Life’s full again and so much fun. I feel on top of the world. I’m working – both paid and unpaid – and that’s a real morale boost.
I’m training to do the 50km Coastrek day walk from Palm Beach to Balmoral, Sydney in February 2014. I can feel my strength building every day that I train on the soft sand. I am so grateful for this. My weekly exercise programme includes two yoga classes, a pilates session and a walk on the other days with a few stairs thrown in to help rebuild my bone density.
Last Saturday three of our four woman team did a 15km beach walk on Sydney’s northern beaches. It was magnificent. So energising. Then I went sailing afterwards and trimmed the mainsail over a 2-hour race. My energy is definitely back.
There’s another cog in my healing journey that I want to talk about. And that’s acupuncture. It was a pivotal treatment for 12 months. I’ve been asked a number of times, “what treatment benefited you the most during chemotherapy?” My answer is two things – acupuncture and meditation.
About six months before my diagnosis, I went to see Michelle Corban, who specialises in Japanese acupuncture. I was feeling tired and out of balance (possibly it was around when the cancer started). She checked my meridians, yin and yang, energy and pulses. The diagnosis was, my yin was depleted and my liver and kidneys were not functioning at full capacity. I had several sessions with her and my balance and energy returned.
Michelle was one of the first people I called when I was told I needed chemotherapy and radiotherapy. “Was there anything she could do for me that would enable me to not have chemotherapy?” We discussed several ideas and I sought second opinions. “There’s no alternative” I was told by my doctors. I decided then to use acupuncture to maintain my body, where possible during chemo, and to strengthen and rejuvenate it afterwards.
Instinctively I knew acupuncture would assist me during my chemo treatment. I didn’t know how. Before the first session, I had an acupuncture treatment with Michelle. The intention was to balance my body and have it be as strong as possible in receiving the chemotherapy drugs.
From then on my pattern, in my three week chemotherapy cycle, was to have an acupuncture treatment 5-6 days after a chemo session and then 1-2 days before the next session. The rejuvenating powers of the acupuncture were almost miraculous. I could feel my physical strength and wellbeing shift markedly in the following 24 hours.
This was important in my recuperation. The chemo weakened both my yin and yang energy, in particular my yin – the loving, nurturing energy of my body. Once I finished chemo, I continued to have acupuncture regularly – fortnightly at first. I developed an incessant debilitating dry cough after the fifth chemo. Michelle concentrated on my lungs during our sessions with the result being no more cough. Once it disappeared and my physical strength and wellbeing started to return, I saw her monthly. Now I have acupuncture when I feel I need it.
Whilst acupuncture aided me enormously in rejuvenating my body, I have also needed the assistance of supplements to heal my gastrointestinal tract and my liver. I am still on a range of these. My liver is not fully healed. I’m now on a complementary diet of 75% fruit, salads, berries, bitter greens and vegetable juices. I am struggling with this. I’ve managed to shift my daily intake of these foods to 50%. I am working on increasing it a few percentage each day until I get to 75%.
I cannot recommend acupuncture highly enough for balancing and rejuvenating the body. If you decide to try it, make sure you find a good and reputable practitioner.