Cancer Treatment Centers of America
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Dawn Jones

Breast cancer

This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

View CTCA treatment results for breast cancer

My story

My cancer journey began in 2000. On the same day that I discovered a lump in my breast, my mother had a heart attack. I immediately flew from my home in New York to Virginia to be with her and my siblings.

When I got back to New York, I went to my doctor’s office for a biopsy. That’s when I received the diagnosis: inflammatory breast cancer. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it; there was no history of cancer in my family.

I spent the next year undergoing chemotherapy. Then I had a mastectomy. After wearing a breast prosthesis for 18 months, I had reconstructive surgery. For a while, I thought the cancer was gone.

Then one night at the end of 2007, I passed out. I didn’t want to believe it, but the cancer had returned. It was in my neck, lymphatic system, chest and back.

I started treatment in January 2008. In May 2008, while receiving chemotherapy, three plum-sized tumors appeared on my back and spine. I also had a rash on the skin over my left breast. I found out later (when I came to CTCA), that it was secondary breast cancer.

By July 2008, four weeks after the chemotherapy cycle was finished, I learned that the cancer had mutated. Every single nodule had come back in my chest, neck and back.  It was like I had never gone through any treatment at all! I now had four times the cancer I had started with.

That August, I had a port put in and began a new chemotherapy regimen, which lasted until November 2008.

Although the cancer in my lymph nodes was going away, a new nodule had formed in my right breast and under my right arm. My sternum was hurting a lot too. I had to walk around with a morphine drip and take pain pills every two hours because the pain from the tumors was no longer bearable.

I was so devastated. It was like I had one foot over the edge and was ready to jump.

Around that time, my neighbor suggested I call CTCA. My oncologist, who had been treating me since 2000, also suggested I call CTCA. She said she couldn’t do anything more for me where I was. I have a great relationship with my former oncologist, and I trusted her.

So, on January 18, 2009, I started treatment at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center.

When I first got to CTCA, the pain from the tumors was intense. Right away, a pain specialist put me on a regimen to help better control the pain. Just days after I started treatment at CTCA, the plum-sized tumors on my neck and spine were reducing! And the great thing? I haven’t been on pain medication for the tumors since February 2009!

At CTCA, they have it down pat. The Mother Standard® of care is an absolutely phenomenal idea because it is true. At CTCA, you’re treated like family.

This time around, the side effects I experienced were minimal. CTCA helped me see the importance of being treated as a whole person, not just a disease.

During my breast cancer treatment, I also received naturopathic medicine, nutrition therapy, pain management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture and mind-body medicine.

I now go back to CTCA for check-ups once every two to three months. I also go back regularly for cancer treatments and what I call my “spa treatments.” I find the hospital to be a lot like a spa! I enjoy all the good food and the attention I get there. I also participate in mind-body therapies, like Reiki therapy, to work through emotional issues.

I know the people at CTCA get paid to do what they do. But they care and they love while they do it. When I got there, I wasn’t loving myself. Being at CTCA brought me to a place where I am kind and loving to myself.

The year 2010 marks the 21st anniversary of my 29th birthday—which is really my 50th birthday. My focus today is on taking care of me for a living. I enjoy meditation, writing, swimming, shopping, interior decorating, kayaking, movies, conversations, and hugging—I love to give hugs!

I’m also starting a breast cancer foundation called LIVE, LOVE, WALK SEXY (LIVE in the moment, LOVE yourself mind, body, spirit, WALK SEXY with your full feminine power and sexuality). Having cancer, and then having to get your breasts removed, is a lot to deal with for a woman. My message for women: “We are not the cancer, we are not the disease. We are women. We are women!”