On a cold January morning in 2014 I got the call. Yes, it’s cancer. My initial thought was: I am not going to tell anyone. I’m just going to put my head down and power through. I can handle this, I’m young (54) and strong, and healthy. I don’t want anyone to know. I don’t want anyone to worry about me. I can’t stand pity. I don’t want to stress my people out. That first night, sitting with my news, I conveyed this desire to my dear, somewhat reserved husband. A big laugh escaped from his mouth. He knew me, he knew my nature, and he knew that would never fly.
Almost immediately, I began to blog for the Huffington Post—from both sides of the johnny about my experience. I told about amazing care I received at Mass General. I shared information about using natural and integrative medicine alongside conventional care to help enhance efficacy, prevent side effects, and address side effects that arose.
And I have never really stopped. While the subject of my writing before and after diagnosis has been broad and varied in the world of natural medicine, my new book, You Finished Treatment, Now What? A Field Guide for Cancer Survivors circles back around to cancer, this time with a focus on survivors. I wrote a roadmap for lifestyle and natural medicine approaches to address health challenges that persist after cancer care, and to reduce the risk of recurrence.
I write for survivors everywhere and those who care for them. I highlight the evidence for an integrative approach to healing I’ve used in my 36 years of clinical work as a licensed naturopathic doctor, as well as for my own care since treatment. I write to make sense of an overwhelming topic, in a user-friendly, accessible way, providing what I hope is both actionable information and inspiration.
I often wonder how people without a medical education go through any serious illness. I am indebted to my own education and training, my teachers and mentors, my devoted husband, Paul Herscu ND, MPH, as well as my generous and kind colleagues, who alongside my oncology doctors, make up my ongoing medical dream team.