Multi-focal invasive ductal carcinoma and DCIS
No evidence of disease
I never used ANY conventional medical treatment and yet still healed.
Biopsy or Pathology Report, Imaging (CT, PET, MRI, Mammogram, X-ray, etc), Blood Testing
Only if absolutely necessary
Diet Change, Herbs & Supplements, Increasing Positive Emotions, Releasing Suppressed Emotions, Following Your Intuition, Deepening Your Spiritual Connection, Increasing Social Support, Finding Strong Reasons for Living, Taking Control of Your Health
Energy Healing (e.g., acupuncture, reiki, kinesiology, etc), Exercise, Hyperthermia, I.V. infusions (please specify in your healing story), Massage, Sleep (getting more of it), Enemas , Ozone, Near Infrared Sauna, PEMF, Photo Dynamic Therapy, Mistle Toe, Removed amalgam fillings, Sound Healing, CranioSacral
Arcadia-Praxisklinik, Henning Saupe M.D., Dr. Yvette Whitton, Ken Robertson – Healing Practices of Greenwich
I did no surgery, chemo, radiation, medication or hormone blockers. No conventional treatment, but I did do conventional testing and monitoring.
Diagnosed September 2016 with multi-focal invasive ductal carcinoma ER + PR + HER2 - by mammogram and MRI. Biopsied: 1 area by stereotactic biopsy and 2 areas by MRI biopsy. (Nothing showed up on Ultrasound). 3 inserted titanium clips marked random areas where tissue was removed, which all tested positive and it was assumed all other connecting similarly suspicious areas also cancer. Mastectomy was recommended, because it was not one lump, but multi-focal throughout breast. I went to Arcadia Clinic in Germany in January 2017 for 3 weeks and did several treatments but nothing conventional. Radical Remission was recommended by Dr. Saupe there and I read it before coming home--deepening my commitment to take charge of my own health and follow my intuition. I found Chris Wark in February and started his Square 1 program. March 2017 I did the preliminary MRA of abdomen required for the DIEP Flap reconstruction surgery. Also had a mammogram in March that showed no spreading. 2 areas with titanium clips did not show up at all, but mammogram was being compared to MRI so inconclusive if actually gone. Opted to wait and watch. Canceled mastectomy scheduled for April 18. I went again to Germany in August and added an additional optional experimental type of Photo Dynamic Therapy. (CHLORIN E6 TRISODIUM SALT 30 mg Powder for injection). Dr. Saupe said to wait 3 months before monitoring results. In December, all blood work and cancer markers were normal.
Just before my 60th birthday, I was told to stay for a few more tests after a suspicious mammogram. Here we go again! I was relieved when they had made improvements to this procedure—less false positives with immediate feedback. I had since had many “free and clear” drives home, checking off another year like getting a season ski pass that allowed me to sail freely down the slope to safety without a mishap. Much better than the previous ups and downs, waiting for results followed by the inevitable 6-month follow-up. Or worse, the surgical biopsies they used to do and I had had, starting in my early 30’s for a total of 3. Memory blurs them together but they remain separated by the faded scars in different quadrants of my right breast.
I also had one attempted (but aborted) stereo-tactic biopsy back when it was a new procedure. The area in question was difficult to reach, so they kept doing x-ray after x-ray. In the end I’d have to have it done surgically after all. When I asked about all that radiation (and it was much worse in those days) I was assured that it was no more than flying from California to New York. Though I know it is procedure, I never had to sign the paper like the one I just had, saying I wasn’t pregnant before I could get on a plane. The plane radiation was never so focused on my right breast, over and over and over. Years later a friend told me that I had casually said to her as we walked on treadmills together, that if “I ever get cancer, it will be on my right breast”. Who knows if that statement was a premonition or a curse I gave to myself.
It would be only partial disclosure for me to talk about my own healing story in detail without including the background of going through this with those closest to me. They were powerful influences in my choices. My mom found out she had breast cancer at age 53 in 1974 by waking up in the recovery room with one breast. She went in for a biopsy and came out having had a radical mastectomy. No reconstruction choices back then. No choices actually that went much beyond green Jello or ice cream during a hospital stay. I was a senior in high school when she and our family got this shock that would change us forever. It coincided with the blissful high of my first love wearing off, kind of like a Buddhist sculpture rubbed too many times in one spot for good luck but without the luck (or the shine). My world was spinning and crashing, free form and face first.
My healing really started the day my mother had surgery, though I would not be diagnosed until 43 years later. That was when I first set sail into the unknown medical waters and learned to navigate with sheer terror. I wanted to save my mother and stop all things that changed for the worse. The book “Be Here Now” by Baba Ram Dass was big back then, and while I agreed with the concept, what I really wanted to do was freeze time like fertilized eggs for an assured future life, not savor it. I hated that both life and love could go rancid or sour. I hated that my mother’s body had become an uncooperative and increasingly fragile prison guard that would determine her unknown sentence. She may not get released from this without leaving it behind. No guaranteed parole even for her lifetime of good behavior. I wanted back the delusional authority I had when I was in elementary school safety patrol and felt like that strap and badge uniform gave me special powers just short of being able to physically stop a car that got out of line. I wanted to heal her—something that seemed even more impossible.
The “C” word meant “cancer” then-before it became crude code for female genitalia. Cancer was rare and too frightening to say both syllables together above a whisper. Now it would be difficult to find someone who has not been shredded by cancer—either their own or, like second-hand smoke, by someone close to them. There are so many media outlets sharing what now seems to be called “the cancer journey”, as though you could click on it right after “destination weddings”. The topic went from a hushed whisper to email blasts. Publicly documenting it all like I am doing now is very different from my journal stuffed under the mattress. It did eventually become dinner conversation at our house, but that took years.
When it metastasized, the prognosis was that she had just months to live, that her intestines were like fish scales and would not function normally again. She was released to try alternative methods (quackery) because they had no hope for her so any choice would not hurt her further.
We found Dr. Donald Cole (who had previously been at Sloan Kettering) but then practiced in Floral Park, NY and at a hospital in Zion, Illinois with laetrile, whole body hyperthermia and diet. She flew out for treatments and seemed to improve with each trip. I met many there with a similar story. She also saw Dr. Donald Kelly who introduced her to supplements, juicing, and liver flushes with coffee enemas. She lived several more years- dying at the end of 1982 two weeks before her 62nd birthday.
Dr. Cole’s professional career, however, tragically ended before my mother’s life did. He lost his license for giving patients “false hope” in spite of the 75 patients who went to support him at his hearing. www.nytimes.com/1982/09/30/nyregion/cancer-issue-costs-doctor-state-license.html His hospital in Zion folded and is now part of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America chain.
The first time I saw a cereal commercial saying that the American Cancer Society recommended a high-fiber diet, my feet froze to the carpet and my jaw dropped as I stared at the screen. In those days, just suggesting there may be a relationship between food and cancer meant you were willing to risk being discredited and most likely hugged trees and ate sprouts. Granted, this was not a medical journal. It was intended to sell cereal, but still a radical and public recommendation that to my ear had confessional undertones.
After years of my father being my mother's caregiver, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer the same year she died. He had taken her all over the country to integrative hospitals and doctors, but as his health declined, he wouldn’t do the same for himself. My father's illness took down a powerful man. He had survived raising 5 kids and wars when he slept with a gun under his pillow, but there was a new fragility that came with his inability to save his lifelong mate. He was quietly heartbroken, on his own with his raw loss and now without a partner by his side to care for him and handle logistics as he had done so consistently for her.
A retired civil engineer and Colonel in the army, he took advantage of his extensive benefits, spending his golden years as a frequent guest at the nearby military hospital. He had difficulties from side effects of the experimental and extreme radiation that treated him but still, it was clear that my father would not have been comfortable with my mother’s choices, or vice versa. He respected her, supported her and whatever she wanted to do. Though they both died several years beyond their prognosis and after many ups and downs, my mother took the back roads and my father took the main highway. When the nurse told me that “the Colonel had expired” I shuttered. I had never heard it put quite that way, but suppose that is exactly right. We all have an expiration date. The consecutive 16-year stretch of one of my parent’s having cancer ended when his life did.
In 2005 my husband Phillip went in for hernia operation and at the pre-op exam was told he was too anemic to have surgery. Instead, he had a colonoscopy, which went on for so long he became conscious as other doctors were called in and huddled around the screen to become educated and witness the very rare familial polyposis - a genetic disorder (his colon “carpeted with polyps”). This came with both colon and rectal cancer, and he knew from the discussion he became privy to by his unavoidable eavesdropping that he would be having his colon removed. We would learn after doing genetic testing at Johns Hopkins that his case was even more rare as it came from 2 recessive genes-- the best scenario for my then 16 year-old daughter.
Phillip had the ileostomy in 2006 at Johns Hopkins and then brain surgery at Columbia Presbyterian on October 31, 2011 to remove one of five metastasized tumors. He had been taken to brain radiation on a stretcher every day for 3 weeks, but the tumor by the brain stem, it was decided, would require surgery. Known for his outrageous Halloween "decorations" and sound effects, he annually terrified his willing and loyal audience so much that years later I would hear about the childhood trauma we had inflicted. I spent that day adhered to the waiting room chair until I heard that the dangerous 7-hour surgery was a success. I was eventually allowed to see him in the large recovery room, that reminded me of "Mash" reruns. Once moved to his room and conscious, he showed off his stapled scar down the back of his head, saying he could never have come up with a costume that was that good.
Unconcerned about the massive storm outside that was bad enough to reschedule "Trick or Treating", I drove home like a zombie. I pulled into the driveway at the end of a day that had started at 3 am to see so many wires and large branches down in my front yard that the mailman was unable to deliver mail. Dealing with that seemed like a mild inconvenience- something I would put on my “to do” list like getting half and half for Phillip's coffee. I would never hear "It's not brain surgery" the same way again.
Three weeks later, Phillip prepared a Thanksgiving dinner (that was publishable and worthy of photographic spreads ) by rolling around in his wheelchair. Soon he would be unable to enjoy even that mobility. He passed away 6 months later in a hospice with extremely loving care during what would have been our 30th year of marriage.
Four years later I was diagnosed and a mastectomy was recommended. The only “medical opinion” I could get to say “maybe not” was my own unqualified wishful thought. A cancer diagnosis is often followed by a "seek and destroy" mission like attacking a parasite alien in you that you want gone and gone fast. It's been suggested you should "disown" the cancer, never saying “my” tumor. My thought was that at least while cancer was visiting, I would treat it with respect. That didn't mean I wanted it to move in permanently. I’ve heard women refer to their own body with "just wanting their breasts chopped off as soon as possible”. That was not at all my response. For me, the inevitable surgery was more like cleaning out my garage. I knew there was crap in there I didn’t need that served no purpose and didn’t belong there, but I was in no rush to take it on. There were so many other things I’d rather do, like “research” where I lived for the first few months.
I went to the Integrative Center for a session about “Healing Faster from Surgery”. During a guided meditation when I was supposed to be visualizing, I had the strong feeling of protecting my breast and of not doing the surgery. In the past I had done so many things “to” it in the name of preventative care. When I shared that at the end of the session with the practitioner, the mood shifted from “Just relax, there are no wrong answers” to a stern “You have invasive cancer and you must have a mastectomy.”
I have a strong social support of good friends and family I knew I could count on. I have an adult daughter with whom I am very close. Yet, people should and do have their own lives, jobs, families. I thought of my father being on his own when I was asked questions like who would pick me up. It went beyond just having a soft place to fall. Some of it was just practical. The paradox is, it all distanced my readiness to invite someone into my life as it was currently framed. It all seemed too complicated and uncertain.
I went with my daughter to the Arcadia cancer clinic in Germany www.arcadia-cancer-treatment.com/ in January 2017 where I spent three weeks having hyperthermia, mistle toe, Vitamin C infusions,PEMF, and a lot more. While I didn’t check-off psychotherapy as something I had done, there was a lot of mind/body work done there, and one of the first things said to me was “So you don’t want to die, but why do you want to live?” Surprisingly difficult to answer after he told me it had to be other than my child, which predictably every mother says reflexively. This is where I read the book Radical Remission. The stories became like the 4 minute mile—demonstrating what was possible. When I came back home, I discovered Chris Wark www.chrisbeatcancer.com/ and signed up for his Square 1 Protocol. His live Q+As and private facebook group became and still are a source of ongoing strength.
Still thinking I would have a mastectomy, I had the MRA needed for mapping the abdomen when doing DIEP flap reconstruction. The procedure takes abdominal fat and uses it to construct a new breast. When I met with the plastic surgeon, I felt he looked at my belly like I look at the potential of new art supplies. I had flashes of the movie “Silence of the Lambs”.
I did a mammogram a month before the the scheduled April 18 surgery, thinking my breast was being removed anyway, so the radiation didn’t matter now. They couldn’t see cancer in two of the areas where the titanium clips had been placed during the biopsy, but those were areas that did not show well in previous mammogram, only in the MRI. They would confidently say though, that there had been no spreading. That was enough for me to put off the surgery to watch and wait.
I went back to Germany in August and at the recommendation of my doctor there, (Dr. Henning Saupe) I did an extra additional Photo Dynamic Therapy with Chlorin. I had all of my amalgam fillings removed and replaced near the clinic. (I had tested very high in mercury).
October 2017 I went to Omega to do the weekend workshop with Dr. Kelly Turner and stayed to become a certified Radical Remission Teacher. The question I was asked at Arcadia about why I wanted to live (echoing the having "Strong Reasons for Living" factor) has come more into focus for me. I can think of few things more meaningful or that go deeper for me than wanting to connect with people who are going through this, either as a patient or a caregiver.
In December of 2017, all blood work from 3 different Quest Lab tests were in the normal range, and an additional “Liquid Biopsy” test for Circulating Cancer Cells was “not performed” because no cancer cells were found. WHAT????
Cancer had been my focus for over a year. It at times felt like a job I dutifully reported for every day and I was now about to walk out without giving notice. The energy that went into decisions that needed to be researched and made, the massive medical bills and paperwork, appointments, and traveling for treatments would morph into being with others who are either healing or learning how to thrive with cancer.
I cautiously shared this news and called just a few people. My daughter seemed hesitant to take it in, as though it was either too good to be true, or I was delusional. Maybe both. My friend (who was solidly near the top of my core social support list) also seemed underwhelmed, and after a polite and reserved reply, segued directly into a new topic. Did he actually hear me? I said I had "No CANCER", not "No cavities”!
I understand the full range of reactions though, as it took days for it to sink in for me. I was very glad I recorded the appointment with Dr. Whitton adonaiohw.com/, because I couldn’t hear the dreamlike surreal words as they oozed and dripped toward me through my tears.
There were also many celebrations - unexpected gifts, cards, and tremendous joy. My brother who had urged me to go to Sloan Kettering and had been very concerned about my choices, was over the moon. He bought the Radical Remission book and read it cover to cover. I bring this up because we know the factor "social support" is extremely important, but it takes varied forms and expectations around that can be a trap.
The truth for me is this. People, (even a mate) can walk with me, but they can’t walk for me. No one talks to me more than me. Factors like spiritual connection, intuition, releasing suppressed emotions and others need to be experienced consciously and felt in the body. That is where the healing happens. My body, which has taken so much of my attention and resources has also given me pleasure and now carries the story I bring to others. It is more of a thermostat that sets and guides me (often bypassing and mystifying my brain) than a thermometer that just reacts and reports. It is not my enemy that needs to be conquered, fought or bullied.
I will not stop my protocol of juicing, eating mostly organic whole grains, fruits and vegetables and things I continue to learn from Chris Wark and his Square One program. I write, walk at the beach and meditate each morning. I will continue to monitor and maybe will always feel little alarms that come with any new ache or pain.
2018 Highlights: I attended the Annie Appleseed Conference (founded by Ann Fonfa, one of the survivors in the RR book) annieappleseed.org/ and I now am an advocate for the conference. I gave a RR weekend retreat and the group bonded so much they still meet for dinner monthly and have asked me to do one again for our same group. July my blood work, thermography and ultrasound all came back clear—very different and much better than the previous August. I have given mini-workshops on Radical Remission at Arcadia in Germany and also at the Trew Fields Festival in England. I completed 2 coaching certifications. My life now feels wide open and filled with possibility, and it is with tremendous gratitude that I take this opportunity to share this healing story.
Please feel free to comment below, contact me, or like my facebook page Kathryn Doherty-Radical Remission for updates, articles, inspiration and upcoming events.
* I had several mammograms with false positives--resulting in many 6 month follow-ups, 3 surgical biopsies-all on right breast. I have had too much radiation on that breast.
* My husband of 30 years passed away 5 years ago. The stress around his long illness and then death may have contributed to a weakened immune response.
* My mother had breast cancer and my father had prostate cancer. Genetics play less of a role than once thought, but possibly was a factor.
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