Third in a series
Within a month of being diagnosed with breast cancer I had completed several important tasks: I met with the oncologists — surgical, radiology and medical — and had an MRI ; saw a health coach at Pathways, gaining mental clarity concerning my own thoughts and feelings about having cancer (read: March 2012 Edge); and owned my repressed resentments and began peeling away the layers (read: April 2012 Edge). It also became clear that a traditional approach to cancer was not the path for me.
I also consulted with various peers in healing professions and friends who used alternative health practices. On October 26, my birthday, I celebrated by meeting with Dr. Paul Westby, founder and director of Wellspring Chiropractic Center in Fridley, who practices Functional Medicine. We’d talked several times via phone and email, discussing medical reports I had sent him. He answered my questions and shared his professional knowledge.
Dr. Westby is a 1983 graduate of Northwestern College of Chiropractic (now Northwestern Health Sciences University), a full-time practicing chiropractor and a certified licensed acupuncturist who is board certified in nutrition. He has provided natural health care alternatives in the metro area for more than 25 years and has provided natural, safe and effective treatment, using Functional Medicine, in the evaluation and treatment of chronic health conditions. This approach is based on finding the cause of dis-ease and empowering the person to return to optimal health rather than merely managing symptoms. He also has worked with various athletic teams, including the U.S. Disabled Ski Team, U.S. Ski Team, Coors Lite Cycling Team, and University of Minnesota Wrestling Team, as well as various national and local athletes.
Dr. Westby helped me realize that cancer (or any disease) germinates like a seed, as opposed to exploding like a volcanic eruption. It can take root from poor lifestyle choices and stressors: emotional, environmental and physical. To undo it would take some time, like dismantling a tree limb by limb. Since the tumor was stage one and only the size of a pea, I felt I had time to let my body naturally rid itself of the cancer cells — just as it’s designed to do.
Dr. Westby was open and encouraging, and he helped me gain confidence that I — we — could find a protocol that would bring me back to optimal health. The Functional Medicine approach is a true partnership between doctor and patient, with the goal of empowering the patient to find and heal the cause of any dysfunction. The measure of success is not about being “not sick,” but instead achieving and maintaining one’s health.
My first in-person session with him involved testing my body’s alkalinity and determining that I was acidic, an excellent environment for growing cancer. Next, we discussed lifestyle and eating habits. First and foremost, Dr. Westby suggests that we — especially those with cancer — stop smoking and reduce stress. “And no carbonated beverages because they increase your acidity,” he says. “Drink filtered water instead.” He also encourages exercise, spiritual practices and stretching.
I shared with him that I have been vegetarian and an athlete all of my adult life. I’ve never smoked. I can barely remember the last time I had a carbonated beverage, maybe 10 years ago; I prefer water and herbal tea. I have many spiritual practices, including an annual solo canoe trip to Quetico. In my situation, we would need to look deeper to overcome cancer.
I began with a Liver Cleanse Powder to drink each day and a “prescription” for a detailed blood test to assess what was actually going on inside my body. Included were two specific cancer tests, both tumor markers. With follow-up blood analyses, we will track the growth or reduction of the tumor. I’m counting on the reduction of the tumor!
Blood tests also provide concrete data as to what is happening physiologically. “This helps me select the best supplements for my patient’s specific situation,” Dr. Westby says.
My birthday gift was recommitting to a healthy and happy life. And I am willing to do whatever it takes to affirm life and live accordingly!
Destination: optimal health!
In October my body was completely derailed; I was ready to get back on track and get going. Surely, I did not want to get on just any track — I wanted to go in the right direction and choose the right tools.
That fine fall day I knew I was in good hands. For the first time in five weeks, I had a clear strategy. The internal flags were green! They were waving from that part of me that had taken good care of me before…before I had overridden it…before I had let the opinions of others take precedence, even when I could feel their warning quivers.
On the Right Track
Two weeks later and armed with test results, Dr. Westby recommended specific supplements — vitamin and mineral supplements, plus ones for increasing the stomach acid to aid in digesting proteins.
Since then I’ve learned that cancer does an excellent job of highjacking the body’s natural systems to supply the cancer cells instead. One tactic is to disrupt the digestion of proteins. Cancer first sends out its stealth airplane to assess the terrain and then sends it special forces to dismantle the body’s systems that prevent invasions. It creates supply lines and fortification mechanisms to feed itself. It even stays under the radar — creating a way to keep the immune system from detecting and eliminating it. Very clever!
To be sure the supplements are correct, Dr. Westby uses Applied Kinesiology (AK), a means of assessing the body’s acceptance of the supplements. AK is used to determine which supplements are best and the proper doses. AK is an additional tool for accurately determining the proper nutritional support.
I knew I was on the right track several weeks after starting my three-times-a-day supplement regime. My energy level increased, and with it, my thoughts became clearer and more positive. I am very grateful that I found a strategic way to tackle the cancer while keeping my body intact! I am eager to stay on this track and at some time in the future be retested and declared cancer-free.
Listen: Edge contributor Cheryl Hiltibran describes her journey on the archived Edge Talk Radio program “Innerviews” with Cathryn Taylor at http://tiny.cc/az5ucw