This story begins on June 30, 2013 when I discovered a lump in my left breast. That day has changed my life forever – some ways good, some ways not so good. If you would like to read the journey about my battle with breast cancer from the beginning, click here.
If you only want to read the post right before this one, click here.
Moving Towards My Third Follow-up with Trepidation
As I moved towards my third follow-up visit with Dr. Duncan on March 7, 2014, I was anxious and scared … despite the fact that a growth in my left breast had totally disappeared during this time frame.
Why, you might ask?
Cancer and Fatigue
I was tired almost beyond belief. I kept telling my husband I was “California tired.” That meant something to him … it gave him a reference point to my fatigue. I was referring to a trip that we had made in the late 80’s to California. In one day we had hiked many of the challenging trails in the Muir Woods (one of my most favorite places on earth) and then later that same day had hiked a long way down the beach only to realize the wind had been to our backs. The trip back to the car was torturous, and I literally crawled up that last sand dune to get to the car. I really was not sure I was going to make it. The next day, we were so tired … we were unable to do much more than lounge around the hotel, resting and reading … not what we had planned when we arrived in California.
And now, I found myself fighting the same kind of fatigue … but for no apparent reason. The only reason that I could think of was that the cancer was coming back despite the strides I had made to conquer it. Again, like when I found the lump … my thoughts were that I might be doing all that I could, and it might not be enough.
I kept reminding myself that the lump had disappeared, so I was improving … but I certainly did not feel like I was improving. I felt exhausted. I felt like every single step as I made it through each day took a concentrated effort. And I was walking extremely slow these days.
Results of the Microscopy
As Dr. Duncan took the blood sample and placed it on the slide for viewing, I held my breath. I remembered what the slides had looked like the past two follow-up visits … and I so desperately wanted to see improvement. But if you gauged my improvement on the amount of energy available to me … I was in trouble. I was more tired than I had ever been since my cancer diagnosis in August 2013. I was “California tired.”
If the cancer in my blood had gotten worse … I was not sure what I was going to do. I had a few tricks up my sleeve that I had not yet pursued, but if the treatments the doctor was prescribing were not working … well, needless to say I was concerned.
But the very second I saw the blood sample on the screen and saw many individual blood cells scurrying around … I had hope. It looked good to me, but what did the doctor think? He scrolled back and forth, and up and down across the blood sample. As he did so … I saw lots of cells busily moving about. And I did not see any parasites (worms and amoebas) like I had in previous visits. I impatiently waited as he finished his scan to see what he had to say.
At my last visit, he had calculated that the percentage of cancer in my blood was 35%. I had started at 50% in October, and each follow-up visit had yielded an improvement. It had taken me from October to January to get to that 35%.
Would he see improvement this time?
I certainly hoped so, despite the fact that after 8 months (from when I found the lump), I had found myself growing a little lax in my diet. That worried me … after all, I knew better. Everything I read showed that diet played an integral role in the natural fight against cancer. But food had always been a source of comfort … and now I needed that comfort more than ever. I was far more diligent than I had ever been before discovering the lump … but not as diligent as I had been early on in the diagnosis. Would I find myself now paying the price for that lack of diligence?
I found myself wanting to bargain with God. “Just help me make it through this appointment,” I thought to myself, “and I will do better” … I thought these words often in the days leading up to my appointment, although I also told myself if I did not get a good report, it would be my own doing. I felt the guilt, the exact thing that Dr. Duncan had told me I needed to release during my last appointment. Guilt is not a healthy thing. We can use it to beat ourselves up. So I tried not to think about it being my fault … I kept reminding myself that I was doing the best I could! But I kept second guessing myself as well. Maybe my best, just wasn’t good enough.
Finally he finished his perusal of my blood. He showed me where I actually had white blood cells (yes, I could see them on the screen) attached to and “cleaning” my red blood cells. I had not seen this before. This was progress … but what about the percentage of cancer? Had I improved? I waited, albeit impatiently, I waited for him to tell me how much cancer was now in my blood.
He talked about the improvements he saw … less bacteria … yes I saw that. But what about the cancer?
He talked about the lack of parasites … yes, but what about the cancer?
Then he finally came up with a number … THE NUMBER that I had been waiting to hear all morning (my appointment was at 11:00). My cancer had gone down to 20-25%, and he felt it was closer to 20, but to be on the safe side, he was going to say 25%.
That was what I wanted to hear. I wanted to do the happy dance, and in my mind I was. It had only dropped 5 points my last visit, but now it had dropped more than 10 points. I cannot tell you the relief I felt.
The changes that I had implemented into my life to fight my cancer seemed to be working despite my being a little lax.
I thanked God for His mercy despite my short-comings. I promised myself that I would do better. And I did the happy dance, although introvert that I am, it was all in my head!
And now, I only need to go in for treatments 3 days a week! After my drive time and my treatment time, that meant that I now gained back 10 hours a week! What an awesome treat!
My biggest concern in all of this is the medical bills that keep piling up. Although I now have insurance, it does not cover any of my treatments because I choose to treat my cancer naturally. Shouldn’t I have the right to do just that, especially since I am seeing success? Does an organization have the right to tell me that I must poison my body to fight the cancer through the use of chemo and radiation? Apparently, in the world we live in, organizations have that power.
From what I have seen and from talking to others who also choose to fight their cancer (and other diseases) naturally, the costs of conventional cancer treatments still far outweigh the costs of natural treatment. From what I can calculate, the cost to treat cancer conventionally (deductibles and co-pays only) with chemo and radiation averages $250,000 and more. Who has that kind of money? The total costs to treat cancer naturally only comes to approximately $50,000 – total. Although it is less, no one in the general public has that kind of money to spare either.
There are organizations that will help you find the funds to come up with the money to treat cancer conventionally, but not naturally … or if they exist I have not found them. I do have a gofundme account for anyone who wants to help financially with my battle against cancer. Prayers work too!
‘nuff said. (That’s the Texan in me slippin’ out!)
Just maybe the cork was growing after all! Doing the happy dance! Come dance with me!
P.S. The doctor said I was so tired because my body was fighting so hard. That’s a very good reason! Blood tests also indicated that my thyroid medicine needed to be increased. Before too long I will be feeling so much better.
Image credits: Microscopy is Public Domain, Smiley Faced flowers is from MorgueFile, Happy Dance