i did not lose hair because of cancer

Dear Readers,

I want to address a popular misconception about the reason(s) I lost my hair. From what I read on blogs, websites and forums, it seems that some assume I lost my hair because of cancer and was/ am undergoing treatment in the form of chemo or radiation....which is false.

My hair loss was almost entirely related to auto-immune diseases affecting hormones and vice versa.

It is right that at some point I was dealing with cancer. I may have been vague about it in the past, so I thought it would be good to have a recent post that clarifies how my illnesses have affected my hair (and also how things have bettered)

First, let me introduce my pre hair loss hair...you may not know it ;)

 
Length: Just past classic length
Color: Red Henna on my dark reddish brown hair. Resulted in a dark cherry color.
Texture: Very slippery and silky, not much volume, just some at the roots, got stringy easily.
Health: 0 splits or tangles...not even kidding *sigh*
Hair Type:
1a - stick straight hair
M - medium thick single strands of hair (0.06 mm)
ii-iii - 10cm / 4" ponytail circumference was the biggest measured spring 2009
Other: a tendency for taper and thinner ends, which I was patiently growing out

Hair loss July 2009- January 2010

Causes: Mostly caused by a Pituitary Tumor, which is not cancerous, it is a benign growth at the pituitary gland by the brain, that causes the body to produce more of the hormone prolactin as needed, which can trigger hair loss.
My hair loss then stopped when I took a medicament (pill form) called "cabergoline".

It was also found that I had Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which I believe had caused my hair texture to change into something less silky and more dry and prone to splits then. Hashimoto's is an auto-immune disease, which causes the body to attack and eventually destroy the thyroid. I was prescribed Synthroid, which really caused my hairs texture to worsen. I got off Synthroid January 2012.

Hair loss December 2011- April 2012

Postpartum hair loss. So to be expected. However, I experienced it very strongly and was lucky it did not last extremely long. My prolactin levels would not go down on their own (they are supposed to go down a few weeks after birth), but eventually did. I also went full on Paleo Diet in late January in the hope of bettering my overall health.

Hair loss October 2012 - March 2013

A combination of hormones adjusting to the return of my menstrual period 1 year after the birth of my son, and a healthy diet gone wrong. I had not watched my carb intake, and went low carb by total accident, which is known for triggering hair loss in many. Low carb can also cause problems with your thyroid. Really it was a recipe for disaster, and I am glad I actually researched enough to figure out my diet could have triggered all this. Especially in someone like me who has a tendency for whacky hormones and thyroid issues.

Fix: Added  more carbs, geared up on my supplements (like D3!) and helped my hormones find balance with herbal supplements (posted about them a few posts back).

Now, my cancer problem.

It started with HPV, which was passed on by my Ex husband. HPV is a virus that can lead to cervical cancer. In most cases however, the body clears it within a few years. After that time frame, ridding yourself of it is said to be much harder. In 2004 my PAP test came back abnormal for the first time. I remember I was at a Seminar my past work place was holding, when my cell phone suddenly rang. The doctor explained to me what it was and said not to panic...easier said than done. Although back then it was only classified as a PAP 3, just hearing the words "cervical cancer" are scary. Plus, the doctor (US. Military) was speaking to me in English...and back then my English was not what it is now...far worse ;).

Further tests showed that it was really just an abnormal PAP...for now. I had to keep getting tested and it remained a PAP 3 for a few years. In Summer 2009 however, my doctor said that things are looking more serious and that a biopsy needed to be done. I was also diagnosed with syphilis, which I also got from...guess who? My Ex...who was NOT faithful.

Back then I received treatment in the form of a lot of antibiotics (caused me daily nose bleeds), biopsy and a freezing procedure...the last two were meant to kill off and remove the still considerably small amount of abnormal cells. Radiation treatment was being talked about, but I was instructed to wait and retest first.
After that I ignored the problem...or rather, was too busy with separating from my Ex and getting my life back on track.

A year later, I was in a new (long distance) relationship and wanted to get tested before doing anything that could cause a transfer of the HPV. The tests came back positive as always....at that point the words "cervical cancer" sounded about as familiar as "how are you" to me...it was getting old. It was hard to not reply to the diagnosis with a "what else is new?".

Another biopsy was done, this time more tissue. I was told the lab tests came back "okay"...meaning that there were some abnormal cells, but "nothing to worry about". And so I didn't. I was still hoping it would clear on its own.

But, a few months later, my doctor sent me an Email saying that there had been a mistake and that I need to call him so we can discuss a treatment plan. A concerning amount of abnormal *cancerous cells was found.
I actually still have the Emails:

This was just a few days before my move to California. I had to go back to my old apartment in Long Island, NY to get my belongings and put them into storage.
The doctor arranged an immediate appointment for LEEP surgery. During this procedure tissue is taken off the cervix (burned off). It was very painful because it was impossible to get me completely numb. Everyone was trying to help me get through it as good as possible.

I drove back right after, because I had to continue with the move. I was supposed to rest and not lift anything heavy, but I had no choice really. So I continued to pack boxes and drive them to the storage unit, while my Ex was yelling and cursing things I don't remember and trying to sabotage my move.

I was still bleeding when I boarded the flight to California, but it got better every day. The pain feels much like period cramping gone severe.

I had my next PAP test when I was 26 weeks pregnant. Later as planned, but doctors weren't sure whether I should get tested or not. It came back abnormal again, with pre cancerous cells, which was a bummer. I was told that after delivery I would have to discuss further treatment.

When I was pregnant, I often felt horrible about being so "diseased". I was imagining my future child and how he deserves a healthy strong mother. Me and my boyfriend did a TON of research and read a lot about alternative treatments for cancer and other diseases. Also a dietary plan tailored to helping the body fight cancer, by supporting its immune system and starving cancer cells, lowering inflammation...etc.

So during the end of my pregnancy, I already started making changes....lowering my sugar intake to only fructose, reducing bread to a minimum, eating cruciferous veggies, fruit seeds....well just a bunch of things. I had nothing to lose, and I was willing to try everything that wasn't dangerous and made sense.
Changing my diet was not something I had to think about for long.

I did also discuss treatment with doctors, who were now suggesting Chemo and Radiation. But I decided against these treatments at the time, because I wanted to try the natural route first, and had also read A LOT of downsides to those treatments. Often it is not the cancer that kills the patient, but Chemo...It can fight cancer cells, but it can also attack other parts of the body. So for me that wasn't an option then. It seemed there were more risks to the treatment than waiting in my case.

In June 2012 I had another PAP test. I was positive things would be at least better, since my health had improved so much (normal prolactin levels and Hashimoto's doing okay without meds, more energy and overall feeling better).
But the actual results really shocked me...not only were there NO cancerous cells to be found. There was also NO trace of the HPV. Nothing! After 8 years of dealing with this issue and unsuccessful treatments, my body just got rid of it like it was a common cold...
My doctor was also very surprised.

So, here I am in 2013...healthy as anyone else. No Pituitary Tumor, no Hashimoto's, no Cancer.

I hope this cleared things up :)


* when is cancer cancer?
We all have a certain, small amount of abnormal cells in our bodies always. But when abnormal cells mutate and multiply to the point where the body can't fight them off anymore, it is referred to as cancer. Cancer is a really complex happening. You don't simply get cancer. It slowly develops over time.
When your problem is categorized, really they just try to determine how much abnormalities you are dealing with. So yes, "abnormal cells" means you are dealing with a mild form of cancer, but not the invasive kind. The CIN levels 1-3 are a way to label the severity. CIN3 is one small step away from the type of cancer that is not an easy fix.







9 comments:

  1. Ich finde bei dir hat man über den Verlauf der Zeit auch gesehen, wie viel die Verbesserung deines Privatlebens und dein persönliches Glück zu deiner Gesundheit beigetragen hat, zusätzlich zu deinen Maßnahmen :-)

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  2. Agri-culturist,
    ganz bestimmt.:) Und eins waere ohne das andere wohl nicht moeglich gewesen. Auch habe ich durch die neue Situation (neue Beziehung und Kind unterwegs), nochmal intensiver versucht wieder alles hinzubiegen. Man trifft mit positiver Energie auch andere Entscheidungen.

    LG

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  3. I'm glad it worked out for you. I also had a similar problem after a man forced himself on me. At the time I was seriously ill and in and out of hospitals and so my body was very weak. Unfortunately though, my doctor didn't explain to me the seriousness of a "3" for a PAP and so I was under the impression it was normal. It wasn't until 1 year later I found out that could be serious and I got rushed into a different doctor. I was very lucky that my reading was completely clear and normal (my health had improved a bit).

    I also had hair loss.. and my hair became shorter from it. Now I am growing it out and for me it is a symbol of the distance I have achieved from that horrible time.

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  4. I'm so sorry that happened to you!
    PAP3 and under they usually say to just keep an eye on it. I think they don't explain so you don't worry too much, since a PAP3 is likely to clear on its own. That is what happens in most cases and I'm glad yours cleared as well.
    I feel a bit similar about my hair loss, although for me the progress is a bit blurred since I lost hair two more times since the first time :/.
    I hope your health is better now!

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  5. Hello Emi, I'm eiwonob from LHC. I remember reading your blog since 2009, when I first met the forum. It is always a pleasure to read your opinions and your take on life.

    I can relate to the cervix problems. My first PAP ever turn out to be a class 3. I was young and panicked with the result. Instead of doing a colposcopy and biopsy as expected, I simply neglected and tried to run away from the problem for almost two years. I was lucky that it didn't evolute to something more serious. This year, my last PAP acuses a class 2 (inflamation). I did a colpo and a biopsy and they turned out clear, only with chronical cervitis, which doctors explained to me that probably I have it since I was a child (it manifests congenitally in this case) and it is completely normal.

    Do you plan on taking the HPV vaccine? Here where I live (Brazil), the government will vaccine all girls between ages 10 and 12 for the most aggressive types of the virus. This vaccine is becoming increasingly common. I'm so freaked out by all those paps and tests that I might take it too, lol.

    Kind regards for you and your beautiful family :) (sorry, excuse my english)

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  6. Hi Medyloh!
    Don't worry, your English is fine! I'm German so my English isn't perfect anyways ;)

    I personally won't take a vaccine. It is hard to explain why in one small reply, but I will try to explain to you what caused me to think the vaccine is even harmful.
    For one it has certainly even been under lots of criticism, also here in Germany. Many studies have shown that it does NOT protect women, or even aggravates inflammation and abnormal cells or causes the HPV to mutate. Another problem is also that the vaccine is only designed for a few types of HPV, so you could still catch another version.
    The thought of a vaccine is a nice one..."protects against X", sadly though the actual vaccines are all flawed and would need major improvement. There are plenty of risks that can outweigh the benefits, not just when it comes to the HPV vaccine.
    The ingredients are also very concerning: http://rense.com/general59/vvac.htm
    antibiotics, chemicals, heavy metals,chick embryo, human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue, formaldehyde, aluminum phosphate,GMO yeast, aspartame, phenol, and polydimethylsiloxane etc.

    What you have is likely inflammation on your cervix. A lot of chronic diseases are linked to inflammation. Since a strong healthy body can often take care of the HPV it is definitely a good idea to eat an anti inflammatory diet. That is what I did and after all my health issues resolved within a year and my lab tests normalized little by little. Some anti inflammatory diets are Raw Vegan, The Paleo Diet, The Raw Paleo Diet and AIPaleo.
    These diets cut out things like processed foods, Gluten, grains, dairy and legumes to reduce inflammation in the body. Some people are very prone to inflammation and I seem to be one of them ;)
    http://paleodietlifestyle.com/infections-chronic-disorders/

    Luckily, with a PAP2 you don't have to worry about progression any time soon. It might even be in remission. So you you definitely have time to try some natural healing methods first. More aggressive options will always be there if needed.

    Some more info about vaccines:
    http://www.newswithviews.com/Howenstine/james.htm

    (I personally stopped getting vaccines since I developed health problems every time I was vaccinated (even speech problems and cloudy thoughts). So in 1999 I decided no more, but then had to be vaccinated again in 2007 to move to the US and that was when my most recent health issues arose.)

    Hope this wasn't too hard to comprehend!

    Emi

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  7. Hi Emi! Thank you so much for your reply, it was very enlightning!
    I've always heard good things about this particular vaccine, but I know that things don't work like that... it's almost shady to have something that is too good, idk. I think it can be specially harmful if the live organism or virus is injected on a person (I've heard several cases of people that don't get the immune response as expected and end up having the disease itself, something similar with HPV would be very dangerous). I will research more before letting my fears take over my actions. :)
    The anti inflamatory diet is a great idea!! I suspect I have something like a systemic inflammation, since my respiratory tract is always very congested and my head hurts almost every day. My eyes also seem puffy and the acne is always there. I eat too much dairy and gluten and I'm having thoughts of cutting these. I will check that :) Thank you very much!

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  8. I'm glad it helped! What always alarms me is if the government and pharmaceutical companies "push" something. Because they really don't give a shit about our health, which you can tell by how many harmful additives are found in foods, cosmetics and other products. Chemicals that promote cancer, brain damage, disturb hormonal balance and more. It is so often about the quick money that can be made.
    And yes, you are right...vaccines have backfired. More than you can read in public media. If you search for victims that lets say had their baby vaccinated and a day later it was dead (from SIDS) or autistic, you will find it happens often enough to be more than just a small risk. It is like quantity over quality sadly.

    All the problems you named can be caused by inflammation or toxins leaking into your blood stream. I think you have a good chance of bettering everything! I know of so many who were blessed with gorgeous clear skin and healthy hair simply by changing their diet.
    For me, my digestive tract and hormones have already suffered so much that it is not an easy fix anymore. I wish I would have started all this sooner.
    You can also read some Doctor Mercola, Chris Kresser, Paleo Mom or Robb Wolf. :)

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  9. Don't fret. There are certainly a lot of reasons why people would be saddled with inconveniences, such as that. What matters is what we do about it, and our will and ingeniuty with which to do so. Wishing you all the best!

    Byron Brewer @ Knight and Sanders

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Emi

Emi
32 yr old slave to a toddler and Medieval Lady from Frankfurt am Main, Germany -"that which is beautiful isn't always good, but that which is good is always beautiful."

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