"We are not a lost cause. Our lives matter."

I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma Stage 3 Breast Cancer at the age of 33. I did not listen to the breast surgeon who told me I needed a mastectomy, chemo, and radiation because I was scared of chemo. I checked into a Wellness Center and started using the Raw Food Protocol including enemas, juicing, growing my own wheatgrass, meditation, and yoga. I stopped using microwaves, hairdryers, underwire bras. I changed my deodorant, soaps, toothpaste, and cleaning products. I refused any scans and used Mobile Thermography instead. I progressed to Stage 4 within 8 months. It was probably sooner, but I do not really know because Mobile Thermography was lying to me and telling me I was healing. They fudged reports to keep my business. The breast cancer metastasis spread to my lung and 21 lymph nodes in my underarm. I decided to start chemo and had a lumpectomy. I was terrified. I had an allergic reaction to my first dose of Taxol and truly thought I was dying for about 30 seconds until the doctor gave me a shot of Benadryl. Looking back, I felt that way because of really bad information I read online months before.

After 5 months of aggressive chemo, I was told I was lucky enough to be NED (No evidence of Disease). I remained on the Raw Food Lifestyle for 18 months. Eventually, I realized the chemotherapy was extending my life and no amount of vegetables or supplements will outweigh the life-extending poisons that were helping me, so I drove to Wendy’s and had a burger. Followed by a Hershey’s bar. That was the best burger of my life! I no longer eat a plant based diet. I probably eat too much chocolate, but I will not apologize for it.

I remained NED for two years, and then I had nipple discharge to the same breast I had the lumpectomy on. My cancer was back, but my Oncologist would not believe me. He was convinced I was fine because the Catskan did not detect cancer. My tumor markers were normal. I knew it was back because I felt awful and my intuition was screaming to get a second opinion. I went back to Moffitt Cancer Center, where I ran from years before, to be told I was correct and I had a second Cancer. I had Paget’s disease of the nipple which does not show on scans. The biopsy showed I also had DCIS, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. That meant more aggressive treatment and a mastectomy this time. I did 4 months of aggressive treatments. I have been NED again since 2015.

I know how LUCKY I am. I did everything “wrong” by refusing medicine when I was diagnosed. I could have died because I listened to bad information that circulates about cancer. I truly believed I could save myself if I tried hard enough. I know now how fragile I was and I know there were a lot of people manipulating me into believing that I could. I have forgiven myself. I still have a lot of survivors guilt because all my friends with cancer who were in the Wellness Center class with me have died. I now use my time left to advocate for Cancer Patients using conventional medicine and speaking out against those who manipulate and profit off the sick with false promises of cures.

I will always need treatment. My life will always revolve around scheduling cancer infusions and appointments and scans . I am ok with that because I get to be a mom of my teen daughters. I get to be a daughter and a friend. I get to advocate for #Metup and help teach why Palliative Care is so important to MBC people getting proper care. I get to raise money for MBC Research . On October 20 I get to lobby with #METAvivor in Washington DC and join fellow MBC friends at a DIE IN reminding our leaders that 114 men and women are still dying of Metastatic Breast Cancer every day in the United States and we need research funded . We are not a lost cause. Our lives matter.

I get to live on my terms until my time runs out. And Im grateful for every single day.

MetathriverGary RickeFlorida