Inspire yourself to change before any serious diagnosis!
Join board-certified family physician, Dr. Patrick Hanaway, through his journey with stage four cancer and how a holistic and modern treatment plan helped him beat cancer. Learn the life-changing impact an often-terminal illness had on his outlook and practice in this emotional episode.
Dr. Patrick was diagnosed with stage four lymphatic cancer three years ago and melded holistic approaches with modern medicine to treat it. The odds of treating his specific cancer has a 50% survival rate over 5 years.
Because it was stage four, it was severe enough for Dr. Patrick to take his situation seriously. There were times when his treatment was so demanding that he wondered if living was genuinely worth it. But the relationships he had with people and finding out there was more help and support than he ever imagined got him through the process.
When treating illness, there is a journey for everyone involved, caretaker and patient alike. Caregivers need to understand how to give themselves care in the process so that they can better take care of others out of a place of giving. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Where practitioners go wrong is their ego getting in the way, and their care becoming all about themselves.
Dr. Patrick is approaching three years with no signs of the disease, but he will always have that new perspective. Cancer is about transformation: something in Patrick’s life grew uncontrollably, and this was a physical manifestation. As a result, his priorities, attitude, and more have changed. He’s now a better, more compassionate person because of it.
Choosing healing often comes from an experience that requires change. We all have different levels of motivation, and for Patrick, cancer was the wake-up call he needed. Caregivers instinctively want to fix people. But some people don’t want to be fixed, and it sometimes takes something very serious or life-threatening to get them to a point where they want or accept help.
The right caregiver is often hard to find. Look for someone you can resonate with and who is not arrogant. If a doctor thinks they know it all, they can’t actually learn from you, and they won’t have the level of curiosity to treat you as the individual you are. So look for a doctor with the training and interest to give you the care and connection you need. A good start is to look for someone practicing functional medicine full time for at least a few years.
To de-stress and get back in touch with yourself, Dr. Patrick recommends powering your cell phone down and going for a walk in nature for 15 minutes daily. If you can’t get outside, try sitting with a lit candle for a few minutes. Of course, those are non-denominational practices, but you can also reach out to a spiritual teacher if you find a practice that resonates with you.
Listen to this emotional episode and start choosing change!
PATRICK HANAWAY, MD, is a board-certified family physician trained at Washington University. Dr. Hanaway served on the Executive Committee for the American Board of Integrative Medicine and is the Past President of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. For more than 20 years, he has worked with his wife, Dr. Lisa Lichtig, in clinical practice at Family to Family: Your Home for Whole Health Care in Asheville, NC, and Weaverville, NC.
After 10 years as Chief Medical Officer at Genova Diagnostics, Dr. Hanaway became the Chief Medical Education Officer for the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), overseeing the development and implementation of IFM’s programs worldwide. He has taught with IFM since 2005 and has filled numerous roles: leader of the GI Advanced Practice Module, Co-Chair of IFM’s Expert Advisory Board, guiding the COVID-19 Task Force, and serving as a Senior Advisor to the CEO.