Emotional Healing and Multiple Myeloma

When we get sick, we most often focus on what can make us feel better again.
Most of us believe that if we just have the right type of medicine, we will feel so much better. Well, this is only part of our wellness, relying on medicine’s outside of ourselves to heal us. We know that medicine, whether allopathic or more natural, has an important part to play in our lives. For example, a person with Type 1 diabetes needs that life-giving insulin to keep them balanced and well. But with that, they also need to eat with care and make sure they get enough rest and so on.

Our bodies are not only well-tuned machines, but they are also organic and rely on emotions and thoughts for our well-being as well.

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, the first thing I needed to do was have a life-giving operation to save myself from becoming paralyzed. The second thing was to give myself time to understand what the hell had happened to me. What made this happen? Why me? Why now? What lifestyle choices contributed to my state of unhealth?

Well, firstly, I have an amazing family and group of friends who rallied around and covered me with love and emotional support. From visiting me in hospital to bringing food every time a vertebra collapsed, and I was incapacitated, to making me fresh green juices and strengthening bone broth. The list goes on and on. All my worries were halved because of this amazing support.

Secondly was looking at how and in what way my emotions may have played a part in my illness. Deb Shapiro wrote a book called “Your Body Speaks Your Mind”. It looks at what emotions are stored in every part of our body. For example, the backbone (Vertebrae) is our body’s support. Our skeleton holds us up. So, questions I have been asking myself and journaling about are questions like: “Where am I not feeling supported?” and “Do I feel unable to support Myself?” Looking in depth at these kinds of questions helped me to relieve some of the stress I was feeling and speak to someone about my feelings. If you haven’t tried this, it is truly a practice that I am so grateful for and would recommend it highly.

Third on my list of emotional healing was to use essential oils to reduce my anger, high anxiety and stress levels. Using a diffuser throughout the house has been a great addition to my healing regimen. Having a wide variety to choose from has also helped me to intuitively work out which oil is best for me on any given day. Some of my favourite oils that have really helped me cope with fear, anxiety and high levels of stress are:

https://essentialherbs.co.za/product-category/oils/essential-oils/

Basil: Helps reduce anxiety, fear and sadness.

Bergamot: Helps reduce anxiety, stress and tension.

Cedarwood: Aids in reducing fear, anger and anxiety.

Clary Sage: Helps reduce stress, anxiety, stress-related headaches, and fear.

Geranium: Helps reduce agitation and anxiety.

Lavender: Helps reduces agitation, anxiety and tension.

Orange and Lemon: Reduces anxiety, stress and tension.

Patchouli: Anxiety, stress and stress-related headaches.

Petitgrain: Reduces tension, anxiety and stress.

Thyme: Helps reduce anxiety, stress, and stress-related headaches.

Ylang Ylang: Helps reduce feelings of anxiety, anger and fear.

My emotional healing continues because new things continuously present themselves and reassure me that I am not alone in this and that healing is a possibility. It gives me hope which I believe is an important ingredient in healing.

We are afraid of our emotions because there is the feeling that we may lose control and spin into madness. But my feelings now are that looking my fears in the eye has been so freeing and life-changing. It helps keep me in the moment, savouring each experience.

Healing Modalities and Multiple Myeloma

When looking at my health, I realised that it had taken a lot of wrong living to break down my body. From the food I was putting in my body, to my thought patterns, past experiences, and abuses that I put my body through.

Herbalist

We started with an herbalist as this is a field of health that we are extremely comfortable with. She did a virtual consultation with me and once she knew the detail, she started me on Essiac Tea, Sutherlandia and various other nutritive and bone building herbs such as Stinging Nettle and Comfrey. She also helped me with a more natural pain relief (White Willow Bark tincture). This herb has the active ingredient of aspirin in it, but because it is accompanied by the full bark, it has other chemicals that prevent the ulcers that are one of the side effects of Aspirin.

She also pointed out that I had to look at my nutrition in depth and begin to feed myself with good quality natural food. I was encouraged to cut out as much sugar as possible and reduce my intake of carbohydrates which are also converted into sugar.

Nutritionist:

This started me on my journey to find a good nutritionist as I am a notoriously bad eater, either bingeing or starving; getting bored with food, and needing to learn to view my food as life-giving and life-sustaining.

We contacted a well-known nutritionist in Cape Town who did a virtual consultation with me. I needed to send her all the detail of my medical history as well as certain blood tests which would show her where I needed the most help.

She started me on a course of various supplements which have been my staple since this time. These included Vitamin D3, Magnesium, Vitamin C powder, Omega 3, Selenium. Biocurcumin was also one of my first supplements, which I have continued to take. She also put me on something called A1 Cancer granules. This gave my body the boost it needed, but it was expensive and therefore not sustainable. She advised me at this time to go onto CBD oil, but I was wary as I did not know enough about it. This led to a 2-year delay before I started taking it. I have since learned more about which supplements were lacking in my body and have added K2, a multivitamin, Zinc and Vitamin E.

Homeopath:

I had gone to a Haematologist after my back surgery, as Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer. Unfortunately, he would only treat me if I agreed to bone marrow tests, chemotherapy and maybe bone marrow transplants. At this time, I wanted to give my poor body a break and was hoping that he would help me work through my various options. Unfortunately, he was adamant that my only options involved his suggestions, so I moved away from him.

I needed to have regular blood tests to keep a check on my calcium and iron levels, as well as my liver and kidneys which would take strain from trying to keep my blood clean and in balance. Two GP’s refused to do this and insisted that I go back to the haematologist and follow his plan for me. The frustration levels that I was feeling at this time took my fear and anxiety through the roof.

I remembered a customer telling me about how he went to a homeopath who kept an eye on his bloods and anything else he needed.

I found a wonderful homeopath (Work with one who you connect well with) who was prepared to do just that. At the same time, he remined me that I am more than this illness and that everything needs to be looked after. Here is a definition of Homeopathy that really resonates for me. “Homeopathy is a medical discipline using highly diluted, natural substances which stimulate the mind and body’s own powers of self-regulation, self-repair and self-healing. Homeopaths regard physical, emotional, spiritual and interpersonal health as equally important.”

Reflexologist:

I met my reflexologist when she came to learn the basics of Reiki to add to her practise. She has been one of my angels who has given so freely of her time once a week. Each week brought up different issues, but the main benefit from this wonderful modality was the sense of peace and calmness that I felt after the session. Being told that one has a serious illness is stressful enough, but somehow the doctors believe that they need to stress out the patient even more with tales of a life span that may last 5 years, if I do the treatment. These odds are awful, and it took my power away and placed it in the centre of fear. My mind went crazy with various awful scenarios of my life from this time forward.

Now I know that some reading this will be thinking, “Well, you could die from a heart attack tomorrow, or be in a fatal accident. Life is fragile.” Yes, this is true, but it does not mean that one stops living and hands one’s life over to someone else to make these life or death decisions. I think that decision lies with the Divine.

Physiotherapy:

From the time of my first break, I went for physiotherapy to help ease the pain. It was immensely helpful, but unfortunately, my bones were too soft to sustain this therapy as my muscles were twisting for a very good reason…To keep my vertebra from compressing.

I would recommend physio, though as a short-term treatment only.

SCIO (Scientific Consciousness Interface Operations System)

This therapy was suggested by my reflexologist. I only did one session due to financial constraints. It was helpful in that it pointed me in the direction of some of the imbalances or stresses in my body that I was not aware of.

It was an interesting experience which I would like to repeat one day.

BEST Machine: (Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique)

This is an energy balancing, hands-on procedure used to help re-establish the full healing potential of the body. My friend gave me a few sessions as a gift. I found it interesting and it definitely seemed to help keep me emotionally and mentally balanced.

Counselling:

Counselling has been a particularly important part of my mental health during this time. Working on my fears, anxieties, and deep-seated traumas that needed to be released. (To be honest, this is a long, continual process). I am grateful to the women who have walked this journey with me and given me the time to heal at my own pace.

 

Meditation and Prayer:

Prayer and meditation have always been an integral part of my human journey. But once I was diagnosed and was living with levels of pain that felt that they overwhelmed me, meditation became difficult and a chore.

As a Reiki practitioner, I was not able to do self-Reiki because of the pain. It was just a hot mess all-round.

I am now under pain management which has helped a lot and I am able to spend time back in active prayer and meditation. This in turn has helped me keep calmer during the day. I also meet virtually with a friend and we do spiritual reading and contemplative prayer together. This has indeed helped make a big difference daily.

Oncologist:

The year of 2020 proved to be an incredibly challenging one and 3 more vertebra broke. T4 and T12 in January, and C5 in August. I saw another haematologist who had the same news for me: Chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant.

There were a few reasons still that I was resisting these therapies. Firstly, Chemotherapy breaks bone down even more. This makes no sense to me at all. Why would I knowingly allow me bones to become softer? When my C5 broke, I asked him if he could please give me a bone strengthener, rather than the chemotherapy. He was not happy with this. Thank goodness for my medical aid who said I needed to go to a certain group of oncologists, and they would then pay for my consultations, x-rays, MRI’s etc.

My sister-in-law had been to an oncologist who was more willing to work with the patient, rather than try and rule every facet of the patient’s treatment. Please do not misunderstand me; he also had to tell me that I had an incurable disease which needed chemotherapy. But when I insisted that I wanted to carry on with my healing protocol but add the bone strengthener, he eventually agreed, if I was aware of the risks. (I was, especially after living with these breaks and this pain for 3 years.)

Another thing that he did was send me for a full body MRI to search for all the lesions in my skeletal system. What he found was that I had a growth at the L3 area (The site of my first break which had had a tumour which had collapsed my L3 vertebra entirely and needed to be removed). This tumour was growing into my spinal column and would eventually paralyze me if left unattended. I needed to have a biopsy to find out if it was a metastasised tumour. Thank goodness the results showed that it was a tumour caused by the myeloma and was more likely a re-growth from the original tumour.

Radiotherapy:

Radiation was needed to reduce the growth and move it away from my spinal column. The oncologist explained the dangers of leaving it and I was more than happy to go through this therapy because it was a re-growth. In other words, all my tumour reducing supplements (Bio-curcumin, Essiac tea, various herbs) had not been able to do the job.

The oncologist said that because my body was so sensitive, he would be giving me the lowest dose of radiation which would not do any permanent damage to my organs. My body turned out to be even more sensitive than expected and I struggled with nausea, tiredness, and loss of appetite. I had 20 sessions over 4 weeks and it took about another 2 weeks to recover. We will see in about 3 months if it was successful. My body needs a break from all the x-rays, MRI, and radiation.

CBD and THC:

It took me a long time to embrace this therapy because I have an addictive nature and I was worried that I would be adding to my challenges by risking becoming side-tracked by an added addiction. But now I am so grateful that I was introduced to a person who has become a friend. He has worked in this field for over twenty years and approaches it with great knowledge mixed with compassion and love. I have what is called honey oil. This is a thick syrupy extract which contains 15mg active ingredients in the size of a grain of rice. His product is grown by himself and the oil is extracted by himself. It is 100% organic. I take 30mg a day-half in the morning and the other half at night. This has helped me with reduced pain levels, a calmer attitude, and I sleep well most nights. All these things help my body to heal. A bonus is that it may help strengthen bones as well. This is a very simplified explanation of the healing properties of this oil. An added bonus is that the oncologist agrees that it is a good treatment to add to my healing protocol.

Conclusion:

The past 4 years have been a journey, and I know that it is a journey I will be on for the rest of my life. My real takeaways of this part of my life are self-compassion and conscious, in-the-moment living. This in turn has led me to have greater compassion for the other as we are all on a journey (some more challenging than others).

Choosing this path in healing is not easy. It is time consuming and expensive and medical aid does not pay for the alternative methods of healing. I am so blessed to have family and friends who make a big commitment every month to ensure that I have the healthiest kinds of food and all the supplements needed for good health. Living with a debilitating disease means that there are some weeks, even months when I have not been able to work and have relied on the goodness of others entirely.

No one is an island, we all need our tribe, no matter what that looks like. Thank you for reading this part of my story.

 

Supplements and Multiple Myeloma

Vitamin and mineral supplements have been an important part of my Multiple Myeloma (MM) journey to health. Even though nutrition is the ultimate way to pack the vitamins and minerals in, it is not always possible to obtain the high nutrient-dense fresh food needed to do this.

As you can imagine, supplementing my food with quality supplements is an expensive exercise which I would not have been able to maintain without the financial help of members of my family and friends. Words can never express the depth of my gratitude towards them. Faithfully, month after month, they deliver these health supplements.

Multivitamins are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, probiotics, essential fatty acids and immune boosters. They support energy levels, promote a strong immune system, and encourage a healthy metabolism.

But, with a chronic, life-threatening disease, stronger doses of some of these supplements become necessary.

One of the concerns with MM is that it leaches calcium out of the bones. This makes the bones weaker, and the high quantity of calcium in the blood puts a strain on the kidneys making them susceptible to kidney failure. For this reason, eating foods and supplementing with the following minerals and vitamins (Magnesium, Vitamins D3 and K2) is immensely helpful for absorbing calcium from the blood back into bones. (I will give more detail of how this has worked for me in a follow-up blog when I speak of the modalities that I have used to help).

Magnesium contributes to increased bone density.

D3 is necessary for strong bones and muscles. It helps absorb calcium and phosphorous from the food we eat.

K2 promotes healthy bone mineral density by carboxylation of osteocalcin, a protein that binds calcium to bones.

Zinc helps your immune system and metabolism function.

Biocurcumin is a potent antioxidant and DNA protector. It is naturally found in turmeric and is a potent cancer inhibiter. It is sold in the form of capsules.

Lycopene is an antioxidant but with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is found naturally in the pigment of red and pink fruits like tomatoes. It is also sold in capsule form. I have been taking Lycopene since it was recommended by my sister in laws oncologist after she made it clear she wanted to follow the natural route. (I have since moved to her oncologist. (More about this in our next blog)

Omega 3 is an anti-inflammatory oil and is most effective when used together with vitamin E. Find the highest quality possible from a health shop. We have found the Wild Alaska fish oil capsules to be the highest quality (ask your pharmacist or health shop assistant for help)

Vitamin E (see Omega 3)

Vitamin C powder an antioxidant and functions in protecting the immune system.

Even though all these supplements are taken daily, I have monthly blood tests which show if my immune system or kidneys are struggling. If a problem appears, these supplements will be adjusted accordingly.

 

 

Herbs and Multiple Myeloma

Herbs have been an important part of my journey from the beginning of my diagnosis. Herbs are the whole plant, (Using the whole herb means that each component of the whole herb works in synergy with all the others and makes the herb more effective than if only single components were extracted from the herb.) These are herbs that I have used from the beginning. They have helped keep my immune system strong.

Essiac Tea is made up of 4 herbs: Burdock root, Slippery elm, Sheep sorrel and Indian rhubarb root. It is used to improve the status of the immune system.

These four herbs help normalize various body systems by cleansing the blood, purging toxic build up, promoting cell repair and aiding in effective general assimilation and elimination.

Astragalus is an adaptogen and immune stimulant. Adaptogens coordinate and regulate a broad spectrum of biochemical processes. They are innocuous, nonspecific in activity and are a normalizer of functions. I have been taking this in tincture form from the beginning.

Sutherlandia taken as a tincture helps stimulate immune cells to attack cancer cells. This is an adaptogen herb which improves the general metabolism. Amongst other valuable health benefits, it promotes relaxation and better-quality sleep. It also helps with the wasting that is a common occurrence in cancer patients

Ginkgo biloba helps to thin the blood. Multiple Myeloma makes the blood sticky, and this causes problems with clotting. Ginkgo also helps my brain function better as it helps improve blood flow.  

Burdock root tincture – for liver support. But while taking the Essiac tea, it is not necessary to add this tincture.

Dandelion tincture – This has been made from the fresh whole herb. It is full of nutrition and may help reduce inflammation. Multiple Myeloma causes inflammation throughout the body, but it is detected in a blood test in the liver. The dandelion therefore gives the liver support. The liver comes under a lot of stress during this time, so eliminating toxins is important.

Moringa contains proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is also an antioxidant which helps protect cells from damage. I add the powder to my smoothies, or just put a teaspoon of the powdered herb on my tongue and drink it down with water.

Another important herb was added this year when more bones broke, it strengthens bones, reduces pain and  my anxiety levels which have skyrocketed over the past year. (If you would like to know more about this herb, please message me directly.)

In conclusion, we have found that adding fresh herbs to my food, daily, has also helped strengthen my immune system. These include garlic, ginger, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and chillies.

Nutrition and Multiple Myeloma

Once diagnosed, the first thing we looked at was my nutrition. I did a remote consultation with Nutrition Therapist, Sally-Ann Creed. This was an excellent starting point as she helped me identify where my nutrition was lacking. She also gave a suggested eating plan which is Keto-based. This was to cut out all carbohydrates that convert to sugar. The idea was to try and starve the cancer cells. (Unfortunately, my Myeloma tumour did not respond adequately to the tumour reducing nutrition. However, no other tumours have formed, and I believe that is because of the good nutritional protocol).

I have been following the following protocol with positive results. The protocol is composed of fresh vegetable juices (to try to detox as well as get the body to an alkaline condition), diet (the Keto diet proved to be most effective) and taking herbal supplements.

 My brother bought a book through Amazon called Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Dr Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS. I found it extremely helpful as well as inspirational. There is an extraordinarily strong and growing movement to fight cancer by natural means.

 

So, let us start with the juices. My mother and brother have been my juice angels. They have bought, juiced, and bottled my juices for the past 3 years, and they continue to do this for me. Juicing should start as soon as possible to eliminate toxins from your body. Wherever possible, they tried to buy organically grown vegetables as there is the least likelihood of toxic chemicals being present. The veg are then soaked in filtered water (we fitted water filters directly to our kitchen taps) with vinegar added (1 tablespoon of vinegar per 2 litres of water) for 20 minutes before juicing. This is to neutralise any surface toxins present on the vegetables. They bought a juicing machine, and the first juices were made with carrots, beetroot, green apple, celery, turmeric, and ginger. This was done during the detoxing stage and I started with a glass a day working up to 3 glasses a day for about 3 weeks. The combination was then changed to a more alkaline mix (kohlrabi or red cabbage, celery, green peppers, and cucumber – approximately equal proportions (3 glasses per day).

 

Now, the diet. Patrick Quillin says “Nutrients can improve cancer treatment by protecting the patient from the damaging effects of chemotherapy and radiation while allowing these therapies to kill the tumour. Also, nutrition makes chemo and radiation therapy more of a selective toxin against the cancer and not a general toxin against the patient”. As mentioned earlier, the Keto diet has been followed, not strictly but as close as possible. I have needed to change my diet slightly as time has gone by. I find that some foods make me feel sick, while others my body craves for. So, I have added certain grains (Quinoa) and beans (chickpeas) and slowed down on my animal protein. I also find now that raw vegetables are far more nurturing than cooked. My suggestion here is, go with what feels right. (Please note I am referring to healthy foods only)

 

At the same time, certain nutritional changes must be made. Firstly, you must cut out sugar. Sugar feeds cancer cells as well as slowing down the immune system. You need to starve the cancer cells. You need to cut out all starches (wheat, potato, cereals, pasta, white rice) It is fine to eat sweet potato as it has a low glycaemic index. You also need to cut out dairy products, although plain full cream yoghurt and unsalted butter are okay. Reduce your fruit intake, even though the sugars in fruit are better for you, they still feed the cancer. You can eat plenty of berries. All meats (grass-fed and hormone-free), leafy veg (dark green leafy veg are better), cruciferous veg (like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, Brussel sprouts) pumpkin, and sweet potato are good. I also eat nuts (I have found that raw is better).

 

Healthy eating must be a way of life. Your body will thank you.

How Essential Oils are made: Steam Distillation Process

A farm growing Lemon Tea Tree: Leptospermum petersonii
For our demonstration, the farmer had prepared 7 kgs of the Lemon Tea Tree for distilling.
Firstly, he prepared the still. Then, he filled the ‘pot’ with the leaves and the process began.
Within an hour the process is complete and there is 8 litres of oil and water mixed.
And he needed to do another batch to complete the 7 kgs of leaves.
The oil and water are poured into a cone shaped pipette and as the oil starts to separate, the little tap at the base of the pipette is opened and the water is slowly drained off.
Finally, when all the water has drained out, the tap is closed and the oil is poured into a measuring apparatus for a record to be kept of how much oil has been harvested from the original plant material.
The farmers oil recovery from 7kg of plant material was 280ml of beautiful lemon tea tree essential oil. This, we were told is an excellent yield.

Cancer Bush

The amount of people suffering from cancer and telling us this at Shongweni Market has amazed me. People in that situation are looking for something to lesson the ravages of the disease and often ask us for suggestions in this regard.

Fortunately, Sutherlandia frutescens (Cancer Bush), an old Cape Dutch remedy, grows over a lot of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. Tradition states that it is good for stomach problems and internal cancers. It is also used traditionally for colds, flu, chicken pox, diabetes. varicose veins. Piles inflammation, liver problems backache and rheumatism.

Medical research says that that this herb encourages the body to make use of its own resources to stimulate wellbeing. We know several cancer patients who have used cancer bush to prevent wasting. Evidence shows anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial and anti-stress activity.

Do we offer this herb? Yes, we do,  as we have people testifying to its efficacy

Calendula

I have just been amazed at the variety and ways this wonderful herb Calendula officinalis (Marygold, Marybud) has been used.

It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, its ability to relieve spasms of the smooth muscles in the body, its ability to stop bleeding when applied to a wound, the healing of the said wound and its antiseptic properties.

Internally it can be made into a tea and used for many stomach disorders e.g. gastric and duodenal ulcers, stomach cramps

Externally it can be used as an ointment, lotion or wash for cuts and bruises, nappy rash, sore nipples, burns and scalds.

Its many uses has encouraged us to sell it as a tea, and tincture.

Buchu

At Shongweni Market we have a lot of overseas visitors asking to buy a truly South African herb. Buchu (boegoe)Agathasoma betulina is one we often suggest. It is found mostly in the Western Cape. It is part of the heritage of the San and the Khoi people.

The Dutch settlers steeped the leaves in brandy and made a tincture out of it that was used for stomach complaints. Buchu vinegar was used to clean and wash wounds. Many South Africans use it for kidney and urinary tract problems as it is a mild urinary antiseptic, as well as useful for inflammation.

So we have a truly South African herb to be proud of and offer to visitors  from other parts of the world.

African Wormwood vs Wormwood

By now those of you who follow EHP will have seen that we sell both African Wormwood and Wormwood. I would like to look at the differences and similarities of these two herbs.

African Wormwood is obviously African and found in the East of the continent as far as Ethiopia. It is one of our most widely used traditional medicines. Wormwood on the other hand is native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. It is however cultivated in America and elsewhere in the world.

African Wormwood (Wildeals) Artemesia afra is used mainly for coughs, colds and Influenza. It has also been used to treat fever, colic, headache. earache, malaria and intestinal worms.

Wormwood (Absinthium) Artemesia absinthium, on the other hand is used mainly for: colds, rheumatism, a cardiac stimulant, to relieve flatulence, prevent stomach spasms, to stimulate menstrual flow, pain reliever during childbirth, tonic and is an antiseptic

So now you know why we sell both those products.