It's CANCER post #19 What was your exp w/ breast biopsy/cancer treatment? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 86 Old 06-04-2009, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Update #79
Please see post #19 - I'm not needing biopsy info anymore, but thanks!


I recently found a lump in my breast, had an ultrasound and mamogram today and found out that the lump is suspicious and needs biopsied asap. So I'm starting to research the pros and cons and alternatives to biopsies and cancer treatment and thought maybe someone here might have some insight.

Things I'm wondering about:
Is there a non-invasive alternative to biopsy?
Is there a danger of cancer spreading w/ the needle biopsy method?
Is there a database of doctors that are open to trying alternatives to the normal cancer treatment?
Are there any good websites or books I should be checking out?
Is there something you wish you had known or done differently?

Thanks in advance for any insight anyone might have. This is quite shocking for me since I'm pretty healthy and avoid processed foods and putting chemicals on and in my body. And I know my doc is not going to be open to alternative treatment and will probably not be able to refer me to someone who is. And I'm worried I won't be able to stand up to a doc who would think I was crazy for passing up chemo and radiation, so I'm trying to arm myself w/ info now! Thanks again!
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#2 of 86 Old 06-04-2009, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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bumping...
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#3 of 86 Old 06-04-2009, 11:35 PM
 
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I'm sorry about the news. I'm sure it's stressful, even with hope for alternative treatment. But there is hope - lots of it.

My MIL had a lump - they found it about 9 months ago. It was found through palpation and a follow-up mammogram. It was measured at that time at .8cm or so. It was biopsied (she regrets that, I believe) and came back malignant. She chose an alternate path. She did a raw-foods cleansing cure. It was rigorous. She was previously overweight - maybe a size 18? Now she's a size four. The tumor is still there, but based on thermography it is no longer active. She's had many, many blood tests for cancer activity and they are all resoundingly negative. And she feels better than she has in YEARS. She joked that for having cancer, she sure did feel incredibly healthy.

She got TONS and TONS of very intense pressure from even alternative-leaning docs who promised they'd be as supportive as possible. When she stayed away from them, she felt better (emotionally). It seemed every time she had an interaction with them it left her really upset and drained and way down in the dumps.

She did the Gerson method, I think. I know she did a lot of reading - tons of it. So she may have incorporated some other things. But I think the fundamentals were from Gerson. And she was strict. Religious about it. (She's an Adventist, so that's not an exaggeration.)

She regrets the biopsy because of the potential for spreading the cancer cells. They poked her MANY MANY times trying to get a good sample. She refuses more mammograms. She's insisted on ultrasounds. And this last time paid for a thermography out of pocket.

She didn't have a lumpectomy or any surgery. No chemo, which she firmly believes doesn't give her any better odds of beating the cancer, and in fact does a great deal of harm. She really got a lot of flak for these two decisions.

I hope this helps you in some way. People who take on their own care often don't get followed through the medical system and I think their stories get lost. I'm glad to have a positive one to share.

(Oh, and have you heard about the study that followed people with breast cancer that seems to indicate that there are a certain percentage that take care of themselves entirely on their own - without treatment? I can't remember the details. If you want I can ask my DP for more information. He came across it while trying to understand what his mom was dealing with. It was a study by a major medical institution in Europe. I don't recall it having a shady background. I tend to be a skeptic. So I look for things like that.)

Let me know if you have any questions about what MIL did. I can try to find out for you.

Best wishes ~
Ann
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#4 of 86 Old 06-05-2009, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Ann! This helps a lot and quiets my mind a bit! I'm going to talk to my chiropractor and my D.O. tomorrow before I decide on the biopsy. They're both really helpful when it comes to doing things in the least invasive way. I'm just afraid I won't be able to stand up to the pressure that I know I'm gonna get from docs. Now I'm off to google the Gerson Method. Thanks so much for responding!
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#5 of 86 Old 06-05-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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I can't help you with how to choose treatment, if needed, but I have had a biopsy and I can say it wasn't too invasive (if you're doing a needle one) and it really didn't hurt too bad.

You'll lay down, they'll find it with an ultrasound and then they should inject a numbing medicine in it. They'll put the needle in, you'll hear a loud click and then it is done. I think you might have a little bleeding...but not too bad.

I hope you find the answers you are looking for. I'll be thinking of you-- this is a scary time!

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#6 of 86 Old 06-05-2009, 09:47 AM
 
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Sending hugs and good vibes.
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#7 of 86 Old 06-05-2009, 11:25 AM
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Also keep in mind that there are false positives.........hopefully your biopsy will be normal!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#8 of 86 Old 06-05-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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I'm so sorry you are dealing with this and I hope it turns out to be nothing.

I'm a four year breast cancer survivor. When I was dx'd, I researched alternative treatments, because I ,too, was worried about chemo and radiation. I found no good, solid, scientifically controlled studies to back any alternative therapy. I ended up doing 8 rounds of chemo, a lumpectomy, radiation, a year of Herceptin, two years of Tamoxifen and am now on Femara. The treatment sucked, but it was doable. I worked full time and had two small children and was able to manage. I'd be glad to answer any questions. I found the forums at breastcancer.org to be very helpful.
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#9 of 86 Old 06-05-2009, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your input and well-wishes! I appreciate hearing everyone's experience, even if it's not alternative. The more I think about it, I'm not anti-chemo, anti-radiation. I'm just wondering what other option are out there.

And I'm not really afraid of the biopsy, or cancer itself, or any of the treatment. I'm not even afraid of death. I'm terrified though, and so royally pissed off, at the thought of possibly not being able to see my boys grow up. I know cancer isn't the death sentence it used to be, but still...I can't help going there.

I'm scheduled for a consultation on Tuesday with the biopsy possibly on Wednesday. I talked to my OBGYN today and asked what made the lump suspicious. She said there's actually TWO masses of irregular shape with polymorphic calcifications. Whatever that means, it doesn't [I]sound[I] good and it didn't make me feel real good!

Please just keep sending good vibes and survivors please keep sending your stories. Thank you!!!
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#10 of 86 Old 06-05-2009, 05:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by abomgardner417 View Post
And I'm not really afraid of the biopsy, or cancer itself, or any of the treatment. I'm not even afraid of death. I'm terrified though, and so royally pissed off, at the thought of possibly not being able to see my boys grow up. I know cancer isn't the death sentence it used to be, but still...I can't help going there.

I'm scheduled for a consultation on Tuesday with the biopsy possibly on Wednesday. I talked to my OBGYN today and asked what made the lump suspicious. She said there's actually TWO masses of irregular shape with polymorphic calcifications. Whatever that means, it doesn't [I]sound[I] good and it didn't make me feel real good!

Please just keep sending good vibes and survivors please keep sending your stories. Thank you!!!
That, to me, was it in a nutshell. I have two small daughters who came to us through adoption. They'd already lost one family and I'll be damned if they'll lose another. They need their mother and I was willing to do whatever had to be done to stick around for them. If I'd found good, solid, scientifically based evidence to back alternative therapies, I'd have considered them more seriously. In the absense of any other hard data, I'll go with what's been scientifically studied.

The biopsy isn't that big a deal, but it needs to be done one way or another. Some people opt just to take the entire lump out instead of needle biopsy, but it sort of depends on where it is located and how big it is. Try not to wig out about what the Obgyn said because they don't know until they biopsy. Easier said than done, I know.
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#11 of 86 Old 06-10-2009, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks EFmom! I saw the specialist yesterday. She said she'd love nothing more than to be able to tell me it's benign, but said she likes to be up front and honest and that this doesn't look benign to her. The good part is, she said it would probably be stage 1 or even stage 0. I find her honestly a little pessimistic, but I also like knowing what I could be in for.
The biopsy was this morning and it went really well. I'm not even sore anymore. Now it's just the waiting until I get my results Friday afternoon.
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#12 of 86 Old 06-11-2009, 12:51 AM
 
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#13 of 86 Old 06-11-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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Thanks EFmom! I saw the specialist yesterday. She said she'd love nothing more than to be able to tell me it's benign, but said she likes to be up front and honest and that this doesn't look benign to her. The good part is, she said it would probably be stage 1 or even stage 0. I find her honestly a little pessimistic, but I also like knowing what I could be in for.
The biopsy was this morning and it went really well. I'm not even sore anymore. Now it's just the waiting until I get my results Friday afternoon.
I'm really surprised that she is speculating without the biopsy results. They also can't stage breast cancer until they've done a sentinel node biopsy to see if it has spread to the nodes. I almost had to plead with the docs to say the C-word because they were all dancing around it, I could see it in their faces, but they wouldn't say it for the longest time.

But for her to have said what she did, the suspicious area must be very, very small. Stage 0 or 1 would be terrific, if it were possible to use cancer and terrific in the same sentence.

I'll be thinking of you. The waiting is the absolute pits.
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#14 of 86 Old 06-11-2009, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I almost had to plead with the docs to say the C-word because they were all dancing around it, I could see it in their faces, but they wouldn't say it for the longest time.
That's funny cause she said it pretty much right off the bat. Something to the effect of 'I like to be upfront and honest and this doesn't look real great so I'm gonna use the C-word here'. I was kinda surprised that she would even speculate as well, but I spoke with a lot of people who said she's the best in the area, so maybe she knows her stuff?

I just hope I'm not getting too excited to see a stage 1 and have it be something more. Fingers crossed!

Thanks so much for the positive thoughts!
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#15 of 86 Old 06-11-2009, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pat
Pat, your siggy is coming in handy right now! Every night as I fall asleep, or when I'm feeling unsure about all this I repeat "My body is healthy, it heals itself, thank you (God, Universe, whoever) for this healing."
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#16 of 86 Old 06-12-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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I am sending peaceful thoughts your way. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow as you wait for results.

~~Blessings~~
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#17 of 86 Old 06-12-2009, 02:18 AM
 
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I found a tiny lump in my breast 11 years ago. I was 25 at the time; I was referred to a general surgeon who said to just watch it. I chose to have it removed because he was able to remove it relatively quickly in an outpatient setting. The results came back benign and indicative of fibrocystic disease.

Best of luck; what looks "bad" doesn't always turn out that way! With what you described, I would have had the biopsy too. What is going to be tough for me to decide is what to do if when I have that mammogram the surgeon has suggested, they see something. From what I understand, they often do but 80% of the time, it is nothing. I'll probably go through it anyway, for the exact reasons you described. My fear, like yours, in a situation like this would be primarily family oriented.

Breast cancer is highly treatable now though especially at stage 0 or 1.

Me (37) ~ DH (39) ~ DS (3) ~ TTC #2 since 4/10
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#18 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 03:47 AM
 
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Was thinking about you...any word yet?

At least she was trying to be honest. I kind of hate when people say "I'm sure it is nothing."

Putting in the good vibes.......

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#19 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, it's not good news. It's cancer and it's stage 1 with a grade 3 tumor. But they still have lots of other tests to do, a cat scan, mri, bone scan to make sure it's not spread to my lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Apparently, since I'm so young and there's no history in my family they're concerned that I may have a genetic mutation that could cause breast cancer again or ovarian cancer so we're waiting on results of the genetic test and all my scans next week before we proceed, but the plan is chemo after July 1st.

Obviously I'm not real thrilled about this. I was really expecting it to be as easy as a lumpectomy and some radiation, maybe some drugs for a few years. So I was really upset when she started showing me the port for chemo. Before I knew it, I was told it was malignant, the nurse breezed in (well, not really, she did hug me a long long time) and gave me the genetic test, and I was whisked over to the oncologists office to set up all my appts next week. They're just moving so fast.

I've got appointments with an MD that now does only holistic cancer care and a phone consult with an ND, just to kinda get some opinions or some guidance for what I can start doing now to boost my immune system, change my diet, etc. I've decided that I'll probably do a combo of conventional and alternative treatments. The thought of that crummy port under my skin blowing chemicals directly at my heart just turns my stomach. It goes against everthing I believe in. On the other hand, I can't leave my babies and I'll do whatever it takes to make sure I'm here with them.

Yesterday I was a mess, couldn't stop thinking that I might die. But today I'm a little better, feeling a little more positive, but mainly just trying not to think about it. I've been with family and friends most of the day so that helps.

I know this is so shallow, but I can't help grieving about my hair. I just keep thinking I'm not gonna have hair for my sister's wedding. I don't want to be bald (but I also don't want to be dead!), I don't want people to look at me, I don't want to be ugly, I don't want my kids to be scared of me.

EFmom, how do I cope w/ that, will I ever get over it, how long will it be before my hair starts falling out? And can you tell me about your chemo experience?

Thanks all! Continued good vibes and prayers and thoughts will be appreciated!
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#20 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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I'm heading out for the evening. But, I'm glad to help with some research. I've just been doing research on cancer for my mom. I have some alternative sites and info I'll send along.

You are life! : Love and live, right now.


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#21 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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ETA: did they check for the MTHFR gene C677? Basically, there are nutritional deficiencies (folate specifically) which are implicated in many cancers: lung, breast, ovarian, pancreas, bowel, liver.

And do some reading about research regarding Nigella sativa, black seed oil and cancers.

Do you have a source of breastmilk? I'd start that, green juice, and raw coconut water kefir immediately.

Basically, the gut is 70-80% of the immune system. It all starts with nutrient-dense foods, effective digestion (with adequate stomach acid), absorption of nutrients (in the gut with balanced microbials), and detoxification of the chemical byproducts of foods and environmental toxins by the liver, with adequate bio-available nutrients to support the detox pathways.

I would do whole food probiotics, cod liver oil, magnesium, vit. C, zinc, coconut oil, bone broths, green juices. Support the immune system.


Gut healing: Where to start? Help 101


Post on the Swap forum and in Allergies forum for water kefir grains. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=517191



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#22 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 06:17 PM
 
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I will post some things that I have under my favorites -

http://web.archive.org/web/199601010...biopsy/p77.htm

B 17 is also found in Apple seeds.

http://web.archive.org/web/199601010...laetrile1.html

http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/

I am sure you don't use antiperspirant, right?

I wish you the best and am sending you healing vibes.
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#23 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 06:34 PM
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Big, big hugs.


This woman blogged about her breast cancer:

http://www.merelyadetour.blogspot.com/


Also, a lot of women who have breast cancer are vit. D deficient. You may want to ask your doctor about that.

I'd also ask how to stay hydrated during chemo. If you get dehydrated, it could cause migraines.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#24 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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I just saw this and couldn't help but respond....I'm sending you all the best vibes.

I just finished a nursing clinical rotation on an oncology unit, and what I can tell you is that there is so much out there now to reduce the side effects from the chemo treatment....One natural treatment for reducing the amount of hair loss is to wrap your head in an ice wrap...I guess it kind of reduces blood flow to the hair follicles. Ask your doctor about it. Lots of good things out there...I consider myself a natural momma, but when medically needed, I go for treatment.

Also, I know the port sounds so invasive, but its actually much better and safer than other entryways...

Take care of yourself too...I know it's hard as a momma to let others care for you, but you let others care for you now...

Good luck with everything...and will look out for your posts.
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#25 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 08:27 PM
 
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to you. I believe I would make the same choices you are--to take advantage of what conventional medicine offers while also supporting my body with alternative treatments.

I take coq10 as do my kids for a metabolic condition. I remember reading that it is low in breast cancer patients and may in fact assist in treatment. No controlled/double blind trials that I know of but with evidence it's something to consider at least.


Quote:
For women undergoing conventional treatment for breast cancer, CoQ10 may play an important role in improving their outcomes. In a Danish clinical trial, 32 women with breast cancer were treated with CoQ10 in conjunction with conventional cancer therapy. All 32 subjects survived for the two-year duration of the study. Six patients experienced partial tumor regression and two saw a complete remission of their cancer. CoQ10 may thus help extend survival following conventional treatment for breast cancer.1
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/...t_coq10_01.htm
Quote:
Relationships of nutrition and vitamins to the genesis and prevention of cancer are increasingly evident. In a clinical protocol, 32 patients having -"high-risk"- breast cancer were treated with antioxidants, fatty acids, and 90 mg. of CoQ10. Six of the 32 patients showed partial tumor regression. In one of these 6 cases, the dosage of CoQ10 was increased to 390 mg. In one month, the tumor was no longer palpable and in another month, mammography confirmed the absence of tumor. Encouraged, another case having a verified breast tumor, after non-radical surgery and with verified residual tumor in the tumor bed was then treated with 300 mg. CoQ10. After 3 months, the patient was in excellent clinical condition and there was no residual tumor tissue. The bioenergetic activity of CoQ10, expressed as hematological or immunological activity, may be the dominant but not the sole molecular mechanism causing the regression of breast cancer.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7908519
Doing a google scholar search of coq10 +breast cancer pulled tons of studies. So worth looking into those studies. I don't know how to link the search but I did coq10 +breast cancer in the google box and then pulled down scholar from the list of search options under the "more" section at the top.

My son's geneticist (and all that I know of that use coq10 for the treatment of metabolic conditions) only use forms by the Tischon lab which are sold here. They are absorbed so much better than other forms of coq10. http://www.epic4health.com/ http://www.epic4health.com/q20dosthyco.html This is the form I use.

I would also look into vitamin D3.

edited to add:
Oh, look at this link--lots of good information on coq10 and probably other things related to breast cancer treatments as well: http://www.breastcancerchoices.org/coq10.html
They have a vitamin D link too. http://www.breastcancerchoices.org/vitd3.html and lots of other thoughts. I wouldn't do things instead of/in place of conventional treatment personally. But as an adjunct this might be useful as a research starting point. It looks like they site a lot of research based information. And as I said above you can search medical journals yourself to back up whatever you read anywhere.

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#26 of 86 Old 06-13-2009, 09:03 PM
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And here's the Komen Foundation:

http://ww5.komen.org/IWasDiagnosed/I...astCancer.html

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#27 of 86 Old 06-14-2009, 02:26 AM
 
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I've been thinking about you since I read your post. I'm so sorry to hear that it is cancer. I'd do the same thing - conventional + alternative.

Have you had your Vitamin D levels checked or do you take supplements? I think many oncologists are finally screening and helping their patients correct Vitamin D deficiencies but if for some reason they don't do this, request it! Get your levels way up above 50. I'd shoot for 70 or more. I'd take 4,000 IU a day minimum. If you are deficient, it would probably be best to get a few high dose weekly or monthly shots and then do supplements for maintenance.

http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/n...-breast-cancer

Me (37) ~ DH (39) ~ DS (3) ~ TTC #2 since 4/10
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#28 of 86 Old 06-14-2009, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much everyone for everything - your prayers/good vibes, the wonderful links, and advice and support. I haven't had a chance to go through all the info yet. I start but then get so upset or so mad that I should even have to be researching this. I guess it's still pretty raw right now. I get through little bits at a time though and it's definitely all helpful so keep sending any info you have. I'm taking notes and writing down questions to ask the Holistic MD I see on Wednesday. I'm just glad I see him before the consult with the oncologist.

Also, if you are in the Ohio area, does anyone have a good recommendation for an oncologist at Cleveland Clinic? I want a second opinion from someone there. I'll post in the Ohio tribe too.

Thanks!
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#29 of 86 Old 06-14-2009, 11:48 AM
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I'm so sorry you have to deal with this (HUGS)

I haven't looked into this, but I did save the link just in case few months ago when I came across it. It talks about some powerful alternative method of beating cancer and also mentions that chemo is a "cure" worse than the disease

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ar...on-cancer.aspx

Sending lots of healing thoughts and vibes your way...
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#30 of 86 Old 06-14-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you are going through this.

First, as to the alternative treatments, the supplements, etc. It is vitally important to be completely honest with your oncologist about anything you are taking. Anything. Many supplements can diminish the effectiveness of chemo. If you are putting yourself through chemo, the last thing you need is to make it less effective.

I would say, make sure you have doctors you trust and you like. I generally loathe doctors. However, I was so fortunate with my treatment to have an oncologist, a radiation oncologist and a surgeon who are both excellent physicians on top of their fields and who are down to earth, genuine, warm human beings. It makes a huge difference.

The port. Get it. Once it's in, it's not a bother. I hardly noticed mine. For some reason, a lot of people refuse them. I watched them blowing out all their veins with chemo in the chemo suite and it wasn't pretty. The port makes it much easier.

As the pp mentioned, they do have a host of drugs to help you with the side effects. You need to be honest and direct with your oncologist. If you have a good oncologist, they will be very proactive with potential problems. The thing is, different people have different reactions. After my first round of chemo, the nurse called that evening to see how I was doing. I hadn't vomited, but I'd spent the afternoon on the bathroom floor. I told her that and she apologized and said that wasn't nearly good enough and they'd try something else next time. They added Kytril to my pre-med drip and I never felt bad like that again. Sometimes I'd feel like all I did was go in and report a litany of little annoyances, but the good docs want and need to hear all that.

The hair loss. You're not being shallow. It sucks. I (and most women I've talked with) found it to be the absolute worst thing about chemo. In addition to how it makes you feel to be bald, it takes away all your privacy. I'm a fairly private person and I hated that. I had a cute wig and I wore it all the time out of the house. It was hot and itchy, but I just couldn't do bald or scarves. Some women do fine with that approach, but not me.

More later, I've got to run.
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