Julia C. is a Radical Remission survivor of aggressive breast cancer. Diagnosed at the age of 46, she immediately began making radical physical, emotional, and spiritual changes in her life. These changes allowed her to have only a lumpectomy instead of the recommended double mastectomy, radiation, and Tamoxifen. 15 years later, she is alive and well with no evidence of cancer.
Here is her story in her own words:
I never thought I’d get cancer. I ran six miles a day, and did mini-triathlons and in-line skating; I ate a sensible Mediterranean diet. I managed to take care of myself even while working 80 hours a week and traveling the globe as a successful meeting planner. I thought I was in perfect shape.
Then I felt the lump [in 2000]. I was 45 years old and single, living in Connecticut. It was like a mosquito bite, on the outer edge of my right breast. Since I’d been doing self-exams for years I knew immediately that this was different. I’d never felt anything like it.
My doctors performed a mammogram, but it came back negative. I wasn’t satisfied. My gut told me something was wrong. But when I asked for a biopsy, the doctors gave me a hard time. “You’re fine,” they said, but I insisted, so they squeezed me in the next day.
Twenty-four hours later I got a call from the surgeon. His first words were: “I’m very sorry and I learned a really important lesson: I need to listen to my patients more.” Then he dropped the bomb: “You have Stage II Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. It’s aggressive, and you need to do something right away.”
Everything stopped. It was the most shocking and terrifying thing I’d ever heard. I immediately thought I was going to die. When I met with an oncologist, he told me that I would die—if I didn’t have a double mastectomy followed by radiation or chemotherapy and a year of Tamoxifen. But I’d watched five people close to me die from what I believe was an overuse of radiation and chemotherapy. I saw them suffer slow, painful deaths—not from the cancer, but from the treatment.
I left the oncologist’s office in tears. When I got home I sank into the sofa and prayed. I said, “God, I don’t know what to do. You’re going to have to help me.” The next day, my cousin called to recommend a top breast cancer doctor in Houston. My sister called to say she was sending a nutritional video series she thought would help me. I felt my prayers were being answered and it gave me peace and fortitude.
I decided that before I accepted—or rejected—any medical treatment, I was going to do my own research. With no time to lose, and with the guidance of a scientist friend, I pored over medical journals and abstracts, watched videos, and surfed the Web to learn everything I could about my condition and how it could be treated.
One of my first moves—inspired by my research—was to chuck everything in my house that contained hormones and antibiotics and toxins like lead, parabens, and sulfates that could have contributed to my cancer. I tossed out all my food, my makeup, my shampoos, and my microwave. I threw it all away and started using only organic products with all natural ingredients.
I made over my diet, too, trading my beloved bread, cheese, pasta, and chicken for an all organic, vegan menu. I started juicing—carrots, beets, kale, spinach, Bok Choy and celery—and doing shots of wheat grass three times a day (just 1 ounce provides the nutrients of 2.5 pounds of organic green vegetables). Within two weeks, I felt amazing. Everything was stronger—my hair, my skin, my nails. I could feel my body healing. I felt so much better that I couldn’t even believe I had cancer.
By the time I saw the Houston oncologist my cousin had recommended, all my tumor markers and a lot of my blood work showed levels that were back in the normal range. This doctor recommended a lumpectomy, where they remove just a margin of tissue surrounding the site of the tumor, and a sentinel node biopsy, which removes only the lymph nodes involved. This sounded right to me. He also recommended following up with radiation and Tamoxifen, but at this point I was sold on a more natural approach.
I flew home two days after the lumpectomy and continued my new diet and lifestyle regimen, all while constantly seeking the advice of nutritionists and naturopaths as well as my oncologist.
Was it difficult? It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life. Was I scared? Absolutely. I had clients and friends and colleagues and doctors all saying, “Are you crazy?” But I felt total peace with my decision.
I also knew that both of my parents had beaten cancer without radiation or chemotherapy. My mother had uterine cancer and a hysterectomy at age 30, after her third baby. When the doctor suggested she get chemo, she said, “I don’t have time. I have three young kids.” I was 5 years old at the time. My father had prostate cancer 15 years ago and chose not to have radiation but to completely change his diet instead. Both of my parents are still alive and healthy today—and they completely supported my decision.
15 years have passed and now I’m healthier and happier than I’ve ever been. I’m still juicing and drinking wheat grass and I’ve added organic egg whites and wild-caught salmon to my diet. I take an array of herbs and supplements and I still exercise every day—power walking and cross training with weights.
I work part-time now and I earn only about a third of what I used to. But I have never felt more free. I’ve learned to live with so much less. Having a big house and closet full of beautiful shoes and clothes means zero when your doctor says the word cancer. You start seeing things through completely different eyes. Now I see beauty every day. I see how green the trees are today. I see the little flowers growing on the lawn. But at the same time I can also see pain in someone’s eyes, and I get the most joy in my life from counseling other women with breast cancer, which inspired me to publish what I’d learned in Breast Cancer—The Notebook (Gemini Media, 2006).
Cancer didn’t kill me. It woke me up to who I really am and empowered me to make my own choices. Was it a gift? Yes. It helped me find the real me.
[Regarding what might cause cancer], I believe most cancers (not genetic in response) are caused by environmental factors such as: Poor Diet, Stress, Toxins, Emotional Pain, Pollution Pesticides, Smoking and Lack of Peace & Exercise. There is quite a bit of research that shows many of these factors to be present in many diagnosis and various types of cancer and other auto-immune diseases. We live in a very stressful, toxic world and need to make decisions daily to combat those things.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As of October 2020, Julia is well and thriving post diagnosis.
UPDATE: I am healthy, happy and thriving. I still follow much of my protocol from the beginning of my journey with tweaks based on new, science-based alternative protocols and or based on diagnostics. For example Organic Vitamin C, Glutathione, B’s & ALA IV’’s. I have learned and increased my intake of Vitamin D3 to be at the top of the range (100), which is essential not only for breast health and modulating hormones, but to fight off viruses etc. I base what I take on what my body is telling me through diagnostics and symptoms. I can tell when my systemic inflammation is up, as I have gotten to know, appreciate and love on my body. In this case I make sure to stay away from night shade vegetables since my diet is 70% raw and to increase my curcumin, oils and Chinese herbs. I have also done other new protocols as per expert health professionals, based on any symptoms or bloodwork that may indicate such. My supplements have changed some and I have added and subtracted some. It has been 20 years since my diagnosis when I began my journey with research to understand what was happening in my body and to tackle it at the core. I have learned that what is hereditary is going back to the old self and not sticking with the lifestyle change one has to make to truly heal. It can’t be Band-Aids and thus cheating your body back to why you became sick in the first place. We must stick with it. Back in 2004 when I doing TV and interviews, I would say that I had to become the CEO over my body and go to my Office of Health and Wellness, each morning to make a conscious decision as to what I was putting into my body, on my body, when during that day I would enjoy fitness and how was I managing the stress that consumes our minds. I know that some days I failed, but I did and do start the day with prayer, to set the tone, and see each day as a gift of miracles, signs and wonders if we would only take the time to see, feel and experience them. I tell myself- Love your Body with Gratitude.
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