When I first got cancer in 2009 – I had been writing a book on how I had completely changed my life and moved to Italy.  And the life that I had created in Sardegna.  The title was Sardegna – Love, Life, Longevity.  So as you can imagine this excerpt below it makes more sense on my state of mind.

Here is a list of most of the books that I recommend for alternative views on fighting cancer.

Favorite Books:
Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor – by Kris Carr
Beating Cancer with Nutrition – by Patrick Quillin PhD, RD, CNS
Eat to Live – by Joel Fuhrman, MD
The Cancer Battle Plan Sourcebook (this is the updated version) by David
The Gerson Therapy – The amazing nutritional program for cancer and
other illnesses – by Charlotte Gerson and Morton Walker, DPM
A Cancer Therapy – Results of Fifty Cases – by Max Gerson, MD

I tell people to read Quillen’s book first because it is most likely when you are either first diagnosed or are in cancer therapy that you benefit the most starting with this book.  It is great to have this information.  He gives lots of good advice on how to combine nutrition(and supplements) with chemo and radiation to get an increased “kill rate” of cancer cells.  I was bummed that I didn’t have this book when I was doing chemo or radiation as I had not found it yet.  It also comes with a great 30-minute cd that is an overview of the book that I have listened to many, many times as it is packed full of gems.

I tend to eat more like Fuhrman’s book on Eat to Live.  As I have given up animal products (almost completely – as I only eat an egg or so a week and sometimes I slurge and have a sea food meal — and every few days I have a little parmesan cheese on some whole wheat pasta) — But there are many good theories in these books and they give me hope that we can beat this long term – and without doing Herceptin or chemo a second time.

I want to give my body all it needs to stay strong and have the immune system working so well that it kill off any cancer cells that try to come back in my body in the future.

For months now I had a hard time getting my head around writing a book
about my life here in Sardegna as the basis of it was love, life and longevity.  Hummmm…..  the love part, that I still get as Carlo has been good with standing by me and helping out with my cancer journey thus far.  But as far as life and longevity – when I got cancer… I just put all my writing and hopes of finishing the book on hold.  As how can I write a book about this if I am not sure if I am going to live?!!!

In the last few weeks as I am starting to recover a bit from the chemo and the hour a day each way, five days a week that I spend in the car driving to the other hospital for my radiation treatment has given me plenty of time to think.  I realize that Sardinia is not only a great place to live, it is certainly not the “REASON” I got cancer!

The building blocks of stress and lack of good quality sleep, not getting any vitamin D or taking the right supplements to counteract the stress and not eating the right things — these were well established before I arrived here.  On average the time it takes a tumor to grow large enough to be detected, as I did with mine with self-detection, or on some sort of scan, is 3-5 years.

So, I definitely had this cancer colony of cells growing this tumor before I moved to Sardinia.  The only bummer is that my immune system might have been able to isolate and kill off the cancerous cells if I maybe wasn’t eating so many animal
products and if I had known what I know now on diet and nutrition, I could have probably skipped over this cancer journey that I am taking.

The sad part is that I didn’t know and moreover I would have never dreamed that this would happen to me!  I had no idea that I was eating things every day that were contributing to my tumor growth.  Not that Carlo and I ate unhealthily.  We ate all organic meats and cheese (from his work) and lots of fresh vegetables.  But we cooked many of the
vegetables which changes to the acidic burn of the ash in our bodies – which translates that even thought they might be very alkaline when raw they turn more acidic when cooked.  In addition, when we cooked the vegetables, we basically killed off the healthy live enzymes in the food and therefore making it less nutritious for the body to readily use.

Then, we ate pasta most every day, which is fine but white pasta is processed and turns almost immediately to sugar in the system.  And sugar can be considered the main fuel for cancer.  Cancer loves sugar! Anyway, for me, I had to get to this place where I realized that the book and my cancer journey were not contradictory subjects —  and that I needed to start writing again and try to finish the story that I felt so compelled to write since before I moved to Italy.

The truth is we don’t know why one person’s immune system fends off cancer cells and others, like mine, didn’t.  What I do believe is that Sardinia is an incredible place to heal and to plan to live the next 40 years.  I cannot even imagine how I could have done this year of drugs and radiation with the pressure of my old Corporate high-powered job, let alone the stress of making my sales quota and the sole responsibility for my financial future, food, vehicle and not forgetting that big house payment I had!  Wow, I so don’t miss that stress!!!!

So, in the end, everything up to this given moment is still perfect, even if it is a real bummer to have to go through this experience now. The cancer and this fight against it I am in the midst of is redefining me as a person yet again.  I continue to grow and mature by baptism in fire.

I know what people say about being a stronger person.  I was always the brave one of most of my friends – all of which are strong women and  they all said I had the biggest balls.  Well, this Her2 cancer scared the crap out of me!  The treatment cycle is in full swing and I have finished the chemo but now face down the rest of radiation treatments and the year of therapy for Herceptin.

The Herceptin Cycle:  the three-week spin in which I have of one week of Herceptin treatment. Week 1 – I feel like crap!  Then the second week I feel a little less like crap.  Then the third week I feel like I almost might be feeling good – almost!  And then the 21-day cycle is up and BHAM!  I get hit with the Herceptin again and I start the cycle all over again!

I am mid-stream in the every-day routine of driving to the hospital for radiation …  I have 10 treatments finished and 20 to go!  UGH!   (Remember I signed up for the “year” deal on this drug cocktail, so I am dealing with this for months and months to come – oh, joy!)

At this point, it appears that the rodeo continues … my body is riding out the effects of the drugs and even if that could be classified as being stressful and then there is the emotional rodeo to deal with. You see, the more I read and learn about Her-2 cancer ….  the less I like it!  So many people have said — wow, your tumour was so small just under 2 cm (I think, wow, yah, sounds super —- hello! They only took 1/3 of the breast!  How lucky am I!?!).

However, it isn’t just that is was “small”, or Stage 1 because it had not infected the lymph nodes  – but that it – “IT”, being Her2 is so nasty.  This type of cancer is really, a bugger to deal with – and it tends to come back with a vengeance, and quickly.  Thank God the body is resistant and I am feeling better after the chemo has stopped, but still I feel tired
most all the time.  Hoping that the effects of the chemo starting to wear off like all the weird dreams I am having and waking up every hour or two and not ever feeling I get a good night’s sleep.  Ever!

I am seriously thinking of asking my doctor for a sleeping pill to help me sleep but am nervous of putting yet another medicine in my body to have to deal with – so I resist.  The headaches continue and so I am beginning to think that I can’t attribute them to the chemo as it has been over 30 days and I still feel terrible most days dealing with a headache. Feeling a bit discouraged by the continual headaches and I am sure that the continuing accumulation of radiation now is probably contributing to this just not happening.  It seems to be a trade-off. Stop chemo.  Start radiation.  Go figure.

One more decision I am still struggling with is “to do” or “not to do” — hormone therapy.  I am leaning very heavily on NOT doing it, as everything I have read states that Her-2 seems to be resistant to hormone therapy.  I have found it curious that from the Her-2 support group — (found this recently online and in English) most of these people have done some sort of hormone therapy … and that perplexes me as they all seem to know that it is “resistant” but …. they still
do it.  What’s up with this?  Well, I don’t know, but I’m still asking questions.

I am more and more resigned each day, and with the bulk of information that I read on this type of cancer, that I am on the right track with rebuilding my immune system, cleansing the body and then balancing the PH and the intake of food into my body (raw and vegetarian being optimal!).  This seems to be the only bright side I have found yet …. WAY more than the “miracle” cure drug Herceptin, which, yes, I am on.

However, I have seen many women (from the Her-2 support group site I found) who are on this drug or have taken it off and on for years that, currently are battling cancer in other parts of their bodies within months, or a year or so after finishing therapy for the first battle with breast cancer.  SO, it doesn’t cure – it only seems to “pause” the cancer growth. Which also causes me to stress a bit – that I am doing all this treatment, feeling like complete crap and well, it could
very well not help at all in the overall life expectancy (as they reference it in the medical journals).

So, I am hopeful that the diet change and the implementation of a lot of different supplements — and exercise will help me ride my Cancer-horse …  but riding and not bucking would be preferred!

submitted by – Karen Wheelhouse