Growing up, my parents taught me that the body can heal itself. They pointed out that we went from a fertilized egg to trillions of cells that all know how to do their jobs without anyone telling them what to do - least of all, a doctor. So when faced with the discovery of not one, but two, quickly growing and painful tumors, I sat down with my dad (one of the smartest and most gifted healers I know) to make a plan.
We thought about all the things that could possibly allow cancer to grow in my body. This has to start with considering, what is cancer?
When cells reproduce in our bodies (constantly), sometimes there are mutated copies. Normally, the immune system identifies and eliminates those mutated cells. When we have lots of mutated cells that grow out of control, it's called cancer (this is obviously a very simplified version, but at the heart of cancer this is the process).
So what contributes to this overgrowth of unchecked mutation (or as I've taken to saying: confused cells)?
In simplest terms, STRESS.
More specifically, there is a stress overload both locally (at the tumor sites) and systemically. As far as our best thinking, this overload can be caused by any combination of the following:
too many stressors and/or insufficient adaptability leading to central processing dysfunction
brain-body communication problem
And while that's a short list, it's actually quite dense! Let's break it down a bit...
Too many stressors and/or insufficient adaptability --> central processing dysfunction
When there are more stressful things happening than the system can handle, the brain gets stuck in sustained fight-or-flight mode. In this survival mode, the part of the immune system that fights infections and cancer gets suppressed. Basically, the brain says, 'infections and cancer are long-term threats, but a tiger is trying to kill me right now so let's redirect resources to handling the immediate threat.' Smart for short-term survival, but not great when you sustain fight-or-flight mode for years on end. I'll write more detail on the types of stressors (it's not just emotional stress, although that's definitely part of the picture) and the factors influencing adaptability in an upcoming post. For now, just know that when there is more stress than your system can handle, you can get stuck in alarm mode which suppresses the immune system's normal cancer-fighting activity.
Brain-body communication problem
This is silly simple yet often overlooked. In order for the intelligence of your body to work correctly, the brain + body have to be able to communicate clearly. Think of all the miscommunications you've had via cell phone conversations because there was poor reception and you and/or the other person couldn't hear or get your message across clearly. Now imagine my breast tissue sending messages to my brain saying, 'Help! There are extra confused cells here, send immune backup ASAP!' ... but my brain doesn't hear the message. Or imagine my brain does get the message, but when it sends another message out to mobilize the immune system, that message doesn't get through clearly. Brain-body signaling is CRUCIAL for the optimum expression of the body's self-healing and self-regulating functions.
This one is probably the easiest for most people to think about...think of a wilting houseplant. What's the first thing you think of to help?
Probably water. Maybe sunshine. Maybe nutrients.
These are all about resource sufficiency. I think of it in terms of a 'checklist of building a healthy living thing'. Most things are pretty simple to think about, and we already know them: water, sleep, exercise. But there are lots of other things we need to survive - and more importantly, to THRIVE. And when we don't have enough resources, that can contribute to any variety of expressions of 'not thriving' - including cancer.
Whew! Okay, coming up I'll share all the things my dad and I could think of to address these causes of local + systemic stress overload, starting with the physical, chemical, emotional, and energetic dimensions of each.
Satya Sardonicus, DC, CACCP
Champion of Human Potential
Founder | Chrysalis Studio PDX