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.
FIRST EPISODE: Empowering Self.
The idea of being willing and able to respond within ourselves and to take an active role in our healing is highlighted here.
Two interviewees, one with cancer and one with Multiple Sclerosis, tell their life and health stories and we learn about their life-changing choices. They are remarkable stories, beautifully told.
Peppered within the stories are professionals who are creating and encouraging change. It makes for a grounded and uplifting view of where some respectable institutions are heading. Research is underway and professionals are collaborating on findings that look beyond the convictions that underpin the rote offering of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
In Breastless, I tell of my many and varied interactions with doctors both in the medical system and also outside of it. I show how I was as a patient, what I was dealing with in my own life, my emotions and what I felt I needed. I also expose the range of ‘care’ that I was offered and the effect that had on me. It’s not all pretty, most certainly doesn’t show me in the best light, but it also reveals the healing impact of compassion and empathy.
And so, I am greatly encouraged by these two quotes from the episode.
First, Dawn Lemanne, MD;
“The relationship you have with your doctor is part of the medicine…There has to be a mutual respect and you have to feel deep in your bones that they are on your side.”
There were some outstanding healthcare professionals with whom I felt this, for sure. And then there were the others…
Again from Dr Lemanne,
“If you are going into your appointment in fight or flight because this feels like an enemy in some way – that you have to placate them or worry about what they might think about you or what you are doing or thinking – I would urge people who have that to address it head-on”.
There was one doctor in particular that I battled with, but only internally. I didn’t dare to say what I was truly thinking or feeling. I kept the rage on the inside. Not healthy! With others, I most certainly feared what they thought of me and I didn’t want to “make a fuss” by questioning and analyzing their choices for me. I was definitely not encouraged to take personal responsibility.
I have learned a lot about myself since those days, I have done my own internal work of “addressing it head-on”, but I certainly didn’t ever have that kind of conversation with my doctors. There were multiple faces and no one primary care provider with whom to build a relationship. I wish I could have done it differently.
Later in the episode we see and hear from Lee M Nadler, MD;
“How patients respond emotionally and what they do makes all the difference. There is a not insubstantial sub-group of patients who want to be given another route. And I’m not talking about Alternative Therapies, I’m talking about taking control of their life. They become exceptional; people who decide on their own actions, who reach inside and take control.”
This doctor is from Harvard, he is no unrecognized, backstreet healer. He is seeing and dedicating his work to voicing this dynamic. I am encouraged.
And I encourage you to also watch this docuseries https://www.discover.hayhouse.com/radicalremission/, particularly now that we collectively understand that maintaining a healthy immune system is of vital importance.