Natalia Has­sanie, 39, co-founder of Pose­tiv­ity, from Le­banon

Friday - - The Big Story -

My doc­tor found a lump dur­ing a rou­tine ex­am­i­na­tion last June. I had a biopsy and two days later he told me and my hus­band Tarek, ‘It is an in­va­sive mam­mary car­ci­noma, the sec­ond-most com­mon in­va­sive breast can­cer. We need to act now.’

I felt like some­one had thrown ice-cold wa­ter on my face. I turned to Tarek, 46, but he was sob­bing. ‘It’s go­ing to be fine,’ I said.

Back home I went to my lap­top and typed in ‘how to heal from can­cer’. I al­ready knew I would opt for non-tra­di­tional treat­ment, maybe homeopathy.

Next, I told my three lit­tle girls – Emma, 10, Jas­mine, nine, and five-year-old Jana. ‘Don’t worry Mum,’ Emma said. ‘You’ll be fine soon.’

I re­fused to have any surgery. I’d been prac­tis­ing med­i­ta­tion for 16 years, and I was sure it would help me, and so would homeopathy. I went to my home­opath who sug­gested I cut out sug­ars and pro­cessed foods and go gluten-free. I also en­rolled in a yoga teacher train­ing course. But af­ter two months the lump was big­ger. I could ac­tu­ally feel it clearly and the ar­eas of my breast where I’d had the biopsy started to bruise, which showed some­thing wasn’t right.

‘You have to go back to the hos­pi­tal,’ Tarek said, urg­ing me to stop al­ter­na­tive ther­apy. But I pleaded against it. Re­luc­tantly, he be­gan re­search­ing online for al­ter­na­tive treat­ments and found an im­mu­nol­o­gist in Ti­juana, Mexico, who claimed to have had some suc­cess treat­ing can­cers. He com­bines chemo with vi­ta­mins and min­er­als to boost the im­mune sys­tem. So we set off for Mexico.

The im­mu­nol­o­gist gave me glu­cose and in­sulin at the start of each week fol­lowed by chemo. He also pumped all sorts of vi­ta­mins into me via a catheter for four or five hours a day. It made me feel hor­ri­ble. But I fo­cused on the girls – I needed to get well for them.

Af­ter two months, the tu­mour was still grow­ing so I fi­nally had a mas­tec­tomy. It was a suc­cess – they re­moved a 6cm lump from my breast. My chances of re­oc­cur­rence were 60 per cent so my on­col­o­gist, Dr Maroun El Khoury, per­suaded me to do chemo­ther­apy. I did yoga dur­ing ev­ery hos­pi­tal ses­sion and up­loaded photos on Face­book and In­sta­gram. Fol­low­ers have told me my posts give them hope and energy.

On Septem­ber 9, I did my PET scan, which showed I was clear of can­cer. Now, I feel like I’m just get­ting started.

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