Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Snelling Holistic Health Newsletter July/August 2008

What My Sister Taught Me About Cancer
by Dr. Victoria Snelling

I’m sitting here, looking out on a lovely sunny spring day and thinking about… cancer. I would imagine that all of us have been touched by cancer in some way, even if at a distance. We all probably know someone, friend, neighbor or relative, who has dealt with the dreaded disease. It’s certainly in the news often enough. Status or socioeconomic level is no protection from it. We often hear about celebrities battling cancer of one variety or another. Is cancer more prevalent, or is it just more publicized than in the past?

Until recently my experience with cancer had been from a bit of a distance. I always had some degree of isolation from it. Yes, I’d had a great uncle who dealt with lung cancer many years ago. And I’ve assisted patients with natural therapies so they could blend Homeopathy and nutrition with the allopathic cancer treatments they were having. But that distance and that isolation ended recently.
My sister had cancer. I consciously use the past tense. She HAD cancer and I fully believe she doesn’t have it now. She’s nearing the end of treatment and besides, I don’t want to give it any energy by speaking of “it” in the present tense.

Diane was diagnosed with uterine cancer a few months ago. It was found totally by happenstance. Her gynecologist decided to “just have one last look” during a procedure called a D&C and removed what was thought to be a very benign uterine cyst. These cysts aren’t uncommon and most often are benign. They often shrink on their own, or the body sloughs them off, or sometimes the gynecologist just decides to remove them if they are uncomfortable or if they are associated with non-period bleeding. This gynecologist decided to do just that, and was actually quite shocked when the pathology report showed an aggressively growing malignant tumor. Actually, we were all shocked.

I was sitting at my desk at work the day Diane called to tell me about her diagnosis. She had just heard the news herself. Her news had a very visceral effect on me, like the wind had been knocked out of me. At the same time it felt very unreal. She was crying. I was crying. Oddly enough, I knew she’d be fine. Some deeper part of me knew. But I was grieving the fact that she had to experience this, that she had to walk down this path in the first place, but I knew she’d be fine, maybe even better than before in many ways. In my shock and grief, that thought was actually a comfort to me.

I guess we all cope with difficult news in our own particular way. I prayed, I meditated, I visualized her as perfect, whole and complete. I sent out an email request to friends and family asking them to do the same, according to their own beliefs. And I also seriously delved into the literature and spoke to colleagues about what we know; I mean what we REALLY know, about cancer in its various forms and how to treat it. I know how the medical profession treats it. But I was looking for more than the allopathic slash/burn/poison methods. I wanted to know everything else. How can we treat this condition in a manner that respects the body/mind/spirit totality of us, in a holistic manner, that gives the healing role to the body itself? I was motivated, I was determined and I was just a little angry, too. I wanted these alternatives offered to everyone, in addition to the allopathic choices. Because this was affecting someone I love so deeply, my motivation was just as deep. Don’t misunderstand. I think we should always explore all of our options, allopathic and alternative. But Diane’s oncologist had the allopathic portion pretty well in hand, and I was determined to cover the rest.

I also thought about what I would do should I ever find myself linked to that same diagnosis. I’m not sure I’ve ever pondered that question before. I did find a sense of peace about it. I was comforted by the options I found and encouraged that I would not have to make a decision based on fear, or lack of information, or a sense of powerlessness. I’ll share just a little of what I’ve learned about supporting an immune system that is dealing with cancer at the end of this article. But I’ve learned much more than that.

I think I’ve always accepted that each of us has the right, and also the obligation, to choose for ourselves the treatment we want for any condition we’re dealing with. And I came to accept, at a much deeper level, my sister’s decision about the treatment she would be receiving for uterine cancer, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Her decision was different from the one I would have made for myself. And that’s as it should be. I know in my heart she made the right decision for herself and she is doing extremely well now as her treatment is nearing an end. Her cancer is truly in the past tense! My sister HAD cancer. And that word just isn’t as scary as it used to be.

When we look back over our lives, we can all probably pinpoint those life changing events. Events that take us deeper into ourselves and cause us to connect with that place inside where transformation can more easily take place. I connect with a changed person now when I talk to Diane. My experience of her is that she’s more relaxed, happier, and much more present in the moment. Being more in present time, more of the time, I think she has fewer fears or anxieties. She’s talking about making a trip to Hawaii, a place she’s always wanted to visit, but would never consider due to a long standing fear of flying. She said “if I can conquer the Big C, I think I can fly to Hawaii!” Great news! (I want to go, too!)

Truly being in present time is an amazing thing. Most of us don’t spend nearly enough time there. And there is something sweet and precious about experiencing every moment of your life with focus and intention. The present seems very different when we are not worrying about the future or obsessing over the past. Being in the present moment brings timelessness to our experience. The present is expansive and peaceful and so very beautiful. There is great joy in small things. That feeling of groundedness allows us to really connect with others and occupy the role of observer at the same time. It has been wonderful for me to be able to deal with the decisions, chores and obligations of Life on Planet Earth and yet be apart from the dramas and petty worries that I and those around me could create. It’s peaceful here, and I like it. And I have my sister to thank for the inspiration and opportunity to practice being in this space. As she walked along the path of her healing, she inspired me to walk beside her. I continue to learn so much and I am grateful.

The subject of natural healing is so vast, and to be truly holistic, we must consider the body/mind/spirit as we heal. We can look at different features of a good holistic plan in the next several articles, but for now, how can we make a start? What are the first things I’d do to support my immune system? These things would apply to many conditions, not just cancer. And they would equally apply to the maintenance of health, and so they are appropriate for all of us, all of the time. These can be easy to implement, and you can feel good about the ones that are already second nature to you!

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, or if a close loved one has recently been diagnosed, consider giving some tender loving care to your emotional needs. We love our “good” emotions, those highly desirable feel-good feelings. We may not always like those undesirable feelings. We all have a wide range of feelings, but we just don’t always know what to do with them! If you can identify your emotions and express them in a healthy way, you’re way ahead of many of us. Remember that you can reach out for help, through counseling, a support group, a spiritual group or maybe even a wise friend. Think of emotion as “energy in motion”, and strive to keep it that way. Emotions do need to flow. They can be very detrimental if locked up inside and not expressed. If you’d like to discover a technique that you can use that is free and easy to learn, go to for information on using Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s amazing how soothing this blend of acupressure and Neurolinguistic programming can be. It’s easy to do and simple to learn. I have a 6 year old patient who learned the technique from his Mom. (What a lucky guy to learn a technique like this at so young an age!) There are other techniques that are useful, too, including One Brain Defusion technique and Rapid Eye Movement Desensitization technique, among others. Explore what appeals to you. Some other ideas:
1. Keep (or find) your sense of humor. Humor is important for healing. Do you remember Norman Cousins who wrote “Anatomy of Illness”? He literally used humor to heal himself of a life threatening disease. Humor will lower your stress level, lower your high blood pressure, raise your spirits and balance your chakras- all with one good belly laugh!

2. Again, communicate your feelings, the fun ones and the not so fun ones. Use “I” statements if you need to communicate an uncomfortable feeling to someone. “I feel anxious when you don’t tell me you’ll be home late” feels much different, and is better received, than “You make me so nervous when you don’t call me when you’ll be home late!” Strive to start a dialogue, not start an argument!

3. Don’t stuff your feelings. Many professionals agree that suppressed anger can quickly become depression. Just think: when you express your feelings in a healthy manner, those uncomfortable feelings are leaving your mind/body. When you bury them, they don’t go away; they just sit there wreaking havoc. Don’t give them that kind of power!

4. Say “I love you” to those you love. For some of us, this is easy, and for some, this will be the hard one. If you feel it, give yourself permission to say it! We really don’t know how many days we have here on earth, so if you feel it, say it!

5. If you’re holding a grudge, or if you have a feeling of unforgiveness regarding someone, let it go. This is quite a burden and if you’ve been carrying it for a long time, you may not know just how heavy it really is. This is truly liberating if you’ll just do this one thing. It’ll change your life. Forgiveness isn’t about the person who “did us wrong”. Forgiveness never excuses the negative or abusive things in our pasts, and it doesn’t forgive the abuser. There just are no excuses for some things. But if you’re holding on to a past hurt, you are giving your power away to someone and some event in the past. Forgiveness is for the benefit of the forgiver. Let me say that again: forgiveness is for the benefit of YOU and forgiveness can set you free! Let go of the past and move on to a better future. Here are 2 of my favorite authors and their books that are very pertinent to this topic: Colin Tipping’s “Radical Forgiveness” and Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is.” Both are powerful and both are definitely life changing.

6. Are you procrastinating? I don’t mean are you putting off cleaning the basement or filing your taxes. I mean is there something, or several things, that you’ve always wanted to do, but you’ve put off for a better time? Put off until the kids graduated from high school, put off until you finally got a raise, put off until you lost those 20 pounds, until, until, until when? Please don’t wait until you wake up one day and say to yourself “I would’ve, should’ve, could’ve”. We can’t change the past, but we can certainly change now, and then we’ll change the future as a result. This moment, right now, is what you have control over. Don’t live with regrets! Is this thing still important to you? Make it a priority, right now. Just make a start and take one small step every day toward your goal. You’ll get there, without a doubt. One that note, I saw the movie “The Bucket List” (with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) right before my sister’s cancer diagnosis. I haven’t yet told her how much I enjoyed the movie or how it touched me. But I’m telling you now- go and see that movie. It is inspiring and thought provoking. Yes, you can see it and just experience the comedic brilliance of the main characters and just have a “surface” experience of the movie. But if you look a little deeper and see the richness of the message, you can be inspired to create your own “Bucket List”. I think I’ll have to add that trip to Hawaii to my list!

6. If you really want to feel good fast, here’s a guaranteed way to make yourself smile. Do something for someone else. Any one else. And preferably, do it anonymously. Do it in secret. You’re not looking for accolades here, you’re looking for a way to do a kindness for someone else and then allow yourself to experience the glow that brings. Start small and see how many creative ideas you have of “paying it forward.” Just remember, the Law of Karma will bring you good things in return!
Dr. Victoria Snelling

Recipe: Holiday Parfait
Good for breakfast or dessert!

2 cups yogurt, vanilla (or plain or soy yogurt with 1 Tbsp. honey or a couple drops of liquid stevia to taste mixed in)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup small whole strawberries, or sliced large ones
4 Tbsp. granola of your choice
2 Tbsp. chopped nuts – raw almonds or unsalted pecans or walnuts

2 Servings:
Layer in each of two tall glasses:
· ½ cup blueberries
· ½ cup yogurt
· 2 Tbsp. granola
· ½ cup strawberries
· ½ cup yogurt
· 1 Tbsp. chopped nuts

We’re Offering a New Service!
May Moore, Ondamed Technician, is now available to see clients for Electromagnetic Field Therapy. The Ondamed machine is a biofeedback therapeutic wave device that works by matching the body’s frequencies against the machine’s freqwuencies, locating areas in the body in which there is blockage. The Ondamed machine utilizes noninvasive frequencies, which reach confused cells of the body. This process allows blockages to relax and open, improving communication of good cells, enhancing the flow of energy and materials to the entire body.

The Ondamed machine enhances the release of toxins and the absorption of nutrients by the cell. It reduces edema, stimulates cellular repair and regeneration, jumpstarts the immune system by aiding in lymphatic removal, aids in blood ciruclation and reduces geopathic and electromagnetic overloads. It can aid therapies for allergies, asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. It has also been successful with helping many people to stop smoking.

To schedule an appointment, call the office today at 502-426-2033 and we will put you in touch with our Ondamed Technician

Homeopathic Tip – Minor Burn Treatment
I was pulling a cookie sheet out of the oven the other day. There were a lot of people in the kitchen (it was an afternoon party) and I was trying not to bump anyone. I didn’t give myself enough room and managed to brush that 400° cookie sheet against my arm. OUCH! I immediately ran to the sink and ran warm water over the burn. That’s right warm water. An MD nearby gasped and told me I was “causing further damage to the tissue.” I happen to know that warm – not hot – water on a burn is homeopathic. I have done this several times (I’m rather clumsy sometimes) and what I have found is that soon afterward, the burn doesn’t hurt. At all. I then covered it with Calendula ointment to speed the healing. So far (3 days later) it’s healing quite well and not really calling attention to itself.

Healthy Eats - Community Supported Agriculture
I've really been enjoying fresh vine ripe tomatoes this spring. My vines at home aren't yet ripe. In fact they're not even big enough for fried green tomatoes. But my CSA (community supported agriculture) supplied enough organic veggies to fill my crispers last Thursday and there's more to come this week. In fact, every Thursday from now until October, maybe even November, I'll receive my share from organic farmers, Ralph and Kathy Packard of Misty Meadows Farm. CSA's are a great way to buy your veggies, herbs and fruit locally and to be assured that they're organic. My weekly bounty varies each week with what is in season and what is ready to be picked. They also have a great assortment of organic meats and eggs. The number of Farmer's Markets and CSA's is exploding in this area. Our local Courier-Journal has a link that will tell you where to find your nearest farmer's market. And Local Harvest will direct you to CSA's and farmer's markets all over the country. For information about other sources of organic foods and articles on why local and organic is best, check one of my favorite web sites: The Weston A. Price Foundation. This site will also lead you to local buying groups, or co-ops, who are countering the high cost of organic food items by buying together and in bulk. It's wonderful to know where your food comes from.
~Dr. Snelling

Office Tidbits
Did you know that one of our Massage Therapists also does Reflexology? Rachel Gee is now available for Refloxology appointments. Call Sherry 502-426-2033 for details

Links we Like:
When we find information online that we’d like to share with you we’ll put the links here. Send us your ideas and favorite websites and they may appear in future issues!
Courier-Journal – Link to local Farmers Markets in the Louisville area.
Local Harvest – Country wide CSA and Farmers Market information.
Weston A. Price Foundation – Information on finding local co-ops and lots of other good information about nutrition and health.

Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome!

Dr. Victoria Snelling ~ Stephen Pollock, R.Ph., CST
Sherry Dour, BA, Office Manager
Rachel Gee, Kath Tallichet & Kim Rollins, Massage Therapists
May Moore, Ondamed Technician ~ Allison Singler, Ionic Foot Spa Therapist
Homeopathy ~ Chiropractic ~ CranioSacral Therapy ~ One Brain Integration
Nutritional Counseling ~ Massage Therapy ~ Hypnotherapy ~ Regression Therapy ~ Reiki
Classes and Seminars
Meeting Space Available for Rent – call for information

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

About Me

Louisville, KY, United States
Victoria Snelling pratices classical homeopathy, gentle chiropractic and other natural therapies. She is a teacher, writer, and a champion of organic foods and health care freedom of choice. Dr. Snelling is also an ordained interfaith minister. Victoria Snelling practices in Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; and Nashville, TN. Telephone consultations are available for those at a distance seeking homeopathic care. You can contact her at 502-426-2033 or