My personal case was my very first case study and introduction to the concept of terrain-based care. I had no idea how much control over my own health I held in my hands until I embarked on this journey. I achieved remission and I honestly believe anyone can do the same.
My Main Complaint
I was diagnosed with vulvar cancer (stage 1b infiltrating squamous cell carcinoma, moderately well differentiated of the vulva) in August 2017. Keratinizing (developed from a tear that would not heal from Lichen Sclerosis (an autoimmune skin disorder diagnosed at that same time), not HPV). I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis years prior.
I was an absolute mess, I felt like shit and kind of didn't realize how bad things had gotten. After a while, you get used to driving with a dirty windshield and you don't realize how dirty it is until you clean it. At the height of my disease process, I was dealing with the following signs and symptoms:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Waking Up In the Middle of the Night to Pee
- Racing and Ruminating Thoughts
- Hypohidrosis (absent sweating)
- Body Odor (when I did sweat)
- Apathy and Loss Of Purpose
- Joint Pain and Stiffness
- Muscle Fatigue
- Muscle loss
- Poor Recovery
- Headaches and Migraines
- Loose Stools
- Anal Fissures
- Anal Itch
- White and Shiny Vulvar Skin
- Raised Red Irritation on Vulvar Skin
- Vulvar Cuts and Open Sores
- Vulvar Bruising
- Vulvar Varicosities
- Vulvar Lichenification (thickened skin)
- Vulvar Scaring
- Vulvar Burning
- Vulvar Blood Blisters
- Painful Intercourse
- Vaginal Dryness
- Seasonal Allergies
- Urinary Urgency
- Post Nasal Drip
- Sinus Congestion
- Lichenification (thickening) of Skin Over Elbows and Ankle Bones
- Itchy Vulvar Skin
- Nail Ridges
- Excessively Dry Skin
- Full Body Hair Loss
- Weight Gain
- Low Libido
- Heavy Menstrual Flow
- Menstrual Cramps
- Hard Time Calming Down
- Startle Easily
- Suspected Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Facial Acne
- Scalp Acne
- Cystic Acne
- Body Odor
- Labial Fusing
- Vulvar Burning
- Loss of Smell (Anosmia)
- Brain Fog
- Lack of Focus
- Racing Heart
- Heart Palpitations
- Vaginal Odor (cancer smells bad)
- Sugar Cravings
- Salt Cravings
- Fatigue After Meals
- Hangry Between Meals
- Skin Tags
- Dark Under Eye Circles
- Lost Eyebrow Tails
- Memory Loss
- Vision Loss
- Excess and Compacted Ear Wax
- Acanthosis Nigricans (darkened skin on the back of my neck)
- Junk Food Cravings
- Extreme Hunger
- Bleeding Gums
- Brittle and Peeling Nails
- Nasal Sores
- Itchy Ears
- Itchy Pallet
- Moon Face
- Frequent Urination
- Blurred Vision
- Slow Wound Healing
- Sun Sensitivity (easy burned)
- Heat Intolerance
- Cold Intolerance
- Boils and abscesses on pubis mons, inner thighs, and buttocks (What I now know to have been undiagnosed Hidradenitis Suppurativa)
I had to take matters into my own hands. I self-diagnosed both LS and vulvar cancer and sought out a vulvar specialist to confirm after being blown off for years. If you need a good vulvar specialist and you're in Arizona, I highly recommend Dr. Joseph Brooks. He and his team are wonderful!
I utilized all of the available tools, which meant looking beyond the conventional model of care and learning about the metabolic approach to cancer and terrain-based care.
Terrain theory states that the more unhealthy a person is and the more out of balance their body is, the more susceptible the person is to illness, and the sicker they may get when they come into contact with germs or a virus. Terrain-based care digs into the roots or hidden underlying causes of the visible signs and symptoms of disease.
My Cancer Treatment Team
- Naturopathic Primary Care Doctor (NMD)
- Naturopathic Oncologist (NMD, IFMCP, BSN)
- Gynecologic Oncologist (surgeon) (MD)
- Vulvar Specialist (MD)
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
- Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner
- Licensed Massage Therapist & Reiki Master Practitioner (LMT)
- Hubby, Friends, & Family
I had surgery to remove the nodule in September 2017. However, I did not get clear margins because I refused to let them take my clitoris. Post-surgery I was given two treatment options:
- Additional surgery to let them remove whatever they needed to remove to ensure clear margins, including my clitoris.
- Radiation and low-dose chemotherapy to kill the remaining cancerous cells.
I refused both options. Instead, I went the controversial route choosing naturopathic oncology over conventional treatment…cuz I don't do anything the traditional or easy way. I'm a rebel personality and I started reading about the Metabolic Theory of Cancer and it just made sense.
The only prescription medications I took during my treatment were Low Dose Naltrexone and my compounded thyroid medication.
I did use Clobetasol topical steroid for LS for two weeks in between diagnosis and cancer surgery but did not resume post-surgery and still choose not to use topicals of any kind on my vulvar skin.
I received clinical treatments consisting of Nutrient IVs with high-dose vitamin C and hyperbaric oxygen therapy 3x/wk for 12 weeks.
My supplementation routine included large handfuls of pills three times a day in addition to my 3 times a week nutrient IVs in the naturopathic clinic.
All of these except the controversial substances (RSO & B-17) were prescribed in doses specific to my body based on my lab data and case details by either my Naturopath Oncologist or my Primary Care Naturopath.
Please make sure you do your research and consult with your physician before starting any supplement protocol and do not take the following because I did. These may be harmful to you. Each case is different.
- High-potency multi-vitamin
- Liquid vitamin A (deficiency)
- Liquid vitamin D (deficiency)
- Liquid iodine (deficiency)
- 10 mushroom complex
- Modified citrus pectin
- Fish oil
- Digestive Enzymes
- Protease Enzymes
- High-dose Melatonin
- Rick Simpson Oil (RSO, Cannabis) Suppositories
- Vitamin B-17 (Laetril)
Environmental and Lifestyle Changes
When I say I had to change my entire life to heal my body from cancer, I'm not kidding. Here's a list of all the lifestyle changes I made to heal my mind, body, and soul
I had to change my mindset from being focused on killing cancer to healing every part of my being.
- Strict whole foods dairy-free (due to allergies) therapeutic ketogenic diet, zero sugar, grains, starches, dairy, or sweetened foods other than stevia and a lot of fat (dairy & gluten-free due to food sensitivities)
- Switched to clean local, organic, and wild, pasture-raised food sources
- Intermittent fasting on a 16 hrs fasted / 8 hrs eating schedule for cell regeneration
- Reiki energy healing
- Counseling and talk therapy with a trauma and family systems expert
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Defined my values and aligned my life with them
- Daily detox rituals including dry-brushing and oil-pulling
- Stress management
- I resigned from a high-stress job and changed my career to align with my purpose
- Meditation & visualization
- Sunshine & earthing
- Regular, good-quality sleep
- Quit drinking alcohol
- Quit smoking - I was a major cigar connoisseur
- Removed toxins in my drinking and bathing water
- Switched to non-toxic personal care and cleaning products
- Removed all plastic and Teflon from my kitchen
- Began to exercise
- Deleted toxic and unsupportive relationships and people
My Root-Cause Contributors
My list of root-cause contributors was a mile long. I had been driving so hard for so long on misaligned values and everything had eroded.
- Blood Sugar Dysregulation: Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes
- Hormone Imbalance: Estrogen Dominance (excess estrogen, progesterone suppression due to inflammation), Obesity, Low Cortisol
- Gut & Digestion: Leaky Gut, Low Stomach Acid, Poor Protein Digestion, Fatty Liver, Sluggish Gallbladder, Gallstones, Opportunistic Bacterial Overgrowth, Insufficient Beneficial Bacteria
- Food Sensitivities: Gluten, Grains, Dairy, Soy (and a million other things due to leaky gut)
- Mental & Emotional: Unprocessed Childhood Trauma, Chronic Emotional Stress (toxic workplace, high profile job, overachieverism, perfectionism), Poor stress coping mechanisms - Emotional Eating, Food Addiction, Stuffing Emotions, Living in Trauma Response/Fight or Flight/Hypervigilance, Chronic Sleep Deprivation and nervous system dysregulation
- Genetic Mutations Affecting Detoxification, Hormone Clearance, Stress and Neurotransmitters, Vitamin Synthesis, DNA Repair, Fat Metabolism, Celular Energy Production, Gut Microbiome
- Toxic Burden: Alcohol, Tobacco (second hand, direct usage), Junk food, Radioactive City Water Full of Heavy Metals, Conventional Personal Care and Cleaning Products, Plastics and Tephlon in Kitchen, Aluminum, Amalgam Fillings (Mercury)
- Nutrient Deficiencies: Fatty Acids, Amino Acids, A, D, Iodine, Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium, Chronic Dehydration, Fatty Acid Imbalance, Mineral Imbalance
- Histamine Intolerance
- Epstein Barr Virus
- Systemic Inflammation
February 2018 scans came back clean, with no evidence of disease where I remain today.
Both my Lichen Sclerosis and Hashimoto's are in full remission, with no symptoms, and blood markers are negative. I've dropped almost 70 lbs, 5 dress sizes, and 13% body fat. I've reversed fatty liver (my liver was ⅔ fatty before these changes), reversed atherosclerosis, balanced my hormones, and reversed estrogen dominance. My skin is awesome, my energy is good, my libido is up, I'm sleeping like a baby, and I feel amazing!
I will be regularly monitored and continue with the ketogenic diet, supplementation, regular exercise, good sleep, hydration, regular detoxification, stress management, and sunshine.
Who would have thought that cancer would be the best thing to ever happen to me? I am so grateful for this experience.
Become a Success Story!
If I can recover my health and achieve remission, you can do this too. If you’d like to work with me, I’d love to chat and learn more about your health goals.
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