- My Story
Look into my resume and get to know me
I was born with a dairy allergy (gluten too), only I didn’t know it until I was 30 when my body started to fall apart and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that Hashimoto’s was actually my second autoimmune condition. I had actually developed Lichen Sclerosus around the age of 12 (that’s the earliest I remember symptoms), a rare and very nasty condition where the immune system attacks genatalia.
Lichen Sclerosus is not only rare but usually presents in post-menopausal women. So my symptoms were brushed off as bacteria or yeast and I went undiagnosed for 25yrs allowing things to progress into vulvar cancer. I was diagnosed with vulvar cancer (stage 1b infiltrating squamous cell carcinoma, moderately well differentiated of the vulva) in August of 2017. My case was Keratinizing, which means it developed from a tear that wouldn’t heal from Lichen Sclerosus.
The standard of care for vulvar cancer that has not yet metastasized is to surgically remove it. Often, the area is also ‘sanitized’ with radiation therapy and a low dose of chemotherapy is given to aid the radiation therapy.
Unfortunately for me, the cancerous lesion was very close to my clitoris and my gynecological oncologist wanted to remove my clitoris to ensure clean margins. I refused. I was only 37 at the time of my diagnosis and this particular kind of cancer has a recurrence rate of 12-37%. I wasn’t going to compromise the integrity of my body on the first round of treatment with such a high recurrence rate.
Turns out squamous cell carcinoma is a Warburg type cancer driven by glucose fermentation and inflammation, which I would later learn and use to my advantage.
So I went ahead and allowed the surgery but refused to allow them to take my clitoris. Thank goodness my surgeon complied with my wishes. As a result, he was unable to get clean margins but did significantly reduce my tumor burden. I was given two options:
The side-effects of radiation to the lower torso would have included blistering skin, extreme fatigue, and burning diarrhea. Not to mention, I would have fried my reproductive organs and be put through premature menopause. I also could have lost of my rectum, burned my intestines together, and damaged my bladder. I would have also lost all elasticity of the vulva and vagina, lost sensitivity and feeling to the area including my clitoris, and totally fried the mucous glands. All of this would have equated to sexual dysfunction for the rest of my life. You bet your ass I refused.
Instead, I treated with a naturopathic oncologist and my primary care naturopath who put together a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment protocol.
I followed a therapeutic ketogenic diet (I got to eat a lot of keto ice cream), an intense supplementation protocol, and I underwent intravenous nutrient theray, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
I worked through each area of my life and changed everything including leaving a very lucrative and high-profile job as VP of Growth & Demand Marketing where I was shouldering an immense amount of stress and opened my own marketing firm. I did a lot of emotional work, learned to manage stress, and worked hard to recover from burnout.
I was declared cancer-free in February of 2018. Bonus side effects of my healing journey include both of my autoimmune conditions (Hashimoto’s and Lichen Sclerosis) went into remission, I reversed fatty liver and gallstones, balanced my hormones, and lost nearly 70lbs. I’ve been working to maintain and continue to optimize my new found health ever since!
I’m now focused on making the transition from focusing on my own healing to educating others. I’m sharing my story and earning my Nutrition Therapist Master certification at the Nutrition Therapy Institute and my Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner certification. Once these programs are complete I intend to continue on to attend the Oncology Nutrition Consulting™ program at the Oncology Nutrition Institute. I’m so excited to help others take control of their health and live life on their terms!