Yesterday, I had an initial consultation with Heidi Lucas, ND of Integrated Naturopathic Oncology. My friend, Nancy recommended her highly and Dr. Lucas is one of a very few naturopaths in the area who has additional certification in cancer treatment. I wanted to find someone who could help me support my health from a nutritional standpoint as well as with supplements and lifestyle changes. I thought she was very good, well versed in research, and very experienced working with women with breast cancer. My hubby had challenged me about not taking others’ advice about nutrition and supplements. For example, a co-worker of his, upon learning of my cancer, gave him a bag of sour sop leaves from which I was to make tea. I looked up research on this approach and decided not to do it because I couldn’t find any. I believe that the “non drugs” that we take into our body are as potentially powerful (for good and ill) as the drugs made in laboratories. The difference is that we know less about “non drugs” from a research perspective, though this is fortunately changing for the better. Consequently, I believe it is incredibly important to see someone with specialty training in this area who knows the existing research and has a lot of clinical experience to guide them. And really, I don’t tend to take medical advice from John’s co-workers, either.

The lifestyle changes are ones that I am doing all ready, deep breathing, exercise, having a good social support network, making time to relax, etc. Dr. Lucas recommended a number of supplements and dietary changes for me to do long term, as well as some recommendations for supplements to take before surgery (ex. extra vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc) and a regimen to take after surgery to help with healing. One of the long-term changes is to eat 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal each day. I mixed it with some plain Greek yogurt, a little maple syrup, and frozen berries this morning. It was a tolerable gruel. I see smoothies in my future. I’m going to Google some recipes. She didn’t suggest many changes to my diet except to reduce my intake of milk (about a cup a day; fermented milk products like yoghurt and cheese are okay) and coffee. Coffee? Whaaa! She suggested that I try limiting coffee intake to every other day and drink green tea several times a day. Today I tried a latte with soy milk. At first it tasted yucky and by the end it was starting to grow on me. The green tea is fine. My friends at Red Cup Espresso (thanks for the gift card, Beth!) also have hemp milk. Samir has extolled it nutritional properties. Perhaps I will give it a try. I hope it doesn’t taste like rope. Finally, she wants me to sprinkle turmeric on my food and then switch to turmeric capsules. I forgot to ask her why she doesn’t want me to take capsules yet. Maybe my body has to get used to it or something. I like Indian food, so I don’t really mind.

So, I got a MUCH BIGGER pill organizer.