If you're reading this and have been diagnosed with cancer, you are not alone.
Though it may feel like it!
I'm just a regular working gal with a slightly different lifestyle (living on a boat), and never thought "it" could happen to me. Cancer? That's just stuff on TV or something that happens to a friend of a friend...right?
My habits aren't perfect, but I lived a fairly healthy life; didn't smoke, lots of exercise, light social drinker, no junk food, and the only meat I consumed was seafood (due to food allergies). So when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was pretty surprised. So were my friends and family. Boy, what a way to have your life thrown into turmoil! It not only affected me, but everyone around me and my ability to function on the job.
I hope this blog helps you and others. Please feel free to email me. Due to frequency of treatments, it may take a bit to respond, but I will!
Brief introduction and who I am:
I'm a boat mechanic, artist and, most recently as of 2004, became a writer. I've always believed in working at a job one enjoys and in being true to oneself; living a life that is meaningful and fulfilling. In this case, I'd traded a home on land to live on a boat in the late 1990s. I used my technical training to work as a marine engine mechanic and worked in retail. While earning a living, I seasonally cruised in my boat to other ports.
No, I'm not wealthy or a "trust fund baby" and I only emphasize this because I worked hard for what I have, didn't have it easy, and hope this inspires others. One doesn't have to be rich to live the life you love! (to learn more, click here to visit www.rebeccaburg.com)
This blog details what it’s like for a regular working class lady, with a not-so-regular lifestyle, to fight an aggressive form of breast cancer, endure medical treatment, and live with it.
FOR MATURE VIEWERS!
I do not sugarcoat the realities of cancer, illness, and the associated harsh treatments. There is occasional adult language, medical descriptions, and photos of worrisome-looking medical situations.
This site and blog is still in the process of being built. Don’t forget to check back occasionally for new content.
What is it? Stage IIIc breast cancer.
How found it? After getting injured in the right breast, and consequently developing scar tissue at the injury site a few years ago, the area became cancerous. Not sure if the injury itself caused this or the cancer just happened to develop near the scar tissue a few years later. It's odd because there is no significant family history and genetic tests came back negative (a good thing). I have a mixed ethnic background and apparently the paternal side ancestral group has an above average chance for getting cancer.
After the lump of scar tissue began to grow, I went to the clinic for a biopsy and cancer was found. The lump didn't hurt, but it was obviously not right. After a PET scan, more cancer was detected in the nearby lymph nodes under the arm and clavicle.
Treatment varies, depending on the type of cancer cells and their location. I endured chemotherapy first for four months, then radiation is being used next to shrink the remaining lump of scar tissue and sterilize the affected nodes. The lump is still too large for surgery, mainly because I don't have enough skin there (in other words, my breasts are very small!) The surgeon needs enough area in the affected breast to have what's called clean margins; the ability to remove the tumor and have cancer free tissue around it and also have enough skin to work with to close the wound. Since I'm so, ahem, "small," I'm having a unilateral mastectomy without reconstruction.
I’m also taking natural treatments that do not interfere with standard care; infrared heat, alkaline water, acupuncture, healthy diet, and certain kinds of natural supplements. Do they work? I don't know, but it's not hurting anything. Both my oncologist and surgeon have expressed surprise by how much my cancer has responded to treatments and how I'm able to "still be standing" when every my white cell counts tank. The surgeon was amazed by how quickly things healed and how "clean" the post-surgical site looked. I'm not super woman, so there must be something to the supplements I'm taking and the acupuncture-type treatments.
I make my own colloidal silver with distilled water and medical grade silver. I use this stuff to help sterilize germs on my body and on household surfaces. It's safe and can be ingested if you know what you're doing. Along with the silver, Manuka honey helps keep wounds sterile while the damaged immune system struggles to recover.