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Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Jun 7, 2018 11:52 am


If you have cancer, your healthcare team has probably created a plan with treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. These are all conventional ways to treat cancer. Many other kinds of therapies, called complementary therapies, can support conventional cancer treatment.

Have you or your loved one considered trying or tried a complementary therapy? If so join the conversation below.

Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by NannaM on Jun 8, 2018 9:55 am

CBD Oil - for sleep. I was extremely anxious, only getting 4 hours sleep a night. Now, more like 7 or 8.
Also, massage. I dont have benefits, so can only afford one a month, but I feel so good afterwards!

Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by LPPK on Jun 8, 2018 10:06 am

After checking out the CCS booklet on Complementary therapies   I found that I am using some of them.
Yoga. I go once a week to a gentle class and do stretching at home many times a week. It is "my time" and I find that it helps to center me and focus on my body.  Being able to listen to my body has been very helpful as I went through the waiting, testing, waiting and treatment, and now out the other side.  
Music therapy.  I enjoy listening to music and will go to music when I need to pick up my mood, help with my energy or for relaxation.  I have a bunch of inspirational songs on my computer that I can click on that help to lift my mood.  For relaxation I love to listen to instrumental music with accompanying nature sounds (eg. Dan Gibson's Solitudes).  I always used this music when I did yoga with my kindergarten students and it is definitely linked to relaxation in my mind.  We also created 'movies' in our mind to go with the music and I find this a great way to myself to a different world.   I guess this could be considered imagery that I guide.
Art Therapy.  I started painting when I was home on a stress leave 8 years ago.  Since then I find that painting takes me to a different state of being and helps me to relax. I take photographs of nature (eg. sunsets, life around water) and then paint from those pictures. I don't do the typical art therapy route by expressing my feelings through my art, instead I like to paint what interests me and make me feel happy.

Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by Dielle on Jun 8, 2018 11:36 am

I have also used a few:

Meditation to keep me relaxed through scans and tests.
Guided Imagery - when going to chemo I imagined the healing medicine surrounding my tumor and shrinking it.  I tried to never think of chemo as "poison" or in a negative way.  Before surgery I downloaded a Preparing for Surgery guided meditation and would listen to a couple of times a day.  I would imagine a healing light filling my body and then how I would feel after waking up from surgery, after I had healed and then what I would be doing a long time in the future.  Apparently people who do this kind of thing feel less pain and heal better.  I did heal pretty well after although I can't say for sure it is due to this (but who cares) but it did help reduce anxiety.
Aromatherapy - I have dried lavendar beside my bed and will sometimes put a sachet of dried lavendar on my pillow to help me sleep.
Massage - really helped when my shoulder was sore from holding my arms in an position for radiation.
Yoga and other exercise - increases energy and relieves stress.
Naturopathic and supplements - my plastic surgeon recommended taking Arnica to help reduce bruising from the surgery.  My oncologist suggested trying Glucosamine for joint pain from Letrozole.  I"ve also taken magnesium, either orally, topically or in an epsom soak for joint and muscle stiffness.

Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jun 13, 2018 4:42 pm

I found writing my thoughts down, writing poems and listening to classical music helped me get through my chemo and radiation treatments.  I still find music very therapeutic; playing my piano helps.  I also did a lot of crossword puzzles which helped me focus.  I try to get out for walks on nice days - not today, it's a torrential downpour here! Exercise is good for the body and mind.  I'm planning to get into a better exercise regime.  Watching my husband do his weekly heart health exercises has inspired me to do more.  


Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by jimrfisher50 on Dec 6, 2018 4:49 pm

I have been taking canabis since surgeryNOV 2017.
I take it for mood, appatite,anxietyansometimes just to relax.
Also takingPau D'Arco.
Dielle‍  do they work?
My last MRI indicted un measureable change in the tumor. sothe best is itisn' growing.
NextMRI is Jan2. long wait

Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by Razma on Dec 29, 2018 12:40 pm

jimrfisher50‍  Thanks so much for posting. I am a stage 3 breast cancer patient and just had my second of 4 huge doses of Red Devil chemo about 8 days ago. I am having a lot of trouble with this second dose and am wondering how I will get through the next 2 and the 12 weeks of weekly chemo to follow. My daughter has given me some CBD gummies and I am thinking about trying it rather than the orange pills they've given me for nausea. It's not so much the nausea, it's the tingly swollen feelings, so I am encouraged by your testimony. Hope your 2019 is healthier and bless you for sharing.

Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by jimrfisher50 on Dec 30, 2018 12:08 pm

Hello Lacey.
Ihave been taking cannabis sice surgery. Thesmokeable helps with anxiety and appatiteand sleepThecosts add up quickly

Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by Kims1961 on Dec 30, 2018 12:24 pm

Razma‍ I remember struggling with the "Red Devil" this time last year.  For me, each dose seemed a little more difficult so I spoke to my oncologist about it.  She was able to add in some additional nausea meds that helped.  I had to rethink the term "red devil" - so rather than an evil that was making me very ill, I saw it as a sign that the chemo was working.  I spoke with my oncologist about how sick it was making me because at the time, in the back of my mind was if I can't make this manageable I won't be able to continue.  I asked her about cannabis and at that time it wasn't legal - other than through a medical licence - so her preference was to find other ways to make the treatment easier.   Sometimes they are able to reduce the dosage, without compromising the integrity of the treatment - not sure if this is possible with the Red Devil - but might be worth an ask.  

Did they give you a number to call in between treatments if you have any questions or concerns?  Might be worth letting them know how it is making you feel - in case there are some solutions for you right now and also have it documented before you meet again next time.

Hope you are feeling better today.  Let us know how it goes.  KIm


Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by jeniswee on Dec 30, 2018 12:28 pm

Razma, jimrfisher I, too have been on the cannabis train and it’s been very, very helpful for me. Pain and discomfort, anxiety, sleep, appetite all of it. Razma - I am right there with you in regards to hating how the anti-nausea pills make me feel. Despite that, I would still recommend taking the prescribed meds though and consider cannabis as a complementary therapy, as opposed to a supplemental therapy.

Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by Razma on Dec 31, 2018 3:44 pm

Kims1961‍ Thanks for helping me put things in perspective, I was feeling pretty bad and having exactly the same thoughts you described, "how am I going to continue this if I feel so bad?"
I have anti-nausea meds available (Apo-Prochlorazine) and I can take one every 4 hours if needed. My problem is not so much nausea as tingling in the legs and face, jaw, forehead, heart etc and general malaise. It's the holidays so I do have  "pivot nurse" and I can leave her a message if I have questions. Last chemo was Dec 21st and usually I would see my oncologist the day before following blood tests and filling out a 20 question sheet with 1-10 " how was it" type questions. However he had just returned from vacation and I think was overwhelmed and I was fobbed off to another oncologist whom I had never seen before and I forgot to ask about results of an MRI I had on Dec 1 and chest xray on the 30 of Nov, of course this "new" oncologist didn't offer any news. They're being a bit half-assed with the info and it's frustrating but they have no idea how tenacious I am.
First dose for me was not too bad with secondary effects. This second dose was a doozy however, and if anything has me reaching out more for other resources. Just trying to make myself stronger so I can face the next treatments. Still haven't resorted to CBD gummies but did talk to the pharmacist on my case by phone who basically said if all else fails, go for it. I appreciate knowing someone else lived to tell about it and am trying to adjust my attitude towards the AC protocol.
Anyways, I'll keep my chin up, am feeling better on day 10 after "Red Devil" and will try to stop calling it that, but rather "Red Baron" as I really love anything to do with Snoopy. Happy And Healthy New Year to you and all who read this message. 


Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by cancertakesflight on Jan 31, 2019 8:13 pm

My brother provides complementary medicine, so I was fortunate to have someone who could help me every step of the day. I felt nauseated after my chemo, but it only lasted a little while before I was eating like a pig. It's unfortunate, but I was so hungry. Maybe it was from not eating too much right after chemo and maybe it was, in part, a result of the steroids that are part of the chemo cocktail. 

Sometimes people feel worse after each treatment because all the drugs from the last chemo treatment may not have gotten out of your system before the next treatment. I believe that my brother was able to get me to ground zero each time. I actually was lucky enough to be able to work during my chemo. That's not to say I didn't have bad days, but work was very helpful and allowed me to work extra hours when I felt well so that I had hours banked when I had to take some time off. 

As LPPK‍ says, sometimes performing activities that you like is its own type of medicine. Good mental health really does help with good physical health. 

Different things work for different people. You just have to find out works for you. 

cancertakesflight (Debbie) 


Re: Let's Discuss...Complementary Therapies

Posted by JenDavid on Feb 3, 2019 10:24 am

Acupuncture was very helpful to me to help manage side effects and protect my organs during chemo. I also saw a naturopath who helped me with supplements and food to help with the major stomach issues I had as a side effect of my chemo (TCH). And I have benefited greatly from the emotional support of a breast cancer support group that meets monthly.