Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Cancer is a journey-both medical and emotional. You leave behind the life you know as soon as you hear the words "you have cancer", unsure of what lies ahead. Did you know that among Hindu religionists, cancer is often viewed as karmic payback for bad deeds from a past life? What did I do that was so horrible? It's quite unnerving.
Returning to work after a cancer diagnosis can be more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Although some survivors can work through treatment and not miss a beat (hopefully I can do so), others find it to be an emotional transition. The new status of being a cancer patient (or survivor) can be difficult as they may reassess their career and/or refocus on other priorities such as family, friends or philanthropic work. I'm trying to figure out where I'm at with all this. I have missed being at work but it has got me thinking about the future. (Don't worry kids, I'm not planning on leaving anytime soon!)
I've started to get the feeling back in the boobette and my arm. It feels really weird. I spent the day reading books on cancer and researching complementary & alternative approaches. Although often identified by the acronym CAM (complementary and alternative medicine), leaders in the field say the term is problematic based on their distinct differences. Alternative therapy refers to unproven or disproven treatments that are used instead of standard or proven therapy, and complementary therapy is used in addition to standard medicine to help improve quality of life and relieve chemotherapy and radiation side effects. The term “integrative” is now used to more accurately describe CAM therapies that complement conventional cancer therapy. You'd be surprised with what's out there--everything from coffee enemas to the all-grape diet. It makes my head spin! Any other outlandish suggestions from anyone?

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