“Whonoze” (pseudonym) is a Radical Remission survivor of stage 4 breast cancer. Diagnosed at the age of 57, she combined conventional and alternative methods to overcome incredible odds. 9 years later, she currently has no evidence of disease. Here is her story in her own words:
“I was initially diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic disease, with mets to my liver and bones, and given 1.5 to 3 years to live. I tried everything I could, including acupuncture, meditation, Chi Gong, visualization, and exercise. I became a devotee of Norman Vincent Peale — while spiritual, I am not at all religious, but I said NO to cancer and refused to go. I was more positive than I have ever been in my life. Immediately before I started chemo, I had the feeling that I had had a spontaneous remission. I then had a complete response to chemo and have been NED ever since.
I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic disease in January 2007. Being the personality type I am – very determined, assertive and results-oriented – I left the ultrasound, which confirmed that the lumps in my breast were malignant (which was all I knew at that point), walked down to the parking garage, and started calling everyone I could think of to get a referral to an outstanding oncologist. Then I remembered, quite amazingly, that years ago, my daughter had gone to school with Susan Love’s daughter. I got a a name.
At my first appointment, the renowned surgeon recognized on sight that it was cancer, but assured me it was easily treatable. He changed his tune when the PET/CT/biopsies showed mets to my liver and bones. My daughter was 19 at the time. Though I never said “Why me?”, I did say “NO” to cancer.
In my fashion, I pushed for the earliest date I could to start chemo. But I had to wait – for more tests and for the liver biopsy – about a month. While I waited, an amazing thing happened.
I read everything I could get my hands on about HER2+ breast cancer, positive thinking, the mind/body connection, and the Exceptional Patient. I was incredibly and uncharacteristically attracted to Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power Of Positive Thinking,” a book I would have previously dismissed as hokey. I meditated, I walked, I listened to tapes. I talked to friends and family. A group was praying for me in Ohio. And I felt the love and the positivity. I felt the universe was embracing me.
In my journal I wrote, “I have never felt so loved and comforted and cared for. I am seeing the very best in people, and I’m so grateful for that.” And on the day of my first chemo, before treatment, I wrote, “I feel like I’m in spontaneous remission. Today the tumor felt smaller and softer. Went for a walk. Beautiful day. Feeling great. Feels like it took a lot of work to get from the finding-of-the-lump to today. SO glad it’s here.”
I had one course of Carboplatin, Taxotere and Herceptin. At the end, I was declared to have No Evidence of Disease (NED). Against all odds and contrary to the grim stats, I was in remission, where I have so, so gratefully, remained until this day (2016). [After that one course of chemotherapy], I subsequently went through a clinical trial at the University of Washington, and had a lumpectomy and a prophylactic double mastectomy. Also, I have been on Herceptin ever since.
[Regarding what might cause cancer]: Strong family history. I also think stress, pollutants, food additives and lack of exercise are major contributors.”
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