According to my insurance, I get a mammogram once a year, and my date this year was December 23, 2009. The hospital area for mammograms was redone to look like a day spa. Beautiful drapes, chairs and tables adorn the waiting area. The drape I put on was a dark crimson cape something like Scarlet O’Hara would have worn over her dress.
I leaned in for my yearly breast squashing on the new digital mammogram machine. The results came back the next day that my fibrous mass that was “nothing to worry about” last year had grown significantly in 12 months and I needed more tests. I went in for a sonogram and was told I would now need a needle biopsy to see what exactly was mass.
My Christmas spirit was gone and all I had now was panic and tears.
The first mistake I made was just going for the biopsy at an imaging clinic. I should have done more research before doing the biopsy. The biopsy was performed by a clinician while I was sat up and awake. Although the area was numb during the procedure, it felt rough as he pulled four samples of tissue. My breast was black and blue for a few weeks. Later I found out that there are gentler procedures, even vacuuming out the lump was a possibility. I thought I had to see the doctor for results. The test results came back that I had Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. I realized later I could have gotten the results from the imaging clinic and not had to pay for a doctor visit. The doctor was very cold and almost threw the pink packet at me which contained information on how to buy wigs, mastectomy bras and various help organizations that I could get in contact with for support since now I was a breast cancer patient. I was in shock and couldn’t stop crying. My doctor then informed me that I had two choices. A lumpectomy that would remove the lump and some surrounding tissue to check for cancer spread and leave my breast a bit disfigured. The second choice was a total mastectomy with new fake boobs that insurance covered to guarantee that I would not have breast cancer or have to do radiation. My doctor informed me I had to see each team member now. An oncologist and a plastic surgeon.
The oncologist operated another spa type facility where patients go for daily radiation or chemo. I was told I would get six weeks of radiation after my lumpectomy. When I asked why six weeks, was it based on my age, weight, height or lump?, the doctor said no, that six weeks was the standard protocol for everyone. Standard protocol was the key word for all breast cancer procedures. I told the doctor that I was working and could not do six weeks of daily radiation, he offered five days of twice a day dosing to make sure I got the total amount of radiation per the protocol. I would have skin burning, scarring and feel sicker than if I did six weeks of radiation. Next was the plastic surgeon which I cancelled the appointment. At this point I did not want to be a part of this team or have any thing to do with their procedures.
I started doing research on Cancer and found we all have cancer, which our bodies fight daily. When we make poor food choices, imbalanced hormones and have too much stress we create the perfect storm for cancer to get out of control. Other factors such as being over weight, hereditary and life long history of trauma and diet also play a part in whether you body can successfully fight cancer daily. No doctor can tell you what causes cancer. Some doctors feel an accumulation of injuries, x-rays, and other environmental factors such as diet cause cancer and compare us to Japanese women who don’t have the same diets we do and have less cancer. Other doctors seem to think stress or a traumatic event can trigger the cancer to grow. Chinese medicine believes tumors are created when the body is out of balance. Indian or Ayurvedic medicine also believes along the same lines. There must be harmony within your body. When your body is out of balance, illness occurs.
You are what you eat; I heard that for years and ignored it until now.
The condition of your blood determines the condition of your health; Digestion is the process by which food and drink are broken down into their smallest parts so the body can use them to build and nourish cells and to provide energy. If you fuel your body with junk food, it cannot function properly or fight cancer.
I tried Chinese herbs, injections, acupuncture and massage. I felt great, and I mentally imaged the cancer was breaking up and dissolving. I also drank Essiac tea, and tried almost every alternative cure mentioned. I stopped all sugars, ate mostly broccoli and asparagus and little fish and chicken for protein. Some groups believe in cleansing or detoxing your body, juicing and only organic, macrobiotic diet or alkaline diet, alkaline water or Kagan water along with a vegan diet, baking soda, dmso, Vitamin D, A, B, carrot juice, Japanese mushrooms, ALA, DHEA, Zeolite, flax seed with cottage cheese, and all kinds of procedures from coffee enemas to flushing the system with certain chemicals and vitamins can rid the body of cancer. My kitchen looked like a health food store, full of herbs and potions.
The most comprehensive book on these alternative cures is The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer – A practical manual for Understanding, Prevention and care by Sat Dharam Kaur. Each type of cure is outlined and detailed. There are also clinics in this country and abroad that are listed.
After exploring and changing my diet, I realized that after 50 years of poor eating, I could not change quick enough to fix the cancer within me. I was referred to a great doctor at Moffitt and she scheduled me for a three dimensional mammogram. Moffitt feels like a grand hotel. There are art classes, counselors, cookies, coffee, gold valet parking, yoga, nutrition counseling and the breast clinic with its waterfall looks like another spa.
The mammogram revealed the cancer was still there. I again felt devastated. I thought I was on the right path to a cure. When I started asking questions the nurse at Moffitt was hostile. It took weeks to get appointments and several phone calls. Finally I got angry and to my surprise the nurse got angrier. She was busy; I was asking too many questions. I called to complain and was given a great website to compare doctors.
I realized my doctor was competent but I still felt we were not connecting on some level. I was told surgeons like you when you are asleep, that they are not there to get to know you. Another mix up in communication happened when I went for my pre op appointment and another nurse was aggravated with my questions on procedure. She told me I would be awake during everything. I started crying and cancelled everything. My doctor called and apologized but by then I had scheduled with an older doctor that was starting a new clinic at USF.
Dr Charles Cox had help create Moffitt and now was starting a new place. Moffitt had become a government machine. I was contacted by his assistant and given a packet to be filled out and I had all my prior mammograms and tests forwarded.
His nurse got me a cup of water, his assistant explained in full all procedures and exactly what type of cancer I have. I qualified for a study that his brother, Dr. John Cox is currently doing which is freezing cancer cells by ablation. The theory is that once cancer is cryogenically frozen it will die, be absorbed by the body and the need for surgery should be none or minimal at best. I was also offered a BRAC test which is a blood test which genetically tests for the possibility of future cancer occurring. Dr. Charles Cox advised that if I needed radiation he is doing a study in which a cancer bead or balloon is placed just where the cancer was, so only that portion of the body receives radiation, not the entire area. This is done from the inside, not frying the whole outside skin along with the affected area, Dr. Cox said if the cancer became invasive they also do surgery to preserve your skin and nipple so at least part of you remains intact if the cancer was worse. I was so excited that I had finally found some hope that I would be treated in a less barbaric fashion. All the other doctors want to do is cut, radiate and give you new fake ones!
One of Dr Cox’s former patients did a study of 350 women who had cancer 5 years ago on just their emotions. Depression and anger seemed to take up a lot of the early stages and it took usually two years for the women to be back to their normal routines. So Dr. Cox assured me my depression and anxiety was right on course and he told me to exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes each. He said that exercise would do more for the depression than pills and studies have shown exercise to do more for prevention of further cancers than radiation or chemo. Dr Cox prescribed Zanax for nights I could not sleep (wished I had found him 3 months ago).
Dr. Cox had his assistant come in to do blood work and before he left, Dr. Cox turned and gave me a hug and told me we would beat this and I would live a long life. Tears of joy spilled down my face because I had found a real doctor that actually treated me as a human being and took the time to draw pictures of what the procedure would be like step by step. My appointment with him was about an hour and a half.
My husband, Larry was surprised at how much the emotional toll was for cancer patients. I told him that my life changed the minute I was told I had cancer. It was like a punch to the gut. I was angry at myself, scared at loosing body parts, and not being able to function normally and possibly dying. I told him that friends react differently, some keeping distant because it is hard to talk about cancer and some having a firm opinion of how I should handle things. I found it easier to withdraw and watch TV and be on the computer.
After three months, I have finally come full circle and realize that everything has it place. Exercise, correct hormonal balance, daily vitamins, minerals, probiotics and plant sterols, an 80% vegetable based diet and maybe 20% bad stuff now and then, prayer, tons of water with lemon, positive attitude and great friends to help you through life in general and perhaps lessen your odds of cancer.
So no more excuses or pity parties, starting today I am beginning spring cleaning, turning off the TV and staying away from the computer more and I will reconnect with the real world and just maybe I will wear something pink.
To change your life, use positive gratitude to shift your energy – when you put all your energy into being positive and grateful, you will see positive changes in your life. Your power is in the feeling you put into words and lifestyle changes of being positive and grateful for each moment given to you.
Whatever you feelings you have within you are attracting your tomorrow
Worry attracts more worry, anxiety attracts more anxiety, Dissatisfaction attracts more dissatisfaction - Joy brings more joy, happiness brings more happiness, kindness brings more kindness
The universe communicates with you daily, being positive brings positive. Look for the gift in everything, even the negative that is given to you. This will cause you to grow in a way that is for your own good.
Remember you were created in God’s image and that his power dwells within you at all times, no matter how difficult times may be. You have the power to create a positive universe around you.
“Inspire hope by becoming an advocate for breast cancer prevention.”spread the word