My story started when I was teenager. I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 13, which was treated with chemotherapy at the time. It was 1988 and I hadn’t realized what having cancer actually meant. I was just a child and took things as they came my way. I was treated in France at what was the best center at the time for lymphomas and leukemias, finished my chemo, and was declared free from cancer after that – and that was it. What happened to me never really sunk in until years later when I was having a conversation with a relative who was one of the leading researchers in the field of cancer. He told me that the chemo that I had received back then was a breakthrough treatment at the time, and that I was probably one of the first to ever get it.
I never asked myself “why me?” but I did start wondering what I was doing to cause these recurrences.
Fast forward to 2009; I was living in Dubai with my husband and three daughters who were around the ages of six, four, and two when I noticed a lump in my breast. I wasn’t too worried at first but scheduled a mammography just to be on the safe side. The results showed that it was just a lump of fat, and that there was nothing to be concerned about. It continued to grow, however, and I was sick all the time, so I went to see my GP who suggested another mammogram and then a biopsy. As it turns out, the lump was a cancerous tumor. We fast-tracked the treatment, I underwent radiotherapy in France for eight weeks, and that was it once again…
Until 2015, when I had a recurrence. In those six years since my first breast cancer, I had gone through a very difficult divorce. Emotionally, it’s one of the worst things that can happen to you. Looking back, I think that it definitely played a role in the cancer’s return. It was the same breast, so I had a mastectomy on one side and underwent radiotherapy, which burnt my tissue so much that it was hard to reconstruct the breast. I decided to have some fat injections done in Lebanon to help with that. As it turns out, that probably caused my third recurrence in 2017. This time, I needed to have chemotherapy, which I did in Dubai.
I never asked myself “why me?” but I did start wondering what I was doing to cause these recurrences. I also started to realize that the problem with traditional medicine, especially in France, was that it was not personalized to the individual at all. They treat your symptoms by the book, but don’t look any further than that. They ask you if you smoke or if you take the pill, for instance. I didn’t smoke, I had kids, I was active, I wasn’t overweight, I didn’t have a history of cancer or a genetic pre-disposition to it. But they didn’t bother trying to find out what it could have been that was causing my cancer to come back. I wanted to find the root cause instead of just treating the symptoms.
It was around that time that I started to discover “alternative” medicine from countries like India and China – which really should be called traditional medicine instead because it’s been around for much, much longer. What I quickly realized was that these approaches took a much deeper look at disease, at the root cause. I read everything I could get my hands on and started to understand the link between disease and the liver or the gut. It became clear to me that treatment had to begin on the inside. Indeed, cancer is just one way that your body expresses toxicity. For me, it really became about finding the switch: what triggers cancer in my body?
When you’ve had cancer four times already, it’s hard not to wonder why. And every doctor has their own theory, but no one has the answer. In my opinion, cancer is a lifestyle disease; I think we do too much, we stress too much, we run too much, we don’t take enough time to just – you know – breathe and calm down. You need to meditate, live in the moment, and sometimes just let things go.
For me, it really became about finding the switch: what triggers cancer in my body?
Once I got the all-clear from my doctor after my chemotherapy treatment, I wanted to flush all of those toxins out as soon as possible. I began seeing a husband-and-wife doctor duo based in Dubai – she’s a homeopath and he’s an Ayurvedic doctor – and following their advice as a way to maintain my health and to prevent another recurrence. One of the first things we did was a cleansing phase, during which I found out that I had a stomach irritation preventing me from absorbing the nutrients from the foods I was eating, no matter how healthy they were. So, we treated that naturally. We cleansed the gut, then we cleansed the liver, and then we went up to the gall bladder. I still regularly cleanse my gut through prescribed and supervised treatments like colonic hydrotherapies, enemas, vas teas, etc.
From there, I also changed my diet and the way I ate. For instance, I now opt for a more plant-based diet and avoid red meat, but this is tailor made for my body and it’s what works for me. I also complement this with yoga, meditation, and exercise. I’ve always been very sporty, but now it’s about doing things that are balancing rather than harmful to my body.
As part of my treatment, I also received mistletoe injections. These have been used for decades in Germany and Switzerland to stimulate the immune system, especially in breast-cancer patients. I’ve only done one course so far and will be starting another one soon, which consists of one subcutaneous injection per week, for eight weeks.
The most important thing, for me, is this constant effort to keep the body and mind as clean as possible.
I’ve been working with my new doctors for over a year now and I feel that I have gained so much energy. I feel much better, more energized, and more balanced. When I talk to my “traditional” medicine doctor about this, my oncologist, he’s actually very supportive and open to these alternative treatments. In fact, he often asks me what new things I’ve tried out of genuine interest because, as he’s explained, some of them become mainstream. For instance, vitamin C infusions, which I do a lot of, are now being talked about legitimately in the treatment of cancer.
All that being said, I haven’t turned away fully from modern medicine. I still take the maintenance one-pill-a-day treatment prescribed by my doctor, which reduces the risk of a recurrence. Of course, there is always this fear that the cancer could come back, but my message would be to try and get rid of that in your mind, not to associate yourself with it, and not to associate yourself with the cancer. I am currently reading Eckhart Tolle‘s A New Earth, which talks about the ego and how you identify with different things. These can be material things, but they can also be diseases you’ve suffered from. By identifying yourself like that, you keep the disease and the fear alive.
The most important thing, for me, is this constant effort to keep the body and mind as clean as possible because they are so interlinked. The breathing, the exercise, the mindfulness, the nutrition, the meditation – they all play a role in keeping me healthy.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article does not constitute individualized medical advice nor should you rely on it as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.