Warning: this post is long and it may seem like I'm saying a bunch of jibberish, but I just had to write down all of my thoughts. Has anyone shared a similar experience/feeling to mine?
A little bit about myself: I am Chinese-American, so growing up, my mom has been a huge proponent of Eastern medicine (not very trusting of Western medicine, or maybe just not as familiar? not sure). I'm also kind of a millennial health freak... I buy organic produce, love eating salads, I don't eat fast food (except in-n-out occasionally, heh, hard to turn down), I don't eat burnt foods, turned pescatarian a few years ago, I only take aspirin if I absolutely have to, etc...I'm a total health nut (except when chips and fries are in front of me, but I try to not buy them for myself, hahaha)
However, I still believe Eastern medicine can have it's place. I mean, most drugs are made from plants and herbs. But....I think dried up seahorses and bear bile are really out there and crazy.
So to summarize: I kind of believe in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but I am still skeptical of it
Anyways, onto my BC story...
Back in mid-Nov, my breasts started hurting, just like they would hurt during my menstrual cycle, but it was persistent for two months. Also, I felt a noticeable lump, maybe the size of a pea. After the holidays, I called in to get it checked out.
1/23 - I went to see an OBGYN
2/9 - Went to the Breast Care Clinic and they did a fine needle biopsy
2/16 - Went back to get Ultrasound & Mammogram. They confirmed that it looked cancerous. Did a core needle biopsy
2/28 - Met with Plastic Surgeon and General Surgeon, scheduled surgery for end of April.
The reason why the surgery was schedule for the end of April was because when I told my mom about my cancer, she said she knew this guy in CHINA who uses acupuncture and other TCM, and HAS HELPED PEOPLE CURE THEIR CANCER. Of course....I'm skeptical because this is of course CANCER and not just a muscle ache or anything. But at the same time, I kind of want to believe that it will help. Long story short, I expedited my renewing my passport and was just approved for my visa. I'm leaving on Tuesday for a month. I feel like a crazy person chasing after a "non-evidence based" treatment, but I feel like I owe it to myself as a "health-nut, all natural person" to try it before I decide on surgery.
The thought of surgery and having to go through hormone pills (at the minimum, might be radiation, or chemo) freaked me out. The hormone pills are recommended for 5 years and it'll effect fertility. I mean, I'm 29! The thought of taking hormone pills scares me because I don't even take birth control. I'm not ok with having all these unnatural chemicals and procedures done on my body without trying something else first. Still...as an educated person who understands the importance of clinical studies, I can't help but want to find something else even though the standard practice (surgery, hormone pills) is effective.
In the meantime, I've been eating lots of ginger, garlic, turmeric (with oil and black pepper), cruciferous veggies, and reading about other alternative treatments. I've been on so many blogs about how people have cured their own cancers. But being the skeptic I am, I look for holes in their stories, or I google a person's name with the word "hoax." A lot of times I find that people's stories are not what I'm looking for. Many people with blogs who have "cured" their cancer, get surgery, but decline chemo or radiation. However, they didn't cure their cancer, their surgeon did when they cut it out. And their surgeon did such a good job that they took it all out and didn't have residual cancer cells that chemo or radiation would have killed. So I started to look for more "science-based" treatments that were not standard practice.
I found two alternative treatments that has been tested by "Western Medicine" and I found hyperthermia and HIFU. I bought these heatpacks to put on my breast to see if it would help (doc. said I could keep doing it but doesn't think it would help.) HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound) seemed REALLY promising. It's FDA approved for prostate cancer, and it could be a replacement for surgery. However, when I spoke to a really renowned breast cancer surgeon (who I was able to make contact w/ due to a surprising connection from someone at work) about HIFU, she didn't seem to enthusiastic about it because the effectiveness rate of HIFU was just not as effective as the standard treatment.
Feeling disappointed about not having much support about hyperthermia and HIFU, I decided to look into how acupuncture and TCM could help with cancer and it's making me want to believe that it could help. So apparently, the guy my mom wants me to see is trying to strengthen my immune system so that my immune system fights off the cancer itself. They say everyone has pre-cancer and cancer cells in their body and the immune system is constantly fighting them and the ones that develop cancer have weaker immune systems. Later on, I read about cases were cancers spontaneously disappear on their own. These are called "miracles," but....they don't miraculously disappear...the immune system definitely played a role. So those were all my thoughts as I was trying to rationalize going to China for a treatment that I'm so skeptical about. It totally makes sense to me....
I don't know...I feel crazy, but I also feel hopeful. Oh I also need to add in that my mom is a massage therapist who studies various massage practices such as acupressure points and meridian flows, stuff like that. She had this one client back in 2009 who was diabetic for 12 years, had to take a bunch of pills daily and needed a cane to walk. My mom massage her twice a week for 2 months and the client lost weight, didn't need to take medication anymore, and no longer needed her cane. It was shocking that her massages were so helpful. My mom says even TCM doctors don't believe her, but I've seen it, I met this lady a couple of times. So I know that methods that aren't "standard" can be successful. I guess that's what I'm hoping for when going to China.
Also, in these last few days, my lump has been harder and harder to find...it kind of seems like it's smaller, but I'm not trying to get my hopes up. After China, I'm going to come back, get a check up and decide if I move on with my surgery appointment.
I just felt like I needed to document my true and honest story on trying a treatment that isn't considered "standard care." I'm not selling anything like any of those blogs you read. I just needed to write down my entire thought process in these last few weeks. I feel like if it's not successful, then people need to know. But if it is successful...then...oh my god....
2/9/2018, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+
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