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Topic: Holistic tx only--what I've done

Forum: Alternative Medicine —

This forum is a safe, judgement-free place to discuss Alternative medicine. Alternative medicine refers to treatments that are used INSTEAD of standard, evidence-based treatment. Breastcancer.org does NOT recommend or endorse alternative medicine.

Posted on: Dec 13, 2016 06:08PM

pipers_dream wrote:

I've had several people PM and want to know what I did for treatment and I've been bad about answering them but time has been in short supply so I just thought I'd put this up here. I am not calling myself a success story and in no way would my path be for everyone but some are wondering what I've done and what I'm willing to live with. Turns out I'm really comfortable with uncertainty, which I suppose is a strength and certainly one I never realized I had. Slowly in my life my personality has revealed itself little by little and I still surprise myself.

I got dx'ed mid-November 3 years ago and it was completely overwhelming to me. My husband had left me a few years before this after a very long marriage, I was a very new empty nester, and I had started not just a new job, but a new career as a special ed teacher, under very trying circumstances and after having to move to take the position. The lump was not a lump--it was a subtle rippling under the skin of my left breast and I saw it in the mirror one morning. I'm normally a procrastinator but I got right in and got it checked and it was certainly BC.

They started right away making mistakes with my tests and such. I had to miss an important scan b/c they failed to schedule it in line with when my period was due. One male doc told me lumpectomy but the more competent woman surgeon in St. Louis marched in and said grandly, "Off with the boobs!" Well she said something like that. I went ahead and scheduled it for January of 2014, but the more I thought about chemo and radiation, the more reluctant I felt and of course I was googling like crazy and reading many books.

I wanted to do holistic but wasn't even sure where to start. Thought I'd start with detox but much of what I read said don't do it if you still have metal fillings so I made an appointment with a holistic doc in St. Louis, 2-½ hours from home. The appt was on Monday and the surgery was scheduled for Friday of the same week. The doc took a look at me and told me I didn't look too bad and suggested that if I were willing to postpone the surgery, he figured he could help me knock it down to a lumpectomy, or possibly no surgery at all. The idea of canceling a major surgery was really scary b/c what if they got mad and refused to treat me after that. I decided to go ahead and do it anyway and immediately felt like a huge weight was lifted off my soul--I was very peaceful about my decision. By this time I had been on the ketogenic diet for 2 weeks and the cancer seemed to have stopped growing. I had felt it grow before--now it had stopped and all it took was to get the sugars out. I might add that I'd had a terrible sugar addiction all my life so I wasn't terribly surprised by this.

At this point I'm going to stop and tell you all why my reluctance to do conventional care. The first and most obvious one was the fact that I've always been a wannabe hippie. I was 5 years too late for the real fun, so I thought, but had always fooled about with herbs and making my own salves and herb teas and such and I actually think this is fun. The other reason was darker--only a year before as I was going thru mom's stuff after she died, I found pix of her aunt who had died of BC. She had a rare reaction to the chemo they used and was burned from the inside out. The pictures were horrific and I remembered some of the things they used to whisper about the case when she was dying--I wouldn't wish such a fate on Hitler. I knew that I wasn't going to do that. Some have pointed out that cancer meds have changed a lot in the last 25 years but when the MO gave me a list of what he wanted to use, that one was on the list. I knew it was a rare side effect but we were related.

So I will stop here and resume in another post b/c this one is getting really long. BRB.
Breast cancer should not be something to fear but rather a call to go deeper in this journey called life. Dx 11/14/2013, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 28, 2020 11:20AM ElaineTherese wrote:

Yes, it certainly does feel good to just cut loose sometimes! Wishing you many pain-free days ahead.

DX IDC June 28, 2014, 5 cm., 1 node tested positive (fine needle biopsy); 0/20 after neoadjuvant chemo + ALND; Grade 3; ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjuvant chemotherapy starting 7/23/14 ACX 4, Taxol X 12, Perjeta X 4; Herceptin: one year Chemotherapy 7/23/2014 AC Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/17/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 1/12/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 2/25/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 3/9/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jun 28, 2020 09:14PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Good to hear from you but wish the scans had been different. You have a very sensible attitude and one that will make the time to come easier. Just do what you to do to keep your pain in check.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 24, 2020 09:33PM pipers_dream wrote:

Reporting back in and wow do I have a crazy story. I kind of feel like an idiot but in a good way. The truth is, that after the first couple of months past my dx, seven years ago, I stopped reading up on conventional tx plans and focused exclusively on alternative methods of healing because I simply couldn’t face the idea of chemo, surgery, or radiation. Yes, I’m a coward and I can finally admit that.

After I got settled in here at my place, my friend talked me into getting the scans and that naturally led to me seeing an oncologist, though I figured it was too late and I was going down fast...weird debilitating backaches and full days in bed sometimes, though I’d been hiking five or more miles a day just months before. I figured it was just a matter of months for me if not weeks but the oncologist laughed at me and said, “nobody dies from bone cancer! You’ve got years if you listen to me.” He said that my alternative plan must’ve worked out well because it’s highly unusual for anyone to make it to seven years without conventional tx, and he just wanted to put me on letrozole and we’d see how it goes. I said yes and got on the pills and never missed a dose and the tumors began to quickly shrink and my energy came back in a week and next thing you know I’m out working in the garden and became a fanatic and I’m taking a master gardener class and helping a neighbor with hers too because I can’t get enough! From death into life...the garden is a true metaphor.

Ive been on the letrozole for about 2-1/2 months and saw the oncologist the other day and he was absolutely thrilled and said there must be something good going on with my immune system and maybe it’s the alternative and I’m thinking it’s the metformin and statin I added to the mix, along with some other supplements I take. I’m just really glad he is open to this, though I figure he’s got my number and figures if he doesn’t encourage me in this that he’ll lose a customer. And the craziest part? I have more energy now than I had twenty years ago, though that may be due to the fact that I struggled for so long to keep my iron levels up.

However, please pray for me in this if you are so inclined....I’m really struggling with the sugar addiction and it’s a full on eating disorder due to the fact that I can’t stop once I’ve started and I was doing so well with that for years but gradually I just kept sneaking little treats and it got to be more and more. My tumors are still shrinking but that may stop if I don’t get a handle on this.

Breast cancer should not be something to fear but rather a call to go deeper in this journey called life. Dx 11/14/2013, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 25, 2020 01:23AM Cowgirl13 wrote:

pipers, it's so nice to hear from you and good to know that your health is returning. Take care.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the Devil says: 'Oh crap! She's up! Dx 5/28/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 6/18/2009 Chemotherapy 8/3/2009 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/21/2009 Hormonal Therapy 2/23/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 25, 2020 05:28AM Jelson wrote:

pipers_dream-

been following your posts for years. so very glad that you are thriving after feeling so poorly just months ago. you have fought and won other battles, you will kick sugar to the curb.


Dx 4/17/2009, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Sep 25, 2020 07:52AM brigid_TO wrote:

That's a great report back pipers! I'm glad to hear you are feeling better and out in the garden doing what you love. Don't be too hard on yourself with the sugar-it will happen.

Dx 11/2016, DCISM, >3cm DCIS, .1cm IDC, Grade 2, ER+, Lumpectomy 11/2016 Whole Breast Radiation Hypofractionated 12/2016 start Tamoxifen 3/2017 end 6/2017
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Sep 25, 2020 08:39AM pipers_dream wrote:

Thank you Cowgirl, Jelson, and Ingrid for your kind words. Yes, I can beat this addiction but I do know one thing and that’s that I don’t judge other people for having addictions either, whether they may be alcohol or gambling or even heroin. Life is hard and we all deal with it the best we can.

I forgot to tell you all the best part. Almost exactly one month after I got the good news and was feeling much better, the love of my life reached out to see if I’m still single and I am. He is still married, only separated, and lives five hours away so we are not dating, but we’ve sure had some great phone conversations and we are both hopeful that we will end up together one day. How’s that for a turnaround? I’ve been single for almost 12 years and not always happily so I’m very excited as he’s the one I’ve always loved the best. Maybe the sun moon and stars are finally beginning to align. Fingers crossed.

Breast cancer should not be something to fear but rather a call to go deeper in this journey called life. Dx 11/14/2013, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 25, 2020 09:27AM ElaineTherese wrote:

pipers_dream,

What awesome news about your improving health and your gardening! Yes, addictions are challenging, no matter what the substance. We all have weaknesses for some things/behaviors that aren't good for us, so yes, no need to judge anyone. Hope you continue to have great conversations with the love of your life, and who knows? maybe something more!

DX IDC June 28, 2014, 5 cm., 1 node tested positive (fine needle biopsy); 0/20 after neoadjuvant chemo + ALND; Grade 3; ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjuvant chemotherapy starting 7/23/14 ACX 4, Taxol X 12, Perjeta X 4; Herceptin: one year Chemotherapy 7/23/2014 AC Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/17/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 1/12/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 2/25/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 3/9/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 25, 2020 09:32AM exbrnxgrl wrote:

I was so happy to read your update on both the medical and personal fronts. I have a solitary bone met and have been on one of the AI’s or another as my only tx for 9 years and remain NEAD. I have never done IV chemo though I did have rads to the bone met. It’s amazing what one tiny pill can do. Stay well and happy

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 25, 2020 10:09AM everythingwillbefine wrote:

piper! I read through this thread and so impressed about your frankness and braveness. I am so happy to hear your improved health and the love story too. You are such an amazing lady! I admire your courage of trying the alternative route. I think at this time combining the conventional treatment and the alternative would give you the best outcome! I hope that you will continue down this path and continue improving and I like to hear from you 30 years from now reporting you are over 90 and still doing great! :

Dx 7/7/2020, LCIS, Right Dx 7/14/2020, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 7/30/2020 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 7/30/2020 Mastectomy: Left Dx 8/6/2020, LCIS, Right Dx 8/6/2020, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 25, 2020 07:52PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Piper,

I should mention that I have bone mets only. Not bone cancer, but bc that has metastasized to the bones. I have lead a virtually normal life for 9 years without progression. I have used only conventional txbut lead a healthy, though not rigid or compulsive, lifestyle. While I can understand that this could change in a heartbeat, there is reason for optimism. I can honestly say that 9 years ago there were very few on this forum who had survived so long. Now? Not as many as I would wish but definitely more of us.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 30, 2020 10:23AM pipers_dream wrote:

oh I so appreciate the support of you lovely ladies....it means a lot. And yes everythingwillbefine, I actually do believe that a combination of alternative and conventional is probably the best way for most of us, and the least we should do is fix our diet if it needs fixing and work out methods to deal with stress and past trauma. And yes exbrnxgirl, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be compulse either because that is so difficult to maintain.

I think I mentioned it on here before, but one of the things I did that really helped was to write a very long letter to my father and it was filled with rage and then I burned it and all that rage that was bottled up is just gone and I can remember the things I loved best about him. Honestly he wasn’t that bad of a man but he emotionally abandoned me when I was a young teen and it took me a long time to realize how harmful that was. I felt light as a feather after that letter was burned, and incidentally, it was Qi gong class that stirred all that up so I could get it out

It’s also occurred to me that I can write a similar letter to nonhuman issues I’m struggling with, like the sugar addiction, but I haven’t done that yet. I’ll get back with you all if I do.

Breast cancer should not be something to fear but rather a call to go deeper in this journey called life. Dx 11/14/2013, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 1, 2020 12:15AM 2019whatayear wrote:

Thank you for taking time to update I’m so happy you are feeling so much better !

IDC 2 cm micromets 1 node 8 more removed. BMX 6/24, A/C then Taxol 7/25, 25 rads 1/6/2020 No reconstruction BRCA2 - BSO 2/19 all clear/ starting AI on 3/1/2020

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