My name is Vivian Smith. It’s 2019. I’m 37 years old and currently treating a fourth encounter with breast cancer as I do my best to raise a wild hearted 3 year old with my ridiculously wonderful human, Sasha. Life is beautiful and tragic, bittersweet and magical and I plan on savoring each morsel of life I yet to have.
The quick cancer timeline is as so:
- 2012 – Stage I – Treatment: Bilateral Mastectomy followed by reconstruction and total overhaul of my life to reduce exposure to day to day stress, chemicals, and other cancer causing elements. Also, changed diet completely and began incorporating other natural healing modalities to increase my body’s healing ability.
- 2015 – Stage III while pregnant – Treatment: Chemotherapy at 20 weeks pregnant. After a far from dreamy pregnancy, I delivered Joaquin (now almost 4) at 32 weeks and 1.5 lbs. His early birth was mainly due to Intrauterine Growth Restriction and aside from being very small, he was otherwise completely healthy. I, on the other hand, had a very traumatic health experience after his birth that left me hospitalized for 20 days and a long recovery at home. Shortly after his birth, I experienced Spinal Headache , then as a result of extreme high blood pressure from Post-Partum Preeclampsia, I ended up in the ICU with PRES Syndrome (a reversible brain damage that took 6 weeks to clear up) and C. Diff (an extremely contagious and sometimes deadly bacteria in the gut often found in hospitals). I fought for my life, while Joaquin fought for his and Sasha maintained grounded for us both. We feel so blessed every day that we have such a beautiful healthy child in our lives.
- 2017 – Stage IV with a 2 year old– After 2 years of trying various natural anti-cancer protocols, scans showed a very aggressive explosion of cancer throughout my body. 6 liver tumors as well as cancerous activity in six different lymphatic systems and tumors on my sacrum, lower back and shoulder. Treatment: Integrative. I underwent four rounds of chemo alongside cannabis and continued all my alternative medicines and diet. The follow up scan showed that MIRACULOUSLY showed that I was officially NED (No Evidence of Disease). I went on hormone therapy which shut down my ovaries and drastically reduced the amount of estrogen available to any possible remaining cancer.
- 2018 (August) – Stage IV – After a year of NED, a scan showed new progression in the liver. we changed meds and gave a new type of chemo pill a chance. After a few months, it was clear the medication was not working fast enough and I started chemo and cannabis again in March 2019. After the 1st round of chemo, my tumor markers went down 50%!!! I’m holding up really well and looking forward to the last round on May 4th 2019. Prayers for clear scans again!!!
- 2019 (August) – Still in treatments – After 6 rounds of chemo and a massive amount of emotional healing and self-care, the scan on July 10th showed all metastasis had gone except for one small lesion in the liver. We all agreed that a break would do my body good and allow me to gain some strength for further treatments. Within weeks, my belly began to bloat a bit but I didn’t think much of it. Soon, I had a low grade fever that persisted for a couple of weeks. During this time, I became more and more weak. I was tested for a variety of infections. Liver enzymes were escalated and soon, we realized the bloating was actually ascites from the struggling liver. Ultrasound and MRI show some suspicious abnormalities and now, we wait for a liver biopsy to know how to proceed. We realize how quickly liver failure can escalate, so we are maintaining our faith and determination in my healing while also being realistic about what can actually happen.
It has been a magnificently powerful journey. I’m so very grateful to have survived as many life threatening close calls as I have. I know that it’s because of the massive amount of support I have received from family, friends, and total strangers, that I have been able to overcome my circumstances each time. I have no doubt that this time will also be the very same. But the major difference, is that this time, I know I will move forward and leave cancer in the dust. Please join us in imagining me strong and healthy living a beautiful life with Sasha and Joaquin….those are the images that keep me strong and I know they resonate throughout my whole body….the more people holding that vision for us, the more powerful it can be.
Thanks again for all the love. It means the world to us as we go through this.
If interested in weekly updates, join me on Instagram: @vivavivian
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Thanks for checking in,
Vivian, Sasha, and Joaquin