I never wanted to see a naturopath for my cancer. I wasn’t interested in any therapy that might involve birchbark enemas and tea made from dirt. Besides, traditional western medicine has kept me going for more than three years.
Then, last spring, a friend and cancer survivor told me her naturopath has made her stronger and healthier. She feels less afraid about cancer returning one day.
Who doesn’t want to feel better? I figured, at the very least, natural remedies might boost my immune system so I could better tolerate the chemotherapy.
So I went to the same naturopath my friend had seen. He seemed normal. His office was devoid of crystals, scented candles or Himalayan posters. He did not ask me if my stool sinks or floats. (I’m saving the answer for cocktail conversation.)
The only odd element is his handwriting; his note detailing my digestive health was an indecipherable collage of words, doodles and shapes (see pic above). Actually, indecipherable handwriting is one trait he shares with western doctors.
I told him I would take whatever he prescribed, as long as my oncologist approved. He recommended three supplements… and my oncologist nixed all three. They are probiotic immunity-boosters, and apparently work against the antibiotic chemo drugs. In response, my naturopath pointed to several medical studies that concluded these supplements do not hinder chemo’s efficacy.
So it was a standstill — until cancer intervened. New tumours on my brain and spine put all chemo on hold while I undergo radiation. I have been off chemo for nearly three months now, and I decided to use this lengthy break to undergo a three-week course of naturopathic drugs.
I am halfway through. I take six pills a day. I drink a powdered beverage that shows why “mushy pea” never caught on as a Crystal Light flavour. I am trying to follow a diet that replaces every food I enjoy with quinoa and kale.
I told my naturopath I don’t expect all this to reduce my tumours. “I just want to improve my immune system.”
“I expect it to reduce your tumours,” he replied.
I hope he’s right.