In September of 2011, I was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma in my left tonsil. The previous month I suddenly felt a hard lump in my neck on the same side. I never smoked my entire life, and having credited myself for being in great shape and in general taking care of myself, it all seemed so surreal.
After going through what seemed countless appointments and a tonsillectomy (I never had my tonsils removed and never had any throat/tonsil issues growing up) I was ready for the radiation and chemotherapy sessions. Believe me, I did NOT want to take that route as I embrace a “holistic” approach and searched far and wide for alternative therapy treatments. Then, it became apparent that I had to bite the bullet and just get though this, as time was ticking by and I was getting increasingly anxious about this malignancy continuing to spread.
I have to credit my medical teams at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago. They were SUPERB to say the least. So professional, accurate, sympathetic, cutting edge…….I could go on and on. They also embraced the holistic approach and I was able to incorporate many natural healing practices during my sessions. Which brings me to this Blog attempt. As I was searching on the internet for information and “answers”, I had a difficult time finding anything really pertaining to Head and Neck cancer treatment. Yes, unfortunately cancer is so prevalent in todays society and one can quickly become overwhelmed with cancer information in general. But, I couldn’t find anything relating to what I was about to go through, finding something simple to read that would give me some inspiration and determination. Something that would make me say “OK, if this dude can do it, then I CERTAINLY can do it too!”
So, this is my attempt to help others about to embark, currently going through, or recovering from Head and Neck cancer treatment. Well, actually I’d like to say any diagnosis of cancer for that matter! Let me start by saying it won’t be easy. Being in great shape to begin, I thought “no big deal.” Yes, I was told about the weight loss, the potential radiation and chemotherapy impact on my teeth, swallowing, hair loss, etc. So I took charge, re-arranged my life and began my cancer treatment sessions. Everything went smoothly until about ¾ of the way through my sessions. Then I really started to feel the effects. Now, I was doing the following “holistic” practices: Reiki, Acupuncture, Yoga, Massage, Meditations, Affirmations, Working Out, Juicing (In particular; taking Juice Plus capsules, see my Juice Plus link and more information on the Wellness “Thriving” Routine page) Smart Eating and in general being very conscious of taking care of my body and INSTRUCTING it to heal. Yes, your body wants to heal and WILL listen to your instruction. I will tell you that the previous healing practices mentioned all helped me muster through, tremendously. In addition, the love, support and prayers of family and friends were also instrumental. In the end though, the body can only take so much radiation and chemotherapy.
By the end of December when treatment ended, and with the “lag” effect of the radiation for another month thru January, I could not eat and I lost a lot of weight. In fact, I started my treatment at 180 pounds and by the New Year was around 140 pounds. Two things you do NOT do during this time: 1) Do NOT weigh yourself 2) AVOID looking at yourself in the mirror. To say the least, at the end I was not a pretty sight. I opted out of both a port insert and feeding tubes, and I had to nourish my body with chicken broth, juicing and nutritional energy drinks, barely able to swallow. It finally took surrendering to the whole process and allowing my loving and caring parents to “spoon” feed me back to health. I have to admit though, the few times I glanced at myself in the mirror last January and February my mind wanted to scream WTF?? But I KNEW deep in my heart that my body would bounce back.
And it has. In 5 months from the end of my treatments as I’m writing this in in June, I’m currently at 175 pounds, feeling and looking great and THRIVING! So, this attempt at a “blog” is to help others and give them the strength, confidence and inspiration that if I can do this, you most CERTAINLY can do this too. I believe in a 3 prong approach to staying balanced in life using your MIND, BODY and SOUL. LEARN with an Open MIND, LOVE your BODY and LIVE through the SOUL.
Believe me, this blog attempt is a work-in-progress and, like a new born baby, will most likely quickly evolve and grow as I give birth to it. I have added “links” to show you a few of the products, body healing practices and other inspirational sources I did and utilized during my cancer treatment and continue to do as part of my Wellness “Thriving” Routine and in my continued recovery. Your comments are welcome!