Woman with metastatic cancer documents journey
Click here to watch Paula Akana's report.
“For me, I actually caught it too late, and it was because there was something different, but I never thought there was any way it could be cancer,” said Wittmier. “It doesn’t run in my family. I am 39, so I was like that sucks and went on with my life. It wasn’t until about a month later when I noticed my whole breast was swollen.”
The diagnosis? Stage four breast cancer that had spread to her lymph node system and her lungs. They told her she had less than a year to live.
Not one to give up, Wittmier took the bull by the horns, making changes in her life before undergoing chemotherapy. First, she changed her diet.
“No sugar. No processed foods. I started a juice detox. It wasn’t the only thing I was doing, but it was the best way to get as much nutrition into my body as possible,” said Wittmier.
She added to that naturopathic medicine and vitamin drips, and she put together a team to help her through the ordeal.
“It’s really important that you have a good team, and it’s got to be people who will bring you joy. If there’s anybody around you who thinks you’re going to die, that energy is now being put into you. You need to be happy and positive,” said Wittmier.
She continued to work – as long as she could. Encouraged by the support of her friends and fans.
Determined not to be what she called a “chemo guinea pig,” Wittmier spent $2,200 on a very specialized test called RGCC; her blood sample was sent to Greece.
“Now, they have my circulating cancer cells, and they’re growing my cancer in petri dishes and they attack it with all the chemo drugs that are known, and it tells you which ones are the best for me,” said Wittmier.
She started chemo on two drugs. This RGCC test showed one worked really well, the other didn't. So she said her oncologist discontinued the one that did nothing.
After just four months of treatment?
“The scans revealed everything had completely resolved. Ten centimeters by eight centimeters was a huge slug over my left breast and it’s completely resolved,” she said.
Wittmier says all the scans were clear! She still has two chemo cycles to go. In the meantime, she has been documenting her journey and everything she has done to help heal herself.
It’s a story of hard work, but more importantly, a story of hope. It’s one she hopes will help others because when she was first diagnosed, she had nowhere to turn.
A fundraiser will be held for Wittmier next Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Republik.