Complementary role of TCM 中药辅助效用
TCMI started TCM 2-3 weeks prior to RT. TCM has effectively helped me in relieving many of the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy during treatment and post treatment. The side effects range from poor appetite, constipation, cold feet and hands, painful ulcers, nausea, lethargy and quality of sleep, all of which doctors are unable to help. Can TCM go hand in hand with RT and chemotherapy? The answer is a definite YES!
Consult a reputable TCM 找个有信誉的中医师
In TCM, a single herb is not effective. It has to be a combination of herbs to make it effective. And the combination is tailor made to suit one’s condition. Therefore, it is not advisable to buy TCM over the counter and self medicate.
There are many reputable TCM practitioners in Singapore, and some of them are well versed in western medicine too. They will be able to prescribe herbs based on one’s unique condition. The prescription will be adjusted every now and then as the body reacts to the herbs and treatment. Ask for recommendation among the support group members. If one TCM does not work out well, try another one. If possible, stay on with a local TCM rather than an overseas TCM for convenience in follow up visit.
TCM does not mean expensive herbs and delicacies like lingzhi, cordyceps and birds’ nest. Most TCM do not recommend taking these at the onset of illness and during treatment.
Herbs vs powder 熬煮药材还是现成药粉?
For the first 2 years, I was prescribed herbs which I bought separately from the herbal shop and brewed for an hour or so. I used an electric pot to brew. It was convenient as the electric pot would switch off automatically when the brewing was completed. However, the pot lasted for only a year. Perhaps I did not maintain it well. I switched to the normal TCM brewing pot made of clay. It was just as good albeit a bit troublesome to keep an eye on the fire.
After 2 years, I switched to ready-to-consume powder TCM for the convenience of bringing to office. I still feel that the brewed TCM works much better. After taking the powder for some months, I did not feel any change in my condition. Perhaps I was not that consistent in taking the powder.
Weaning off TCM 是药三分毒
As I began to get more involved in exercise and natural diet, I could not find time to see TCM. It was time consuming, as it took up a Saturday morning and half the afternoon. I was drained out after the long hours of waiting. I decided that time would be more well spent on exercising and cooking myself a nutritious meal. Gradually, I weaned myself off TCM. After all, TCM is also medicine. As the Chinese saying goes, 是药三分毒 , all medicine is some kind of poison. Every kind of medicine should be taken in moderation. Once the objective is achieved, I should be on a normal healthy diet and lifestyle and get back to normal life.
Healthy Diet 健康均衡饮食
Proper nutrition intake is vital for recovery. TCM helps to clear the way by relieving the side effects of treatment, such as, ulcer, dry mouth, constipation, nausea, poor appetite, etc, so that I could eat again. At every TCM visit, I asked the physician what to eat or drink for my condition. I learned to use herbs in my diet - red dates, white fungus, apricot seeds, dried figs, dried longan, barley, wolfberry, luo han guo, etc. Herbal soup or any kind of nourishing soup is good for health maintenance 养生 and recovery 康复 from illness.
There are survivors who do not take TCM and still manage to recover well. So I think nourishing soup is more important than TCM. There are also people who do not take TCM well. Let our body decide. The mind and body must be at peace. A healthy diet of vegetables and fruits, unpolished grains, seeds and nut 蔬菜水果 五谷杂粮, and adequate exercise is more important than any form of medicine, be it western or Chinese.
Contributed by: Lim Wai Cheng/ NPC survivor
Dated 21 May 2013
Survivor since 2005
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