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Say NO to Chemo?

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Poll Question: What have you tried outside of traditional treatment?
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bratlee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bratlee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 31 2010 at 9:22pm
Dawn Marie, I have to agree with Karen.  I too had Chemo and got cancer again 7 yrs later.  I had one Chemo treatment and the reactions were so bad my Oncologist said no more Chemo.  He admitted there are other options with as good or better outcomes than Chemo.  Diet and exercise play a HUGE role.  My prayers are with you and you will hopefully get all the support you need no matter what you decide to do.  Best of luck!  P.S. Stay away form scary articles and blogs. Many people quote statistics that are very case specific or just plan not true.
DX 06/02,ER,PR+,StageIIb Grade3 0/nodes Lumpectomy, Chemo A/C 4x, Rads 35 - DX New Primary, 08/09 TNBC Stage1, Grade3, 0/nodes, Bilateral Mastectomy,Tram Flap, Chemo C/T 1x,(allergic reactions)No Rad
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sethsnana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 13 2010 at 3:21pm
Originally posted by trip2 trip2 wrote:

I cannot post in polls, website quirk but for me surgery, chemo, rads, anything they want to throw my way is my way of fighting to rid my body of this disease best I can.  Then I can look back and know I've done all that I could at the time.
 
Pam...  am I the only one, or do others worry that chemo will CAUSE cancer to come back, possibly in other areas or other types, like leukemia?  I am currently reading Suzanne Somers' book "Knockout", after picking it up from the library.  I am due to have my 4th AC treatment on Tuesday, followed by 12 weekly taxol treatments.  If others have read it, what are your opinions?  If not, you should..  It is very eye-opening..  They got all of my cancer thru my lumpectomy and mammosite radiation.  It's nowhere else from the scans I've undergone.  I've been told the chemo I am undergoing is "preventative".  I am normally not a big believer of alternative medicine or treatments, but I am having 2nd thoughts about continuing chemo.  Another thing that has bothered me for some time is that I was first diagnosed with DCIS in October after undergoing a mammogram, ultrasound, breast MRI and biopsy.  It wasn't until my lumpectomy on November 11th that I was upgraded to Stage 1 TNBC.  How did all of the previous tests fail to diagnose that I was Stage 1?  Another question I ask myself is whether or not the biopsy I had performed on October 28th caused my cancer to spread?
 
I apologize if I should have started another thread to discuss this, but this has been bothering me for sometime..
 
Thanks all!!
 
Renee
dx 11/09 1.6 cm IDS (nodes clear), lumpectomy and mammosite radiation. ACx4 + 12 weekly treatments of Taxol, started on 1/5/10.
Completed Taxtol 5/19/10. CT scans lungs,liver clear 6/7/10.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tammyj44 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 14 2010 at 3:14am
Renee,
I am almost finished reading Suzanne Somers book "Knockout" and I feel the same as you do. You should also read Bill Henderson's "Cancer-Free". I am concerned about the fact that my onc told me I have a 1 in 3000 chance of leikemia for the rest of my life after receiving chemo treatments! That along with the risks of other types of cancer from chemo and radiation concern me! I can't undo what has been done but can only educate myself now about how to stay healthy. I'm doing what I can to boost my immune system and by changing my diet, exercising and eating habits, hopefully will give me a better chance at fighting off anything that I might develop if I was otherwise neglecting my self. I think we all have to do our own research and learn as much as we can! I have lost faith in our medical profession! Every time I ask a question all I get are quotes about statistics. I never get any answers! Doctors are licensed drug dealers. I panicked when I was diagnosed and all I wanted was to do something immediately! I was about half-way through my chemo treatments when I started searching the internet for books on alternative therapies. What struck my interest was remembering a program I watched on PBS about 15 years ago! A doctor whom I can't remember by name was talking about alternative medicine and the future of treating cancer. I remember him saying that in the future we would look back and say "my God, what did we do to all these people!" He was refering to cancer patients being treated with chemo and radiation. I had also read an article that stayed in my mind a couple of years ago. It was an article in a womans magazine that told about how sugar feeds cancer! My first appt with my oncologist his nurse said to me, "don't believe what you may hear about eating sugar! You can eat anything you want, sugar doesn't feed cancer" and then she laughed! I had not said a word to her about eating anything! Her smartass attitude made me want to learn about cancer and sugar!!! If I had known at the time of my diagnosis what I know now I probably would have seeked alternative treatment. I am searching now for an alternative doctor to start going to for bloodwork and follow ups. I live in Southern Illinois so we don't have anyone close. There are a couple in Chicago (about 5 hours away) and in Nashville, TN (about 4 hours away). I've been making excuses that they're too far when I realized the other day that I have driven further to look at a horse that I was interested in buying! LOL! Funny where my priorities are! I look forward to looking at horses no matter how far but don't look forward to going to any doctors anywhere! Good luck to you in what ever decisions you make and know that you are not alone!
Tammy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karen W. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 14 2010 at 4:57pm
Hi Renee,
I agree totally with Tammy. I have also done quite a bit of research. It is crazy what the doctors will tell you and even more crazy that they truly do not know.  Research is funded by pharmaceutical companies and that is all they know.  I saw the best TNBC doctor and he did NOT recommend chemo as a preventative treatment. I also saw an Irisologist and he gave me herbs to use. I can tell a difference in my body after just one month.  It is all about rebuilding our immune systems on a very cellular level. I feel this is helping me counter the effects of recent radiation and also chemo from two years ago. I also juice carrots with the greens each day. Dr. George Sledge (TNBC Doc) did recommend a very healthy diet with fresh vegetables and to keep fat intake to less than 30 grams per day. Plus excerise!! I have also read about Increasing your Vitamin D -3 intake. I want to get a baseline on mine and see how much I can increase it.  Dr. Alan Chips also writes about healing his own cancer and using herbs and an alkaline diet in a book titled, "healing your cancer without killing yourself".
Karen
DX July 07; lumpectomy,Chemo 4 sesions,36Rad; DX Oct 09;36 Rad;Metastatic Clavical lymph nodes in neck; chemo pending****CHEMO NO LONGER PENDING. DR SLEDGE SAYS NO CHEMO SHOULD BE USED (4 my case)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 14 2010 at 5:16pm
Hi Renee,
 
I imagine most of us worry about cancer coming back.  Having chemo and radiation can be worrisome but at this time it is, according to studies, the best we can do for TNBC.
 
We each have to decide for ourselves how we want to handle a diagnosis.  Researching is a great thing to do in my opinion so that we can make a more informed decision.
 
Not being a medical specialist I can only guess as to why your cancer was upgraded and didn't show previously on your scans.  For one thing TNBC can grow fast, I have heard of women having a lump appear over night so in a way it isn't surprising.  And scans are not always the miracle workers we would prefer either.
 
I have heard of surgery causing cancer to spread but have also read that is a myth.  One of the reasons they put you on chemo is to get any teeny cells that might be lurking.  Even though they got it all at surgery, cancer can spread thru lymph nodes and I recently posted a study that said TNBC may tend to spread thru our blood more so than other cancers.
 
 
Stage 2 2003
Stage 1 2007
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sethsnana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 14 2010 at 7:54pm
Thanks everyone for all of your responses..  It really gives you something to think about!
 
Trip, I knew that TNBC is a fast-growing cancer, but I had no idea it could develop THAT fast!  WOW!  My oncologist said that the chemo I am undergoing is "preventative".  The thing is, how do we know it has worked?  There are no tests to tell you...  We simply have to sit, wait and pray that it doesn't develop elsewhere sometime down the road... This is what scares me..  Especially after putting up with the sometimes horrible side-effects of chemo.. 
 
I've been doing some research on this website regarding Taxol, which is the next treatment regimen I will be undergoing...  It seems that a lot of us develop horrible bone pain.  I may be one of the fortunate ones (hopefully) that don't experience this side-effect, but I have arthritis in my knees and ankles, so I am very concerned..  I live by myself, so if I become debilitated from it, I don't know how I will cope..
 
Sorry, everyone.. I am just having a pretty rough day emotionally, and am not looking forward to my 4th (and last) AC treatment on Tuesday..  I was down for most of 5 days immediately following treatment last time..
 
xoxo
 
Renee
dx 11/09 1.6 cm IDS (nodes clear), lumpectomy and mammosite radiation. ACx4 + 12 weekly treatments of Taxol, started on 1/5/10.
Completed Taxtol 5/19/10. CT scans lungs,liver clear 6/7/10.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 16 2010 at 11:10am
Renee,
 
Please do not ever say you are sorry, there is no need around here.  We all have our ups and downs and everyone needs a place where they can let go with their feelings.  We all are here to support you thru the good and bad so no more I'm sorry.Smile
 
You are right, the Taxol may not give you bone pain.  My daughter had the Taxol and she got along very well compared to some, we are just all so different in our responses to treatment.
 
Do  you have any family, friends, neighbors that could look in on you?  Maybe run some of your errands when you are feeling bad or bring by a casserole for supper?


Edited by trip2 - Feb 16 2010 at 11:10am
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Sethsnana View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sethsnana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 16 2010 at 1:00pm
Originally posted by trip2 trip2 wrote:

Renee,
 
Please do not ever say you are sorry, there is no need around here.  We all have our ups and downs and everyone needs a place where they can let go with their feelings.  We all are here to support you thru the good and bad so no more I'm sorry.Smile
 
You are right, the Taxol may not give you bone pain.  My daughter had the Taxol and she got along very well compared to some, we are just all so different in our responses to treatment.
 
Do  you have any family, friends, neighbors that could look in on you?  Maybe run some of your errands when you are feeling bad or bring by a casserole for supper?
 
Okay, Pam... No more "I'm sorries"!  LOL!
 
I talked to my Dr. today before treatment about my upcoming Taxol treatment and how concerned I am about potential bone pain..  He said "Renee, the only people you read about on the internet that are having bone pain are those that ARE having bone pain"...  You may not experience any, and told me not to get too worked up... So, I am going to try to remain positive that I won't be one of them..
 
No, Pam.. I really don't have anyone to look in on me... I have 2 sisters, but one of them lives on the other side of town, and the other one is so busy with her job and catering to an very aged Aunt, that I don't like to ask her unless I get desperate... She has offered, but today is an example..  I asked if she could take me for treatment..  She said she would, but had a new employee starting..  She offered up her son or her husband...  I didn't feel comfortable with either one of them going, so I said "no, thanks"..  I drove myself there and back with no problem..
 
As far as food, I never know from one second to the next what I want, and the sister that lives closest doesn't cook...  I'm doing pretty okay in that department (OBVIOUSLY, since I think I've put on about 7 pounds in the past 2 weeks!!) :-{
 
How are YOU doing, Pam??  I know you've been going thru something terrible... I worry about YOU!
 
xoxo
 
Renee
dx 11/09 1.6 cm IDS (nodes clear), lumpectomy and mammosite radiation. ACx4 + 12 weekly treatments of Taxol, started on 1/5/10.
Completed Taxtol 5/19/10. CT scans lungs,liver clear 6/7/10.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 17 2010 at 10:49am
Hi Renee,
 
I'm doing much better, thank you.Smile
 
Well sorry to see you don't have much help.  Maybe the sister who lives closest could stop by a restaurant and pick up something for you.  You are right, we don't always know what we want but I know there were days when something sounded so good and other days, ick.
 
First time I had cancer I ate oranges and popcorn.
 
Keep us posted on how you are doing,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bratlee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 17 2010 at 11:33am
Renee, FYI TNBC is not always fast growing.  My Dr. feels mine had been growing for approx. 5  - 7 yrs and it was only 8mm in size.  The first time I had cancer it was ER, PR+ and had grown to 2.5 cm in less than 8 months.  Everyone is different.  Also if you look at the percentages that I was quoted by my Oncologist, the strict low fat diet has a better outcome than Chemo, that said I don't feel Chemo is necessarily the "best" treatment out there for TNBC. (see also what Karen's dr. told her)  This article is very enlightening: http://www.naturalnews.com/026284_chemotherapy_cancer_medicine.html
Best of luck to you all on this board, you have been most helpful to me during my recovery.  Hug
DX 06/02,ER,PR+,StageIIb Grade3 0/nodes Lumpectomy, Chemo A/C 4x, Rads 35 - DX New Primary, 08/09 TNBC Stage1, Grade3, 0/nodes, Bilateral Mastectomy,Tram Flap, Chemo C/T 1x,(allergic reactions)No Rad
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote staystrong Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2010 at 5:18pm
Hello Karen,
 
I'm a newbie to the site, researching others' choices of treatments for TNBC.  I was diagnosed in Dec '09 at 35 years old with a TN tumor in my right breast, 1.5cm.  Due to my family history, I was a candidate for the BRCA1/2 gene testing.  The result....."unknown mutation".  By choise, on Feb 4th '10, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery.  I also had an axillary dissection since a lymph node biopsy was positive.  34 lymph nodes were removed, 6 of which were positive.  Other than the tumor in the right breast, no other cancer was found in either breast.
 
My surgeon is recommending chemo and radiation and has scheduled an appointment with an oncologist to discuss my options.  I definitely am leaning towards the alternative route.  That's what I'd like to do, although, feel it's appropriate to speak with the oncologist. 
 
Reading your post, the responses and other success stories is enlightening.  I'm trying to gather and retain as much info as possible prior to my appointment with the oncologist on March 15th. 
 
I, with the help of my family, have done lots of research on alternative healing for cancer and the pros/cons of traditional treatments and medicine.  When I was first diagnosed, I changed my diet to all organic and 90% veggie.  I also incorporate whole grains, nuts, lentils and occasionally fish and poultry.  I juice everyday and am taking various supplements and herbs.  I'm a huge fan of fresh wheat grass, ground flax, green & essiac tea.  The list goes on & on..... 
 
As for my current recovery status,  I've bounced right back! :)  I feel great and am pretty much back to my regular routine.  I started exercising this week, alternating days with yoga and pilates, along with brisk walking outdoors.  I'm limited in some of my exercising since I'm still going through the reconstructive process with tissue expanders.
 
I'm hoping to hear from others who have had success with alternative and even traditional treatments with a similar diagnosis.  Again, thank you for sharing your story!
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmwolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2010 at 5:45pm
Staystrong,

You are young and have your whole life ahead of you.  The fact that you had 6 positive nodes means that there is almost certainly still micro-metastatic cancer in your body not yet visible on a scan.  This means that you need to do chemo to try and save your life.   Your odds of a metastatic recurrence without chemo are extremely high, at least 60-70%.  With chemo, your odds of a metastatic recurrence drop to about 35-40%.  That is a BIG difference.   It is only about 6 months of being kind of miserable.  Short in the grand scheme of things.   

I'm sorry if this is harsh, but you need to know your odds so you can make an informed decision.

-Denise
DX 2/08@43 stg II IDC; gr2,0 nodes. Neoadj chemo, first ACx2 (fail) then CarboTaxotereX6(better). Lump, Rads done 11/08; Clodronate. False alarm queen: PetCT lung & TM marker. NED. PBM w/recon 9/10.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karen W. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2010 at 6:07pm
Dear Stay Strong,
You have taken courageous and life changing steps. Your body will thank you by becoming healthier and healthier every day. You sound like the poster girl for healthy eatingSmile
 
It is great that you have a strong support group around you. I found talking to the oncologist and radiologist was frightening due to the 'scare' tactics used, but also realize it is all that they know and what they were taught.  They will more than likely tell you chemo and radiation is needed to fight against any microscopic cells that may have been missed. That is what can make the decision so difficult.  However, when your body is healthy it can heal itself.
 
I did take chemo and radiation in 2007 but the treatment did not prevent the cancer from coming back.  I have been told that chemo can cause the cancer to morph into something even worse, which is what mine did.
 
If you plan to have breast reconstruction you should know that radiation will destroy your tissues. It is very harmful to tissue and does not merely go in and out of your body. I would suggest you also meet with an experienced reconstructive surgeon before you take radiation. I was told the radiation causes a lot of 'hard' scar tissue within the breast and the soft inserts will be surrounded by hard tissue.
 
I am glad I made the choices that i have. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck to you. Let me know what you decide.
Karen
DX July 07; lumpectomy,Chemo 4 sesions,36Rad; DX Oct 09;36 Rad;Metastatic Clavical lymph nodes in neck; chemo pending****CHEMO NO LONGER PENDING. DR SLEDGE SAYS NO CHEMO SHOULD BE USED (4 my case)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2010 at 8:52pm
Staystrong,

As you can see from my signature that our tumor size was similar.  I also chose a bi-mx with reconstruction.  I was hoping to avoid chemo but after meeting with my onc, she told me how aggressive tn can be.  I chose chemo and while it wasn't fun, I'm glad I did everything that my onc advised.   

I believe alternative therapy, in the form of eating better, exercising, etc. will only help your body become stronger and healthier.  There's a great book you might want to read,  Anticancer by Dr. Schreiber. 

Please keep us posted on how you're doing.

Donna
DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alexzack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2010 at 1:46am
after being diagnosed with mets this dec. i decided to to go the natural route right now. I juice approx 8 times a day, take all the supplements in the Bill henderson protocol, do 2 to 3 Flax Oil Cottage Cheese mixtures per day, do EWOT daily, do infra-red sauna daily, work out with a trainer on Tues/Thurs.,, eat a vegetarian diet, and all organic. 
After 6 weeks, none of the tumors grew and one shrunk from 1.9cm  to 1.3 cm.
i'll keep you guys posted on progress.  
I am going to get a checkup with a natural dentist this week.
diag. 6/06, Stage 1, Mastectomy, Chemo. Loc. Rec. 2/08 and 12/08, Mets to Bones, Liver, Mediastinal, Lungs and Pleural Effusion to Left Lung 12/09. BRCA1 pos.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Galina2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 22 2010 at 1:47am
Hello, just a word of cation, pls. check with your OC about the flax seeds and Meta I C 3 supplement. Both contain estrogens.  Estrogens are not recommended supplements for BC survivors. (This includes soy products as well. Some sources even go so far to limit or eliminate cruciferous (estrogen source)veggies).
 
Just check and make a decision for yourself. (I personally have a little soy milk when I have hot flashes).  
Believing is 50%!Dx 7/10/07, Lumpectomy 8/24/07, double mast/no recont. 10/01/07, IDC, 3 cm, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, Stage IIA, ER-/PR- HER2- Age 48, chemo 11/23/07 lung spots 3/08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bratlee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 22 2010 at 7:51am
These came from an article in the National Institutes of Health:
Anticancer Action of Flaxseeds
Several studies have been done to determine how the phytoestrogens in flaxseeds may help cancer. One theory compares the estrogen-receptor blocking ability of flaxseeds with estrogen-receptor modulation drugs. The weak plant-based estrogens block the estrogen receptors on cells within breast tissue, starving them of full-strength female estrogen, possibly stopping tumor growth and preventing cell damage.

Breaking Down the Bounty from Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are about the size of sesame seeds, but despite their small size, they are packed with great anticancer powers. The two most notable anticancer components of flaxseeds are lignans and alphalinolenic acid (ALA). Dietary fiber in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil is also of great benefit to your digestion.

My Oncologist put me on this diet, and I was given the Meta IC3 by a doctor.  There is tons of research showing the benefit of flax seed for breast cancer as well as cruciferous veggies! (This has nothing to do with hot flashes.)  Not all estrogens are the same.
DX 06/02,ER,PR+,StageIIb Grade3 0/nodes Lumpectomy, Chemo A/C 4x, Rads 35 - DX New Primary, 08/09 TNBC Stage1, Grade3, 0/nodes, Bilateral Mastectomy,Tram Flap, Chemo C/T 1x,(allergic reactions)No Rad
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bratlee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 22 2010 at 11:50am
Here is another article that I just got today in my e-mail which talks about the Breast Cancer Benefits of eating Cruciferous veggies and flaxseed.
DX 06/02,ER,PR+,StageIIb Grade3 0/nodes Lumpectomy, Chemo A/C 4x, Rads 35 - DX New Primary, 08/09 TNBC Stage1, Grade3, 0/nodes, Bilateral Mastectomy,Tram Flap, Chemo C/T 1x,(allergic reactions)No Rad
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karen W. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 27 2010 at 11:49am
Thanks for the article. I am trying to follow that program. I take a flax seed supplement, but do not consume otherwise and not really sure how to use it. Any idea's?
DX July 07; lumpectomy,Chemo 4 sesions,36Rad; DX Oct 09;36 Rad;Metastatic Clavical lymph nodes in neck; chemo pending****CHEMO NO LONGER PENDING. DR SLEDGE SAYS NO CHEMO SHOULD BE USED (4 my case)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bratlee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 27 2010 at 3:27pm
Karen,  I grind it in a coffee grinder fresh every morning and put it in my oatmeal or yogurt.  You can just sprinkle it on any cereal. It can be used in baking, but I don't do any of that anymore. Cry  I also mix it in salmon patties.  (made with 100% whole wheat bread crumbs and egg whites so not bad) Not much taste so pretty versatile.  Hope you are well! 
Kim 
DX 06/02,ER,PR+,StageIIb Grade3 0/nodes Lumpectomy, Chemo A/C 4x, Rads 35 - DX New Primary, 08/09 TNBC Stage1, Grade3, 0/nodes, Bilateral Mastectomy,Tram Flap, Chemo C/T 1x,(allergic reactions)No Rad
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