Cancer Free – My Testimony
This is bittersweet. It’s bittersweet because I know others who are at stages or points in the journey and I want so badly for them to be healed. By sharing this, I hope cancer patients reading it are filled with hope.
There are no words to express the appreciation for the support I receive. This has been some journey, and along the way have been friends who are consistent in contacting me. Some have busy lives, but they always find time to check-in with me. They have helped to keep me positive.
In addition to the above, much appreciation goes out to friends and relatives who took time to understand the type of cancer and treatment. Not all breast cancer is the same; it depends on the receptors on the cells. Everything we read about cancer on the internet and in advertisements does not apply to all types of cancers.
Cancer treatment is not a one size fits all.
On March 1, 2019, I had surgery due to breast cancer. Within weeks, I received the news of the pathology reports, but didn’t want to post about it until I got a printed copy. On April 29, 2019, I saw my oncologist and received a copy. I am now cancer free but not really because there is no cure for cancer known to man. My former oncologist repeatedly told me that there is no cure. Why then, should patients put themselves through treatments that at times makes them think they are better off dead?
The more my former oncologist told me there is no cure, the more I researched in effort to learn what I can do for self-help. I asked God to rebuke that oncologist’s pessimism. It’s not that what he said isn’t true, but he added no hope in the equation.
In December after spending 4 days in the hospital because of the negligence of my oncologist to treat me for a urinary tract infection, I changed oncologist. My new oncologist discovered that the former one staged me incorrectly. My former oncologist should have ordered a cancer marker test before assuming the cancer in my right breast traveled to my left side through my lymph system. I learned in December that he made that conclusion without ordering a cancer marker test. (The cancer marker test in January 2019 returned a low score, indicating no cancer cells in my blood stream.) The new oncologist took time to go over the first PET Scan taken in September 2018, and the second PET Scan taken in November 2018. He sent me through a battery of tests, all with very encouraging results.
My journey continues. I am still scheduled for 6 months of immunology drugs. The 6 months of treatment with target drugs after surgery is intended to give me up to 10 years of life without recurrence. Although I should avoid some of the effects of regular chemo drugs, Herceptin does come with its own drawbacks. Herceptin is hard on muscles and causes muscle pains, and that includes the heart. Many women have stopped treatment because of heart problems. I am given a MUGA or Echo test every 4 months during treatment to make sure that my heart is still strong enough to continue treatments. I started off strong with a MUGA score of 72. That became my base line. In January of this year, my Echo results were at 55. I’ve not had treatments since February 15th, so the rest from it might have given my heart muscles time to improve since heart function can recover when Herceptin treatment stops. I am to have another Echo in several weeks.
Cancer cells have a way of making it out of the source tumor. They can lay dormant for years before dividing and creating a tumor. There are oncologists who attempt to predict whether or not cancer will return by examining the stage and type of cancer cells when first treated. Even when tests do not detect that the cancer has metastasized/spread when treatment begins, and in spite of completing treatments and surgery, there is always a chance of recurrence. There are studies that attribute recurrence to cancer stem cells that traditional chemo and radiation cannot destroy. There are also studies that an ingredient in ground ginger kills cancer stem cells.
It’s almost strange that even before reading the study on ground ginger, I began taking ground ginger 3 days a week shortly after my diagnosis. I shall continue taking it for the rest of my life.
My journey began on August 30, 2018 when a nurse in the Women’s Center scheduled me for two appointments which represented one hour each for two procedures. Since I’m still working with the hospital to amend or remove a malicious lie by the radiologist from my medical record, I won’t go into the nightmare that delayed diagnosis until September 21, 2018.
I was originally scheduled for 6 treatments with what is referred to as TCHP. The drugs were Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin and Perjeta. The purpose of the drugs and number of treatments was to shrink the tumor.
Seldom do I ever repeat things but this time it’s necessary. My treatment plan was for 6 treatments with 4 drugs. My first treatment was the only treatment with all 4 drugs. Let me say it another way — out of 6 treatments, I only received the 4 drugs once.
The treatment plan is suggested by the drugs’ manufacturers as all working together to be more effective. The plan was to shrink the tumor so it could be surgically removed. I was told by the surgeon that if the biopsy of lymph nodes were positive for cancer cells, that I would have six weeks of radiation. That’s radiation five days a week for six weeks. I did not want that.
They didn’t tell God about their plan. He had another plan.
From the Pathology Report;
“No residual invasive or in situ tumor identified.”
“No metastatic tumor identified in multiple levels and pan-karatin.”
“Additional three reactive intramammary lymph nodes, no metastatic tumor identified.”
The surgeon and oncologist put it in layman’s terms — no cancer cells in my breasts nor lymph nodes. Keeping in mind that the purpose of the plan was to shrink the tumor for surgical removal, it turned out that there was no residual tumor identified. It was gone.
Giving Credit Where It Is Due
I am grateful to my new oncologist for sending me for diagnostic tests when I became his patient. He is owed credit for his knowledge and taking time to get things right. He is patient and never condescending.
Full credit goes to the God of my creation. Not only did he answer prayers, but he led me to learn about things he created that I adopted into my care plan, as well as spiritual things.
There is one more surgery in the future after I’ve completed treatments with the immunology drugs, and that is to remove the port. It will be done outpatient under local anesthesia.
My life is hidden with Christ in God. Let it be known that I am not only a believer but a knower. What we believe can change, but what we know cannot.
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1John 2:3, KJV)
Jesus Christ said that all the Law and the Prophets hang on two commandments. Love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Peace and love to you all.