on 04-22-2008 at 10:35 AM (451 Views)
I'm so angry right now that it is causing me to have panic attacks! I'm angry because no one told me that I had options. And those that tried to tell me, (a technician, and a friend), I didn't listen to. My friend, an older lady that has a daughter that went through something similar, cautioned me to be careful because, "all doctors know is to give you drugs and to cut." But I let the doctors scare me, and I'm angry at them! But mostly Iím angry with myself.
I made the decision to have surgery knowing that I did not have active cancer. Because of a thermogram, I knew that if I had any cancer, it was probably DCIS Ė precancer that is contained in the milk ducts. (DCIS is Stage 0 cancer. Mine is non-invasive, and intermediate grade. It has shown no signs of invasion, not even micro invasion, and it is is growing at an intermediate rate. There are three grades non-aggresive, intermediate, and aggressive.) I had read statistics that said that in 1 of 5 or 2 of 10 women, DCIS becomes invasive. I didnít like those odds. Iím a mom! I want to be here to see my children grow up! I had also been told that one of the two ďsuspiciousĒ areas of my mammogram was near my lymph nodes. That made me very nervous. I thought, Ďif cancer gets into my lymph nodes, it could spread quickly to my organs.í So I panicked. I went against everything my gut was telling me and opted for surgery. First an open biopsy in which they removed ample amounts of tissue, and a week later a partial mastectomy in which they went after the cancer and tried to remove it all. And now, Iím back at square one, or no! Now Iím behind the eight ball. I still have cancer, and my body is trying to heal from a very invasive, very damaging surgery.
Side note: In case you're wondering, my husband has been great. He wants me alive, and doesn't care about anything else. He has never stopped making me feel loved, wanted, and desirable. He did want me to have the surgery because he was afraid of losing me.
I'm not mad at the doctors for wanting me to have surgery. They are in the business of saving lives. What I'm angry about is that they didn't give me all of the information, affording me the opportunity to make my own well-informed decision. I made it clear to them that I did not want surgery and that I wanted to approach this natural and holistically. They donít have to agree with my desires and point of view. But a good doctor should be forthcoming with information that would support a patientís right to decide and have a say in their own care.
There are so many things that I have found out since I had my surgeries that no one bothered to tell me before I made that decision. The doctors seem to have an agenda, and even when you try to ask the right questions, they withhold information that they deem unnecessary for you to know. I asked about additional testing after the results from my mammograms came back ďsuspicious.Ē I was told that the way only to find out if it was cancer was to have it biopsied. That is true, but what they didn't tell me is that I could have certain blood tests that would have given us a baseline to compare with follow-up tests that would have been a good indicator of whether or not it was cancer, and if it was cancer, whether or not it was changing. This approach would have worked well with natural therapies such as raw foods, herbs, cleansing, and exercise. It would have told us whether those natural therapies were keeping the cancer contained, or even reversing it, or not. It has taken me this long to uncover this information on my own, by talking to several different doctors practicing different schools of medicine, as well as alternative healthcare practitioners that have given me information that the doctors have, but chose not to share with me.
After I had my lumpectomies, (the second one was labeled a partial mastectomy), the first "specialist,"Ö That is what my primary care doctor, (also a woman), told me she was. Turns out that she is a breast surgeon. Why didn't my doctor just say breast surgeon?? Maybe because I would have realized that her focus would be on surgery! My doctor referred me to her when I said that I wanted to second opinion. I now realize that it wasnít really a second opinion. She works in the same clinic on the very next floor. All she did was look at my mammogram films and repeat the recommendations of my doctor, with a few scare tactics thrown in. I recently found out that there is an entire department at the University Hospital in Denver dedicated to giving a second opinion regarding breast cancer. A team of specialist, a medical oncologist, a surgeon, and a radiological oncologist go over all tests, films, and reports with a fine toothed comb and then meet with and examine the patient, separately. They then meet with the patient collectively and share their conclusions. Why didnít my doctor tell me about that? I expect more from women doctors!
Anyway, after my surgeries, I met with the first surgeon that I spoke to in my hometown. She tried to convince me to have a full mastectomy, "maybe even a double mastectomy." She said, "Your cancer will become invasive." When she saw that I wasn't convinced, she told me that she would like to order a DNA test to see if I have a genetic predisposition to cancer, and an MRI. Why didn't she ask for either one of those tests before the surgery? I even asked her about an MRI the first time that I met with her, (the technician I mentioned suggested that I ask for one), and she said it wouldn't tell her anything! So what is it going to tell her now? I asked, but her answer was very vague, so I asked again. Again, she couldn't give me a simple, understandable answer. It's so frustrating! She also told me that the mammogram showed that ľ of my breast was affected. She didnít tell me that before the surgeries. If she had, I would have known that lumpectomy would not make sense. I would have known that my only two options were mastectomy, or monitoring my condition with tests.
Before my surgeries, both surgeons, (including the one in New York that performed my surgery with a laser,) kept emphasizing to me that time was of the essence, and that we needed to "get this out!" (If you have to have breast cancer surgery, laser is the best way to go. I'm still so glad that I had my surgery done with a laser. www.laserbreastcancersurgery.com) I asked what would be a reasonably safe amount of time to wait before making a decision. I was told three months, and that is how long I waited while doing my own research, and getting the only other test I knew of, a thermogram. But I now consider that wasted time because I didnít know about, and hadn't had a Tumor Marker baseline blood test. I hadn't had an AMAS baseline blood test. I hadn't had genetic testing, and I hadn't had a baseline MRI. If they had offered these tests, we could have retested at the end of the three months. If things looked good, I would have opted to just continue monitoring my condition instead of having any invasive procedures. If things didnít look good, I may have opted for surgery at that point Ė probably a mastectomy.
I know I have to move on. I know that there is no use in crying over spilled milk. I know that it is now after the fact, but it still hurts! And I am moving forward. Iíve been reading everything I can get my hands on about cancer, and talking to everybody that might be able to give me information. Iím staying raw. I made a list of cancer-fighting foods, (which I will continue to add to), and I am eating plenty of them. Iím going to start exercising, (I swear!), and Iím addressing other health issues that may be taxing my immune system. (BTW, I went to the dentist yesterday for a follow-up cleaning and got a clean bill of health. I guess my new regiment is working. (I had Periodontal Disease.) My teeth look so good! After I brush them I look at my husband and go, ďTing! Fabulous!Ē ) I am going for that second opinion at the University to get their recommendations. I am going to have the tests I mentioned, although I may go ahead with a mastectomy at this point because almost six months have passed since my mammograms, and I still donít like the odds. (Although Iím not sure that those statistics apply to women that are employing natural remedies. In how many women diagnosed with DCIS that go raw, use natural therapies, and effect life-style changes does it become invasive? Iíd like that statistic!) If I go ahead with the surgery, the baseline tests and follow-ups will now be more for monitoring to make sure that cancer does not return. Anyhow, thatís the plan.
I'm still pretty much stuck on the same recipes, although I did try Broccoli Soup. Didn't like it. I just don't digest broccoli well at all, which is a bummer because it is powerful against cancer. I also tried the Kale Salad, which I love, (big surprize - it has two of my favorite foods in it, (avocado and tomato)). I added Dandelion greens to my smoothies.
This is the list of cancer fighting foods that I've compiled so far:
Please add to it if you know of foods I left off. Thanks! :)