Support Jen Hohman Rise above breast cancer

For: Jennifer Hohman
Mountain View, CA
Organizer: Jennifer Hohman
Support Jen Hohman Rise above breast cancer (Jennifer Hohman)
$22,905
of $33,000 goal
69% Complete
Raised by 179 donors

The Story

I was diagnosed with stage 1 HER2+ breast Cancer on January 8, 2016.  I teach yoga and manage a yoga studio in Mountain View, CA and would like to treat this condition in ways that allow me to continue to work while my body heals through holistic and integrative treatments. I am 45 years old and this is the biggest challenge I've ever had to face besides telling people I know and care about that this is going on my life.  It's a heavy secret to carry alone and I've realized that it's time to ask for some support to get me through this. 

Phoenix Rising

Many of you know me as a yoga teacher and the manager of BYMV, what you may not know about me is that I moved to the Bay area in February of 2008 after leaving a job at a nightclub to take some time and “just sit”.  I became a caretaker at Jikoji Zen Center in Los Gatos situated in the Santa Cruz Mountains. On October 4, 2009 I took layperson vows and was given a Buddhist name Setsuho Jikikan which translates into “Snow Phoenix". Before I was a yoga teacher I would start my day with Zazen meditation and was part of a team of residents who would share the various duties it took to run the retreat center and care for the grounds. During this time I was also trading my time for yoga classes at Bikram Yoga San Jose. I lived at the center until about a month before BYMV opened it’s doors in July of 2011.

Bikram Yoga and zen meditation have changed my life for the better and I have enjoyed a lot of personal growth over the past 8 years. I have met so many amazing people since the studio opened in Mountain View and I have learned how to teach and manage a studio through some laughter and a lot of trial and error. I love meeting new students and learning how to be a better person and a more compassionate teacher is one of my favorite things about my job.

On January 8, 2016,  I received the phone call that changed my life.  My doctor told me that the biopsy that was taken just days earlier tested positive for carcinoma, and I needed to come in right away. Nothing prepares you for hearing those words, I have known some people who have had success in their battle with cancer and many more that have died fighting. My grandfather was diagnosed with brain cancer last November and he died last month so it got even more personal than it was before.  It is devastating when you realize their battle is now your battle and it’s a lot different when it's your name attached to the diagnosis. Success isn’t a guarantee for anyone. 

I had a mammogram and ultrasound which showed a small lump, the breast specialist I saw kept telling me how lucky I was to have found it so early.  We found it at a size about 1/3 of what most people first notice which put me into a first stage diagnosis. I met with a team of doctors and they explained the treatment options for me. The conventional treatment for stage I breast cancer is similar to a stage IV diagnosis. Their protocol involves surgery and since the biopsy confirmed Invasive Ductal carcinoma that also means radiation Monday-Friday for 5-6 weeks and/or chemotherapy for 4 weeks and strong medications daily for 10 years. Later tests done to the biopsied cells showed it to be HER2 + this type of tumor is considered aggressive and likely to recur. If they do surgery and the results come back without clear margins or the lymph nodes show any cancerous cells more surgeries may be required and the staging of the disease could change. Reconstructive surgery is also an option which would require additional surgery but that depends on what they find after they go in there and take out some lymph nodes and the cancerous tissue. They suggested expensive genetic testing which I agreed to do and have subsequently come back negative for any of the high risk cancer genes.  It turns out that most people who are diagnosed these days don’t have any family history or genetic predisposition to cancer. Lucky me, right?

I have sat with this knowledge for the past few months because of my background in Zen and my yoga practice.  I’ve been doing a lot of research and I have decided to take a holistic/Integrative approach in this next phase of my life. I am choosing to approach this obstacle as an initiation into a path that has something to teach me and it’s the way that most resonates with who I am as a person. I’ve prayed for strength and clarity and I know what my heart tells me is true for me. My spiritual practices also guide me in my choice to have faith in this process although some days it's easier said than done.

Every day is different and some days I am strong and others not so much.  I am working with a Doctor of Functional Medicine to help me strengthen the systems in my body that may have contributed to the tumor forming, and changing some of the lifestyle habits I had accumulated that were decreasing my chances for success in helping my body to recover it’s health. I’m also receiving acupuncture treatments from a local school that teaches acupuncture and Chinese medicine.  I am on a strict diet and it is my sincere hope that by discovering the root cause of the carcinoma that I can stimulate my immune system to do it’s job and heal it. It's important to me to choose treatment options that prevent cancer rather than having a lot of side effects that would require more drugs and medical intervention at a later date.  The need for surgery is likely and it might involve me taking some time off to recover and heal, one thing that is clear is that I need help right now. Working harder isn’t going to cure me or solve this problem. I need to shift to a more balanced approach in my life so that I can have more life.  

I am fortunate that I have health insurance and it has covered part of the medical costs to get me to this point.  Insurance doesn’t cover co-pays to be seen by doctors and doesn't cover providers that aren't in my PPO. This means the supplements I am taking aren't covered either. In addition, I would like to consult a Naturopathic Physician and have access to other protocols that have been shown to have good success with similar diagnosis.

I appreciate any support you can provide, every contribution will give me access to treatments I would not be able to fund myself and gives me a better long term prognosis. Prayers for vibrant health and a long meaningful life are also welcome. Good jokes get bonus points * I especially appreciate laughter these days.
Thank you for your support.

BYMV is also collecting donations for a silent auction and there will be a donation class taught by me to be held on Saturday May 14, 2016 at 4pm. The deadline for items to be included in the silent auction is May 10, 2016.

If you would like to send a check or donate a service The address is:
Bikram Yoga, 1910 W El Camino Real, Suite E, Mountain View CA 94040

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on July 24, 2017

Posted on July 24, 2017

Am I there yet?
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and supported me emotionally and other ways these past 18+ months. I am sorry I haven't written very much in the way of updates, most of my willpower has been focused on my diet and dealing with the many changes happening with my living situation and my personal and professional life hasn't left much energy for anything else. 

For the past month I have had the opportunity to dive deeper into my healing and the extra personal time has given me the space to come to some deep realizations about myself and my motivation for doing things. It hasn't been easy, but within the darkness there has been some genuine healing and it's unearthed some old grief and trauma that I'm grateful I've had the time to sit with and come to a place of peace within it. In the past I've used various things to numb me out to the pain I was feeling instead of taking the time to actually deal with the issues. To sit with it, own it and wrestle with it or release it. I'm releasing a lot between moving out of my apartment and into the next chapter of my life.

Recent circumstances opened me up the loss I have been feeling and I've realized it echoes a wound that I had been unconsciously carrying all this time.  In my late twenties I had a significant relationship end and I turned to alcohol to numb myself to the grief and loss I was feeling. I was fortunate to have had friends who tolerated me until I finally got out of it but I'm not sure anyone knows just how close to edge I was at that time. I've had a hard time reconciling the deaths of the some of the musicians who's music got me through that time. It's only recently I opened up to others that I have had suicidal thoughts in the past and this cancer journey has brought some of that up to review again from a more mature perspective. Especially dealing with something as dire as a cancer diagnosis. I am grateful for that little voice in my head which has prevented me from going down that path and I am also grateful for that day when I decided to stop drinking alcohol. 6 months after that date I had my first Bikram Yoga Class. Bikram Yoga led to my meditation practice and my meditation practice keeps my mind healthy. I've used alcohol, yoga, my work, and food to numb my feelings so the fruit/grape fast brought a lot of that up for me to pay attention to in a new way.

I am glad I found Dr. Robert Morse and his regenerative detoxification program. I'm a little tired of grapes at this point, but I may take a break and pick it up at a later date again.  See if I can go deeper next time. Today I can barely feel the lump. I know even once the lump disappears there may be small cells still there and I will probably get more blood work and tests at the end of the year.  I no longer have health insurance and while that's a little scary, it's not like I used it a whole lot while I had it. The herbal supplements I am taking cost about 450$ a month which is significantly less than the cost of the medications they wanted to put me on, and the physical cost is much less too.  My lymph system is doing it's job and shrinking the tumor. It's been a lot to live with every day but the fruits, berries and melons and herbs are helping my body to heal from the inside out.  Grateful for that. I am getting used to thinking of myself as a cancer survivor instead of a victim and that feels amazing. I will continue my medicine journey and am grateful for all my medicine path family and friends who remind me how grateful I am for my life and how lucky I am to have found the people who can help me remember how to heal. Connection heals as much as any supplement and I am grateful I have that in my life.

My application was accepted for temporary residency at Jikoji Zen Retreat Center and I am looking forward to having more time and a supportive community to continue the healing that is happening for me on many levels. There will be plenty of time for self reflection and my hope is that it will help me get to a more balanced place in the work, play and spiritual growth needs that my body so desperately needs at this time.

I believe I've made it through the hardest part, but I could still use your support to get me through the final stretch.  I am no longer managing the yoga studio and teaching yoga isn't a financially lucrative position but I love the energy it gives me.  I have been reassessing my situation and thinking about where my life will take me while being open to the gift in the present moment. I am grateful to be alive. I don't know what tomorrow will look like, but today was a pretty good day.  I can live with that. Thank you for your support!

Posted on May 3, 2017

Posted on May 3, 2017

Regenerative Detoxification & The Raw Fruit Diet

I started taking a new herbal protocol 12 days ago, in addition to the dietary changes I made shifting to a vegan diet and maintaining a diet that is at least 95% raw fruit (the last 3 weeks).  This means no dairy, no soy, no grains, no meat and no chocolate, no nuts.  Cacao is really the only thing I'm missing at this point and my body feels really good with all of the fruit it's been getting and my skin is clearer than it's been my whole life. Since energy isn't wasted converting(digesting) proteins to simple sugars, and complex sugars to simple sugars a lot of energy is left over to apply to healing and regeneration. Your body converts everything you eat into simpler sugars. Fruit is one of the cleanest types of fuel you can put into your body, without the residues of some more complex foods it will actually draw out debris from your body. 

 I teach hot yoga so I can't do a dry fast and mentally I don't think I'm strong enough to go without food yet.  I am using a lot of determination with my diet, and fortunately I enjoy fruit so that's made it a little easier to look forward to meal times. My appetite is great.  I don't miss the sardines, eggs, bone broth at all and my fingernails are actually stronger now that I am vegan. The scar underneath my right breast is almost invisible so I can see physical evidence that my body is healing faster than it was before. The cyst that formed in the left breast last year has disappeared. I was told after the MRI/ultrasound at the end of the year that I had a cyst in my left kidney and my left ovary so I'm also hoping the diet will help to clear up those concerns as well. This diet is also good to prevent MS/Parkinson's/Heart disease which I was told I have the gene's for.  Once I can get organic grapes I will probably shift to a grape fast and bring it up a notch.

I am doing the regenerative detoxification protocol that Dr. Robert Morse developed after over 45 years working in a clinic helping people like me and much worse. Most of his patients are still alive after his program which is why I wanted to try it. I would love to meet him in person someday.  I started the first kit and a day into it I was feeling really good it started very gentle and the experience is better than any cleanse or fast I've tried before.  It includes 5 herbal tinctures and 3 different capsules that I take about 15 minutes before a meal, the focus of the first kit is to get the kidney's filtering better, support the endocrine system and get the bowels moving along with some herbs to control parasites.  Yes, westerners can have parasites.  If it feels like it's moving too fast I can eat cooked vegetables or add some green juice drinks or veggies as I wish. The quality of the herbs is excellent, and I really love his "heal all" tea. 

 I was joking earlier today that you never realize how full of shit you were until you decide to take on a cleanse or fast for awhile. I won't provide any pictures at this point but I will say that I've had a super restricted diet since January. A few days into the herbs I started having old cravings for foods I haven't eaten since I was diagnosed in January of 2016.  I knew I was getting ready for a big release when I had a dream about pizza and started getting a rash on my right hand. I love food and it's been a challenge to watch what I eat every meal, every day for the past 16 months but I can live & heal with fruit and vegetables. I haven't had any caffeine or other stimulants for energy in months so that says a lot to me. My energy & emotions have been calm and steady.

On the 6th day of the herbs/tinctures I had a series of bowel movements that were full of grayish putrid matter clinging to the regular looking stools that I had grown accustomed to seeing with my fruit diet and it smelled like rotting matter. Gross, but true.  The layer of mucous was at least 1/4 thick and I know it's only the beginning.  I've done other cleanses before and I had never seen anything come out like that before. It felt like space was cleared out on the left side toward the area where the descending colon moves into the sigmoid colon, I even felt a tingling sensation in the left hip joint that radiated down the left side of my foot after this happened. It's amazing the body awareness a high vibrational diet gives you. I also have noticed openness behind my ears and down my neck and throat, my hearing has improved in my right ear--it's amazing.

I took care of the rash on my hand by putting some herbs from the tea I've been drinking and it took care of it right away.  I used to have eczema(chronic lymph congestion)as a kid so I expect maybe more skin stuff will come up during the detox since old symptoms can revisit you when you do a deep cleanse.  I'm grateful that I live in a state where I have access to organic fresh fruit at this time of year, I had some amazing watermelons a couple weeks ago in addition to the organic wild blueberries, bananas, mangoes. I'm still taking time to meditate every day, learn something new everyday and get out in the sunshine at least 15 minutes everyday.  I am a happier person than I was and I think that counts for something even if it's intangible. 

I am planning on getting more medical tests after I complete this protocol in 13 weeks.  As you know the medical tests are quite expensive, even with medical insurance and insurance doesn't cover food, herbs or procedures that aren't chemo and radiation for cancer. The kits are fairly priced but they are beyond my means to purchase by myself.  If you would like to support my journey you can make a donation through this site and your prayers are always welcome.  I'm grateful that your support has given me the opportunity to walk this path a step at a time in the way that resonates with my inner guidance.  Thank you for contributing to my health fund and for supporting me while I take the road less traveled. I've been in an interesting head space the past couple months, doing lots of research on the herbs that I'm taking and I feel like I've got a fresh start as I move into the days and weeks ahead.
Thank you for your support it's working!

Posted on April 10, 2017

Posted on April 10, 2017

Retrograde update :) 
Briefly coming out of hermit mode to give an update about my journey. Thank you for your kind words and support. 
Here's a link to an update I created earlier today Jen's video update


About the Organizer

Report Fundraiser

Report Fundraiser

*Please report fraud and Terms of Service violations only. Personal disputes will not be reviewed.

* YouCaring will not use or share your phone number or other information for marketing purposes.

Comments

Supporters

Grab Our Widget

Support Jen Hohman Rise above breast cancer

Grab Our Widget
Donate NowFacebook Share Button