A Tribute to Breast Cancer Survivors ~ Part 2
Continued from Part I of Beverly's interview…
Cancer completely changed Beverly’s mindset and prompted her to start studying oriental medicine. She graduated in 1994 from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine with a Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and took the medical board exam for the State of California, as well as a National board exam so that she would be licensed to practice in any State. In 1998, she received her National Board certification for Acupuncture Orthopedics – and has been practicing since then.
[post-img]When treating clients who are undergoing chemo, Beverly combines her acupuncture expertise with her own experience of having breast cancer. She has used acupuncture with several people undergoing cancer treatment – and they’ve all had no nausea at all to contend with.
In addition to the acupuncture, Beverly proposes a change of diet for individuals undergoing chemo. As she explains, “sometimes it’s not even a choice – the chemo can force you to change your diet because things just don’t digest or taste the same, and your regular diet is not as appealing as it once was.” Beverly doesn’t encourage a drastic change in diet. Instead, she incorporates nutritious foods slowly, suggesting that people go ahead and eliminate the foods that are causing them discomfort and focus more on raw and natural foods.
[tip-fact]From her personal experience, as well as from caring for individuals who are undergoing chemo, Beverly recognizes that interest in meat wanes and people prefer to consume lighter foods that will help to restore the body. She recommends fresh unprocessed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as fish in moderation. “We tend to cook fish lightly compared to what we do with meat” Beverly says, “so the nutrition is still there without the heaviness of meat, and it digests more easily as well.” In addition, lightly steamed or sautéed vegetables seem to work best. “That way, the body isn’t working too hard to break down the major foods. And if the body doesn’t have to use up its energy on digesting food, it can focus that energy on fighting the cancer cells.”
Furthermore, Beverly strongly believes that the survival rate for an individual with cancer correlates with the sort of attitude that the person takes and how he or she moves forward following a diagnosis. For her, taking an active approach started with doing the research, which she feels helped her regain control of her life. “Learning to understand the cancer gave me something to focus on and enabled me to have some decision-making abilities about my treatment, rather than relying on some outside institution or person telling me what I should do.”
Beverly's advice for anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer is to not make any decisions immediately, but to take some time to consider all the options and perhaps get a second opinion. “Being able to talk to other doctors and get different viewpoints will help you formulate what your questions are – and make sure you ask a lot of questions,” Beverly says.
“Many of us have reached a point where we want to look into other supportive ways of doing something instead of what we’re used to, which is relying only on the western conventional medical opinion,” Beverly says. As she points out, the mindset in the last 20 to 25 years has changed, and we can now make more educated decisions and incorporate holistic ways of treating illnesses.
Beverly believes that there are great benefits in including holistic approaches in an individual’s healing process. Holistic approaches require an individual’s active participation and enable them to regain control instead of sitting back and feeding the subterfuge, fear, and out-of-control feelings that usually accompany a cancer diagnosis.
“You don’t let the fear gain an upper hand in your conscious day-to-day activities because you’ve become very involved in what you have to do
on a daily, almost hourly basis” Beverly says. “By establishing a regular routine that you have to accomplish, you can wage a significant battle against this disease, which keeps you moving forward all the time
toward stabilization and recovery.”
Beverly also stresses the importance of establishing a partnership between doctor and patient because “doctors need to understand how the patient has perceived the diagnosis.” She also suggests taking someone along to the doctors’ appointments because, in most cases, this is where the
shock sets in after that kind of diagnosis. “On follow-up doctors’ appointments, you’re really not hearing things that they’re telling you in the way that they’re telling you. A lot of times you get back home and say 'didn’t he say this or that or my next appointment is next week…,' but the other person has heard something different. So it’s always a good idea to have someone there – and if they need to record it
or take notes, do it.”
Beverly’s final words of advice are to “be active, do your own research, get a second opinion – whatever direction you want to take your research, do it. Whether you want to get a second opinion, talk to doctors, read up about it. There’s a lot more information on the Internet these days. Just take the time to consider all your options, ask lots of questions, and be an active participant in all the decision-making.”
For more information on Beverly and her practice, check out her membership page at www.myyogahub.com/beej.