Over 1,500 men and women have written to me since I began my blog, many with incredible stories of healing, but this tops the list by far!! This story is miraculous!
Note from Denise: Catherine Jackson from Maryland first wrote me to tell me how much she liked the chemo caps she ordered from me through my breast cancer blog’s online store, http://www.hellocourage.com. She was one of my very first customers last August, 2013. Catherine was a great encouragement to me. I knew she was a church organist. At the time, she indicated to me that she was Her2Positive Stage 4 Breast Cancer, mets to her bones/skeletal system. With that diagnosis upon her, I was utterly amazed she took the time to write me, thank me, and order more caps, and thank me again. Catherine gave me the confidence I needed to keep my new shop going.
Catherine hinted that her prognosis “wasn’t good”, but you would have never known it from her positive emails. Catherine commented on my blog several times while she was undergoing Taxol. In true “Catherine style” she was giving encouragement to others. Catherine always amazed me because in spite of her trials, she was always positive and upbeat. We had no contact since last September, 2013 until April, 2014 when Catherine posted an update on my Blog which absolutely astounded me.
CATHERINE’S STORY: I was diagnosed in July, 2013 at age 48 with Stage 4 Her 2 Positive (slightly estrogen positive) Breast Cancer metastasized to the bone. The way they found the cancer in the first place was my hurting back, and I went to a spine doctor. I was in a wheelchair if I could get up at all. The x-ray showed a compression fracture on one of my vertebra. My spinal cord is compressed pretty severely, making my legs very weak. But the pain in the back and hip was what caused me to not be able to move at all. I was wearing Depends daily, and my husband had to help me onto the toilet. When the doctor followed up with a CT scan, they saw the extensive cancer.
My original Radiology Report is something I am going to frame! The Radiology Report listed the bones that were affected because of the metastasized breast cancer: The cancer was in two places in my skull, both collar bones, both shoulder blades, both arms, both legs, both hips (they were concerned about a pathologic fracture on the ball joint of my hip so later they did 10 treatments of palliative radiation), both shoulders, every single rib, every single vertebrae from my neck to my butt, and the ischia (butt bones).
Months later, my husband and I read my Medical Chart as we were curious what was in there about the initial diagnosis. I knew it was “really, really bad” but I knew I had to remain hopeful. In my chart, there were comments by my Oncologist like this: “Catherine is very aware of the grim prognosis.” and “Catherine has been told to get her affairs in order.” The one that really got me was it was written that my life expectancy was 3 months, but the medical team’s goal was to get me to live 6 months through Christmas because of my two girls (ages 9 and 15 at the time). It was very unnerving to see it in black and white.
Since the doctors did not expect me to live, they were not overly aggressive in my treatment. I did NOT have a mastectomy because they didn’t want to put me through that when I wasn’t going to be around very long. They did a lumpectomy to remove the 2 cm tumor which gave me a huge seroma. I also had two lymph nodes removed. The serona had to be drained every month! It was a pain! I read online that if you massaged it, it might go away. Well, I massaged it alright and that night I developed a fever and my breast looked like a red watermelon! I went to my breast surgeon and he drained it again and put me on antibiotics. I had that stupid fever for 2 weeks. And then it went away and my seroma went away, too!
I only had Taxol Chemotherapy (no Adriamycin/Cytoxan) along with Herceptin because I was totally on palliative care. My Oncologist told me from the get go that it would be 8 to 12 Taxol treatments. Later, I found out it was suppose to be 12 treatments, but he didn’t think I’d make it through all of them. He thought I would either die first or my blood counts would get too low because my bones were so eaten up that they would never be able to produce marrow to make blood cells. Taxol and Herceptin started in July, 2013. I was able to finish all 12 Taxol infusions in November, 2013. My red blood counts were low normal when I started chemo but my white counts were low. The Oncologist said it was because my bones had nothing to give. At the end of chemo everything was slightly low including hemoglobin. My Oncologist said the blood counts would always stay low because my bones were so eaten away by cancer.
In addition to Taxol and Herceptin, my Oncologist put me on Perjeta, Zoladex, Xgeva and Tamoxifen. I had a PET scan after chemo was finished, and it showed some slight improvement. I was feeling quite a bit better, and my Oncologist was thrilled as I had already outlived my life expectancy. He told me that I would have to wait four more months for my next scan.
Upon diagnosis, I immediately cut all sugar from my diet, and my husband started me on vegetable juicing. My Oncologist is absolutely amazing and is so forward thinking in traditional medicines, however, not when it comes to natural remedies. Most Oncologists are not into natural remedies.
But I read Denise’s blog post about the Host Defense Turkey Tail Mushroom and the clinical trials that were going on and knew from her Oncologist’s comments to her that it couldn’t hurt, so I took it. http://denise4health.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/turkey-tail-mushroom-trametes-versicolor-and-breast-cancer/ I kept reading and researching and finding different things that seemed like a good thing. I would research until finding someone whose oncologist would tell them it was ok to take that with conventional treatment, then I would add it to my protocol. I knew I had nothing to lose because of my grim diagnosis, so anything that had some proven merit was worth a try.
After Chemo in November, 2013, I decided to go on the supplement of ellagic acid, which is raspberry seed powder. I consulted with Jim Webb who did research at the Hollings Cancer Clinic in South Carolina along with an oncologist. They had really good results with ellagic acid. It tastes nasty. But within a month, I could see and feel the difference in a big way.
By Christmas, I was no longer having to ride the electric wheelchairs at Walmart or the grocery store. I still leaned heavily on the shopping carts that I pushed, but I could do it. I could once again walk into the store from the parking lot instead of having to be let off at the front door. I was even able to take my daughters Christmas shopping for 3 hours! I was exhausted and sore when it was over, but I did it! I just continued to feel better and better. I still had quite a bit of back pain, but I could walk!
By the beginning of January, 2014 my blood work was normal!! That’s about the time my Oncologist started jumping up and down. By March, in his continued enthusiasm about my progress, he was yelling, “You should have been dead by now!”