Alternative, Complementary and/or Natural Therapies

Last updated: March 2022

I was getting my photo taken for an article that was being written about my lung cancer story and the photographer asked me a question that at the time I didn’t think too much about. When she found out I was a lung cancer survivor and because I looked healthy, she asked if I had used natural therapies to heal my cancer. I told her no I went with the standard treatments and left it at that. I think what she was asking was if I had used any alternative, complementary or natural therapies.

Acupuncture to help with side effects

I received my chemotherapy at a well-known hospital in Chicago and one of the perks when in the treatment room was, we got to see an acupuncturist. If we wanted to, of course, it was not mandatory. I was a little nervous about getting acupuncture, so I had her only do a few. I remember the little pins on my face and legs. She would ask what sort of side effects I was having from chemo and choose the best route to help. I had mentioned being nauseous, so she put magnets in my ears. She instructed me to pinch them when I was feeling queasy, and I think it did help some.

Practicing some breathing exercises

I found using breathing exercises helped a ton when I was at my worst and have continued to help me today. When I was in the hospital, I used a spirometer. It felt like torture but oh how it helped me! I tried ordering one from Amazon when the pandemic started just to have on hand but have not needed it, thankfully. For day-to-day breathing exercises, I have found that my Apple watch helps. You can set it up to have it remind you to stop and breathe for one minute.

Aligning my diet, vitamins, and exercise routine

I do not take many vitamins or supplements but there are a few that have made it into my pill case. I take a multi-vitamin to start. Since the pandemic started, I added vitamin C to boost immunity. I take a fish oil capsule to help with the heart.

Diet, healthy eating, and exercise/yoga can also be beneficial for a lung cancer survivor. While I was going through chemotherapy my husband would juice for me but other than that I did not change my diet. I have found eating things in moderation helps. My thinking is that if I am going to have cancer then I am also going to eat what my tummy wants. Exercise/Yoga has many benefits as well. You must do what your body is capable of so if that is jogging ten miles or doing chair exercises, do that.

Meditation can be used to clear the mind. There are a few apps out there that can help you start if you are unsure what to do. Many people also get massages or visit a chiropractor which can help with pain management.

Reaching out for support with mental health

Finally, a lung cancer diagnosis and treatment can be very harsh to your mental health. Speaking with a therapist or counselor can help you move past things that even the most helpful of family members are not capable of handling. I know that I still hold a little bit of anger about my diagnosis however it has gotten better over the years after speaking with a professional.

These are just a few alternative ways to help with a lung cancer diagnosis. You may have noticed that I left out one of the most important alternative therapies and that is CBD Oil and cannabis.

I am not well versed on the subject but if you are let us know in the comments. What you have done to help you get through your diagnosis, treatment, and side effects?

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