While the surgery went smoothly, I woke up with two parts I didn’t expect to still have plus a whole lot more than I expected.  Yes, there was breast cancer in my colon.  But oh that wasn’t all by a long shot.  Remember I said a colon tumor was seldom alone?  This one was no exception and its friends were especially nasty.  I also had a condition called peritoneal carcinomatosis.  This is where hundreds of thousands of tiny tumor bits, too small to show up on a scan, get embedded in the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen).  So what does this mean?  They’re itty bitty, so how bad can they be?  Well, they hide all over your abdomen, in their tininess … lurking, plotting, subtly growing and spreading.  Still too small to be seen on a scan. But if they all grow just a smidge, at the same time, that can effectively bottleneck your whole abdomen and there ya go. Pretty much, curtains.  I never asked a doctor, at the time, but since then I have found out that I would’ve been lucky to last a year.

“Peritoneal carcinomatosis is the most common terminal feature of abdominal cancers. For gastrointestinal surgeons and medical oncologists, it is a vexing condition because, although the disease is limited to the peritoneal surface, complete surgical removal is impossible and systemic chemotherapy is powerless. Peritoneal carcinomatosis is generally considered to be an untreatable condition that makes clinicians abandon further aggressive treatments.” (Jpn. J. Clin. Oncol. (2001) 31 (12): 571-572 doi: 10.1093/jjco/hye141)

There really is no effective treatment for it save one and it’s a doozy.  They open you up and scrape out every bit of tumor they can see.  Then the put a catheter into your belly and fill you full of piping hot chemo and roll you back and forth in an attempt for it to slosh all through the little nooks and crannies among your intestines and all.  The surgery lasts about eight hours and you come out on a ventilator.  It’s huge and hugely invasive.  Wasn’t about to sign off on that!  So that’s pretty much all modern medicine had to offer me and I wasn’t interested.  It was time to determine if I really believed what I claimed these days.

By this time, I had decided that chemo was not a healing modality … that it was an expensive way to destroy your body.  Statistics show that, in most cases it doesn’t increase the amount of time we survive even though it does, in many cases, generate a tumor shrinkage.  But that’s really kind of like throwing water on the Wicked Witch of the West … I’m mellllltiiiiiing … except that it wears off really quickly in many cases, and the cancer progresses again, so we try another drug until we run out of options.  I wasn’t interested in this, but what other choice did I have?

So, in the true form of necessity being the mother of invention, I ran to my favorite drawing board, the internet.  You see, while I was enjoying my disease-free life (so I thought), I was also educating myself on the natural options to treat cancer.  I have mentioned the LEF protocol, but I pounded that between my c-scope and my surgery, and it didn’t seem to do much, so what now?

I found some amazing resources and communities while I was searching.  The first of which was CancerTutor. This site is listed in the Resources menu and is an incredible resource especially for those new to alternative cancer treatments.  Now how do you ascertain what is worth considering and what is a money-making attempt?  That’s always the question, isn’t it?  It’s especially difficult when you are scared out of your wits and nothing quite generates a fire under your ass like that cancer word.  So you’re willing to believe, and spend money on, almost anything.  But you have to do your homework and do it like your life depends on it.  It does, I guarantee you.

I believe that my doctor is my partner and I’m fortunate to have found an oncologist who feels the same way.  We’re a team and I’m the captain, or at least that’s what he told me last time I saw him.  I take his expertise, question it, then go home and research it.  If I find something that resonates with me, I try it and tell him about it.  He smiles and shakes his head, but he also says he can’t argue with success.  So don’t give all your power to your doctor.  Sure, it’s easy to see him as a savior of sorts … riding in on his white horse to defeat the nasty black disease.  But he’s human and the sad fact is that he is now getting a significant amount of his education not from reading and studying, but from the pharmaceutical reps.  You have to do your due diligence and take responsibility for your own health and you’ll stand a better chance of winning.  Let’s face it, no one is going to do your dying for you.  Not even your oncologist.  In fact, he probably won’t even be there when you pass. Even if you go with everything your doctor says, there’s not a thing wrong with that so long as you have done your homework and have investigated both the pros and the cons.  Then you can make an educated decision. The bottom line is there are any number of directions one can head with treatment and the choice is a very individual one.

I was extremely blessed to have family members who were supportive of my choices.  I had some friends who were not, and I lost some folks along the way because of it.  It’s a frightening and stressful path we walk … so when considering choices I always follow my peace.  Sit quietly and put yourself in the energy of whichever treatment choice is before you.  If you feel confusion and chaos with one choice, don’t go there.  You know the answers inside … you just aren’t sure you do.  Get really quiet and “feel” about these choices rather than think … you’ve already done the head part.  Now it’s time to feel it out.  And the right answer will come.  Always follow the path of peace.

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi. Ive been reading your blog for the past several hours. I was diagnosed with stage 3c ILC a few months ago, and coming to the end of my chemo treatment. Just re-visiting the web for lobular specific treatment info and came upon your blog. Just want to say thanks for this blog. It’s helpful from an emotional and practical standpoint. I appreciate you sharing your story and wish you peace. My prayers are with you. You seem like a very wise, strong woman with a fabulous sense of humor and a love of life. God bleess you.

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