This time of the year is pretty emotional for me for a few different reasons. First, and most important, on September 12, 1987 I married the love of my life, Thomas Gunderson, who has stood beside be through thick and thin. Secondly, it was in September of 2007 that I first went to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Illinois for diagnosis and treatment of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I was there meeting with doctors and having scans and chemo during the week of our 20th wedding anniversary, which should have been a day together filled will love and celebration instead of one of dread and hopelessness.
Looking back seven years later, I am so glad I went “out of my comfort zone” and flew out to CTCA for treatment instead of having treatment here locally! I truly believe that God led me there and that I would not be alive today had I not gone there. When I say that to people, they want to know why I feel that way. There are a few reasons I can think of off the top of my head, and these are not the only reasons.
1. The doctor here told me I had about 6 months to live without treatment and possibly 2-3 years with recurring treatment. My doctor at CTCA told me that while statistically that was true, they are at the cutting edge of technology and treatment and would do everything they could to help me not be one of those statistics.
2. The doctor locally could count on one hand how many stage 4 breast cancer patients she had treated. Three of them had passed prior to 5 years. CTCA has a much better success rate and more experience.
3. The local doctors scoff at homeopathic, natural treatment. The doctors at CTCA ENCOURAGE this treatment and I have my own dedicated Naturopathic MD as part of my care team! There are so many herbs and vitamins that can help with cancer, and I believe every Oncologist should learn about them and use as part of their treatment plan! I go every six months to CTCA for scans and consult now, and every six months to my local oncologist – so I am being seen and having blood workup every 3 months. My local Oncologist keeps telling me that there is nothing CTCA can do for me that they cannot do here locally. The last time he said that, I asked him if he had a Naturopathic MD on staff now that would be able to prescribe natural treatments. His response, with a disgusted look on his face, was no. I then told him that showed me that they COULDN’T do everything here locally that CTCA does for me!
So, as I get myself prepared emotionally for this next visit on September 15th, I get a lump in my throat because I am so grateful for the grace of God and all He has done for me and my family! Who would have ever thought that I would still be here driving everyone nuts this late in the game? I know I surprise the doctors – because I have had a few tell me that I should not be alive considering how “far gone” I was when I was first diagnosed.
While I cannot more highly recommend CTCA for treatment for those with cancer, I did not intend for this post to be a free advertisement! LOL I just want anyone reading this to know that there IS HOPE after a cancer diagnosis and to never, ever give up!