In 1994, I was told those fateful words: “You have cancer.” At that time, I was 35 years old, a biologist, wife, and mother of a two year old. While I was generally healthy, I had a chronic cough for several months that lead to my diagnosis of lung cancer. I had never smoked nor lived with anyone who had smoked. I had no increased genetic risk factors for getting cancer. The diagnosis was quite a shock. I was initially diagnosed with stage I lung cancer that could be cured through surgery.
At that time I knew only about the conventional mainstream treatments for cancer. So that is what I did. First I had surgery in which one lung lobe was removed. Within only a few months, the cancer recurred. Then I had the rest of my right lung removed. This was followed by 3 treatments of aggressive debilitating chemotherapy (cis-platin and etoposide). The cancer then recurred again just a few months later in my left lung. At that point (about one year after my initial diagnosis), I was told I had stage IV cancer and my illness was terminal and incurable. I started an experimental chemotherapy treatment (taxotere), but I also began to learn about alternative therapies. I went to a nutritionist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, psychotherapist, massage therapist, and more. I attended various workshops for cancer patients to learn how to use my mind and soul to help deal with the cancer. After 9 treatments of experimental chemotherapy, I stopped all conventional treatments. My last chemotherapy treatment was in January 1996.
The median survival for my type of cancer is about 6 months. I am now into my 6th year since my diagnosis. While I had undergone surgery and chemotherapy during the first year and a half after my diagnosis, I have been doing only non-conventional or alternative therapies for cancer since Jan. 1996. The statistical success of conventional treatments for lung cancer is dismal and so I chose an alternative treatment plan. I believe that it is because I left mainstream medicine that I am still alive today. I still have cancer and I have had several bouts of life-threatening pneumonia. However, I believe that I am still alive because of the work that I have done on my health–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.