New Feature: Fill out your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

Complementary Treatment and Self Care For Stage IV & Others

I have thought about starting this thread and see if others want to participate so today, I am finally getting around to it. Feel free to share anything you are doing to help yourself feel better, deal with side effects, keep your strength up, improve emotional well being, etc.

I'll start by sharing a video on anti-inflammatory eating and metastatic breast cancer from Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

And here is an article on complementary therapies and doctor/patient attitudes regarding them -

I didn't get a nag screen when I clicked on that link to the article so hopefully no one else will either

Adding BCO’s definition and article for clarity

“Complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used WITH standard treatment. Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person.“


  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited June 2021

    This is a nice idea for a thread, Olma. Here are some things I have gradually worked into my lifestyle:

    Exercise -- walk, dance, yoga, garden chores.

    Sleep -- Adjusted my circadian rhythm by going outside for sunshine around 8:00 AM every morning (I had been sleeping late), and avoiding light/screens at night. Also dark bedroom and sleep mask so as not to interfere with natural melatonin. This is helping me sleep better.

    Nature -- Happy in my garden!

    Diet -- I don't even try for perfect, but emphasize fruits and veg, whole grains, beans. Little processed food and no red meat. No alcohol. (Sugar is my weakness, but I don't feel too bad about it!) I try for a thirteen-hour overnight fast, which is anti-cancer. For my gut, which is challenged by my meds, papayas for the digestive enzymes, and probiotics such as yogurt and raw sauerkraut. For anti-inflammatory benefits I like herbal tea with ginger and turmeric. I also drink decaf green tea for its health benefits. (My tea is from a company that uses a decaf process that preserves the polyphenols.)

    Stress Reduction -- Exercise, yoga, and nature apply here. Also I don't try to adhere to high expectations. I look for creative flow activities such as dance and garden design. I do not read or watch the news much and I won't discuss politics. In the past, when going through my first diagnosis and treatment, I used guided imagery recordings and found them very helpful. I'd like to add Tai Chi. (I tried to develop a mediation practice but just couldn't get it going.)

    Life Purpose -- If something is meaningful to me and uses my talents, it is a priority.

    Social Connections -- I schedule phone chats and visits with family and friends regularly.

    Psycho-social support -- Our BCO support group here is important. I also participate in support groups through my cancer center. I can check in with a therapist at my cancer center as needed. I have also called on our oncology social workers from time to time.

    Bone Health -- I take Omega 3 fish oil capsules, vitamin D3, magnesium, and K2.

  • B-A-P
    B-A-P Member Posts: 409
    edited June 2021

    I do a lot similar to Shetland except I don't have a garden lol .

    I really don't do processed food or sugar (other than what's in fruit and super dark chocolate). I eat mainly Whole foods, plant based , BUT i'm not vegan. I do eat organic chicken, Turkey , and eggs, usually with supper. My husband has accepted a lot of my dietary changes but I didn't want to force him to change supper too too much (as in no meat). I do find I need the protein. I don't do dairy or red meat either.

    I try a 13.5 hour fast most days of the week, but not super strict on it.

    I do Matcha, green tea but also still love coffee.

    Exercise is Huge for me. I exercise 4-5 times a week.. even if it's a brisk walk. I'm not good with idleness but I'm also an exercise therapist by trade, so it's just natural to me :)

    Mindfulness and Yoga are important for me because I stress easily . I do agree with Shetland- reminding yourself of your purpose is a strong factor. My purpose is my son and I'd basically do anything to see him grow up.

    I do consult with NO's and ND's, do acupuncture ect.

    Supplements currently include : Vitamin D with K2,CalMag, Melatonin, Sluphorphane, wheatgrass, asprin, and may start Q10/quercitin. Oh and I do mistletoe injections

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited June 2021

    I haven't given this much thought. Honestly, I just live my life. I hate things about purpose or meaning... I just blank on those questions. I literally have no purpose so I get stressed when I read I'm supposed to remind myself of one lol

    Only extra thing I do is I was going for massage with a Registered Massage therapist - not a spa type treatment but a medical treatment. Stopped last Nov when our covid numbers got crazy. I've booked an appt for July and will resume now that numbers are falling and I'm fully vaccinated.

    I'm vegan but have been since before diagnosis so nothing new. I walk and do Zumba and play agility with my dog but again, this is nothing new.

    I guess I do "nature bathing" - I like watching the wildlife in my garden. We have a large green belt so we've sort of got a mini forest around us. We get a lot of birds. Used to get more raccoons. Saw a bear a few years ago. We have coyotes and skunks. I also love the sea and we boat & I like going to the beach but I don't like crowds and Vancouver has gotten way too big for me lately. I'm going to try going midweek.

    I don't cut sugar or caffeine or white flour or processed food. My supplements are the ones prescribed for my MO: Vit D, calcium, B6.

    Hey, I did just read a couple days ago an abstract from an interesting study from Pakistan about IV Vitamin C for women undergoing early stage breast ca tx. They didn't assess impact on the cancer or whether it impacted the efficacy of the chemo; they focused just on symptoms & they found " improvement in the mean severity score of nausea, fatigue, tumor pain, loss of appetite, and fatigue"

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited June 2021

    Moth, you sound like someone who speaks their language just fine but "doesn't know any grammar". Keep on doing what you're doing. And I don't think purpose or meaning has to be anything earth-shattering. My purpose, as I see it, is simply something like adding some kindness to the world, and being a good friend, wife, and mom. Do you like Nikki Giovanni's poem?

    i used to dream militant
    dreams of taking
    over america to show
    these white folks how it should be
    i used to dream radical dreams
    of blowing everyone away with my perceptive powers
    of correct analysis
    i even used to think i'd be the one
    to stop the riot and negotiate the peace
    then i awoke and dug
    that if i dreamed natural
    dreams of being a natural
    woman doing what a woman
    does when she's natural
    i would have a revolution

    B-A-P, what do you use acupuncture for and how did you come to do this?

    Moth, is the massage therapist crazy expensive? Around here it is at least $100 US at spa-type places, and pre-covid my cancer center had a volunteer that offered ONE free massage to a patient. I did get them to let me sign up once a year since I do not "finish treatment".

  • B-A-P
    B-A-P Member Posts: 409
    edited June 2021

    Hi Shetland,

    So I consult with a Naturopathic oncologist ( as well as my MO ) and An ND who also is a traditional chinese medicine Doctor. I started seeing her before my recurrence ( unbeknownst to me I was already progressing) because my white counts were still low.. like not crazy low but low. So I wanted to see what I could do to increase immunity. I also went to her for stress . Certain points will be for certain things. So we did points for immune system and liver, as well as points in the head that help with anxiety. I do feel pretty blissful after those points. She's also done points to help with hotflashes and joint pain from meds. Some don't believe in Acupuncture which is okay. I feel good after which is worth it :) She also does Craniosacral therapy which is quite relaxing. It's supposed to relax the nervous system.

    I'm supposed to be starting IV Vitamin C but my schedule is all over these days with my son finishing school and having no child care. It puts a wrench in the plans

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited June 2021

    My RMT charges $90 for 45 minutes and $115 for 60. We have extended health insurance from dh's work which I think covers something like ~ $1000/year and after that I think I pay. I do find it so helpful so I just pay when I need to.

    Do you have a massage therapy school nearby? The colleges here offer quite discounted medical massages from final year students working under supervision - my dd went to try it out before covid and said for the price it was good. Way better than the spa type massage, not quite as good at getting into the knots as our RMT is (we go to the same one) but still excellent.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,507
    edited June 2021

    I always feel like a sloth when it comes to “helping” my body stave off further metastases.

    Diet- I eat well about 80-85% of the time. Not a vegan or vegetarian but I rarely eat meet , mainly chicken and fish. I buy organic when I can but don’t stress if I can’t. Still drink 2 cups of coffee each morning and though not a big drinker, if I want an adult beverage I thoroughly enjoy it. And that 15-20% of the time? I eat whatever I want (but we’re not talking fast food) with gusto and joy.

    Exercise- Walking and yoga 🧘

    Supplements- Melatonin, cannabis for symptom relief

    Anything I can do to keep my mind and body moving toward the future and doesn’t take too much time, I’ll do but my idea of QOL doesn’t involve focusing on myself too much.

  • simone60
    simone60 Member Posts: 952
    edited June 2021

    I do a lot of the same things BAP does. I also started mistletoe injections and low dose neltrexone about 6 months ago. Both have improved my blood counts and helped me sleep better.

    Has anyone heard of Dr. Keith Block? He is a Naturopathic Oncologist located near Chicago. He has helped many people achieve a long term remission from cancer. I looked into the cost of a teleconference with him and his team awhile ago but It was too expensive. I noticed his website states he takes some insurance for on-site appointments so I was thinking of taking a road trip to see him. Has anyone heard anything positive about him? I think there was one lady, santa?, that went to him and said it was well worth the money.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,507
    edited June 2021


    I seem to remember several people who saw Dr. Block but I’m sorry to say I can’t remember who they were. I do remember that their feedback was positive. Did you try the search function?

  • olma61
    olma61 Member Posts: 1,004
    edited June 2021

    yes, santabarbarian has seen Dr. Block. I hope she will join the thread and share with us.

    I bought Dr Blocks book Life Over Cancer but haven't read past the introduction. I'm so hooked on Audible, I rarely read anymore and I got his book in the Kindle edition.

    Have to admit, I'm skeptical of Vitamin C IV especially during chemo - although I'd love to believe it could help. I'm even afraid to take any anti oxidant supplements anymore even though I'm only on targeted therapies now. But helping with symptoms does seem possible - thanks for the interesting link, moth.

    I think Santa did the IV Vit. C with Dr Block.

  • simone60
    simone60 Member Posts: 952
    edited June 2021

    exbrngrl, I didn't think to do a search. I'll give it a try.

  • santabarbarian
    santabarbarian Member Posts: 2,308
    edited January 2022

    Yep I had a consult w Dr Block and followed his recommendations including high dose Vit C. He has an excellent reputation and i was very happy with him