putting the pieces together for my healing (pancreas, insulin, sugar)

September 19, 2016

one of the most miraculous aspects of this journey has been the frequency of moments of great clarity and resonance; times when pieces start fitting together and i have an unmistakable YES in my heart and mind about my healing path. often, it comes first in the form of a nudge to perhaps reread a book that i put down a few months ago … i then reread a section that suddenly is a perfect fit for the place i am now walking out and i begin to dig and other sources confirm the information and ideas.

this happened last week and once again i feel so grateful. knowing is so beautiful … doing can be more difficult. 🙂

rewinding a bit: i made a seemingly hard but actually very easy decision last week to discontinue a medication that has been causing pretty intense side effects. in email correspondence with my integrated oncologist about that decision, i concluded by sharing my deep and overwhelming priority of building and strengthening my immune system. her reply contained so many nuggets of truth but one stood out – she urged me to “strenuously” avoid sugar.


it reinvigorated my thinking and commitment to that aspect of my eating … i needed that zero-ing in because my clarity in that area has been a little foggy lately. there are many things i know i want to avoid and many that i want to include in my eating and somehow, the sugar decision had not been top priority lately.

in the beginning, right after diagnosis, i immediately and entirely eliminated sugar. all sweetener, all the time. in my mind, sugar fed cancer so it was very simple for me: no feeding cancer.

and now, my understanding has grown. and the sugar piece actually and interestingly, is more about the systemic affect it has on my body – not just specifically “feeding cancer.”

i needed to  start from scratch and relearn these basics about how sugar impacts my body, and i found some information in one of my most cherished and invaluable books (“The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer”).

“the pancreas secretes insulin in an effort to decrease blood glucose levels, particularly after eating.  it helps transport glucose in to muscle cells to be used for energy or into fat cells to be stored as fat.  when we are overweight, we can develop ‘insulin resistance’, whereby the insulin less easily carries glucose to its destination, and both insulin and glucose levels rise in the blood, setting the stage for diabetes and increasing breast cancer risk.

… the number of receptors for insulin on breast cancer cells is 5-10 times greater than the number on normal breast cells, making breast cancer cells very sensitive to the growth-promoting qualities of insulin.  insulin is high when blood glucose is high, and we know that glucose is an energy source for the growth of breast cancer cells.

dr. pamela goodwin, a breast cancer specialist at mount sinai hospital in toronto, monitored 535 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer for up to 10 years, and found that those with the higher insulin levels were about 8 times more likely to develop a recurrence and die of the disease than those with normal insulin levels.”


i think back to my meeting with an alternative practioner last december, a couple weeks before getting my diagnosis. her tools revealed some concern in the area of my pancreas.

i think of the nauseated, upset tummy feeling that persisted last spring and summer.

about how hard it has been during some seasons, to truly kick the sugar habit.

and so today, i am reminded. and i know for certain, that my healing path includes decisively keeping my blood insulin levels low. this means not giving my pancreas reason to secrete large amounts of insulin which happens after eating sugar, sweets, and high glycemic carbs, omega 6 fatty acids (vegetable oils and the like) … high glycemic foods.

oh, so many pieces to put together! so thankful for grace along every step of the way; for information and encouragement that sparks changes that bring more healing.



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