I'm a mother of 3 and have led what I thought to be a healthy lifestyle, with exercise and a good diet for the most part. I was shocked in late April of 2014 when doing my push ups to feel a pulling sensation in my left breast. I had just had a mammogram 8 months ago, but they were following up by looking at the other side. Sure enough there was a lump there and I knew it did not feel right. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple negative breast cancer on May 16, 2014 followed by a double mastectomy with reconstruction, a heavy chemotherapy plan including Cytoxin, Andromiacin, Taxol and some Herceptin. In September they told me after a scan I was "cancer free", but after yoga I had a feeling and pushed to get an ultrasound of the scar tissue area. Sure enough, there was another lump within the scar tissue and more lymph node involvement. Good thing I followed my intuition! Then on October 20, 2015 I had another surgery to have the secondary local recurrence tumor removed from the scar tissue. From November-January of 2016 I had 33 days of radiation followed by Ciplatin chemoterapy which is scheduled to conclude in April of 2016.
The goal of this blog is to document my journey back to health. I have made a very personal choice to walk this path consciously, choosing my course of treatment to be an integrative approach to include the best of both traditional and natural medicine. I believe that there is a lot we can do to prevent cancer and insure remission continues. I do believe some cancers can sometimes be cured naturally, but I had a very aggressive and difficult type and did not feel comfortable taking that chance myself. Yet I do realize the key to long range remission is in healing the immune system for sure and seeking causes and conditions in the body. I have also learned you have to advocate for yourself with your doctors, and after having a local recurrence and I decided to do a chemo sensitivity test the 2nd time around on the tumor, I discovered that 3 of the 4 chemo drugs they gave me were completely ineffective. This time around I feel better armed with individual treatments, but there is always more to learn on this journey.
With the help of my husband, we continue to do a lot of research and have listened to many experts both MD's, NA's, Oncologists, Acupuncturists and breast surgeons. Key things to research include the role that diet plays, inflammation and stress. I was fortunate a friend brought me to a Naturopathic Doctor, 1 day after I was diagnosed who specialized in Integrative Oncology. Dr. Ian Bier supports my process of making personal choices, and being sure each one is informed and based on true research. I also found a wonderful surgeon, Dr. Michele Gadd and Oncologist, Dr. Steven Isakoff, both from Mass General Hospital. Every Day, I continue to try make every decision based on a tree of logic and information, and not to react based on fear or emotion at every step in this process. I believe in my core being that this challenge will strengthen me and I stand in my power taking responsibility for my healing while integrating the best of Eastern and Western medicine. I am finding this challenge has strengthened my connection to my creator and made clear an opportunity to rise up to another purpose in my life. This blog will share my story with friends and family. Also In the future, I would like to use it to reach other women who may be going through a diagnosis and making the many choices along the way with empowered decisions. Each woman must find her own path, but women also have to ban together because it is ridiculous that we are still dealing with this disease. I hope that anyone in my shoes makes each decision with full awareness of the choice they are making and follow her path based on her research and beliefs.
It was time to take a deep look at myself. I realized also that knowing what to do and actually having the time to do it were two different things. As a busy mother of 3, I did continue working out at the gym 2-3 days a week, and ate fairly healthy, but seemed to do it with an attitude of something I had to do...one of my many tasks of the day. I have a type A personality, live a fast paced life and usually keep pushing myself. It's time to listen to the little signals my body, and that inner knowing, to take breaks and rest when I need to chillax. Also for the past 14 years I had practiced regular meditation, and had written music and sang my heart out, but not so much this past year. It is time to get back to doing those things that bring me joy and balance as a foundation for the healing process. I hope my readers can gain something from my journey and that they find their own personal way to combat this disease impacting too many women today.