Kathy, a mother to two young girls, was diagnosed in 2005 with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer. After receiving two devastating diagnoses – stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer and a high-grade cancerous tumor in her head and neck – she refused to accept the prognosis of death, and decided that neither cancer nor her doctors would determine her fate. Here is her story in her own words…
“In 2005 with two small girls, I was first diagnosed with stage IV inflammatory breast cancer, which was first noticed by my horse, Simon. Then, using ultrasound, biopsy, punch biopsy, and breast MRI it was confirmed by my doctors. I was given the chemotherapies Adriamycin/Cytoxan followed by Taxol/Avastin. I then had a modified radical mastectomy, oophorectomy and tissue expansion surgery.
Once healed from surgery, I was given non-skin-sparing radiation. During that time I was also taking a variety of prescription medications to manage the side-effects. One month after my last radiation, I was diagnosed with a high-grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma in my parotid gland. It was diagnosed by MRI, then biopsy. I underwent surgery to remove that tumor, then radiation.
Over the following several years, I had numerous other surgeries to manage complications. Conventional treatment seriously compromised the function of many of my organs, so it’s hard to say if I believe the treatments alone put me in remission. More likely it was the combination of medication with meditation, visualization, food, and reiki that pushed me to remission. However, I do feel confident that the treatment helped knock the cancer back far enough to allow the energy modalities and cancer fighting foods to clear cancer from my body.
After receiving two devastating diagnoses – stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer and a high-grade tumor in my head and neck – I refused to accept the prognosis of death, and found myself tallying the limitations of conventional medical protocols, which led to my decision that neither cancer nor my doctors would determine my fate. Despite taking advantage of everything my hospital had offered, my body was failing, leaving me to live half-dead and seriously questioning conventional wisdom. My medical team, charged with “doing no harm,” seemed to be killing me slowly by upholding the status quo of cancer treatment.
As you might imagine, that left me at a veritable fork in the road. With two small children aged two and seven, I white-knuckled my way through self-evolution, self-advocacy, and my ongoing transformation to connect with my body’s healing abilities and my soul’s higher purpose while untangling myself from the established protocols. After the near failure of many vital organs, I embraced the idea of “that which you give attention to grows,” and turned my focus to using energy healing together with food-as-medicine, rather than layering on additional pharmaceutical treatments. The striking improvement to my overall physical health impressed my oncology team enough that they supported my decision to finish the battle by healing my mind, body and spirit.
Through meditation and visualization, I was directed to learn how food from a toxin-free environment could play a critical role in saving my life. Also, working with several energy healers, I was empowered to undergo a metamorphosis into a self-healer and, incredibly, my medical records document that path. Through self-advocacy and self-empowerment, I used science in a way not widely accepted in the oncology world, and even though they embraced my choices, I left a lot of doctors scratching their heads.
My life expectancy after diagnosis was 21 months, and I’m currently entering my 12th year with no signs of recurrence and fewer and fewer residual side-effects lingering after treatment. How I did it is absolutely replicable. I know this because, since becoming an integrative health and cancer coach and reiki master, I’ve helped many patients through their own difficult recoveries and have been inspired by their incredible success.
Having watched too many of my peers die from the beast, I decided to start a non-profit organization in the early part of my recovery to teach people how to eat with the intention to heal. Our unique work served thousands ranging in ages from 3 to 85, and used community gardens to train individuals, dietitians, chefs, corporate health care administrators, hospitals, schools and many other organization how to use food as medicine. I whole-heartedly believe that true health care reform starts with clean, high quality food, and was grateful to discover that my unexpected recovery offered hope and inspiration to others, including the medical community. My story led to a movement of sorts in southeastern Wisconsin, which got me thinking that I could take that message to a much wider audience and help countless others across the country.
Hence, I recently wrote a book, “E.A.T. – An Unconventional Decade in the Life of a Cancer Patient.” In it, I describe what my battle looked like in order to validate the struggles that other cancer patient endure, and to help caregivers and medical practitioners understand what their patients might be going through when no one is looking. Putting the truth of our current medical model out front and center will hopefully make it impossible to ignore the facts that nearly 20% of today’s cancer patients die from the toxicity of the treatments, and another 20% die from malnutrition because they are unable to eat during treatment. Like so many others before me, I was told that winning wasn’t a likely option, but my willingness to try everything and ultimately succeed proved them wrong. When one door closed, I knew another one would open if I just turned the knob.
I wrote my story to offer hope and inspiration to those struggling with chronic disease, along with their caregivers and healthcare providers, and really anyone seeking a preventative and integrative approach to health care. My book, “E.A.T.,” was written in journal format, and is based on the 18 journals I kept during my battle with two rare and aggressive cancers, along with my struggle to recover from the debilitating treatments. It’s an intimate portrait, chronicling the frustrations and hardships of taking on a harrowing battle within the context of our healthcare system, while illuminating the path I traveled to become a self-advocate, evolve as a person, and eventually transform my life from merely surviving to thriving. You can learn more at: kathymydlachbero.com
My understanding of what may have caused my cancers has evolved over time. In the beginning, I looked to toxic exposure, but then stress moved to the forefront. Today, I am also open to the idea that cancer was allowed to grow in my body because I had unresolved emotional wounds that could only be healed by using my gifts to serve others. Then again, maybe it was the chicken pox virus that has been loosely tied to both of my cancers. I think it’s difficult to say for sure, but what I can say for sure is that I now have a deeper understanding of what is expected from me as I travel down my divine path.”
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