My Breast Cancer Story
A Little Background
It is predicted that 12% of women in the United States will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is about 1 in 37 (about 2.7%). About 80% of breast cancers are not related to family history, which leads to environmental influences. In my family, I only know of my mother’s aunt who had breast cancer. Since this is the case, perhaps PREVENTION is the key. That’s my angle, so let me tell you my story…
“There is a lump”, were the words that bounced around in my cranium from my routine annual check-up visit in February of 2015. I surely wasn’t expecting to hear that. Then the mammogram, sonogram and breast specialist confirmed that, yep, I have a lump so the next course of action was a biopsy. Yep, again! My diagnosis was a breast cancer called DCIS, ductal cell insitu, which next required its removal or better yet termed, “Lumpectomy”. Twice it had to be removed because the “margins” were not clear enough the first time. In addition, my lead lymph node was removed just to be safe. OK, so the second “Lumpectomy” clearly, and thankfully so, indicated that the margins of all concern were clearly extracted so that’s it right? In my opinion, it was all that was necessary especially after I had done a little research of my own. Did my breast specialist think so? Well, that’s another story.
Shortly thereafter, a dear friend of mine, Sue, had shared with me her story before I had known her. She too, had been given the same diagnosis of DCIS as did Suzanne Somers. Both my friend and Suzanne were given the “standard of care protocols” to follow just as my doctor had given me. I respect my doctors; however, I have come to the realization that they may not have all the answers which should include alternative procedures, cures and preventions. Thankfully my friend encouraged me to be more informed of my alternative choices by referring me to Suzanne Somers books, “Tox-Sick” and “Breakthrough” before I needed to make more serious choices.
Standard of Care Protocols
So what are the “standard of care protocols” for women when they are given a breast cancer diagnosis of a non-invasive breast cancer such as DCIS? Let me first explain that DCIS is a tumor that is encapsulated which means it is NOT a tumor that spreads. If you are going to get a breast cancer, this is the best one to get because it is non-invasive. Even though it is often considered by many to be a ground 0 breast cancer, the toxic “standard of care protocol” that I was recommended to follow were chemo, radiation and a daily drug called Tamoxifen, a known carcinogen. See my links for more information on this drug.
My friend followed the protocols and has had arthritis in both hands since as well as less cardio output because the radiation was applied to her left breast which is connected to heart tissue. She was not advised of the potential side effects of these protocols and now regrets that she was not informed and wishes she had made other choices. Suzanne Somers has had side effects as well that could have been prevented had she only known what her choices were. She is now a major advocate for cancer prevention and alternative choices.
I am thankful for these two women who have given me the empowering information that influenced my decision to be conservative with my breast cancer treatment program. I am also grateful for my husband who was so diligent in researching more on DCIS and for discovering the Van Nuys Prognostic Index for DCIS. This index is a great tool that measures an individual’s risk for reoccurrence. For me, this informational tool led to the conclusion that I was at low risk and helped me to decide if I needed to expose myself to chemo and/or radiation, which can have harmful side effects. So what did I do? Here’s my story about that…
Just Say No!
No, no, no, no! No to chemo, no to radiation, no to Tamoxifen, and even “no” to mammography. I certainly do not want to say, “Don’t get a mammogram”, but what I am saying is that you should do your research! Remember me stating that up to 80% of breast cancers are environmentally influenced? Radiation is used in mammography. Do your homework! For now, I utilize a breast detection screening called Thermography. I also have used Sonograms. Neither of these imaging processes uses radiation and if you do your research on radiation you will find that the accumulative exposure to it is enough to cause concern.
There are also concerns with Tamoxifen. In one of my links you will find correlations to ovarian/uterine/cervical cancers that have followed with many women after being on this drug and with no family history. It is worthy of quality thought before leaping to fill that prescription.
Diet and exercise are also your allies for prevention!!! Eating 5-8 servings of fruits and vegies daily AND 30 minutes of moderate exercise like walking will drastically reduce your risks of re-occurrence, but it is important that you implement both exercise and diet, not just one. They are both extremely important! A Dietician can certainly be helpful if you want to be more proactive with your diet. I now avoid all foods that contain soy (in menopause), as well as dairy and I have significantly cut down on sugar consumption. Most of us know that cancer cells thrive and grow when fed sugar. If you are overweight, get rid of it! Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my favorite integrative medical practitioners, states that “Weight gain after age 18 to between the ages of 50 and 60, has been consistently associated with risk of breast cancer after menopause. The more fat tissue in a woman’s body, the higher her estrogen levels are likely to be, and the higher her risk of breast cancer.” And regarding foods, “A large number of synthetic chemical compounds that we all encounter have estrogen-like activity. Among them: common pesticides, industrial pollutants and hormone residues in meat, poultry and dairy products. While evidence linking these hormones to breast cancer is conflicting, Dr. Weil recommends limiting exposure as much as possible.”
Now is the time to take your health seriously if you have not already done so. It is a fact proven in many studies that exercise is key to any disease prevention, especially cancers and Type 2 Diabetes. So my advice…get off the couch and move☺. Being married to an exercise physiologist has greatly influenced my thinking on the importance exercise has on our health so I make it a daily priority.
For now, 2 years later, I am cancer free and will continue to be very proactive with my health and staying healthy without drugs and cancer treatments as long as there are no concerns. Here is what I do to stay healthy and be proactive:
- Morning mediation-my bible time with God along with some diffusing essential oil.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of Nikken Alkaline water daily.
- Get to bed close to same time daily for 7-8 hours’ sleep.
- Exercise at least 5 days per week rotating walking, jogging, bicycling, & weight baring exercise followed by stretching. Currently, I am training for a sprint triathlon which I have never done!
- My daily morning supplements are: An age appropriate women’s multi-vitamin, Indole-3-Carbinol instead of Tamoxifen for breast health, kelp iodine drops for cellular protection, plant calcium, BCM-95 Curcumin for inflammation/cell protection/healthy aging, Jade Greenzymes which is a Barley Grass supplement from Nikken, Collagen Booster with Hyaluronic Acid and Resveratrol for joint support, and my vegan, soy-free Nikken protein powder, ground flax seed added to cereal or a smoothie (enjoy my recipe).
- Eat organic as much as possible.
- Clean my home with natural non-toxic cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda, lemons, and my favorite, doTerra On Guard Cleaner Concentrate. My cleaning staff also uses this product in my client’s homes and offices. I even make my own sanitizing wipes!
I love this woman because of her personal breast cancer story and because she has become such an advocate for women’s health. In her book, “Breakthrough”, Suzanne Somers’ recommendations for staying healthy are:
- Balance hormones through bioidenticals (not synthetic, cancer-causing hormone replacement)
- Avoid chemicals and detoxify your body
- Get proper sleep without drugs
- Avoid pharmaceuticals unless absolutely necessary
- Supplement your diet
- Exercise regularly
Surround Yourself with Love
So this is my journey that I am blessed to share with you. For every woman that has struggled, questioned, realized, believed, accomplished and triumphed…Trust Your Journey. God is faithful to walk alongside of you as you press through your challenges no matter what they are. If it is breast cancer He is there with you. Never do this alone!
My Smoothie Recipe
The book is a clear, scientifically validated compendium of what to eat, and what to avoid, in order to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
In Tox-Sick, Suzanne Somers, delivers a powerful expose on the immediate and long-term dangers of living in a world that has become increasingly toxic to our health.
In Breakthrough, Suzanne, a breast cancer survivor, interviews the most progressive doctors in the field of anti-aging medicine.