I do not know whether I was then a woman dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a woman. #butterfly  #iambecoming #zhuangzi

I do not know whether I was then a woman dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a woman. #butterfly #iambecoming #zhuangzi

The FDA doesn’t approve, so it can’t be true…

In 1971, President Nixon declared a war on cancer. In the ensuing decades, tens of billions of dollars have been spent on the cause, yet a cure by orthodox means remains elusive. By many standards this campaign has been a failed endeavor.  Although hope is still out there.  It’s up to each individual to empower themselves with knowledge of the myriad ways to eradicate cancer without harming the body. Although it’s easier to prevent cancer than to reverse it once it has taken hold, it is nevertheless reversible with holistic therapies that address imbalances of the body, mind and spirit. This is not an opinion; it is a statement of fact that’s based on my first-hand experience.  I opted out of chemotherapy and hormone drugs, even though my oncologist told me I was making a big mistake, as my type of breast cancer was an aggressive type.  But it was the best “mistake” I’ve ever made.  But it’s been hard work.  And I’m still working on it every day, and I will for the rest of my life.   

A comprehensive approach to healing cancer includes at least the following eight factors:

  • 1. Proper nutrition and clean water
  • 2. Detoxification
  • 3. Immune building
  • 4. Oxygen therapy
  • 5. Natural chemotherapies
  • 6. Lifestyle changes: adequate sleep, sunlight & exercise
  • 7. A positive attitude
  • 8. Spiritual cleansing


Regardless of the cancer’s aggressiveness, the body will respond to this holistic approach - the speed and degree to which it does so is commensurate with the diligence and extent to which these eight factors are applied. No cancer treatment, conventional or otherwise, comes with an iron-clad guarantee; however, it’s important to consider that orthodox treatments ravage the body and ignore the underlying causes while alternative treatments strengthen the body and address its healing requirements.

These guidelines are merely an overview of what a comprehensive holistic protocol would include. The term “cancer survivor” refers to those who have been diagnosed with the disease and are still alive – whether they are in remission or not. The cancer survivor should adopt as many of these strategies as is feasible, slowly incorporating them into one’s lifestyle and working with a naturopath if necessary.  (In my case, Nashville’s holistic M.D. Dr. Steven ReismanDr. E.K. Schandl, and an ayurvedic team of healers among other specialists.)

It’s useful to determine whether the body’s chronic stressors include specific nutritional deficiencies, absorption problems and/or the burden of toxic heavy metals (which was the case with my cancer).  This insight is possible through analysis of hair, urine or blood, and will help determine which supplements and therapies will enhance treatment. Without addressing these conditions, optimum healing may be delayed or prevented.

1. Nutrition

Proper nutrition and pure filtered water is critical to a successful anti-cancer strategy. Diet alone can make or break the effectiveness of any cancer treatment and is therefore the most important strategic point. Knowing which foods feed cancer cells, which interfere with the treatment, and which assist in healing is vital.

Refined sugar feeds and strengthens cancer cells and should be the first substance to be eliminated. Sugar substitutes, refined flour and trans fatty acids damage the body and numerous studies link them to cancer. Dairy and all mucus-forming foods should also be avoided. Processed foods, carbonated beverages, coffee, alcohol, chlorine and fluoride fall into the category of foods and substances that interfere with healing and may fuel the cancer’s growth. Conversely, a diet of nutrient-rich foods will enhance all levels of the healing process.

All plant foods contain nutrients that aid healing. Herbs, fruits and vegetables have properties that protect against and inhibit the proliferation of cancer while strengthening, cleansing and repairing the body. These include green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), sea vegetables, fruits (especially berries and dark grapes with seeds and skins), garlic, ginger and turmeric among many others. A diet containing an abundance of organic plant foods provides layers of nutritional protection.

Concentrated fats from flax oil and olive oil may be used unheated while coconut oil can be used for cooking. Although these healthy oils as well as fats from whole foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds provide the essential fatty acids necessary for oxygenation of cells, they should nevertheless be kept to a minimum (approximately 15% of diet) since fat slows digestion and in large quantities may accelerate tumor growth. Once the cancer is stabilized this restriction may be relaxed.

Animal protein should be eliminated if possible; however, we are all of different constitutions, so for those who must consume flesh, it should be restricted to small amounts of organic, pasture-fed beef or poultry, and wild-caught fish. Beans and legumes are an excellent source of fiber and many important nutrients and may be consumed in moderation.

While whole grains also contain fiber and nutrients, there is disagreement among experts as to their place in a healing diet. Due in part to their sugar and gluten content, and the digestive load they place on the body already burdened by cancer, they should be eliminated or restricted to gluten-free varieties, at least until the condition is stable. Likewise, natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup should also be restricted while cancer remains active. The herb stevia is a safe sweetener.

The cancer survivor should aim for a diet that is at least 80% raw. This will ensure an alkaline environment as well as an ample supply of enzymes for healing processes. Oral supplementation of digestive enzymes with meals and systemic enzymes on an empty stomach will further aid healing.

2. Detoxification

Effective healing requires the removal of accumulated toxins and metabolic wastes. Being mindful to eliminate or minimize the ingestion of processed foods, substances, and environmental toxins that inhibit the healing process is of primary importance. It’s also beneficial to begin a healing regimen with a cleanse of the kidneys, liver and colon to remove stored toxins. There are many effective cleansing formulas and procedures that can be found at health food stores, the internet, or through a holistic healer.

In addition to consciously avoiding toxic exposure and cleansing the organs of elimination, there are various therapies and practices that will help purify the body. Some include daily stretching to release acids from tissues; rebounding on a mini-trampoline to move lymph fluid, flush waste, and increase the number and activity of white blood cells; perspiring in a infared sauna to purge toxins through the skin; juicing to alkalize and cleanse tissues, and castor oil packs to enhance circulation, stimulate the immune system and aid in detoxification.

Toxic build-up can also be released through fasting, which helps to heal and rejuvenate the body. The practice of coffee enemas should also be considered since it prevents the re-absorption of toxins, cleanses the blood and liver, and counteracts the symptoms of a potential healing crisis. To be clear on how to proceed with a fast or enema it may be necessary to speak with a health care professional.

3. Immune Building

The immune system is our body’s natural defense against harmful substances and abnormal cell development. Any cell within the body can mutate in response to negative stressors, but a healthy immune system will stop its growth and defend against an uncontrollable malignancy. There are various groups of white blood cells that possess an innate intelligence for healing. Their functions include identifying, attacking, destroying and finally removing abnormal cells through the body’s lymph system and organs of elimination. Strategies to strengthen and build these natural defenses to prevent or treat cancer include a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods and supplementation. Chlorella, mushroom extracts, aloe vera, and milk thistle are just a few of the many supplements that strengthen the body’s natural defenses.

4. Oxygen

The more toxic the body, the less oxygen is delivered to cells. Oxygen starvation at the cellular level leads to disease; in fact, it’s an undisputed fact that cancer cells cease to grow when blood and tissues are sufficiently oxygenated. There are many ways to oxygenate the body, including a highly alkaline diet (80% raw). This raises the body’s internal PH which enhances the transport of oxygen to cells. Regular exercise, deep breathing, and adequate consumption of pure water are other simple methods to increase oxygen uptake. Ozone, which is activated oxygen, may be used therapeutically in the home by drinking ozonated water and using ozone saunas. Hospitals in Mexico, Europe and Malaysia administer intravenous ozone infusions with great success. There are also clinics in the United States; however, they operate under threat of FDA reprisal and confiscation of ozone equipment. For more information about oxygen therapies and ozone visit (www.oxygenhealth.com) , (www.colecenter.com) , and (www.ozonehospital.com) .

5. Natural Chemotherapies

There are many natural, non-toxic chemotherapies that directly or indirectly kill malignancies. None of them are stand-alone treatments however, and should be considered as one component of a comprehensive protocol. Amygdalin, also known as laetrile or vitamin B17, selectively targets and destroys cancer cells while healthy cells remain unharmed. The substance is naturally occurring in many plant foods, including apple seeds, bitter almonds and apricot pits, and may also be obtained through oral supplements or administered intravenously. Four decades worth of clinical evidence and case studies attest to its efficacy. Supplements may be found online, and many hospitals in Mexico and Europe administer intravenous laetrile; however, the FDA has deemed this therapy illegal in the States. Other treatments that indirectly kill cancer cells include shark liver oil, a formula called Protocel and melatonin, all of which cut off the blood supply to tumors.

6. Lifestyle Changes

Deep, restful sleep is an important part of an effective healing strategy. During sleep our bodies undergo the processes of rebuilding, detoxifying and healing. The liver works during the deepest level of sleep, the delta level, to break down and eliminate carcinogens. Additionally, sleeping in complete darkness contributes to healthy levels of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that promotes restful sleep. Eating three hours before sleep, especially protein, should be avoided since it diverts the body’s healing efforts to digestion. The value of adequate sleep should not be overlooked because without it our healing efforts will be compromised.

Other lifestyle changes include sunlight exposure and daily exercise. Research links lack of sunlight to certain cancers and vitamin D from sunlight has been shown to shrink tumors. Adequate exposure during the early morning or late afternoon hours is the safest way to obtain the restorative benefits of sunlight. The darker one’s pigmentation, the more exposure is necessary. Avoid over-exposure during the hottest part of the day as sunburns can damage skin and promote cancer.

Regular exercise speeds up the elimination of toxins and is necessary to keep the body oxygenated and to improve lymphatic function while building immunity. These therapeutic benefits can be achieved through moderate exercise at least three times per week and gradually increasing duration and/or intensity as new thresholds are reached.

The body, through its resilience, will heal itself when given what it needs. Its sustenance however is not the end of the story. Addressing the mind and emotions is the second component of the holistic approach that should not be overlooked.

7. A Positive Attitude

Developing a positive attitude will reduce psychological stress and profoundly aid the healing process. A cancer survivor can achieve this in part by becoming proactive through researching alternative options. This is an empowering strategy and gives one a firm sense of control. There are innumerable books and websites that outline alternative cancer therapies. One of many extensive sites and a good place to begin research is (www.cancertutor.com) .

There are also many inspiring books and success stories written by cancer survivors - including A Cancer Battle Plan by Anne Frahm, The No-Dairy Breast Cancer Prevention Program by Jane Plant, Ph.D., and Cancer: Curing the Incurable Without Surgery, Chemotherapy or Radiation, by Dr. William D. Kelley, DDS, to name but three. These encouraging stories give one a strong sense of hope which is essential for survival.

Each individual has the power to control their own thoughts and attitudes, thereby creating their reality. A constructive outlook perceives a cancer diagnosis as a necessary life-changing event and an opportunity to transform one’s life.

8. Spiritual Cleansing

Spirituality is the third aspect of the holistic paradigm and refers to our sense of peace. It involves settling unresolved conflicts, forgiving and asking forgiveness, liberating toxic emotions such as anger, bitterness, hatred, resentment, regret, and fear, while embracing our capacity for love, compassion and joy. Spiritual cleansing is a process that can be achieved through various means, including meditation, affirmations, visualization and/or prayer.

These strategies should be embraced by the cancer survivor as permanent lifestyle changes. Occasional diversions are to be expected, but one should try not to lose focus. Although it may at times be difficult to remain faithful to the holistic protocol, its benefits over conventional treatments are beyond measure. Furthermore, the regimen becomes increasingly rewarding once healing begins and measurable results are achieved. The holistic protocol creates a physical, emotional and spiritual environment that simply will not support cancer.

Source:  Mary Laredo at Natural News, CancerTutor.com, Arizona Center of Integrative Medicine

No Matter Where You May Roam, the Best Part is Coming Home… (or is it?)

Yesterday, as I drove into the sweet city that I call home from our latest tour (playing with my band, The Smoking Flowers, a duo consisting of myself and my husband, Scott),  I couldn’t help but re-cap on all the adventure we had over the last month on the road in our vintage Volvo (that broke down twice along the way!).  The new friends, cities, cool venues, old friends, new fans, and experiences that make up why I Iove to travel playing our music.  I could just stay home in my cozy environment, continue to fight my cancer and work hard at another job to make enough money to live at a certain standard, but I would be trading a lot.   I’ve finally found a healthy rhythm on the road with my cancer diet, juicing and holistic protocols.  It hasn’t been easy and makes what I am fighting a lot harder and less convenient, but I feel more alive than ever before.  I’m at home now, and soooo glad to be, but, oddly, I think I miss the road already.  Maybe it’s because I don’t think about my cancer fight so much.  Not that I am trying not to think of it.  That’s impossible.  But when you are non stop doing what you love to do every night (we had 2 nights off the whole tour!) it becomes a form of medicine, right?  That’s a dose of medicine I think I needed.  So until my next round of “road medicine”… Hello Nashville, hello sweet pets, hello comfy bed, hello my dear friends that I missed so much.  Now all seems right in the world.

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After a show in Toronto Canada.  A stop by Niagara Falls on our 14th anniversary.  09/25/13

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Driving through the Adirondacks leaving a show in Vermont.  Stuffed into our vintage Volvo 240 station wagon.

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Our name in lights at the historic Columbus Theatre… a lovely sight in the cool town of Providence, RI.

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Scott catches me in the raw.  A much needed day off on Assateague Island, Maryland… filled with wild ponies and beautiful dunes.

   

The Warrior and The Wishbone Turns 1 Today!

Thanks to all of you that have followed me and my story this last year. I’ve been bad about posting this summer… Enjoying the road and life a little too much, I suppose! But I promise I have some more posts coming soon. I’m also revamping this blog a bit, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, thank you all for your encouragement and healing words, thoughts and prayers during my healing journey. It’s a big part of my medicine.

Blessings…
Kim

“A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.”  ~Hippocrates

It’s my anniversary.  My one-year anniversary, in fact.  Now, don’t go worrying that you forgot to send me a card or flowers!  I actually forgot myself.  Plus, how does one decide to ceremonialize a cancer diagnosis or the day they had their mastectomy?  Well, it’s less an anniversary for me, and more a milestone with thoughts of “geez, can you believe this all really happened?” and  “wow, it’s been only a year?  It feels like another life…”.   I would celebrate the day that I became cancer free, except I am not sure exactly when that was.  So I have decided to simply mark March as the anniversary of my newfound health.  Yes, that’s no typo.   I said “health” and not “disease”.  I’ve thought about this oxymoron a lot.  For me, it was actually healthy to be sick.  I thought I was flourishing with vigor and robustness in my veins before my cancer diagnosis.  In fact, I was a health guru of sorts to a lot of my friends because of my passion to eating healthy, yoga, meditation and using herbs as medicine.   But behold… I still acquired cancer.  I had a lot more to learn about the biology and mechanics of cancer.  I had to develop more commitment to health than I ever comprehended.

And then there’s that word… commitment.  That simple decree that sends chills down the spine of some and warms the hearts of others.  It has the unfortunate quality to confuse the notions of “I Must” or “I am obligated” vs. “I Choose” or “I desire”.  Its no wonder people have a hard time with committing.  Yet, it is what drives success for all that we do in our lives.  Now, I admit I have my own problems with commitment in various departments in my life.  Including starting this blog. (I haven’t posted nearly as much as I thought I would!)  But when it came to dealing with the cancer that was in my body, I not only stepped up to the challenge, I made the commitment to be true to myself and stick with my self made Protocol.  That included a slew of actions ranging from the CHOICES of my treatment to whom I decided I would surround myself with.  My commitment to my body and my health were first priority. 

Many of you have asked how I did it… without the chemotherapy, without the hormones, without the radiation, without the pharmaceuticals.  In my earlier posts, I talked about my diet, which is NUMBER ONE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER FOR ANYONE.  Especially adopting a sugar free diet (I am still sugar free and think it is one of the biggest blessings that I got out of cancer).  But below is the rest of it… my Cancer Protocol.  You will see here why I am emphasizing “commitment” so much.  This is a daunting list of daily and hourly treatments.  It was my full time job for almost a year.  It probably would have been “easier” and less time consuming to do the chemotherapy that my Oncologist had prescribed.  

“Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy (not the cancer itself). Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon, or lung cancers (or help the survival rate). This fact has been documented for over a decade, yet doctors still use chemotherapy for these tumors.” Allen Levin, MD UCSF  The Healing of Cancer, Marcus Books.

Oh yes, the big business of cancer.

Again, I applaud and feel for any person that goes through the traditional route of chemo and drugs.  We are all Warriors.  We make our own choices.  The alternative cancer route is not for everyone. So before anyone reading this thinks I am belittling any cancer patient’s decisions with traditional invasive treatments, please know this is not the case.  Most cancer patients simply aren’t aware of the different non-toxic choices.  And traditional Western doctors aren’t taught to know any better.  It’s also scary as hell, no matter what treatment one decides on.  So with this in mind, I made sure that another commitment of mine would be to make sure I share the information that my husband, Scott, and I have worked so hard to learn and in which I have personally experienced success with. There IS an alternative to the traditional treatment of Big Pharma invasive cancer protocols.  And, boy, does it take commitment… and a certain amount of bravery, because you have some doctors basically telling you that you are crazy or taking too big of a risk.  Or, in my case with a certain Oncologist, pulling a no-show twice to see you for appointments, because she doesn’t know what to do with you.  Going against the grain isn’t always easy. 

KIM’S CANCER PROTOCOL in 2012 (most of these were taken 3 times daily, with noted exceptions):

Protocel :  (Every 4 hours, without fail) http://www.outsmartyourcancer.com/about_protocel/Protocel_History_Description.html

Paw Paw :  http://alternativecancer.us/pawpaw.htm

B-17 injections weekly (Injected by my M.D. -  A known cancer cell killer and widely misunderstood because of uneducated internet sources linked to FDA intervention.  FYI, a big pharmaceutical company is, at present, formulating a synthetic version of B-17 to market towards, yes, the Cancer world.  This natural and inexpensive treatment has undergone scrutiny for over 50 years and now is threatened by the arrival of Big Pharma’s introduction to an undoubtedly expensive synthetic form)

Intravenous  High doses of Vitamin C & Magnesium weekly (performed by my M.D.)

Curcumin (turmeric - anti-inflammatory.)

Enzyme Therapy (systemic, not digestive.  HUGE in fighting cancer)

Indole 3 Carbinol

Calcium D-Glucarate

DHEA  (if this hormone is low, one is highly susceptible to breast or prostate cancer)

Iodine  (Americans are highly deficient in this mineral, and it’s a big key in warding off breast cancer)

Selenium

IP6

Vit. A

Vit. D3

Vit. E

Vit. K2

Chlorophyll

Fucoidan (via a seaweed drink, LIMU) -A sulfated polysaccharide found mainly in various species of brown algea and brown seaweed

Germanium 132 (one of the most precious minerals on earth. Known cancer fighter)

Probiotics

Milk Thistle (to support the liver during the cancer cell cleansing)

Medicinal Mushrooms (Catepiller, Maitake, Reishi, Shittake, Split Gill, Turkey Tail - for immune system)

Heavy Metal Detox – Chelation therapy (to rid my body of the heavy metals present; most likely Mercury being a main contributor to my cancer)

Olive Leaf Extract  (for immune system and cancer fighter)

Cleaver’s Tea

Essiac Tea  (Popular herbal early stage cancer fighter and preventive)

Aloe Arborecens (highest form of Aloe available, not the same as typical Aloe juice)

***This is not a list or guide to HOW I took these treatments, as some are not compatible with each other (for example, the period in which I was taking Protocel and Paw Paw I did not use Vit. C, Iodine and Vit. E, as they would have cancelled each other out).  How you combine various treatments is critical in maximizing their healing potential.  PLEASE do not use this as a prescription to treat cancer. Consult with me or a qualifying alternative cancer doctor if you have questions. (I highly recommend Dr. Stephen Reisman, M.D. in Nashville, TN).

These supplements and treatments have changed or some have been eliminated in my routine over the last couple months.  I’ve been able to trim it down a bit.  But I will be on quite a few of those supplements every day the rest of my life.  I will juice most every day the rest of my life.  I intend not to eat cane sugar the rest of my life.  I will meditate every day the rest of my life.  I will try my hardest to do right by myself every day the rest of my life. 

 

 

To do nothing would be Failure.

To try, even though mistakes are inevitable.

To take those mistakes and make positive changes from them, and, as a result of those mistakes, you learn to grow, prosper and to thrive. 

That is Commitment.

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It Really Does Take a Village


As I rang in the New Year last Tuesday, the tears and smiles came flooding through my brown eyes.  I had much to ponder on… deep thoughts of gratefulness and some melancholy for the last 12 months.  Those months seem like another lifetime already.  From my cancer diagnosis last January, to my surgeries in the Spring and Summer, and finally, to my most recent (and clean!) blood tests this Fall.  The WHOLE of 2012 involved two things for me: acquiring cancer and eradicating cancer.

While reflecting on New Year’s day I couldn’t help but think about how my body seemingly failed me, yet at the same time saved me during my fling with cancer…. that nasty little relationship that I had with my body.  Who was I?  What was it?  In 2012 I was at biological war with myself, and the battleground was my very flesh and blood.  This warrior wasn’t going to get any medals to show for the combat…  a happy, healthy life is all I need… so just stick that figurative purple heart pin of life and health onto my (new!) chest and we’ll call it a good year.  I also thought of the amazing love and support I had through it all.  Was I simply lucky?  Was I deserving?  Did I show my gratitude amply?  These questions, and others, emerged during my contemplation that day, as plentiful as those tears and smiles.  I decided that I was deserving.  This is going to be a happy new year for sure.

I could easily turn the old African proverb “It takes a village…” and turn it around as my theme for the past year.  In my case the “village” is my husband, family, friends, and the extraordinary community of Nashville.  Oh, did I mention perfect strangers?  This village of mine, as I have fondly come to call them, is the network of humans in my life that helped to make my holistic cancer healing efforts a reality.  (insert:  Mom and Dad, I couldn’t have done it without you.  Period.) 

As we all know, most alternative treatments are not covered by health insurance.  So instead of relenting to what kind of treatment my insurance would pay for, I opted to follow my truth in how I really wanted to treat my cancer.  How was I to do this when my wallet wasn’t furnished with the kind of comfort to support this kind of treatment?  So my husband and I decided to pretend that money wasn’t an issue.  It wasn’t easy for me to just not think about the money side of things.  I am a Taurus, after all!  I was extremely concerned with how we were going to be able to afford the treatment I needed.  We threw it out into the universe… that somehow the money would come to help pay for my holistic choices.  We would sell our house if we had to.  We manifested and put the energy out there.  And it came.  I couldn’t believe it.  I still cry when I think about it.

I don’t want to get too lengthy here, but I really feel the need to share my forever gratefulness to the following events: 

My dear friend (and band mate in one of my bands, The Buddies) Coley Kennedy organized an online benefit on my behalf on the website Give Forward.com. Friends, family and strangers gave what they could, big and small, to help raise more than $13,000 for my cancer bills.  And give forward it did.

And then Marco Giovino (drummer for Robert Plant) did a deed I still cannot believe.  He put together an Ebay auction in which the winning bidder got to record two songs at Nashville’s infamous studio, The Sound Emporium.  What’s more, 13 famous sidemen (who, between them, have done work with Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, Peter Frampton, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Norah Jones and countless more) offered their services for the recording, and the auction winner got to hand-pick their own backing band from the list.  Marco told me he called these 13 legendary musicians to ask if they would give their time for my behalf, and that not one of them even hesitated.  I was simply blown away.  I had no idea that these great musicians I have respected all these years felt the same of me.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  

Then came March 31st, when my friends (spearheaded by Tammi Rhoton and Trisha Brantley) and the Nashville community came together and threw me a benefit of epic proportions.  A benefit they called “Shine” (named after a song I penned for my husband).  It consisted of a silent auction and live performances by some of Nashville’s most beloved bands EVER!  Although I felt blessed and humbled, I went through a period of being a little embarrassed, questioning if I would even be comfortable to show up to the benefit.  That was until my good buddy Bobby Bare Jr. put his arm around me and said “not showing up or being embarrassed by receiving this help is like turning away a big ol’ hug!”  His simple statement helped me to quickly transfigure my doubts, and I decided to accept this benevolent embrace with all my heart.  Honestly, I could have cared less if one penny was raised that evening.  It’s hard to explain, but having that kind of love poured on you by hundreds of people in the same room, having iconic Nashville bands that are no longer together actually get back together for one night on your behalf, having artistic, talented and creative friends (and strangers) give away their services, products, time and works of art, well, needless to say…

I don’t want to go morbid on ya, but have you ever thought of what it would be like to be a fly on the wall at your own memorial or funeral?  To be able to see what kind of party is thrown in your life’s honor?  To see who would show up?  To be able to feel the love that sometimes eludes us?  Like a painter’s talent finally being appreciated after his death, the truth is that we all want to be loved and appreciated while we are here on this earth.  I got to see and feel that.  And I will never forget it as long as I live.  I honestly think I was cured of cancer that very night.  Seriously.  I feel love was a big part of success in my battle against breast cancer, and that night proved it to me.

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Me at the “Shine” benefit.  This smile says it all… and it never left my face that night.

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Fleming & John get back together for the event.  Just one of many great performances.


OK, BACK TO THE FUN STUFF :)…

I guess I haven’t talked about my surgery and the decisions behind that part of this story.  I hope I haven’t come across that I am 100% opposed to our Western doctors, because I certainly am not.  I am simply opposed to taking unnecessary toxic pharmaceuticals and very much against how Big Pharma runs this nation.  Especially when there are proven natural forms to take place of those pharmaceuticals or treatments.  I knew surgery, when deemed necessary, is an amazing advancement in our world, and I wasn’t afraid of it.  So after six weeks of non-stop research and constant debate over a mastectomy or lumpectomy (and even the idea of no surgery at all) I decided on a single mastectomy.  Lumpectomies are too risky in the aesthetic area and I was a prime candidate for a mastectomy with great results.  At the time, I was too nervous to try and shrink the tumor through various alternative means.  All forms of cancer are a total body disease.  This is the primary difference of philosophy between alternative cancer treatments and traditional treatments.  A tumor is simply a physical symptom that the body is imbalanced on a cellular level.  It is not the root or culprit of the disease.  But I was scared, and I wanted the tumor of me.  If I knew what I knew now after many months of research, I probably would have forgone surgery altogether.  But I have decided not to harp on any regrets.  I had to make a pretty quick decision, and feel I did what was right for me at the time.

I have never been a hospital patient.  I have hardly ever been in a doctor’s office for any ailment.  I don’t even take Tylenol for a headache.  A mastectomy is not a one-time surgery.  The next few months of my life were going to change, dramatically.  Get ready, Kim.

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The only (albeit blurry!) photo taken during my hospitalization.  The night of my surgery I was evacuated out of my hospital room because of a tornado!  Never a dull moment…

It was approximately 5 months of healing, physical therapy and getting through the surgery part of it all.  My doctors couldn’t believe I didn’t bruise after each surgery and how quickly I healed.  Here’s a list of some important things I did to prepare for surgery: I took the homeopathic remedy Arnica, did intravenous high doses of Vitamin C, took the enzyme Bromelain, did Myofascial body treatments once a week, worked out like I was training for a fight, and meditated twice a day, among other things.  When I explained to my doctors and nurses why I healed so well, most just looked inquisitively at me.  I really wish one of them had investigated further with me or seemed to care about what I did to help my body through this surgery process.  I mean, if you were a doctor and had a patient with great results such as mine (that apparently weren’t normal), wouldn’t you want to learn about it to share that method with other patients? 

There are many published studies out there that have concluded that if one were to meditate daily before surgery, bleeding is significantly reduced, which always makes for better results and healing.  And it’s free!

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1004086,00.html

Although I have always meditated throughout my life (albeit not as consistently as I would have liked) I now have a newly adopted program of meditation.  I practice TM (Transcendental Meditation) and meditate for 20 minutes every morning and every evening.  It’s provided wonders for me throughout this whole ordeal, body and mind.  I have to extend my gratefulness and thanks to Mac and Diane Gayden for supporting me with a scholarship to attend TM training school.  Check out TM.org.

(By the way, my surgeon Dr. Maxwell told me that I am in the top 1% of good mastectomy reconstruction results after my healing.  Scott and I joke about how we finally made it into the 1%!)

Geez, it’s so hard to keep these posts short.  I have so much to talk about and get in to.  I’ll make my next post a detailed list of the supplements and natural therapies I did to heal from my cancer.

Until then, I wish you all a great start of this New Year.  I know it’s been hard for a number of us.  Many things are thrown our way in this game of life. It’s how you deal with them that shows your true character. I wish for all of you to feel the hope, love and passion I feel for the upcoming year and the rest of my life.

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Emotions, raw food, and California.

Until you go through a life changing experience, you tend to think that your body and health will always be there for you.   According to the Yoga Sutra, mistaking the impermanent for the permanent is the leading cause of suffering (avidya, or ignorance).  What my breast cancer diagnosis taught me (that I thought I previously understood) is that no matter what you do, things change.  The universe reached out to me, albeit in a quite troublesome way, to remind me what a delicate, pliable, shifting, and yes, changing existence life really is.

Almost all of you reading this has either had some sort of relationship with cancer or at least realizes that at some point in your life, you will. Needless to say, it is not an easy day when you or a loved one are told they have the disease.   I wasn’t prepared.  I certainly didn’t think myself to be immune, but I have led a somewhat charmed and unchanged life, health-wise.  So this type of trauma was new to me, and my nervous system. 

I decided that I could choose to take one of two routes: I could pity myself and think it’s the end of the world and only listen to the mainstream doctors for treatment, or I could step up, find strength, and use the mass of information that is out there on alternative  cancer treatments and use it to heal and better myself, and thus hopefully those around me.  I wanted to beat this cancer, but I didn’t want to make myself sick in the process, nor risk the trade of this cancer for another one down the road because of chemotherapy, hormone treatment, etc.  The first thing my holistic doctor (Dr. Stephen Reisman, MD of Mind Body Medical Center here in Nashville) told me was that time was on my side.  The doctors at the hospital who gave me the biopsy results were rushing me into decisions and frightening the living daylights out of me.  The difference between the two medical worlds were obvious: I could fight this cancer with fear or without fear.    Well, if time was on my side I was determined to win this war without fear.

AN IMPORTANT SIDE THOUGHT:  There IS a choice in how we treat our cancer in America.  The problem is if you choose alternative treatments and go against the standard western “Big Pharma” way, well, you are on your own, financially speaking.  My insurance isn’t covering 90% of my treatment choices.  Insurance companies seem to only cover what the pharmaceutical companies can profit on.  I call this situation with our nation’s health care system “treatment discrimination”.  I cannot express to you how liberating it was for me to do what I felt was right by my body by choosing to heal this cancer in a natural way and without using invasive and toxic therapies.  Trust me, I was scared.  But I would have been scared doing standard treatment as well.  There are no guarantees with either choice.

If one were to ask me what I considered to be the most important aspect of healing and treating my cancer through holistic means, I would, without hesitation, say it was my positivity.   Along with the love and support that was given to me by my husband, family, friends, and even strangers, choosing to stay positive through the whole ordeal was my biggest medicine.   Of course, this is easier said than done.  But when your life depends on it, it’s amazing the strength that your body and mind provide.  It was my time to receive healing love, especially via myself.   A positive outlook and stress free demeanor is our best and most important weapon against all disease.  We seem to all know this, but executing it is the hard part.

 

Why raw food?

My first defense against my cancer diagnosis was to go raw in my diet.  The very first day after my diagnosis I went raw and stayed 100% raw for 3 months. 

I have been a vegetarian for 18 years and always appreciated the raw food world, even dabbled in it here and there, but to really go there 100% seemed daunting to me.  There is only one vegan restaurant in Nashville (thank you Wild Cow!!), and there is not ONE raw food restaurant here, nor do our natural foods stores cater specific to this lifestyle, so I knew what going raw meant living in this city.  I’d have to “cook” and prepare every single meal, every day (Couple that with my doctor appointments and daily holistic treatments, I was terribly overwhelmed).

(my famous cheesy kale chips)

So why go 100% raw?  First of all, it truly was my first instinct.   When you eat raw, you are preserving the natural enzymes in the food’s chemistry make up.  These enzymes are used to digest the food, so your body doesn’t have to use up it’s own digestive energy reserves.  This is energy that your body can therefore use to attack disease.  Now, I don’t necessarily believe in being 100% raw always, but I do believe it is one of the best treatments in curing disease.  This has been proven time and time again.  (Oh, and a nice perk of this diet: My skin literally changed in just one month to being more supple, smooth and vibrant.  My eyes glowed liked never before.  My hair was shinier and thicker.  And I had cancer??  No one would have thought.)  

 A few raw food facts:

 1.  Eating raw food improves the quality of nutrients taken in. Your body will stop looking for more and more food in its bid to get the nutrients it needs even when it has a full stomach.

 2.  Your body will no longer waste energy flushing out toxins, or, worse still, quarantining them into fat cells, cysts, warts, tumors, abnormal growths…

3.  High fiber, high water content fresh food will abolish constipation – of the bowels, and of the cells and circulatory system. Obstructions clear and blood flow increases to all the cells of the body (the blood is more able to deliver nutrients and oxygen to cells).

In my case, I chose this healing route for my body to ensure against the cancer metastasizing.   When I found out I had breast cancer I didn’t know if it had spread anywhere else in my body, and knowing that I would not chose the route of chemotherapy I needed to set my body up in it’s optimal condition to be able to fight, fight, fight.  Remember, there isn’t any one treatment out there that will cure a disease.  You have to set your body up to be able to heal its self.  Optimal health starts with what we eat.  That’s the most important thing we can do for ourselves when cancer (or any disease) has invaded our body.  I admit I had let my diet slack in the last several years.  This major event jump-started a whole new way of eating (and thinking) for me. 

 

(Raw fruit crepes! Crepe made of blended banana and lemon, then dehydrated.  Macadamia “cream cheese” filling)

(Raw pizza??  Heck yeah.  This was my hardest challenge. And delicious.  Buckwheat crust, dehydrated.  Macadamia “mozzarella”, dehydrated caramelized onions, raw tomato and pesto sauce.  Raw doesn’t have to be boring.)

I learned that sugar was my biggest enemy.  Cancer feeds on refined sugars.  No more sugar for me, thank you.  I am still sugar free today, 9 months later, and plan on being the rest of my life (luckily, I always preferred raw sugar free desserts anyway).  I also learned that cancer is a type of fungus and thus I needed to cut out certain foods such as peanuts, cashews, and most mushrooms.  Soy was another culprit.  Especially processed soy products.  Bummer, because I made the best tofu steaks around!  Do you realize how hard it is to go anywhere to eat and ask for sugar free, dairy free, soy free, fungus free food?  OMG!  Near too impossible.  Unless you live in California where there are raw food and health food restaurants on every block.

Aaaahh… the sun in California.

California was a shining beacon in the night for my husband Scott and me.  The same week we found out I had cancer we had a trip already planned to play a few shows and do some music business in LA.  At first I assumed we would just cancel the trip.   Who would be able to take a trip at a time like this?  All I felt like doing was cry, and ask God over and over again “why me?”.   But you know what?  The crying didn’t come so much and the self-pity was limited to maybe a day or two.  I started thinking that California might be a good idea.  Maybe Scott and I needed the ocean air and the raw food inspiration.  So we went.  And it was the best thing we could have done.  Yes, we played our shows with great success.  Our songs all of a sudden had new meaning to them as I sang them.  Every lyric, every measure.  I cried a couple of times on stage. Don’t know and don’t care if anyone noticed. Once again, change hit home.  It’s amazing how your own art can transform and heal you when you need it to the most.

Back to the raw food… The raw dining was impeccable in L.A.  I experienced how I could make raw food exciting and creative.  I was truly inspired to come home and make my kitchen into a healing room.  And I did just that.  It became a new hobby for me and kept me busy while I awaited test results and my upcoming surgery.  Oh yeah, my surgery.  To wait to go under the knife.  To make the DECISION to go under the knife (I’ll touch on that in a later post).  Again, here is where change was inevitable and the practice of non-attachment was going to be an important tool for me to adhere to.  But it’s tricky when you try to not be attached to a part of your body.  MY BREASTS!  That part of myself that defined me as a woman.  I had a lot of letting go to do.  Bring on the change. 

Maybe it was the constant sunshine, the 78 degree air, the meditation gardens at the Realization Center, the healthy food, or the love oozing from my husband, but I came home from the West with a renewed spirit and my fighting gloves on.  “Nothing can destroy me, my lungs fill like pneumonia when your eyes gaze upon me.  Like the sun in California.”  (Golden StateThe Smoking Flowers). 

California was just what the doctor ordered.

(Scott and me at a Zuma beach sunset)

 

Stay tuned for my next post when I will talk in detail about the holistic and alternative treatments I used to beat my cancer.  And why I chose surgery.

I am not Wonder Woman (even though I’ve always been told I look a lot like Linda Carter)…

No, I am not special.  I have to admit that it is encouraging and lovely to hear my friends and family claiming that I am some sort of Super Woman throughout my battle with breast cancer.  But the fact is that I am but one of the “1 in 5” women in the United States that will get breast cancer in her lifetime (geez, really??  We could start a small country!).  It seems to me that any woman being told she has breast cancer (especially in her young 40’s) and then is able to walk out of that doctor’s office with a will to live is a Super Woman. 

I get it though.  Most conversations containing the words super woman, warrior or any other synonym of “courageous” that folks have been using to describe how they feel about me is most likely pertaining to the way I have chosen to fight the monster.  Alternative, holistic, natural, call it what you’d like.  It seemed obvious for me.  I personally don’t think its any more brave than deciding to have a port placed in my neck and allowing weekly visits to the toxic chemo factory.  Hell, I wasn’t brave enough to do that. 

What I was brave at was listening to and then actually following my gut.  My whole adult life has set me up for this moment.  I have always led a natural healing lifestyle, so why would I stop now when my life depended on it??

So (bear with me) let me start at the beginning.  I was diagnosed exactly 8 months ago today with breast cancer.  I had found a lump in my right breast that I was watching for a couple of months for changes.  Figured it was a cyst.  It couldn’t happen to me, right?  I went in for my first mammogram  (I will explain in a later post why it was my last), and was told that it appeared to be a cyst, but if I wanted to be 100% sure I could do a biopsy.  Well, I wanted to be 100% sure, dammit!  Duh.  So I casually scheduled that biopsy.  Oh, did I mention that my mammogram AND ultrasound tests both came back negative???

I won’t go into all the details, even if I could remember them all.  But when the doctor called me back into the office for the biopsy results a week later I was, needless to say, nervous.  He delivered the news… “It is not good, it is not good”.   My husband turned white and fainted for a second.  I just went numb.  Then I asked to look at the chart to make sure they had the right patient.  Yep, it was me.  Kim Collins, age 41:  No family history, vegetarian of 18 years, avid yogi, meditator, user of natural cleaning products since the early 90’s, never put anything on my skin if I couldn’t eat it, daily herbs and supplements, tea drinker (ok, maybe this rock star did drink her fair share of wine & beer too), practitioner of Ayurveda for 20 years, positive and happy disposition. Basically the healthiest person I knew.  Or at least I thought.

Cancer does not discriminate.  My healthy lifestyle did not make me immune.  Boy do I see things differently now and have learned more than I could’ve ever imagined.   So yes, maybe that Super Woman in me flew out in full force to do a job.  More on that in my next post.

  Namaste.

Day 1:  The day I found out I had cancer.  This warrior couldn’t get out of bed.