Beyond Doctor’s Orders: Gaining Control Over Your Personal Health Journey

When facing cancer, taking charge of your healthcare decisions become paramount. Taking charge of your healthcare decisions becomes paramount. This involves comprehending your diagnosis, being informed about the challenges ahead, seeking additional opinions when needed, and choosing treatments aligned with your healthcare beliefs. Exploring all available options becomes imperative. To start, take a moment to gather yourself, and consider conducting some research to inform your decisions.

It’s time to look at all your options. So let us help you.

We’re taking a quick look at what the ancients knew. It might seem logical to us now, but centuries ago, the ancient Greek physician and teacher, Hippocrates (known as the “Father of Medicine”) proved to be well ahead of his time. He understood the importance of the basics such as fresh air, sunlight, rest, exercise, diet and water in maintaining health and warding off disease. And guess what? His advice continues to stand the test of time and is why we should never forget the basics. So what principles did he teach that will help us today?

Never Underestimate the Basics

In line with the Hippocratic philosophy, holistic health’s four cornerstones — diet, exercise, rest and nature connection — provide an alternative approach to health care.

Diet is Critical. As Hippocrates famously stated, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food,” he underscored the significance of nutrition for both prevention and treatment of illness. A simple way to think of it is… the diet that helps you heal is likely the opposite of the diet that helped to make you ill in the first place. We’ve written extensively on the subject of diet and nutrition, but here’s an article you might want to check out: Keto and Paleo Diets: Are They Right for You?

Exercise as the Universal Remedy. Regular physical activity has many additional health advantages beyond weight management, including improved cardiovascular health, enhanced mood and energy levels as well as lower risks of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. Make it a point to do some form of exercise each day, and take control of your own health journey. It might take less time that you expect and be easier than you think! Check out our article: Sneaky Moves, Big Impact – Simple Strategies to Slash Cancer Risk with Exercise.

Rest and Sleep as the Foundation of Healing. In holistic healthcare, rest and sleep are widely recognized as foundational elements of recovery. Quality rest provides your body with time to repair itself while aiding immune function and mental wellbeing – this makes prioritizing sleep an integral component of self-care and disease prevention on an empowered health journey. If you’re one of the millions of people who have difficulty sleeping, check out our article: Lights Out – The Unseen Dangers of Artificial Light and Cancer.

Make an Effort to Enjoy Nature Everyday. Make time in your daily schedule to explore nature – be it walking through a park, gardening or simply basking in sunshine. Simply experiencing nature can help lower stress levels, boost mood and promote overall wellbeing. Don’t fear sun exposure! For more info, check out: The Truth About Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer.

Relationship Between Patients and Physicians

Over time, the traditional physician-patient relationship – one characterized by one-sided instruction – has evolved. Now there’s more of an emphasis on healthcare as a partnership; patients (hopefully) feel empowered to ask questions, voice concerns and participate actively in making decisions regarding treatment options – making sure these meet both medical expertise as well as individual values, lifestyle preferences and health goals.

Benefits of Seeking Second Medical Opinions

Diagnosing cancer can be complex. In addition, different doctors may have differing perspectives as to what treatments to pursue. A second opinion from an experienced healthcare practitioner can give both you and your family peace of mind that all possible options have been explored before making important healthcare decisions.

When to Get a Second Opinion:

  • If you have a rare or unusual cancer.
  • If you feel unsure about your doctor, diagnosis, or need confirmation.
  • If the treatment proposed has concerning side effects or risks.
  • If your doctor’s goals for treatment differ from yours.
  • If your cancer isn’t responding to current treatment.
  • If your health insurance requires it.

An Empowered Approach to Health

Adopting an engaged approach to personal health care includes learning how to control stress effectively. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises are powerful tools for combatting daily stresses and their negative consequences. To better understand the importance of this, check out our article: The Cortisol-Cancer Connection.

Make the Most of Every Doctor’s Visit

Be prepared for each visit with your physician by having questions written down ahead of time so you don’t forget any important details. Bring along someone if you think something may slip by during your appointment – having extra eyes and ears could come in handy!

The Fight of My Life

Beating cancer was by far the hardest fight I ever fought. I’ll never forget lying in the hospital bed, feeling as though I had been thrown in the ring with the heavyweight champion of the world and I didn’t even know how to box. I devoted an entire chapter of my book, I Used to Have Cancer, to what I would do if I had to do it all over again, my fight of a lifetime.

I hope that my personal experience will be of benefit. It’s why I do what I do. The Templeton Wellness Foundation is a labor of love, my gift to you in sharing all I’ve learned along the way. In addition to relevant blog posts, the latest news as it relates to cancer care, links to extraordinary health care resources you won’t find anywhere else, our library of one-on-one interviews is unsurpassed. Check it out!


Yes, doctors provide essential medical advice and treatment, but it’s not always in our best interest to turn over complete control of our health decisions to them. Instead, we must remain engaged and ask questions about our own care. Being knowledgeable about health issues allows us to make more informed choices that reflect our personal needs, beliefs and lifestyle. It doesn’t mean ignoring medical advice; working together as partners in health should always be the smart move.

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