MAY 2022

Celebrating over 4 decades of surviving western medicine’s fatal prognosis, damages from toxic treatment & failed surgeries!!

My 17th birthday (May 12, 1977) was bittersweet because the following day I was going to hear the results of a biopsy taken from the left side of my face by a surgeon at UCLA.
Small bits of my backstory are shared on this site, and can viewed at About Judy.

The purpose of sharing my anniversary is to help remind others that the titles of doctors, nurses, surgeons, oncologists, etc. do not define these individuals as life savers or healthcare providers. Their training lacks the skills to find the source of what ails you; offers little, if any, focus on what you eat, and never explores your lifestyle in order to determine if you manifested your current condition, and how to reverse it. Instead, their treatment is often accomplished by writing a prescription…a temporary ‘do-nothing’ that funds pharmaceuticals!  
Let me also note that there "are" genuine, caring, and highly skilled practioners. Unfortunately, they are a rare & brave breed -- many of whom have fearlessly stepped outside traditional C-19 guidlines to ensure their patients are well.

Is my story of survival remarkable? Not really...
There are many more out there, just like me, who walked away from traditional western medicine & chose to change their diet, focus on mind/body healing, and boosted their health with safe and natural supplements. Most of all, they believed they had the capacity to be well, and set aside the often somber prognosis & advice of their physician(s).

Below are a few highlights of how my life progressed over the past 45 years:
1977:  A fearless beginning!  After months of recovery (Sept-Dec 1977) I was left with damaged skin, a sunken cheek, was deaf in my left ear, a progressively painful left eye, my jaw was fused & could not open my mouth wider than 1/4 inch, and was permanently bald on left third of scalp.  Sadly, as a teenager, I reluctantly shopped for wigs – the beginning of a semi-annual process I pursued for 10 years!

1978:  Despite the patch on my face that disguised my sunken cheek & the wig that I wore (which in those days was not terribly natural looking!), I was hired by a local department store for a part-time sales position.  I enrolled with Woodbury University (in Los Angeles) & began my studies for a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising, with the desire to be a retail buyer.

1979: Underwent my 1st corrective surgery for my sunken cheek: A silicone prosthesis was implanted to fill my hollow cheek.  Not only was silicone not safe to use (silicone was banned 13 years later in 1992), but it resulted with only marginal improvement.  I continued studies, while undergoing surgery & recovery.  Thankfully, arrangements were made so my father could pick up projects from Woodbury & deliver my completed work.  I did not miss a beat!

1980: 2nd corrective surgery for my sunken cheek: A dermal fat graph was performed, with fat harvested from my inner thigh.  This too was unsuccessful, giving a lumpy appearance to my cheek.

1981: Graduated Magna Cum Laude & was hired as an Assistant Store Manager at a local specialty store (Susie’s Casuals).

1982: Promoted to Store Manager in Pasadena, and for the first time, moved further from home to rent an apartment that was within walking distance of where I worked.  Because my left eye was so damaged from radiation I was extremely light sensitive & regular sunglasses did not provide enough protection. When my father found what I called ‘bubble-bee’ sunglasses (glasses that wrapped around the side of your face & could be worn over your glasses) I was finally able to drive & got my license the end of the year, at 22.

1983: The silicone implant (from 1979) became infected & created a small hole on the upper left side of my face. In addition, despite my efforts to care for my teeth with the limited opening, they were getting infected. The next surgery was to remove the silicone implant, add an omentum graft (apron of fat that protects the abdomen) and attempt to remove scar tissue that constricted my jaw. The omentum graph & removal of the silicone implant were successful. Tragically, however, not only was the procedure to remove the scar tissue that was restricting my jaw unsuccessful, but the surgery contributed to permanent nerve damage & facial paralysis.

1984: Because the store I managed closed down, I reached out to a nearby Department Store (May Company) & was immediately hired as a Department Manager.   My face was still sunken on the left side, and searched for other reconstructive surgeons.  The two specialists I selected were highly regarded and I (with great regret) agreed to another so-called healthier silicone pack.  Despite the dangers of silicone, which was not yet banned, my face was once again infected, and after the implant was removed, my face was more sunken than prior to the surgery – the infection destroyed more fatty tissue.

1985: I continued to work while searching for other reconstructive surgeons.

1986-1987:  Finally encountered an incredible reconstructive surgeon (In Chul Song) in New York, who suggested ways to widen my jaw, fill-in my sunken cheek, and restore my scalp to a full head of hair.   I spent almost a year in New York, undergoing a number of procedures, and was fortunate to stay with an aunt & uncle.  To aid the opening of my mouth, I underwent a condylectomy.  To fill my cheek, soft tissue was harvested from my left breast.  And, in order to have a full head of hair, I underwent a relatively new procedure -- a tissue expander -- where balloons were inserted on the top & back of my head (where I had hair), and gradually the balloons were inflated with saline in order to stretch the hair-filled scalp over the bald area.  This required two surgeries & was a painful, but successful procedure.  I was also able to open my mouth slightly wider & undergo needed dental work.    

1990-1996: In order to help others with cancer, I became a dedicated volunteer for the American Cancer Society.  I visited patents in their homes and spoke to them over the phone, encouraging them with my story of recovery.  Unfortunately, because most were considered fatal, they believed their doctors above all else & there was little I could do, especially when they chose to continue receiving their toxic treatment.  As years passed, I could no longer participate with ACS because they supported & encouraged conventional toxic treatment.

1991-1998: As time passed, the chronic pain that my left eye suffered grew worse & my journey began with an Ophthalmic Plastic/Reconstructive Surgeon at Jules Stein Eye Center (UCLA). I underwent 8 procedures over the course of 7 years. Each of the early procedures were unsuccessful, and the final approach eliminated the pain but made the eye cosmetically unattractive – scar tissue was placed over the cornea. I would wear a patch over my eye the rest of my life to disguise its appearance.
December of ’91 I was hired as an Allocator for the Disney Stores -- the beginning of a long career.

1992:  I had 4 decayed molars on the left side.  Before removing them, hyperbaric treatment was required & had to sit in a (submarine style) chamber 10 times prior to the extraction & 10 times after the extraction. I became extremely nauseous after one of the first sessions & had to go to emergency for observation.  I recovered & proceeded with the sessions. The extractions were successful.

1998: My cheek was deflating again (the tissue graph had absorbed into my body) & needed to be filled in…again. Found another highly recommended surgeon who would do the first vascular tissue graph – one where circulation would make the graph long lasting. Although that was successful, more scar tissue formed and my lips lifted on the left side. My mouth was crooked and I could no longer completely close my mouth – a condition that could never be corrected, and was the beginning of more challenged eating since most food would fall out of the paralyzed side of my mouth that could not close.
This was my ‘final’ surgery. I was not willing to risk more functional or cosmetic complications.

2000-2005:  I gathered years of notes on my health/life journey & wrote my memoir!  It’s purpose? To make others aware of how destructive radiation treatment is, and how chemo would have killed me if I continued receiving it.  Writing my memoir was no small task, and was blessed to have Makeup Artist, Linda Seidel (who helped disguise the mixed color tones of my face, from surgery, with her specialty foundation) write the Foreword to my book!  I spent roughly 6 years writing and organizing the pages of A Face In Time for publication May 2004!

2008-2009: Slowly but surely I was able to get 3 dental implants on the lower right side -- achieved by doctors who were willing -- and when I say ‘willing’ – that is key because it meant these doctors cared enough to do what most would not lift a finger to approach.

2014:  Explored the possibility of a jaw replacement with a so-called ‘exceptional’ Oral/Maxillofacial surgeon in California.  Unfortunately, not only was the procedure not pleasant (with painful risks) but neither was the egotistical surgeon.

2016:  A tooth needed to be removed on the upper left side & had to undergo hyperbaric treatment again to ensure the gum healed.  I became sick again (ie: 1992) while in the chamber during one of the sessions, and despite the fact that I shared my nausea with the key technician, he did nothing & said I was fine.  Bottomline: I was extremely nauseous when I left the chamber, barely able to get dressed, raise my head, or speak.  I was taken to Emergency & given medication for the nausea.  This was a disturbing encounter because I was left in the chamber (approx. 45 more minutes) getting progressively worse.  Should I have filed a law suit?  Absolutely!  Unfortunately, and with great regret, I wanted to put this behind me. I was going through a period of deep depression & lacked the strength to take legal action.

2017-2021: I was inspired to write & publish a 4-part fictional series, Tales of Grace -- stories about an 11-year-old girl, Grace Archer, and her life after recovering from facial cancer – based slightly on my journey with the intention to help young girls (and boys) respect their appearance, deal with challenges, and find their self-esteem.

2020-2021: Cataract surgery was needed, a procedure that put me in a spin because I had encountered so many failed surgeries. This time, no mistakes could be made. This was my only eye with vision. I explored 3 specialists before I selected one & when I underwent surgery in October ’20 it was a success! The following year, July ’21, for personal reasons, I resigned from my job with Disney. I actually left Disney for 3 years (2000-2004) in order to work for another retailer that gave employees every other Friday off -- time I needed to complete my memoir. Once A Face In Time was published I returned to Disney. Spent a total of 26 years with the Mouse.

2022:  With the intention to begin a new life, I moved to Arizona in March.  My focus was to share/promote my books,  appreciate a slightly more affordable economy, and escape the controlling Governor who continued to do nothing to improve the state of California, especially in 2020, with disturbing, unnecessary lengthy lockdowns.  The Golden state was once one of the best places to live...but no more. Over 600k residents have left over the past two years: 2021-2022.

2023:  My key focus is tweaking and adding updates (of my last 20 years) to my memoir,  A Face In Time which will be re-released in 2024 as a 20-year Anniversary Edition!  The importance of this book is to help the reader learn from my mistakes -- a lifetime of health struggles, depression...and recovery.

Simple advice to everyone & reminders for me!!

Never be afraid
Always be curious
Wonder & question information you’re told
and most of all…
Know you are the source of your Happy & Health!

~          ~          ~