I enjoyed the Monster Mash dance with my daughter last night and also trick-or- treating today. It was a beautiful time and gorgeous weather. Little Cleopatra and Wonder Woman are quite the pair! Feeling strong and enjoying the festivities:)
Thanks for all the warm wishes and prayers. Surgery could not have gone better. They removed the tumor in its entirety and it was not attached to anything like a muscle, bone or near my implant. She did remove more lymph nodes near the area in an effort to get clear margins. Best thing before going under was seeing my amazing surgeon Dr. Michele Gadd standing next to me, stroking my arm lovingly before anesthesia kicked in:)
With the simple task of icing the area, I have needed no pain meds or even Tylenol which is good for my mindset. It felt great to be home same night in my own bed. My 15 year old son waited up for me to help me out of the car. The 2 younger ones were at a friend's for the night. The goal to get part of the tumor to Rational Theraputics in CA via the FedEx drop box at the hospital was lovingly accomplished by my husband with just 15 minutes to spare! The rest of the tissue will stay at MGH Pathology for the rest of their report. So now I just rest and heal...waiting and trying to calm my mind from racing so I can effectively listen and know what my next steps should be.
Well it has been a crazy week to say the least. I had been feeling something off when doing yoga under my left arm. It was not a palatable lump I could feel and my doctors could not feel it either. My CT Scan came back "clear" as far as my major organs, kidneys, lungs, liver which is good news but there was a lot of scar tissue under my left arm from where they took the 15 lymph nodes (2 of which were positive over a year ago). So I requested an ultrasound of the area under my arm and there was in fact a 2.8 cm (about an inch) mass there. I kind of knew looking at it that it on the screen what I was looking at...kind of familiar...it was a very irregular shape and had blood flow, etc. Still I tried to hold the hope that by some slight chance it was a benign thing or scar tissue. On Friday at the end of the day, I got a call from my surgeon who did the double mastectomy back in July of 2014, Dr. Michele Gadd letting me know it was in fact cancer! Over the weekend they would process specifics on the type, grade & hormone status. That news came in last night when she sent me the path results and it was indeed the exact same thing: triple negative breast cancer, grade 3, invasive ductal carcinoma. CRAP!!!
So now I was so crazed but glad that I also had booked the surgery at the time of the biopsy for the 20th which is tomorrow. The less time that passes between a biopsy and a surgery the better in my mind once you prod and pierce the monster:( On Friday I contacted a company called Rational Therapeutics, Dr. Robert Nagourney in California that I had been researching over a year ago which specializes in chemo sensitivity testing where they actually take a part of your tumor and test different chemo drugs on it to see what is effective in eradicating it, at what strength and what combinations. As I'm sitting in the Vitamin C Infusion IV chair at my Naturopath, Dr. Ian Bier's office in Portsmouth, I made a connection with this company and they agreed to overnight me the kit. I do realize it is controversial and not common practice to test your tumor in the lab because you can't recreate the environment of the body, but hell, it's better than shooting blindly in my mind and the information could certainly not hurt when making important choices like will I do chemo again!
Well I am so thankful because the company just replied to me this evening to let me know we were approved for financial assistance by The Vanguard Cancer Foundation! Such wonderful news because as you know you just can't budget for "C", (I don't like to give power to the word, but I will name the foundation who is helping me out and say the word to recognize them)! So I am clearly getting divine guidance I feel to assist me in the answers going forward. I am trying to temper my grief with it coming back with the fact that it may be only a local recurrence. At this decision point, I will clearly do radiation after surgery, and although you can't look back and wonder if I made the right decision before, I can only look forward. The most upsetting part to consider is chemo may be in my future again, and the chemo that was done before may have been totally ineffective or it may have for a time, it is hard to tell at this point. One thing is clear, I've got to beat this thing...I am not ready to give up and check out...too many things to live for including these 3 growing babies in the photo below and graduations, weddings, grandchildren for sure! So please send me prayers and positive wishes tomorrow afternoon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Thanks to my family, friends, and readers for all the warm wishes...I can certainly feel your love.
Well I have been busy this past month trying to figure out how a few physical effects are happening to me now.
In May I took a heavy metals test and found out my lead levels were extremely high (see attachment). It's just that I did not get back into the doctors office to have them read until a couple weeks ago. We are checking our water and other potential sources, but the connection between heavy metal toxicity and cancers has come up in several places with different literature. So I find it interesting because this condition impedes the immune system greatly. What is worse is the means to remove it can me dangerous and so I'm holding off on that for now. Having functioning kidneys is more important to me at the moment;) So I will do the safest means for now which includes the sauna at the gym, lots of lemon water, high fiber and keeping the colon clear and clean even if it means green coffee enemas when needed!
Thank goodness I asked for the test because no other doctor mentioned it. I asked my MD Integrative Functional Doctor, Jane Sullivan-Durand to please do one. She also happened to just last week order a few tests including the MTHFR gene one to help me decifer any other conditions that could have played a role in my diagnosis last year. Waiting on that test but if I have it, a simple change to using different B vitamins would greatly support my system. She also ordered a repeat of the thyroid levels for me. I am seeing a MGH Endocrinogist again at the end of next week.
I was hyper thyroid 2 months ago, and then in 3 weeks the Dr. Mahata (MGH) said it was normalizing. I will test again next week before seeing her, but in the meantime, Dr. Sullivan-Durand also ran it again last week. She phoned me at 9:30 in the evening to tell me that I am now Hypo Thyroid, and extremely so! She was very concerned and wanted to put me on synthetic hormone that next day. My primary MD agreed, but I am will wait another week until I see the MGH Endocrinoloist.
As many of you readers are getting to know me now, I needed to do my diligence and research it a bit further. When I asked the Endicrinologist at my 1st apt if all these chemo drugs, which clearly affected hormone levels could have caused a chain reaction between my pituatiry gland, adrenals (very tapped out with stress) and thyroid...not to mention the fact that these drugs also attach the ovaries, she said they really don't knowi much about the effects of chemo. Really? Am I missing something or does this not make logical sense? Our Endocrin system is very complex for sure but the very first book I found on the subject clearly states and lists 3 of the drugs I had do in fact impede the thyroid from producing T3 and T4 as well as impeding the ability of the body to absorb it!! Source: Dr, David Brownstein, MD "Overcoming Thyroid Disorders" page 80 second edition. I've heard this guy is one of the top docs in his field, but he also looks at solving the underlying condition, not just treating the condition with pharmasudical scripts. This is why if you google him you will also find articles against him that people are paid to write in an attempt to discredit him:)
It's a pattern I have also seen time and time again. And I do know there is a place for chemo which is why I did it, but go in with your eyes wide open. This country has the best surgeons in the world for sure. In the meantime, I am doing what makes sense to nourish my thyroid and I may be open to natural hormone replacement therapy depending on if I in fact do have Hashimoto's which is a slight possibility. What my goal is to assist my body to make the hormones it needs and to create an environment where they are utilized. Once the chemo drugs leave the system, this book says it can take up to 6 months. I am rechecking levels to look for signs of improvement. The key is iodine (2 types) found in a product called Iodoral that you can find easily on Amazon. Guess what? Iodine is necessary for every cell to function properly and most Americans are extremely deficient. And even more interesting is the fact that aside from the thyroid, the other 2 organs that need the most iodine are the breasts and the ovaries...the ones that specific chemo drugs specifically assaulted. Seems interesting, however, if I now have an auto immune issue whereas my antibodies are attacking the thyroid I am also taking Standard Process Thymex directly from an animal source of pigs as well. Using individual Kenesiology testing to determine both amounts needed for me personally. This is my strategy before I consider taking hormone replacement therapy.
Fortunately, I feel no Hypothyroid side effects (tired, weight gain, loss of ends of of eyebrows, irritable, depressed) so that is reassuring because 2 of the books I just read on the subject say one needs to look beyond the blood test which only shows a small snapshot and observing the patients other physical symptoms are equally important. Yep, it's complex as always and will require close monitoring!