To help illustrate this inspiring message, we’d like to share an interview with TysabriSept08, a survivor who continues to work and thrive while battling both multiple sclerosis (MS) and breast cancer.
1. Tell us about your first diagnosis with breast cancer in 1999.
Well, I was annoyed and pissed. I already had MS. Didn’t exactly like losing a breast. I could not have reconstruction with an implant because of immunosuppression. Any drug I took for MS would lower my immune system, making infection more likely. I was not about to go through all the surgery needed to use my own body tissue. Slender, I do not have any to spare.
Also, I had to work and did not want a long recovery period. I had the mastectomy on a Tuesday and was back on the lecture platform the next Wednesday. I did not do chemo or radiation because it would have negatively affected the MS. We even minimized the surgery time and used a special anesthetic, which was easier on my already crippled nervous system. I did not even continue with Tamoxifen. It made the MS much worse so I quit after less than two months.
2. Last year, your breast cancer came back. What was that like?
Actually, cancer came back twice. First in 2007. We waited a year (very low CA 27 29 levels) and the cancer was isolated to a small same side chest wall lump – free moving. By 2008, a year later, it had grown a little. Still very low CA 27 29 levels. I had the lump removed under local anesthesia – piece of cake. We kept the incision to a minimum (less concerned with those borders.) I did five days of localized pin point radiation via a Linear Electron Accelerator – calibrated to miss muscle, bone lungs – to take care of cancer cells at those borders.
Another lump appeared in June 2010 – popped out over night! It was about 1/2 inch from the 2007 lump! More local anesthesia to remove it – then 10 days of pin point shallow radiation – same machine! However, my CA 27 29 levels started to rise, and they are now through the roof. There is a lot of cancer running around in my body. I am asymptomatic. The cancer seems to not be landing anywhere.
3. How are you dealing with your breast cancer now?
The breast cancer is now metastatic. It can never be got rid of or cured. My treatment is palliative – we remove lumps, minimal radiation. I have not gotten any new lumps. I am asymptomatic and feeling fine, cancer-wise. I think the cancer has not landed anywhere because of my very high Vitamin D3 levels. My levels were 177 in March. I cut back a bit and, as of May 6, my levels were 120. Oops, I got vertigo – so I am back to my previous Vitamin D3 doses – about 6-8,000 IUs per day. See our Vitamin D3 Megadose Thread [in the Multiple Sclerosis Room]. We did some brilliant research on D3 and MS. Later, we found that D3 is also an anti-cancer agent.