Through the years of our research and preparing to launch Reclaiming Intimacy, we stumbled across many organizations and advocacy groups that work tirelessly to bring information, empowerment and facts to cancer patients and people worldwide; just as our own mission directs. One of those organizations that we have learned much about is the Annie Appleseed Project, which is based in Delray Beach, Florida. This now 501c3 works to help people find the resources and information they are seeking, but not always readily given, when dealing with cancer and treatment.
Since June of 1999 when she began the Annie Appleseed Project, Ann Fonfa has been sharing her personal experiences along with all of the information she has learned along the way to help advocate for anyone needing the information, who are on their own personal journey. She shares much about challenging the existing cancer treatment model, integrative oncology, and alternative therapies when it comes to cancer. The AAP also hosts a large event each year. The CAM for Cancer Conference is typically a three-day long event focusing on holistic and alternative cancer therapy treatments. With professional and expert speakers on just about every subject one could imagine, the event also has exhibitors pertaining to holistic health, as well. Speakers touch on all topics relating to cancer treatment, including more controversial therapies like Ayurveda therapies and natural cannabis treatment.
Over the past few years, Fonfa has traveled to numerous cancer treatment focused events, spoken at many and has been able to have her viewpoints and experiences heard and validated by many doctors and specialists worldwide. Fonfa whole-heartily believes in the patients’ right to choose their own treatments and to have the information readily available to them.
We had the privileged chance to ask Ann a few questions regarding cancer care and problems that arise when in discussions with cancer patients. Here is a bit from that interview:
Jen, Reclaiming Intimacy Director of Educational Services: “What do you think is lacking in patient care?
Ann’s Note/Quote: “..the concern to prevent or reduce (conventional) treatment toxicities. Offering patients advocates/groups to help guide patients.”
Jen, RI: “Have you seen your client/participant base change or grow in the past few years?”
Ann’s Note/Quote: “Yes, more people are using complementary therapies and they have questions.”
Jen, RI: “What cancer issue or problem do you get asked the most questions about or direction for?
Ann’s Note/Quote: “…how to afford the ‘outside’ of insurance items, like dietary supplements, yoga, massage, acupuncture, or other hands on techniques.”
Jen, RI: “Have you ever been asked a question, or faced with a cancer-related side effect that you could not find an answer, referral or solution for?”
Ann’s Note/Quote: “Not really. There are many paths to wellness in the natural world. We like to find helpful areas for all. It comes down to what can be afforded, and that’s a HUGE barrier.”
Jen, RI: “Do you get questions from your clients about sexual dysfunction or intimacy issues before, during or after their cancer journey? If so, what are those questions about? And who answers them?”
Ann’s Note/Quote: “If we bring the issue up, then people will chat with us. Or if they hear a speaker mention it during the conference, there is always a lot of interest. The most common topic addressed is raising or re-finding one’s libido. I will tell personal stories if I have them or refer them to experts.”
Thank you, Ann, for taking the time to do this brief interview with us! At Reclaiming Intimacy, we agree that information for all types of cancer treatments should always be accessible to patients. Especially for those holistic treatments and therapies! We hear many times from our clients that a mix of Western medicine and holistic therapies are what it took to get them through. We also agree that when it comes to sexual dysfunction issues, unless someone else is bringing up the topic, many people often have their important questions unanswered. This is where we are hoping to step in to help bridge that gap in patient care regarding sexual health and wellness, dysfunction and intimacy!
If you are interested in hearing more of Ann’s personal story, watch this YouTube interview where she explains much of what she went though. Ann’s YouTube Video. (direct link in “Resources Used” below.)
If you are Florida based or just looking for guidance on your cancer journey, be sure to check out the Annie Appleseed Project!
Ann Fonfa, YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/v4gUYepMWTM