By Dawn Watson
Cancer is one of those words that nobody ever wants to hear.
Being on the receiving end of such a diagnosis is devastating. But knowing there’s a chance for hope can make all the difference, says Juliette Logie. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last August and has lived through the worst and come out the other side.
From the beginning, her cancer journey was a powerful one. A shaman healer friend, Steve Anderson, came to Simply Sublime in East Hampton, the shop she co-owns with her sister, Alison Burke, and told her, “the spirit is telling me I need to treat you.” Busy with work, and taking care of everyone but herself, Logie put him off again and again. Finally, she succumbed and had a Reiki treatment with him.
“Pay special attention to your physical body, especially in the next week or so,” she recalls her friend telling her after the treatment.
“Two days go by and I have this crazy shooting electrical pain in my breast,” she remembers. “Without Steve, I probably never would have made the time to even notice what was happening with my body. He’s my lifesaver.”
The pain, “scared the pants” off her, she says. As a result, she went and had a mammogram, then an ultrasound.
The doctors did a biopsy on a grape-sized mass they found in her right breast. They initially said it was just a cyst.
Then came the shocking news — she had a fast-growing type of invasive ductile carcinoma. A month later, it had grown to the size of a golf ball, 8 ½ centimeters, and had gotten into her lymph nodes.
“I am the owner of a health food store and I got cancer,” Logie reports. “Anybody can get cancer.”
Keeping herself as healthy as she could, both physically and emotionally, was the number-one priority after she got diagnosed, the Montauk native who now lives in East Hampton reports. A longtime health-conscious eater, she was convinced that she would follow the Gerson protocol — a dietary-based alternative cancer treatment that involves a mostly vegetarian diet, hourly organic juicing, supplements and coffee enemas — to beat the illness.
After researching her illness and her options carefully, she integrated an unconventional holistic approach into her wellness plan. She cut out sugar (which is said to aid in the growth of cancer cells) and coffee, most dairy, and incorporated even more leafy greens and green juices into her daily nutrition plan. Her program also included the use of acupuncture, Reiki, and essential oils, to name a few alternative treatments.
Though more and more people are looking to alternative treatments, Logie says she was still shocked by how many people she met who had also been diagnosed who didn’t know about their cancer. People who blindly accepted Western medicine protocol.
“What I noticed on my journey was that so many people didn’t really know or understand what exactly they were facing. They would just do whatever the doctors told them to do,” she says. “But it’s important to be educated about their cancer and to know what the statistics are so they can be true to themselves and think about how they want to move forward.”
Unfortunately, her aggressive form of cancer had a different plan than the one she had chosen. It was growing and spreading too fast for homeopathic treatment.
After quite a bit of soul searching, in mid-September, Ms. Logie started her first of six rounds of toxic chemotherapy. She completed her treatment in mid-January, and a double mastectomy and lymph node removal — eight total nodes — followed in February. In June, she underwent reconstructive surgery and now has two implants and reportedly no cancer left in her breasts or lymph nodes.
Making the decision to undergo chemotherapy and surgery was extremely hard, says Ms. Logie, especially given her occupation.
“Doing what I do for a living, it was a really big struggle for me to have conventional treatment. And I did feel the need to justify it to other people because of my career,” she says. “But with the type of cancer I had, if I didn’t, I don’t think I’d be here today. Chemo saved my life.”
Logie also relied on a series of reference books including “How to Live Longer and Feel Better” by Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize winner for chemistry who encouraged people to take massive amounts of Vitamin C, among other treatments. She received a copy of “Eating Well Through Cancer” by Holly Clegg and Gerald Miletello, M.D. from the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital.
“I was really happy they were trying to battle cancer from all directions instead of just with chemo, radiation and surgeries,” Logie said.
“The Iodine Crisis” by Lynne Farrow introduced Logie to the links between cancer and iodine deficiencies “The only way we get a lot of iodine is through seaweed, and there’s some in eggs,” said Logie, who takes a daily supplement of Iodoral, which provides “a really good balance of iodine and iodide, and you need both.”
Today, she follows a healthy diet and does everything she can to keep up with her wellness plan—including “taking handfuls of supplements a day,” she says. And though she’s not necessarily happy that she was diagnosed with cancer, she is grateful for the support and outpouring of love that she’s experienced since her diagnosis.
And, she stresses, she wants to make sure that others faced with a similar diagnosis know that there are more options, and more resources available for support, than they might think. The journey has been a worthwhile one in the end, Ms. Logie says, adding that she’s learned a lot about herself and the kindness of others. Of particular help, beyond friends and family, have been “dozens” of prayer groups, cancer awareness organizations such as Fighting Chance, and Susan Roden and Stacy Quarty of the Coalition for Women’s Cancers, as well as online groups and the national breastcancer.org foundation.
“People came from all walks of my life to come and offer me help,” she says. “Cancer has made my life so filled with love. I have such strong gratitude for all the little things. My faith is so much stronger. And I feel so grounded and strong, really loved and connected.”