Northwest Oncology’s Integrative Medicine approach treats the patient physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually

Cancer. It’s the word no one wants to hear.

But, in the unfortunate event you or a loved one do hear it, there’s tremendous comfort knowing that Northwest Oncology (soon to be known as the Northwest Cancer Center) leads the way with its Integrative Medicine approach.

“Many of our patients had never heard of Integrative Medicine before they came here,” said Amie Barry, nurse practitioner at Northwest Oncology who oversees the Integrative Medicine Department. “Once we have the opportunity to sit with them and explain our approach, they appreciate the treatment plan that we put together for them.”

Barry explained that Integrative Medicine is designed to work with the traditional medicines prescribed by the oncologist. “At first, some patients think it’s a replacement or alternative plan,” Barry said. “It is not something that is alternative, rather it is in conjunction with and is complementary to traditional medicine.”

For example, a patient undergoing chemotherapy came to Barry with issues related to her treatment. “Everything tasted metallic,” Barry said. “She was depressed because all food had a horrible taste, and she never wanted to eat. “

Barry and her team suggested homeopathic medicines that provided relief. “Her taste buds responded well to the holistic meds, and she was able to eat and enjoy her food,” she said. “It might not sound all that important, but proper nutrition is a big part of your wellness plan as well as a quality-of-life issue. A healthy diet is necessary as your body deals with cancer.”

The Integrative Medicine offered at Northwest Oncology includes acupressure, Reiki, homeopathic medicines, reflexology, and energy medicine. These therapies help treat anxiety, side effects of chemo or radiation, nausea, depression, and sleep disorders.

Pam Kozy, an Eden Energy Medicine certified practitioner and Reiki master teacher, is also part of the Integrative team at Northwest Oncology.

“Reiki is a therapy designed to help minimize or eliminate stress and promote balance,” Kozy said. “Many of our patients suffer from depression, tension, and anxiety. Cancer is a very difficult disease to deal with, and our Energy Medicine Department can help patients improve their outlook and their hope.”

As a teacher of Reiki, Kozy brings advanced students to the Healing Room in the Integrative Therapy area and the Infusion Room. “We help to promote feelings of peace, calm, and relaxation to our patients through several mediums,” she said. “We use reflexology, acupressure, and healing touch to help alleviate stress and pain.”

Northwest Oncology provides the highest level of clinical cancer care in Northwest Indiana. Its physicians stay actively involved in research for the latest in cancer treatments. The Integrative Medicine Department is an extension of that and aims to optimize health, quality of life, and clinical outcomes across the care continuum. Each patient has a customized, coordinated, and comprehensive plan based on his or her needs.

Barry and Kozy have several years of experience in their fields in Integrative Medicine. They provide something that every patient needs – self-empowerment and knowledge to assist in their own healing process.

Just a few weeks after celebrating her 50th birthday, Claudia Sarbieski received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Since July 2018, Sarbieski has endured five surgeries with at least one more on the horizon.

“The medical team at Northwest Oncology has been tremendous to me during this ordeal,” she said. “I had several recovery processes between procedures, and it was very demanding on me and my family. Dr. (Mohamad) Kassar recommended I meet with Amie Barry and the Integrative Medicine team.”

Anxiety topped of the list of issues with which Sarbieski struggled. She held several discussions with Barry, who helped develop a plan to deal with the stress of her surgeries. “Amie suggested that I try hemp oil,” she said. “I have had great success with the caplets. I’m feeling calmer, and I give credit Integrative Medicine for helping me.”

Sarbieski said that everyone at Northwest Oncology is a specialist at listening. “I can’t tell you how important it is to have compassionate people who listen to you when you’re dealing with something like this,” she said.

It’s been one year since Ray Liskey began treatment for lung cancer and multiple myeloma. He has undergone chemotherapy, radiation, cyber knife treatments, and immunotherapy.

“It’s been a very long year,” he said. “But I can say that Amie and her team have made the recovery road a little easier to walk.”

Liskey’s oncology team suggested he meet with Barry to find help with depression, fatigue, and what he calls “a lack of desire to try anything.”

Barry provided several mental and emotional suggestions to help him with his trials. Liskey gives the Integrative team credit for helping him get his attitude and outlook back on their feet.

Kozy gave him Reiki treatments that Liskey describes as incredible. “I feel so relaxed and comfortable after the Reiki sessions,” he said. “The positive energy I receive from those sessions helps me feel like I am coming back to who I used to be.”

Liskey hopes the next meeting with his doctors brings a positive report from recent tests. “The whole team at Northwest is wonderful to work with,” he said.

Jan Majszak was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer in May 2017. She began her treatment with oral chemotherapy and eventually moved to infusion chemotherapy. She’s now on her second round of infusion treatments.

“When I began treatments, Northwest Oncology did not have the Integrative Medicine Department,” Majszak said. “I have always been open-minded and willing to try natural and homeopathic medicines. So, when my oncology team suggested I visit Amie and Pam, I was very willing.”

Majszak has experienced the benefits of Reiki sessions and homeopathic treatments. “I feel like both the Reiki and the homeopathic meds have helped me to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally,” she said.

She also praised Barry and Kozy for their eternal optimism. “Amie and Pam are the most positive people I’ve been around,” Majszak said. “It’s impossible to be down when I’m around them.”

Northwest Oncology provides state-of-the-art cancer care by combining the latest in traditional medicines and progressive integrative medicine to help patients help their own bodies heal.

Northwest Cancer Center, 1001 Calumet Ave. Dyer, IN 46311, (219) 922-8178