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Finally found an open-minded doctor who supports integrative therapies

Posts: 235
Joined: May 2012

I had a terrific 90-minute (!) consultation with a medical oncologist who started a dedicated survivorship practice within the Women's Cancer Care center at my leading research university/hospital.  Do you think they were the ones who referred me?  Of course not.  It was my endocrinologist who tipped me off that this doctor existed.  The doc ordered extensive blood work, including both iron and ferritin levels and Vitamin B-12 and D deficiencies, together with the typical comprehensive blood counts, platelets, thyroid, etc.  And when I brought up Metformin, the doc will not prescribe it but will send me to someone who will and will talk to me about turmeric, cucumin, and any other substances I want to talk about. This doctor specializes in another cancer care therapy but started out in internal medicince and that is the "hat" that will see me.  This doctor will contact me. It's like a secret society or something.  I get the feeling that there are many toes that are not to be stepped on as you push ahead to complete a care plan that satisfies you.  This new doctor is also more empathetic about my desire to have screening CTs on at least an annual basis and will ensure that it is done if I want.  What a refreshing change.  I do not have any dissatisfaction with my treating gyn oncologist, especially since I am now back in remission from my 3rd bout with this disease.  My husband made a good analogy.  My gyn onc is like a fireman; he rushed to put out the fire and he did that very well but rebuilding the house is someone else's job.  I will continue to see him every three months but for my "survivorship" plan, I'm moving on.

There was another poster recently who is NED and spoke about fretting that she is not "doing something."  I have the same feeling and I would urge all those similarly situated to keep smiling and politely pressing for referrals to doctors who are pushing the envelop of standard protocols in support of women's health.  Best wishes to all, Oldbeauty

Posts: 257
Joined: Jan 2016

I am so happy you have found a doctor who can support you with integrative medicine. I trully believe it is the only
way to heal advanced or metastatic cancer.  I have been very fortunate to have had much success with integrative
cancer treatment.  Unfortunately, this is not favored by the "standard" cancer treatment industry.  There is so much
more that could be done for patients- prior to surgery and treatment for example, so they don't experience such
serious side effects.  But that is not the way things are done in the standard cancer centers.

It sounds like you are starting to get some of the key blood tests that you need to be getting.  My own gynecologist is my
gynecological oncologist and was my surgeon. Though I was diagnosed at a late stage, she was the one who referred me
to the integrative oncologist who led me to my remission.  She believes in integrative medicine, even though she was
trained at Sloan Kettering.  I owe her for that recommendation as I would never have known about the doctor who led me
to my remission  and helped so many people who were told by top cancer centers to go home and die. 
Sadly he is no longer alive.  I miss him so much, though I now see an integrative oncologist who was recommended
by his office.

My official diagnosis was in October 2014.  Though I have been NED since Aug 2015, I still continue to see my gynecological
oncologist/surgeon every 3 months.  I  order all my blood tests through her every 3 months and I also get a pelvic, transvaginal and abdominal
ultrasound every 3 months.  You definitely need to be followed.  For me, peace of mind comes from getting the blood tests that monitor for the
conditions that led to my cancer. The ultrasounds help confirm the blood tests. You have to take control of your heath, though like me, it sounds
like God got you to the right doctor who will finally help treat you in a more holistic fashion.  You have to treat the "person" not the "tumor." 

Best of luck with your new treatment.


Posts: 235
Joined: May 2012

It's an interesting adventure, isn't it?  Although I am thrilled with the care I have received and feel blessed to have landed where I am for this 3d encounter with UC, it has been frustrating that most doctors don't seem to have the time (or the inclination) to encourage conversation with the patients who come to them with questions, ideas, requests for alternatives.  I don't know that I will find out anything new or get miracle results from anything different but it was quite a thrill to have this encounter, and I'm interested to see where it leads.  Thanks for your support.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty.

Donna Faye's picture
Donna Faye
Posts: 394
Joined: Jan 2017

This is why I am so thankful for this site! We share and we are open to whatever others say and do and we learn!

I, thankfully, 20 years ago had a young oncologist who was willing to say "I don't know, but let's look into it."He taught me to be bold in my seeking medical care and BOY did it help this past year when cancer came calling again. I have been having lymph drainage massages since ending the Lovenox and it is amazing how well I am doing. I do not have lymphadema  even with 20 nodes removed 20 years ago from left arm and 4 from left leg in 2016, but it is because of that young doctor who admitted he knew little about how to treat but did find someone who could and he sent me there. At 77, you can only imagine the slings and arrows my body has been through and the lymph system is your immune systems warrior. Believe me, it is my Wonder Woman. Happy for you Oldbeauty that you have found a doc with open mind and willing to search!   

Posts: 293
Joined: Dec 2017

You would think that at least a quick visit every three months to a lab for bloodwork and a C-125 test (perhaps an HE4), even after you are down to 6-month physician visits, as well as U/S at least a couple of times a year makes sense to the medical and insurance community. I have read of surprises here once women do the 6-month visits, and it scares me. Until we find a better way to monitor those whack-a-mole Type 2s, less-invasive tests a few times a year just seems to be a good idea to me. It would even make sense insurance-wise, since it might better manage incurable cancers, catch problems earlier, and lead to a better and longer quality of life for patients and less expense for insurance companies in the end.

And it steams me that if certain treatments and supplements don't make money for pharma companies, then they seem to be less important in the medical community. At least it does for me! My PCP had to use a loophole to prescribe the training wheels dose of Metformin for me (500 mg, once a day, until we hear further info on the tumor). Probably the only time I am actually grateful that I've had some problems in the past keeping my A1c under pre-diabetic levels. Great.

I do not consider myself a big fan of supplements, but honestly see NO harm whatseover in making sure that my body is in better working order, and have no qualms in taking a few of them to help it get that way. Even if it's a placebo as some doctors seem to think, as long as it makes the patient think that she is doing something good for her body and she tweaks a few things in her lifestyle, such as losing a few pounds, and the medical care team is aware of it and approves (no drinking cat urine or something weird), how is that a problem?  There should be more emphasis on integrative oncology, not less!

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