A patient recently sent a letter to share her thanks for the integrative medicine approach offered at the UCHealth Cancer Center. Her story illustrates the importance of treating the whole person, not just the disease. Donor generosity makes some of these integrative approaches, including yoga, available.

When UCHealth Cancer Center does an excellent job, I think all involved need to hear about it. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I knew I needed an integrative medicine approach. It was important to me to learn what I could do during treatment and beyond in the areas of body, mind, and spirit. I believe the mind is powerful. My choice was to participate in all of the programs. Dr. Ross McFarland, Dr. Jim Dickinson, and Dr. Arthur Liu got me started in the right direction.

Next, I consulted with Dr. Gary Goodman and implemented many ideas in nutrition, home products, and personal care products. I consulted with Liz Bergquist, registered dietician, and learned specific things I could do during my 20 radiation treatments. I attended clinical social worker Ann-Marie Bowman’s eight-week Mindfulness Stress Reduction, and I have continued with daily meditation. During the time I received radiation treatments, I had a weekly massage by Jan Alexander, oncology massage therapist, which helped me physically and mentally.

March is the fifth month I have participated in the exercise program of Jeff Eagan, physical therapist, and Brooke Maynard, exercise physiologist. The program helps me relieve fatigue and regain my strength. Kathleen Michie, physical therapist and Oncology Service Program Manager, was so welcoming my first day of restorative yoga. She also made my son visiting from Denver feel welcome. It was also a nice touch to receive a complimentary yoga blanket. Kathy Rhodes and Emily Holcomb are outstanding yoga instructors. They are clear with their instructions and know how to modify the positions for clients. Their classes are extremely calming.

It was a difficult day for me when the nurse practitioner reviewed the side effects of the estrogen blocker I need to take for five years. I cried through the entire presentation. It was because I am 70 but feel 50, and it seemed to me the side effects were debilitating. Fortunately, I had my husband with me. Here is the good news. I am going on my eighth week of Anastrozole [an anti-cancer hormone therapy drug], and I have no side effects. I know it is because of the integrative medicine program. It relieves stress, but it is more than that. For me, it has been healing. I will continue programs at UCHealth and in the community.

Thank you to all these kind, loving health care professionals.