After meeting with another oncologist at Georgetown Medical Center in DC, Dr. Isaacs, and speaking with a medical oncologist at Dana Farber, Nancy Lin, MD., it was decided that because I have triple positive breast cancer, ie estrogen positive, progesterone positive, HER2 posiitve, with a tumor over 2cm in size (exact size unknown as the plastic surgeon excised some of it so this is based on what is left) that my best course of action is neoadjuvent chemo treatment, 6 cycles, spaced 3 weeks apart. This cocktail consists of TCHP – Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin, and Perjeta. After this, I will have surgery to remove everything, including lymph nodes, and see if the regimen worked. If it did then I will continue with just the Herceptin for the remainder of the year. If it did not, they will then switch me to TDM1 which is a chemo combined with the Herceptin to directly target the HER2 cells.
This all was a huge source of contention for me. Knowing what I know about chemo, following documentaries like TTAC and Chris Beat Cancer, I really wanted to consider going naturally. What does that entail? I am not completely sure. There is the Gerson Therapy, there is Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, there is the Budwig Diet, and so many more. There are combos of Vitamin C IV infusions, Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers, Coffee Enemas (though I am seeing arguments against this), Infrared Saunas, drinking tons of carrot juice, and more that I am still unsure of. The expense and keeping up with all of it makes it all not feasible since most insurance won’t cover natural treatment. I know someone who went to the Hope 4 Cancer to treat Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Though she fully believes it is working, the cost is astronomical. I believe it costs about $47,000 for 3 weeks. Then you have to keep up with the treatments at home, on your own. She is gearing up for her second return but it looks like she will need another $20,000. We think Big Pharma is expensive?! Natural treatments are not any less. The price we have to pay for our health is unfair.
Regarding the effects of natural treatment, most the stories I have read are anecdotal, no scientific proof. Some argue for Keto Diets while others state that actually makes cancer grow, I have seen research on both through the NIH where the Keto starving the tumors was based on a 5 week study, longer term studies showed that the cancer cells adapted, like they are so good at doing, and began feeding off the ketones after 5 weeks. I already eat sugar free (for the most part), gluten free, and am an ovo-vegan. I have removed my inflammatory foods, so I am not sure if the natural methods will even work. I know this way of life has really helped me keep the cancer at bay for a much longer period of time then expected, but stress…..that’s a whole new area for me to tackle and not easily controlled. I am just grateful that I am so in tune with my body that I am able to know when something is not right and am able to trust in that instinct to get the answers, even though they are not always what I want to hear. So though I really wanted to try natural, it is not feasible and it scared my family, not trusting in it and believing in the science. I decided that since it was all way too controversial, I would try the chemo but support it as naturally as I can.