October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it drives me crazy. From the pink shoes and pink towels the football players wear to the urging from every direction to get a mammogram, it all makes me want to SCREAM!!! First of all, let’s focus on CONSCIOUS LANGUAGE. Rather than Breast Cancer Awareness Month, how about we bring the attention to Breast HEALTH Month? This conscious choice to focus on Breast Health instead of breast cancer comes from Susun Weed, Wise Woman Herbalist and Author of many books including, Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The herbalist I apprenticed with locally was a student of Susun Weed and brought this powerful Wise Woman to Kansas City in the year 2000. I was privileged to participate in an entire weekend of magic, healing plants and the Wise Woman Tradition of healing. I was only 26 years old and had embraced natural healing since living in Austin, Texas in 1994 where there was some sort of health food co-op on every corner. When me and my friends got a cold, we went to the herb shop for coltsfoot. We went to the health food co-op for echinacea-ginger lemonade and drank it by the quart until we felt better. We gorged on vitamin C and devoured homemade chicken veggie soup. So by the time I moved to Kansas City, I was ripe for learning everything I could about natural health and healing with herbs.
And learn I did! I learned how to identify plants for medicine. I learned the plant families. I learned anatomy and physiology and the way the immune system functions. I learned how to nourish myself and my child with food as medicine. I learned how to wild craft my own herbal concoctions simply by identifying the powerful healing plants growing wild all over the Heartland. I learned to harvest plants while walking nature trails or exploring the woods. I felt like I lived in the Garden of Eden!
I read Breast Cancer? Breast Health when I was a young mother and fledgling herbalist. Susun Weed outlines all the ways we can be proactive in caring for our boobies. By this time, I was already very comfortable in my body and SOOO proud of my body’s miraculous ability to: A) Grow a human being. B) Give birth to a perfect baby and not die in the process. C) Feed that tiny baby from my own body!!!! and D) Heal my body after being ripped apart during childbirth and finally, keep tiny perfect baby ALIVE!!! I was a freakin’ POWERHOUSE! I gobbled up Susun Weed’s books, reading them straight through, then going back and highlighting, underlining and folding corners of key pages down so I could reference them quickly.
I learned that mammograms don’t find cancer before it metastasizes. I learned that (duh) mammograms are an x-ray, x-rays are radiation and radiation CAUSES CANCER. I learned that mammograms increase the risk of breast cancer MORTALITY in premenopausal women. Susun Weed cites a Canadian study of 90,000 women (published in Lancet, November 1992) which showed a 36-52% INCREASE in mortality from breast cancer in women age 40-49 who had annual mammograms. !!!!! Susun says, “Orthodox medicine tells me again and again to overlook the harm that it has done to women and promises a future where the machines will be better calibrated and safer. But what of the harm that’s been, and is now, done? Mammographic screening is not and never will be a safe way to find breast cancer.” And yet, we are taught to believe that getting our annual mammogram is a way to take care of ourselves and that they offer “early detection.” No they don’t. Mammograms can show only tissue that has already metastasized. That means you already have cancer by the time a mammogram detects something.
So last week, I was in Jazzercise, having a great time dancin’ it up and workin’ in out. My instructor, up on the stage with her mic on to give us dance cues, says, “Who’s getting their mammogram this month?” and I’m like Nooooooo. I shake my head no and she says, ” I want every one of you who is of age to schedule your mammograms. I’m going today for mine.” I call out, “Is it a thermogram?” She says, “I don’t know, I’m going to a digital imaging place.” The music is loud so we can’t have an actual conversation but I try to encourage thermography as a safer option than flattening your boobs to a thin pancake.
So here’s the deal, people. My boobs are my boobs. No man has to wonder if he’s gonna wind up with tumors invading a soft, succulent, beautiful part of the body. He doesn’t have to stick his private parts in a machine to smash them flat. I know, I know, breast cancer impacts men because it can change the lives of the women men love. But seriously, have you looked at the torturous devises designed by men??? The cold metal shoe horn we are supposed to allow a stranger to insert in our vaginas for our vaginal exams? The stirrups we’re supposed to put our feet in while we scoot our bums down an exam table so they can access our innermost beings? The thought process that is totally acceptable in Western medicine to just CUT OUT our body parts right and left? Did you know that there are 600,000 hysterectomies a year?? If 600,000 men were having their balls cut off a year, you know we would hear about it! I’m over it. I’m over the male-centric, ego-centric domination of women’s health. A woman’s body is not a machine. No one’s body is a freakin’ machine. Our bodies are MIRACLES. They are self-regulating, self-healing miracles. They respond beautifully to nurturing, nourishment, love and acceptance. They do not respond well to aggressive invasions of cold metal objects.
I am a HUGE advocate for the Wise Woman Tradition of Healing, articulated beautifully into words by Susun Weed. She encourages us to receive the messages our bodies send us by listening and then responding lovingly. The Wise Woman Tradition of Healing is the world’s most ancient healing tradition and I believe, the reason why humanity has continued to this point. This tradition is founded in NOURISHMENT. From Susun Weed’s book Healing Wise : “The wise woman nourishes all parts of the unique individual so they become clearer, more filled with life. The wise woman herbalist gathers holographic (meaning to contain the whole in every part) plants, not active ingredients, not flower essences, but the amazing, complex, vital hologram of healing that her green ally* gives away. A hologram that nourishes all parts, integrates all the parts, both/and. The both/and universe embraces all possibilities. We are all alive and dead, whole and piecemeal, healthy and sick, good and bad.”
So let’s nourish our breasts. Following is a list of things every woman can do to encourage BREAST HEALTH: (some of these are excerpted from Breast Cancer? Breast Health! by Susun Weed. An “SW” follows her statements made in her book.)
- Sleep in total darkness every night and bask in sunshine daily. (SW)
- Surround yourself with people who love, appreciate and support you. (SW-ish)
- Lovingly rub rose oil or lotion into your breast while becoming extremely familiar with healthy boobies.
- Recognize the breasts as emissaries of the heart and honor them for their beauty and ability to feel pleasure.
- Limit the time you spend wearing a bra and go wireless! NO WIRE BRAS! EVER!
- Drink nourishing single plant infusions (tea steeped for 4 hours or overnight). I like nettles and oatstraw. I alternate them based on personal preference.
- Take homemade poke root tincture as a preventative. Poke root is a local weed with ginormous purple berries that are said to be poisonous. The root combined with 100 proof alcohol makes a powerful medicine that supports the lymph system. 1 drop per day for 6 weeks a year is a preventative I have used with great results.
- Use homemade poke root oil for your breast massage. The root combined in a clean glass jar with pomace oil (olive oil, last press of the olive) and left to sit in a cool, dark place will magically transform into a powerful healing oil. I gave ome to my mother many years ago when she had a breast lump and daily use of it dissolved the lump!
- If you feel you need a mammogram, get thermal imaging. Our local resource for this service is BRAS 9387 W. 75th Street Overland Park, KS 66204 (913) 396-2774. Learn more at http://www.brasthermography.com.
Let’s love ourselves enough to discover our own pathways of healing and wholeness for our magical bodies! When we truly listen to the wisdom coded within our cells, we are guided into how to care for our miraculous selves!
*A green ally is a plant that calls specifically to you, that you develop a relationship with and use in all healing ways available to you. My green ally is my sister and she brings with her gifts of harmony and wholeness. Right now my green ally is nettles.
*This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.