My name is Valerie Kelly-Hodenius and Diana Ross is my sister. Despite being diagnosed in June of 2013 with stage four breast cancer, I have been feeling great. Because I have been doing so well, Diana asked me to share my story with you.
I was first diagnosed in 1997 with stage two breast cancer. It was found by a routine mammogram. At that time I did the usual medical treatments: surgery twice, chemotherapy and radiation. I also did acupuncture and took Chinese herbs. To me the herbs looked like a concoction of tar paper, compost and old tampons. And, frankly, that is what they tasted like to me. I lived through it, but I felt like I lost two years of my life. I went regularly for mammograms and all were clear including one in May of 2013.
In June of 2013 I sneezed and began experiencing the most excruciating pain. I went to the doctor for an ultrasound of my gall bladder as we all thought I was having a gall bladder attack. I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. The tumors filled my liver to capacity and slopped over to my bones in a few areas. You can imagine how the idea of chemo felt to me especially when my dear friend, a physician, started talking about a pic line.
I decided to interview for the right oncologist. I have very specific requirements for my medical providers. They need to be knowledgeable and up to date but just as important is that they can listen to my ideas and respect the idea that I know my own body. I interviewed a few oncologists that my medical friends recommended. I chose the oncologist at Dana Farber because she introduced herself by her first name, looked me square in the face while we were talking and made me feel like I was her only client. She gives me test results as soon as they are available to her. And she is available to me by email anytime I have needed.
My next decision was how I wanted to treat the cancer. My doctor offered me an aromatase inhibitor since my cancer was estrogen and progesterone positive. This seemed acceptable but I wanted to explore what else might be available. I happened upon a documentary about Dr. Max Gerson. His regimen seemed to me to be the perfect option. The more I read about how what you put in your mouth affects you, the more convinced I became. Well, let me tell you, this was quite a change from how I had been eating despite my diet had been superior to how the average person eats.
The day I got diagnosed I had a CT scan and blood work. I had my LFT’s drawn and tumor markers. They were all extremely abnormal. When I saw my oncologist for follow up lab work two months later all levels had improved by about 30%! I told her that I had chosen this vegan diet. She said, very respectfully, that there wasn’t any medical evidence to support that it made any difference. But I decided that it was the right route for me because I believed in it. Two months later I had my blood work checked again and a repeat CT scan. The labs went down another 30% and there was healthy liver tissue in a third of my liver. My LFT’s were almost normal!
The other great benefit for me on the Gerson diet was that I quickly lost 50 of my unwanted pounds. I feel great and have with the exception of that first week. One of the lovely consequences for me is that I have been able to be completely dissociated from the stage four cancer. I believe that whatever treatment or road you choose, the most important part is that you believe it is the thing that will work for you.