• Mary McConnell

One Year Active Surveillance Follow up - Stage Zero Breast Cancer

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

March 4, 2019 marked the one-year active surveillance follow up date for the very early stage breast cancer diagnosis that I was given in January 2018. Instead of proceeding with a lumpectomy and possible radiation (as was originally suggested by the first surgeon I was referred to) I chose to take a wait and see approach as there was not 100% certainty that what had been detected on my mammograms, ultrasounds and two biopsies was indeed something that needed to be treated immediately or even at all.

Instead of choosing the radical approach of surgically removing the calcifications in my right breast as was originally suggested, I instead chose a more holistic approach which included CBD/THC treatment, herbal therapies, dietary adjustments, spirituality (meditation, visualization, prayer) and adapting the mindset that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.

My six-month follow up showed no signs of any growth. My new surgeon (as I "fired" my first one), who was on board with my decision to proceed with active surveillance, indicated that this was great news as most newly diagnosed masses show growth within the first few months.

Going into my one-year follow up appointment I have to admit that I was a bit nervous as I had become rather nonchalant about the course of action that I had chosen to take. I had become lax on the amount of sugar I allowed into my diet (as I had cut out all sugar having read that it can be like jet fuel for cancer cells), didn't reorder my herbal elixirs after my original six-month supply ran out (as I couldn't afford another round) and slowed down on my CBD/THC consumption (as it was becoming too expensive as well).

To be fair to myself, one of the main reasons I believe I regressed back to my old ways of living was because I had really put it out of my mind that there were any cancer cells that I was trying to contain or eliminate. I had adapted the mindset that there wasn't anything wrong with me that even required these measures to be taken! So needless to say, going into the appointment for the results of my one-year mammogram and ultrasound, I was concerned that I had been naive and that because I had "slipped" on my original course of non surgical treatments I had chosen to follow, the news I would receive may not be want I want to hear.

My worries were quickly put to rest, as yet again I was given the news on my March 4th appointment that there had been no change and no growth in the stage zero cancer cells in my breast. My surgeon reiterated that this was fabulous news and that she had no concerns with proceeding with a wait and see approach. I asked her again (as I had the after my initial diagnosis) if she felt any serious worry that I was making a bad decision, that I was risking my health or even my life. She said no, that even if the cells do grow (which they might never do) the type of cells that they are would grow at such an extremely slow rate that she felt confident in supporting my decision and that if she had any serious concerns regarding my choices that she would definitely tell me so.

On September 9th, 2019 I will meet with my wonderful surgeon once again to connect and see where I am at with things. At this time, there will not be a mammogram or ultrasound, just a check in to stay connected and see if my decision remains the same or if I would like to instead proceed with a different course of action. I can't begin to explain how much it means to me to have a surgeon who shows such compassion and respect for her patients as mine does instead of the original surgeon I was referred to. That surgeon had even offered a full mastectomy as an option to what I was facing and whose first words when he met with me after my biopsies were "well the good news is that you're not going to die from this". Unbelievable!!

I urge every woman who gets her recommended routine mammograms with the intent of early breast cancer diagnosis to do what feels right for her. The medical system is so quick to prescribe a pill or operate even when that may not be the best or required course of action. But we have been programmed to believe that "doctor knows best". I no longer believe that. I think YOU know best what is right for you!

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