Barbara’s Needles

Adventures in Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

It Takes a Village… December 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — barbarasneedles @ 6:15 am
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..to give cancer a run for its money.

I did a cartwheel in my office today after my patient went on her way.

Her timeline:

  • March 30, 2009: Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer.
  • May 15, 2009: Evidence found of metastasis to the Lungs, 9mm tumors.
  • June 5, 2009: Chemo starts.
  • July 20, 2009: PET scan reveals reduction in number and size of pulmonary tumors.  9mm has shrunk to 5mm
  • September 23, 2009: PET scan reveals further improvement and reduction in size of tumors.
  • November 23, 2009: PET scan reveals further reduction in size of pulmonary tumors.  5mm has shrunk to 2mm.  No evidence of hypermalignancy.
9 months after going into surgery for Pancreatic Cancer there is no malignant activity in the body.

Her game plan:

My patient participated in IV and Oral Chemotherapy, acupuncture twice a week, supplements, yoga and some psychotherapy.   Our acupuncture treatments focused on managing the side-effects of chemotherapy so my patient could feel as good as possible and stay on her western treatment schedule.  Her side effects from chemo included digestive upset, poor appetite, anemia, scar pain, insomnia, pain at the corners of her mouth, pain in her hands and feet, low energy, feeling blue… all things quite common to cancer treatment.  With each visit, we addressed these different side effects and had lots of conversations. I believe her commitment to her wellness is what has gotten her through these very trying 9 months.  She made a decision early on that she was not going to be a statistic.  She took advice from her Medical Doctors,  Alternative Medical Providers, and her Acupuncturist. She followed the advice to the best of her ability.  She came to all of her appointments and she never felt bad for herself.   While I realize that her journey isn’t over, I am encouraged and inspired by her tenacity and bravery.  Cancer is a big bad scary word.  Each patient has a completely different process.  I am so pleased, proud, and humbled by this woman’s bravery, dedication, and willingness to do the work that she needs to do. I am so blessed to be a part of her journey.
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