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The Decision

Leaving the oncologist office on Friday, October 6th 2017 felt so surreal. I was officially diagnosed with Cancer, a freshly turned 41 year old women with no other health antecedents up to that point. I felt that somewhere on my road of life I must of taken a wrong turn and that now I was in some twilight zone of reality. Why was this happening? We had a plan as a family, homeschool the children, finish our solar-passive house so we can rent it out to financially support our desire for long-term travel with the boys. Cancer was not part of the plan. Getting sick, going through chemotherapy where my life degrades bit by bit until a completely defeated and depleted me gives in to the power struggle and disease wins, was not part of the plan. Why now? Why couldn’t it have knocked on my door in my proverbial golden age when I had lived my life fully. I had the weekend to digest this news. I simply wanted to run away.

When faced with Cancer you really start to analyze your life to understand what went wrong. By this point I was receiving people’s advice on surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, spiritual and emotional healing, and natural remedies. I was spinning in circles. The entire weekend was spent researching Cancer. I needed to understand this disease. Why was it there? Going deeper into its meaning from a physical, spiritual and metaphorical standpoint. Since my mother had contracted the disease there was this undeniable link that it may be hereditary. The BRCA1 is a breast cancer gene made public by that famous humanitarian actress Angelina Jolie. I came across Angelina Jolie‘s article about undergoing a deliberate double mastectomy. Wow! I was astonished that someone would voluntarily remove their breast in order to avoid contracting the disease. Then I found out lower down on the Google search list that another actress Christina Applegate, a favourite of mine did the same. I couldn’t believe it. Both had suffered by their mother’s bedside and lost their mothers to this horrible disease. It got me thinking and understanding their point of view. What I initially found absurd started to make sense to me. My oncologist wanted to remove a part of my breast but would place me on Tamoxifen for 10 years to trigger off an artificial menopause while monitoring me through biannual mammograms and MRI’s. I already knew the harmful effects of the mammograms rays stating it’s 1000x more likely to give cancer than a normal X-Ray and that we all know X-Ray’s cause cancer. Logically this protocol did not make sense to me. Why would I place myself at higher risk of contracting more cancer? I also knew that Tamoxifen  had a variety of side effects that I was not particularly keen on developing (bone pain, increased tumours, hot flashes, fatigue, nausea, mood swings, depression, headaches, hair thinning, constipation, dry skin, loss of libido). I personally thought these side effects were worse than risking the small percentage of contracting the disease a second time. Bottom line, I didn’t want a pharmaceutical to mask or suppress hormones that are necessary for the proper functioning of my immune system. I wanted to know the root cause of why I contracted this disease because no matter what I decided to do or whatever treatment I followed if the root cause was not addressed then the cancer was likely to return. Cancer is formed by a malfunctioning of the immune system, dysfunctional cells aren’t dispelled and are allowed to proliferate.  To me it seemed illogical to go through a series of electromagnetic radiation during a period of 10 years were I have a high probability of contracting Cancer in my right breast and taking a pharmaceutical that could cause my body a 50% chance of developing uterine or aggressive liver Cancer. That’s a flip of a coin. Hence, Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate were making perfect sense to me at that point. Cut those ladies off so that I can be done with Cancer, place this horrible event behind me and move on with the rest of my life.

Clearly my body was at war with my femininity. Estrogen was the culprit to all of this. The oncologist mentioned in that haze during diagnosis that the tumour was estrogen fed. I followed by asking “Does this mean I have high levels of estrogen?” “Yes.” he answered. He also told me that the tumour was not aggressive.  I have time, I thought. Good thing I am an obsessive when it comes to research. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

We received an out of the blue call and visit that weekend from distant friends, Nicole and Will (they were friends of friends) they traveled 6 hours, there and back to share with us some important news and bring remedies. Honestly, sometimes the best help come from the people you least expect it. Nicole had read many articles on breast cancer, and was deeply touched by the fact that I had contracted the disease knowing how well I was taking care of myself. She gave me a link to a health practitioner by the name of Jason Cristoff of whom she personally knew who had  previously posted on his blog “What would I do if I had Cancer” and told me how informative it was. Now looking back, this was the catalyst propelling me towards my natural healing. I was already sitting on the fence about natural healing because of my lack of faith with the traditional medical system but after reading his post it made so much sense to me. The article was logical, concise and very informative. This HP mentioned to watch the 9 episode series called “The Truth about Cancer” by Ty Bollinger. I had already undergone major diet cutoffs of simple sugars, starches (potatoes, corn) and all cereals/ grains by this point but decided to continue drastically changing my eating habits. Along with watching an episode of “The Truth about Cancer” each night,  I started implementing green juicing and converted 75% of my diet to raw and added crucial supplements but was still eating meat at supper. I wasn’t fully convinced about going all plant-based yet. I also still had surgery in mind at this point. In retrospect, I believe this slow involuntary change happened quite synchronistically. It was a gradual process that allowed my body to adapt to the major diet changes that lay ahead. Without really being conscious of it it allowed for a much easier transition that I think most of us don’t consider offering to our poor bodies. When undergoing a diet change we tend to do it suddenly which thrust our bodies into shock. Slow and gradual is really the way to go!

By Monday, I had a plan or so I thought. Telephone rang. My oncologist said he had booked me in for an MRI to properly define the borders of the tumour since it was not ductal but rather lobular and clearly define it before undergoing a lumpectomy. He also suggested that I perform a genetic testing to determine if I was a carrier of the breast cancer gene. Soon after I got a call from the hospital where I would pass the MRI. It was scheduled for October 11th 2017. My husband Dave could no longer take time off work so we asked my mother-in-law if she could accompany me to the appointment. I also got a call from the genetics clinic asking for me to join a group of 4 breast cancer patients, to participate in a study they were conducting on breast cancer, “you were referred by your oncologist” the women on the other end of the line said. The appointment was for October 19th 2017.

The MRI wasn’t as bad as my imagination had made it up to be. I hate constricted spaces. I’m not clautrophobic but I definitely do not feel comfortable in tight spaces. I asked that they provide me with ear plugs so I wouldn’t develop a migraine while in the machine. They placed me right side facing down which in retrospect was a lot more manageable. I couldn’t see I was enclosed. I found my happy place in my mind and relaxed. The 30 minutes was over fairly quickly. All I could think of afterwards was detoxing the radioactive fluid they injected me while I was in the machine. I was glad it was over. The results prompted my doctor to call me that evening and asked me to come in the following week. There was a complication in my case, he said.

I went to see him on October 18th the day before my genetics test. Upon arrival, there on the computer screen lay an x-ray image of my breasts, the left clearly demonstrated a white spider web like mass, the other had absolutely nothing. The complication was two smaller white spider web mass in the upper parts of the left breast. Since they looked very similar to the one that was biopsied he recommended we take the entire breast out including the breast muscle. I replied that if I was to undergo surgery that was this extensive I wanted both to be removed so that I could put this all behind me. He strongly disagreed with me and said since it is so extensive and we do not know how my body would recover from it that it was best we perform it only on one for the time being. After a physical examination, he concluded he could not locate the other two masses. They were undetectable to touch even-though they were located at the upper part of the breast where the rib cage protrudes. But in his opinion it would be safer to undergo a complete mastectomy at this point. I did not receive the stage of my cancer since the oncologist said he needed to sample the underarm lymph nodes to diagnose.

My final consideration came after meeting with the geneticist. We four ladies had to listen to a discourse about cells, mutated cells, how a cancer cell multiplies and creates its own blood line pulling nutrients away from the rest of the body and how these mutated cells live apart from the rest of the cells like parasites. She gave us the choice to decide if we wanted to map out our genes by taking a simple blood test that would be sent to a laboratory in California. She explained that they were only going to look for 7 identified breast cancer genes, including the well-known BRCA1 made popular by the media. My head was bursting with questions so I first asked “what were the probabilities of actually finding a mutated gene in our body?” she answered “10%”.  Then I following with ” What was the probability that my breast cancer derived from being a carrier of a gene?” “5% chance” she answered. Two of the other ladies opted out and left at that point. I was pondering it all in my mind. I decided to do the genetics testing after all but was not fully convinced that genetics played that big of a role in the state of my health. 95% was something other. While stepping outside the hospital doors that morning I had made up my mind. I was going to heal myself naturally. If the body created the cancer, the body can remove it. Cancer was not a hopeless case, and that I would give it my 110%. The body is a perfect machine, when working optimally, it can renew itself at a cellular level. Now I had my job cut out for me. Study the functioning of the human body. Detox, repair and build my obviously defunct immune system and bring myself to optimal health. I believe if I had any chance at all of surviving this disease this was the one and only path that I must take. The last 20 years have shown us that patients do not come back after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy if they do not couple it with major lifestyle and diet changes. Their lives only go one way. Unfortunately, they degrade; some slowly and for most, quite rapidly. I spent the next few weeks in study mode reading and watching everything I got my hands on to. The results of my genetics test came back 4 weeks later, they had found 1 of the 7 mutated genes in my blood, the PalB2. That didn’t surprise me though I was already diagnosed with cancer, obviously the cancer gene was in me!