5 Budget Friendly ways to support your body during cancer treatment
I recently shared an article on what supplements I used during chemotherapy , and how much we spent out of pocket to take an integrative approach to my cancer treatment.
I KNOW that integrative care can be expensive. It is not covered by insurance, specialists are paid per visit, and fancy treatments like vitamin IVs are all out of pocket. While there’s no way to integrate your care COMPLETELY free, there are ways you can get resources and information that you can incorporate yourself for an affordable rate.
I will just state a caveat/personal opinion here: If at ALL POSSIBLE I would highly recommend hiring a specialist. During chemo you are tired, easily get demotivated, and experience brain fog or “chemo brain”.
While you may be 100% capable of doing your own research, finding what works and implementing yourself when healthy, you will, at minimum, need a support system to encourage you, cook for you the way you want, and help you accomplish any therapies you’d like to utilize through this process.
That being said, here are lots of resources for you!
5 Budget Friendly Ways to Support
Your Body During Cancer Treatment
There are SO MANY books that you can read about integrative care, nutrition, supplementation, how cancer works, how you can support your body during and after chemo etc…. Here are a few that I have found to be really wonderful resources:
I found this book to be not only incredibly encouraging, but also packed with information! I particularly appreciated the authors approach to integrative care. His point is that sometimes it IS necessary to address the toxic load through conventional treatment (getting rid of tumors, going through chemotherapy etc) but that it is not only MORE effective to use nutrition to support your body, but done right, nutrition and supplementation can also help you to avoid unnecessary side effects by protecting your organs, cells, energy etc….
In this book, Patrick Quillin discusses what causes cancer, foods that fight cancer and so much more. You will learn so much about your body, the environment, toxicity and more! In addition you’ll receive specific supplement and dosage recommendations, a letter for your oncologist, and lots of recipes in the back.
You may or may not use all the recipes in this book, but U found it incredibly helpful to skim before beginning treatment. Rebecca Katz talked about things I wouldn’t have known to think about including how to eat before, during and after an infusion. Regardless of whether you use these recipes, during your treatment, it’s a fantastic resource and it’s filled with super delicious recipes!
Many believe that cancers develop because of “stuck” emotions or unhealed traumas. Whether you believe that or not, this healing journey will be deeper and more long lasting if you dive into emotional and spiritual healing avenues throughout this process. I would encourage you to do a lot of research on this topic, ask for prayer from your church, and become open to what God may share with you during this time!
While this isn’t a book I read during my own treatment phase, I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this book and the author. If you want to learn more about your body and the development of cancer ( and what you can do to prevent recurrence in the future) then this is an amazing resource!
This time of your life is HARD. Regardless of where you are, it’s crucial to fill your mind with positive thoughts, hopeful images, and pans for the future. Reading inspirational stories of people who have gone into remission and what tools were shared between them can be really encouraging!
Whether you are prepping your body BEFORE chemo, approaching treatment through natural methods only, or recovering from conventional treatment, greens, juices, and smoothies are a fast way to get dense nutrition into your cells! Robyn Openshaw has not only experienced health problems herself, but has been hit with cancer several times in her immediate family and she has traveled the world visiting cancer treatment facilities.
There are SO MANY doctors, naturopaths and healers that use this platform to educate the public. This extends their reach far beyond what they would be able to accomplish by just seeing their patients 1:1 in the office setting. Below are some specific podcast episodes you may enjoy - if you enjoy the episode, consider listing to other episodes from the same host!
Dr. Mercola and Dr. Nasha Winters “Natural Cancer Remedies” - this episode provides valuable information on testing, integrative care and more….
Ben Greenfield Podcast “How to cure Yourself of Cancer “ with Eric Remensperger - listen to one man’s story of healing! And scroll down to the bottom of the show notes for several other episode on cancer!
The Stern Method Podcast “Natural Healing Success” with Robyn Openshaw - Robyn shares her own health stories, her families experience with cancer, and her experiences visiting cancer treatment facilities around the world.
3) Online Holistic or Integrative Care
Websites, Blogs and Therapies
Do I REALLY need to add this one? Yes. Because most doctors will not give you any information on what to eat before, during, or after cancer treatment! Before and after treatment (when your immune system is functioning) fresh fruits and vegetables are the way to go! (But no, I’m not telling you to go without protein - it’s crucial for detox!)
I actually don’t promote extreme diets like Keto or juice fasting, but there may be situations, cancers, and stages where this may be appropriate. Work with a professional in this area if you want to do anything extreme so that you can monitor you blood work and results regularly.
General principles apply to anyone with any cancer, at any stage of treatment however and those are the same overarching principles that cover the rest of the world as well. Eat real food.
Many docs are so worried about you losing weight that they will encourage you to “eat anything” to maintain your weight including ice cream or mcdonalds. Because that helps your immune system function well, your cells repair, and your energy bounce back…RIGHT?! While nutrient IVs may be needed in emergency situations, maintaining a nutrient dense diet throughout and making sure you are getting healthy foods and protecting your gut, can only HELP you maintain your protein levels and weight.
There isn’t a whole lot you can do to save your immune system during chemo. It’s gonna take a hit, period. But you CAN support your body by eating anti-inflammatory foods. The same kind of diet that is beneficial for everyone. Not extreme, but filled with whole foods.
Eat fresh fruits and veggies until your white blood cell counts get low and then switch to cooked and steamed but don’t stop eating vegetables! Fill the rest of your day with healthy fats, high quality proteins and nutrient dense meals to support your muscle maintenance, brain health, cell health, and energy levels.
p.s. I personally had weird cravings around chemo treatments in addition to major food aversions. Listen to your body! I gave myself a 72 hour grace period where I would be much more lax about balancing my meals and go with what felt or tasted good (within certain guidelines). But then I would do my best to get back to a balanced diet!
“Chemo, radiation and surgery will reduce tumor burden but do nothing to change the underlying conditions that allows this abnormal growth to thrive”
- Patrick Quillin “Beating Cancer with Nutrition”
Don’t underestimate the power of food to change your cellular environment! Nutrition, mindset, and spiritual healing are all steps you can take to not only support yourself DURING treatment, but prepare your body to be as strong as possible BEFORE treatment and remain in remission AFTER treatment.
I’ve already shared what supplements I personally used, but I would always recommend you work with someone specializing in integrative care! WHY? Because if your symptoms change or a side effect begins to develop, you can always change course under their supervision.
Every coach needs a coach, every athlete needs a trainer, so even if you feel really educated on supplements, this is a stressful time where you will feel fatigued and not quite yourself. Utilize as many support resources as you can! Supplements are one of the more affordable therapies available!
There are some supplements that protect you during chemotherapy, some supplements that specifically attack tumors, and some that boost your immune system and support your mitochondria and cell health! You’ll want to incorporate different ones at different times throughout your healing journey.
Once you are in remission I would recommend at minimum doing a food sensitivity test to lower inflammation and see which foods you have developed sensitivities to after the enormous amount of emotional and physical stress you just went through. I would encourage you to re-test 3 months later, and then 6 months after that as your body continues to heal.
Want more support? Join my free Healthy Through Hodgkins community where I share integrative approaches to healing, nutritional tips, detox information and more!
p.s. nothing in this blog is meant to take the place of medical advice. Please share changes you make with your oncologist, and hire specialists to advise you in any medical concerns. This is not a medical website and I am not a doctor.