Cancer Prevention workshop with Susun Weed
By Karen Joy
This last Saturday I took the cancer prevention class at the wise woman center, taught by Susun Weed. It was incredible!
I hesitated to go thinking I don't have cancer and don't plan on it, so.... Then I thought I would be learning healthy lifestyle choices, so instead of thinking of it as cancer prevention I thought of it as healthy living. It was more than expected.
First, it was a bit wet outside so we started in the studio. There were about 10 women and one baby. The morning we spent there learning about cancer. We went around the circle sharing how this has touched our lives.Then we shared our ides of what cancer was. I realized how abstract an idea it was in my, and many other's, brain.
For me, it is a word I fear. I have thought of it as death, stuckness. I think of it as something that gets a hold of a person and then that's it. It is just a matter of time. I think I even have a bit of heroic thinking in me saying that if I have cancer I must have done something WRONG --eaten wrong, lived wrong, not done enough of this, done too much of that, have too many unresolved emotions I am hanging onto . . . . . Since this class I have so much to think about. These views are shifting and much has opened up. I can share here some of what I heard and took away from the class. There was so much info I could go on and on and take the class over and over. I also risk remembering incorrectly, since I prefer not to take notes.
First we learned what cancer is, with the help of quick drawings. A distorted cell is a simple way to say, but there are many stages along this path and where it is is determined by the person reading the slides. Between normal and cancerous is dysplasia. Not only is its outer shape distorted, the nucleus is bigger than it should be.
We learned what CAUSES cancerous cells. Basically it is living -- radiation (sun gives us that), getting older (the more often cells are replicating the more chances for errors there are), genetics (not a big one), and some more I am not remembering now. Basically what I got is we can not avoid the CAUSES of cancer. And that once exposed to a cause (being born and living), it is the next category, PROMOTES that is vital.
Next we learned what PROMOTES cancer. I liken this category to those that act for cancer as nourishing infusions to for us. Some of what I think was in this category was chemicals, hormones, vitamin supplements.
We also learned what is anti-cancerous. Bean family was a big one. This is where red clover (as in one of our regular nourishing infusions) falls. Also here is astragalus root (which was steeped in a bag in our soup we ate with lunch that day). Soybeans though contain something that gets in the way of our normal healthy process. That is if unfermented. Miso and tamari are fermented and excellent for our health. Tempeh, Susun says, is "moldy soybeans".
I learned that the danger comes when a cancerous cell is able to get blood vessels growing to it. It can therefore travel elsewhere and multiply. The immune system is what can go in and either fix or destroy an abnormal cell. When, for example, breast cells are in the brain, the immune system just ignores it. That is what is called metastasized I think.
Well, this is how I remember it and not at all representative of the depth of information Susun taught! What I take away from this class is a little more grasp of the concept of cancer and a desire to learn more. This helps me understand what and why varying cancers and stages of cancer are treated. It also helps dispel my myths. Cancer is FAR from stuckness. It is made of healthy, fast growing and moving cells -- not healthy for us, but for it yes. So if faced with it or the potential of it I want to take away what nourishes it and feed me what nourishes MY healthy cells! What I learned also helps me understand the difference between CAUSES and PROMOTES with cancer. When a long married couple loses one partner to death, and the other soon gets cancer, the grief/stress didn't CAUSE the cancer, but PROMOTED the cancerous cells already there.
After a wonderful lunch, Susun walked us around and showed us the locally growing wild nourishing foods and how best to prepare them!! -- like burdock, nettle, and comfrey. There were many more.
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