translational research

Breast Cancer and the Translation required to get the care

Photo Credit: Coach Kristen Kelly
If ever I'm in a horrible accident, and at risk for losing a limb please do not take me to my Acupuncture physician. "I'm sorry, but we don't have that kind of equipment here lady! Please go to the ER." America's hospitals, if great at nothing, are the best in emergency medicine. We are designed for frenzy mode, and equipped better than any for it. It's what we know.

For the naysayers of western medicine, not many things serve no purpose at all. There is a place for most things in this world. Without blood would there be guts, without sad would there be happy, without 'evil' would there be 'good'? You get the idea.

The story of babel intrigues me. Once all humans spoke one language. Turmoil caused a great division and the worlds parted as did the languages, turning the one into many.
Truth, folklore?
That would require more research, either way the idea is a helpful one. (I've already offended someone and they have stopped reading.)
Stay with me.

Translating between 'worlds' quickly becomes fascinating. You realize how far apart our 'worlds' still are despite how sophisticated we've allegedly become as a species.
Common knowledge in one circle, is a foreign language in another.
I can't help but see the light that shines out of the merging, or gathering of these 'worlds.'
It calls to me.
Not unlike dark chocolate with strawberries, or better yet goji berries. I digress.  
Each seem to be the half of the others whole.

During a frantic surgical oncology clinic breasts are bleeding from nipples, or open sores, tumors are growing so big they push onto the outside of the body; women face new potentially terminal diagnosis, or hold their breasts in pain from hematomas; sutures need mending and panic is the pace. One of the Nurse Practitioners said during a drive by discussion regarding offering Acupuncture, Meditation, Reiki and Yoga as a treatment in clinics everywhere, “They should come hang out with us in the trenches, see what it's like.” The NP cried out, "I wish I had a prescription pad to write down, yoga qd, and meditation qd! There are just so many patients per day with such advanced illness and they are suffering, fighting for their lives.” Those in "the trenches" likely have their own personal story to tell of illness, pain or fighting for life.
The physicians and practitioners on the third floor of the Perelman Center for Advanced medicine's Abramson Cancer Center are referring patients for Acupuncture treatments, Reiki and Yoga Therapy.
Those with the talent to push through the panic pace, it's important all the right tools are at their finger tips to provide to those that are begging them for hope and relief.

Some are thriving and empowered by the chaos.
Like a lotus growing even more beautiful the murkier, the muddier the waters become- these medicine men and women in too much plush palace life, like a lotus, shrivel.
We challenge our humanity daily, for fun, for endorphins, for life, for cures, for others.
We like it and we share it.
Something about seeing the limits of human suffering pushed, poked, and prodded brings out the best of our natures.

A surrendering to each other takes place, a sort of tribe forms instantly in a battle faced better united, while you hold on trying your best to find the courage inside to rescue another, or face death with dignity as opposed to fear. Learning the delicate dance of timing that takes place in letting go.

The reality being pried from souls and bellies, the point of no return exposed before you.
How brave are we? At what point do we reach a threshold? How far will we go for another?
How much of their pain can we recycle and offer back as reward, relentlessly.

A breast cancer patient with a lot of fight in her divulged today, “I needed relief from the pain. I was desperate!” Her eyes were wide with remembrance, her spirit soft with humbleness and her emotions steady with trust in what she had found. She saw it work. It surprised her, but she delicately danced with its powers and allowed it to assist her. 
She knows she can't go back to living the way she did before.
She started with skeptical feelings towards recommendations for treatments, such as meditation.
However, she was able to attribute it to one of the many ancient remedies that were key ingredients in taking her neck pain away.

Her therapeutic therapies during chemotherapy her first time around she says, “saved me.”
“The pain stopped, Sarah. I used all of the options that were available to me. There is an opportunity for pain relief. I raised three kids while I was going through chemotherapy. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but I couldn't have made it without all of that stuff. I stopped going to John Hopkins because they didn't have any of those options available to me.” She had a double mastectomy after her chemo and if you saw her you may wonder if she has graced the cover of a magazine once or twice.

The question the patient had was, will insurance cover this? Can I get these treatments as often as I need them and pay my copay for them? There was a day chiropractic care, massage therapy and physical therapy, as well as psychotherapy were called pseudo sciences and not covered by insurance. Today, they are.
Doctors of Osteopathy were not always seen equal in the eyes of the AMA, but they are now. The OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography,) which Ophthalmology practices now stop without, were once said ,"not to be helpful in a clinical setting at all" now they are the foundation.

LRSM, Lab for Research on the Structure of Matter at University of Pennsylvania
a physicist explains after reviewing a more qualitative study on Reiki done at Upenn,
“I'm surprised they are doing these types of studies at Upenn. Really what you at least need is a theoretical reason why something should work. With Acupuncture there is some proof it works through engagement with your nervous system. Reiki the theory is that there is interaction with your chi, Acupuncture originated that way too, but scientific research is replacing that with a more physiologically based framework. Whereas I think they haven't done that with Reiki, yet. People are skeptical for a good reason. I would assume it's less effective than a standard massage. Now, Yoga is totally different from Reiki and comes from different religious backgrounds too.”

When I translated for the Physicist Philosopher how touch therapy may work, I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “it's going to be okay,” you feel that and you may feel better for a bit, right?
On a very small scale, Reiki claims to do that.
That claim the Physicist Philosopher was able to accept with a bright smile of surprise, but with a resounding, “who knows...”
The translators in Translational research are the most important part. “I'm not on a side, I'm on my own side.” says the Physicist Philosopher. "Let's open our minds people." Arjun, Physicist.
Fern says, "education is key."

Abramson Cancer Center offers Yoga, Reiki, Acupuncture, Physical Therapy and other types of treatment for cancer patients and has a large Integrative Oncology Working Group with expert knowledge of the importance of care that is working when nothing else will.
What they are trying to build stronger has become very successful in Pennsylvania Hospital due to its smaller playing field. Dr. Mao says all the time, "we are looking for revolutionaries."

Amidst survival mode, medicinal mothering, and mortified, your finest of raw instincts, primal powers are on the surface ready in an instant to save a life, catch the falling with a reaction time you didn't know you had in you until you were challenged. That lift a car off of your baby kind of power was recognized seemingly by physicians like, Upledger when he had the idea to teach craniosacral therapy to mothers. 

January 18 2014- Edited, but not revised much January 2015.

Thanks for reading. Comments welcome. Sarah