Cancer care program empowers woman

A LOCAL woman is getting the message out about the integrated cancer care program that helped her and is coming to town.

A LOCAL woman is getting the message out about the integrated cancer care program that helped her and is coming to town.

Cara Morton, a 43-year-old film educator living here, was diagnosed with stage 4 non-malignant cell lung cancer in March 2010.

“Everything collapsed […] they told me it was inoperable,” says the mother of two. Her oncologist gave her two to three years to live. Family and friends started doing online research to find resources to help her cope with chemotherapy.

This is how they found InspireHealth, a program that works with standard cancer treatment by integrating healthful approaches to nutrition and exercise while providing emotional and immune support.

“When I went to the Fireside Chat [at InspireHealth’s Vancouver location], I was amazed at meeting other people who had cancer and were able to speak and talk normally,” Cara says.

She wanted to learn more about how she could positively affect her recovery, so she signed up for the Life Program.

This two-day workshop made her feel empowered to become an active participant in her healing.

“People survive longer when they’re empowered and see their bodies as whole.

“The Life Program taught me that my body is naturally capable of healing,” she said.

Changing her attitude to cancer changed the course of the disease. Cara started by bringing major changes to her diet.

“InspireHealth helped me research an anticancer and antitumour diet,” she says, “[…] and it made all the difference. Everyone was surprised I could keep it up! But when you’re diagnosed with stage 4, it’s not that hard to say no to a bag of chips.” She started consulting a naturopath and taking supplements to reduce lung cancer tumours. She says that Dr. Puhky, one of the physicians with InspireHealth, made her feel human.

“He told me how healthy I looked. This was an incredibly helpful attitude, ”she says. “I could strengthen my body, mind and spirit to face [the disease] and not let it take over.”

By the fall of 2010, her tumours had shrunk so significantly that she became a candidate for surgery.

Since that operation in November 2010, she only has one lingering tumour, which has not grown significantly. Next month will be Cara’s two-year mark.

The program empowered her to regain a sense of control on the course of the disease by giving her skills she can apply to everyday life, she said.

“I don’t know how long I’m going to live, but at least I’m not going to be victimized by it. I mean, we’re all going to die, but you still need hope. You still need joy.”

InspireHealth is launching InspireLife BC here March 1 and 2 featuring the same Life program Cara attended in Vancouver.

“I’ve been there, I know how terrifying it can be in the beginning. I want to help people be empowered. The program is also about meeting other people and sharing their stories. Everyone has a different life story, but there are always similarities,” she says.