Homebirth and cancer. Kind of an odd combo, huh?
I know what you are thinking. What do those two even have in common? Well, I'll tell ya.
On November 10, 2011 my mom - my dear friend and confidant - told me she had breast cancer. My mother, who had breastfed five babies for a total of nearly seven years, had cancer. Wow. She had found a rather large lump in her breast and finally had it diagnosed. Breast cancer they said, and surgery was needed immediately, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. The fear of that alone is enough to stop you in your tracks.
Now, we have never really been a family that makes decisions based on fear. When my sister was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 1996, they ("they" meaning the doctors) told her that she would have her colon removed by age 26, she'd be on medication indefinitely, and her life would always be plagued with the horrible disease. But, wouldn't you know it, she wasn't going to take that diagnosis. My mother worked diligently with my sister (who became extremely sick at times) for a couple of years with all sorts of alternative therapies, acupuncture, prayer, and diet changes. And, at almost 30 years old, my sister is alive and well (with her colon) and completely healed with no medical intervention!
I tell you that story because I know my mother is a fighter! She is a true believer in healing and the body's ability to heal itself when properly nourished. She has always been really great at taking care of everyone else, but when faced with her own cancer I know she was beginning to have some fears.
On December 1st, she had a lumpectomy to remove her tumor and 26 lymph nodes (13 of which had cancer). While in surgery, they put a port in her chest for potential chemotherapy. She had arranged with the surgeon beforehand that if a certain number of lymph nodes were infected that they would place in the port. But, supposedly they got the cancer during surgery. What was happening? Had my mother been thinking drugs as a form of a "cure" or as a precautionary measure? This wasn't something that I expected my mother would ever consider. I suppose that you never really know what you might do until you are faced with it yourself though.
At that moment, I began to realize that cancer and homebirthing had a lot on common. As a society, drugs are widely accepted as the go-to form of cancer treatment (and for birth too). What happens if you don't have chemotherapy? You will die, right? Kind of like if you have an out of hospital birth, you will die. It's just all way too risky for sure! Or, is it? I began having many visits with my mother about her plans for care. We watched videos on The Gerson Therapy and started reading and looking into all the options.
But, there is a lot of peer pressure involved when making such decisions. Everyone knows someone who has or has had cancer. So, everyone has a story too - and sometimes a horror story to boot! And, because only a teeny tiny percentage of people birth outside of the hospital, I could somewhat relate my own homebirth experience to what my mother was going through with breast cancer and her decision to ditch the drugs.
My sister went to stay with my mother and our family right after the surgery. She juiced fresh, organic fruits and vegetables many times a day and prepared the coffee enemas that my mother took several times a day as well. As my mother began to feel stronger, she continued to read more and more about how to heal her body without drugs. I know that it took a while for her heart and her head to meet the same conclusion.
Many people will not understand her decision to forgo chemotherapy and radiation to instead heal and maintain her health with food and a variety of well thought out and thoroughly researched alternative therapies. In the same respect, research shows that homebirth is very safe and often times safer than a hospital birth.
And, it wasn't easy for her to tell her physicians of her alternative choices. I can't blame them though. Medical school doesn't really prepare doctors to provide holistic care. Just like many obstetricians these days leave medical school having never witnessed a natural birth. God bless the doctors in true emergencies though - we've had a few!
I am glad she finally got to a happy place and feels comfortable with her plans now. I can tell she is feeling wonderful and confident with herself. Since the beginning of 2012, my mother has done a radical change. In her reading and through her holistic care providers, she has formulated a plan. Her diet is now strictly vegan. It consists of no animal products, no dairy, no sugar and no grains, as those are all high in acidity and cancer causing. She continues her daily enemas and juicing. Exercise is also part of her regimen, as she desires to get healthy oxygen to her cells. She has lost nearly 30 pounds, which is fabulous considering cancer cells like to live in fat tissues!
I am so inspired by my mother. She is a true testimony of fighting back when fear attacks!
So, put those naysayers far away from you. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging you in your beliefs and desires - people who understand and who are also well researched. Fear tends to creep up around every corner from those who don't know enough about what you are doing to talk respectfully and intelligently on the subjects of cancer and homebirth.
Go with your heart and do your research. Your heart and your mind with eventually meet up!
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