Biopsy News & Finding The Courage To Set Sail

Spring is on its way!  I can feel it in the air.  The birds have returned.  The snow is melting.  The sun is shining.  What a difference it makes in my spirit!  I’m feeling renewed.  Hopeful.  Full of gratitude.

Last week we had an amazing visit with Auntie ‘Cole who showered us with her playful spirit and love.  It always warms my heart to spend time with her.  And hubby, Miss M and I seem to be settling on a church finally.  We’ve gone to the same United community church the last three weeks in a row.  And i’ve actually been thinking about purchasing a Bible and reading it!!!  A previously incomprehensible thing for me.

The latest news on the cancer front is that we received the biopsy results.  And i’m glad I went through with the biopsy because it confirmed my suspicions (and the dream I had) that the cancer is different this time around.

Previously my cancer was “triple positive” meaning it tested positive for estrogen (95%), progesterone (90%), and HER2.  Now, my cancer is still HER2 positive (which is good because two of the three drugs i’ve been taking are targeted HER2 treatments) BUT it is no longer hormone positive.  Meaning, this cancer no longer feeds on excess estrogen or progesterone.  Which to me is amazing!  Especially since I refused all hormone treatment (aka: Tamoxifen) and surgery (aka: an Oophorectomy – removing my ovaries) – Despite continuous pressure from my western medicine doctors who thought I was crazy not to as a young 30-something pre-menopausal woman.  But my gut said not to do it.  And instead, I chose natural methods…  Using targeted supplements like DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate (among others)…  Getting rid of as many xenoestrogen chemicals as possible from my diet and personal care products (choosing organic whenever possible, switching to 100% natural lotions & largely shunning shampoo, deodorant, and sunscreen)…  Plus losing 30 lbs of extra weight (fat cells store and produce estrogen)…   Apparently it worked!

I’m so thankful I listened to my intuition.

This also means I have fewer drugs available to treat my cancer (which according to western medicine is a bad thing).  But for me, I wasn’t going to take those medications anyway so I’m thrilled.

Now I’m faced with more decisions.  And my gut is telling me something I’m not sure I’m ready to hear.

The last few days when I’ve quieted my mind, meditating at the beach I received the message that I don’t have to do chemo.

Of course this goes against conventional wisdom (as well as, what I’m currently doing for treatment).  And I know most people will be horrified that I would even consider stopping chemo (which is why I haven’t told anyone about this till today).  But I know that when my intuition speaks I need to consider what it’s saying.  My gut is telling me I’ll be fine either way.  But the chemo isn’t necessary.  I can do this other ways.

Plus, the Universe keeps sending me similar messages.

I was guided by my husband’s psychic/medium in Europe to read a book by Brandon Bays called “The Journey”.  In it, the author heals herself from a basketball size tumor without conventional treatment and speaks loud & clear about physical dis-ease being a manifestation of unresolved trauma, unexpressed emotion, and disharmony of the spirit and soul.  From the beginning I’ve shared my belief that I think so much of physical disease is tied up in traumas of the spirit, mind, and emotions.  I think this is equally, if not more, important than the drugs you take or the food you eat.  You can exercise every day and eat a totally healthy diet and still get sick.  Isn’t the most important thing to live a life that honors who you are?  Nourishes your spirit?  One that is filled with joy and love?  And heck, even if you do end up dying at least you’ve lived the best, happiest, most authentic life you could live, right?

Then, in the middle of writing this blog I received a call from a new healer I’m working with.  She is a medical intuitive who is trained in a number of healing modalities and came highly recommended.  She primarily uses muscle testing to tap into what the body/mind/spirit needs and wants.  Coincidentally, in the weeks leading up to my session with her I read an article by Martha Beck in an old Oprah magazine that also talked about muscle testing – You can read it here.  And what came up in my session (among a ton of other stuff) was that chemo may not be the answer.

So where does this leave me?

The question I keep asking myself is if I’m strong enough to honour my truth.  To once again, go against the grain.  Against conventional thinking and treatment.  Am I strong enough to shield myself from everyone’s fear and judgement?

I listened to my gut when it came to hormonal treatment and my gut proved right.  Why does this seem more difficult?

I’m scheduled for regular chemo this week plus one more dose of the new drug Perjeta next week.  Then we’ve got a PET scan scheduled for the second week of March to see where we’re at.  I guess my plan is to wait and see the results of the scan, set up some appointments to get a few other opinions and then ultimately make a decision.

As my daily meditation from Simple Abundance said today, “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.  [So] set the sails.  Pull anchor.  Cast away…  Or stay on the shore.  But choose.”

It’s so much easier to stay on the shore.  Stay in the comfort zone.  Stay stuck.  But even that is making a choice.

What will I choose?  What will you choose for your life?  Can we find the strength to make the choice that feels best to us?  And not to everyone else?  The choice that honours our truth?  The choice that feels right, no matter how scary it may seem?

I feel like I’m getting on the boat.  Wanting to set sail.  But still afraid to pull the anchor.

Maybe it’s time.

Peace.  - T

Snowflake decorations with Miss M in preparation for Auntie 'Cole's arrival.

Snowflake decorations with Miss M in preparation for Auntie ‘Cole’s arrival.

 

Pizza making party with Auntie 'Cole.

Pizza making party with Auntie ‘Cole.

 

 

 

 

 

25 Responses

  1. I have not seen you make a careless choice.Or an irrevocable one.Though the choice you are facing seems frightening to me,it doesn’t seem like an “all or nothing” choice.Go carefully,listen closely,and trust.If it is wrong for you,you will know soon enough and can return to shore.Namaste.

    • So true. So true. Thanks Vicki for the reminder that this isn’t all or nothing. Whatever decision is made can always be changed.

      • This reminds me of a quote from (of all places) a Star Trek novel, wherein Spock makes a comment that “to decide is descended from older words meaning to kill. Options and alternatives die when decisions are made. Be careful what you kill.” Fortunately, this is, as you and Vicki say, not all or nothing. Keeping an open mind and not standing on pride can make a very big difference here. And you don’t strike me as prideful in this sense.

  2. I’m not sure why, Terri, but this poem I wrote years ago came to mind when I was reading your post. I spent last week at Elizabeth Bishop’s house in Great Village, and the image of hearts began to recur again and again, and I thought of the song your mother and aunt wrote called Heart Wounds, and the “Open my heart” of her dance Inconceivable Mutual Benefit. She was close to hand for me for some reason this last week, and I know she is saying what ultimately we all must say: follow your heart. I don’t have to tell you to be brave, any more than I would have to haul apples to the Annapolis Valley.

    Of late philosophers have less to say.
    The setting sail and not the setting sun
    engages them, the gauging of the wind,
    damp finger raised to linger for a moment
    in air held still, half-turned, admonitory:
    the setting out is not the settling in.

    They like to find the start of each new trend,
    the forerunner, they feel, is closer kin
    than epigones or afterthoughts appended.
    They leave these to the poet to defend
    alone, alarmed, ill-armed: a promontory
    that looms behind while we remain at sea
    blown back towards a shore we never see.

    Beginnings almost always are behind us.
    We find it dicult to pin point them,
    and when we do, the camera obscura
    they make light of, like coughs make light of phlegm,
    reminds us that the earth we see up-ended
    (horizon hat brim, rim of pure black sky)
    ends up as something more to keep things under
    than something understood or understanding
    sub specie, as they say, aeternitatis.

    Much love to you and all your loved ones, — John

  3. Hi Terri,

    Love your blog and wanted to ask you what DIM/calcium d’gluc and other hormone balancing supps brands you are taking. I have refused tamoxifen
    and ovary removal am 49 and trying to do this naturally.

    Was taking Source Naturals brand for a while and then ran out of funds for
    a while….would also love to talk to you about your visit to Italy….I also
    spent some time there as a teen….

    Please call if you can….

    415.305.1437

    Take care,

    Raffia Bufano

    • Hey Raffia! Good to hear from you again. I’m entering your number into my phone now… Will try to give you a ring this week so we can chat further. Cheers!

  4. LOVE that photo of you and Miss M with snowflakes! You both look sparkly, happy and healthy. It’s such a bugaboo trying to make these decisions, and ultimately it is utterly up to you and is no one else’s business what you decide. For those of us who love you it is hard not to grab at any potential therapy, drug or otherwise, that might possibly work and stuff it down your throat. Now there’s a visual! This reaction surprises me because I’ve always been more of a natural, no drugs and healthy mind/body/spirit sort of person. Also, when I really take time to think about it, I realize you DO know what is best for you. You have done the homework (which is massive) and are not taking these decisions lightly and are not making them in a knee-jerk fashion. And I’m a huge believer in intuition and self knowledge. When I apply both to myself, I realize that it is actually me that is acting in a knee-jerk fashion wanting to grasp at any conventional meds that may help.
    This path may change in the coming months and that’s ok too, so long as you are doing what feels right for you. So heave-ho! We’re all here to help you raise those anchors. Love & hugs to you and the gang. Stevie

  5. Hello Terri,

    With your hormone status change, you might benefit from perjeta and herceptin combo. This is not considered chemo but are drugs targeted to the Her2 receptor sites. It you are curious there is an online group of Her2 women who are very intelligent and all about the research of both western and eastern treatment for cancer. Search Her2 group. Take good care. I love your writing.

    • Thanks Jacki. I am currently taking the Perjeta and Herceptin combo (along with Taxotere). While I understand these two drugs are not technically “chemo” they still have some intense side effects and long term ramifications. That’s what I’m worried about. I will for sure check out the online group. Thanks for the suggestion. Hugs.

      • Maybe it’s because I worked in a major cancer center hospital for five years and worked directly with cancer patients, but a decision to forego allopathic medicine is — to me, and I am not a physician but nonetheless — a self-imposed death sentence.

        I don’t deny that chemo- and radiation therapies can reduce the quality of life, and it’s a legitimate choice to choose quality over length, but the consequence of stopping allopathic medicine while using naturopathic or vedic medicines only is generally a shortening of life.

        Your dad is a Science Fiction writer and *science* is the way we’ve been able to provide longer life spans and work most effectively toward cures. Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, friend of your father’s friend Robert Heinlein and Neo-Pagan high priest of the Church of All Worlds, was cured of colon cancer by surgery and chemotherapy, not Neo-Pagan magick. Science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle was cured of a cancer in his brain affecting his speech center and ultimately fatal, through directed radiation therapy.

        We who write to you here love you and want you alive and healthy through whatever mechanism is best for you. Just please don’t close the book on allopathic medicine.

        I still have hope that some day you can perform low-gravity dance, if such is your desire, on Luna as Mr. Heinlein wrote.

      • I hear ya David. Unfortunately I don’t believe chemo is the “cure-all” for cancers. If it was then we’d have way better outcomes than we do in treating and eradicating the disease. What I’m finding the longer I’m in this game is that there are no solutions that apply to everyone. I wish there were. The same drug can work awesome for one person and have no effect on another. Some live. Some die. Some cure themselves with alternative approaches. Some use western medicine. Some (like me) use a combination of both. Which is why I say an individualized approach is best.

      • Hi Terri. : there is a lady on the breastcancer.org website , I think her name is Jen from Michigan . Read on her posts . She too is her2 positive and stage 4 and is been Ned for 5 years with a combination of alternative treatments ( she said something about biofeedback scans on her entries ) and she is also on herceptin and going strong . Blessings,
        Scarlett

  6. Hey Beautiful-

    Listen to your heart and your gut intuitions. You have the miracle of life in your corner, and your intuitions have been served you well. The fact that you are no longer triple positive is amazing, epic to be exact. Hell yeah, baby!!

    Every day I think of you, my friend. Positive energy always connects me to you, did you know that? I may not reply to all your postings but my heart certainly does. You are doing the right things and continue to be an inspiration for so many.

    Please tell your hubby I said hello, and tell Miss M that Mr H misses her!

    I will call you soon. Hugs to Aunti ‘Cole :-)

    XO-
    Jennifer

    • Not epic!! The cancer typically will lose receptors as it progresses. You want to hit it while it has a known receptor to attack. Not trying to be negative.. Just important to know the facts.

  7. My dear sister on the journey,

    You know that it is time to set sail. The Spirit is telling you it is time to go deeper. When you purchase your bible, the first passage you need to read is Luke 5:1-11. It is about Jesus telling his disciples to push their boat deeper into the water and let down their nets to catch more fish. They don’t like his directive because they have been fishing all night long and have caught nothing. But they say, “if you say so”, we will go deeper and let down our nets there. Other translations say “nevertheless, at thy word”, we will do it. You know WHOSE voice it is you are ultimately listening to and will follow. You are already in deep water and you are hearing the voice telling you to go deeper. I know you can swim. I know you can catch fish, whatever fish symbolize in your life. The disciples catch so many fish that their nets begin to break and they are astonished. The passage ends with Jesus telling the disciples not to be afraid; that from now on they will fish for people. “Then they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed Jesus”.

    It’s time to go deeper my sister, because you say so. I am right next to you in my own boat going deeper. Together, we are fishing for people as we conquer these cancers.

    Peace, love, courage, faith and strength and on this next phase of the journey,
    Paulette

  8. I really admire your courage and intention to find your own way through this. You are becoming your own best expert, weighing the pros and cons, and wading through it all staying in tune with your self. This is inspiring and unique and so important. You are on an amazing journey, you GO girl!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Jill!! It saddens me that so many cancer patients are not involved in the decisions surrounding their treatments. It ain’t easy but I agree that it’s super important. Luv ya!

  9. Dear Terri,

    First of all, my BIGGEST congratulations on all the work you have done to make your body less receptive to estrogen and progesterone-related cancer. That’s fantastic.

    I can’t advise you as to what you should do. I can tell you about my own recent experience.

    I was going along marvellously on chemo + bone building influsion + a host of alternative approaches. Then there was a mandatory drug holiday from chemo to allow blood values to normalize. Two cancer-related problems arose–in the pleura and the mandible. Feeling in great health, and hoping to avoid a pleurodesis for the right lung, I requested we try a less invasive procedure + chemo. My oncologist and thoracic surgeon were both gracious about this, but advised me this was not standard. I eventually had the right pleurodesis. The recovery is less smooth (than the left pleurodesis in May) and we are in catch up mode with regard to both the lung and the mandible. This has confirmed my understanding that I’m alive because of conventional cancer treatment and that my quality of life is much improved with alternative approaches.

    I wish you well in making this difficult decision.

    Much love,
    Jess

    • thanks for sharing your experience Jess. I agree that conventional treatment keeps many people alive – including you! And I know that the holistic/alternative approaches strengthen the body and make all this cancer crap easier to tolerate. The decisions we face are truly difficult. I wish this disease had cut & dry answers but it does not. Sigh… Sending love back to you.

  10. Many years ago, I participated in a Myers-Briggs workshop at the Cenacle House in Vancouver. I remember the presenter contrasting introverts and extroverts like this: Pay attention to the first thing that the introvert says because the first thing this interior thinker says may be the last. Pay more attention to the last thing that extrovert says because the extrovert thinks things through with discussion.

    It is so wonderful and wise for you to put forward your nascent ideas on your blog, the perfect platform for hearing from those who care about you, many of whom have pertinent experience. It really honours who you are. I look forward to your evolving story.
    Jess

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