MY CANCER STORY

A TRADITIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE JOURNEY

At age 39 I found a lump in my left breast and so the journey began…

One night in late October 2005, I was out at local club having fun, dancing, and sharing conversation with friends when I noticed that my left breast appeared to be swollen. My concern was not immediate as my left breast was always the "bigger" breast, and I wondered if I was close to that time of the month. Within a week I had a palpable lump and within the next month I was at a local cancer center having the lump checked out. The cancer center actually ruled that the mass was fibrocystic tissue, but saw another one that was highly suspicious. After a fine needle biopsy, it turned out that the cancer center was wrong and that the large mass was not fibrocystic tissue but a malignant mass roughly 4-5 cm in size, and the other suspicious area was cancer as well.

Then came the first surgery, excisional biopsies, and I was informed that I needed a left mastectomy.

As I scheduled the surgery I insisted on removing the right breast too. I intuitively felt it had cancer in it as well, even though a scan ruled that breast as clear. After my surgery in April 2006 I discovered I was correct: The cancer was indeed in the right breast and contained many microscopic tumors that the scan could not pick up. I was given the horrible news of 44 nodes positive on the left for cancer and 8 of 38 on the right-the highest nuclear grade tumors, estrogen and progesterone negative, her2neu positive and staged at a 3b - 4. This was nearly a death sentence. I was given less than a 15 percent chance for survival with all the treatment they could offer.

Additionally, a second opinion on my pathology from the number one rated Cancer Center for Breast Cancer in our country showed that I had four different cancers in my breasts. The head of Breast Pathology conferred with other pathologists and reviewed medical journals and literature to find any case similar to mine but could not find another case like mine within the U.S. nor out of it. She was amazed that I was still living.

The Alternative Path
From the time I found out I had cancer I had been following an alternative protocol of an organic diet / candida diet, acupuncture, chiropractic care, lymphatic drain massage, reiki / energy work, vitamin and herbal supplements, detoxing with coffee enemas, daily juicing of vegetables, and had removed all chemicals from my life and home to unburden my body of the toxic load. I was screened by Biomeridian (EDS) and utilized thermography to monitor progress. I researched constantly and made a decision to go into battle for my five year old son. I was not ready to give up my fight and surrender my life.

I tried the chemotherapy they prescribed for me only to realize that I could not tolerate it; the side effects brought me close to death. I refused radiation that was recommended for my entire chest area and axilla region. I knew then that I had to choose my path and I chose to do the alternative therapies to keep my immune system strong. I also incorporated a targeted therapy of Herceptin. All of my doctors felt that I would lose my battle within months with virtually no chemotherapy (which is the standard) and just a targeted therapy. Unfortunately they were not going to accept or acknowledge my alternative protocol as any treatment. By October 2006 I was scanned again and told that I had metastasis to my rib and clavicle. I was encouraged to go on aggressive treatment to extend my life. I did not believe this to be true since my rib area was bothering me tremendously after surgery and my mediport was placed right under the suspicious clavicle. I felt this was likely to appear as "new activity" since my scans were prior to surgery. I followed up with another Oncologist and we did a PET and a CT (thin-slice) and ruled out the metastasis. I stayed positive and coped with the side effects of my targeted therapy and prayed daily for strength and a miracle.

NED: NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE
Today I am over two years out from surgery, still considered a stage 4 but with no evidence of disease (NED). I have had six sets of scans since my original surgery, expecting the progression I was warned about, and I have baffled doctors each time. I have been told that they can't explain this scientifically; that I am truly a miracle and to consider myself blessed. I do feel truly blessed to have such beautiful friends that have all prayed for me and had their congregations pray for me from here to Alaska. I am beyond thankful to be "the miracle" and I cherish every moment in every day that I have with my family.

Additionally I spend much of my time helping others with cancer as far as diet, alternative options and the power of positive thinking and prayer. I am still under treatment for stage 4 cancer with weekly infusions as well as my ever evolving alternative protocol that I have devised from all of my research. As for my doctors they do not expect me to ever come off of treatment.

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By Darlene S. Gant

Darlene S. Grant has co-founded a support group for women with cancer called HOPE - Health, Opportunities, Peace and Education. They are a support group for women with various forms of cancer, and they hope to reach out to all cancer survivors in the future. The website is www.HopeSupportGroup.com. For more information, please call 813-994-8714. Darlene is also launching a national cancer website to help all cancer patients survive and thrive; the website is www.CancerAvenues.com

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