On a perfectly lovely New Year’s Day, Amy Rothenberg, ND, DHANP was lying in bed and found a lump in her breast. It was hard and not right.
“I had all the diagnostic work done in the following days, had to wait what seemed like an interminable amount of time,” she wrote in a blog on Huffington Post in Jan. 2014. A few days later she learned that she had breast cancer (see the entire blog post here).
Dr Rothenberg, better known as Dr Amy, joined the one-in-eight breast cancer sisterhood. It’s a club that no one wants to join but when you do, you will meet the most amazing people to help guide you through this journey. If you too have recently been diagnosed or know someone, please keep reading and/or share with your loved ones. The following are very short, informative and encouraging videos by Dr Rothenberg, who bravely recorded these videos during her treatment.
Dr. Amy recalls that she was lucky to have an exuberant circle of support and a loving family nearby, health insurance and social and professional connections. However, she is unique in that she is also a naturopathic physician with a lively and actively engaged medical practice in partnership with her husband.
Building a Team of Breast Cancer Doctors
As these videos show, she immediately began gathering a team of physicians to develop a plan to support her body and mind before, during and after treatment for cancer. This is where naturopathic physicians excel. If you need to find your own doctors to build your team, please refer to The Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, an affiliate of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. And a list of NDs with extensive training in the area of complementary cancer treatment can be found here.
It is important to note that Dr Amy relied on both her conventional medical team for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, it was the naturopathic doctors by her side who saw her through the challenging times and kept her body and mind in the best possible shape to help address side effects. The goals of collaborative care include: helping enhance efficacy of conventional care, working to prevent side effects, addressing side effects that do arise and then “mopping” up afterward with an eye to preventing recurrence. Her naturopathic doctors reminded her that she would get through treatments and made recommendations related to diet, supplementation, botanical medicine, body-mind approaches and exercise to support her body and mind through the difficult process that defines much of cancer care.
As Dr Amy wrote just before entering her treatment phase: “As my husband is fond of saying whenever we have an issue or problem or challenge, or even just a big project for work or around the house, borrowing here from the world of scuba diving, we need to plan the dive and dive the plan. I love this motto, because I’m a doer, and as long as I have a plan, I am good to go. I now have an excellent plan that includes both conventional and naturopathic approaches and I am ready to roll!”
Though your treatment choices may not be exactly the same as Dr. Amy’s, the following are videos designed to help you create your own teams of care providers, advocate for your best care and support your body to keep it as healthy as possible.
Seven years later now, Dr. Amy continues to feel quite well, enjoying her practice, teaching, writing and participating in advocacy work related to the naturopathic profession. She recently competed in a (physically distanced!) triathlon and maintains her healthy and joyous lifestyle.