Things to consider when your mom is exploring treatment options

When my mom had cancer ten years ago, she treated it with chemotherapy,

And it worked.

But when her cancer came back, she decided to treat it with a naturopath method,

And her decision to do so both upset and confused my entire family.

We didn’t understand why she would want to try anything other than chemo, or how leafy products, jogging and sitting in a hot sauna could cure the deadliest disease out there. But here’s what we learned:

  • A vegan-like diet that limits red meat, processed foods and alcohol reduces sugar intake and makes cancer cells weaker (because sugar makes cancer cells stronger)
  • Exercising daily brings oxygen to the cells which makes them healthier and stronger
  • Sitting in a hot sauna for 30 minutes/day cleanses the body, removes harmful toxins, and weakens cancer cells

At the time my mom was doing this treatment in 2016, results showed it was working. Unfortunately, since then, her cancer progressed and she has moved onto a chemotherapy treatment.

Regardless, starting a new cancer treatment is scary, overwhelming, and often confusing. Based on my personal experience, here are things to consider when your mom (or loved one) is exploring treatment options:

1. There are more treatment options than chemotherapy that may work
  • My mom always stresses how there are so many different treatments; some in the form of chemotherapy, and some not. The type of treatment depends on the patient and their condition, so they should ask their doctor for more information on different options and if they qualify.
2. It may take multiple treatments to find the right one and that’s okay
  • My mom has tried several treatments but hasn’t found the right one. It’s a trial and error process, so be patient and don’t panic if some treatments don’t work
3. You’re going to see a wide range of side effects
  • Shockingly, hair loss isn’t the only side effect of cancer treatment. In fact, hair loss hasn’t been a side effect of any of my mom’s treatments. But the side effects depend on the treatment; some others include blisters (on hands and feet), low energy, bleeding, swelling, stomach pains, etc. Be prepared to see a variety of symptoms. And remember, extreme symptoms are usually just a side effect of the treatment, not an indication of the cancer itself
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • I guarantee you’re not going to fully understand the treatment and how it works, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. But as I mentioned in a previous post, be cautious of how often you’re asking questions – you don’t want to overwhelm them. But they’ll appreciate that you care and want to learn more
5. Most importantly, be open-minded and supportive of their decisions
  • Especially if they’ve had cancer before because their decisions are most likely influenced by their previous experiences with cancer. The reason my mom wanted to try a naturopath method is because she hated chemo the first time; as she always says:

“It wasn’t so fun the first time.”

It completely changed her life so we couldn’t blame her for wanting to try something different.

Exploring different treatment options isn’t fun or easy, so make sure you’re being supportive, understanding and open-minded of their decisions.

4 thoughts on “Things to consider when your mom is exploring treatment options

Add yours

  1. I love this post for so many different reasons. For the first time in my life I was exposed to a Holistic approach from one of my roommates undergrad. To my small minded young self her tea leafs and healthy eating seems like a waste of time, but realistically mainstream medicine doesn’t work for everyone and it is interesting to see this through the lens of a cancer treatment. I can completely admit that I never would have thought treatment options other than chemotherapy existed, and I appreciate your honestly and willingness to share your story.

  2. Wonderful job Sara! Something I have realized over the past month is the treatment for cancer is so individualized and there are many moving parts. The one thing I quickly learned to do was to ask questions. While I may understand what the doctors and nurses are saying because of my education, my mom does not and it is her body and treatment. As daughter’s, we often become advocates for them. Looking forward to your post next week!

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: