It has also taken me this long to write to you to explain what I am
feeling so that I can release everything, move on and forgive. I wrote a
letter to Dr.( gynecologist) as well, as I felt like I needed to
forgive her too, because I believe that I was a victim in a case of
medical practice gone wrong.
When I came to you a few years ago, I will never forget you telling me that I was curable and that all would be okay,
and then things went wrong from day one, when I had the dreaded MRI,
where I was punctured so many times, my veins collapsed and my arm blew
up like I have never seen, which led to the many problems that I
experienced during chemo.
Something I will never forget, and something that should not have happened, and the way I was treated at (hospital) that time was inexcusable.
I was a frightened woman just diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and
I was treated so horribly by the people who ran my scan, they were
busy, flustered and focusing on getting out because the next day was
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I actually even remember one of the techs telling me that she was so
frustrated with the stat MRI’s and she had a meal to prepare the next
day. That was where her head was at while I was lying on a table, getting poked at least ten times with an IV needle. I felt like this situation was pushed under the rug so many times especially when I asked so many questions.
I was sent everywhere, to figure out why my arm would blow up so much
during chemo without ever having surgery yet, thinking how this could
possibly be lymphedema. I was in so much discomfort for so many months
and every time I questioned it, you sent me to see lymphedema
therapists, and you actually sent me to an orthopedic doctor. I look
back at all that and question what the motive was and what an orthopedic
doctor would do to help lymphedema? We never ever discussed the root
cause as to why this was happening.
While going through treatments, and trusting the process, I started to feel that all breast cancer patients are really treated the same. I felt as though when I asked you questions, you really did not have the answers, and at some points, I felt disrespected. I felt your anger during some moments and I will never forget when a pen went flying because you were upset with all that was going on with my arm. I was a woman who was going through the toughest time in my life, and all I wanted was reassurance and answers.
I question to this day, why after four rounds of the harshest chemo of my life, knowing that my tumor had shrunk over 95% percent why it was necessary to continue on with 12 more rounds of chemotherapy. But then again, of course, this is the cancer industry, one of the biggest money makers ever. Why could I have not had the lumpectomy at that point? If I did, I think things would have looked much different for me.
Back in May 2013, when I was hospitalized for a terrible infection, I knew in my heart that it was from the Mammogram that took place a few days prior. As you recall you did not want to do the MRI before my lumpectomy because of everything that happened with my arm, so we decided on the mammogram and I will never forget asking the tech if smashing my breast with a possible tumor in it still would be smart, mostly when my breast felt heavy and something was off…not to mention the explosion I felt throughout my body afterwards, and then eventually ending me up in the hospital for 8 days.
While in the hospital, you left to go out of town, leaving me in the hands of Dr.(oncologist) In that time, frightened and not sure of what was happening, Dr. (oncologist) came to see me. I had never met the man before, and I will never forget him coming in and looking down at my breast and telling me it looked like I had inflammatory breast cancer, and then he left me alone with my thoughts.
I did not have anyone there with me at that moment, and all I could think of was that I was dying. I started to research inflammatory breast cancer and new that this was a horrible thing. Dr. (oncologist) was very wrong, and should have NEVER said something like that to me. Dr. (oncologist), if that was your daughter lying there, would that be the way you would want her to be treated? I think back to that moment, and can say the cancer industry does a great job of instilling so much fear. Thankfully, I can finally say that I am officially strong enough to never let any oncologist instill that kind of fear in me ever again with what I have learned.
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Recovering from all of that, my lumpectomy was postponed and you and Dr.( surgeon) decided that I did not need the sentinel node biopsy and believed that the chemo had taken care of my lymph nodes. Again, still to this day, not sure what the true intent was for that decision? Was it to protect my arm or to protect all of you? What a nightmare that has been for me…a decision you both made without thinking that there could be possible cancer in my lymph nodes. As you know, you called me after my lumpectomy with a different diagnosis that my cancer now had spread to my lymphatic system. All that I could think of at that time was that it was from the burst I felt in the mammogram. I believe that to be the truth.
Marty and I came to see you to discuss what that meant for me, and how this new diagnosis could be treated, and you seemed nervous and not sure. I’ll never forget you getting up to get a text book to try to explain it all to me, and also mentioning that you had never seen this after thirty years of practice. I have to be honest, at that point I felt like all had gone terribly wrong and I was now officially a victim in this crazy cancer system.
I listened to you and went to see Dr. (oncologist) and Dr. (oncologist) out of (hospital) and (hospital). What a mistake, as they both told me that there was no need to have my lymph nodes taken.
I actually had to reschedule my appointment with Dr. (oncologist) because in that time, my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I almost gave up on thinking about myself to focus on taking care of him. As you can imagine our family now was in crisis mode. I went with my gut and saw a Dr. affiliated with (one of the top research hospitals in country) and eventually my pathology slides went to(city), and all I can say now is thank GOD I went with my gut, because if I did not, I would probably be dead. I still decided to see Dr. (oncologist) to get her opinion, and she got very defensive and questioned why I would go to ( hospital for opinion)and send my slides. I replay that day with Dr. (oncologist) over and over again in my head and wonder what she was actually thinking…I have my thoughts.
I went ahead to try to move forward with radiation (I wish I would have never done, knowing what I know now) and that was delayed because ( top hospital) stopped it before I could start because they thought I needed to have my lymph nodes taken. I thought they were crazy honestly and I went ahead and talked to a different surgeon who believed I needed to have the surgery done.
I think that you may know the outcome of that surgery; I had 7 cancerous nodes out of 17 that were taken. When I received that phone call, I was not sure if I should be happy that I had the surgery or extremely upset that I went to the “best of the best” in (city I live in) and they thought I did not need my nodes removed or did not think I had cancer left in the nodes. A few weeks after that surgery, I was admitted to (new) Hospital for another week, because after my drains were pulled, once again, I had a terrible infection. It was from that point on I had officially lost trust in most doctors and especially the cancer industry.
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While going through this process we watched my son Kyle begin to slowly slip away from us as he had to go through chemo, knowing in our hearts that it was the wrong thing to do, after much research that Marty and I had done regarding chemo. With much prayer and discernment, we pulled Kyle from chemo because we knew he would die if we did not. He ended up in the hospital for most of the month of December (2013) while I had to endure radiation, something a family should never have to go through.
Going with our guts we took Kyle to (top clinic in country) where they saved his life. You see, we were told that his tumor was inoperable and he needed 48 weeks of chemo for an end result that did not guarantee us any promises that the tumor would shrink. We supposedly saw one of the best surgeons in the country, and he would not touch Kyle’s tumor.
Kyle had a cyst on the tumor that was causing his ventricles to swell causing much pressure and pain. An extremely confident surgeon at (clinic) gave us the ultimate gift…a true miracle. Thank God again, we went with our guts again for the second opinion, because we were told if we would of waited Kyle would of just dropped dead with the situation he was in.
Kyle’s tumor was removed, leaving just a small residual behind that should not cause him any problems. With that said, Kyle is legally half blind in both eyes, and as of now, was told he will never be able to drive and play soccer, something he has been passionate about is whole life. This has been hard on Kyle being that he is now 16, cannot drive and play the sport he loves so much. So, you can imagine how our family has lost some trust in the medical system.
The reason that I am writing this to you is because our family has turned things around after all of the mistakes that have taken place. We have become our own advocates and have spent numerous hours doing much research and learning what we have, we all have changed our lives completely. I went back to school to become a holistic wellness coach, and Marty and I work together sharing our mission and purpose helping every cancer patient that we know with their diets and their immune systems.
I remember asking you the first day I met you, “should I change my diet and cut out sugar?” You looked at me and told me that there are no studies saying that taking out sugar would change anything. Really, because when you go in for a PET scan, they inject you with glucose, because it goes right to the cancer. Cancer LOVES sugar!
Dr (oncologist), I am not cancer free. I was re-diagnosed over a month ago with Stage 4 “incurable” breast cancer in my lymphatics. I have to giggle about that, because I do not have any growing tumors in my body, but I do have residual cancer cells that decided to go to the other arm pit and a node in my stomach.
I am pretty positive however, because I have learned how to manage my disease and keep those cells from forming into tumors. As you know, I see an oncologist at (hospital), and she understands that I am my own advocate and am now doing things the way I want to. We have a nice agreement, and she can take my blood and scan me when she feels necessary, but I will NEVER do chemo or have another mammogram ever!
I live quite an extreme lifestyle, juicing, eating clean, mediation, prayer and overall clean living. It is a beautiful life actually as I have learned so much the last few years, as I have become a different person, a much healthier, stronger, and a more deeply faith filled woman. I will still never question why this happened to me and my family, because I believe I have a purpose, and believe that God is using me and my family to help others.
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I shared with Dr. (gyno) all that I know when it comes to breast cancer prevention, because I believe in my heart this can be dramatically reduced if women understood what is happening in our environment and our food to cause all of these estrogen positive cancers. It now makes so much sense to me, and that is my mission, to help women and teenage girls learn and understand how to take care of themselves the right way.
I also share my story about what happened with my mammogram experience. Kind of crazy that I had two diagnostic mammograms a year for about 6 years and I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer…ahhhh, breast cancer prevention at its finest!
I also preach about women having mammograms with possible tumors in it, because I believe in my whole heart that the mammogram I had in May of 2013 caused me now to have an incurable disease that I have to manage for the rest of my life. As you can imagine how one would be totally upset by this.
I also talk to many women about taking their time, getting many opinions and asking a million questions before jumping into treatments. I have witnessed some terrible things with some of (city )supposed best hospitals…telling woman they have aggressive cancers, and they need to have mastectomies, chemo and then radiation and when they go to have second or third opinions, it turns out that in some cases it is not even cancer.
I also talk to women who are diagnosed with stage 0 DCIS, who are told they need to have a lumpectomy and then radiation? Can you even consider that cancer? There are so many other ways, I pray for that every day, that the medical industry embraces a more holistic point of view and merging the two together.
I also know that when questioned, over 80 percent of oncologists have said that they would not even take their own treatment…yes, that information is out there. I ask you again, if this was your daughter, would you treat her with 16 rounds of harsh chemo, and then want to burn her for 32 straight days. Is this the way we were meant to be treated? Poisoned for months, then burned, and then left to try to figure out how to heal from all of it?
The scary thing is, that doctors do not help you with that part of it…they just treat you, and then leave you to figure out the rest on your own. We have a very broken medical system, and have gotten away from true healing and patients are left to figure out how to heal themselves after facing these toxic treatments.
It is so wrong and frustrating on so many levels. I thank God every day I have done my research, see a holistic doctor that has helped me tremendously and have managed to stay healthy during all of this. I am not like most cancer patients, and have learned not to fear this disease but embrace it, knowing that mentally, I have total control over it. The mind is powerful and I choose not to fear it.
I have spent much time praying and discerning on how I wanted to handle all of this and all of the feelings that I have towards all doctors that I believe have wronged me the last few years. All that I can do is to forgive you Dr (oncologist) I do not necessarily blame you for all that went wrong, but you just being part of a very broken system. I have to let it all go and move forward with my life.
All I ask of you is to remember me, and my story, and think about how these women are being treated when they get a breast cancer diagnosis. I believe that every doctor takes an oath “To do no harm.” Well, in my case, I was harmed both physically and mentally as are so many other women by the cancer industry. God gave us many beautiful things on this earth to heal our bodies, and that is what I intend to do. I have a long life to live.
Some day, I hope that oncologists like you will want to research root causes, and want to be part of the bigger picture when dealing with breast cancer. This is not a genetic disease anymore; women are getting diagnosed as early as their teens. This is not right, and I hope that someday the cancer industry focuses on prevention and starts examining root causes of why these cancers happen. If I can do it, I am sure you all can.
You may not feel that you have done wrong, and that is okay, but for me to move on, I needed to write this letter and say “I forgive you.”
I wish nothing but the best for you and now I can officially let this go!
Interviewed by Shannon Knight
Debbie wrote this letter in 2015, she died July 5th 2016.