying on Western Medicine, and instead see each person getting encouragement to first look within themselves for clues to solutions. Then, from that empowered place, seeking professionals whose perspective and approach feel in alignment with the person’s desires and needs. This would constitute taking responsibility for our own health and healing, as opposed to relying solely on an expert to tell us what we need based on the parameters of their specific training.

I am not wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but equally I would like an end to obscuring the issue with words like “complementary” to appease the medical gods of the past 200 years. It is time for a revolution; turning things around. It is time for some evolution in our thinking and actions. And it is time for the resolution of us individuals who experience health differently to speak up and be counted.

I am grateful to Dr Turner for doing her part.

EPISODE FIVE: Bringing Exercise and Movement into your Life

2 days before Mary Rust’s mother died of cancer after 4 years of intermittent conventional treatment, she said to her 22 year old daughter; “Mary, this isn’t the way to cure cancer. There has to be another way. A way that the body can heal itself.”

When Mary then contracted breast cancer at the age of 36, she responded with a whole host of life changes, the mainstay of which was exercise, and no chemo or surgery. She decided; “I’ve got to find a way to live, which led me to treatments to love and support my body rather than tear them down. I wanted to see what my body could do if I loved and supported it. I said, let’s at least give it a try.”

Because of that her two young boys saw a very different face of cancer than the one she had seen with her own mother. “They never saw Mom get sick with cancer, so they have an entirely different perspective and baseline for what cancer means.”

That is so important for us all to hear. We need this reframe. We need a shift to seeing cancer as a wake-up call to live life differently.

“There’s the host, which is the person hosting the disease, and there’s the disease, the pathology. The idea is to become the most inhospitable host to cancer possible.” This from Glenn Sabin, the other radical remission survivor, who was diagnosed with “incurable” leukaemia at the age of 28. He too decided on a regimen of healthy lifestyle and a variety of exercise disciplines.

Dean Ornish MD: “All of the biological mechanisms that promote chronic diseases; chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, changes in telomeres, in gene expression, in the microbiome and so on, exercise improves. So whatever mechanism you look at, when you exercise it gets better. So that’s really the bottom line.”

It’s nothing new to hear that exercise is good for us. But the science behind it is getting the attention of the medics.

Dawn Lemanne MD, “There’s a difference in what different types of exercise do to your pathology.” 

You need a well-rounded program, regular and consistent for mental and physical well-being when faced with a chronic disease. That is proven to oxygenate cells, shift hormones and ultimately uplift mood. It is enormously beneficial for a healthy mental state as well as a vibrant physical state.

Keith Block, MD “There is breast cancer data that dates back. It shows that if you exercise patients 3-5 hours per week, you can cut breast cancer related mortality IN HALF.”

“When I was trained we were told that patients who were undergoing treatment for cancer care needed to rest. It made no sense to me whatsoever. Atrophy hurts your immune system so maintaining muscle is critical.”

“We now encourage patients to spend 10-20 minutes getting some aerobic activity either immediately before coming in or once they are in the clinic. We know that this will cut acute toxicity by more than half. A lot of the symptoms and side effects that I’ve seen over the last several decades with patents all dissipate if you can get them to do a bit of aerobic activity before you start running their drugs.” 

At this point there is a visual of a woman hooked up to her chemo iv, walking on a treadmill.”

Now THAT got my attention. The antithesis to being lined-up around a room on recliners as passive recipients of something to cure us.

We are told that even deep breathing is a form of exercise; something everyone can do. A light walk around the house, building to getting out around the block. It doesn’t have to be hard and it has such enormous paybacks. 

I knew exercise was a good idea when I was going through my chemotherapy, and I walked one mile per day or gently bounced on a rebounder. But I didn’t know exactly why. Had I known the data behind it, I would have approached it with more of that vital ingredient of hope and conviction which probably would have uplifted my mood all the more.

I’m off for a walk,