Friday, March 13, 2015

I figured out what I have.

Well, the next chapter in my odyssey began with me visiting my General Practitoner who I like and respect very much. I had looked up all of the tests they had done on my tumor and figured out what information each one gave, which was mostly what kind of cancer I didn't have. I asked my doctor about "cancer of unknown origin" and she gave me a printout of current articles about it. Luckily for me, she also "picked up" on a word in my diagnosis that I had mostly ignored. The diagnosis read "Adenocarcinoma Carcinoma of the Breast with Apocrine Features". She looked up the word apocrine and helped me determine that it basically meant cells you would find in sweat glands.
This was key in me figuring out that I did not have a cancer of unknown origin, which gave prognoses of 6-12 months for the most part.
When I finally looked up Apocrine Adenocarcinoma of the Breast, I found that there were a number of characteristics to be glad about. According to peer-reviewed articles I read, this type of cancer only occurs in 1-4% of breast cancers, it is thought to be unlikely to metastasize, and also unlikely to recur. It appears to start as DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ, meaning contained entirely in a milk duct, then is taken on by apocrine cells and slowly grows from there. Unfortunately there wasn't a lot of data because it is so rare.
When I saw a surgeon the following week, he confirmed this for me, ordered an MRI of both breasts, and then said if nothing further showed up on the MRI, he would do a lumpectomy and remove the sentinel lymph node (the one closest to that breast), then send me to an oncologist.
So I now knew I didn't have something horrible that would kill me very soon. So what next? Next for me was to consult everyone I knew and respected who I thought could advise me on what to do to get better.
One of these people, a healer I have known and trusted for many years, advised me to contact the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta. After perusing their website I called the director to find out about going to visit them on one of their free days to learn about what they offer. She helped me decide that I should come to their very next 10 day program before having surgery or any other treatment.
At this same time, after looking around at hospitals and what they offered, I became intrigued by Cancer Treatment Center of America in Newnan, Ga. Besides having doctors with most incredible bios, they also offered alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, naturopathy, etc...
I made plans to go there to be evaluated as soon as my 10 day program in Atlanta was over.
I must say one more thing about my journey at this time. Although I know a lot about nutrition, exercise, and health in general, I had not been taking care of myself. I drank alcohol nearly every night, was eating way too much rich food, and was worrying about those things as well as the weight I had gained because of living my life that way.
My husband and I went on an overnight trip to Savannah the weekend after I got the diagnosis. That night in Savannah, February 15, I had the last alcohol I would consume until I am well. I also ate the last meat (seafood) or cooked food I would eat for a very long time.

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