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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Thoughts in August - a letter from the publisher

Jul 24, 2013 03:28AM

The shock of cancer hits every family in some way. Several years ago, my step-sister died of stomach cancer, after having battled (and beat, we thought) breast cancer a decade before. There have been many friends and co-workers over the years who have had to confront a similar devastating diagnosis. Each of their stories has rattled me in some way — a teenaged neighbor, a beloved mentor and friend, a dear co-worker, the funny guy in choir, my dentist. As I write these words, the wife of one of my closest friends is undergoing a lumpectomy. Her mother, grandmother and sister have all faced a similar surgery and corresponding treatment, meeting the challenge of a cancer diagnosis with bravery that comes from a deep place from within. This month’s edition of Natural Awakenings forces us not only to think about cancer but to rethink cancer. 

For years, so many of us, myself included, understood that while a diagnosis of cancer may not be fatal, it would inevitably lead to months or years of treatment. Chemo, radiation and blood transfusions were the primary tools employed in each of these cases.  Sometimes they were successful while other times, sadly, they were not. The loss is always difficult to those left to wonder what else could have been done.

To rethink cancer is to reconsider the tools that are in our practitioners’ medical bags. Perhaps the most important of these tools is the mind. According to Susan Silberstein, Ph.D., founder and president of the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education, “Cancer begins in the spirit and ends up in the body.”  Her work is profiled in the feature article this month. Likewise, nutrition plays a large part in promoting health in the body of a cancer patient. A local feature written by Krista Noelle, a clinical herbalist and nutritionist, tells the journey on which she accompanied her aunt and how she provided the necessary nourishment as her aunt challenged cancer. Along with her story, Noelle gives us some of her best recipes to feed the body and the mind.

As I have worked through this issue of Natural Awakenings, I have been led into many conversations and have heard personal stories of those who have sought to find different ways to think about cancer. With this level of interest, the team at Natural Awakenings has decided to offer a free event with Krista Noelle and others who can share their expertise on this topic. On September 19 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., we invite you to join us at District Wellness 1608 20th St. NW (near Dupont), for an evening to learn and share about rethinking cancer. Seating is extremely limited and reservations are required by going to

This movement to redefine one of the most terrifying diseases we can face at any time gives me hope. Hearing stories and sharing opportunities with you, my readers, gives me faith —that with new tools to make a mind-body connection, knowledge about the benefits of proper nourishment and an understanding about the need to look at the source of the disease, rather than focusing completely on the symptoms, we will have moved this conversation, and the diagnosis of cancer, to a new place. 

With warmest regards,


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