I was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room for my Clostridium a-difficile Colitis. It had been caused by the wrong antibiotics prescribed to treat a simple urinary tract infection. The doctor on call approached my bed, casually stating: “...looks like you have cancer.” Numerous lab tests and appointments later, I was diagnosed with ‘aggressive, grade-three Endometrial Cancer’. Millions of thoughts and emotions came crashing down until I felt nothing. I was numb. Only one thought remained: ‘was I going to die?’.
It felt impossible to pull my mind out of this dark, hopeless place. I felt as if I had no choice other than to give in to what seemed to be a death sentence. I could not help but reflect back on the memories of my grandma going through experimental surgery and months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She lost all dignity as the remaining days of her life were reduced to inhumane suffering and a slow, horrible death.
My husband gently reminded me, “You can feel sorry for yourself, or you can decide that you want to live”. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I buried my face in my hands as I sobbed uncontrollably.
Life can become unbearable in the blink of an eye. I knew the first priority was to get my racing mind back on track. I had to convince myself that I was not going to succumb to this disease. I had to be strong. I had to beat this. I could not allow my victim mentality to control my life. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and asked for a Bible, a pen and a notebook.
My husband, my son and I dove head first into the world of cancer research. For months we did not come up for air. ‘Team Maggie’ was born and our journey began.
- Reoccurring episodes of Clostridium-difficile Colitis (C. diff)
- Aggressive, Grade 3 Endometrial Cancer
- Tumor size: 7.5cm (3 inches)
But my situation was a bit more complex. In order to begin cancer treatment, the doctors had to first suppress the C. diff. I was placed in isolation for three separate rounds of powerful and expensive antibiotic treatments. It was utter hell. The doctors warned me that if my last round of antibiotics did not work, we would have to consider a fecal transplant. Oh joy!
But the antibiotics only temporarily suppressed the C. diff. and cause a slew of unpleasant, painful side effects. Regardless, It always came back with a vengeance. It wasn’t until Team Maggie suggested supporting the natural flora in my gut in conjunction with the antibiotic treatment that this cycle of misery ended. Probiotics became my new best friend.
With the C. diff in check, the doctors could finally treat the cancer. That was good news because the cancer clock was ticking. I was immediately bombarded with the usual medical solutions.
My doctors’ cancer recommendations:
- Undergo a colonoscopy
- Radical hysterectomy, plus removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes (BSO). Removal of my lymph nodes to stage the cancer.
- Post treatment: High-Dose Brachytherapy Radiation, Exterior Beam Radiation and Chemotherapy to minimize the potential of a reoccurrence
According to the doctors, the overall 5-year survival rate was no greater than 50%. There was an enormous sense of urgency being voiced by my medical team. They placed a great amount of pressure on me to make decisions and start treatment - now.
The doctors wanted full permission to take everything out from under the hood and follow it up with post treatments that would have damaging and debilitating impacts on me for the rest of my life. The side effects were massive. All of this for a low guarantee of remission.
My heart said no. I decided that I would rather die than live with the terrifying side effects of these treatments. The C. diff had left my immune system a total mess. I knew that the any radiotherapy or chemotherapy would destroy it I could not afford the risk. The Gastrointestinal Specialist had warned me that the C. diff would, without a doubt, rear its ugly head again if I opted for these treatments. In a moment of stillness and silence, I felt an overwhelming sense to allow my intuition to drive my actions. To this day, I believe that was the right choice.
Day after day, we poured our hearts and souls into tedious and confusing cancer research. Sorting out endless articles and studies with conflicting information on cancer treatment became an intimidating, tiresome, and complex process.
It became crystal clear that in many ways, the medical industry is not much different from other industries: It is, at least partially, driven by profit. Were the medical recommendations given for the benefit of my health? I shouldn’t even need to ask myself that question. It seemed as though the doctors were taking a “band-aid approach”, which would most likely only suppress symptoms. I was told the likelihood of a reoccurrence was extremely high.
Team Maggie changed its approach and began treating prospective doctors’ recommendations with a healthy degree of science-backed skepticism. Unfortunately, the doctors viewed this as ‘difficult’, making it quite obvious that, even in the face of death, these medical professionals did not want me to think and research for myself. Consultation after consultation, the message became, ‘be a good girl, do as I say, and take your medicine.’ This is not to say doctors are not intelligent or hard-working. I simply could not trust anybody who didn’t want me to do my own thinking.
Here came the tricky part. Team Maggie had to prioritize the medical advice from a practical-sense approach: Looking at the pros and cons of each treatment, the costs, the effectiveness, and the long-term repercussions it would have on the rest of my life.
We opted for a modified hysterectomy and removal of the 3” tumor without removal of any lymph nodes. Was it risky? Sure. But so were the other options. And as for my post treatment, we put a plan in place to change my lifestyle and eating habits in lieu of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Rather than depend solely on surgery and drugs, we became adept at utilizing the power of diet and exercise to help heal my body, prevent a re-occurrence, and achieve optimal health.
The topic of ‘toxins’ became a common theme in our research as well. For 52 years, I had been exposed to daily ‘toxins’ in the air, water, food supply and even my home. Nearly all of these chemicals were damaging my cells, weakening the immune system, creating chronic illness, and even contributed to my cancer. Undeniably, it eventually took a toll on my health. It was time to clean up the intake of these toxins and detoxify my body.
Taking action is tedious work
Team Maggie’s cancer preventive plan of action:
- Using only real foods, no processed foods (no prepacked, frozen, canned or boxed).
- Utilizing a juicer to get a high concentration of natural nutrients from plant matter.
- Consuming alkaline-rich foods to help balance my blood pH.
- Consuming numerous supplements such as vitamins and adaptogens.
- Cutting out all refined sugars.
- Installing a home water distiller (drinking distilled water as a primary source of liquid)
- Installing chlorine filters on our washing machine, shower and sinks.
- Maintaining a cardio and weight training exercise regimen: 1½ hours a day, 7 days a week
I juiced every morning. My homemade meals consisted of 60% raw fruits and vegetables, and 40% quality meats, fish and poultry.
Exercise also became a large part of my cancer recovery and preventive plan. Our research found that it is one of the most important actions I could take because it:
- Boosted my energy levels, which encouraged more movement and less fat accumulation
- Delivered oxygen and blood to my tissues and vital organs so they could function at their optimal capacity
It's been two and a half years. I’ve had recent blood work and passed my follow-up tests with flying colors. Team Maggie accomplished an impossible task. There was something in my body trying to kill me. We made difficult decisions requiring significant courage, and came out triumphant. We established the root of the problem and conquered it. Determined to be active in the process and find a non-toxic solution that focused on my overall health, we were victorious.
Team Maggie - Beaming at our success!
I encourage anyone facing cancer to gather as much vital information as you can about all of the possible steps you can take to beat it. Having a good doctor is important, but it is by no means everything. Learn to think and research for yourself. Asking questions, being informed and understanding what is available will help you come to the decision that is right for you. A positive mental attitude is vital too. You must be confident in the path you take and feel supported by those around you.
Cancer became a catalyst for change in my life. I was also changed by it. It became a platform for deep reflection, and showed me what was already inside of me: strength and courage, as well as insecurities and fears.
This experience taught me to take an honest look into the layers that make up who I am. I now know that inside of me is a strength that will rise against any challenge in my life. I am driven by a deep, unshakable confidence that I never experienced before cancer.
As I learn to walk in this new strength, I am embarking on a new journey with Team Maggie. Thanks to this experience, we are working to inspire and connect people worldwide to take control of their health and happiness.
Our health, nutrition and fitness app hopes to empower others through knowledge and shared personal experiences.
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