Cynthia's story also appeared in the April/May 1998 issue of MAMM magazine and in the October 1998 issue of Essence magazine. She has also told her story in television interviews.
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About Breast Health
When Cynthia Pitre first heard she had breast cancer in early 1995, the Dallas resident was a 38-year-old accounting manager for a chain of auto repair shops.
Once her initial shock subsided, Pitre began reading every book and article she could find on the disease. After obtaining opinions from three local surgical oncologists, Pitre agreed to a lumpectomy, in which only the cancerous part of the breast is removed.
Dr. Peter Beitsch performed the operation in April of 1995. The procedure did not remove all of the cancer, however. It was more extensive than the initial mammogram had indicated.
Dr. Beitsch recommended a second lumpectomy, followed by radiation treatment. If that didn't work, his next step was complete removal of the breast. Pitre could expect to live perhaps three years without one of these two courses of treatment, Dr. Beitch told her.
Reeling between shock and fear, trapped in an emotional and spiritual crisis, Pitre turned to Sunan therapy. Trim and muscular these days from regular workouts, she had undertaken three Sunan therapy sessions with Jana Simons, cofounder of the Sattva Institute, to help move her through the breakup of a relationship in 1994.
"I knew Sunan would be the healing I needed to make some hard decisions" about her next treatment steps, she said.
Sunan therapy goes much deeper than the conventional therapies she also has used, Pitre says. "You really can't explain Sunan," she added. "Every-one's experience of it is different.
"I got in touch with myself on a very deep level," she continued. "Traditional therapy couldn't get me there. No one could talk me there."
Simons, Pitre's regular Sunan therapist, referred her to another Sunan therapist, Who was also a registered nurse and a licensed professional counselor. "This therapist's background in nursing made her the best Sunan therapist for Cynthia at that time," Simons explained.
Pitre's two Sunan therapy sessions left her with the profound feeling that she was living "inside God's body. God's hands were completely around me and holding me up," she said.
The Louisiana native now was able to summon the strength to face her options. One of these was to allow others to share her pain, something her therapist had urged her to do.
Her therapist noted that the cancer had shown up in the left breast, the one closest to her heart. She was told that the location of the disease reflected her deep need for nurturing.
Pitre immediately phoned her friends, told them about her illness and asked for their love and support. Before she had said nothing. That was typical. she had always been the caretaker for her five siblings in a home that was broken and impoverished when she was six by her parents' divorce.
Basking in friends' support, Pitre consulted more surgical oncologists. Although she could not bring herself to follow their advice, which was similar to Dr. Beitsch's, she still did not know what else to do. She had never faced cancer before.
A fifth surgical oncologist discussed the survival statistics associated with various options, but recommended that Pitre follow her heart. That option resonated with her, whose generous smile can light up an entire room.
Through a friend, Pitre found a Dallas chiropractor who, she said, healed herself of liver cancer through nutrition. Dr. Grace Carrington outlined a strict diet of all raw vegetables and urged her to reduce the stress in her life. She also underwent weekly herbal-based colon cleansing.
The first week of the new diet was rough. Over time, however, Pitre noticed many marked improvements in her physical well-being.
Six months and nine days after she started the diet in April of 1995, a mammogram revealed "indeterminate probably benign" calcifications in her breasts. No cancer, in other words. Pitre's latest mammogram, taken in 1997, showed the same result.
After almost three years, she still follows a primarily raw vegetable diet, mixed with rice, grains and fresh juices and an occasional cooked item. She does not eat any animal flesh, refined sugar or dairy products. She says this regimen gives her enormous energy.
Pitre emphasizes that radical diet change alone did not heal her cancer. Healing involved all of her: not just her body through diet, but her heart and soul as well through Sunan therapy.
To others who face life-and-death decisions, Pitre advises: "Make a choice whether or not you want to live. In order to live, you have to change what's in your heart. At least that was true for me."