By Marsha Green
It is that event that women look forward to every year. I need to go for my mammogram. You know where your breasts are squeezed to where you wince. I made my appointment at my convenience in September, 2007. I was working as an outside agency counselor with middle school and high school students teaching prevention and intervention for alcohol and drug education. I had some stress at work, but all in all it was a relatively rewarding career with lots of interesting experiences working with youth. I get the mammogram and notice that the mammography technician wants to take just a few more angles. I personally think nothing of it because to me it is routine. After all, I had worked for doctors in the past. My story begins.
A few days later I was called to receive the results from my doctor. He wanted me to get an ultrasound, as there was something suspicious in my left breast. I knew I had fibrocystic breast disease for years and had had an ultrasound in the past which did not show anything suspicious. So again, I went for the ultrasound. The doctor called me to come into his office. I knew what that meant. Just as I suspected, he told me that I had an area that needed to be biopsied. I had a friend who had that procedure and it was always negative.
I had the area biopsied. The result was that I had Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS). This is the earliest form of breast cancer. It is noninvasive meaning it has not spread out of the milk duct to invade other parts of the breast. I did not panic because I was doing spiritual work; meditation for 3-4 years and involved in martial arts training. “I can beat this!” I made some decisions and thought about it long and hard. My maternal grandmother whom I loved dearly had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and who knows what other treatment in the 1950’s. She lived to be 91 years old and never had a problem again, that is except for wearing the padded bra to make her look balanced. I remember she did exercises after surgery by walking her fingers up the wall so she maintained mobility.
My stepdaughter’s grandmother had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Her family found a doctor in Vancouver, Canada who had a special diet that would reverse cancer and it was working for Grammie. After doing extensive research, I knew I did not need to rush into a decision. “Great, I won’t rush! I did the diet for three months diligently. I figured at best it would help and at the worst it would not do anything harmful. I do not know if it helped.
After three months, I went to the oncologist that someone I knew recommended to see what was next. I also went to my nutritionist at the time who said my body was too acidic and needed to be alkaline, because cancer does not live in an alkaline environment. “Great, again!”
The oncologist gave me the option to have a mastectomy or a lumpectomy with radiation. He said with DCIS it is in early stages but when it breaks though the wall of the cell it can become metastatic cancer. I kept doing research.
Of course, we did not know if it penetrated the lymph nodes. So many unknowns! Consequently, I went for a second opinion to another highly recommended doctor. She gave me basically the same options. So now it was decision time! My choice was to have the lumpectomy and yet I was not keen on the radiation. The surgery was scheduled for January of 2008. In the meantime, I was escorted by my boyfriend, a holistic practioner, a psychotherapist and nutritionist, and my daughter who was totally medically oriented with fears about the holistic approach.
I had a Master Teacher from whom I learned advanced meditation, esoteric work, and martial arts. I had been his student for four years. He did energy medicine healing work also. I decided to go to him for a healing session. As he was doing the energy medicine healing work, I had my eyes closed. When I opened my eyes, I saw him texting on his phone and not working on me. How absurd I thought and I was very troubled by this action. I was a loyal student and did not say a word because, “You do not question the Master.” Disappointed, I left. It took a long time to process his inattention and over the years realized even Masters are human. I realize now that I could have broken the rule and asserted my disappointment, even if it came out angry. Did the healing work? I will never know? As I lost respect for him, I dropped out of his group after 6 years of study.
Next I went to an Ayuvedic doctor who was an Oncologist that worked at the famous hospital where I had the surgery. He stopped working there because they would not allow him to do his practices. I knew that was the doctor for me. I had known him personally too. He did the Ayurveda analysis and recommend dietary changes for my body type which changed my lifestyle. I was allowed certain food and not others. I started doing Yoga. I went into it full force and have never looked back. I am grateful for the changes he recommended.
After the surgery, I was home for the weekend. I went back to work that Monday and did well. I continued to change my lifestyle, to do visualization, meditation, and forgiveness work. I changed my diet, no sugar, no junk, just clean, organic food, relaxation, and walking. At some point, I realized the cancer was gone.
I went back to the Oncology Surgeon for a follow-up after seeing the Radiation Doctor who had told me the side effects possible were heart or lung problems. “Red Flags.” She expected me to schedule the radiation immediately. I told her I was going to think about it! She told me that I could have a poor outcome if I do not do the radiation. With the support of my boyfriend and daughter I told the surgeon that I DID NOT GET THE RADIATION. He turned beet red and began to shake. He raised his voice and what I heard was, “If I knew that you were not going to do radiation I would have removed your breast.” I was stunned at his abuse. I thought it was my body. My boyfriend was calm in front of me and understood how the medical community can be rigid. My daughter did not understand my choice, as she was afraid to lose her Mom. The doctor said my lymph nodes were clear and could not tell me how many were removed. It was confirmed that it was DCIS. I left there shaken. I did not return to see the surgeon again.
I am cancer free and healed for 8 years now. I get yearly thermography scans now, that use heat to view the body. I will not get another mammogram because it uses radiation and I feel I need to avoid any unnecessary radiation.
I dedicate this to all the survivors, the people who did not survive and to Sally T. a dear friend who battled breast cancer with every method possible and it metastasized to her brain. I spoke at her funeral about the good times. I miss her dearly.
Marsha Green. You may contact Marsha at: email@example.com