Taking Charge of Your Health

When someone comes to see me I’m not just
interested in the physical dimensions, I’m interested in all of the other dimensions.
I see my patients as a whole, as a whole woman, as a whole personThe concept of an integrated
approach, which is evidence-based is a powerful antidote to a lot of the stress that health
consumers feel. And it was a relief to me to also practice what I believe. Evidence-based
means that there is medical literature, there are clinical studies that have been done that
show that whatever we’re talking about, whether or not it’s mindful, it’s medication or Tamoxifen
is a safe and effective therapy.Integrated refers to bringing together the conventional
paradigm, all of the practices from regular medicine, allopathic medicine with evidence-based
alternative medicine. So we’re really integrating the two, but like I said, eventually the word
“integrated” might fall away because it’s really just good practice.I’ll always offer
a physical exercise prescription and as I mentioned I have specific training in how
to prescribe a safe physical regimen that’s doable on a regular basis and how to work
with someone so that actually takes place, they actually do their regimen so that they
like it. So there are some studies that look at quality of life and making sure cancer
patients are doing the physical exercise and they’re comfortable with. I always touch on
mind-body practice. I think that that is an important staple and foundation for recovering
from the particular physical symptoms, but as I mentioned it’s very significantfor emotional
coping, for pain reduction, for reducing drugs that are needed for anxiety and pain, and
also just for getting more physically active sooner. Certainly acupuncture plays an important
role, so I might refer someone for acupuncture not just for nausea and for fatigue, which
it’s well studied for and there’s good evidence for efficacy with nauseaand fatigue, but also
for some of the neuropathy. There’s other factors that acupuncture can help with. Hot
flashes would be a perfect example.The center of this approach really has to do with treating
each woman individually. So that means not creating a cookie cutter approach. Not just
putting a woman into a pool ofwomen who have breast cancer and then treating according
to broad guidelines, but reallypersonalizing treatments to her particular situation, her
particular symptoms that she’s working with as she’s going through treatment and after
treatment and the issues that she’s left with after her surgery or chemotherapy or radiation
if she’s chosen these options. After those are over what challenges is she left with?
And not just stopping after physical diagnoses or the cancer has been officially treated,
but really continuing to work and support that woman until she is healthy on every level.
So physically, emotionally, mentally and also feels a spiritual sense of equilibrium, meaning
a sense of meaning, a sense of connectedness, and ongoing sense of social support. So this
is essential that we don’t just treat the illness, that we really treat the patient.

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