Local author forthright in telling her story of The Big C


“EMBRACE, RELEASE, HEAL: An Empowering Guide to Talking About, Thinking About and Treating Cancer”

(Sounds True Publishing, 439 pages, $17.95) by Leigh Fortson

You have cancer and you only have six months to live.

If you or someone you know was given a similar prognosis, read this book.

Even if neither of those applies, you still should read this book.

That’s because author Leigh Fortson knows not only how to tell a story, she also knows how to do research.

Fortson, of Grand Junction, is remarkably forthright in offering details of her own three bouts with The Big C. It’s difficult enough for most cancer victims to talk about their illnesses and the chemo and radiation treatments they suffer through, but Fortson not only tells readers how she dealt with it, she also goes into the gory details of the rectal cancer she endured.

The self-help book explores the unsanctioned world of alternative treatments, unsanctioned because the medical industry says so, she writes.

“The politics of medicine and the profits that drive those politics are mind-boggling,” Fortson writes. “We desperately need insiders like the doctors featured in this book in order to help change the parts of medicine that point to a faltering and corrupt business.”

Though Fortson admits that even she doesn’t personally buy into all alternative treatments, including some she includes in the book, each has a similar theme: A patient’s mental state has a lot to do with healing. She warns cancer victims not to wallow in a pit of despair. Instead, be more positive. She encourages readers to do that either through prayer or meditation, whatever best fits a patient’s religious beliefs.

She delves into the concept of integrative medicine, which molds traditional medical treatments with such things as nutrition, fitness and a positive mental state.

An author and editor of several books on health and nutrition, Fortson interviews everyone from oncologists to naturopathic doctors to experts in allopathic treatments. She found alternative treatments that teach the use of improved diets, including consuming more raw fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods.

Throughout, though, she isn’t kind to mainstream medicine.

“Making money is nothing new when it comes to treating cancer, but blending both allopathic and complementary treatments is new, relatively speaking at least,” Fortson writes. “This integrative approach isn’t mainstream yet, but it’s catching on in larger hospitals. And smaller, independent centers are cropping up everywhere.”


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