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How My Insurance Company Is Deciding My Breast Cancer Treatment

Last week I had my first cycle of chemo for Stage IV breast cancer.  The results of the PET Scan were not as bad as expected.  I do have Stage IV breast cancer, but that’s because it has moved to the lymph nodes underneath both arms.  No cancer cells were found in my organs nor bones.

That doesn’t mean it won’t spread because my insurance company is denying my oncologist the drug that stops division of the cancer cells.

Also this week, as friends and families educate themselves to help me get through this, I’ve found that I have to keep reminding them that there are different types of breast cancer cells. As my friends and family talk to cancer survivors and read things online about breast cancer, survival rates, etc. it’s important for them to remember that breast cancer has different cells.  The type of cells are important for diagnosis and treatment.

The parasites that are trying to give life to themselves by eating my body from the inside out are HER2-positive cancer cells.  They are aggressive.  Four days after the biopsy, the tumor had grown 2 inches.   By the time the PET Scan was taken and the results in, the MUGA Scan was taken, and the first chemo scheduled, that parasitical, invasive tumor was even larger.

If you’ve been reading this blog for years, then you probably know that I’m one who trusts in vitamins, herbs and other supplements.  I do not reject traditional medicine.  I also follow Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo’s Blood Type Diet as close as possible.    It all seemed to pay off for me because in order to start chemo, I needed a MUGA Scan score of at least 50.  My MUGA Scan score was 72.  My blood pressure and blood work were all fine.

I had been taking supplements all along, but after my diagnosis, I looked for specific supplements.  I want my body to heal in between treatment cycles.  But first, I needed to know more about my enemy.  I tried reading reputable websites, and found Healthline.com.

“When you have a breast biopsy, the tissue is tested for hormone receptors (HR). It’s also tested for something called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Each can be involved in the development of breast cancer.”

“HER2 is a gene that creates HER2 proteins, or receptors. These receptors help control growth and repair of breast cells. An overexpression of HER2 protein causes out-of-control reproduction of breast cells.

HER2-positive breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than HER2-negative breast cancers. Along with tumor grade and cancer stage, HR and HER2 status helps determine your treatment options.”

My insurance company tossed a wrench into the battlefield.

Without naming my medical providers, staff, or other identifying features, I will name my insurance company.  It is Humana.  This week, my first chemo cycle was delayed for about an hour as my oncologist informed me that he had been on the phone with a doctor with Humana who first denied one of the drugs to be used in my chemo.

The drug, Taxotere and cyclophosphamide (TC) destroys quickly dividing cells. It can be given either to shrink the size of the tumor before surgery to remove it, or after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may be still present in the body.  The goal of TC is to cure.   But there are only two sites where I was able to find that it’s the drug’s goal.  One site is guess what?  That of trial attorneys.  More on that later. Read the rest of this entry

Is Soy In Our Food Making Us Sick?

Earlier this year, an itchy rash appeared on my left arm, then my right arm.  The appearance of the skin indicated to me that it was an allergy.  I had not eaten anything unusual, so was very puzzled what could be causing the reaction.

Then, my doctor placed me on an anti-biotic.  The rash went away.  Also this year, I’ve had recurring sinus infections more than usual.  The rash on my arms reappeared about two weeks ago.  It was worse than the first time.

Last week Friday while getting ready to take my second dose of Vitamin D3, I happened to read the ingredients.  Mostly, I order vitamins and supplements from a company that advertises no preservatives, artificial coloring, etc.  In fact, I’ve ordered from that same company for years and trusted their products.  Such it was with Vitamin D3 which I began taking this year.

For those unfamiliar, Vitamin D3 contains vitamin D, calcium which is necessary for the body to process vitamin D, and magnesium.

On the label of the Vitamin D3 was “calcium source; oyster shells”.  I am allergic to shellfish!  So all year, I’ve been consuming something in the Vitamin D3 that I am allergic to and didn’t know it.  It’s been 6 days since I took that brand of Vitamin D3.  The rash is clearing.  My breathing is no longer shallow.  Then I noticed another ingredient in my vitamins.  Soy.

That caused me to start researching soy, and I was shocked by what I found.  I stopped taking those vitamins that contain soy and since doing so, my sinuses have immensely improved.  I began to check the ingredients on other things in my cabinets and refrigerator.  A short list of what I discovered contains soy, or soybeans, or soybean oil includes:

Canned tuna in water; Green Giant brand frozen broccoli, including with cheese, and with carrots; Three different brands of salad dressing; Miracle Whip; Worchester Sauce; bread, including hamburger and hot dog buns.

It’s all in the garbage now.

Since part of my reason to learn about soy is to decide on what is best for me as a cancer patient, I began by researching soy and breast cancer.  Is soy safe or not?  That depends on what you read.   The Mayo Clinic says:

“Studies show that eating a moderate amount of soy foods does not increase risk of breast cancer — or other types of cancer. A moderate amount is considered one to two servings a day of whole-soy foods, such as tofu, soy milk and edamame. Soy contains protein, isoflavones and fiber, all thought to provide health benefits.”

“So where did the idea come from that soy increases breast cancer risk? Isoflavones, which are found in soy, are plant estrogens. High levels of estrogen have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, food sources of soy don’t contain high enough levels of isoflavones to increase the risk of breast cancer.”

Read the rest of this entry

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