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Name: Carole Baggerly

Diagnosed At Age: 63

Status: Currently no symptoms

Bio: Carole is the founding director of GrassrootsHealth, a 501c3 non-profit public health promotion organization.  She is the leader of the D*action project, an international project co-designed by Dr. Cedric F. Garland of UCSD’s School of Medicine and member of Moores Cancer Center. This project’s mission is to solve the world’s vitamin D deficiency epidemic. Carole lives in San Diego with her husband, Leo L Baggerly, a physicist who is also working on some research aspects of vitamin D, specifically with the kinetics, the movement of vitamin D through the body.

My reaction when I was first diagnosed: Mostly stunned. I eat well, exercise well, don’t have any of the standard risk factors (smoking, etc.). I had been taking a very high HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) dose, however.

How I’m feeling now: Very, very committed to pursuing primary prevention, especially through the active use of vitamin D. It is currently estimated that at least 50-80 percent of breast cancer could be prevented with a serum level (D) of about 50 ng/ml (average in the US is about 25 ng/ml).  I think the worst part of the whole process is the “treatment.” I have stated openly that I think it’s barbaric.  I have just discovered (eight years later) further damage to my heart/arteries due to the radiation treatment.

My inspirations: The scientists who dedicate their lives to vitamin D research with very little publicity/payback at this point in time.

My support system: Number one, always, my husband and children.

I’m proud of: “Doing” something about it by creating GrassrootsHealth.

I’m afraid of: Being caught with a problem I don’t have time to research.

I’ve learned: Cancer is a “value” awareness experience.  Everyone faces some core values in the decisions that are made.  For me, the key one was non-violence.  I have spent many years in non-violence type peace work and education.  I finally stopped my chemo, then the radiation treatments early. Why?  Because of the violence they were doing to my very precious body.

My advice to new patients: If you have invasive (versus inflammatory) breast cancer (that’s about 80 percent of the cases), try to take the time to learn more about what your options really are. Maybe you don’t need to be treated at all (except with vitamin D). Learn what other people have done other than the standard chemo/surgery/radiation.  It’s your body.

To see more of our 31 Survivors in 31 Days stories, click here!