Monday, November 23, 2015

When the Next Chapter Isn't Quite What You Expected

Just when you think you know what's coming next, life throws another curveball.  I figured it was about time to post an update here for those who hadn't heard my latest news.
While I expected my reconstruction surgery to be the finish line of this particular journey and closure to the story, it looks like that victory dance will have to wait just a little while longer while we write another chapter. 
Everything went well with the surgery itself (the new girls are lovely, thank you very much), but the plastic surgeon discovered a mass above the expander, so she biopsied a piece of it, hoping it was just scar tissue.  Long story short, the pathology report indicated it was cancerous, and I'm currently in Fresno, California for four to six weeks receiving integrated treatment.  I know: Definitely not where you expected me to be, right?!
Once I recovered from the initial shock and fear caused by the results, I got back into the business of researching my best options.  While Mexico clearly worked the first time and put me in remission, we must have been missing something for a recurrence to pop up.  I kept flashing back to the conversation I had with another of the integrated doctors with whom we'd spoken upon my initial diagnosis who focuses on cancer stem cells.  His practice is built around the fact that both conventional and integrated therapies can miss the stem cells, which are the originators of all cells and can continue to create cancerous daughter cells if not addressed.  This doctor, Dr. Nezami, combines conventional therapies with plant-based epigenetic stem cell treatments to achieve remarkable success for his patients, most of whom have complicated or advanced disease. 
As he explains it, it's all about retraining the stem cells to create healthy cells instead of cancer (they don't realize what they're creating is harmful - they truly are confused) and turning on and off the appropriate genetic switches to regulate cancer (epigenetics).  It's truly incredible stuff.  He is literally curing people who were told they had weeks or even days to live.
After meeting with all of the docs on my team and speaking again with Dr. Nezami about the stem cell therapy, I knew it was the right approach for me.  He conducts a number of tests that provide detailed genetic analysis, which allows him to be precisely targeted in his therapies and recommend which conventional tools will be most effective.  He also has extensive research that his treatment increases the effectiveness of conventional therapies, while removing the toxicity and side effects.  Double bonus!
Before I left for California and while we were still getting the diagnostic scans (CT, MRI and PET), I had two visits with Dr. Nemeh, a medical healer in Cleveland.  The man has been the instrument of countless miracles and otherwise unexplained healings.  And I was blessed to receive not one, but two honest-to-goodness healings.  As he prayed over me, the area around the affected breast got very warm and tingly, beyond the feeling of his hands hovering over that spot.  I know it was the Holy Spirit.  Dave was in the room with us and felt the heat too.  They were beautiful experiences and we left not knowing how exactly they would manifest but sure I received healings of some kind.

The amazing thing is that both the CT scan and MRI came back clear, where they should have shown the remainder of the mass left behind.  The oncologist seemed confused, but we knew exactly why.  Miracles!
Unfortunately, the PET scan came back with quite a bit of noise, which was more extensive than we expected.  Of course, PETs are very sensitive, though not specific, meaning they can pick up on cancer, but a lot of other things as well (the way it works is that they inject radioactive glucose to show which cells are taking it on more rapidly; cancer cells take on glucose quickly, but there are other reasons for increased glucose uptake, which I've experienced before via a false positive on a PET).
That said, I knew I needed to address this and felt strongly I was being guided to take advantage of the groundbreaking work Dr. Nezami is doing. So my mom and I set out for Fresno while Dave stayed home with our boy.
We thought we'd be out here for two weeks, but when we arrived, the doc expressed concern over the seriousness of what the PET showed and indicated that I'd need four-to-six weeks of daily treatment before he could be sure we'd stopped any spread and begun to reverse the issue.  Further, I'll require frequent return visits after the initial stay, though we won't know the frequency or duration until we see how quickly I respond to the therapy).  
It was a total shock at first and I was devastated to be away from my family for that long, but I knew it was necessary.  Fortunately, we were able to make plans for the boys to come visit us for a week over Thanksgiving, so this took the sting out of our extended stay and my homesickness.
Last week marked two weeks of treatment, and Dr. Nezami is already putting together fascinating pieces of the puzzle that have been missing.  I spend an hour in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber and receive 3-4 hours of customized IV drips each day.  I'm also seeing an oncologist with whom Dr. Nezami works for some of the conventional treatments I need, which includes hormone blocker therapy.  Best of all, we got great news from the initial test results they conducted before I began treatment. 
While certain breast cancer markers were elevated (no surprises), I don't have any circulating cancer cells in my blood, so there isn't a concern about metastasis to my organs (this is amazingly good news), several of the tests showed there is no active cancer growth, I don't have any inflammation, and my body isn't creating new blood vessels to feed cancer.  These are all great signs.  Dr. Nezami was thrilled with the results and I think almost surprised based on what showed up on the PET.  Again, I believe that the spiritual healings I received before coming out here helped put the brakes on things and kicked my body into gear to deal with this.
I definitely have my up and down moments with all of this (who wouldn't), but I sincerely believe I was led out here for a reason.  I know that I'll see great results and be back in remission for a lifetime of good health in short order.  Of course, it's going to take some time and quite a bit of resources to get there (poor Dave; I'm not a cheap date, haha), but I trust that everything will work itself out.  We've already been blessed with so much love, kindness and generosity and I'm just trying to take things one step - one day - at a time.

In the meantime, I'm focusing all of my efforts on my healing, talking to and encouraging my cells and doing everything I can to maintain the positive, upbeat attitude that has served me so well thus far.  I'll share more later about my treatments and the fascinating new things I'm learning out here, but for now, thank you for your continued support.  All of your prayers, positive energy and gifts of laughter are feeding my mind, body and spirit.