Episode 18: Cancer Trauma Recovery

PYP 20 | Post-Cancer Surgery

 

Recovery after cancer requires a particular kind of nurturing for your body. In this episode, Haylie Pomroy gives insight on post surgery plans and remedies to help your body recover. She shares some suggestions on how to help support and stimulate the healing after trauma. Join Haylie to find out more. 

 

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Cancer Trauma Recovery

We received a message. One of our amazing and courageous community members wrote in and had some good questions about thriving after cancer, and specifically a particular type of cancer that required surgery, and the changes in the body and the struggles during healing and recovery. I'm going to title this, “Ideas and Suggestions to Nurture the Body Through Cancer-Related Surgery.” This particular community member had a surgery for cervical cancer. In that process, she gained 20 pounds. They did radical trachelectomy, which is a cervicectomy. It's where typically they leave the uterus intact, but they remove the cervix, with pelvic lymph node removals. She's retaining a lot of fluid in the abdomen, it feels hard and bloated. She's been working on a lot of our plans and nothing is working from a weight perspective.

She feels like she's on top of a beach ball when lying on her belly, doing yoga or physical activity. It is just not the same. Her clothes don't fit. She has to avoid buttons and zippers because it applies pressure. The scar was larger than a C-section scar. She's extremely uncomfortable. She was talking about ways that her body can find a new normal and lose the weight. First and foremost, I'm really proud of you for coming through this with such an open mind to nurturing your body and healing through this process. I wanted to address some ideas or things that we've done in the past with clients that have been through situations that have maybe been similar or find themselves in situations that they feel this way.

Oftentimes when we have a surgery like knee surgery or a shoulder surgery, it's very common to do physical therapy or acupuncture, lymphatic drainage, a lot of the physical support with an injury-based surgery. What I find with a lot of my clients is that a lot of times when we have surgery associated with cancer, whether it's breast cancer, a nodal dissection, a cervical cancer, I am always surprised that when people are referred to me that they're not doing things like physical therapy or acupuncture or things that actually passively support the body, like massage therapy, lymphatic therapy, craniosacral therapy, all of those things. Anytime there's been a surgical stress to the body, it's important that the body receives continuous and frequent passive, meaning like something's brought to your body like massage therapy or acupuncture or physical therapy, to help support and stimulate the healing.

There is a lot of trauma in the connective tissue, in the skin, in the nervous system that happens when the body goes under surgery, not to mention from a hormonal perspective with anesthesia, the hormones of inflammation, the anti-inflammatory hormones, the prostate gland and the sex hormones that can be involved, as well as neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, L-DOPA. All the brain memory, cognition, cravings, hormones that regulate all of that. Those are quite traumatized in the surgery process.

A lot of times when someone's referred to me or a client comes in and they've been through this similar situation, we talk about things in a three-pronged approach. One being what type of manual manipulation therapy are we putting in? In a situation like this, things like lymphatic therapy, as long as the doctor is good with that, things like acupuncture, which is phenomenal post-surgery like this, especially in an abdominal surgery and cervicectomy, physical therapy. It's really important, there are many ligaments and tendons associated with holding the uterus and the cervix in place. Although the cervix can expand, it actually is a tissue that changes quite a bit in a woman's normal menstrual cycle, with intercourse. It has a lot of ligaments in both the pelvic girdle and also in the lower back, all the way up. I have individuals that have been through a surgery like this that even have upper cervical or neck Atlas Axis pain. Consider things like chiropractic if it's appropriate for you, depending on where you're at in the surgery perspective.

With my clients, we always look at what we're putting in from a physical support. Then we look at what we're putting in to balance the neurotransmitters or the stress or trauma associated, not only with a cancer diagnosis, going through surgery, the changes in the body, in this case, gaining of weight, discomfort, distortion in the abdomen, all of that. It's important to deal with the trauma associated with that. With the physicians that I work with and whether it's a Brain Injury Recovery Center or individuals that are doing a variety of therapies, it can be really important when we're trying to reset the metabolism to consider something like neurocognitive therapies. I'm a big EMDR advocate. I like tapping, I like Neuralink. There are a lot of things and you just have to make sure that it fits for you.

 

I'm a big advocate of Talk Therapy. I love Gottman Therapy about love and loving the body. They talk a lot about the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse from a therapy perspective. I think some of those can be important in a relationship, but also can be important within healing the body. The third prong, for me, is looking at how we can support the body from a nutritional and micronutrient perspective. I do believe that it takes all three prongs to thrive in an environment like this. Usually post-surgery, we focus a lot on three programs that we have: Metabolism Revolution, The I-Burn and Phase 1 Intensives.

Oftentimes, the body doesn't go back to burning fat for fuel until some of the autonomic nervous system, stress responses, come back into homeostasis. We have to remember that when just the sheer surgery exposure, cutting through the tissue, the nervous system, the lymphatic system and nodal dissection, that in itself the body has to shift gears into healing flesh and tissue. I find that Metabolism Revolution, that food plan works good on the structure of the body. The I-Burn, I've had clients that have extended that or have done our Pain and Inflammation Protocol for 90 days post-surgery, before we can actually get the body to feel maybe safe again to burn fat for fuel. Remember, oftentimes when we're storing fat, it's a survival mechanism in our body, one, from a toxicity perspective and two, from a crisis management perspective at a hormone cascade that happens with that. We'll do sometimes 90 days of rotating between I-Burn, the Pain and Inflammation Protocol, which actually uses the cleanse shakes in it. If you're international or you don't use the product, you can rotate between I-Burn, Metabolism Revolution and Pain and Inflammation Protocol, and looking at doing a Phase 1 Intensive.

First post-surgery, we do a lot of the cooked foods. I look at it deeper and right after my clients typically get out of surgery, when we're usually at about the two-week mark, we start converting to rotating between again I-Burn, MR, Intensive Pain Inflammation protocol, and that's really important. If you're an individual that incorporates homeopathy, things like Arnica or Aconite, those are really good from post-surgery reset your new norm, which can be even better than before. Think about it, the cancer stressor has been excised from the body. That burden is no longer there. If you're into homeopathy, those are really lovely. If you're into flower essences, Bach Flower Remedies, I really like Agronomy post-surgery is a really good one. Rescue Remedy of course is a good one.

If you're into essential oils, Young Living has one that's called Gentle Baby. That's phenomenal for my clients post-surgery and White Angelica. That combination is really good. My mom has her PhD in Reproductive Endocrinology and a Master’s in Oriental Medicine and a Master's in Herbology, so I grew up exposed to a lot of that. Evergreen Herbs has an amazing protocol for lower region surgery, lymphatic stagnation called Resolve Lower. Typically, a traditional Chinese medicine physician that's well-versed in herbal medicine would be really good.

From a micronutrient perspective and a supplement perspective, we actually use metabolism control a lot post-surgery because there is an insult with the anesthesia that happens. Thank God for anesthesia, but there is an insult that happens that oftentimes it’s really difficult for some of my clients to rebound. I actually had a client that came in that had pretty significant memory and cognition issues. It happened post-surgery. With this individual, we did some cleanse detox, but we made the huge shift after 30 days of incorporating metabolism control.

Those are all the ideas, but what I want to leave you with is consider a three-pronged approach, dealing with the physiology, the anatomy, the actual physiological stress to the body that happened through a modality that helps support that. Don't underestimate the emotional stress response and work on that from a supportive perspective. As always, put power on your plate. I really hope this helps. I hope this gives some great ideas and suggestions. Please keep the questions coming. I am beyond honored to get to walk on this journey with you. I'm going to be excited to hear about your progress.

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