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In September 2020, I walked away from the cancer clinic in complete awe of the healing power of the human body.
My previously moderate to severe precancerous cells and a dangerous strain of the human papillomavirus were completely gone without any surgical intervention.
My body had healed naturally.
Fifteen months earlier, at my initial appointment, I was full of fear. I felt so much pressure to go straight under the knife, as is so commonly recommended for women with this diagnosis.
It was July 2019, when I was first diagnosed with a moderate to a severe precancerous lesion on my cervix (CIN 2/3), HPV 16, and bacterial vaginosis. (I had the Gardasil vaccines in my early 20s, which is supposed to protect against HPV strains 6, 11, 16, and 18).
It was immediately recommended that I have surgery; an LLETZ procedure (large loop excision of the transformation zone), where a hot wire loop would be inserted up through my vagina to scrape off these cells from my cervix. Ouch!
It was so out of the blue. I had gone in for a regular pap smear before I was due to travel overseas for a month, and I’d been in good health, as usual. The only symptoms I had were the occasional bout of what I thought was thrush, but most likely had been the vaginosis.
I received a phone call a few weeks after my pap smear—the call no woman wants to get—and was told I needed to see a specialist as soon as possible.
I was a little stressed initially, but it wasn’t until that appointment where the specialist took a good look at my cervix, under a microscope (colposcopy), that it really hit me. She immediately recommended that I schedule the LLETZ procedure and take antibiotics for the vaginosis.
I was in shock; I sat in the car and cried. I didn’t know what to do. I thought about canceling my overseas trip. I was scared of getting cancer and for my life, but I was also scared of the surgery.
This wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I was one of the healthiest people I knew. I did all the right things and yet, here I was being told that cancer was potentially coming for me.
I remember the specialist saying, “You definitely don’t want to wait more than a few months to book your surgery.” Here we go again, I thought.
Just seven years earlier, I had been rushed into a laparoscopy to remove an eight-centimeter ovarian cyst. I’d felt so helpless, scared, and disempowered—like I had no other option but to go under the knife. I was told these things just happen to us, and I had no control over my healing.
As life would have it, my private health wasn’t going to cover the surgery this time either (I had paid $6K out of my own pocket for my ovarian cystectomy).
I decided to refuse the initial medical advice and wait.
I wouldn’t have the surgery just yet. I opted to go on the public waiting list instead. I didn’t know how quickly they could get me in. Something inside felt it wasn’t right to just cut these cells out of my body. I wanted a second opinion and more time to process and understand it all.
I started doing some of my own research. The scientific literature conflicted a little with the information I had been given. I was told the surgery was low risk and high reward; it wouldn’t leave any residual issues, and it would almost guarantee to remove all the precancerous cells.
I was told it would be a quick five-minute procedure, however, the research led me to conclude that it could involve removing up to one-third of my cervix, and it could be harder to conceive a baby naturally and potentially harder to hold that baby to full term.
I hadn’t had babies yet, and I still wanted to. It felt risky, and I wondered about the body’s ability to heal itself naturally. When I received a second opinion in the public system, the evidence suggested a good percentage of cells could actually regress naturally (30-50% for grades three and two respectively).
Something felt wrong about it all.
I decided I needed to listen to my gut, so I found an integrative GP who was incredibly open and holistic.
I felt hopeful.
When I was offered an appointment in the public system in October 2019, I was lucky enough to see a specialist who was willing to collaborate with me. He did a biopsy to see more precisely what grade of lesion I had (the private gynecologist had not done this). It came back as a grade 2, approaching a 3, 3 being the highest grade before cancer.
He recommended that at my age and given I hadn’t had children yet, laser surgery would be a better option than the LLETZ. It was less invasive and damaging, yet still very effective. He was willing to support my decision to wait a few months to see if my cells might naturally regress.
In the meantime, I knew that my immune system needed a boost to have a good chance of clearing the virus.
I thought I was already healthy, but my knowledge of health and wellness had taught me that if the body was well then these cells could repair without intervention.
I boosted my immune system in every way I knew how in collaboration with medical advice.
I didn’t want to go completely against the western medical system, so I made sure my support team of experts was happy with what I was doing. I took supplements based on advice from the integrative GP and a clinical nutritionist. I rested a lot to get my body out of stress mode and back into a place where my parasympathetic nervous system could have the potential to heal my body.
While the mainstream medical GP had said all my blood looked fine, the integrative GP said I was actually deficient in several vitamins and minerals (zinc, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12), all very important for immune processes.
There is a significant difference between what is considered normal and what is in the optimal range, especially if you are dealing with symptoms. I also discovered I have the MTHFR gene, which means detoxification pathways and absorption of some vitamins can be impaired.
There was so much I could do to enhance my health, despite being told by some that working on this would have no impact.
I worked immensely in regards to my emotional health to delve into the power of the cervix; my mind, emotions, and stress may have been playing a role in this illness.
I looked at my fears around the surgery, the health system, and everything in between. I learned about the amazing function of the cervix, a woman’s ability to have cervical orgasms, and what power they had. I wanted to experience this in my future, and I was concerned that burning bits of my cervix off might affect this possibility.
I did absolutely everything I could think of that may have an impact on my healing.
In January 2020, I had a follow-up appointment six months after the initial diagnosis. I saw a registrar who reported that my cells may well have regressed to only low-grade changes; a grade one.
I was super happy and amazed; however, thanks to a minor hospital flaw (they are only human too), I didn’t find out until three months later, at the next check-up, that the biopsy had not confirmed this and it was still a grade two. They were still recommending the laser treatment.
I felt pressured and scared that I was making the wrong decision to keep waiting.
Was I crazy to think that I could actually beat this even though I was apparently putting myself at risk?
I had so many uneasy moments of questioning my decision, but I had to stick to my guns.
I had to do a lot of mindset work, but ultimately I knew if I didn’t try this one hundred percent holistically, I wasn’t being true to who I was and what I believed in.
I do not judge those who opt for western medical intervention as their primary option. We should all feel empowered no matter which avenue we take on our healing journey, and not be scared into a decision or feel like we have no choice.
I believe a combination of all health approaches, a collaborative relationship with experts, and alignment with personal values is what creates empowerment.
At my next check-up in May 2020, the HPV was still present and the lesion was still a CIN2. I knew I needed to do something more. In conjunction with my clinical nutritionist and with approval from the integrative GP, I decided to try a few other alternative things. The main issue was the HPV (it is this virus that actually creates the lesion). If I could clear this, as often would happen naturally thanks to the immune system, then I would have a good chance of regression. The specialist confirmed this to me. I also asked at this point that if the lesion were to progress fully to a CIN3 would the laser treatment be any less effective down the track.
He said no. That gave me some hope that it wasn’t a huge risk to take some more time. I am so thankful to him for taking the time to continually answer my questions and hear my thoughts.
I did a few months of a specific strain of probiotic, as well as a few months of another high dose herb—but this time internally (yep, right up me). This was under guidance from the integrative GP and clinical nutritionist. Please don’t try it at home by yourself. It was messy, but I was willing to try it and see what was possible.
None of these options had been given to me by the specialist, despite there being good evidence for it in the scientific literature.
September 2020 was my next check-up. I went in as usual feeling nervous, not wanting to have another biopsy (they certainly aren’t comfortable and usually take a week or so to heal from). Even the registrar told me at this appointment that in fact sometimes having biopsies too often can create an immune response that makes it harder to clear the virus. I was happy when she looked at my cervix under the microscope and said we might not need to do one.
Hope came flooding in at this point. But after the previous miscommunication in January, I was too scared to feel relieved just yet. They had to use two different solutions on my cervix to check if changes could be seen on the colposcopy which would mean abnormal cells were present. But there were none. She couldn’t see the lesion that had been there. She would have had no way of knowing where to even do a biopsy at this point, she told me. All she could do was a regular pap smear to double-check if abnormal cells showed up and if HPV was still present.
All she could actually see on the microscope was a perfectly healthy-looking cervix.
I left feeling elated but told myself not to get too excited just yet. It was a long two weeks of waiting, but finally, they called me with the results. I was absolutely overwhelmed with relief, gratitude, happiness, excitement, happy tears, shock, disbelief, and awe.
There was no evidence of abnormal cells whatsoever—not even low-grade cell changes.
Not only that, but there was also no evidence of HPV.
My body had completed cleared the precancerous cells and the virus that had caused them.
My body had healed itself naturally.
The results spoke for themselves. It was actually possible.
I had believed I could heal but had been too scared to admit it the entire time.
I am in absolute awe and amazement at the power of the human body.
I can never prove it was anything specific that I did, and I won’t try and convince anyone it was. Perhaps it was natural regression and would have happened anyway despite all my efforts; I’ll never know.
I share this story because it is hard sometimes to stand up and speak your truth; to ask all the questions, do your own research, or get a second and third opinion.
It’s challenging to find a support team of experts who are willing to collaborate with you from mainstream and alternative health. It takes courage to work on nutrition, emotions, and mindset—to empower yourself in your own health and your own life.
Most importantly, you always have a choice to decide what happens to you and your body. It is your choice and your responsibility, and yours only. Our health system is set up to have us at the center of our own care, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.
I am sharing because there may be many women who could benefit from my story. I dedicate this to them. I want the world to know what our bodies are capable of; all we have to do is believe it.
Please remember that this is my personal journey. I am in no way suggesting that what I did will heal anyone. I strongly suggest that you make decisions about your health in conjunction with appropriate medical advice.
I am in absolute awe and complete gratitude for this journey. I hope this story inspires you to lead yourself towards a more empowered life of well-being.