Real Stories: How I Found Out I Had Cancer

Members of share their stories of how they found out they had cancer

Mailet Lopez, founder of "I hope you find someone who will make this unwanted trip easier for you to navigate."

In March of 2008, at the age of 33 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This news, as you can imagine, was not something I expected. My first thoughts were... Huh? Did I hear correctly? How? Really? Me? And so my journey began...

The diagnosis was stage 2 breast cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma). Breaking the news to my family was by far the toughest thing I've ever had to do. But everyone was great and the out-pouring of support was amazing. They gave me the strength to maintain a positive attitude and I was determined to do everything I could possibly do. I became vegetarian and included freshly made organic vegetable juices in my daily routine. I couldn’t control cancer, but I could control every single thing I put into my body.

Things after the diagnosis moved too quickly. I had some big decisions to make, ones that would affect the rest of my life. I wanted time to think, but it was hard to ignore the urgency I felt from my doctors. From the onset of the whole ordeal, I was very much against chemo and radiation. Just because it was the standard protocol didn't mean it was right for me. Regardless, I was being pushed by my family and friends to do it, so I set up appointments.

My doctors gave me two options: Remove the whole breast (mastectomy) and undergo radiation and chemotherapy or try chemo first to shrink the tumor then have surgery, followed by radiation. The mastectomy was highly recommended.

I was not comfortable with either scenario. I was convinced there was another way and began searching high and low for any information I could get my hands on. Luckily, the initial surgery to remove the tumor was a success and bought me some time before starting treatments.

During a visit to an acupuncturist, whom I started seeing to help alleviate stress, I was introduced to a patient who had survived a very similar diagnosis. Her name was Rita and she was an angel.

She told me about the treatments she went through that were different from conventional chemo. It was called Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT), new approach to treating cancer that uses insulin, and takes advantage of the powerful, cell-killing effects of ordinary chemotherapy drugs, but used in very low doses. Rita recommended I research it and referred me to her doctor. This was the option I knew would be right for me; the one that I had been waiting for. The second I got home I looked it up and decided this was for me. I shared the information with my family and friends and got them on board.

I couldn't wait to call the oncologist and cancel my conventional treatment appointments. She was not happy with the news and insisted I needed chemo. I politely thanked her but I was determined to move forward with my decision.

Six months into treatments I had a PET Scan. The results were negative! I was cancer free! Today I celebrate everyday as the founder of. I started because I felt alone when I was diagnosed. Although I had wonderful support from family and friends, I didn’t know anyone my age that was going through the same thing. I wanted to talk to someone who understood what I was about to go through and who would guide me through some of the challenges ahead. By fate (chance?) I met someone who provided just the support I needed and it made all the difference. We shouldn't leave anything about cancer to chance -- that’s why I Had Cancer is here today. I hope you find someone who will make this unwanted trip easier for you to navigate.

You can connect with Mailet, read her full story and learn more about the treatments she underwent here

NEXT: Lori McLane's husband found the lump in her breast

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