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Deborah's Personal Journey
I want to share with you my Personal Journey. If you would like to know more details of any part of my journey, feel free to contact me at I have included links (they are underlined) to what I consider to be most of the key elements of the who, what, where, when, and how I am here today. Let me just get right to it, yes, you guessed it, the C-word. More specifically, breast cancer, with metastasis to the bone. In retrospect, I can tell you it is the best thing that ever happened to me. But, that was not always my take on it.
I have been dancing with breast cancer since August 1998, when my husband, Shawn Kizewski (then, my boyfriend), found the lump in my left breast. Our lives were never the same again. After having a ultrasound, a thermogram, (both raising suspicion and my preference over a mammo), but a negative mammogram, my doctor still advised me to proceed with a lumpectomy in November 1998, and again, in the exact same location, in August 2000. (I did both surgeries with NO general anesthesia, just a local.) Both times, the margins were very small, but clear, so I opted (against my doctor's recommendations) to proceed with ONLY alternative modalities, no chemo, no radiation, no meds. I had no insurance AND I did not believe that God would only give us these two choices to treat cancer. I would do it all the same way if I had it to do over.
The scar from the second surgery never did heal properly...I had thought (and hoped), that it was just a botched job. I did get all the blood tests you can get and they all came back normal. (CA 125, CA15-3, CA27.29, AMAS, Killer cells, T&B cells, etc. FYI, although these tests are always a good place to start, all my blood work has always come back normal thru this entire journey. Go figure!) In Spring 2003, I started having trouble with my energy level and overall pain, mostly in my lower back, never fully recovering from a busy day of normal activities. I finally got a CAT scan from the local free clinic (waiting a few more days for group insurance to kick in from a part time job.) It read like a death sentence-breast cancer metastasis, with innumerable tumors throughout my weight-bearing bones. I finally got to see the breast specialist at UCSD, as well as a radiation oncologist, and a medical oncologist. "There are too many tumors (over 50!) to radiate them all, but we can focus on some of the larger ones, for pain relief...just to keep you comfortable...until..." As I sat in their offices, in a wheelchair, because I could not even walk thru the hospital, it basically sounded like I would die in 6 months! By the way, the doctors and ALL the staff and management at UCSD are awesome! As far as I am concerned, they have the best traditional cancer center and best breast care in the country! The best place to be if you are challenged by cancer ! Well, for that matter, San Diego, in general, has been a great place to be with all it's diversity of treatments and healing modalities available!
Well, first of all, I said I would be dancing on my birthday in 6 months (October 2003), which I did! In my house, in the foyer, to part of one slow song, with my husband, but I did it! (And, I had TWO birthday parties that year! Just because I could!) Second, I don't need radiation for just pain relief, and the Rx pain meds had too many side effects for me. I used medicinal marijuana for three months and I am not afraid to say it! (But please don't mention it to any minors!) It helped me with the pain physically as well as the mental/emotional part of everything. Basically, the tumors were inside the bones, causing them to fracture from the inside out! Quite painful and not too pleasant to think about either! I had also gotten a series of three spinal injections (at the UCSD Pain Management Clinic) to help with the pain and inflammation. They really provided great initial relief.
So, what else did I do? Now that I have set the stage, I will give it to you as brief as I can. For the most part, everything was, in my opinion, equally important and is not in any specific order. As I mentioned earlier, feel free to contact me for more info on any part. I do want to mention, I did finally start on 3 cancer meds that summer. The doctors said the meds would, at best, keep the cancer from spreading, but that the tumors would not shrink or ever disappear. Part of my positive physical response to them is the fact that I had not taken ANY meds at all yet. As my doctor said, "because I was a virgin to the meds". (Well, it's nice to be in your forties and still be some kind of virgin!)
In May 2003, I went to an AWOL breast cancer retreat that had a lot to do with how I viewed my situation. I learned many things, the three most important are these-
One, don't hide what I am going thru! The more people that know, the more people that are praying for you! (Awareness is key!) And more people sending you love and positive thoughts, and helping you in many other ways! Two, don't be afraid of anything! Through some of the experiences on that retreat, I learned to trust more and that once you have been thru cancer, there IS nothing else to be afraid of! Three, God put doctors and medicines on this Earth, too, along with herbs and other things from Mother Nature, to help heal our bodies in a joint effort. One of my spiritual teachers, Nazahah, also emphasized greatly that it was time to do cancer meds, in addition to the alternatives I was already doing. Another great organization i just want to mention here that helped in a lot of ways is Y-Me San Diego. They are full of all kinds of resources for those of us in the BC club!
I have been in the spiritual practice of Sufism since 2000, which has helped me tremendously in my relationship with God and my spirituality. The part that caught my attention was the following quote:
You are Christian because you believe in Jesus, and you are Jewish because you believe in all the prophets including Moses. You are Muslim because you believe in Muhammad as a prophet, and you are Sufi because you believe in the universal teaching of God's Love. You are really none of those, but you are all of those because you believe in God. And once you believe in God, there is no religion. Once you divide yourself off with religions, you are separated from your fellowman (and God). -Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (after the time of Rumi)
I like to call them all 'The Super Best Friends', but what ever works for you as an individual, as long as you have God in some way, with what ever name and language works for you! Through my practice, I figured out the way for me to get around being hung up about the side effects of the medicine was to pray over EVERY dose before I take it. Practicing Sufism has also helped to me to open my heart and be more accepting and trusting of myself, and the path God has put me on. Opening my heart has allowed the negativity to flow out and positive energy to flow in to replace it! There's more room for God's Love and my love for myself.
Nutrition and herbs, as far as internally being able to handle the meds, has been key. (Oral chemotherapy nightly, with no hair lose or nausea or any other issue except for some fatigue the first few days of my 28-day cycle of the other two monthly meds.) I began to change my diet after my first surgery and still continue to work on having a healthy eating life style. (Did you know natural organic Chocolate has 20 times more anti-oxidants than green tea?! It needs to be a very high content of cacao beans and with good sugars and fats, though. Never the less, one CANNOT be denied chocolate!) First, there is the obvious, shopping at Jimbo's...Naturally, Ocean Beach People's Food Co-Op, and Ranchos Natural Foods Market for natural and organic fresh foods, juices, produce, dairy, and meats. I don't do a lot of dairy or meat, but I buy organic when I have them because I don't want the hormones. Even my doctors have said they believe the hormones in all the commercial meats are a very large cause of the high numbers of breast cancer.
Every morning, I have a very thickly green "breakfast drink" compiled of a lot of products from Health Force Nutritionals. These Super Green foods (including Spiralina, Wheat Grass, & Alfalfa, just to name a few!) help with a multitude of, densely packed natural vitamins and minerals, detoxification (very critical when taking a lot of meds), liver (I take milk thistle also!) and kidney support, immune support, and the list goes on. Also, in this drink is a lot of flax meal and some protein powder, and only Stevia herb for sweetness. Did I mention good ol' Vitamin C yet? Mega-doses, at times up to 10K mg per day. that's right, I said "per day"!! But it has got to be a good one, from a natural food source, not pharmacuetical. One more thing on nutrition... GARLIC, GARLIC, GARLIC! As much as I can get, anytime I can get it, and RAW and fresh is always best! I put it in and on just about everything except my breakfast drink! :)
Additionally, for immune support, I feel Aromatherapy has been very important. (In fact, I have become a Certified Aromatherapist!) In addition to using PURE essential oils from Essential Three, The Aromatherapist and Oshadhi, I have also steadily used the entire line of aromatheraputic products from Benedetta. Most specifically, the ALL NATURAL Hand Sanitizer (Clearing Spray) constantly, esp. during the winter season (when I touch ANYTHING, or anyone, in public), the Seaweed Bath for detoxing and strengthening a few days after my shots, and the Control Creme for any cut or scrape or whatever, to keep from getting infected. Basically, it is like a first aid kit in a bottle! I also use several products by Aroma for Health, a locally based company in San Diego County. Both companies the last two mentioned companies are female owned and operated, by the way! (One quick note on using essential oils,...dilute, dilute, dilute!!! And, I have found no better the carrier oils than the Heather Loraine line of carrier oils. Everything I make for my herbal product line is made from their awesome oils!)
As far as on a physical level, here are the key modalities I have incorporated, and these first two, I would not want to do without, ever. I go for NON-force Chiropractic adjustments every week. Since April 2003, twice a week, I see Dr. Sondra Konigsfeld, of Encinitas Chiropractic, and additionaly, every other week, I see Dr. Carmelita Lopez-Mitchell in Escondido. This is not your standard "cracking-type" adjustment! Some of the techniques used are SOT, advanced SOT, cranial-sacral, the activator, applied kinesiology (muscle testing), and some energetics. Basically, when the spine is aligned, it aids the entire body to function properly, therefore stimulating healing from within. I even get adjustments when I am traveling in other states, to keep in tune. I have been doing Acupuncture, with Calvin Garcia-Castro, of Pain and Stress Acupuncture, once a week since June 2003. Acupuncture helps to increase the body's energy flow, thereby helping with detoxification, organ function, and immune system, to name a few.
Other modalities I want to mention I used are Colonics (Joanie), Fung Shui, Bach Flower Therapy ( Alessia Giovannini, Maggie Smith, and Bella Parcell), Far Infrared Therapy (Sarah Morgan), Angel Therapy (Linda Rickard), Reiki (Holly Towkaniuk), and of course, Massage (Noelle Marsa). I believe all these helped a lot with assisting my own body's healing abilities. Also, as I began feeling better, and getting some energy back, I started back to Tai Chi and Yoga. These practices help to build inner strength, as well as gain balance, help with natural detoxification, and reduce stress.

One more thing, while I am on physical stuff. Although there was some concern doing this during my cancer treatment, I did have all my amalgam fillings removed and replaced with porcelain. It was time anyway, as they had cracked the teeth they were in, and cavities were starting to form. This must be done properly, to be safe, and only by a dentist with lots of experience with amalgam removal. Dr. Roger Barron, Bio-Compatible Dentistry, removed them for me and I actually considered this to be part of my treatment, as amalgam fillings can be quite toxic to the body.

I have loved photography since early junior high and I never realized how much it fed me until recently. I couldn't do much during the initial months of the metastasis, due to pain and lack of energy, but I did do a little. Those few subjects I had gave me so much by allowing me to photograph them and trusting me to capture their most precious moments, even with the physical limitations I had. Birthed from what I have been thru myself, my San Diego associate Judy White and I began a joint venture of photographing Special Needs Children. Photography truly does feed my soul.
God has given us many creatures with which to share the Earth. Animals have a way of knowing and assisting us when things are difficult. I have always had dogs, and Bailey and Tripod were with me thru the worst of the dance. Bailey especially, was there, keeping an eye on me, always available when I needed a healing nurturing doggie hug! They both went to doggie heaven in December 2004. We now have two new dogs, Bella and Murphy, both Rescue dogs, who have brought fresh new life to our house, and I know they are part of this next phase of health and healing.
One other type of animal that played a very key role -
DOLPHINS! If you noticed, I even have an image gallery just for my Ocean friends! When faced with the possibility of impending death of my physical body, I began to analyze my life, and wondered, what, if anything, would I change or wish I had done. Swimming with the dolphins was all I could come up with that I really wished I could do. Because of a very unique set of events, I was given that opportunity. Shawn and I went to the big island Hawaii in June 2004, and I went with Melainah & Michael on three different spiritual dolphin experiences! Part of what made these trips so incredible was the fact that they only take a handful of people at a time and The Calling music (by Kutera & Raphael) they played was so incredible! (I bought the CD and when I play it, I am right back in the ocean with the dolphins!) I had so many incredible experiences with these Angels of the Ocean, I can't even begin to tell them all, but being in the dolphin energy was a major turning point in my healing. I returned from Hawaii much different than when I went.
God works in so many mysterious ways with all that He has put on this Earth for us.
In case it hasn't become clear yet, ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING! By now, I am sure you can tell, I have a great attitude! The actual thoughts you think in your head and the words you speak out your mouth can make a huge difference! A great quote I love...
Keep your thoughts positive, because they become your words
Keep your words positive, because they become your behavior
Keep your behavior positive, because they become your habits
Keep your habits positive, because they become your values
Keep your values positive, because they become your destiny
-Mahatma Ghandi
And that's all I got to say about that!
Finally, last, but not least, my husband, friends, family, and clients. Having a support system is more important than you can even imagine. The things they do are countless and invaluable...praying, grocery shopping, fixing or bringing food, or cleaning house when I had no energy, going with me on appointments, wheeling me in the wheelchair in the beginning, being on the other end of the phone ANYTIME day or night to talk if I was scared or upset, doing healing sessions of different kinds, allowing me to photograph them (which is a healing session in and of itself!) or just being available to do something light and fun and totally unrelated, to get my mind off things! There are too many people and too many things they helped me with to mention them all! You know who you are and you know what you did, and every bit of it was priceless! ;) I do need to mention just one family member though, my little niece, Julia.
My husband took me to visit my family in Texas in Summer 2003, when I was at the worst. All my immediate family, that could, came to see me while on that trip. (I was at my brother's house the whole time, as I was too tired to do much.) While doing arts and crafts with Julia, 4 1/2 years old at the time, she said to me, "I have been praying for you, Aunt Debbie. I have been praying for you for the breast cancer, so you can live longer." I said, "You know, I can tell, because I feel better already!" And I knew in that moment, everything would be OK!
(And, that, my friends, is why I have moved back to Texas! I want to be around my nieces and nephew as much as possible, to give and receive all that precious love from God through them!)

Thanks for reading! I wish for everyone to receive endlessly from God's ocean of love and peace and mercy and compassion and justice and freedom.
Love, Deborah
comments, questions, ideas, concerns? email me at

Disclaimer: This is just my own personal story and opinions. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These comments (and references to information in the linked web sites) about products or healing modalities are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always see your health care practitioner for proper diagnosis and treatment. Consult a health care practitioner before using these ideas, products, or healing modalities if pregnant or lactating, if you have a medical condition, or are taking medication. This information should not replace the care or counsel of your medical professional. This information is for informative and educational purposes only. Deborah Savarese Photographic Art, Enlightened Visions, Deborah Savarese Kizewski, or any representatives thereof, will not be held responsible for your choice to use or not use the information presented on this web page or any of the linked web sites. Thank you.
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