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Thriving through cancer: a journey of self-advocacy and complementary therapies

Erika K. Wolf

Breast Cancer Thriver, Digital Marketing Director, Author, Public Speaker

During an episode of Navigating Cancer TOGETHER, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erika Wolf, a cancer thriver who faced an advanced form of breast cancer head-on. Erika shares her experience with traditional oncology treatments and the discovery of integrative medicine therapies that allowed her to not just survive, but thrive during treatment and recovery. She emphasizes the importance of self-advocacy and the inclusion of complementary therapies in oncology care. Let's get into Erika's inspiring story and the valuable lessons she learned along the way.

The Need for Comprehensive Care

Erika highlights the gaps in cancer care, where the focus is often solely on the physical aspect of the disease. She realized that her emotional well-being, mental health, and overall quality of life were equally important and needed attention. This realization led her to explore complementary therapies that addressed the holistic needs of her body, mind, and spirit.

Discovering Complementary Therapies

Before her cancer diagnosis, Erika had some exposure to complementary therapies through her work as a wellness coach and conversations with her sister, who was studying Ayurvedic healthcare. However, it was her doctor's recommendation to try complementary treatments during her cancer journey that opened her eyes to the possibilities. Erika incorporated acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional supplements, physical therapy, and yoga therapy into her treatment plan, among other therapies. She emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and encourages individuals to explore what works best for them.

"I think the biggest thing that I would like people to know who are going through cancer, or some other very serious illness is to trust yourself." - Erika Wolf

Erika K. Wolf is a breast cancer thriver, author, speaker, and digital marketing director.

The Power of Mindset and Gratitude

Throughout her cancer journey, Erika learned the importance of mindset and gratitude. She realized that focusing on the positive aspects of her life, even in the face of adversity, helped her maintain a sense of hope and resilience. By practicing gratitude, she found solace in the little things and appreciated the support of her loved ones, the availability of healthcare, and the opportunity to fight for her health.

Changing the Conversation

Erika acknowledges that discussing cancer can be challenging due to the fear and stigma associated with the disease. She aims to change the conversation around cancer by sharing her story and promoting a more positive and empathetic approach. Her book, "Cancer and Other Things I'm Grateful For," invites readers to view cancer from a different perspective and find gratitude amidst the hardships.

The Importance of Self-Advocacy

One of the key lessons Erika learned was the importance of trusting oneself and being an active participant in one's healthcare decisions. She encourages individuals to listen to their bodies, seek multiple opinions, and make informed choices that align with their unique needs and circumstances. Self-advocacy empowers individuals to take control of their health and ensures that their voices are heard throughout the treatment process.

Erika's journey through breast cancer is a testament to the power of self-advocacy, complementary therapies, and a positive mindset. By embracing a holistic approach to her care, she not only survived but thrived during and after treatment. Erika's story serves as an inspiration for others facing cancer, reminding them that they have the strength and resilience to navigate their own journeys. By changing the conversation around cancer and promoting a more empathetic and positive outlook, we can create a supportive environment for all those affected by the disease.

If you want to learn more about Erika thrived through breast cancer, be sure to listen to the full episode. Click the episode in the SmartPlayer below. You can also listen on Amazon Music or your favorite podcast app.


Note: Although thermograms are not covered by a majority of standard health insurance policies, you can use funds from health savings accounts (HSAs) and health-sharing plans to cover the cost.

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