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Four people close to me diagnosed with cancer……part 5

Robyn Openshaw, MSW - Jan 28, 2013 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Four people close to me in 2012 were diagnosed with cancer. Two opted out of all (or most) of the recommended oncology treatments. Two opted in.

The two who opted IN were heavily pressured by doctors, their family, or both.

The two who opted OUT have people around them very supportive of the opt-out, and holistic treatment. Both of them got cancer-marker tests ONLY in the oncologist’s office, and found routes out of the clinic that did not put them in the chemo-drip rooms.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, I weighed in–in all four cases! Because I was asked. In one of the “opt-in” cases, the patient did not choose to read my writing or ask many questions. She talked to me only once, initiated by her, and I told her all the ways I’d love to consult, help, point her to resources. I told her books to read.

She didn’t speak to me about her cancer again and went forward with medical treatment upon heavy pressure from family, as she told me then and later. The other three listened a lot and took a lot of notes and did their own research, too.

The other opt-in was heavily steeped in oncology’s published studies. I will share, on this blog, the long letter I wrote her. Because she asked me to tell her “what would you do if you were in my shoes.”

Of course I will change her name. But I will share it because I write about the manipulations of oncology’s published ‘studies,’ and I share how illogical and fear-based the decision-making process of the cancer patient becomes in some of the most important decisions they will ever make.

My point is, a lifetime of observation leads me to this hypothesis: what you do, when you’re diagnosed with cancer, seems more related to your social support system than to anything else.  And secondarily, patients are influenced by how much information they’re exposed to, especially BEFORE their diagnosis, on the “alternative side.”

In Europe I met a breast cancer patient who didn’t tell her husband she was getting a mastectomy. Did it while he was out-of-town on business. She had just landed in Germany without telling even her daughters that she had cancer. Didn’t want the pressure. Wanted to make her own decisions.

My mother did an interesting thing several years ago. She sent us all a typed, two-page, single-spaced letter. (My mother is a person with a lot to say. Long letters are not unusual when she has an opinion about something.)

In it, she designated the two of her children she wants to make decisions if she becomes incapacitated. Both of her parents died of cancer, so she thinks of that eventuality often.

She stated in very assertive language that she will never do chemo and radiation, and that she does not trust the medical profession. She asked her children to know in advance, and please support her firm belief in other methods and traditions.

My mother doesn’t want to be in the position that my friend was, this year, the one who talked to me once and then succumbed to pressure from her family. I’ll call her Janet. She is 51 years old. She said to me, tears in her eyes, after being diagnosed with lung cancer despite never smoking a cigarette in her life:

support“I don’t want to do this. Everything in me says, ‘Don’t do this!’ I asked the doctor, why are you using the same treatment that was used in 1974? But my family is very upset that I would even consider not doing what the doctor says.”

I think what my mom did is a great idea. If it were me, I’d sit my kids down and talk to them. I will do this, when my kids are adults. Tell them how I feel. Ask them not to pressure me into a specific treatment if I’m ever diagnosed with something. Tell them I need their love and support more than their opinions, judgment, and pressure.

Tomorrow:  A letter I wrote to a friend with a new cancer diagnosis trying to make choices. I did not write it for this blog. As such, it is one of the most personal things I have ever posted here.

Posted in: Detox

11 thoughts on “Four people close to me diagnosed with cancer……part 5”

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  1. Jenn says:

    Thanks for sharing. That was a really interesting post to read. I imagine a decision like that would be hard for a patient to make. Best of luck to all in those types of situations.

  2. Jeanne Lucas says:

    Dear Robyn, Thank you for all your research about cancer. It gives me hope about the future in a world where cancer seems to be everywhere. My brother was recently diagnosed with cancer and needed a stem cell bone marrow transplant. It was terrible to see what he went through. I was his matched donor and I can tell you that the drugs they gave me, even though they were not chemo, were very hard on my body and I am still working to rebuild it. I don’t believe in the medical world of drugs, but I needed to try to save my brother’s life and time was running out fast.

    I attended your workshop yesterday in St. Louis and really enjoyed it. I learned some things. Mostly it was great to see your passion and commitment to health. Since beginning green smoothies 4 years ago, I have never been healthier or felt better. I continue to add your 12 steps into my life and love the adventure. When they took my bone marrow stem cells they said there were at the top of the chart, very healthy and very plentiful. I thank green smoothies and whole food living for that. Thank you as well because you started it all for me. PS. I hope you enjoyed the card. Jeanne

    1. Admin says:

      Jeanne, LOVED the card, it’s going on my corkboard on my desk, THANK YOU! So funny and perfect! I didn’t know you were a bone marrow donor. What an amazing woman you are. I’m humbled to know you!

  3. Bonnie says:

    Love the idea to talk to family ahead of time (maybe even close friends) about my feelings regarding medical treatments. Though I do not know exactly what I will do when/if confronted with cancer or other disease I think you said it best in your post to “Tell them I need their love and support more than their opinions, judgment, and pressure.” Just yesterday I was informed of 2 individuals who died of cancer. Thank you for your passion in educating and bringing awareness to me and so many others about these difficult and sensitive issues.

  4. Kristin says:

    Hi Robyn,
    Being DX w/ cancer is HARD! Coping with family/ friends during decisions making is arduous! It can drain your energy when you need it most. I so wish I knew then what I know now. When I was making decisions I learned to not answer the phone. I wanted only my opinions/ info to resonate with me. I was fortunate to have several people I could truely & honestly speak with. I Had No knowledge of alternatives, neither did they…..And in the mist of it… I Dealt with it & researched it within the options I had been given, specifically. So far so good. What YOU are doing is so important!! Being clear with family members, for me my hubby 1st, is Very important. When DX w/ cancer… Everyone thinks your going to die… Then they assume chemo & radiation is the hope. It’s seems to help some, but bottom line is there ARE other options….&… They weren’t in the pounds of brochures I was given upon DX. Life: Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know… Until you need to know!! In my heart of hearts- everyone needs to listen to their gut!!!!! No matter what options you choose- you NEED to be at peace with your choices. I wish Dr. Herzog was my doctor!! Thank you for the info!!

    1. Admin says:

      Kristin, God bless you in your journey, health is so often on the other side of the quest, and thanks for your words.

  5. Brenda Combs says:

    I just thanked my husband for supporting my decision to treat the cancer diagnosis given me a year ago July. I have had tremendous support from my husband, two sons and a few friends. My hairdresser got me juicing a few weeks before the diagnosis. I did the juicing for several months then attended a green smoothie presentation this past summer. After some talking to my sons they have both chosen to start the green smoothie habit. I found Blendtecs for both of them at Costco for a real steal. I know it was divine guidance that led me to the Costco deal. I will be ever grateful to my hairdresser and you Robyn for the nutrition info and the path to better health. I talk green smoothies to anyone that will listen. Many thanks for your years of research and spreading of the information.

  6. Sher says:

    Your research and honesty is greatly appreciated. My dad was just diagnosed with early stage bladder cancer and did what the doc suggested (chemo) and is having reactions to the second round of treatment. I’m trying to help support him with healthy diet suggestions, especially the no sugar one (I have your 12 steps book), and sending him your blog posts on cancer. I think he’s actually now seriously thinking that the treatments are worst than the disease. I also think that most people opt for the treatment by the drs. because most of it will be covered by their insurance. They feel cheated if they have to pay for alternative treatments out of their pocket (especially if they don’t have the money) because they invested a lot of money paying for “health” care insurance and want to get their money’s worth. Crazy, but true?

    1. Robyn says:

      Sher, scary thought, that people go for a terrible option because they want to get their health insurance premium “money’s worth.” WOW. Never thought of that! I personally am looking at dropping my health insurance for an AFLAC policy where it pays me cash to do with what I want, if diagnosed with a disease. So I can truly choose what I want.

  7. Brenda says:

    Robyn, in July of 2011 my husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I began following your web site that fall and we have been drinking green smoothies and trying to maintain a better diet with mostly raw foods and very little meat. We also include a barley grass dink and some essential oils. After three surgeries and a BCG treatment ( introducing a tuberculous pathogen into the bladder) the cancer cells were gone. He had two scopes three months apart that looked clean. In January of this year the doctor found a return of some high grade carcinoma and he was scheduled for a cystectomy. He just had a CT scan as a pre-surgery step and they found some possible tumors outside the bladder and enlarged lymph glands near the aorta. The surgery has been postponed and the doctors want to do some chemo therapy now. I have read all of your articles on your cancer studies and also have looked into the Coy Diet which uses animal protein and has a very low carbohydrate intake. I am unsure of which direction to take at this point. We had hoped that our diet the last year and and half would have us headed down a better road than this. Your input would be very appreciated. Thanks. Brenda

    1. Robyn says:

      Hi Brenda, of course I can’t advise anyone about their specific health issues. I am sorry you’re going through this. I will say that I think your husband would be in good hands at Paracelsus, and that the Coy diet is anything but meat-intensive. There is a very small amount of organic fish served there, and you can eat entirely plant based very easily. Remember that a positive shift in the diet is critical, and that usually cancer has been developing for 7-10 years before detected.

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