Siew was 55 years old when she detected a small lump in her right breast. Prior to this event, she was on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for two years. Siew consulted two doctors about the lump. One doctor brushed her off saying: Since there is no pain, there is nothing to worry. Come and see me only if you have pain. Another doctor, a surgeon did a botch biopsy – taking off only a part of the tumour in her beast. Disappointed, Siew left the matter as it was until the remaining tumour in her breast grew bigger and her breast hardened.
After six months the same surgeon called and warned Siew that the cancer could kill her. This awakened Siew to the seriousness of her problem. She sought the help of another breast surgeon and underwent a mastectomy. After the surgery she was asked to undergo chemotherapy. Siew hesitated and asked if she could seek other options instead. This compassionate doctor did not object to alternative treatment. Siew was subsequently referred to us and was started on herbs inSeptember 2002. She has been on herbs ever since. It has been more than six years and Siew is doing fine.
29 November 2001: Right breast lump biopsy: The tumour cells are seen close to the resected margins. Diagnosis: infiltrating ductal carcinoma, Grade 2.
19 July 2002: Right breast: 2 solid lesions with ill defined borders at 9 o’clock region close to the nipple region. Each measuring 12 x 13 mm and 7 x 6 mm.
7 August 2002: Right breast tumour 2.5 cm, infiltrating ductal carcinoma, grade 2. Surgical margins are clear. Three out of 17 axillary lymph nodes contain metastatic ductal carcinoma.
Estrogen receptor: Strong positive. Progesterone receptor: Strong positive. P53: negative.
On 23 December 2007 we interviewed Siew. Below are excerpts of our video-taped conversation:
At this point in time, how do you consider your health? Are you healthy?
Yes. I can do whatever I like. I can clean my whole house by myself. I have no problem with that.
In these five years since your diagnosis, did you ever feel sad thinking of your cancer?
Initially, yes – but now no more.
Did you ever think that you might get a recurrence?
No, never thought of that. Of course I know I have a serious disease, but it did not occur to me that I will die of it. But whenever I hear of people get a relapse, I thought there is also a possibility that it could be me. But, I do not dwell on it. I just think of the possibility of me getting a recurrence.
Looking back at all that you have done … would you go on HRT?
No. I will not take the hormone pills.
If a lady has a lump in her breast like you did, what would you advise her to do?
I would recommend her a certain doctor. But if she is not happy with the doctor, she must seek a second opinion. Do not do what I did – simply follow whatever the doctor said without finding out more.
From the time you found the lump, would you do things differently from what you did?
Yes. I would find a better doctor who could remove the lump completely with a clean margin (lumpectomy). Then I may not have lost my breast at all.
What if after removing the lump, the doctor asked you to go for chemotherapy and radiotherapy? Would you follow his advice?
Unless I know about someone who can take care of me, like you and CA Care and if I have no choice, I would follow what the doctor advised. If I have to choose between herbs and medical treatment, I would definitely choose herbs. I’d always wanted to take herbs. I do not want chemotherapy. If I don’t know about CA Care, then I cannot help it. Even after five years taking the herbs, I still wanted to continue taking it. As for the taste, I still find it very strong despite taking it for so long. I have not grown accustomed to it. (Laughingly)
Besides taking the herbs, you had to change your lifestyle and diet. Were you angry with us about that?
No. I accepted what must be done for my own good. Of course, initially I complained about the difficulty I encountered – having to change the way I used to cook, and what I could eat. But I did not blame you. It is part of the healing path. Also, I did not realize that there was sea-salt which I could use to replace the normal table salt. So, all my food was without salt. It was so difficult to eat as I found the food tasteless. As I visited CA Care centre more often, I learnt about the sea-salt, the liquid amino and the different ways of healthy cooking. Things brightened up and I was happier. Now, I have no more problems preparing my food.
How long did it take for you to get used to the changes?
About half a year.
You were supposed to take herbs, change your diet, exercise and learn to relax. Which is the most difficult thing to do?
The most difficult thing was taking the herb – Breast M Tea. Whenever I took Breast M, my tongue goes le le le le (demonstrating with tongue moving up and down quickly and laughing gleefully).
You have taken the so called “unproven” path for your healing, were you harassed or under pressure by anyone about this?
Yes. My relatives asked: Are you sure the herbs are that good? Can the herbs be trusted? Must you abstain from so many foods? Must you go through so much difficulty? They would urge me to eat whatever they cook even when I told them I have to abstain from those foods. They then told me: No need to abstain from anything. You eat vegetables. Vegetables also have poison(pesticides).
Do you believe them?
They can say what they like, but I do not listen to them. I do not believe what they say. Why must I listen to them and change my ways? I am so well up to this day. Why must I change and take chances. So, I told them that because of the herbs I am taking, I have to abstain from all those forbidden food. This is to cut short the discussion and having to explain so many things to them why a healthy diet is so important in the healing of cancer.
If we were to say: You can now eat whatever you like. Would you?
No. I would not. Not the oily and deep fried food. I can see how bad they are now, such food like satay. Children love it. Now we know how unhealthy it is. As for me, I would not take even a piece of meat.
You win because you are not calculative. You listen to advice. And most of all you are willing to change. Your willingness to change is important.
Speaking of change, my husband’s brother-in-law said: You stupid girl. Cannot eat this, cannot eat that, and cannot eat everything.