My apologies, everyone, for taking a hiatus without warning. I just KNOW you’ve missed me…
Many of you may know that in December, 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I pretty much went into the fetal position after that diagnosis and even considered thumb-sucking as a means of dealing with stress. (in case you don’t know me well, I’m kidding, mostly) I’ve been pretty quiet as to the details of my journey for many reasons, but I’d like to open up a bit, if you would so allow.
In 2014, one of my longtime best friends was diagnosed with cervical cancer. We were friends before our husbands came along, so we have a very long and sweet (read goofy and fun) history together. I went on a quest to find information on alternative cancer treatments for her – whether she liked it or not. Already losing one of my dear childhood friends to colon cancer at the young age of 32, I could not bear to watch it all unfold again.
I got my hands on a docu-series entitled “The Truth About Cancer“. My husband and I were so compelled by what these experts were saying. The most respected doctors from all over the world were interviewed about everything relating to cancer, research, latest treatments, diagnostics, and much, much more. Also, at the end of every video, beyond the credits, they would interview a natural cancer survivor. It was so encouraging to me on behalf of my friend.
Two months later. BOOM. Cancer isn’t some word used to describe a friend’s diagnosis. It’s not a prayer request I share at church or in Bible study to ask on someone else’s behalf. It’s here for me.
Through TTAC and some other web searching, I had come across Chris Wark, of the blog Chris Beat Cancer – and boy, did he! Chris was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. He had a golfball sized tumor in his colon and the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. After surgery, he refused chemotherapy and instead, radically changed his diet and used a host of natural cancer therapies. He’s 13 years cancer free and you can see he is the picture of health.
Chris speaks at engagements around the globe and also interviews natural cancer survivors. I’ve never met Chris in person, but he was a huge encouragement to me during the scariest days of my own diagnosis and beyond. I literally watched his video “What every cancer patient needs to know” at least 8-10 times. Sometimes my husband would find me crying on the floor in our room and he would gently say, “Remember what Chris said, honey – ‘Don’t be afraid!'”.
Long story short, I was so thankful to have done research before I was even diagnosed, as it would have been easy to make decisions out of fear. I’m also so thankful that my husband and I were unanimous that we were going to tackle cancer a different way.
The Nitty Gritty
The tumor I had was 3.5 by 2.5 cm. round. If I could think of an object about that size, I’d say it was roughly the size of a bouncy ball. My surgeon kept using the words “VERY LARGE” to describe the tumor and emphasizing it at every appointment, even five minutes before surgery. She pegged me early as a “minimalist” but I appreciate her agreeing to do a simple (but ouch) lumpectomy, though she strongly recommended I have a mastectomy and a recon. (FYI: minimalists don’t like the terms “mastectomy” nor “reconstruction”)
She urged me to get an oncologist on board and told my husband and me that there is a 15% chance that it could recur and the radiation would cut that number in half. In other words, radiating my body would only cut my chances of recurrence to 7.5%. My husband and I actually snickered at that number and said it was more a case against radiation than for it, in our opinion.
Now please hear me. We did not take any of this lightly. We had been doing our due diligence behind the scenes and had chosen a different path. And regardless of the path chosen, cancer can be a very frightening thing. (See video above for encouragement.) I am NOT saying that others should take the path that I have chosen. I’m sharing my story – that is all. And please, no judgment. It’s been a very difficult journey.
I had secured some natural health practitioners during the same time that I was scheduling surgery. They were amazing and encouraging and I couldn’t have walked through it without God using them in practical ways. They would pray with me when I’d get discouraged or fearful. They would point me to the One (the Lord Jesus Christ) who hears our prayers and encourage me to trust Him for this trial and lean into Him.
They helped me practically as we got on a natural treatment plan. My family stood beside me encouraging me all the way.
About every 3-6 months we would retest. My numbers were dropping all the time. Many docs agree that pulling out a tumor doesn’t get rid of cancer. But I’m a “git ‘er done” sort of gal, so I wanted that thing out of me! But it was imperative for me to continue having blood tests for tumor markers, as well as sonograms for breast tissue. I chose not to do mammograms, PET scans, and the like, but more on that later.
More testing came and about a year after my original diagnosis, I was told that if I kept this up, I would never have to deal with cancer again.
(to be continued…)