UPDATE: Jan. 13, 2018
Happy New Year everyone! I’m hoping for great things for all of us in the new year. My surgery on Dec. 28th went well. Even though I was under general anesthesia for the surgery, they sent me home the same day — it was outpatient surgery, the new standard practice. They removed the 4 centimeter breast lump and 4 lymph nodes from under my arm. The pain was much less than I’d anticipated. I’m still sore but have not had to use any pain medication, and I have to be really careful about how I move, etc. until this is healed. I still get tired about halfway through my day.
The good news: the pathology report came back saying there was no cancer in the lymph nodes and no cancer in the margins around the tumor — in other words they got it all!
Now, I’m being told that even though this sounds like great news, the medical protocol is to do chemo and radiation anyway — as a preventative and because there can be microscopic cancer cells that escape into the bloodstream, and once the cancer has spread, there is no cure.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer (not hormone driven) is said to be especially fast growing and dangerous. Because this type is a minority of cases, less research has been done and therefore fewer targeted therapies are available. Surgery, chemo, radiation are still the standard treatments.
I have an appointment with a medical oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic offices in Weston (near Miami) which is about a 2 hour drive from here, to see what their recommendation is for me — I was hoping that since they got it all, I could consider myself cancer-free and just do vigilant testing/monitoring to catch any recurrence, and eat a healthy diet, continue with supplements.
My tumor tissue is also being sent to a new DNA testing program that sequences 30,000 genes to see exactly what therapies would be effective against this particular cancer. That could help determine whether chemo and radiation would be effective at all, and if so, specifically what type of chemo drug or other treatment like immunotherapy would work.
And, I’m once again taking supplements and seeking out “alternative” less toxic and more effective treatments. I’ve seen too many people with TNBC say they’re on their second and third recurrence after they’ve done chemo and radiation!
I’m applying for a medical marijuana card because I’ve read that it can be effective both to eliminate cancer cells and to alleviate anxiety and symptoms of the conventional treatments.
Generally, I feel positive and now I’m seeking out more specific alternative therapies to make sure my whole body and my whole life will be as healthy as possible. Thank you to all who are supporting me on this very interesting journey! I will keep updating as I learn more!
All the very best,
Please help with my “personal plane crash”: https://www.facebook.com/alice.karow/videos/vb.670847003/10156708552397004/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab AND…continued: https://www.facebook.com/alice.karow/videos/vb.670847003/10156708772437004/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab This is my appeal for help with my diagnosis (Oct. 2017) of breast cancer. Please use the links above to watch my video notice (it got interrupted, so please watch both videos to get the whole story). It’s a particularly serious type called “triple negative” which means they don’t have specific therapy other than standard chemo and radiation and surgery. Triple negative is less common than hormone-driven types of breast cancer and less is known about how to treat it. My inclination to begin with is to use changes in my diet and lifestyle and all the natural means possible to treat illness, and to avoid massively damaging therapies like chemo and radiation. I’m also practical and believe in using allopathic medicine at times when it is the best choice. As I stated in the videos, I’m asking for donations and help in different forms – including prayer! And, I’m asking for financial help. Here’s what your donations will be used for: Insurance won’t pay for supplements or alternative therapies, and already I have several hundred dollars in co-pays just for diagnostic imaging, etc. In January, 2018, my insurance co-pays and out of pocket maximum will increase (more than double) for medical expenses, doctors’ appointments, diagnostic tests, surgery/hospitalization, etc. I have traveled to Tampa for the second opinion appointment, so there will be some travel expense. Also, since Hurricane Irma hit, even though my unit is not damaged, my condo fees are going up by $65 a month and I hear there will be additional assessments to pay for clearing trees, re-landscaping and repairing damage to roofs, etc. When you are part of a condo association, literally,”mi casa es tu casa” all expenses for buildings and grounds are shared! Fortunately, my employers and co-workers have been very understanding and supportive, and I am not in danger of losing my job because of lost time when I may not be able to work. I work for a small arts non-profit on a part-time basis and barely meet expenses when everything is fine. So with all the unexpected emergencies, “personal plane crashes”, I’m finding that I need to ask for financial help just to keep the basics covered and on top of that to deal with this breast cancer adventure! Since I value your efforts to help, I wanted to make this work well for you as well as for me, so I searched for a crowd funding site to make your gifts tax-deductible. This site makes gifts tax-deductible for contributors and non-taxable gifts to me. With possible tax changes, here’s an article about charitable giving strategies to help: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2017/12/13/why-2017-is-the-year-to-give-to-charity-if-you-want-a-tax-break/#4068b89b5818 I’m starting with an achievable goal and will increase it as needed as the journey progresses and will update along the way. I appreciate whatever you can give! Love and Hugs, Alice