I feel like I spend a lot of time complaining on this blog. Complaining about my discomfort. Complaining about people who are bad at their jobs. Complaining that Miley Cyrus won the best song award at the MTV Movie Awards (the only time when Miley Cyrus will beat Bruce Springsteen at anything ever.)
Instead, I want to share with you an uplifting experience I had yesterday. At a doctor’s office. I know…I almost don’t believe it either.
I had an appointment at the Simms/Mann UCLA Center For Integrative Oncology. This is a department run by Dr. Mary Hardy – a woman who travels the world talking about how traditional cancer treatment (chemo, radiation) can be combined effectively with eastern medicine, nutrition, supplements and holistic treatment. She’s the person who connects the dots between all the different theories of cancer treatment and does so by making a practical plan based on each person’s individual situation.
From the moment I saw the office down the hallway and noticed the zen rock garden, I knew this was going to be a different experience than my previous doctor’s appointments.
The first thing they did was take measurements of my size, weight, body mass index and calculate how much lean fat I have. I am now at an ideal weight for my size after losing 10+ pounds from the Hodgkin’s Disease back in December. It took cancer to get me in shape. Would Alanis Morissette say this was ironic – “Dropping 10 pounds when adding a 16cm tumor in your chest? Isn’t that ironic? Dontcha think?”
After learning that I am a reasonably fit, 33 year old male in the prime of my life…I spent over an hour with Dr. Hardy discussing my situation, nutritional advice and supplements that will help me increase the efficiency of my treatment as well as help manage the side effects. We also shared a few laughs along the way.
What I liked immediately about her was that she asked where Jen was. She didn’t ask me if I was married. She didn’t ask me what was wrong with me. She had read the paperwork I had submitted, she remembered the information and she engaged me immediately. This is way better than the phlebotomist that tried to test me for pregnancy. For once, I didn’t have to fight for my medical care or worry about my treatment – I was able to trust the person who was caring for me.
This was such a welcome relief that I actually got a little choked up about it. I wasn’t upset about the cancer or the chemo – I was touched by empathy from a health care provider.
She laid out a nutritional and supplemental plan for me based on the type of treatment I was receiving and the side effects I am experiencing. Some of my plan is:
- Allopurinol for my stomach
- Whey protein – I’m on a high protein diet now, over 30g/day
- Fish Oil
- Flax Seed
- L-Carnatine and Co-Enzyme Q10 for my heart
- Immpower and Glutamine for my immune system
And the list goes on…
How to sneak protein into my diet. The importance of shakes. How to eat when I’m too nauseous to eat. How to make myself stronger. How to make this suck less. And the doctor will follow up with me after my treatment is done to keep me this way.
A bit of inspiration in an otherwise frustrating time. We heard good things about the Integrative Oncology department. I trust them. And I look forward to taking my 20 pills a day.
Beats giving myself shots, that’s for sure.
(Damn. I ended on a complaint…)