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HomeCancer Survivor StoriesAnn Fonfa (Breast Cancer Survivor)

Ann Fonfa (Breast Cancer Survivor)

Ann Fonfa (Breast Cancer Survivor)

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in january 1993. At that time I was reacting to cleaning products, fragrances of all kinds, hair spray, cologne, everything and I was really sick from it. So I decided not to do chemo and not to do radiation because it was on the left side, my heart was in there, and my left lung. In 1993 there was no internet so I had to make my own plan and I discovered what we now call complementary medicine and for me that was great, but you know my tumors recurred and recurred and recurred and I eventually had a mastectomy and it still recurred on the chest wall.

Eventually I found traditional chinese medicine in the form of a personalised herbal prescription from an herbalist that stopped the cancer, it’s mri proven. I realised that the things that I did could be complementary to what other people were doing. I looked at studies and as you know over time there’s more and more studies. The US has the national library of medicine online at pubmed.gov and anyone can access it.You can see the studies on lifestyle, exercise, what we eat, how we handle stress which is very important, dietary supplements, detoxing all that kind of stuff. 

I continued to do it over the years. Ironically on the same day in january 2019 I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma which is a cancer of chemical sensitivity and toxicity; so all those years I was still chemically sensitive and now I’m dealing with that. It’s completely different because there’s quite a lot of information about breast cancer although nowhere near a cure but with blood cancer as lymphoma, nobody knows what to do.

Complementary Therapies

I always feel like I took small steps to go in the direction I wanted to go. I was winging, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was betting on myself but it worked out for me because I’m still here and it’s now 29 years after my original diagnosis, so that’s pretty good. I didn’t go for chemo or radiation, but I don’t recommend it to people that they don’t do things. Rather I recommend to people that they try many many complementary therapies. 

The truth is no one should do chemotherapy without complementary therapy and no one should do radiation without complementary therapy because there are harms. The medical oncology community often dwells on the benefits and doesn’t discuss the harms, but we the people who go through it, we know there are harms, some of them are short term and some of can last a long time. 

I’m not travelling but in order to boost my own immune system, so I don’t get into trouble. I’m using the mistletoe along with all the other things I do and you know I’m sure people know that you can’t stop eating healthy, you can’t stop exercising, you can’t stop dealing with yourself, you have to go on for the rest of your life. You don’t have to follow a specific eating pattern but you do have to make choices that involve less deep fried food and no added sugar if possible. Fruit’s fine; a lot of people get confused about fruit and added sugar, you know fruit it’s a whole food so when you eat a piece of fruit you get the fibre, you get all the nutrients and there are thousands of very valuable nutrients in it. 

In the way our research is done, they look at one element at a time but really it’s the totality of the elements that make the difference.

Lifestyle changes

I had stopped eating red meat long before my diagnosis but it’s possible to be an unhealthy vegetarian and that’s what I was, you know. When I got a cancer diagnosis, that was so shocking that I immediately became vegan and stopped having any dairy products. I had started eating a different kind of cottage cheese, which was a part of a German cancer diet I was following. I am vegan but I make my own rules. 

I also exercised in the beginning an hour a day but now I’m older. I’m 73 now; I don’t exercise for an hour but I do 10 to 20 minutes a day. I’ll sometimes take quite a long walk. I am very lucky to live right near a nature preserve and I can go and visit with the birds and the alligators and the turtles and other creatures. I’m pretty lucky I was born like a happy person; I don’t really suffer from depression; I’m not unhappy about things and I focus on today. I am alive and that’s what matters!

A message!

Don’t give up! Be happy! 

Find your small joy. Do as many complementary and natural things as you can. Make lifestyle changes, it really matters for every reason, so stay close to your loved ones. So what do you think are the stigmas attached to cancer and the importance of awareness for it. It actually seemed to me in certain times that people were afraid they’d catch it if I went near them. You know it’s not contagious but lifestyle matters and you can reduce your risk. Everybody should know that, so I really think people need to stay calm. They need to find a support group if they can. There are online support groups too, so you don’t have to go it alone because that’s a really hard thing and you know it really doesn’t matter what other people think. What you think is the key thing. You have to be calm and happy in yourself.

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