I Refused Chemo Over a Year Ago and I’m Thriving.

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called Cristina. It’s a woman’s journey through treatment for metastasized breast cancer. In it she has to make the decision as to whether or not to do chemotherapy treatment and she goes looking for patients who have done the chemo and are still alive five years later. It made me realize that I would be a spokesperson for other alternatives, more specifically opting to not do chemo, yet no one would know how to contact me. It’s not like my doctor is going to be giving my contact information out to patients.

I decided while watching that show that I would need to be more open about myself. I have fought against letting cancer be a focus in my life. The focus of Getting Golden is on overall well being and authenticity, yet I cannot ignore my experience or knowledge that I have gained while I’ve healed from my illness.

I underwent 6 chemo treatments in 2011 and it was of TAC (Taxotere, Adriamycin, and Cyclophosphamide). I was treated aggressively when they first discovered it. I’ve had chemo, mastectomy, radiation, and reconstruction. No one actually said when I entered remission. It wasn’t until four or five months later when I asked one of my doctors that they said remission had occurred “after all cancer had been removed”. It bothered me that there was no celebration of this moment.

For five years I was in remission. Or as I prefer to think of it, I was kinda healthy. This means I didn’t have cancer, but I did have all the after effects of chemo, radiation, and two surgeries. When I was told I had cancer again I still hadn’t regained the health I had before all the different treatments.

This time I said no to the chemo. I was adamant, much to the dismay of my oncologist. He promised that this chemo would not be as difficult as what I had received before. They wouldn’t be able to give me that chemo again, my body probably couldn’t withstand it. Here’s the thing, I was pretty sure my body couldn’t withstand any chemo at that point. This wasn’t an easy choice to make. My oncologist made it very clear that my best chance of survival was chemo. Translate this to my oncologist made me very afraid that by not choosing chemo I would die and in short order.

I wanted it noted that I refused chemo over a year ago and I’m thriving. In fact my body is healing. The tumors are shrinking. I have done a number of different things. Including taking two different pills. One of which is Tamoxifen. The other is low dose Naltrexone. While my doctor would like me to think my healing is dependent on Tamoxifen, I know that it’s due to a number of different factors. In the future I’ll be making changes and we’ll see if I’m right or the doctor’s right. Nothing like making decisions that your life depends on.

While I agree with Cristina’s message, all we have is the now, I do want you to have hope. Understand the power of hope. In a world where we are confronted with people dying from cancer daily it can be hard to not give up hope. Especially for a disease that makes you so tired and traditional treatment only makes this symptom worse.

I recommend that you start looking into other treatments besides the traditional methods. To do this though you have to have an open mind and be willing to change.  I would not limit this advice to just cancer, but any chronic illness or disease. There are many stories of people healing from cancer that don’t involve the traditional methods. There is a lot of information out there in regards to different treatments. It makes it difficult to know what choice to make. If you start digging you will find patterns that repeat themselves. I expanded my research to include healing in general to help see the larger picture. I haven’t just researched cancer, I’ve also researched nutrition, sleep, placebo effect, and psychology. This is not an exhaustive list, only a sampling to give you some ideas. Future articles will provide more information into my discoveries.

Cancer is a very personal disease and I would never tell someone what to do to heal themselves, but I do believe that each case is unique and what will heal one may not heal another. There is not one cure for cancer, there are many. You have to find what works best for you.

Most importantly I want you to know that I’m here and every day I’m stronger. I’ve done this by choosing my own path and not letting the fear overcome me. I don’t focus on what ails me, instead I focus on healing. I don’t limit myself and I certain don’t believe that I can’t heal from cancer. It’s taken a year to regain my confidence, yet I know I am stronger for it.

My message to the world – let’s change. All it takes is our mindset. We are what is limiting us.

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