The Beginning of a Passion:
Cancer was never my true passion when I started working in the healthcare field. But it didn’t take long to realize that sometimes you don’t have a choice. My first oncology patient called soon after I opened up my clinic. They reported stage 4 cancer that had metastasized to their bones and they wanted to try high dose IV nutrition therapy because they had friends on the West Coast doing these integrative therapies with success. My passion is to help people, so I knew I had to be open to changing my ways.
Fast forward two years, 12 conferences, countless webinars, 1:1 guidance from an integrative oncology mastermind and endless books, resources and IV oncology courses, I felt prepared. Oncology patients (and their families) touch my heart deeply. What I had to get over to provide care for this population was my own Ego/fear. Fear of people dying and fear of people not being cured. The blessing that has evolved in my practice is evident in the way I see and hear each of my patients. Some of them have specific goals, “I want to cure my cancer and live forever”. Some of them have goals to make it to their grandchild’s wedding or to attend a trip they were looking forward to. When I came to terms that everyone has their own plan and goal, I knew my mental blocks wouldn’t get in the way of their healing. Whatever healing looked like for the patient, I wanted to meet them at those expectations as reasonably as I could.
Empowering Patients to Know their Strengths:
That is where my background begins with treating oncology patients in an integrative manner. 80% of my patients are working with an oncologist and receiving chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. They have reached out because they have had multiple recurrences of cancer and the chemotherapy is getting more challenging for them to handle, or they want to limit side effects of their treatments, or there are some people that choose to avoid the mentioned therapies all together. When caring for these patients, I always want them aware of the statistics of their cancer, but not fear them into doing or not doing a specific therapy. There’s too much fear when we talk about cancer. We know so much more now about the bases of cancer. It wasn’t just a fluke accident for 99% of people. We get cancer (or insert any chronic disease) because of our cellular environment, our external environment and stressors. When our immune system is impaired, our can genes ‘turn on’ and increase our risk for these devastating diagnoses.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, I need you to believe you have the ability to help yourself. When we rely on others to cure us, we don’t live a fully empowered life. At the end of the day, we have to love and care about ourselves and realize other people cannot heal us, no matter what their super power. They can give us all the tools we need, but it takes our power and effort to heal.
In part 2 of this series we will be discussing cancer itself, what it is, why we have it, why we get it after having been told we were “cured” from initial rounds of chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. We will dive into what steps we can take to change the way our body is continuously exposed to carcinogens. And understand what our overall health risks were prior to getting a cancer diagnosis.
See you in part two! And as always, if you are living with symptoms that are decreasing your quality of life, please dig deeper, keep asking “why”, don’t settle for feeling uncomfortable or symptomatic another day.
Stephanie Grutz, ARNP, FNP-C