It was the summer of 2005 when my diagnostic mammogram revealed a growth in the back of my breast. The biopsy confirmed it was cancer. My best option was to have a mastectomy. The day before surgery, my surgeon called to tell me my pre-opt tests came back.
“Your liver enzymes are seriously elevated,” he said.
“What are liver enzymes?” I asked.
“Liver enzymes let us know how healthy the liver is,” he explained. “Your enzymes are three times higher than normal. Surgery is on hold until we run some tests.”
Had the cancer spread to my liver?
After a round of tests, the surgeon called again.
“The cancer doesn’t appear to have spread to your liver, but we can’t pin point the cause of the elevated enzymes.” He continued, “We can’t wait any longer for surgery.”
Three days later, I had the mastectomy. The doctors decided I was not a good candidate for the traditional follow-up cancer treatment of radiation, chemotherapy, or hormonal (anti-estrogen) therapy. There is no cure for breast cancer; yet, the traditional therapies were not for me. My liver enzymes were still seriously elevated. I knew I had to find an alternative treatment. I went into research mode. I poured through hundreds of research studies, medical journals, and dozens of books. I shifted through my piles of notes. I devised “My Six-Step Plan.” I became my own guinea pig.
My Six-Step Plan
1. I stopped all multiple and mineral supplements.
Recent studies, for example, in The Journal of The American Medical Association and The Annuals of Internal Medicine concluded daily intake of beta carotene, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E in the form of vitamin pills increased risk of death; Vitamin A by 16 percent, Vitamin E by 4 percent and beta carotene by 7 percent. Researchers further suggested these and other artificial vitamins overload the liver.
2. I switched to organic food and began using olive oil for all my cooking and baking.
Organic food eliminated from my diet the toxic pesticides, toxic fertilizers, added hormones, and antibiotics that are in conventional foods. Olive oil is healthy for the liver.
3. I increased my food intake of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the inside of a cell from free radicals that can cause diseases like cancer. Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant of them all. According to the National Academy of Sciences, one out of every six adults receives less than one-half of the daily-recommended amounts. Since our bodies can’t manufacture or store Vitamin C, I make sure I drink orange juice, eat tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, broccoli, and parsley every day. But I do not take Vitamin C supplements. According to researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, large doses of Vitamin C—like in supplements—also protect the cancer cells inside our cells. Vitamin C taken in food sources does not.
4. I go out into the sun every day for fifteen minutes for Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. Science Daily reports studies show a clear association between a deficiency of Vitamin D and breast cancer. I have a daily ritual of fifteen minutes of sun a day without sunscreen.
5. I walk every day for exercise.
Since I live in Florida where heat can be a problem, I usually walk in Wal-Mart or Target. (I only take a couple of dollars along with me so I’m not tempted to buy anything!)
6. I meditate twenty minutes a day to reduce stress.
A little stress makes us productive. A lot of stress makes us sick. I want my body to concentrate on staying well, not on fighting stress. Meditation is a healer of the mind while Organic Food is a healer of the body.
After six months on this regimen, I returned to the doctor for a series of tests. My liver enzymes returned to normal and my overall cholesterol dropped forty points while my good cholesterol rose forty points. My cancer appeared in remission.
I remain on “My Six-Step Plan” to fight cancer recurrence. There is no cure for breast cancer. For me, the best I can do is beat cancer into remission and fight to keep it there. This year in the United States there will be approximately 243,000 new cases of breast cancer. Over 41,000 breast cancer patients will die. I don’t plan on being one of them.