I think I have a few male readers of my blog. Most men (and probably women too) consider me a bit verbose and would prefer it if I “cut to the chase”. For those of you know me, that’s almost impossible. To truly understand someone, you have to know where they’ve been. So, if you’re wanting to know my official diagnosis (so far) and my oncologist’s recommendation for me, just scroll down the last paragraph.
It’s been 14 days since the atomic bomb dropped in my little world. There were a few sporadic moments over the weekend when I actually forgot about it: playing Taboo with the family, eating burgers by the pool, and pruning my rose bushes. My friend Cinder, the breast cancer survivor and eternal optimist, insists that we have the right to play the “C” card whenever we want. I’ve yet to find the right moment to use it. I’ve tried it and the joke falls flat. It’s just not funny. Not yet. Not until I make it to the end of this “pink path” everyone keeps talking about. Ugh. Pink used to be my favorite color. I’m still not sure what to think when Jeff and the kids now laugh at my corny jokes instead of rolling their eyes. Over the weekend, Lauren even helped clean the house and collated and stapled 78 of my newsletters and stuffed my retailer bags (a monthly time-consuming job which I used to have to pay the kids if I wanted help). As much as I love to make them laugh or see them help, I miss my life 15 days ago….when it was “normal”.
Nadina, my naturopath, is trained in many areas of homeopathy: Bio Meridian, massage therapy, sound therapy, essential oils, applied kinesiology, sclerology, Reiki, iridology, meditation, and so many other fields, but most importantly to me…she’s an expert in nutrition and vitamins. She believes that the right foods can heal the body and that speaks to my sensibilities. She’s been all over the world to learn how to heal people naturally. She’s been trained in China and Equador and will be going to Central America in February. She’s the one who said, “Get your butt over here!” after reading my Facebook post asking for doctor recommendations. She first wanted to use a Bio Meridian to test what was going on inside my body. She sprayed my hands with water so that when I held the metal barrel, it would act as a conductor. My other hand was placed on a tray which was attached to a computer. The machine emits a frequency into the body and helps open up the pathways to meridians without needles (acupuncture). It shows you the micro organisms, bacteria, and parasites in your body. It detected in me: “an ademona with fibrous tissue forming of dense stroma in the breast...and an amoebic abcess on the liver.” It uses terminology from Tabor's Medical Dictionary. Nadina gave me Essiac Tea (a proven cancer fighter since 1922), Liquid Chorophyll (to help cleanse the blood), a colon cleanse, and rubbed various essential oils on my breast and armpit (for the lymph node). She then placed warm towels on the area. This process draws out infection and parasites. Imagine the worst sunburn you’ve ever had. You know….the kind with blisters. Then imagine that someone rubbed Tiger Balm or Icy Hot on top of it, and then put a warm towel on top. Then imagine that they put an iron on low setting and pressed it firmly upon said location- all of this on one of the most sensitive areas of your body! I immediately thought of the movie Rambo when Sylvester Stallone, after pulling shrapnel out of his side, sutured the wound with gun powder and lit a flare. I needed a leather strap to put between my teeth.
After rubbing lavender on it to ease the pain (lavender is great for burns), she talked a long time about how your physical body (cells) are affected by your brain. She went into some detail about how the dendrites in your brain actually change their shape when you change your way of thinking. This affects every cell in your body, including cancer cells. She impressed upon me the importance of visualization and meditation (I struggle with that one. I can’t get my mind to slow down for one minute!). I promised I’d be back the next day for more of her TLC. It was the most calm I’d felt since June 28. That hasn’t happened often because I’ve been seeing my retailers for the first time since my diagnosis. It’s drained me because with every sales visit, I’ve gotten so many hugs and so much love, I’m usually sobbing when I get back out to the car. Then I have to try to get myself presentable for the next stop. And it starts all over….I’m not complaining. I feel blessed to have so much love in my life. I’m just emotionally exhausted.
I told Jeff about my experience with Nadina and how conflicted I was about the orthodox treatment plan I knew I would hear on Thursday. Jeff said, “Whatever you choose, it will be the right decision.” Well, obviously, I made the right decision in marrying him! I haven’t always made the right choices in my life, but who has? I had to trust in God to show me the way.
The following day, while driving down the road, I prayed out loud, “Dear God, please point me down the right path and light it really bright so I don’t miss it.” Minutes later, Nadina called me and said she had called her friend in Florida and asked for help. She’s in the same field AND fought breast cancer with no chemo or radiation. She recommended an iodine supplement that she started after her diagnosis. I smiled and wondered how many signs I’ve missed in my life because I’ve been so busy.
On the way to the doctor, while Jeff drove, I checked my e-mails and FB messages. One was from Maria Burton, a former classmate who is living in Texas. Whenever I see her photos and posts, I’m impressed by her positive outlook, her health and fitness, and her love of life. I know she’s a Wellbeing Coach, Shaklee Business Owner, and Practitoner and Teacher at Reikimaster. The woman is who I’ve wanted to be for the last decade. I just needed to be fit and now….healthy.
I asked what she would do if she were me. After contemplating my question, she told me something I never knew. She was also told she had cancer. She fought it with blackstrap molasses, chamomile tea, meditation, visualization, detoxification, clean food, 100% whole food vitamins, and used an “in-light Wellness System”. The “little dudes”, as she called them, are gone. Her journey let her down a path to become one of eight (the first in the country) to be certified to be a quantum light energy coach by the Board of Natural Health Sciences. Needless to say, after reading that, I’m very hopeful and inspired. Then, minutes later….
My appt with Dr. Moss was Thursday. My blood pressure was 140/96, the highest it has ever been. Typically, it’s low, and stays around 95/60. “To be expected,” said the nurse. Jeff borrowed a digital tape recorder from a co-worker and we were armed with that, a little bit of knowledge, and pages of questions in my notebook. My entourage (Jeff, Lauren, Jordan, and my dear friend Liz), all went into a very hot conference room. The mood was tense so I thought I’d lighten it…”This is the first time I’ve seen the three of you sitting together. Let me take a picture.” The kids commented on how weird that would be (given where we were), but scooted together and asked if they should smile, Dr. Moss walks in and introduces herself. She’s really young to be an oncologist, I think. She explained what she knew. She said I had a 2 ½ cm tumor on my left breast. Wait. I thought it was 2 cm. I knew it was one inch but for some reason remembered the radiologist telling me that it was 2 cm. Don’t they know that the metric system never caught on here? The first sentence and it’s already bad news. Given my previous research, I learned that if it’s over 2 cm, you’re automatically advanced to stage ll. Then she said I was estrogen receptor positive and progesterone receptor positive. I said, “Wait a minute. I’m on progesterone (bio-identical hormones) to balance out my high estrogen levels. My regular doctor told me I was a sitting duck for breast cancer.” Dr. Moss said that the estrogen AND the progesterone were feeding the cancer. Now I’m really mad. I can feel my face burning. No wonder I don’t trust most doctors! I asked Dr. Moss about her knowledge on alternative medicine. After all, the nurse practitioner at St. Joe recommended Dr. Moss because of her knowledge and acceptance of natural medicine. She said that her knowledge was limited to a class she had recently taken and didn’t have a problem with it as long as it didn’t interfere with her treatment plan. I’m beginning to learn that in the real world, traditional and holistic medicine beliefs mix like oil and water. The lymph node was suspicious so she wants to do a PET scan to see if the cancer has spread. If there are no tumors anywhere else, she would recommend a lumpectomy with radiation. When performing the lumpectomy, the surgeon will be able to detect any positive lymph nodes by injecting a radioactive dye around the tumor. If any are positive, they’ll remove them. Of course, much of this is just speculation considering that the PET scan is next Thursday. She’ll have the results within hours. That same day I’ll meet Dr. Strifling, the surgeon. After the group discussion, she wanted to do an exam. She noticed the red burns from the oils on my breast and underarm and looked worried. I explained the essential oil treatment I had the day before. She said, “Ann, I just want to prepare you that chemotherapy will most likely be my recommendation. “ I cried like a baby and she held me for a few minutes. At that moment, I thought, “Maybe she’s not so bad.”