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treating cancer

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Treating cancer like Polyface Farms.

The best results save the land and the person.

Machiavelli said the end justifies the means. But only if the end shares a happy ending?

A happy ending in cancer is a cured patient.

I’m not looking for a ‘successful surgery but lost the patient’ deal.

The cancer patient is a host the way the land hosts farmers. Like smart farmers, cancer doctors from chemo-oncologists to radio-oncologists tend the host while treating cancer.

If certain blood levels are too low, you don’t get treatment, and the cancer season extends even further.

Although coming from opposite directions, the goal is the same: Polyface Farms understands the relationship between a variety of animals and the land they’re on; cancer doctors understand the variety of disease and the patient.

The human twist is the wild card for one like weather is the for the other.

Nearly a year ago I set foot on Virginia’s Polyface Farms where I learned about the farmer my wife had been raving about.

Since then it’s been a busy year with many milestones.

One of the milestones was me getting HPV16 throat cancer and signing up for the chemo / radiation treatment.

Coming out the other end without depleting my physical reserves was another milestone.

This is where building a foundation for better health steps up: I don’t think I would have come out the other end without the base I started with.

The trip to Polyface Farms was, and is, a building block.

Balance is key to treating cancer with a Polyface Farms modality

Fans of Polyface Farms and Joel Salatin know the drill: rotate animals from tract to tract, with other animals following and benefiting from previous critters on the same land.

Doctors treating cancer also seek a natural balance. The radiation guys didn’t schedule me the day of my first chemo? I asked if it was because of the intestinal fortitude, or lack of it.

“We have better results if we know how the patient tolerates chemotherapy.”

“In case they get sick on the waiting room? How many times has that happened?”

“Our patient’s comfort is one of highest priorities.”

Learning from Polyface Farms helps when personal doubt and concern overwhelm the day. And that happens every day treating cancer.

How is life spiraling out of control like a farm?

On a bad farm all the resources are drawn down, nothing grows, and you spend every dollar propping up a failed idea.

Millions of cancer patients live like a bad farm, pouring earnings, savings, life blood, into short term wins.

And they’re losing.

Turn the corner and start treating cancer Polyface Farm style.

Change your point of view

Different angles on the same problems reveal better solutions.

During radiation treatment my cancerous nasty-ass tumor got the beam from every angle.

If things look bleak where you are, take a step in away and review the problems.

Polyface Farms know how long a herd of cattle can stay in one field before it runs out of grass.

Cancer doctors knew just how long I would be able to take their treatments before I ran out of gas.

They probably told me but I wasn’t listening, the same way too many food producers don’t listen to Mr. Salatin.

Move your fences

When the world opens up with millions of choices, it’s a big place. Too big for most people who feel it all at once.

Limiting your point of view doesn’t change the picture, you just see things a little at a time instead of getting road graded by too many options.

Once I got the cancer diagnosis every option seemed viable. Diet, exercise, seeds, nuts, fasting. My wife explained the story of two men in her business who had the same cancer I did, and the same thoughts of options I did.

“We’re going to the hospital and start treatments.”

“Let’s explore other options.”

“Two men I went to naturopathic school with had the same cancer. Both worked out their own treatments.”

“That’s what I’m talking about. I’ve heard good things about alternative cancer treatments.”

“Both men died. That’s what I’m talking about. We’re going for the known treatment.”

Like doctors treating cancer, Polyface Farms keep a clock on their animals and move their fences to new grazing pastures accordingly. If the cattle and chickens and turkeys all had free range over five hundred acres things would break down the way cancer patients would break down with the random treatment.

Using portable corrals helps critters focus on where they are.

I didn’t see a portable corral fencing me in, but I still took a good look around and ask, “Where am I now?”

 Strategic disturbance is the key

Everybody gets in a rut. How long they stay tells who they are. Whether or not you help tells who you are.

How often does it rain on their parade? How often to you hold the umbrella?

How many times a day do they say something too crazy to believe? How hard is it for you to believe it?

How many times do you find yourself wondering about wasting time?

Polyface Farms uses strategic disturbance to avoid the farming rut, the food rut.

Instead of running a cow herd over the same land year after year until it’s beaten to bare mud, Polyface cattle stay on the move.

They’re followed by chickens, then turkeys, who all feast on bugs that hatch in animal crap, and who all disturb the land in different ways, yet still benefit the grass.

A film maker runs his hand through a pasture that’s been grazed five times the same year. Lush is a word to describe it.

A cow might say more if it didn’t have a mouthful of that grass.

The trailer has a Polyface Farm worker explain how good nutrition improves health, mood, and relationships. I added relationships for readers who believe better health and better moods make better relationships.

Disturb your fast food, junk food, fried food attitude. Look for source food, as in close to the farm source and minimally processed.

Doctors treating cancer believe in strategic disturbance even if they don’t call it that. Chemotherapy isolates cancer cells for our immune system to kill. Radiation targets the tumor in different intensities to burn cancer down.

Disturb your complacency, your ‘I’ll check it tomorrow’ attitude, if you find a neck lump that last over two weeks. Get moving.

In other words, Polyface Farm your life.

See a bigger picture

The regular life rut means dragging out of bed, slugging coffee, driving or riding the bus, inhale a donut, grind the day out and go home to repeat it the next day.

Do it year after year on less sleep, more coffee, and worse food, and you’ll run your immune system down. I think that’s what happened to me with a virus related neck cancer, but I didn’t feel rundown.

I mixed healthy food, read the packaging and considered its origins. The energy I got from real food helped me work smarter, filling my mind with project plans.

And I still got cancer. I wasn’t the problem until then.

In Polyface Farms’ view, corporate food producers ruin the land by wearing it out, pumping it full of fertilizers, wearing it out again, pumping it up again until it goes into the burnout zone.

Treating cancer turned me into the farm, getting pumped up and worn down time after time with chemo and radiation.

It was a working analogy until I got too close to the burnout zone.

Directed shame, constructive bullying

Shame and bullying don’t come with positive feedback.

Calling an overweight person fat isn’t helping them. Or you.

Bullying someone to do what you want them to do won’t insure they’ll do it after you leave.

If you look in your pantry and refrigerator and feel shamed or bullied into buying what you see, make a small change.

At the same time, look in the mirror and promise the same thing, a small change.

Watch your eyes. In the middle of chemo / radiation cancer treatment you’ll see the person you used to be fade into the distant future.

I’m sixty two. The eyes I saw belonged to a ninety year old. My dad looked better just before he died. I felt done.

Polyface Farms has taken heat for their practices from the beginning. I needed the strength to get through the next six months without quitting.

I needed inspiration. I looked to the farm tour.

Add something you feel good about

Maybe it’s something that didn’t tax the land, food that acts to restore the soil through Polyface Farm methods.

Or it’s a shark’s tooth necklace one of my kids wore, or Jason Witten’s Dallas Cowboy jersey they gave me one Christmas I still feel good about.

One thing is certain, and that’s the person you can’t shake on your worst night, the one who makes it worth it.

My wife Elaine has been that person, but even more she brought her own vision of Polyface Farms to treating cancer.

And it worked.

treating cancer

I’ve recently priced cancer. It’s lifestyles of the rich and famous expensive. The alternative is don’t get cancer.

Polyface Farm your life just a little.

About David Gillaspie


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