Sledgehammers, Hazelnuts, Chemo and Cancer

"Chemotherapy with acral cooling" by Jenny Mealing - Cold mits and wine coolers!Uploaded by Steven Fruitsmaak. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC ALERT: In recent news, TV personality Joan Lunden is on the cover of People magazine. She’s bald. She’s being celebrated. Why? Because Lunden is fighting breast cancer through the use of chemo.

I feel the urge to be unabashedly honest here. Society tells me that I’m supposed to feel awe, love, empathy. That I’m supposed to see beauty in the baldness and a host of other positive emotional feelings, but the truth is that I don’t. I don’t see the beauty in the baldness. Someone being bald doesn’t immediately cause in me a sense of “Wow, how beautiful!” Well, unless they truly are beautiful.

Before I go further, here’s a brief synopsis of the history of chemotherapy used in the treatment of cancer:

History of chemotherapy


The first drug used for cancer chemotherapy did not start out as a medicine. Mustard gas was used as a chemical warfare agent during World War I and was studied further during World War II. During a military operation in World War II, a group of people were accidentally exposed to mustard gas and were later found to have very low white blood cell counts.


Doctors reasoned that something that damaged the rapidly growing white blood cells might have a similar effect on cancer. So, in the 1940s, several patients with advanced lymphomas (cancers of certain white blood cells) were given the drug by vein, rather than by breathing the irritating gas. Their improvement, although temporary, was remarkable.


That experience led researchers to look for other substances that might have similar effects against cancer. As a result, many other drugs have been developed. (Source)

Remember the target words I speak of often when deciding whether to take truths for lies and lies for truths? Well, this snippet is riddled with them. For example: Doctors reasoned that something that damaged the rapidly growing white blood cells might have a similar effect on cancer. (Italics mine)

Then, if you notice there is truth shot into the snippet in such a way as to appear to be almost irrelevant in its placement: Their improvement, although temporary, was remarkable. (Italics mine)

What we should realize is that the course of chemo treatment hasn’t changed much from those days. Yes, it still destroys white blood cells, and, yes, for most people, their improvement, if any at all, is temporary. We also have to ask that if current drugs are modeled based on past drugs, which according to this snippet they are, why would we expect them to be any less toxic or any more effective? Researchers allowed a temporary improvement rate to guide them to “look for other substances that might have similar effects against cancer. As a result, many other drugs have been developed.” Their words, not mine.

In this article out of the UK, we get more truth than lies about chemotherapy, its history, its effectiveness, its ability to destroy a most-important necessity in our bodies—bone marrow. This quote from the article is a most apropos description of the use of chemo: “In some ways, chemotherapy is rather like taking a sledgehammer to crack a hazelnut.”

Why would you, in good sense, use a sledgehammer to crack a hazelnut? Could it mean we’re using the wrong tools as it regards cancer as well? Isn’t that what this quote is admitting? Yet this organization and many others will continue to develop more chemo treatments, provide the science behind more chemo development or render chemo unto you.

I wish I could step into the frame of mind of so easily ignoring what I’ve witnessed and what I continue to witness, but I can’t. Hearing this woman speaking so ignorantly of her own health through the implied belief that chemo is a healthy solution to combating cancer makes me cringe. Her belief that the “hair grows back after chemo and then you have your life” shows her lack of understanding of the tremendous burden chemo places on the body, not only during the course of it, but afterwards. This also misguides other women who upon hearing this and facing a diagnosis of cancer, think it’s that easy. If a TV personality can do this and sound so chipper the day after surgery, and grow her hair back and be cancer-free, and be on television the next week, I can do this, too. I’ll beat the odds just like her. And it is definitely odds when dealing with chemo and radiation. However, the odds are stacked against you. This isn’t about my own pessimism or fear, this is about reality.

The reality is that more go on to death than go on to health. More go on to more cancers, more pain, more isolation, more decreased quality of life and, oftentimes, more chemo, until the doctors finally admit there’s “nothing more we can do.” Then, they hurriedly send you off to spend the last of your days in and out of consciousness, as your organs fail from the toxicity of the chemo. I’ve seen this too many times. There is no beauty in watching someone you love waste away and wasted away, incoherent from the drugs taken to minimize the pain. There is no beauty in seeing their feet swelling and fluid seeping out of them and their legs, an indicator the liver and kidneys are failing. There is no beauty in hearing their children speaking to them, loving them, and knowing that not even that love can bring them out of the death journey. There is no beauty in hearing the death rattle in their throat that tells you they aren’t long for this earth. I want to stop having to do this. It kills me a little more every time.

To think that society has marginalized the significance of chemo treatment to how a woman should feel about her hair loss, considering the seriousness of the damage chemo does to the body, actually pisses me off. Who the fuck cares about beauty or beauty standards when you’re fighting for your life? When many of the outsiders one sees are doctors, nurses and specialists? I feel a sense of sadness when I see my sisters with no hair serving as an indicator that they’re currently undergoing one of the most toxic treatments being used in the medical industry. I see pain, I see many sleepless nights and days, I see lost time with family and friends, I see isolation because they’re too sick and fatigued to do anything, I see throwing up their insides, I see having to use adult diapers because they’re too weak to go to the bathroom, I see burning of hands and feet from the chemo, I see swelling from fluid retention, I see toxic shock and frequent trips to the ER.

Hair loss is usually the least of their worries. Ask any woman on the other side of chemo. For some, you have to ask quick, because they don’t have much time left due to the devastating effects of chemo. This is why I cringe when I see bald heads. Why I don’t see beauty. Why it sparks in me a sense of anger, frustration and resentment toward the medical industry that insists on the continued use of a toxic substance that has never been proven to cure anybody of anything. The current push is the supposed acceptance by the medical community of using natural remedies in combination with chemo. Why? We’re basically asking a miracle of nature in the face of a constant influx of poison. A dual-edged sword, so to speak. This is not a fair use of natural healing therapies. That means nature, which usually works steadily and gradually in healing, is required to not only combat a disease, but a poison as well—at a rapid pace. Hence, many of these therapies also fail.

I ask that we come together, as sisters and brothers, to seek other methods of healing our bodies. Methods that may truly give us healing. That may give us a high quality of life. That may increase our time here with family and friends. That may cause less pain, less destruction of bone marrow, less destruction of healthy cells, less loss to families. There are ways. There have always been ways. But at the point of diagnosis, we have a tendency to let doctors blind us to the reality that most of these cancers, when found, have been there awhile, meaning there’s no rush to get them resolved within a couple of weeks or even months. There are people living decades with various cancers. These are usually people who have refused conventional cancer treatments. These are also people who were told by doctors that if they didn’t get chemo immediately, they’d be dead in a year. Many of these people have seen others receive chemo that ARE dead within a year.

Question: Being completely honest, think of all the people you know who have been diagnosed with cancer and have chosen chemo as treatment. How many of them are still alive versus how many of them have died? Be honest. Honesty is what will pave the way for more of us to look at better alternatives to heal our WHOLE body, instead of using toxins such as chemo which destroy the WHOLE body, yet purport to then allow it to rebuild itself.

I know some of you will be angered by my message—you want me to go away and shut up—but I KNOW that I am saying something that many others cannot find the words to voice, are afraid to voice or don’t feel confident enough to voice. I’m okay with that. Just as many others reading my words have experienced the loss and devastation hastened by or brought about by cancer treatments, I, too, have lost people I love to cancer treatment. I feel that gives me every right to speak my peace, backed by my findings.

Below, I share with you stories of those who refused chemo, those who chose to live with their cancers and those who chose to give natural healing a try. I can only share a few, because there are too many to list here. You are encouraged to search for more. May they inspire YOU and those you love to seek other approaches for healing:

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