#334 Dr. Katie Deming - The Conscious Oncologist

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In this episode, I’m thrilled to introduce you to the Conscious Oncologist, Dr. Katie Deming.

This brilliant, intuitive former radiation oncologist, shares the story that changed her perspective on healing.

In this episode we’ll talk about:

-The framework that oncologist operate in and how that limits their ability to support healing

-The importance of being real about the work involved in supporting your health

-How to expect, process, and move forward with fear

-How to support yourself when dealing with other people’s perspectives

And so much more.

This is a conversation that you don’t want to miss.


Referred to in this episode:

Work With Laura

More about Dr. Katie Deming

Born to Heal Podcast

Dr.Deming's Tedx Talk

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Read the full transcript: 

Laura Lummer 0:00 You're listening to better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm a breast cancer thriver. In this podcast, I will give you the skills and the insights and the tools to move past the emotional and physical trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis. If you're looking for a way to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer, you've come to the right place. Let's get started. Hey, friends, welcome to episode 334. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm so excited to get to share with you today, an exceptional guests that I have on the show. So before even introduced, I want to tell you a little story. I had some time ago, a client of mine send a link to me to watch this TED talk. She does, I think you're gonna love this. And I watched this TED talk. And it was Dr. Katie Deming. And it was an amazing talk on the language that we use in breast cancer towards patients towards each other towards the experience itself. And I loved it was a great talk. And most of all, I just loved her energy. You know, I think that sometimes, we're so used to a certain energy around doctors and oncologists. I mean, some of us are lucky and we have exceptional doctors, who we just love being around too, we really vibe with for lack of a better word, but not a lot. Not often enough. So when you listen to a physician, and you just hear the compassion coming from this person and the true care coming from this person, I feel like it kind of re invigorates this hope in the medical community that these are just people and that they really got into this field because they want to do something good. And they want to help, right? So I watched this TED talk. I loved it. Fast Forwards. One of my clients recently tells me about a podcast that she loves. She sends me the link tells me about this episode. I listened to the episode. It's Dr. Katie Demming. And it's fantastic. I love this show. And I start going through her different podcast episodes. And I just I love her message. I love what she has to say. And I love the way that she says it. And then I get an email from her team that says we think she would be a great guest for your podcast. And I agreed. I think she would be an amazing guest for this podcast. And she is. So I want to introduce to you Dr. Katie Deming. She is the conscious oncologist. And I just love that title. She's a radiation oncologist and inventor and a TEDx speaker, who is transcending the boundaries of conventional and integrative medicine to evolve this current paradigm of disease prevention, treatment and healing. She blends conventional medicine with holistic practices and ancient wisdom to address the hidden roots of disease and activate the body's innate capability to heal. It makes my heart warm just to say that, and something that I love, and I won't go into too much, because I want you to get to listen to her. But I love having the gift of the opportunity to have someone on the show with the perspective of the standard of care oncology perspective. Combined with this perspective of integrative medicine. I think it gives us a unique insight into what doctors go through, and how much they really want to do well, but they really can be. I don't want to use the word victim too strongly, but victims of the system just like we can as patients on the enemy and victims in the sense that they can always do everything they want to do to help someone because it's just not what the system allows for. And I think it's a beautiful perspective to get to listen to someone who's been in that field, and to really connected to her knee to help people heal and what came with that. So without holding you up any longer. I would love to introduce to you this conversation with Dr. Katie Demming. Enjoy. Hello, Dr. Deming, thank you so much for joining me on the better than before breast cancer podcast. How you doing? Speaker 1 4:31 Hi, Laura, I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me. It's my pleasure to be here. It's Laura Lummer 4:35 an honor. So I told the audience a little bit about you before we start talking but I want to hear your story about you. And in particular, if you're open to sharing it I read on your website where you talked about something that happened with you that was the catalyst for change for you instead of something like a nd E and I wonder if you would share that story like what was the before dot Dr. Deming, what happened? And what's the after? Absolutely. Speaker 1 5:03 So I just My background is that I trained at Duke in North Carolina in radiation oncology, and then practiced as a radiation oncologist for 16 years past my residency. So 20 years total of practicing radiation oncology. And also I was a healthcare leader. So I love to design. So I'm an inventor and a designer, I have patented products for women with breast cancer. But I also love like designing systems. And so I had designed and led the cancer service line for a large healthcare organization in the Pacific Northwest. And basically was just doing that, like I was doing my business I was practicing, I had been in leadership. And in 2019, I started to have this sense, like maybe it wasn't supposed to be practicing radiation oncology, which was a weird thought to have when I'd spend my whole career, basically training, right, I didn't finish my training in radiation oncology until I was 32 years old. So clearly a lot of investment into this particular specialty. And when I had told my husband, he was just like, well, you know, maybe something's wrong with you, if you're not happy, like with a job that's fulfilling, making lots of money working four days a week. And so he kind of was like, maybe you're just not satisfied, which at the time was like, I think it was a reasonable thing to say, like, Look, you have everything like, why are you questioning it? You know, and I didn't know why I just had this like feeling inside, like, maybe I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing. And so I just kind of put that aside. And then what happened in 2020, the fall of 2020, I had an experience that's called a shared death experience, which is similar to a near death experience. But it often happens to healthcare professionals, or emergency personnel who are at the scene when someone dies. And the person who is at the scene has an experience that is very much like what someone who dies would experience having a near death experience. And I didn't even know that that was a thing until after it happened to me. But that happened in the fall of 2020. And basically, I was, you know, experienced what a patient was experiencing when she left her body. And this happened in meditation, which is also interesting and different. A lot of times that happens when you're actually at the scene. But mine happened to be when I was meditating. This woman who I knew her name was misty, and she was dying of breast cancer in her early 30s. I had been helping Misty, his best friend support her while she was going through her last phase of dealing with the cancer. And so I was helping my friend make sure that Miss T's wishes were honored and that she could stay home and that she wasn't in pain, and also counseling my friend, how do you deal with losing a best friend at age 30. It was just not something we're prepared for. So I was helping her in this manner. And so what happened was, one night I was meditating. And I had a woman's voice basically come and start talking to me. And she said, I can't leave. But it's not because of me. It's because of them. And instinctively, I knew right away that she was dying, and that she was talking about her family or friends and that she was ready to leave. But she felt like she couldn't leave because of them. And so I just said you're like I, I didn't even skip a beat. I just like instinctively knew what she needed. And I've been with many, many people who have died, because I've cared for over 5000 patients in my career. And 40% of the people that I took care of were palliative. And so I've been around death quite a bit. And so I just was sat with her and I said, You know what, like, there's no rush. You'll know when it's time. I'll stay with you. And there's nothing to do, you're going to know when it's time for you to let go. And so I just sat with her and meditation for probably I don't know exactly how long is like 30 to 40 minutes. But at some point during the meditation I saw, this is Misty, this is my friend's friend. And so then I was just like, okay, you know, and I just sat with her and what happened was is that eventually, I started to sense that she was pulling away from her body like that her soul was pulling away from her body. Ready. And I thought I heard these pops, like pop, pop pop like strings. And when the last pop when all of a sudden, the sky just opened up. And it was just I was engulfed with love and light and the beauty of what people describe on the other side. And she gasped, and was like, oh, oh my gosh, I never had to worry. It's so beautiful. And then she was gone. And I was just in this space and just radiated with the most love and light and beauty that I've ever experienced in my life. And I don't know how long I was in that space. Because time doesn't exist in that space. I've come to learn some things about it now that I have words for it. But I did not have any words for it at the time. But basically, I was in this space, just bathed with this love. And then at some point, I just came out. And, and, and I was like, what just happened? I hadn't been using drugs. I hadn't been drinking, I was just confused. I was just like, Okay, I don't know what that was. And I didn't tell my husband because I was like, He's gonna think I'm crazy. So I just went upstairs, and I went to bed. And then the next morning when I woke up, I woke up to a text from my friend. And she sent me a text saying, Thank you so much for helping me with Misty Misty died last night. And I didn't have at the time. Like, I didn't even know what to say to her. Because I was like, I don't know, do I tell her I was like, she's gonna think I'm crazy. So ultimately, I asked her, I said, No, I know, this is a weird question. But I'm wondering what time Misty died. And Misty died within five minutes of me finishing my meditation. So clearly, this was confirmation and and I really believe that we get received the signs do you know I'm saying to confirm, like, because if I hadn't received that I might have always questioned like, did that actually happen? Right, right, you know, but so I Laura Lummer 12:11 had the chills. And so me Yeah, Speaker 1 12:13 yeah. So it was it was amazing. And it was quite confusing, though, I will say at the time, because I had no reference for it. And but after that event, I knew I had to leave. I was like, Western medicine is not the way that the body heals. And I have to leave. And that feeling that I had before just became super clear. Like I was just like, Okay, I don't know what the path forward looks like. But I have to leave this. And like, I knew that I needed to take time to learn, like how does the body actually heal? Because everything that I had been trained into was about illness, right? Medical, school, and residency, all of that traditional training is about the pathology, like when something goes wrong, how can we give medications or treatments to solve that problem? But I never learned like, what does a truly healthy and vibrant body look like and feel like? And how do you create that. And so basically, I took it took me some time, because I knew my husband wasn't going to support the like, leap into the unknown, he would have supported me if I had taken another job. But this like, where I was, all of a sudden, like, I don't know, if Western medicine is correct. And I'm like, he I looked like I was like, you know, fallen off the deep end. I mean, just to be honest, like agent, I'm saying is all of a sudden was such a shift. And so I basically it took me time, but in the summer of 2022, I ended up getting a divorce, leaving my job, and just basically taking some time, and then I spent years. So from 2020 until now. So 2024 I've just been studying, like what actually makes us well, and now have an what I would consider an integrative practice that is focused on that. How do we get people back to Being Well, and really restoring health and vitality in the body? Yeah, Laura Lummer 14:22 love that so much. And that was one of the things that spoke to me, like I watched your TEDx talk, I listened to your podcast born to heal. And, you know, between my first breast cancer diagnosis, and my second, I had a similar evolution to that in the first one, where my only experience was having watched my brother die when he was 32 from testicular cancer, so it was terrifying. And I was a part of the pink movement, and it was fight and be a warrior and all this stuff. And I believed that and so I did that and then After treatment, and once everything's changed, your breasts removed, I've been through chemotherapy, my whole body is different. I've gone into menopause at 48 years old, I've gained all this weight from what it's like I couldn't even eat while I was going through chemo, how am I gaining weight faster than when I was pregnant? What the hell's happening here? And then going back to doctors and saying, what's wrong? Why isn't my body working? And hearing? I don't know. What do you mean, has nothing to do with chemotherapy has nothing to do with radiation has nothing to do with what you've been through? And I was like, Am I insane? Right. And it was at some point, there was that evolution. And it was in that moment of like, just digging into what do people do to get better? How do people get better, that I realized that I was actually reading a book radical remission. And it was in reading that book that I went, Oh, my God, fighting and healing are two different things. Like they don't go together. They can't go together. It's totally different energies. Right? So when I got my stage four diagnosis, I knew and you said something. When you were talking in your TEDx talk, you're talking about language. And, and you brought up the story of your mom. And I thought, Oh, my God, it just resonated with me so much. Because when I was diagnosed with stage four, cancer, I said to my family, I have a lot of energy to put into healing. And I can't have you guys bring me your fear. I know, you're scared, I get it. But I need y'all to deal with your fear amongst yourselves. And when you come to me, I only want you to ask me, how's your healing going? I need you to believe that I'm going to heal. Will you talk a little bit more about that, like what you learned with language and what you talked about in your TEDx talks? I just thought, again, I had chills was just amazing. Sure. Speaker 1 16:52 So this actually came from when I was in leadership. So I had basically redesigned cancer services for this large healthcare organization. And I believe that whenever you're designing care, you need to have the people who are receiving the care at the table. So I had an advisory panel of patients and family members who advised me and we would look at, okay, what are we looking at shifting? What is is this really going to make it better for the people experiencing it or more challenging, and so we would meet regularly, and I was with my advisory panel. And basically, we were talking about survivorship, which on your podcast, most people know what that is. But basically, this is the phase of treatment after you finished active treatment where you're basically going into surveillance, and they're focusing on hopefully helping with the side effects related to the treatments and lifestyle, we could have a whole talk about survivorship programs, because I'm not a big fan. But anyway, the just in terms of the way that it actually gets executed. But basically, we were talking about survivorship and one of the advisors said, I hate that word. And I was like, I was totally confused. I was like, We what, what were what word did I say? Like, what word do you not like? And she said, survivor. And she was like, Tell me about that. And she says, I have stage four cancer, why you call me a survivor, and also this program that you're talking about? I never get to go into that program. So you're gonna call me a survivor. And then you're going to exclude me from this program. And it was so eye opening, I was like, Yeah, horrified that I had never thought about this. Because the at the time now the definitions shifted slightly. But the National Cancer institutions definition for a person, a survivor, is anyone with cancer from the day of diagnosis until the day they die, regardless of their status of disease. Which makes total sense why she's saying was stage four cancer, why would you ever call me a survivor? Like, it's just a weird, like, cruel joke? Like, why are you doing this? And so it just made me aware of, Oh, my goodness, language is really important and the language that we use and the labels that we put on people, how did we not think about this, like labeling such a diverse group of people for cancer, leaving breast cancer, like, you know, it's not the same from one person to the next. But think about all the different types of cancers. We're talking about 1000s of different types of disease, all ages, and all these things. We're labeling everyone with one label for all stages and types of diagnosis. So anyway, it started my wheels turning like I was like, Okay, I need to know more about this. And so I collaborated with colleagues across the country, and we ended up doing a couple of studies looking at people's reactions to the term survivor. The first one was a pilot study, which was done with all types of cancer, but the study that we ended up publishing was done with Susan loves Army of Women. And so it was women with breast cancer, I think there might have been a male with breast cancer in there, but basically mostly women. And we asked them how they felt about the term survivor. Did they like it? Were they neutral? Did they dislike it? And then we also asked them why. And there are actually quite a few studies that have looked at the term survivor that have come out with saying people are either ambivalent, like, they don't really care about the term or they're slightly positive. And so that's what the data had shown up until that point. And our data, actually, with the how people felt was also kind of the same. It was almost like they were ambivalent, with like a slight trend towards maybe a few more people positive than then the negative ones. But because we asked why we just got a wealth of information, because when you started to hear people's why about how they felt about the term survivor, it was very clear there was a problem. And 60% of the responses were negative. And we heard things like, you know, I'm not going to survive, like the woman with the stage four headset in my advisory panel. But then other people said, I feel like I'm tempting fate, it almost makes me nervous to use this word. So this language was invoking fear. And then one, you know, another one is like, it reminded me of the worst time of my life. And so it's just a reminder when you use that word, and then some people said, I feel like guilty using that word, because I didn't really deserve it. Because I had DCIS or so it was just, it wasn't just you know, all people who had more advanced disease didn't like it. People had really different reasons at all stages. And it really dependent on people's stage of disease and their experience as to whether they resonated with the word. And so for me through that, research, I stopped using the word I mean, I stopped using the word after that day, I was like, Okay, I'm really going to tread lightly. But then people asked me like, well, when what do you use instead? Like, you know, what's the right word? And I was like, Well, I can tell you something. I think actually, there isn't one right word that we probably shouldn't be labeling a whole group of people with a single word. And for me, I recommend people just get curious and talk to each other, you know, like, what words are supported for you, Laura, and I love that you had this conversation with your family, and saying, you know, you need to deal with your fear, I can't have you bringing your fear to me. And this is part of what I encourage people to do is have conversations around language, like what is fighting language, you know, the survivor, whatever those words are. And in my TED talk, I talked like I start talking about survivor, but I also talk about the battle language. And we've gotten so used to using this language, and it makes sense actually, why it's used. So, you know, some of this starts with like, Nixon's war on cancer. And then you look at the nonprofits, and they all use this, like fighting language and whatever. And, okay, there's a reason why they use that language. And it's because it sells. Yeah, fear sells. But it does. It doesn't help when we're healing. Fear is the opposite. Like you just said, it's like the opposite end of the spectrum. And so this is what my TED talk is about. It's just raising awareness of like, okay, the words that we're using, have an impact. And for each person, it's going to be different, like one person might be like, it really motivates me to think about like, putting on rock music and whatever. And great if that is for you, that's what motivates you. Amazing. And then someone else, it's like, no, that doesn't. And so my point is that, not that there's like specific language that you should use, but that we should be aware of the impact of the language that we use. And I love you brought up one thing that I want to just say here, and that is that sometimes people use fighting language because they don't know what to say, right. And so they're trying to be supportive. So they're saying these things, but they haven't dealt with their own baggage, their own fear over your diagnosis. And so they're bringing it to you. And so this is one of the things that I really encourage for caregivers. So if you have someone that you love, who is sick, whether it's breast cancer, or another type of cancer, you need to learn how to deal with your own emotions and get your own support system. You need your own support system so that you can come and be clean when you come to the person that you're supporting. Because otherwise, you're bringing a whole bunch of things that then get laid on them and they don't have the time or energy to deal with that, nor should they have to, you know, and so, this is one of the things is like, I think some of it comes from people are nervous, they don't know what to say, and they have like fears themselves. And so really looking at how cancer affects a whole ecosystem. It doesn't just affect one person, like when your brother died when he was 32. Is that right? 32? Yeah, when he's 32, like that had a profound impact on your whole family. And still to this day, yeah. So I always encourage people to look at, like, when you have an illness that comes into a family, looking at, how can I learn from this and do some of my work to be healthier, and then also be a better support system for, you know, my loved one, but it really does affect everyone. And then everyone's problems become amplified, and they all land on your lap, which is just yeah, not helpful. So that's, I mean, and this is, obviously I'm, you know, I have never had cancer myself. But I've watched so many patients and really feel like this burden. And especially with breast cancer, I feel like this is more of an observation than something that I can say is like data driven. But my specialty was breast cancer, and gynecologic cancer. So I've cared for lots and lots of women with breast cancer. women with breast cancer tend to be the caretakers, they Laura Lummer 26:14 are always gonna ask you to talk about that as to when people bring them their fear. They're like, I feel like I'm supposed to make everybody better. So no one worries about me, right? Yeah, Speaker 1 26:24 that is like a theme that I've seen very consistently, these are the doers, these women, they take care of everyone else. And actually, it's hard when you become sick, and you've been used to being the caregiver. But it also is one of those things where you feel responsible for the other people's reaction to your illness. And so but then that's just perpetuating, you know, this is one of the things that I work with clients on like, Okay, how do you start to let people take care of themselves, and really start to take care of yourself, because you're not going to be able to take care of them. Unless you take care of yourself first. And we hear this, you know, that like, put your mask on first. And it's like, I know, but I'm a mom, and I'm a wife, and I'm, you know, all these things. But like my mentor, you know, said this to me when I started on this journey of, you know, doing more integrative healing, he said, You have to be healthy yourself, because he said, you know, if I wanted $1, or if I asked you for 50 cents, but you don't have $1, do you think that you can give me 50 cents? And I was like, No. And he said, same thing. Like, with your healing, you need to be healed and whole yourself. So that you can give part of it to the people that you're working with. But if you don't heal yourself, you have nothing to give. And so this is the same thing for women who are experiencing breast cancer is you have to do this work. Because this is costing you. It's costing you your health, by always giving something that you don't have. Yeah. So yes. So anyway, it's a long way of telling the story about the language. But no, but Laura Lummer 28:18 no, it's so important. And I wonder, as you're so user, a word that I think is really important. And I think it also gets a lot of resistance. But when we're taking an integrative approach to health and to healing, it's work, right? You got to invest time, energy, attention, money. And the my experience, and I wonder what you think I see so many women resistant to giving of their time to themselves? What do you think about letting people know or approaching that when it's like, this is work, and you gotta be willing to invest in yourself? Do you see that? Speaker 1 28:57 Yeah. Well, I'll tell you, I'll give you like a little anecdote that that I saw. And I understand this, because I think that I understand the women that I care for, and now I see people with other types of cancers, well, but in my practice, I was mostly saving women with breast cancer, but I see them trying to do normal life and go through cancer, and they're like, I'm going to take the minimum amount of time off work so that I can keep the schedule and not disrupt everyone's life and, you know, keep things going as normal as possible. And I understand this because when I was in residency, I had my second pregnancy. And some something happened with the American Board of radiology where they changed the rules around how much time you can have off during residency while I was in training, and I had already taken one maternity leave, so I was pregnant and then all of a sudden, they were like, you can't take maternity leave. You're gonna have to make up every day that you take He, and I also had to interview for jobs. So basically, I ended up taking two weeks off during that last year of residency one week was to interview for jobs. And another one was to have a baby. Wow. Speaker 1 30:12 Yeah. So I get this mentality because I've done it. And I can tell you, it's stupid. Like, who let me do that, like the residency director. And actually, when I came back to work, he was like, I think we set a record on maternity leave and like now and like, You should be ashamed of yourself. Yes. Like, yes. Like, what residency director wants a doctor coming back a week after giving birth to a baby. But anyway, I say this experience just to say, I get you, if you want to, like, keep going, and you want to like, show that you're tough, and that you can do all the things, you can do it. But this is the time like, if not now, when, like if you've now been diagnosed with cancer, and you're not going to prioritize your health now, when are you going to do it? And that's my question is like, if this is not the wake up call, like, what is going to get your attention, right. And so for me, I encourage my, my patients now clients that I'm outside of like the traditional system, but to really start to pull back and invest in themselves, and you brought up something really important that this is work, it is much easier just to go the traditional path and just be like, I'm just gonna do what the doctors say, I'm just gonna have the treatments. And I'm gonna, and that is also work like that is also hard. But if you really want to get at why did I get sick in the first place and start to rebuild your health, regardless of what treatment approach you take, this is work. And it is it requires a conscious decision. And this is what I say to people because I actually kind of now that I've stepped out, I feel like the healing arena, or like whatever the you know, the world of complementary healing, alternative healing, integrative healing, all the things is quite confusing. I'm confused. I have 20 years as an oncologist and advanced studies and Radiation Physics and cancer biology, I find confusing to see all of this information, all these people saying conflicting things and different things. And what I say to people is that I can make things simple. But you have to choose first, you have to make the choice that you are ready to make a radical change in your life, then I can make it simple for you. But it's like, it's not as complicated as it looks. But the big hurdle is making that decision like this is time we are at like a decision point, this is your chance to really take the bull by the horns and do something different. And I tell this story quite often, but the word crisis, cancer is a crisis. Right? You would agree having had a surprise, right? So I, what I've always and I've always told my patients this for at least like a decade, is that cancer is a crisis. And in the word crisis in Chinese crisis is two symbols. The first is danger, which makes sense. But the second symbol is opportunity. And so in every crisis, there is opportunity. And this is actually why I love being with people who have cancer is because when they get it, and when they open to the opportunity, the potential for change, and just beautiful change. Transformation is incredible. And I love watching that I love walking next to someone when things are really hard, like, all the bullshit falls away, right? It's like, none of the stuff that we had, you know, trying to keep up with the Joneses, and all the things it's like all that just drops away. And what's important in life comes front and center. I love being there with that. And I love walking that journey. But it requires taking advantage of that opportunity and recognizing it for what it is. And so I think what you're saying here is really important for people to understand is that it requires work, it requires a decision. But then the other thing is, is that healing takes time. It's not fast. And this is why Western medicine has been so successful is because we can give you a pill and make you feel better like this. But that's not really what's going to heal you. The work that it requires to heal is much deeper and requires attention and focus and space to do it. And it's not going to be like you know, a couple of months. It's going to be a couple of years to really get yourself back into a healthy vibrant body after you've had a diagnosis like this and not not like you're going I'd be sick forever. But it's like, looking at that, like, I'm rebuilding myself and creating myself a new, that's gonna take time. Laura Lummer 35:08 Yeah. And do you think maybe the mentality there too is like when we get a cancer diagnosis, all of a sudden we're like, one day I didn't have cancer one day I did, when the truth is really not that right, cancer has been manifesting for a long time. And you said something that I love, it's like if you want to understand why you got this disease in the first place. And now I'll ask people that say, aside from genetics, environment, toxins, why do you think you got cancer? What do you think like? How do you get to that with people that understanding this is not linear, it didn't happen overnight, and it doesn't heal overnight, because there's so many layers to work through. But helping them understand the leg. You can't blame yourself, you didn't give yourself cancer. But if you could look at this piece of it, you can understand some of the things you need to do to heal and change the environment that you got sick in. How do you approach that with people? So they don't think what it's my fault? I got cancer? Yeah, talking about? Speaker 1 36:08 Well, I think this is this comes up a lot when I talk about emotions and cancer, because one of the things that I learned when I started studying what creates wellness or health in the body, and then also what creates illness is that I found that there's a very strong tie between emotional trauma and physical illness in the body, including cancer. And when I started talking about that people were like, Oh, my God, like No, don't, you know, what are you doing? i You're telling people now that they cause cancer? And I was like, No, of course not like we live in, in an emotionally traumatic environment like, and this is the thing is that cancer is like 100 years ago, cancer was rare. It was something that we didn't experience regularly. And today, one in like today, and 2024, one and two males would have cancer in their lifetime, and one in three females will have cancer in their lifetime. It is, yeah, it is madness. And it is a disease of modern industrialized society. Okay, so this your cancer wasn't caused by one thing. It was caused by like the way that we live as a society. And that's not your fault. You were born into a family living in a society, and you did what you needed to survive. But what's beautiful is when you start to understand this, that it wasn't one thing that caused it. And if this is something that is new for us, as a society to have cancer as an epidemic, it means we can start to look at, okay, what about our lifestyle is not working for our health, and start to shift it. So people often will be triggered by me initially, and like, Oh, I see, you're just like blaming the victim now. And I'm like it, then the truth is, is if that's where they're at, I'm probably not the right person to talk to them anyway, you know, like, people are gonna get what they're gonna get when they're ready. But it's like, no, this is beautiful. Like when you start to see oh, wow, my emotional trauma that I experienced that a child could impact my physical health. So isn't it amazing when we know that there's some techniques that I could do to help clean that up and release that trauma, like, I think it's beautiful, like, I'm so excited about all these different things that we can do when you really understand it's complex. And I think, you know, this is the thing is that health and vitality in the body is very simple. It's about balancing, getting the right nutrients, and nourishing our bodies with nutrients, and detoxifying contaminants. And detoxifying can be the things that are actually in our environment, like in you know, the foods that we eat, and that kind of thing, but it also is like the news, okay, you want to look at a toxin in our environment, turn on our news. We are bombarded by all of this information that is also toxic, you know? And so I just think like, it's, it's, it's hard because it requires really big changes, you know, you have to step outside of what's the norm of like, what society and everyone who's running around and just doing all the things, but it's also so beautiful when you step outside. And I experienced that when I left my career because I stepped out I had been used to doing talking about, like doing doing, I had been in school my whole life and then straight to working as an oncologist and super busy. And I stopped and I was like, Oh my gosh, this is so uncomfortable to like, not be running around with everyone else and also just been watching and I was like, Am I crazy? Are they crazy? Like you start to like have these weird feelings about like how you were living before and you're not sure like whether this is right. And so there's a lot of dissonance with that. But basically, if you can sit with that and you can kind of step off the merry go round and watch The merry go around, you know, from the outside, you start to realize, like, oh, I can change my life, and I can still survive with my family and all of that, but my life's gonna look different. And I'm gonna put up some boundaries around. I'm no longer available for a lot of things that I did before. Yeah, Laura Lummer 40:17 well, you know, okay, so this brings me to something I wanted to ask you about. And one of your podcast episodes, you talk about fear. And fear is a huge player here, right? When you go, wait, I'm afraid people will judge me people will. You know, I have clients who say, Well, you know, I brought my ketogenic lunch to the pizza party after my kids baseball game. And everybody asked me like, how long are you going to have to do that? You know, and the fear of isolation or looking like the weirdo. And my thought is, it's so interesting, because we bastardize normalcy, like, the normalcy was when we had space, and we could connect to nature, and we were part of the circadian rhythm of this earth that we live in. Now. It's gone crazy. But we've accepted it for so long. We think that's normal, right? And taking care of ourselves isn't. So there's a lot of fear of, Can I do this? Will I fail? Will people judge me? And how do you talk to people about knowing this is going to be normal? Right? It's gonna come up, there's gonna be fear. years, not necessarily bad? Like, how do you coach them through that or advise them to say like, this is what you're gonna have to get through? Speaker 1 41:27 Yeah, well, one of the things that I like to explain about this is that the way that we live in society is conditioned into us, we weren't born believing any of the things that we believe in society, like this example of going to a pizza party, and that that's normal social, but a ketogenic diet is not. And so one of the things that I always talk about is that you are a product of your conditioning, and so is everyone else. And so what's happening is that when you start to look at your life, and you're looking at, okay, there's these things that need to change, you realize that there's this part of your brain that wants to survive, and is going to be looking to these other people for approval and that kind of thing. Because that's just the way we're wired. Right? We're wired to be accepted. And so part of the work that I do with people is subconscious work. So I don't do the work that I have providers who do psych psych K is an example of a subconscious work that I love, because it's just, it's easy, and it's not traumatic, that kind of thing. But basically, I really encourage people to if they're going to make these big shifts, also help them reprogram their subconscious mind to feel grounded in these things. Because when you understand the mind, so we have 5% of our behavior is driven by our conscious mind. And our conscious mind is the one that we're aware of, like, you know, I know that I want a loving relationship, and I want a partner who is kind to me, but if my programming of my subconscious mind when I was a child, basically, the subconscious program between ages zero and eight, the subconscious runs 95% of my behavior. So even if I know what I want, on a conscious level, if my subconscious has been programmed in the opposite, like all I saw were destructive relationships or unhealthy relationships. I'm going to keep running that pattern, right? And so what I work with clients on is figuring out okay, what are those things that we need to shift so that when you show up at the party at the pizza party, you feel really comfortable and realizing it's their programming, that's the problem, not you. But this requires them pulling their power back, right? And it requires, so we get triggered, right? We get triggered. And then we get emotional, like you said, the fear of judgment and all that stuff. But when you start to address things on a subconscious level, people start to find peace, and their conscious brain and their subconscious brain are matching. And so it makes it much easier for you to make progress. As opposed to you go to the pizza party, your subconscious is still running this, you know, pattern of like, I'm not good enough. I'm not like everyone else I'm in you go with your keto meal, which is amazing. And you show up there, then what happens is even if you know better, like this is good for me, your subconscious will sabotage you and all of a sudden you feel bad for doing that. And so if you can get all of that aligned, it just makes people more grounded in their power so that they can execute these you know, new lifestyle changes because just like you said, this is expected. This is different than what everyone else is doing. So it's expected that they're going to say something weird and it's just how are we going to prepare you to respond to that in a way that feels powerful for you Laura Lummer 44:52 love that. Love that you keep using that word power? Right because I think that goes back to to your the other half of crisis, the opportunity Today, I totally agree with everything you said like, it's amazing when you start to learn how much you could do to support yourself. It's like, oh my gosh, all this time, I thought I had to depend on chemo, radiation or surgery. And now, there's a whole world of choices available to me. Right? It is such a beautiful opportunity. And I think that opening people's minds that way is just, it's just so wonderful and gives you so much more power. Right? Just not waiting from doctor appointment to doctor appointment. What will happen to me? Yeah, you just have so much power. Speaker 1 45:36 Yeah, I think that's one of the big things is, is really shifting inside how you see yourself to that like, and I think this system is designed to disempower people, you go to the doctor, or the doctor basically plugs in an algorithm is like, this is the treatment for you. And then if you say, I'm not sure about that, they're like, well, then, you know, you're going against medical advice, or something wrong with you. But really, what I want people to know is that these are just algorithms that are just created and that you absolutely want to understand these things from a like, okay, what are the benefits? What are the risks, and then be able to make decisions from a really neutral place of like not, if I don't do what they say, then that makes me bad. Or if it comes back, then everyone's going to blame me this. This is actually my biggest pet peeve I just recorded a real about this is like, so many people make decisions, because they are afraid that if they don't do what the doctor said, and they comes back, everyone's gonna blame them, you know? And I'm just like, I get it, like, I understand that fear. But let's, let's address that. Let's get past that. Let's figure out like really actually, what are what is the data show? Like? What are the benefits? What are the risks? And then how do we help you make a decision based on that information and your values and goals for your body, but not from a place of fear? Because as you know, there are complicated there are side effects and long term ramifications of these treatments. And that it's easy to say, I'll just do it, because it's like, there's resistance there. But then there there are consequences to doing that in. And the truth is, is that if you can really make that decision and feel confident like you did it from a place of information that made sense, and that you understood it all. And you made the right decision. It's always the right decision, right? I'm not saying people make the wrong decisions. But I'm just saying that when you make it out of that just fear, it's, I think there's a big potential price to pay for that, you know, of like, you're getting that peace of mind in the moment of like, maybe that I'm going to feel okay, but then you've got this whole thing that, you know, understanding what those risks are. So, anyway. Laura Lummer 48:02 Yeah. And speaking to that, so I think this is a big problem from the cancer patient side, is we get this diagnosis, or first thought is I'm gonna die, or second thought is who's gonna save me? And then we meet our oncologist. And they're like, save me, just save me, right? And we want so much from that oncologist, we want the oncologist to cure cancer, but also the helix and all of the things that are the side effects and all of the stuff that happens when we go back to the oncologist. Right? But what about this? And what about that? And they're just like, I don't know, you know, don't don't worry about it, or an add to the confusion sometimes by Hey, doctor, you know, should I be following this plan or that plan? Doesn't matter what you eat, eat cakes, the cookies, just don't lose weight doesn't matter what you do. Right? Now, you're on this other side. So you've got both perspectives, like I'm the medical practitioner, the integrative practitioner, and you see this whole big world? How do you help anyone who's listening now who's in the system? Who's thinking my oncologist should be the end all and the omnipotent everything to me? Because I think and from my own personal experience that results in a lot of frustration and anger, and just loss of faith in medicine, which I think is kind of sad, because we're expecting something that I don't think exists there. What do you think about that? Yeah. Speaker 1 49:29 So my mentor said something to me last summer. He said, If you think wrong, you'll think right. And I was like, what does that mean? And he said, If you think of all the things that can go wrong, you'll always be right. And he said, when you're talking to people, everything's just a half truth. And so I think one of the things is like we put the oncologists on this pedestal where They know everything, they have all the information. And we put them on this pedestal and we don't question them. And I don't know that you're I don't know your audience, maybe your audience is like, very skeptical. Now I'm meeting a lot of people. Some don't. Yeah. But then in the scenario where people are really looking to the oncologist for all the answers, you have to realize that this person is just been trained in a system. And actually what they know, let's just take a radiation oncologist like myself, what I knew was, I knew the way that I had been taught about cancer and illness, which is that it's a physical condition, and that it's caused by, you know, DNA mutations. And basically, if you have cancer, you poison it with chemo or radiation or surgery or combination above the you follow these algorithms. And this is the way to do it. And that is all that we are taught. So when you go to see that doctor, you have to recognize they are seeing the world through this very narrow lens. And so if you can take a step back and look at them for what they are, yes, they have actually a lot of education and a lot of knowledge in this area. But when they're telling you things, instead of I think what we do is we defer our judgment to the doctors, and we let them make decisions. And we kind of maybe, like dismiss the potential complications and side effects. And and doctors do this. When when I mean, when I would do informed consent, I would tell it in a way that it sounds that I'm not going to freak the person out, right? I mean, it's like a balance of doing this. And so anyway, I think being really realistic when you hear this stuff from the doctor of writing it down, like Okay, tell me what are those complications? What? And so that then you can think when you're making this decision, okay, what could go wrong? Like, what if I had this bad reaction that they're talking about? Like, my heart was damaged by radiation, or whatever it is? Could I live with that? And and I think just being really realistic about complications and not glossing over things in the beginning, not to scare yourself, but just to make sure you really understand what they are offering. And this is the way now I think about that is like think wrong to think right? It's like think what could go wrong here. And think like even this doctor, they're telling you their side effects, but the way that they say it, it made sounds, you know, not so bad. But then you can describe Laura, when you go in and you have the complication. And then they're like, I don't know, you know, I mean, not everyone has that, you know, must be bad luck, or whatever it is, right? And I don't mean ADAT bash doctors, because like, I actually think that the doctors are not the problem. I think it's the system that's they've been trained into, but recognizing that the doctors have been conditioned into a system, they have a limited scope of knowledge, and really thinking through, okay, if they're recommending something, how do I think about this objectively and doing starting, there is a good way to, like start to balance your perspective on making decisions. And then the other thing is that your oncologist is not your healer, like you are the healer like and this is one thing that I'm very clear on now that I don't do any healing. I support my clients in them healing themselves, like I'm a guide, just to walk alongside of you, who knows the landscape and can kind of point out the pitfalls and stuff, but it really comes from within, and that's where the responsibility comes from. You know, it's like, you have to be ready to take responsibility to truly heal on a deep level. Laura Lummer 53:57 I love that. It's so important. I could talk to you forever, but because I want to honor your time. I'm sure people are gonna want to hear more from you learn more about you. How do they work with you? Where do they go? And of course, I'll put links to everything in the show notes for the episode two, but let's hear from you. Speaker 1 54:13 Sure. So my podcast is called Born to heal with Dr. Katie Demming. You can find that on any place where you can find podcasts. And then my website is Katie deming.com. Love Laura Lummer 54:24 it. Yeah. And your podcast is amazing. I love it. I've just been ripping through all the episodes. So it's beautiful. And I'm so glad you're putting that gift out to the world. And I love your story. I love your perspective. And it just thank you so much for sharing that with this audience today. I really appreciate your time. Oh, Speaker 1 54:42 absolutely. Well, and I love what you're doing. So I think we're definitely like minded in our approach to healing and it's really my pleasure to spend time with you. So thank you for having me. Laura Lummer 54:53 Thank you so much. Okay, how amazing is she? Amazing. I just want I wish that the medical system that we go into that we live into once we've had a breast cancer or any kind of cancer diagnosis for that matter. I just wish that that system allowed for doctors like Dr. Deming to do the work and have the perspective that she does. But the fact is it doesn't. And so again, I want to emphasize the importance of creating a team. We don't do breast cancer alone, as Dr. Deming so eloquently shared, right? It impacts everyone, it impacts all the people who love us. But we deserve a team, a team that can support all the different aspects that we have to deal with while we're going through cancer and when we're recovering from cancer. So if you took anything from this interview, I hope that you got a deep sense of the fact that you deserve the support, so that you can achieve the healing you want. And I just again, love Dr. Demmings perception and what she said about the fact that you are the healer, right, you're the one who needs to do the work. You're the one who has the answers inside of you. And bringing in a team of people bringing in a practitioner like Dr. Deming, bringing in someone who can guide you to those answers. And to that piece of you that is your own healer is amazing. It will open your world it will change your world and I want that for you. So go and follow her podcast born to heal. It's amazing. She's got some incredible guests on that podcast. Check out her website. All the links are right here where you're listening to this podcast or watching it on YouTube and I'll talk to you again soon take care friends.



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