By Kate Kytle
I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) in March of 2010, although the micro calcifications had been there, and had been watched, for five years. My doctor at that time decided that I needed another biopsy and, even though it had not spread out of the ducts, decided I needed surgery and possible radiation. I agreed to the surgery, a lumpectomy, and also breast reduction and reconstruction, because they said it would make the radiation less dangerous for my heart, since the tumor was on the left side.
After the surgery I decided not to do the radiation treatment because all margins were clear and nothing had spread to my lymph nodes. I was originally told 3 weeks would be enough, then after the surgery they decided my skin was too delicate for the short term, more intensive radiation, and that I would need 16 weeks of treatment. I respectfully declined after having read all the horror stories online.
Fast forward to 2013, when I began having care at the VA in Northern California. I was scheduled to have an ultrasound of my left breast. My plastic surgeon ,who had done the reconstruction, said this or an MRI would be the best way to detect any tumors. It had been almost 2 years since I had been followed up on with any imaging tests, as the free clinics were reluctant to offer these services, and I no longer had insurance. When I got to the radiology department I was denied the ultrasound by the technician and doctor on duty, saying they would only do it if there was suspicion of a lump, which there wasn’t. My doctor was then supposed to order an MRI but he didn’t. Many messages back and forth resulted in zero appointments.
I went into the ER one evening because I had a horrible sinus infection and was afraid it was turning into an upper respiratory infection. A chest x-ray was done, and a suspicious nodule was seen in my left lung. A CT scan was scheduled for a date that I could not make, so I canceled and asked them to reschedule, but it was never done. This went on for months, until August of 2014, when, after many phone calls to my PC doctor, I was finally rescheduled for an ultrasound, which they tried to deny me again, but which I insisted on. They found the tumor in my breast, so they then scheduled me for a CT scan which showed the tumors had now spread to my right lung. This was 6 months after the first tumor was seen. A lung and breast biopsy was done, and I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer, a very aggressive form.
At that point the only choice I was given by my doctors were 2 different chemo treatments, neither of which had been proven effective against TNBC. I am adamantly opposed to putting poisons in my body to try to cure something, especially when those poisons do more harm than good so I declined chemo, and started on my journey to manage my own disease through nutrition and CBD products, otherwise known as medical marijuana. I had been researching CBD since the chest xray in February, and I decided it was worth a shot, as it had seemed to work for so many other people, and there were a lot of research articles on PUBMED that showed its efficacy in treating many diseases, including various cancers.
I want to go on record as saying that before deciding to do the CBD oil treatment, I was not a cannabis user. I had smoked marijuana when I was younger and on a couple of occasions during the past few years, but I never really liked the way it made me feel. I was not looking forward to having to be “high” everyday. I knew that I had to build up my dose slowly, but I did not realize that it would take me four months to be able to tolerate the gram a day that is the recommended dosage, and even now it sometimes hits me harder than I like.
I went on a diet that was mostly vegetarian. I was allowed fish 3 times a week, and meat once, and that was it. I limited the fruits I ate and tried to maintain a really alkaline state, which is very hard, even when drinking alkaline water. I took supplements, lots of supplements that contain cancer fighting properties. I learned to make my own medicine for those times when I couldn’t afford to purchase it, and I would use whatever good plant material my friends would give me, even if it didn’t have the proper cbd/thc ratio. What was important was staying on the medicine. I did crowdfundiing to help pay for my medicine.
I went for a follow up PET scan in January and even though there had been a little progression, it was so minimal that my oncologist at Mather told me to keep doing what I was doing, because it was obviously helping so I kept on taking the medicine. By this time I had been up to full dosage for about a week.
I changed my diet in February, because I had read that there had been some really good success with cancer patients on a ketogenic diet, which is a very low carb diet, low protein, and high fat (good fats). This diet appealed to me because I was losing too much weight on the other diet and never felt like I was getting enough to eat, plus I missed meat. I do only purchase organic and free range meats to get the most nutritional value that I am able. I am now rid of all excess fat, and my labs are great, showing no anemia, calcium or vitamin deficiencies, and my weiight has stabilized.
I had another PET scan in May, and this one was virtually identical to the one in January, which means THERE HAS BEEN NO PROGRESSION! My new oncologist is so surprised that he is doing another biopsy to make sure they did not misdiagnose my cancer. He says it is not acting like TNBC at all. I was so excited to hear this from him, because it just reaffirmed my belief that we can heal ourselves through what nature has to provide. If not heal, then we can at least extend our lives and live with better quality of life while they search for cures to these horrible diseases that we call cancer.
It is my goal to share my experience and knowledge with as many people as I can. Chemotherapy and radiation are not the only alternatives for cancer. Explore your options. You have time. Do not let them rush you into anything without researching it first and coming to an informed decision. I am living proof.
Kate Kytle has an A.S. in Gerontology, a certificate in Personal Nutrition and will soon have an A.S. in Nutrition. She will continue to talk about the use of CBN and is available for consultations.