Surviving Breast Cancer: Rebuilding Your Life After Treatment

It’s predicted that 20 million to 40 million people will reach and exceed the age of 85 by the year 2040. It is also true that one out of eight women who live to be 85 years old will have developed breast cancer at some time in their life.

The good news is that early detection of breast cancer is very treatable. Breast tumors that are localized are often treated before the cancer has a chance to spread. Treatment options and advanced screening procedures account for seven out of 10 women surviving more than five years after initial diagnosis and half will survive more than 10 years.

The goal of this article is to give hope and help to breast cancer survivors, their families and loved ones as they face life after the chemotherapy, radiation, and /or surgery.

I work with several breast cancer survivors and hear a common theme. These incredibly brave women tell me of their story and journey. They climb this, at times treacherous journey, up this mountain. They overcome the pain, the fear, and the loneliness of their cancer treatments. They then make it to the top of this mountain with the help and support of their family, friends, oncologist and other medical support staff.

However, once at the top of the mountain and the cancer is “gone,” most of these women are left on their own accord to make it back down this mountain and pick up the pieces of the lives that will never again be the same as they once were. Too often women are not given the skills, support, nor an outlet to rebuild their new life.

This is where functional medicine can change lives. Functional medicine sees a person as an integrated whole, bio-individual, and spiritual being. The goal is to rebuild the body and reverse the damaging downstream effects the cancer therapy had on the body, mind, and spirit.

Once a woman has gone through their cancer therapy, the delicate and intricate echo system in the gut has been severely disharmonized. This imbalance in gut bacteria (flora) and the inflammation in the gut lining and wall create an environment of malabsorption of nutrients and disrupt neurotransmitters. This gut disharmony and imbalance can cause poor sleep, indigestion, mood and emotional disorders.

As a functional medicine practitioner I find what the cancer therapy did to the body’s digestive and immune system and to the neurotransmitters. No two women are alike and each woman is going to have specific needs, nutritionally, to rebuild their gut and immune system and support neurotransmitters. This process can take several months to over a year.

Rebuilding and reharmonizing the body cannot happen without balancing the body, mind and spirit. Women often tell me they feel like they are on an emotional roller coaster. Some women say they didn't think they were going to make it through the therapy and once in remission they weren't sure what to do or think. All these feelings and emotions are real and valid. We understand that it takes a team of caring individuals to offer the support and personalized care women deserve. At Integrative and Restorative Medical Center (IRMC) we have a list of like-minded health care professionals like counselors and personal trainers we give to our patients. Carrie Andrade and Shambre Ricketts at Elite Training & Fitness Inc. in Port Charlotte, FL are two we recommend. Elite Training & Fitness Inc. shares the same understanding of individualized care as we do at IRMC. We all work as a team to individualize care because we know it truly does take a village.

The beauty of functional medicine is that we find the root cause of the problem and focus on that directly. Any other approach is treating symptoms and only masking the real issue. If you or someone you know are battling or survived breast cancer, call our clinic to make an appointment. We will work as a team to optimize your individual health needs. We are all unique and have specific needs and it’s time to be treated as such. Call today. Integrative & Restorative Medical Center 941-979-6509


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