Beating Uterine and Breast Cancer

Uterine and Breast Cancer Survivor:
Edith Shih
49 years old
San Francisco, CA USA

My family and I had immigrated to the USA more than eight years ago and were generally adapting well to life there. In October of 1997, my monthly cycle became irregular and I started to feel tired constantly. I scheduled an examination with the gynecologist and was diagnosed with uterus cancer.

The results of my examination jolted me like a bolt of lightning. I was told that I would only have 5 years to live. I made up my mind that I would explore various types of cancer treatments. I wanted to have a thorough understanding of my disease before deciding what course of treatment to follow.

Since the cancer was detected early, it was not necessary to surgically remove the whole uterus. It is the most important organ for a woman, so I thought my uterus should be kept in place. However, the doctor insisted on cutting away the whole uterus and ovaries to prevent metastasis. It was then that I resolved to fight cancer.

Shortly after, another shocking thing happened. All of a sudden, the part of my uterus which was to be operated on bled terribly and did not stop. I drove to the hospital immediately. They rushed me into the operating room and they immediately operated on me. They said that if I had arrived 5 minutes later than I did, I would have died.

After this close call, I began to take Tien Hsien Liquid in the middle of January 1998.
In mid-February, I returned to my hometown, Taipei, Taiwan to celebrate the Spring Festival. The doctors there said it was not necessary to remove my entire uterus and my ovaries, but do follow-up exams and look into various types of cancer treatment instead.

After returning to America, the doctor in charge as well as others on his staff said that an operation is not necessary. However, after a period of time, cancer attacked me unexpectedly. Since I felt that I was fully recovered, I made a trip to Southeast Asia with my family members in June of that year. I began to feel pain in the joints of my feet. I also began to feel extremely tired when we headed for Japan in August. When we got back to the U.S., things did not improve either. In an examination in November, the doctor discovered a hard lump in my right breast. I remembered finding a hard lump in my breast which had disappeared after I took traditional Chinese remedies. I thought it was the same problem. But I decided to have a doctor to further check into it.

To my surprise, his diagnosis was breast cancer. I felt extreme regret for not taking Tien Hsien Liquid on a regular basis and for not watching what I ate. I thought that my health had already been restored. However, these series of attacks taught me another lesson in fighting against cancer. A cancer patient should always be alert and be selective in his/her diet.

Subsequently, the doctor gave two suggestions: either cut away part of the breast and undergo radiation treatment or remove the entire breast. A doctor of traditional Chinese medicine said that cutting the whole breast would cause great damage to the Jingluo and therefore would have bad effects on the entire body. He suggested just cutting off only part of the breast. After having faced a similar situation last time, I chose to have part of the breast removed. I went to hospital in April 1999 for the operation to remove part of the right breast, a tumor of 2.5 cm taken out and lymph nodes under the right armpit cleared. Although I began to drink Tien Hsien Liquid immediately after the operation, I was still unable to fall asleep after getting home. I applied Tien Hsien Plaster and was able to sleep. I began receiving radiation treatment a month later.

During this period, I felt increasingly weak because of the side effects. To prevent a spread of the cancer, I had my shoulder to abdomen treated with radioactive rays. I felt pain from my liver to my lungs. My breath seemed lifeless and I began to cough terribly. I even felt pain in my kidney.

During the course of my treatment, I received radiation 33 times all together. Debilitated from the tremendous pain of Western cancer treatment, I decided to use Tien Hsien capsule and Tien Hsien Plaster. I would go to the clinics of traditional Chinese medicine to receive massage therapy on Jingluo. I felt that the side-effects had lessened, and my appetite was recovering. I once again felt full of vitality. “I forced myself to be strong for family members and for me!” I completed the treatment successfully and returned to normal life.

I learned several things from my ordeals. First, be careful when choosing the kind of treatment to use, and especially those that will not do harm to the whole body. See operations as part of the treatment and combine them with other treatments to reduce the harm done to the body. Once the reproductive organ is cut away, hormones will be in an imbalance. As a result, besides living life with unbalanced hormones, other parts of the body such as the bladder, large intestine and urethra will have problems too. That’s why I insisted on keeping the uterus and the ovaries.

Second, pay attention to your diet. I avoided certain foods that are detrimental to my cancer condition. I controlled the amount of meats and fats I consumed. It is best to eat only grains, beans, vegetables and keep a balanced diet of the basic food groups. I also needed to manage my emotions. After finding out that I had cancer, I used it as an opportunity for introspection. No one is perfect, but I find that I have become a much more agreeable and gentler person.

The last and probably the most important ingredient in my victory against cancer is the love and support of my family members. I remember finding my husband weeping alone in the dark a few days before my second operation. I asked him what was wrong and he replied, “Mother died of cancer. She was old. Although I felt sad, I still had to face life. But you are young. I love you and I can’t live without you. You must live on for me.” My husband travels to many different places for work and can’t take care of me all the time. His love, hope and tears strengthened my confidence and I was determined to regain my health for my husband and my children.

I am now healthy once more and am living a happy life with my family. Looking back, I can’t help being emotional. I learned a precious lesson. No matter what diagnosis you get, even if doctors can’t help you, never feel despair. Never give up!