Carlene’s Battle With Cervical Cancer – WON!!
On August 29, 2016 I had a stroke which was caused by severe hemorrhaging. I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with stage 3b cervical cancer.
The stroke affected the right side of my body. My speech was slurred, my right hand no longer able to type or write and my right leg too weak to support me.
It took 5 weeks and 3 hospital stays to get the hemorrhaging under control, It was very touch and go for those five weeks as my blood count was very low. During this time I underwent chemo and radiation treatment, and then a second round of treatments in early October once my blood count was at a viable level.
I admit, it was touch and go at times and I did have an end plan in place if it got worse. The radiation doctor painted a bleak picture telling me my chances were always slim and reminding me all the time I should have died in August. He threatened that they might have to take my rectum and bladder or I could die in agony as the cancer ate through them. I hated this man. In the end though he found the doctor that saved my life, so we will leave it at a love hate relationship.
Lucky for me, I had a lot of support. My son came home from Malaysia for 2.5 months. When he went home my sister came to stay with me for the next month, and my daughter and son-in-law who live nearby were there daily.
During the worst of it, my son would remind me of all the things I told the women at camp on how to fight through. He would recite sayings on the oncologists walls like: Attitude is Altitude and then tell me I was flying very low. He would yell at me when I wanted to give up that his mother gave up on nothing and where was the drill sergeant in me now. I admit, I wanted to smack him, but it kept me going. Without him, I admit, I would have have given up. I was a lucky woman.
RFBC was lucky too. Menza, Erica, Onecia and JCee stepped up and took over camp. Without them camp would have had to close completely. We will always be indebted to these wonderful women, all who are in maintenance and doing great.
After a complete hysterectomy on Dec 21, 2016, I was declared cancer free. Not in remission, but there were no live cancer cells anywhere in the parts they removed. The radiation had destroyed it all. And they had saved my bladder, something that was up for grabs pre-surgery. The cancer had not touched my rectum per my oncologist/surgeon.
Where cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus, I was later told that meant I was no more likely to get cancer elsewhere than someone who never had cancer. Yet the virus is still in my body and can cause problems down the line.
What no one told me was that radiation causes scarring, muscle damage in your legs, and with chemo can cause neuropathy. All of which did happen to me and hundreds of other women on line. The pain was chronic and strong. I was doing the wholy rawker diet to sustain my weight, but it wasn’t enough. To manage the pain I went back to a low fat, low sugar, low sodium vegan diet with no grains. This has taken the pain level from a sharp 10 to about a 2 which I manage with a couple Advil each day. I have added supplements for the first time in years: Avogen (100% Avocado capsule) that supposedly breaks down internal scar tissue and Neuropaquell that has B12 and supporting vitamins in it. It also has some amino proteins studies have shown help with neuropathy. Whether they have helped or not, I’m not sure because I changed my diet at the same time, but after a month on them, I was able to sit crossed legged again which had been way too painful before.
I am now back to my peppy, let’s go have fun self which my granddaughters appreciate. It was a long journey, but it’s over. It’s a memory that is fading fast. I have to think hard even to imagine all the pain, weakness, and despondency I had that fall/winter. I know it all happened, but the hardships are barely memories.
How Did I Get Cancer When I Eat Healthy?
Cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus. What I thought were menopausal symptoms for 4 years was cancer. Had I been more diligent with exams, this wouldn’t have grown to the level it did. The doctor told me she believed it had been growing in me for 15 years, 4 years before I found raw. My healthy eating did not prevent it, maybe it slowed it down, but it did keep me healthy to the point that I survived what all doctors said should have killed me. Not the cancer, but the lack of blood in my body.
Doctors and nurses were shocked at my underlying health. My heart is in a great condition. While I had the stroke, they were shocked with how minor it was based on how high my blood pressure was. My heart did triple time pumping the small amount of blood left in me through my body causing what they called a mini stroke. I have recovered though. I type, I write, I’m even back to sculpting fine detail with my right hand.
I turned 60 during all of this. I have no plaque in any arteries in my body. My A1C is at 4.9, no sign of diabetes. Without the cancer my body was in great shape, which the doctors said is what kept me alive through the hemorrhaging. That is all because of our diet. Bad hearts and diabetes are prevalent in my family. My father, who I take after, died from his bad heart and diabetes. I am very grateful for finding raw food when I did. I had believed I would die of heart disease and obesity before I was 54. Raw food gave me health and reversed most of what was happening to my body back then. I now have all those MRI and cat scans to prove it!
It is my low sodium, low fat, low vegan food, much of it raw, that has allowed me to regain my strength and optimal health since the cancer was destroyed.
I am very excited that RFBC has survived this as well. Again, thanks to Menza, Erica, Onecia and JCee.
If this cancer journey taught me anything, it is how important healthy food and walking are. Having good food habits are paramount when going through crisis. Not eating over stress, turning down processed food pushed on you by well meaning caretakers, even not listening to doctors who say ice cream is a good source of protein was hard at times, but very important to me. Granted, because of the radiation, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything raw and nothing with anti-oxidants.It was tough finding foods I felt okay eating. There was a lot of applesauce, mashed potatoes and salmon. Not foods I normally eat, but whole foods I could feel good about and keep down.
One of the biggest hardships through this was not being connected with the women at Raw Food Boot Camp. RFBC, helping obese women break food addictions and offering them the ability to reclaim their lives is my passion. My belief in what we do, the power behind raw food and the community we have created, is just as strong as it was in 2005 when I lost my own weight and created RFBC.
RFBC and my two granddaughters are the biggest joys in my life. Having them both back, full throttle, gives me the reason and purpose to always fight through regardless of how hard things seem. I am grateful to be alive and very excited with what tomorrow will bring. Health is everything. My diet and exercise will ensure mine for years to come.