Monday, March 30, 2015

Oh, How I Love Proof....

When I was diagnosed with cancer in Sept 2013, my CA15-3 tumor marker number was 29, still within normal (under 30), but we know I had lots of cancer.  It has gotten lower every month, with it at 15 at the end of chemo in Jan 2014, when we know the cancer was gone. I started natural treatments then to build my immune system. I still had surgery and a year of Herceptin (a protein blocker). In November, while taking my last dose of Herceptin, the tumor marker number was 11.9.  I have only done natural treatments since then.  I turned down radiation and Tamoxifen (hormonal treatment for 5 years).

Most of the time, the doctor says the number goes up because this is a highly recurring cancer.  He was concerned, since I haven't had any treatment, and told me that he would call me if it was back up to 22.  If that were the case, he would get me in to do all kinds of scans and testing.

I just got the call from the nurse.  My CA15-3 number Friday, four months after my last "official" treatment ended and only natural treatments since is 11.1.  I'm so excited that all I'm doing is showing up as proof in the bloodwork and numbers!!!

Also, I've had a number of Naturopathic doctors* give me really positive feedback on my Killing Cancer Naturally article.  Even the Medical Director at Vitarock is interested in selling my supplements.  In addition, the Weston A Price Foundation took great interest in my root canal post and featured it on their Facebook page this past week.  I know I'm on the right path, and there's proof and validation in the feedback and in the results.  The number of people using my natural approach is growing, and I am starting to see all the wonderful results happening in them.  It's all going up from here!!!



* (Dr. Syliva Cimoch, Stamford Naturopathic, Dr. Karol, Alternative Medicine expert, Michael Redman, CEO, Oncolix, John Greene, Owner Mind Body Institute of America)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Getting Healthy Takes Time

I never thought I would be one of those health wackos

A year ago, I was stripped down to a shell of a person.  I was weak, bald, full of toxins from chemotherapy drugs and recovering from major surgery.  I would lay in bed at night and wonder how I would ever get my health and my life back.  And then I said to myself, "Make the best of what you have, and do as much as you can every day".  

I read as much as I could about how to get my body healthy and recover.  Much to my dismay, nothing happens overnight.  More importantly, nothing meaningful happens without effort.  And I was so broken down, I didn't know if I had the strength to do anything.  But one thing I have in abundance is determination.  I had an obligation to my children and to myself to be better than I was before cancer.  I deserve to be healthy.

Exercise

What the experts say is true; it takes exercise, diet and time.  I'm going to be brutally honest, I have never been a fan of exercise.  I don't like how exercise feels when I'm doing it.  I don't like the muscle burn or the soreness days later.  And after 25+ years of actually doing exercise on a somewhat regular basis, I still feel that way.   The only exception is swimming.  I could do that for days at a time.  The only problem is, I don't have a pool.

Anyway, I know exercise is crucial, so I do it begrudgingly.  I started with a 10 minute walk on the treadmill every day.  Some days I walked 30 minutes or more, and some days I didn't walk at all. I tried not to get discouraged, and I would always try harder the next time.  I even bought .30 cent vhs tapes of exercise routines at the thrift store and I did those.

Now that I have a Roku, I get free exercise routines to my heart's content.  About five days a week I am doing Yoga for 30 minutes in the mornings.  It's extremely hard, but I love that I can pause and take a break whenever I need. More so, I love that I can see progress every single day.  Even my daughter loves to do Yoga with me.   I try to add Pilates when I can, and I have this awesome "Home Gym" that attaches to the door for resistance and strength training.  Worth every bit of the $25 it costs.


Diet

 The next vital step to getting healthy is diet.  Here again, I was in a situation I didn't want to be in.  I've never been a fan of "diet" food.  Sure, I loved some vegetables, like lettuce and green beans, but to be honest, vegetables played a VERY small role in my diet.  There were many days I didn't even eat a vegetable and saw nothing wrong with it.  I wasn't overweight, and I wasn't eating fast food or insanely calorie-rich foods from restaurants.  My meals were maybe a Ham and Cheese sandwich and some chips for lunch, and Pizza or Pasta for dinner.  What's so bad about that?

Well, the problem was my body wasn't getting what it needed to survive and protect me from illness.  I loved homemade breads and desserts, but those left me hungry within an hour of eating them because they didn't serve a purpose in my body.  It was easy to eat several times a day and still be hungry.  And the thought of cutting off my favorite things when I was so miserable was not a plan I felt I could stick with.  So, I started to change a little at a time.

I made only one rule for myself AND my children.  "Eat whatever you want, but add a vegetable to every meal".  I wasn't depriving myself of anything, so it wasn't a big deal.  And I found that I started feeling better every day, and I had more energy for exercise.  I started to crave vegetables more often.  Adding the organic garden in the back yard helped with this even more, because I wanted to eat what I had worked so hard to grow.

I was becoming more adventurous with vegetables, trying new things and making old favorites a little fancier.  The kids were craving vegetables more often too.  It was like a whole new world of food opened up for us.  And the more plant-based food we ate, the more we wanted.

As the shift in my diet has happened, and it was VERY gradual, I also started to incorporate more of a meatless diet.  I still eat meat, but where I was eating red meat at least 4 or 5 times a week, I am down to once every two weeks.  And where I was eating some kind of meat, like pork or chicken, at least 2 times a day, I'm am down to once every two days.  I have also switched from cow's milk to Almond milk, which my daughter loves.

Now, as far as sweets, I recall when I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was craving sugar like crazy.  I was buying candy bars at the store, which was not something I did often in years past, and they would be gone by the time I got to the car.  And I've heard many others with similar stories prior to their cancer diagnosis.   The tumors I felt were forming overnight, and all I wanted was to eat a bag of Milky Ways.  My body was definitely telling me something.  More sugar = more cancer growth.

 I already know the effect of sugar on the immune system, not just the effect of how sugar feeds cancer cells, so I have reduced my intake by about 75%, possibly more.  I still indulge on a homemade cookie, but I don't crave sugar anymore.  I don't sit around saying, "I really need something sweet".  Mostly I just want to drink tea.

The Point....

It's a bunch of little changes over a long period of time that make the biggest difference.  For instance, when I make bread or pasta, I try my best to use wheat flour instead of white.  I use brown whole grain rice instead of white.  I snack on carrots and celery instead of chips.  Many times, I will have a cup of Green Tea instead of a snack.  And all these things add up.

I don't "fall off the wagon", because I've made most of these things habit.  Even if I don't exercise today, I know I've done a year of it.  I know that adds up.  And when I exercise tomorrow, it won't be as hard as the first time, because I have stamina now.  If I eat a piece of pizza, no big deal, because most likely, I have a big salad along side it.  If I eat a cookie, it's okay, I know I'll just eat better tomorrow.

The biggest thing, and what I love above all, is proof.  I am not even close to the person I was a year ago.  I feel like a new person.  God knows I look like a new person.  I know I'm doing the best things for my body and my health.  I'm building a strong immune system.  And I'm creating an environment stronger than cancer.
 If I can do it, anyone can.  



Food Pictures

Here are some pics of the types of food I've eaten over the past year.  Keep in mind that my transition to mostly meatless is recent, and I still love cheese, eggs and butter.  Although, if I had more money, I would get those organically and locally.  That's just not an option yet.

Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Sauce

Shrimp Stir Fry with Garden Veggies

Fried Chicken Salad

Garden Veggies

This is a typical lunch for the kids when they are here

Natalie made this Whole Wheat Ravioli

I dry Kale for chips and for powder to add to meals

The kids eat this stuff like crazy!

My daughter Natalie rolling out Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles

Typical haul from the grocery store

Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan Crusted Zucchini



And yes, I still make my Honey Wheat Bread


This is not a competition to be better than anyone else.  This is a competition to be better than I was.   I know I'm getting there a little at a time. You can do it too.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What a Difference a Year Makes

One year ago.....  bald and recovering from mastectomy



And now, healthy and happy.  I worked really hard to get here.


Now all I need is to have my kids home.  I miss them so much!! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Do Root Canals Cause Breast Cancer?

As I was desperately trying to find the cause of my adult cystic acne that began a few months ago, I ran across a few articles linking root canals and breast cancer.  And I thought to myself, "What kind of craziness is this?"  And I started reading to find out if I could understand the logic behind it.  There seems to be a big debate between a few researchers and the entire dental community about whether or not a root canal is a safe procedure.

I don't claim to know anything about teeth.  But from what I understand, there are tubules, small holes that run horizontally from the inside of the tooth to the outside located within the dentin (see below).  These tubules are shown in microscopic images of teeth (see below).  Some teeth, like molars, can contain up to 3 miles of tubules.

Anatomy of a tooth:




Microscopic image of dentinal tubules in a tooth:





This is where the large debate started 

The researchers, Weston Price, DDS, Dr. George Meinig, and Hal Huggins, DDS, MS, as well as a few others over the past couple decades, have claimed that microscopic bacteria can grow within the tubules, despite treatment with root canal.  The researchers suggest that by doing a root canal and sealing the microscopic bacteria within the dentinal tubules of the dead tooth, it can lead to the bacteria becoming extremely concentrated and leaking into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system.  And if your immune system is not strong enough, they suggest that this toxic overload could lead to heart disease, breast cancer, sinus problems, brain abscess, and many other systemic illnesses, like MS.  You can find out more about Hal Huggins, DDS, MS at hugginsappliedhealing.com, where they talk about some of the systemic issues that this toxic bacteria can cause.

Microscopic image of bacteria growing within the dentinal tubules of a root canaled tooth:



Some doctors, dentists, and especially homeopathic doctors believe this to be true, and they treat patients that have systemic illnesses by first extracting any root canaled teeth and old mercury fillings.  There is a video below of a doctor in New Zealand which shows his ability to reverse early stage breast cancer by removing a root canaled tooth and mercury fillings, then treating with natural therapy.  The way he talks, he acts like we all should know breast cancer is related to dental care.







 See the above chart of Tooth-Organ Relationships at  http://www.naturalworldhealing.com/Dentalinfo/tootho2.jpg

So is it true? Do root canals cause breast cancer?

I honestly have no idea.  Like I said, I don't know anything about dentistry.  The theory does make sense to me, but that doesn't make it true.  Maybe it's a matter of whether or not there is an issue with the root canaled tooth, since some of them fail and need to be retreated or extracted.  It's also apparently standard knowledge to the dental community that a root canal is only supposed to extent the use of the tooth by about ten years.  It should be removed after that.


To further discuss whether or not a root canal caused MY breast cancer,  I will share with you my own story.  

Back in 2010, I had an extremely painful abscessed molar while out of town one weekend.  I had a fairly new dentist (to me), and he was kind enough to prescribe pain medicine by phone, then scheduled to see me as soon as I got back three days later.  He knew that I would most likely need a root canal, and said that he could do it in the office when I got there.  I agreed, and had my very first, and only, root canal.

April 2010
The following couple months, I made several calls to the dentist to tell him that I still had pain in my tooth and that something was wrong.  He explained that I couldn't have pain because the nerve was gone, but I was convinced the tooth still had an issue.  He suggested that I wait to see if it calmed down, and I ended up just getting used to the annoyance of that tooth and went about my days.  It did hurt, and felt "wrong", but I didn't go back to the dentist.  I thought that maybe that's what a root canaled tooth is supposed to feel like.  I didn't have experience.

By August of 2010, I started to have constant ringing in my ear (Tinnitus).  Then, by September, I started to get a very painful stabbing feeling in the back right of my head.  It was occasional, but would almost bring me to my knees.  It happened about two or three times a month, and by March of 2011, I was certain I had a brain tumor and went to the doctor.   The brain CT didn't reveal anything unusual, but I continued to believe that something was wrong.




I learned to live with the ringing in my ears and the occasional pain in the back right of my head.  And in 2012, I started to have generalized fatigue.  Nothing to be concerned over, as I was a full time mom and it's expected that I would be tired, but still, it was noticeable.  And then I began having occasional heart palpitations and strange body pains, like deep pain the right side of my abdomen.  By November of 2012, the heart palpitations had gotten so bad that I even drove to the emergency room because I thought I was having a heart attack.  They also did an abdominal CT scan.  Again, they couldn't find anything wrong.

In the beginning of 2013 the heart palpitations were many times throughout the day and even causing dizziness and breathlessness.  Around the same time, I discovered my thyroid medication had been recalled and removed from the market.  I assumed that was the cause of my heart issues as the palpitations reduced greatly after switching to a new medication.  However, after a couple months, the palpitations came back and fatigue started to take over.

In August of 2013, I found the lumps in my armpit and right breast.  And in September of 2013, they found six malignant tumors in my right breast and 3+ in my axillary lymph nodes.  When the doctors interviewed me to find out more symptoms, I told them about the pain in the back right of my head and constant ringing in my ear.  They were convinced the cancer had spread to my brain, but the MRI again showed no change.  So I fought my cancer battle, still convinced that something else was going on.

During my cancer treatment, I must have seen the Cardiologist about my heart a dozen times, with the heart monitor having hundreds of "events".  They even put me on a beta blocker during chemotherapy because of the palpitations, but they kept saying that nothing was wrong with my heart despite the flutters.

The cancer was gone completely by mid-2014 and I was starting to get my energy back.  And monthly check-ups at the Oncologist always led me to tell the doctor about the heart palpitations and dizziness.  By October of 2014, the doctor was concerned enough to do another brain MRI.  Again, perfectly normal.

I feel like I know my own body pretty well, so what the heck was the problem??  By November, every time I bent over, I felt like I had water deep in my ear, like I had been swimming.  No matter what I did, I couldn't get it out and I started to feel pressure like maybe I was getting a sinus infection, but it lasted for months.

Then I started to get cystic acne all over my face.  I have NEVER had an acne problem my entire life.  I figured, "Okay, it's probably one of the supplements I take", and I started to eliminate them one by one.  As I did that the acne got worse.  Almost three months of acne and I was on a mission to figure out the cause.  All the websites out there talk about identifying the source of acne based on where it is on the face.  Mine was mainly on my right cheek under the cheek bone.  That indicated a tooth problem.

And that's where all this began with the root canal research craziness.  The only thing I've ever had done before a root canal were some porcelain fillings.  So when I looked up how to identify a root canal gone bad, I stumbled upon all the breast cancer related media.  The research suggested that the breast cancer was due to the root canal on the same side.

Out of curiosity, I posted in a breast cancer support group on facebook asking other women if they'd had root canals and were they on the same side as their breast cancer.  A flood of responses came in.  The majority, but not all, had a root canal on the same side as their breast cancer.  I found it curious, but honestly, that didn't prove anything.

But because I would rather be safe than sorry, and this tooth always bothered me anyway, I made an appointment to get the tooth out.  I read that if I was going to get the root canaled tooth extracted, that it needed to be done the right way.  They need to remove the periodontal ligament and part of the bony socket to remove any adjacent bacteria to the tooth.  I chose to call a Biological Dentist to do the extraction (http://www.palmerdmd.com/).   Not only do they remove the ligament and part of the bony socket, but they also do a bone graft of Beta Tricalcium Phosphate and Ozone Therapy (a type of anti-bacterial treatment).

So I went last week with the intent of having the root canaled tooth removed, not really knowing if this was all hogwash and hooey.  And this is what they found....

My tooth had major infection that the dentist said had been in there for a long time, most likely since I had the original root canal in 2010.  I didn't feel the extent of it because the nerve was gone.  As they took pictures, I had a crowd around me of employees all talking about how bad the infection was.  It had gone all the way into my jaw bone.

As he extracted the tooth, the decay was so bad that inside of the tooth had turned black and it broke as he was removing it.   Gross pic below....




And as they reached the base of the root, against the periodontal ligament and jaw bone, was a large fibrous blob, which was my body's way to try and isolate or wall off the long term infection (according to my dentist brother in law).  This ultimately shows that the infection left the confines of the tooth.  Another gross pic below of the "blob".




After the dentist cleaned, drilled, scraped and treated the socket and jawbone, he stitched up the area and sent me on my way.  With a Biological or Holistic dentist, they don't typically prescribe antibiotics to treat this type of infection.  They encourage building the microbiome of bacteria with natural supplements.  So I got up from the chair, and.....

By the time I reached the front desk, the ringing in my ear, that had been there for almost five years, was gone.  

When I got home, I bumped up my supplement intake, focusing mainly on wound healing and detoxifying the body.  I had minimal swelling considering the extensive procedure, but it was definitely painful.  And this week, yesterday, I went to get the stitches out.  The dentist said it had healed so quickly that he had a hard time even getting the stitches out.

One week out from getting this nasty thing out....  No more ringing in my ears.  I have not had a single heart palpitation.  And ALL acne is gone from my face.  All fluid from my ear and pressure from my sinuses is gone.  And I feel like my energy has increased, and I am just feeling "lighter" (although that may just be in my head).  


So where does that leave me with breast cancer? 

Honestly, I don't know that the root canal caused my breast cancer.  But knowing the infection was there this entire time, it may explain why my body chemistry was off, and that may have lead to cancer.  My immune system was obviously compromised.  There were even weird things during cancer like my body rejecting the port and becoming allergic to any adhesive material.  But I shrugged those off, not realizing why my immune system was overreacting.

The bottom line is, there is no longer an ongoing, long term infection in my body.   And I feel like there will be nothing but genuine healing from this point on.  Take what you will from this article.  There are perfectly reasonable arguments on either side of the root canal debate.  Just ask questions and trust your body and instincts.