The last thing a cancer patient probably wants to hear about is more needles, but what if a little stick could ease some of the negative side effects of chemotherapy and radiation?
Mary Catherine Oglive discovered acupuncture in 2012 in her search for an overall better wellness routine. However, it took on a whole new meaning when she was diagnosed with stage III, receptor-positive breast cancer in 2016.
Recent studies have shown that acupuncture can help ease the side effects of cancer treatment.
With that in mind, Mary Catherine’s oncologist encouraged her to continue acupuncture during treatment. She attended weekly acupuncture sessions throughout her chemotherapy, which helped her combat cancer fatigue and other negative side effects. “I believe it was a big part of what allowed me to keep up with my job, a 2-year-old and a robust social life while undergoing chemo,” Mary Catherine explains.
Mary Catherine even credits acupuncture for her timely chemo finish. “I was obsessed with finishing chemo on time,” she expressed. However, towards the end of her treatment, her white cell count dropped too low to continue chemo as scheduled. “I happened to have an acupuncture appointment that day and was telling Stewart about it,” Mary Catherine said. “Then he put a needle in my shin.” Her next test showed an increase in her white cell count and she was able to finish chemo on time.
“I consider the Acupuncture Wellness Center, Stewart and Dr. Sommers a vital part of my cancer team,” Mary Catherine said. “It was as important to me as everything else I was doing.”
Mary Catherine explains an acupuncture session as painless and relaxing. The process involves a medical history review, placement of needles, 20-30 minutes of complete quiet relaxation and the removal of needles. “I always feel rested leaving,” she said. “It’s the only time my brain completely turns off.”
While Oglive has been in remission for four years, she continues to make acupuncture a regular part of her wellness routine and recommends it to anyone, but especially those newly diagnosed with cancer.
Mary Catherine received treatment at the Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion, a partnership between Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.