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The Diagnosis

     You never know how you will react to something until you are actually faced with it. You hear so many misfortunes happening to people all around you and you can’t imagine having to live through something similar yourself. There is so much media on Cancer, that it has become a buzz word today, dishearteningly trendy. Pink ribbons adorning car bumpers, pink attire everywhere, moustache runs to teens wearing fake moustaches. I’m all for raising money to find a cure if that is really what is happening and I would love to believe that these marches and marathons are actually bringing us closer to putting Cancer a disease of the past that they are not just a symbolic action to subdue the population and not just another corporation raising its profits. Statistics show now that 1 out of 2 will be diagnosed with Cancer in their life. How come with all the money raised for Cancer, all the amazing advances in science and all the knowledge we have learned about the formation of Cancer, is it still increasing its casualties?

 

What happens when you find a hard lump? It’s ingrained in us; hard lump= Cancer. The day my life took a 180º turn was when I found my lump while taking a shower. I had experienced numerous twinges, like elastic pinches in my left breast, a little snap of pain that lasted a millisecond. It would occur randomly throughout the day but most of the time it went unnoticed since my mind was preoccupied on other things. I guess since I was taking a shower, I was more relax and more in tune with the sensations of my body. The twinge led me to place my hand on my left breast, caressing it to soothe it… then to my horror, heart thumping through my chest ” Is that really what I think it is?” Very discernible, hard lump not like any of the soft breast tissue surrounding it. It was mid-Spring of 2017, I was still teaching English as a second language at a language institute in Sherbrooke in the weekday evenings. I was homeschooling 2 of my 3 boys during the day and I was spending my weekends preparing lesson plans for English and working at finishing our homemade home. I was on the go and working to reach my dreams. My first thought was to do some research to rule out the idea of Cancer, since it did not add up to my lifestyle. I was 40 years old, I did not smoke, alcohol was not that present; I drank about 1-2 glasses of red wine on weekends, I hiked, walked, did cross-country skiing and downhill skiing, ate a balanced diet of meats, dairy, grains of mostly oats, veggies and fruits, fats were extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil for baking, and basic butter, the sugars when consumed were raw or unprocessed turbanido, demerara, honey, maple syrup or agave nectar which were consumed on rare occasions since i’d make a dessert maybe on weekends or make some nutritional muffins where i’d cut 1/2 the sugar out.  I’d take a little sugar in my tea or coffee and my beverage of choice for the most part of the day was drinking spring water with lemon.

Supposedly while women are pre-menopausal between 30-50 yrs their hormones are changing which can cause changes in their breast and that  8 out of 10 women  find a lump in one or both of their breast that are benign. That gave me a sigh of relief for the time being.  80% of women aged 30-50 years find a lump in their breast.” That could be my case” I thought. My English teaching semester was ending in late June. So I decided to postpone visiting my general practitioner until Summer. I noted that certain supplements helped the body to fight Cancer such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and turmeric root. Therefore I added these understandably organic supplements to my diet.  I called my doctor for an appointment in late July and got an appointment for August 10th 2017. My GP was generally not concerned with my health but as a precaution sent me to get a mammogram and ultrasound at the hospital. The appointment was scheduled for August 22nd 2017.

After both test were performed, the radiologist was concerned with the white mass appearing on the screen scheduled me for a biopsy of the tumour. Hearing the word tumour freaked me out, however I was aware that it could still be called a tumour even when it was benign. My biopsy was scheduled on September 7th 2017, two weeks after my mammogram and ultrasound. They supposedly gave a localized anaesthetic but to my horror did not work. I mentioned it was not frozen and they replied it was probably just nerves. The pain was excruciating, tearing flesh from my breast with four samples. I was shaking and tearing from the pain. Then I returned home waiting for that dreaded phone call. I made it pass a week without any calls. “Phew!” I thought at last I was not a priority at that point. Another week went by, and a third week went by… No news, good news as the expression goes. Although I felt the need to at least get a confirmation of the results so I personally called my GP. An appointment was scheduled for October 5th 2017. Walking into my GP’s office, he had a big smile on his face and he asked ” So, what are the results?” I answered with an inquisitive look “What do you mean, I came here to GET the results?” So following this confusion he added that we would look at them together. The diagnosis was 3 pages long, the first two had negative, negative, absent, absent written all over them. My GP responded with “you look fine, I told you nothing to worry about” then he got to the last page, his sudden smile turned to a worried look. My heart sank. “What is it? Is there anything wrong?” There it was at the bottom of the page a little asterisked paragraph  ***addendum patient has 2/3 carcinogenum, consultation required for surgery. My GP was confused and clearly did not know how to handle this. My whole reality went blurry. He scheduled me to seek the medical advice of an oncologist immediately. My appointment with the oncologist was the very next day, on October 6th 2017.

Upon entering the oncologist’s office, he went right down to business and drew a diagram of a breast and told me we could do a partial mastectomy or a full mastectomy. I replied a little dumbfounded “Does this mean I have cancer?”. ” Of course, you have invasive lobular mammary carcinoma” he replied. After that he continued with his scientific lingo to explain what, why and where he would be performing the things he would perform.  Everything was a haze for me. My mind had naturally just shut off. From the moment I stepped out of that office I knew my life would never be the same again. I also knew that sugar fed cancer cells so I immediately eliminated all simple sugars out of my diet (turbanido, demerara, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar) as well as all grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, rice) since grains turn to sugar in your blood. Before embarking on a major journey to acquire all the knowledge I could get my hands on, friends and family came pouring out and gave all their knowledge and concerns directly after my announcement on Facebook. The reaching out was felt with such undeniable love for me. Thank you!