Why am I are here to talk to you?
Health Equals Freedom was founded to share information on health-related topics with you, and in particular what you can do if you or a family member has received a cancer diagnosis. In fact, it is estimated that just in Australia each year there are 138,320 new cancer diagnoses (1).
You will have noticed is that the internet is a sea of thousands of opinions, often without any supporting research or evidence. You may have noticed that there seem to be more and more people with cancer around you? Perhaps the diagnosis of CANCER has unfortunately come to your home too…..
If you have just received your diagnosis you are likely to be scared, confused, overwhelmed and perhaps motivated to do whatever you can to change what is happening with your health.
Or in other words in 2019, like you, there will be 396 people diagnosed each day in Australia (4).
Understanding health requires an understanding of ill-health, “Dis (Latin for Lack of) ease”, being the direct opposite of health. Life becomes much much harder if you don’t have your health!
Dr Rachel and Health Equals Freedom
I’ve been studying disease and ill-health now for more than 20 years! With my own health journey being from disease (pre-cancerous lesions in my bowel) and benign tumors in my uterus (fibroids) to health, through all of the challenges of learning valuable information on my own health recovery journey on the way. However for you and your family, you don’t have 20 years, you don’t have 10 years to spend at University and then another 10 to learn these things to improve your health, you need help now!
The serious consequences of ill-health include CANCER, infertility, infectious diseases, obesity, diabetes, immune system failure, and other problems.
You and what you might be doing
You will be looking at all of the Medical options that you can take to help yourself. The good news is that the responsibility for your health lies with YOU, not your doctor. You can choose what treatment path you take. What caused your cancer is not as important compared to what you do about it. But you need to be careful as much of what is on the internet about cancer is quite literally rubbish and will not cure you or make your recovery successful.
Most of our Western Medical approach is focussed on doctor-centered medicine, where the power of decision making only resides with your doctor. Research (5) now shows that a patient-centered approach which, empowers patients, gives better health outcomes.
Don’t get me wrong, what your team of doctors and nurses tell you, whatever your stage or type of cancer is very important, but you have the opportunity to make changes and decisions about your care and environment that will help you improve your health. Many of the treatments your healthcare professionals have in store for you are literally designed to knock you off your feet and knock cancer out of you, it is the fight or competition of your life, you want to win and turn your health around, which you CAN! Winning over and becoming a cancer thriver is possible with hard work, good luck and the right environment!
While doctors will aim to help you especially if you have had a CANCER diagnosis – YOU actually have the POWER to take charge of what you do (even the medications you take), eat, and think with the knowledge that your body CAN heal and repair itself if given the opportunity.
Asking questions and challenging your treatments is empowering and important. Many patients do not even know that they can have this personal power over their cancer treatments and the approaches taken. Many of the treatments that doctors use in oncology are experimental and have only been used on a few patients, and in fact, this is often the case. In other disease settings, more testing would be done before giving to a patient. Time is of the essence, however, sometimes the treatments are not helpful. It is KEY to ask questions and become comfortable that you are making choices, even if you are feeling very sick.
Putting the right things on, in and around your body for as little as 3 months can reap amazing changes even if your health history is really bad, with a few small tweaks in a better environment your body will work better.
Certainly, things you choose to do, e.g. the food you eat or how much you sleep, may have bigger effects than others, but you can simply choose what works best for you and supports your commitment to your short-term and then long-term health recovery. If you have had a recent diagnosis, you may want to do as much as possible as quickly as possible, or you might need to take baby-steps, everyone is different and your cancer journey is your own, not your doctor’s, family’s or anyone else, but your own!
At HealthEqualsFreedom we are here to guide you with practical credible non-medical resources to support you no matter what changes you decide to make on your journey!
Our goal is to help you reframe YOUR cancer journey!
Cancer and my Family and Friends
Unfortunately, I have been touched by cancer in many ways, my grandfather died of prostate cancer, but he kept it a secret as he didn’t want to worry us, we thought he had heart problems! We only found out that my grandfather had prostate cancer when my Dad gave me his death certificate at the funeral. My Dad asked me to explain the medical terminology on the Death Certificate, as he didn’t know what the words meant!
My Cousin, an aircraft engineer, died at 38 after fighting an original thyroid tumour, diagnosed when he was 27, followed by a series of brain tumours for 9 years: you name it he had it all types of treatments – 5 brain surgeries, radiation, chemo, and experimental chemo. I was there for him and my family, even organising the experimental chemo, with his brain surgeon (Dr Charlie Teo) and oncologist, which extended his life by a month – every second for us was precious! He left behind his wife and two little boys, 3 and 9.
By the time my cousin died another 16 aircraft engineers also had been diagnosed with a thyroid tumour like my cousin started out with, known in medical speak as a ‘cluster’, which suggests his working environment was contributing to his string of cancers.
Two months after my Cousin died my Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer and had surgery followed by chemo, we are grateful he has been progression-free for over 5 years, luckily Dad was diagnosed early, because he got the bowel screening kit, a government initiative which is sent to every Australian automatically when you turn 50, Dad was very motivated to get the test done as my cousin had just died!
What I did do for my Cousin and my Dad was offer suggestions and support to help in their cancer journey to improve their diet and improve the home environment to improve the support for their body’s fight against cancer.
My Boss, one of my best ever, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 41 and was she dead by 42! Our next door neighbour died from skin cancers he had on his face after years of sunburn on the deck of Navy ships.
My beautiful hairdresser was diagnosed suddenly with stomach cancer, even though she had been feeling unwell for a while at 38 and she died that same year, leaving her husband and two boys.
My Aunty died of stomach cancer and week later my Uncle died of a ‘broken heart’, quite literally from a heart attack.
My colleagues and friends have been diagnosed with blood, liver, brain, breast, skin, uterine and cervical cancer to list the main culprits, it seems everywhere you go you meet people touched by cancer.
Here is a photo I took while visiting a friend undergoing chemo, I was at Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne, in the Super8 healthy food cafe. This new hospital was built in June 2016, the car park for 330 patients, which was FULL when I visited. This hospital has 96 overnight inpatient beds, 110 chemo day beds and chairs and 42-bed capacity intensive care unit.
When my Dad was undergoing chemo, he described the hospital as packed and the “place was pumping” literally!
There seems to be something really wrong with this picture…..
My dream for a long time has been to provide a source of researched helpful information in the most balanced, simple and easy to understand way, especially for those of you who have loved ones who are newly diagnosed with cancer or you with your diagnosis (just ask my friends and they will tell you how long I have been collecting information to do this). I would really like to see less CANCER!!!
Unfortunately, the internet is full of ill-informed opinions and very little fact, so-called ‘Dr Google’ is often full of site sponsored by drug companies or written by people with agendas or snake oil treatments. People who are newly diagnosed with cancer are scared and very vulnerable. Claims of miraculous cures for cancers and charlatans are all over the internet: we aim to keep our opinion to a minimum and provide facts and simple action steps that you can apply now, to assist in recovering your health.
My Simple Ranking System – Dr Rachel’s Risk Ranking (RRR) – the higher the number the better the evidence, the lower the number the information should be avoided at all cost due to little or no evidence, we also marry that with the traffic light colour system, red ‘no-go’, green good to use!
Only items that I have researched are recommended on this website and during our healthy home consultations. I will also suggest suitable links to reputable cancer information resources, to guide you to the correct places. My biases reflected on this website are explained/disclosed wherever possible.
‘Dr Google’ may not be your friend in your health recovery, often too much of the wrong information can really set you back mentally. One of my friend’s recently said that the further down her cancer journey she went the less she wanted to research and find out side-effects, prognosis etc. There is also research to suggest that negative information communication about prognosis is actually very detrimental to patients psychologically. How, when and what is communicated during cancer treatment is a hot topic that is currently being researched.
I have attempted to make complicated topics easy, this way you can refer to these tips often and apply them easily and quickly as there is no time to waste!
I have a Bachelor of Science degree with first class honours in Pathology, or the study of disease and what causes cancers, from the University of Sydney. I also hold a PhD in Medicine, where I continued to study Pathology. I studied my PhD at both the University of Sydney and Stanford University in the USA. Since graduating I have worked in the development of medicines to treat cancer and other diseases for over 20 years or in other words ‘disease management’.
I have also worked as a Life, Leadership and Executive coach. I have trained the public, staff members and medical healthcare professionals. This website focusses on evidence-based resources to provide you with a reliable resource to support you at this time. I am also a strong and passionate advocate for preventive medicine approaches, which I will also discuss.
In my self-coaching and coaching of other my mantras include: ‘it could always be worse’, ‘what is the next challenge’, ‘I am grateful for everything I have’, ‘I am grateful for everything I have learned’.
We are all here for a season, a reason or a lifetime, we never know what will happen or where we will end up, however, your journey is your own and it would be great if you could make it is as good as possible.
I hope that I can help readers like you take action and feel empowered towards regaining your health. Time is of the essence, YOU can make informed decisions regarding elements to include in your health improvement program NOW! Research has shown the longer people are proactive in their own cancer recovery journey, the better their outcomes.
When you are ready, willing and able to make a change in your environment, we are here to help you focus on the positives and make substantive changes to your health.
We aim to EMPOWER you to be in control of your own health. No-one else is better placed to look after YOUR health, but YOU after all.
Health Equals Freedom!
Yours in good health,
Dr Rachel – CHO (Chief Heart Officer) [Health Coach, Public Speaker, Trainer, Mentor, Advocate, Author, and Consultant]