My name is Lisa A. Pion. I am 54 years old. I was diagnosed with IDC Metastatic Breast Cancer back on November 13th, 2019 on my left breast and lymph nodes through a mammogram. Toward the end of November, I was scheduled for a biopsy and found out that my cancer was Estrogen/Progesterone Positive and HER2- and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I was referred to a surgical oncologist at St. Luke’s Hospital who went over everything with me, which included scheduling a mastectomy followed by anti-hormonal treatment and chemotherapy. My mind went from zero to 100 in a matter of weeks.
When I had questioned the therapy and its effectiveness, the doctor had suggested I have a CT Scan & Bone Scan to make sure it did not spread to any other part of my body. In the beginning of January 2020, my bone scan came back positive for spreading to my T-10 and T11 vertebrae. At that point, my surgical oncologist ordered a biopsy on my back and it was confirmed by breast cancer had spread to my back. I was told I no longer qualified for a mastectomy and would need an aggressive form of treatment, which included chemotherapy.
This lead me to seek a 2nd opinion and found it at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. My initial appointment with MSK was on January 21st, 2020, and after meeting with my doctor and her team, I had a treatment plan. I was told my disease was “low volume” and was very lucky it did not spread to 10 different spots on my body and chemotherapy was not an option at this point. I was put on 2 anti-hormonal medications, Letrozole and a Lupron Injection along with an aromatase inhibitor, Ibrance.
On my journey, I also changed my lifestyle by incorporating an alkaline-based diet, stopped eating foods that were Estrogen driven and incorporated natural supplements and herbal teas to try and halt the progression of this cancer along with MSK’S treatment plan. My follow up PET-Scans in both June and December 2020 showed NEDS. No sign of active disease. I was so incredibly happy and thought that by being proactive with my doctor, I would literally keep this at bay. My doctor decided to take me off the Ibrance, which is targeted therapy and keep me on the anti-hormonal treatments stating that there are many women who continue on the path of anti-hormonal treatments for many, many years.
Fast forward 2 years later. My cancer started coming back in spots on my body. A follow up PET Scan in March 2021, showed that a small spot had developed on my left Iliac Hip Bone at .7cm. I had another PET Scan three months later, and it grew to 1.7cm. At that point, my doctor put me back on the Ibrance and changed my anti-hormonal treatment from Letrozole to Exemestane. We followed up with another PET Scan in September 2021 and the tumor in my left hip grew to 1.7cm. My doctor gave me an opportunity to get targeted radiation treatment, which I did, and had it eradicated. However, although it showed the tumor in my left hip had healed, it was noted that a tumor developed in the same breast it had started in, my left breast. I was due for another PET-Scan in December, but my doctor decided to post-pone it until January 2022.
I became very concerned and worried that something wasn’t right with my treatment, but continued the course. My doctor at MSK decided to wait it out and if it was still there on a follow-up PET Scan, she would recommend a biopsy of that tumor. Well, my fears were confirmed when in January 2022, my PET Scan showed that the tumor was still there in my left breast and had grown almost 2cm. My doctor scheduled a biopsy in the beginning of February 2022, which confirmed that not only was my tumor malignant, it followed my original cancer diagnosis of ER/PR positive and HER2-. My doctor also decided to do additional testing on my tumor to see if it developed a mutation. Meanwhile, they gave me 2 options, one was to go on an additional hormone treatment called Fulvestrant, to suppress my ovaries even further or have an Oophorectomy, which is the removal of both my ovaries and fallopian tubes. You can imagine I choose the surgical procedure as this was the root cause of my Estrogen driven cancer and felt I did not want to keep putting a band aid on the situation. I was also informed that by having this procedure, I would no longer have to take the Lupron Injection or Fulvestrant injections that have been suppressing my ovaries. That in itself, was giving me a huge sigh of relief. I thought, well maybe I will still have it, but it will be a lot less in my system.
I had the Oophorectomy on March 9th, 2022, with much success. On March 11th, 2022, I had a follow-up telemedicine visit with my Oncologist who explained to me that my Impact Testing Report came back and I developed a mutation to the anti-hormonal endocrine treatment that I was on. The mutation was an ESR1 mutation. I was told I would be put on the Fulvestrant, as it will target the ESR1 mutation along with the Ibrance. My heart sank and I wanted to cry. If I had only had my ovaries taken out much sooner, would I still have this today? I was told I would also quality for clinical trials for the mutation.
Now mind you, with all of this news, it was hard for me to process how I could of developed a mutation and was worried. I went on to PubMed and looked up why and how an ESR1 mutation develops and it develops from endocrine therapy, which includes Letrozole, Exemestane and my anti-hormonal injection, Lupron. Over 50% of women diagnosed with ER/PR driven cancers develop this mutation. In my mind, I am now thinking oh great, so if my tumor has already developed a mutation from conventional treatment, it will continue to develop it and will spread even further over time.
Time is not on my side. I became frantic and started looking into a naturopathic facility that would heal the body – not just the symptom and found Hope4Cancer.com. Their focus is on true healing that requires more than suppressing the physical symptoms, they address the mind, body and spirit and over a comprehensive healing protocol. They focus on treating both the cancer in a person and the person with cancer.
Their core therapies include non-toxic cancer therapies, which target only cancer cells, keeping vital tissues and organs healthy, Immune Modulation, which focuses on using biological vaccines to strengthen and stimulate the immune system, restoring its natural ability to recognize and fight cancer cells after being compromised, Full Spectrum Nutrition, Detoxification, Oxygenation, Restoration of Microbiome along with Emotional and Spiritual Healing. The testimonials of people who had exhausted all of their conventional treatment options and were living proof that this method works, had me in tears and wanted to go down this path. It was welcoming for me to see people who were given no hope, thrive and are living. If I stay with MSK and never find out how Hope4Cancer can help me, I will never see an end to coming out of cancer.
If I had one choice to make in my life, it would be to be here for my family and friends, and be able to help others who feel they do not have a choice with treatment.
Unfortunately, my insurance does not cover the expenses of travel, lodging and the treatment plan offered to me by Hope4Cancer, which is a 3 week program. My husband and I are living paycheck by paycheck as well. This would mean the world to me to be able to have an opportunity to eradicate this before it takes over my body. The following is a breakdown of expenses:
1) 3 week outpatient clinic treatment: $27,000
2) Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy (SPDT) – $7,500.00
3) Sunivera Immunotherapy program: $9,300.00
4) Salvus Immunotherapy Program: $3600.00
5) Round Trip Airfare for both my mother and myself: Right now the rates are $327 per person for a round trip and would need this for 2 people: $650.00
Total Expenses needed : $48,050.00
Lisa A. Pion