Five Years Plus

{January 24, 2010}   Five Years Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of my diagnosis with breast cancer. Modern medicine uses the five-year survival rate statistic to judge the effectiveness of a course of treatment. Having survived the requisite five years and come out stronger and more balanced than ever, I feel somewhat qualified to give advice about how to live healthier.

When someone hears I had breast cancer, she is often interested in my course of treatment. Initially I chose to have a lumpectomy with sentinel node dissection. The pathology report showed no cancer cells in the  lymph nodes (big sigh of relief!) but still placed me in Stage II based on the size of my tumors. I had what’s known as multi-focal cancer, a primary tumor surrounded by a number of satellites. Radiation, chemotherapy (yes, the hair loss kind) and a life-long treatment of hormonal drugs beginning with tamoxifen were strongly recommended.

To this I said “NO” as I believed that all three of these treatments could potentially cause  me harm. Instead I designed an alternative treatment program that delved into all corners of my life, with the caveat that I would not consent to anything that might be harmful.

When, six months later, it became apparent that the surgery did not “get it all”,  I had the remaining breast tissue removed with a completion mastectomy.  Despite this scare I continued on my alternative program, led by homeopathy, nutrition (diet and supplements) and a renewed passion for life expressed through tennis.

Five Years Plus is about my commitment to a healthy, conscious life and the process of creating it, every day. It is not about my journey through breast cancer. That story I am slowly but surely re-creating in a memoir.

I am not under the illusion that surviving five years automatically ensures that I will never have to face cancer again. I believe that creating a cancer-free life is an ongoing responsibility. I have my ups and downs and know what it feels like to shortchange myself through poor choices. Like anyone, I need support and encouragement.  I am hoping this blog will be an inspiration for both me and you.

Here goes!


Ann Hedley says:

January 25, 2010
Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary 🙂
Look forward to your posts.
Love, Ann

Art Kilgour says:

wonderful gyata! i’m really glad you’re doing this. it’s been five years? yeah, you’re right. maybe it’s a good thing that time flies. i like your approach, and your caution (last paragraph). love, a.

Beth Ellis says:

Wow Gyata! 5 Years! Amazing!
I still remember coming home to your message on my answering machine, that February, 5 years ago, frightened, asking me to come down to see you in Vancouver. You’ve come a long way in those five years. Not only are you at peace with yourself, but now you are an inspiration to others as well. Mum would be so proud and happy for you if she could see you now…. (who knows, maybe she can…..) I love you Gyata.

Nichola Martin says:

Hi Sweetheart
I’m on your blog at last. Like Art I say in someways its good that time is flying by. You are inspirational.
love nic

Gyata,your blog is inspiring–and so are you. I’ve known you (so far) only as my yoga instructor, but you are so much more than that. You are a courageous and beautiful woman. I am so proud of you–and I look forward to becoming your friend as well as your student! I hold you in much light and many blessings.–Patsy

i love alternative treatments because it is simple and does not have nasty side effects ”;

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