Wednesday, December 24, 2008
On 21.12.08, I left South Africa for Munich, Germany.
My mission: to get an alternative opinion to my breast surgeon’s from a top German professor who specializes in breasts, Professor Marion Kiechle, as well as see someone who is famed as ‘Europe’s leading alternative cancer treatment specialist’: Lothar Heirnsie.
I saw Lothar Hiernsie first. He has a cancer treatment clinic on the outskirts of Suttagart, Germany (http://www.idealogic.co.uk/icms/3eg/index.cfm?page=99). I have an outline of what the clinic does in English if you would like to read it - just as on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lothar has studied many cases of the people who beat cancer, taken the common denominators and turned them into a cancer treatment program.
Although I had so many questions, I only had one hour with him. I have emailed my further questions to him and await his response.
Lothar looked at my biopsy results and said he never gets to see stage 0, non-invasive! His opinion was that my healing would be relatively easy.
Lothar told me about the Budwig diet (more on this diet later. I gather he studied under Dr Budwig in some way from photos online of them together), which supplements to take, to bath in soda bicarb at least 4 times per week to release acid from my tissues (as cancer thrives in acidic anaerobic body tissues), to do 2 coffee enemas per day, and do energy work/get to the source of the cancer.
Lothar said the energy work was the most important. Even the people who have not eaten the diet or taken the supplements, but who have done the energy work, have cured themselves.
I left Lothar feeling very positive and optimistic that curing without surgery would be easy.
Lothar Hirneise Land: 00 49 7151 910 220 / 222 Cell: 00 49 7151 9813-203 Im Salenhäule 10, 73630 Remshalden-Buoch
My aim was to try and implement what Lothar advocated when I got back home to South Africa.
I caught a plane back to Munich that same afternoon. On the way to my hotel, the taxi driver took a road alongside the Munich Christmas Market. The townsquare was packed with people, all dressed up warmly, drinking gluwein and eating stollen (German Christmas cake).
There were twinkling Christmas lights everywhere and German Christmas carols playing from somewhere. I rolled the car window down and inhaled the smell I associated with Christmas from childhood. It was the smell of lebkuchen (German spice cookies) and stollen that were sent each year from my dad’s family in Germany.
The atmosphere was so special! Just two nights to go until Christmas! Even though I was so tired, I checked in at my hotel and went back to the market place to take photos and film some video.
I went back there the next day for some shopping. I enjoyed a piece of stollen and a cup of gluwein (although I know this is not on the cancer regime!). The food at a German Japanese just off the market restaurant was the most live and whole I could find at the market. I so wished Glenn had been there to share it with me.
The next day, I saw Professor Marion Kiechle in Munich, Germany. She told me the same as Dr Carol Benn, South Africa - I needed to have a mastectomy. I told her I was hoping she would have said something more conservative, alternative, or just different to Carol Benn, but she just shook her head and said ‘No’.
Professor Marion Kiechle Interdisziplinarisches Brustzentrum rechts der Isar (Interdisciplinary Breast Center) Tel: +49.89.4140-2420 (secretary Mrs.Maier) Fax: +49.89.41404831 email: email@example.com Ismaningerstr. 22, 81675 München They have a so called mamma board, which combines and consults the experts of 7 disciplines.
I left her office almost in tears. I wanted to be home that instant, in Glenn’s arms, but I now had to start the long trek back to South Africa.
I arrived back in South Africa on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, not having slept much on the plane again. Everyone was preparing Christmas dinner (we celebrate the German way – the night before Christmas). They welcomed me in. I had lots, and so little, to tell.
Glenn projected my video footage of the Munich Christmas Market on wall, and we sat down to open presents and enjoy a Christmas feast!
HOPE YOU HAVE YOUR BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
THE 7 STRATEGIES OF SUCCESSFUL PATIENTS:
NOTE: Weil uses the term ‘patients’ when referring to people with an illness. I don’t like the term but will use for ease of understanding.
1. DON’T TAKE ‘NO’ FOR AN ANSWER:
Successful patients have not believed doctors when they have said there is no hope. These patients keep believing that someone or something can help them, or that they can help themselves. They never give up hope and always trust their intuition regarding their body and their illness.
2. ACTIVELY SEARCH FOR HELP:
Search out cure and treatment possibilities. Follow up on all leads. These patients read books, searched the internet, asked friends, wrote to authors, traveled to see practitioners who seemed promising.
Doctors often label these patients as ‘difficult, noncompliant, or simply obnoxious (I may have been called all these names in my time!!). But there is a reason the more difficult patients are more likely to get better.
One patient said: ‘There are different ways of healing for different people but there is always a way. Keep searching!’
3. SEEK OUT OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN HEALED:
The old adage: ‘If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people and learn from them’. The best way to neutralize pessimism from health professional is to find someone else/others who has/ve healed themselves.
I am so high on confidence that I can heal myself until I walk into the breast surgeon, Dr Benn, rooms (and this is nothing on her). I feel this heavy, sad, panicked, passive feeling when faced with conventional medicine. I was thinking of sending Glenn to get my biopsy results on Saturday so I can keep my positivity up.
4. FORM CONSTRUCTIVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH HEALTH PROFESSIONALS:
Successful patients often ally themselves with health professionals who support them in their search for answers. What you want is a health professional who believes in you, in your ability to heal yourself, someone who empowers you on your search, and who makes you feel like you are not alone/weird for searching.
Choose a health professional that will get great pleasure out of seeing you heal, whatever methods you choose.
4. DON’T HESITATE TO MAKE RADICAL LIFE CHANGES:
Successful patients are not the same people they were at the start of the illness. They made significant changes in their lives; physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
While change is mostly difficult; major change can be very painful. An illness often forces us to look at issues and conflicts we hoped would just disappear. Continuing to ignore these issues may block any possibility of spontaneous healing. Willingness to change is generally a strong predictor successful healing.
6. REGARD ILLNESS AS A GIFT:
Because illness is such a powerful stimulus to change, perhaps the only thing that can force some people to resolve their deepest conflicts, successful patients often come to regard their illness as the greatest opportunity they have for personal growth and development- ‘it is truly a gift’.
Seeing serious illness as a misfortune, especially one that is undeserved may obstruct the healing system. Coming to see illness as a gift that allows you to grow may unlock it.
7. CULTIVATE SELF-ACCEPTANCE:
To accept oneself, with all the imperfections, limitations, and defects that characterize every human being, represents a surrender to a higher will. Change seems more likely to occur in a climate of surrender than in a climate of confrontation with the universe.
Surrender does not mean giving up hope of recovery when ill but rather it means accepting every circumstance in your life, including the present illness, in order to move beyond them/it.
I am now focusing on acknowledging my breast cancer, loving it, and accepting it as part of me. You will have noticed that I never gave it a name, face, and only referred to it in past tense – this is one school of thought.
I love myself warts and all. I take responsibility for creating it and therefore I am able to play a part in healing myself back to balance, harmony, and wholeness.
One patient who experience spontaneous healing said:
‘The trick is to get your ego out of the way, get your concepts out the way and just let your body heal itself. It knows how to do it’.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I got the results of the core needle biopsy that was done on Tuesday 2.12.08 back today.
The biopsy results show the lumps in my right breast tissue are in fact more DCIS and not scar tissue.
The photo on the right shows a breast duct that has been cut in half. You can see that cells have grown into the centre lumen (centre hole) of the duct.
I requested that a 3rd biopsy be done randomly at the bottom of my breast. This biopsy shows the tissue there is clear of any type of cancer.
There could, however, be non-invasive cancer in a breast duct right next to the 3rd biopsy area or there could be an invasive cancer area right next to the clear area as well. Only once the Dr Benn has all my right breast tissue out of my body and analysed, will she know for sure.
Friday, December 5, 2008
It has been a week now since I started the nutritional supplements and Chinese herbal medicines indicated for breast cancer.
I woke up today with a skin rash. It is all over my body, very itchy, red, and burning. My throat feels very itchy and slightly swollen. I have taken the homeopathic Pegasus histamine complex to treat it.
I felt very irritable and tense, with a burning sensation in my chest area for 3 days before the skin rash started which makes me think the rash is the releasing of heat out of my body. A skin rash/condition can mean the body id moving the imbalance from an important organ or place in the body to a less important organ like the skin. In alternative medicine, this is mostly seen as a good sign.
I am not sure whether the Chinese herbal medicines are releasing heat from my body as the Chinese herbal medicines release liver stagnation (the aim is to establish flow again in liver energy so my liver can excrete estrogen from my body) or whether I am just having an allergic reaction to the herbs. I have stopped taking the herbs until Monday when I will talk to the medicine company.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
After posting my estrogen history, and forgiving and loving the key players from my 20’s, I feel like there is nothing in my 20’s that is still holding my energy. I feel like I have this energy back in present time.
HOW DID I FORGIVE AND LOVE THEM:
I imagined my now self, my then/younger self, and the relevant people from my 20’s around a campfire.
My younger self spoke to those people and told them how I felt at the time…I said everything in my mind that I never could tell them in person because it may have really hurt them – I did not hold anything back even though my mind was trying to tell me stop for fear of the consequences, I just went on.
Then those people told me where they were coming from at the time, why they did what they did, why they felt the way they did, etc. They were acting with the best resources they had at the time due to their own life experiences and history.
My now self then spoke to each person and expressed understanding and compassion, forgiveness and love for them. I told each one loved them. I also apologized and asked for their forgiveness.
My now self then turned to my younger self and comforted, forgave and loved my then self. I had don’t the best I could with the resources I had at the time.
I even gave myself a physical hug just to lock the feeling of compassion and comforting in. As I higged younger self, I imagined putting my younger self into the area in my breast that had (always speak in past tense!) the cancer.
I repeated to myself that I had this energy back in present time and that this felt good.
It is now time to look at my 30’s. If I think about my 30’s, I still feel animation (bodily responses) in my body when I think of certain events which means there is still unresolved energy stuck in those time zones which I need to retrieve.
I have called on my good friend Margie Doig-Gander to be a noble friend and help me. This is very scary but I know that having that energy there is a waste – I could use that energy better in present time.
Margie has known me since I was 7. We have been to 3 schools together and even changed provinences together when both our father’s were transferred in unrelated companies. Talk about being contracted to be with someone! We have had both bitter and sweet times but we have always remained friends.
(How do you know if you are contracted to someone?: Observe within yourself whether you feel an animation ( response somewhere in your body like a tight chest, nervous tummy, pains etc) when you are with or think about that person. If you do, pay close attention to that person and your interactions or your history with that person/type of person. There are learnings and growth to be gained from the relationship).
My hope is that Margie will be able to help me identify thought and behavioural patterns and the way I dealt with events that I am blind to or have forgotten.
She may also have things to say that she has never had the opportunity to get off her chest! This process is not only about me forgiving people who have wronged me, but also about asking the people who I have wronged to forgive me.
Margie has kindly set time aside on Monday although she has a nearly 4 week old baby, called Dylan. She has already called a few times telling me how she would like to structure the meeting – as per usual, Margie has taken this very seriously and risen up to the challenge. She is thinking of what she is going to say and trying to structure it like a movie script!! Margie is doing while she feeds Dylan at 2am! Margs, don’t loose sleep over it!
I expect that more and more events and people to forgive and be forgiven will crawl out of the wood work as this process intensifies. Show me your face! I want my energy back!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Cancer (or any illness) is so limited: it cannot cripple love, cannot shatter hope, cannot corrode faith, cannot destroy peace, cannot kill true friendship, cannot suppress memories, cannot silence courage, cannot invade one’s soul, cannot conquer the spirit, it cannot ever steal eternal life.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I went for a needle biopsy today. The results from this biopsy will not change the breast surgeon, Dr Carol Benn’s recommendation for a single or double mastectomy.
A needle biopsy should have been done before the breast duct was removed but it was not done mainly because I got involved in the process and demanded the duct be removed by a plastic surgeon so I did not have a scar.
New lumps in my right breast appeared after the breast duct was removed and this needle biopsy is to see whether they are scar tissue or cancer.
Because the tissue in my right breast shows up as hyperplastic (atypical but not yet cancerous) on ultrasound, I asked the mammographer to do a biopsy in 2 other random places in my breast, in addition to the lumpy area.
First, Dr Seider (mammographer) injected local anesthic into my right breast tissue. This burned a little as it went it. It doesn’t help that I don’t like needles! I just kept my eyes closed and looked the other way. I breathed in white light, and breathed out blackness and the burning sensation.
Secondly, to do the core needle biopsy, Dr Seider inserted a very big needle on a trigger device (see pic). The trigger function was like that of a finger pricking device. There was not pain even though the needle was enormous but the ‘click’ sound made me jump each time.
Glenn was by my side as always. As you can see, he is not looking happy. He has been so supportive and wonderful through this process. Our hearts goes out to women who have to go through this on their own (and the waiting rooms are full of them). It cannot be easy.
The needle removed a sample of tissue to be biopsied. I will have the results on Saturday when I see Dr Carol Benn again.
Carol is away from 10-28.12.08 so no surgery can happen between those dates. The soonest she can operate again is 5.1.09.
I feel emotionally and mentally well and strong. I still believe my spirit is bigger and stronger than my physical body. I know I may still have to set the date to have the mastectomy/ies done in January, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. The operation still gives me the shivers because I think it is so barbaric.
I bought Dr Weil’s book called ‘Spontaneous Healing” today. I have only had a chance to glance through it because it is school holidays, but discussion points in the book include:
• Does healing mean complete disappearance of disease on a physical level?
• Is it possible to die in a healed condition?
• What is the relationship between treatment and healing?
• If I want to pursue healing, should I forgo treatment?
• How do I know when treatment is appropriate?
• If I fail to get better, is it my fault?
• Is the spontaneous remission of cancer the best example of the healing system?
• Is it possible to enhance the healing system to protect health?
I am about to read Dr Weil’s comments on these questions……
Monday, December 1, 2008
Below, I am just going to include the bits of info on melatonin relevant to breast cancer because I find this quite interesting.
When I asked why melatonin is prescribed for breast cancer, I was told many people with breast cancer have irregular circadian rhythms or sleep-wake cycles.
For over 4 years now, I have had broken sleep due to being pregnant and getting up for babies through the night. Even though Grace is now 3.5yrs and Lily is nearly 2yrs, I still get up to check that they are covered up and are not cold, once or twice a night. It is now just habit!
I leave a night security light (outside light not night light for kids) on and the light shines into our room. Some nights, I get up and turn it off because it is not dark enough to sleep.
I sit and work on my computer most nights until about 10 or 11pm otherwise I never get to touch my work as the kids are always around. The screen is quite bright and maybe it inhibits the production of melatonin that occurs around this time.
Goodness knows how much I upset my circadian rhythms in my clubbing days....!!
Production of melatonin by the pineal gland in the brain is inhibited by light and permitted by darkness. For this reason melatonin has been called "the hormone of darkness" and its onset each evening is called the Dim-Light Melatonin Onset (DLMO). Secretion of melatonin as well as its level in the blood, peaks in the middle of the night, and gradually falls during the second half of the night, with normal variations in timing according to an individual's chronotype.
Until recent history, humans in temperate climates were exposed to only about six hours of daylight in the winter. In the modern world, artificial lighting reduces darkness exposure to typically eight or fewer hours per day all year round. Even low light levels inhibit melatonin production to some extent, but over-illumination can create significant reduction in melatonin production. Since it is principally blue light that suppresses melatonin, wearing glasses that block blue light in the hours before bedtime may avoid melatonin loss.
Melatonin levels at night are reduced to 50% by exposure to a low-level incandescent bulb for only 39 minutes, and it has been shown that women with the brightest bathrooms have an increased risk for breast cancer.
Reduced melatonin production has been proposed as a likely factor in the significantly higher cancer rates in night workers, and the effect of modern lighting practice, including light pollution, on endogenous melatonin has been proposed as a contributory factor to the larger overall incidence of some cancers in the developed world.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I have started exercising as it has been prescribed as part of my treatment regime! I get Sunday's off.
• Exercise is important in reducing breast cancer risk.
• 1-3 hours of moderate exercise per week can reduce your breast cancer risk by 30%.
• Exercise also can prevent obesity - Obesity is linked to breast cancer risk.
• Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. If you haven't been particularly active in the past, start your exercise program slowly and gradually work up to a greater intensity. Try to include weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging or aerobics. These have the added benefit of keeping your bones strong.
INTERESTING BUT NOT ADVISED:
• Women who train strenuously may lose their menstrual cycle or become anovulatory, and therefore be exposed to far less estrogen.
• Exercise can delay the onset of a woman's first menstrual cycle, menarche, which also decreases breast cancer risk.
I have started a regime of homeopathic remedies, supplements and Chinese herbal medicines indicated for breast cancer. I am putting more faith in the energy medicine right now but hopefully they will play their part.
Below is the list of natural medicines I am taking:
- Conium 200ch
- Phytolacca 200ch
• Melatonin: Natural sleep hormone. Melatonin regulates the body’s circadian rhythm (sleep wake cycle).
The recommended dose is 9-45mg is but I am taking 3mg per night. A strange rule applies to melatonin which is if you feel sleepy the next day, increase the dose! I have only been brave enough to take 6mg and felt quite sleepy, with a mild headache the next day. Maybe will try 9 or more mg this week if feeling brave. But then maybe 3mg is what my body needs.
More about melatonin in next blog entry.
• Super Anti-oxidant
• Omega 3 & 6 oils
• Reservatrol: found in the skin of red grapes
CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINES:
WINGS HERBAL PRODUCTS:
• DIM & I3C: di-indolmethane & indole3-carbinol – extracts from cruciferous vegetables broccoli and cauliflower
• Mega EGCG: green tea extract
• A1 – MALIGNANCY: combo of Chinese medicinal herbs
• A1 – BREAST CANCER ADD ON: combo of Chinese medicinal herbs
• AV/AT: anti-tumour combo of Chinese medicinal herbs
• Tanshinone: anti-cancer, inhibits angiogenesis
Cancer cells are cells that have lost their ability to divide in a controlled fashion. A tumor consists of a population of rapidly dividing and growing cells.
Mutations rapidly accrue within this population of cells. These mutations (variation) allow the cancer cells (or sub-populations of cancer cells within a tumor) to develop drug resistance and escape therapy.
Tumors cannot grow beyond a certain size, generally 1-2 mm³, due to a lack of oxygen and other essential nutrients.
Tumors induce blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) by secreting various growth factors which supply required nutrients and/or remove wastes, allowing for tumor expansion.
Angiogenesis is a necessary and required step for transition from a small harmless cluster of cells, often said to be about the size of the metal ball at the end of a ball-point pen, to a large tumor.
Angiogenesis is also required for the spread of a tumor, or metastasis. Single cancer cells can break away from an established solid tumor, enter the blood vessel, and be carried to a distant site, where they can implant and begin the growth of a secondary tumor.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
So, after yesterdays confession session of physical world reasons as to why I think breast cancer started growing inside me, I am going to negate it all by saying that I believe that we should not try to understand God’s divine logic, or what is perceived in the physical world as chaos.
We just need to accept that there is a learning in the illness or the event, and rather focus on that.
Wednesday was a very tough day – I felt like I needed to make a decision to operate or not. Right at the end of the day, I reached a calm decision to wait until January. I want to give the world that I have come to know and believe in, energy and natural medicine, a chance to work.
I have started taking all the homeopathic, herbal, Chinese herbal, and nutritional supplements indicated for breast cancer. During this time, I will focus on issues in my internal world and God. If I still need to operate in January, then I will go ahead knowing that I have not just gone the surgeon’s route.
What swayed me was a story the breast surgeon told me about a woman of a similar age to me, who only needed a single mastectomy but had a double for safety. The surgeon received an sms a years or two later saying she had died of a heart attack. This illustrates to me how this girl had unresolved heart chakra issues that unless resolved timeously, would result in any illness in the heart zone.
When I asked the surgeon about guarantees of having both breast removed as a precaution to breast cancer recurrence, she said the cancer can come back in the breast skin or the muscle below even once all breast tissue is removed, yet another example of unresolved issues.
Can you imagine how different the world would be if we all just said this prayer each day and committed to becoming more conscious??
Print the prayer out, stick on you mirror, and and say it every day - if it feels right for you!
Here is the prayer I am saying every day to live closer to me truth and God: www.Myss.com
Your Daily Practice – Morning
Each day is a new beginning. Your task today is to learn the practice of consciously entering your body and your day. Begin by focusing attention on your entire day from morning to evening.
Review your plans for today:
* Think about where you need to be and with who you need to be.
* Do you feel stressful about this day or do you feel comfortable?
* Do you feel prepared for today's events?
* Are you projecting fears and expectations into this day?
Your First Chakra
* Allow the truth 'All is One' to penetrate your body
* Drop your attention to the root of your spine.
* Feel yourself magnetically connected to every part of life:
o The fragrance of the earth
o The oceans and rivers
o The air
o Your family and friends
o The planet
* Identify your fears for today and pull them into your consciousness.
* Acknowledge the strength of the energetic circuitry connecting you to all life.
* Visualize that strength replacing your fears for today.
* Standing tall.
Your Second Chakra
* Allow the truth 'Honor One Another' to penetrate your body.
* Move your attention gradually up your spine to your lower back, hips and genital area.
* Feel the fire and vibrant energy of this area.
* Focus that energy toward the key areas of this chakra:
o Relationships: Who am I going to be with today?
o Work: What am I going to do today?
o Money: How do I feel about it today?
o Creativity: What am I going to create today?
Your Third Chakra
* Allow the truth 'Honor Yourself' to penetrate your body.
* Breathe deeply as you shift your attention to your solar plexus and abdominal area.
* Focus on your self-esteem and how you feel about yourself today:
o Am I feeling strong? Frightened?
o Do I need someone's approval today?
o Will I need to be courageous?
* Remind yourself of your boundaries, dignity, inherent honor, and integrity.
* Make a spiritual promise in terms of how you want to live your life today.
Your Fourth Chakra
* Allow the truth 'Love is Divine Power' to penetrate your body.
* Raise your attention up to your heart, the center of love.
* Welcome the people you're scheduled to meet today into your meditation:
o Where you feel love for them, send more, boundless love.
o For those you feel challenged to love, say the prayer , "Let me learn more about how to love them today."
* Think about who you need to forgive today; release the rage, bitterness or hurt feelings from your heart.
* Tell yourself "Forgiveness is not easy, but today I ask for one more step toward that goal."
* Release the prayer that you want to look at today through your heart and not through your fears; that you want to feel gratitude for events that do or don't happen as they should.
* Keep your attention on the right way to walk into this day, with a heart full of love.
Your Fifth Chakra
* Allow the truth 'Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will' to penetrate your body.
* Move your attention to your throat area.
* Define your needs and desires for today and let go of doing the same for others.
* Make the choice to love this day instead of fearing it.
* Envision choices that result in positive attitudes, memories, and feelings about yourself.
* Vow to express yourself honestly.
Your Sixth Chakra
* Allow 'Seek Only Truth' to penetrate your body
* Focus your attention upwards to your mind - the world behind your eyes.
* Go beyond the limits of the rational mind and accept the Divine's Plan for you.
* Prepare your mind to enter the day feeling good and not generating illusions, false truths or fears.
* For today, release old grudges, beliefs, attitudes and patterns that no longer serve you.
* Remember that everything in your life is there for a reason and to teach you truth.
Your Seventh Chakra
* Allow the truth 'Live in the Present Moment' to penetrate your body.
* Pull your attention up and out, and hold the idea 'live in present time.'
* Let go of the past and do not anticipate the future.
* During the day, practice the discipline of telling yourself, "This is all I have. This is all there is to my life right now."
Invoke this prayer:
I am committed to feeling a bond with each person I meet,
to respecting my own integrity and honor,
to living within the energy of love and compassion and returning to that energy when I don't feel it,
to making wise and blessed choices with my will,
to maintaining perceptions of wisdom and non-judgment,
to release the need to know why things happen as they do,
and not to project expectations over how I want this day to be and how I want others to be.
And finally, my last prayer, 'to trust the Divine'.
And with that I bless my day with gratitude and love.
The carcinoma in the breast duct that was removed from my right breast was estrogen-sensitive. This means that high levels of estrogen in my system stimulated the growth of the tumour cells.
I started asking myself:
* Where did this estrogen come from?
* How do I reduce or normalize my estrogen levels?
I have decide to include my estrogen history because I have had so many people say to me:
• But you have no breast cancer in your family
• But you are so young.
• But you look so healthy
• But you eat so well
• But you eat such a good diet (mostly raw vegan)
• But you don’t drink alcohol
• But you are active
What I have written below is my estrogen history. It contains events that, until now, I have not discussed with many people.
Not to long ago, people would take offence at being asked whom they were going to vote for. These days, people openly discuss their emotional and psychological wounds with each other just after they have met. Caroline Myss would call this ‘speaking your wounds’ or ‘woundology’.
By listing these events, I am speaking my wounds but it is not my intention to keep them alive by telling you. I am instead loving, forgiving and releasing them. I want to turn them into a positive by hopefully helping others.
I have moved beyond these wounds. I have this energy back in my present tense. I feel liberated writing these events down. I have a wonderful sense of freedom from the shame and judgment society associates with them.
I know that more women have had abortions than will admit. I am writing this in the hope that my story will encourage more women to openly discuss their reproductive histories, as well as become aware of the various factors that increase the risk of breast cancer.
When I meet someone who has an illness, I always want to understand how they got to that point. Their history is carried in their cell tissue (Myss: ‘Your biology carries your biography’). More about my mental and emotional history in a future blog.
Let me take you back in time as to how I think the breast cancer was created:
12/13 I started menstruating - the younger you start menstruating, the longer you will be exposed to estrogen for.
19 I went on the contraceptive injection. I was studying away from home and I had freedom for the first time! I loved the idea that there was a free medication that would suppress my menstrual cycle so I did not have to have periods! I was only on the injection for one year because I realized it was not that good for my body. I then switched to the contraceptive pill.
21 I started going to raves and probably took recreational drugs every weekend for about 3-4 years. I also drank quite heavily for a good part of my 20’s
23 I had an abortion. It was the correct decision at the time and I had few regrets about it. Having an abortion increases one’s risk of getting breast cancer by 30%! If only I had known this then but, like everyone in the their 20’s (with exception of my mom!), I thought I was invincible!
24 I went back on the contraceptive pill on and off because I did not want to be on synthetic hormones but there were not other safe options.
27 I had another abortion and then went back on the pill until 31. Again, it was the correct decision at the time, and I had few regrets. Having another abortion increased my risk of breast cancer by another 30%!
31 I fell pregnant with Grace. I breastfed her for 14 months which was a good thing for my breast ducts.
33 I fell pregnant with Lily and breastfed her for 14 months. We renovated our house thru out this pregnancy which was very stressful.
A woman’s ovaries produce active estrogen. Active estrogen causes breast cells to divide. Excess active estrogen is converted to inactive estrogen in the liver and is excreted.
But some of this active estrogen is converted into long-acting estrogen which continues to stimulate breast cells to divide. Some women’s bodies produce higher levels of long-acting estrogen which goes on stimulating breast cells to divide. This increases the risk of breast cancer by exposing breast cells to estrogen for an abnormally prolonged period of time.
If a pregnancy ends before 32 weeks, by very premature birth or induced abortion, she will have increased risk of breast cancer as she will not get the benefit of full breast maturation, but instead be left with more places for breast cancer to start. Spontaneous abortions in the first trimester do not increase breast cancer risk because they are associated with low estrogen levels.
If the liver function is impaired (eg. Thru use of alcohol, drugs or illness like hepatitis etc), the liver does not break estrogen down properly and estrogen levels start to rise in the blood stream resulting in stimulation of breast tissue growth.
For more breast cancer risk factors, see:
HOW I THINK MY BODY GOT TO BREAST CANCER:
The fact that I am female (therefore I have more estrogen circulating in my body to start with)
+ my synthetic hormone exposure from contraceptives (results in increased estrogen exposure)
+ 2 x induced abortions (leaves increased number of immature breast lobules & increases estrogen exposure. Also going back on the pill after both abortions increased estrogen exposure)
+ my alcohol history
+ my drug history (result in increased estrogen exposure due to impaired liver functioning)
+ my mainstream diet until 30 (result in increased estrogen exposure from meat, dairy, etc)
+ my environmental toxin exposure (result in increased estrogen exposure from plastics, pesticides, fertilizers, etc which contains pseudo-estrogens)
+ my sharp increase in stress from 29-34
+ the fact that I had my first child after 30 yrs old (results in increased estrogen exposure)
+ benign proliferative breast tissue (result of high estrogen exposure)
+ my unresolved emotional & psychological wounds (we all have are them - they are necessary for life and growth but they need to be dealt with to avoid disease in the physical body)
+ the fact that I agreed with my angel of necessity before I was born that I needed to learn about my heart chakra (energy zone in the heart area = love and forgiveness)
= higher risk of getting breast cancer.
More about my diet until 30 and my heart chakra lessons in future blogs.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Breast Maturity & Breast Cancer Risk
A breast development that affects breast cancer risk is the maturation of breast lobules from Type 1 lobules to Type 4 lobules. Breasts are composed of units of breast tissue called lobules and are surrounded by supportive tissue made of fat and stromal (connective) tissue. A lobule is composed of a milk duct with surrounding ductules which are the glands that make the milk. Lobules are in turn composed of individual breast cells.
At birth, you have a small amount of breast tissue, Type 1 lobules, which are very immature and are known as TDLUs (terminal ductal lobular units). Ductal cancers which account for 85% of all breast cancers are known to arise in Type 1 lobules. An infant’s breast tissue may be stimulated by the mother’s hormones present in the infant at birth. This can cause a milky secretion called “witch’s milk” for a short time after birth. At puberty, in response to the cyclic elevations of estrogen and progesterone, the breasts start to develop further, and some Type 1 lobules are matured into Type 2 lobules, which have more ductules per lobular unit.2 lobules are where up to 15% of all breast cancers start. By the end of puberty, about 75% of breast tissue is Type 1 lobules and 25% are Type 2.
Full maturation and cancer resistant Type 4 lobules are not formed until late in pregnancy when the breast is under the influence of the pheromones hCG and hPL which are made by the fetus and placenta in the womb. Type 4 lobules contain colostrum, the first milk. By mid 2nd trimester 70% of the breast tissue is Type 4 lobules, and at 40 weeks (full-term), 85% is Type 4 and cancer resistant. After weaning, the Type 4 lobules regress to Type 3, but remain cancer resistant due to permanent genetic changes which have made them cancer resistant. Each subsequent pregnancy after the first matures more of the breast tissue resulting in a further decrease in breast cancer risk of 10%.
Not only do these lobules look different anatomically, but they grow differently. For example, Type 1 and 2 lobules copy their DNA faster than Type 3 lobules. The faster DNA is copied, the higher the risk of mutations or cancer cells forming.
Actual photomicrographs of human breast lobules:
| || |
Type 1 Lobule
Type 3 Lobule
The principle of breast cancer risk relating to lobule maturity can explain other well-documented breast cancer risks as well.
If a woman does not have a full-term pregnancy (meaning she is childless or ), she has increased risk for breast cancer, since she never develops Type 4 lobules. If she has children later in life (after age 30), she has increased risk, because, for most of her menstrual life, her estrogen has been stimulating immature Type 1 and 2 breast lobules. If she has children as a teenager, she has decreased risk of breast cancer, since her breast tissue matures very early in her reproductive life to Type 4 lobules.
If a woman breast-feeds, she often has (in which estrogen is low) or misses menstrual altogether. She has decreased risk due to two factors: less exposure to estrogen and breast tissue maturity to Type 4 lobules. Risk decreases in proportion to duration of breastfeeding.
The risk factors of estrogen exposure and breast immaturity can also act in concert with one another, causing greater risk. For example, if a teenager, who has not had a full-term pregnancy (she is nulliparous), takes birth control pills, her risk of breast cancer is much higher than it is for a woman who has had several children and then takes birth control pills. A woman who gets pregnant increases her estrogen level 2,000 percent by the end of the first trimester. If her pregnancy goes to full term, she will have lower breast cancer risk by developing full breast maturity. If it ends before 32 weeks, by very premature birth or , she will have increased risk as she will not get the benefit of full breast maturation, but instead be left with more places for breast cancer to start. in the first trimester do not increase breast cancer risk because they are associated with low estrogen levels.
Cigarette smoking before a full-term pregnancy can increase a teenager’s breast cancer risk substantially, because her breast lobules are immature and rapidly growing.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Factors Which Increase and Decrease
Breast Cancer Risk
Factors Which INCREASE Breast Cancer Risk
Increases estrogen exposure by impairing liver function
Benign proliferative breast disease
|Result of increased estrogen exposure|
|BRCA genes|| |
Inherited defects in cancer defense genes
|Cigarette smoking||Benzopyrenes damage DNA|
Contraceptive steroids (in pills, patches, vaginal rings, IUDs or injectable forms)
|Increases estrogen exposure|
|Early menarche||Increases estrogen exposure|
|Female sex||Increased estrogen exposure|
|High socio-economic group||Delayed childbearing|
|Higher education||Delayed childbearing|
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
|Increases estrogen exposure|
|Increasing age|| |
Premenopausal: Increases estrogen exposure
Postmenopausal: Impairs immune function
|Induced abortion|| |
Leaves increased number of immature breast lobules and increases risk of premature births
Increases estrogen exposure
|Late childbirth (over 30 years old)|| |
Increases exposure of Type 1 & 2 lobulesto estrogen before first birth; long susceptibility window
|Late menopause||Increases estrogen exposure|
Nulliparity (never bearing children)
Maturity of breast lobules does not occur
|Premature birth before 32 weeks|| |
Leaves increased number of immature breast lobules
Increases estrogen exposure
|Postmenopausal obesity||Increases estrogen exposure|
|2nd trimester miscarriage|| |
Leaves increased number of immature breast lobules
Factors Which Decrease Breast Cancer Risk
Decreases estrogen by decreasing number of menstrual cycles and/or ovulation
Cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, Brussels sprouts or DIM supplements)
Indole-3-carbinol decreases estrogen exposure by causing estrogen to be changed to an inactive metabolite of estrogen
Decreases estrogen exposure
Decreases estrogen exposure
Having children (especially starting at a young age)
Decreases number of immature breast lobules
|Late menarche||Decreases estrogen exposure|
Omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., olive, flax seed, walnut oils)
Oophorectomy (removal of ovaries before menopause)
|Decreases estrogen production|
Soy isoflavonoids (phytoestrogens)
|May block estrogen receptors|
Factors Which Have No Effect on Breast Cancer Risk
|Saturated fat|| |
Saturated fat intake not related to obesity
(miscarriages) in the first trimester
No increased levels of estrogen as found in healthy pregnancies
Sunday, November 23, 2008
We met with Dr Carol Benn again this morning to discuss the next step.
I know what the choices are, I now just need to make them. Although it is such a horrible decision to make, I think a double mastectomy is the way to go form the start.
THE OPTIONS AT THIS POINT:
• Carol recommends a right mastectomy based on the fact that the breast duct that was removed had high grade, aggressive, non-invasive cancer cells in it, and that the whole of the right breast tissue is hyperlastic.
• If I had a lumpectomy (a lump out with a clear margin of 1cm), I would need to radiate the right side. Once radiation has been done to one side, you cannot have it again. The body cannot with stand a double dose of radiation. Mastectomy would be the next step.
• Radiation damages healthy tissue along with cancerous tissue so it makes any future surgery (like a mastectomy) more difficult. This is because blood vessels, skin, and the pectoral muscle (muscle under the breast) would be damaged, even if just slightly, resulting in a slower healing time, and therefore a higher chance of infection, and scarring. If breast reconstruction is done, there is a greater chance of infection and a capsule forming (scar tissue that shrinks very tightly around the implant) after radiation. A subsequent op is then needed to loosen the scar tissue and the implant may need to be replaced.
• If I only remove the right breast at this point, because the tumor in the right breast was estrogen-sensitive, I would possibly need to go on hormone therapy now or some time in the future to block estrogen in the left breast tissue.
• Hormone therapy blocks the uptake of estrogen by estrogen-sensitive tissue (like breast, ovaries, uterus). This medication induces early menopause (along with all the symptoms of menopause like hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, and insomnia) and I would need to take it for 5 years!! I am not a candidate for this.
• Although, I would go for regular checks on the left breast, Carol says the stress of worrying about the left breast is very draining.
• Although a double mastectomy is not being prescribed, it is being suggested.
This is a very tough decision and I hate that I have to make it. But I am so grateful that I caught the cancer now. I am so grateful that I have a chance of living the rest of my life.
I now need to decide when I want to have the op, within the next week or so, or early next year. Carol is going away on the 9 Dec so she will not be around for follow ups etc. I would be referred to the plastic surgeon who works with her, Gereth Edwards.
We are going to my sister’s wedding on the 12.12.08 and then a full on family holiday after that. My mom is suggesting I have the op before we go away so the family can help me with the kids thru my recovery. I need to be comfortable with my decision before I go ahead.
Hyperplasic – definition (Wikipedia):
Hyperplasia (or "hypergenesis") is a general term referring to the proliferation of cells within an organ or tissue beyond that which is ordinarily seen in e.g. constantly dividing cells. Hyperplasia may result in the gross enlargement of an organ, the formation of a benign tumor, or may be visible only under a microscope. Hyperplasia is considered to be a physiological response to a specific stimulus, and the cells of a hyperplastic growth remain subject to normal regulatory control mechanisms. This stands in contrast to neoplasia (the process underlying cancer and some benign tumors), in which genetically abnormal cells proliferate in a non-physiological manner which is unresponsive to normal stimuli.