Callie Bradford

What Do I Hate More Than Cancer?

www.calliebradford.comThis week, I’d like to share a little glimpse into my personal life over the past few months that I hope will help you think differently about what “healthy living” means to you:

Recently, a very dear person in my life was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was vibrant, energetic, and on the move, then WHAM! out of nowhere, to the hospital, with diagnosis of cancer. What!!!!

So immediately, I’ve been thrust into a role that has been the very subject that I’ve been booked to speak on…caregiving.

Caring for the person is the easy part, it’s the other outside dynamics that make it stressful. For me, I freakin’ hate cancer, but even more, I hate the way it’s treated. You say “cancer” and immediately people think “death sentence.” They start thinking the worst and begin making sure all of their affairs are in order. They start calling the priest, pastors, prayer warriors, and shamans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much a spiritual person and believe having a sense of spirituality is essential to human existence, but it’s just very concerning because I feel like we give up the fight before the battle even begins.

Fast forward to treatment. Operations and chemo therapy seem to be the first line of defense with hardly any conversation about what may have been the cause. We only band-aid the problem by operating, prescribing medicine, or removing the tumor and or organ, all while never discussing how we can fix what happened internally to cause this in the first place. Environment, diet, stress, acidic internal environment? Why not adjust these first, then look at treatment options? Nope, it’s chemo baby!!! Chemo, chemo, and more chemo. People pushed into stalls to get their chemo fix like animals heading out to feed.

Have you ever seen the treatment environment? There are about 30 or more stalls completely filled with people (or should I say commodities). You’re hooked up to your machine and because you’ll be there for 4-6 hours, you’re given a menu to select your lunch or dinner. What’s even more mortifying is the menu: Fake jello, regular and diet soda, bread, and even snacks like chips. What the!!!

Clearly, chemo and proper nutrition don’t go hand and hand. How can you pump a person up with poison then have them eat even more poison which only causes more harm than good. Everything the person is told to do is to make the symptoms of the chemo easier to take and doesn’t have anything to do with the proper nutrition that is necessary to help fight off the cancer cells. Eat meat, because you need the protein. Eat junk food (yep, a doctor and a nutritionist both said this), because you need to gain weight. Here’s some words of wisdom: If you have cancer and your doctor tells you, above all things, to eat junk food, then you need to run for the hills and find yourself a new doctor. Clearly they don’t understand nutrition despite hundreds of peer reviewed journals on the topic of cancer and lifestyle change.

Then you have well meaning people that love you and want you to either rest comfortably and be happy eating your junk food (as if it’s your last supper), or they try to show you love by giving you food. All well intentioned, but extremely misguided.

My contention with this scenario is this: If you live on a constant diet of junk food, cheeseburgers, and fries, you are hardly the person that needs to tell a person going through cancer what they should eat. They have so much information thrown at them, they get confused and don’t know who to believe is right. If you have someone close to you battling cancer (which absolutely doesn’t have to be a death sentence), do your research yourself. Read books, articles, journals, consult a Holistic practitioner and doctors that specialize in the specific cancer, and take a traditional and nutritional approach to healing the body. You’re causing more harm than good by continuing to offer bad food and bad advice because of your lack of education on the subject.

I may not be considered an expert, but at the end of the day, I’ve read, consulted, emailed, and called every guru I know to help this dear person survive and thrive after cancer. I’ve attached web links, books, and groups that you can refer to when needed for your reference. The key is for the entire family to understand the “why” and to get educated, because if they don’t get the “why” about nutrition and movement, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle.

P.S. Stress is also a big factor. Don’t stress your loved one out with family nonsense and drama. What they need is peace, movement, good nutrition, nurturing, and a team of people all coming together with a common purpose and goal, which is to love on them during this trying time.

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