My Breasts and the Mystery of Natural Healing
By: Sr. Mary Irene V. Rafer, OP
I have abnormal cell growths in my breasts. My first ultrasound on July 1, 2013, before I entered as aspirant to the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii, showed that I have 23 lesions in the right and 14 lesions in the left. The largest lesion in the right measured 2.3 X 0.8 cm, while in the left measured 2.5 X 1.4 cm.
When I requested for a breast ultrasound in February 13, 2015, before I was accepted in the Novitiate, the number of tumors decreased to four (4) with the largest lesion measuring 4.0 X 3.8 X 1.3 cm in the 10:00-12:00 retroareolar to zone B of my right breast. On my left, the number decrease to two (2) with the largest lesion measuring 3.7 X 1.8 X 3.1 cm in the 12: 00 A-B with microlobulation. Two tumors have microlobulation; one with wall calcification.
January 5 of 2015, I had severe pain on my right underarm, including the right area of my neck as well as on my back. I also noticed the swelling and the reddish color of the skin on the area of my largest tumor in my right breast. I requested again for another ultrasound. The number of tumors increased again on both breasts. I have six (6) on the right and six (6) on the left. But the good news is the largest lesion on the right is now 3.42 X 2.33 cm only; on the left is 1.61 X 1.15 cm only. The severe pain, the swelling and the reddish color disappeared in three days, after I stayed most of my time in the garden, touching the soil and smelling the scents of my herbs.
How did I discover I have lumps? December of 2012, I felt the pain in the lower part of my left breast, and when I checked there was something round, the size of a jack stone ball. I was shocked. That was my season of fear and uncertainty. That eventually became my point of departure for my memoir about identity, self-worth, career and life’s priorities.
I know very well what it is to get the dread of discovering a tumor in the breasts and what it is to face all that comes after. For almost three months, I cried every night asking what went wrong. Now, the blue print of my being is at risk.
My Sonographic Report impression on my second ultra sound is that I had “Bilateral Breast Cyst Showing significant interval increase in the size of the largest lesions and need additional imaging evaluation and / or previous mammograms for comparison.” I have no previous mammograms. See, I can already feel the tumors. So, I refused mammograms believing that its pressure and radiation, in the process, may do more harm than good to my already distorted cells and will even include the normal cells.
But, thanks God, breast tumor is not a medical emergency. I have more time to research and decide what treatment to take from the many treatment options available. It is not contagious, so I cannot infect anyone. I decided I want to be in control of this disease. I am the one who is fighting for my life and I want to choose my fight. I have the ability to keep myself well. I chose natural healing. I respect my body and I do not see the point of having any part of it cut and remove and infuse with poisonous chemicals that destroy everything. Surgery does not really remove the cancer. Cancer cells are deeply buried, covered by the tumor naked to the eye. Only my body’s healing power can reach that deep. Further, I am a human person and my healing can also come from nature – where I come from.
Mr. Google became my friend as I started my research for alternative cure of the disease. I decided whether the tumors are benign or malignant, my goal is to get back my cells to its normal programming and functioning. My goal is to shrink the tumors, naturally, until I am free of them.
I am just lucky that my Canonical Novitiate was spent at Regina RICA. The place is very much conducive for healing. There, as much as possible, I consumed plants and herbs directly from the ground. I avoided processed, instant, fatty, sugary, ‘unclean’ foods – as described in the bible, dead food, and fast foods. The scents of herbs, grass and germinating seeds that I can smell in the morning whenever I am in the garden also do wonder in my whole being. And so my last Sonographic report is “Probably Benign Finding; short interval follow-up suggests (6 months).”
Traditional Chinese Medicine considers breast cancer as “Chronic Negative Emotion.” That gave me the idea that every breast tumor is very much connected with the repressed emotions—whether negative or positive.
My infirmity made me understand and respect more God’s design. My idea is that human cells self-destruct or deprogram themselves, develop into tumors to protect the body from more harm and threatening diseases, to cope with traumatic experiences. And so, I believe there should be no battle with breast tumors or finding a cure. I just need to learn to participate in my healing process and unlock my self-healing abilities.
I understand that every unkind word and action or traumatic encounter is detrimental to my cells. So, when I am confronted with disrespectful, cruel, bully, faultfinder and cranky people, I immediately back off. It is important that my tumors are happy. And so, I have to befriend my distorted cells, take good care of them until such time that they are returned to its original programming, and eventually leave my healthy body.
Women with breast tumors should have a support group to comfort them. In my case, since I am in the novitiate, it is very challenging. Access to my family and friends is very limited or none at all. Taking care of myself, I do several self-soothing activities such as walking around the RICA land; listening to healing music, grounding; writing and herbal gardening at St. Hildegard’s Haven of Health and Healing.
I believe the Intelligence of the Divine is embedded in all the cells of my body and in the cells of vegetable and herbal plants. And so, my cells and the plant cells can communicate. The chemistry of my body and of the plants and the soil that support the plants are the same. So, plant cells will take care of my distorted cells. I am confident that they will not make my cells into aggressive, invasive and vindictive little monsters.
There are times the pain is so severe. Those are the times when my tumors feel ‘maltreated’ and not happy or when the estrogen in my body is increasing. I learned to listen to their cries, and be very gentle to myself. I learned to offer every pain to my God, for my family, for my congregation, for those who are asking for my prayers, especially for healing. But most importantly, I learned also to befriend my pain.
Yes, my tumors have life of their own. They are also nourished by the nutrients carried by my own blood! And I respect them. I can feel now that they already shrunk by at least 30%. I thank God for all the naturally grown herbs and edible plants that I consume directly from the soil of RICA land.
I want to live until I am 108. I want to tell more about the story of my constant healing. I want to see my family thrives up to the fourth generation. I want to witness the unceasing development of Regina RICA as well as its fruits in the future. I want my God to continue to mold and use me as He wishes.
Nevertheless, death may come whenever it pleases. All I can control is my time in between and how will I live my remaining years. So, when I see something good, I appreciate it. When I crave for my favorite foods, I try to request for it or look for an alternative -whatever is available for our community. If the rose is particularly white, I kiss and gaze at it. At Regina RICA, when our pilgrims need to share their stories, I give time to listen attentively. When they want to take picture with me, I just allow them. When children approach me I hug and kiss them. When family and friends visit me, I dare to ask permission to meet and make quality time with them. Whenever possible I avoid dealing or living with ‘should’ or ’don’t’ of other people. Whenever necessary I give my peace and forgiveness, to those who need it, even if it is rejected or suspected. Every day I am happy to be alive that I can still see the beauty of creation; that I can still feel the love of my family, community and friends; that I can still praise my God.
One day I know the damaged cells on my breast will all die, naturally, as I live until my Creator is done with me.
By: Sr. Mary Irene Rafer at July 17, 2016
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