Forty-eight-year-old Mary Bukowiec is a breast cancer "survivor" in the true sense of the word.
She lives with a history of cancer.
Bukowiec chose a lifestyle change by becoming a vegan rather than conventional cancer treatments.
"I read everything," Bukowiec said. "At one time, I thought that I was too sophisticated to fall for any alternative treatment."
Following her first diagnosis of breast cancer, Bukowiec said that she followed everything that was recommended to her by medical professionals.
But when the cancer returned four years later, she was shattered. And she chose an alternative treatment that changed her life.
"I had to change my mind about that," Bukowiec said. "I started reading scientific journals, and literature on diet and lifestyle.
"And the effects of a plant based diet and how it can help you from getting cancer."
She said that everything she read about alternative treatments hinted to plant based diets.
"Incredible forces led me in that direction," Bukowiec said. "After I read 'A Cancer Battle Plan,' I decided that I am going to fight this.
"I wasnt going to let doctors do what they wanted to me."
Bukowiec, a retired financial analyst, said a naturopathic doctor introduced her to a vegan lifestyle, and she learned how to detoxify and cleanse her body.
"A Cancer Battle Plan," is co-authored by Anne and Dave Frahm. "I attended the bed and breakfast started by the authors," Bukowiec said. "It was a lifestyles center, called Health Quarters Ministries. Even then, I wasnt willing to go completely vegan."
She said it wasnt until put her trust in God, and committed herself to being vegan that within four months, she noticed physical improvements.
"I had swelling in the breast, and paget's disease of the nipple," Bukowiec said. "I lost 20 pounds, the soreness and the swelling was gone once I committed to being vegan.
"A (medical) report of my scan showed that the cancer was still there, but that it had diminished."
She said her oncologist was not pleased with her refusing the conventional cancer treatments, but nine months later her cancer was gone.
She said that she and her husband, Jerome, were speechless. "We were sitting there with our mouths open," Bukowiec said. "I thought, 'How can he not want to know what I did?'
"I used cleansing and detoxifying techniques following the tests," she said. "It was a long hard road and definitely worth the effort."
"Of my mother's 18 children, I was living the most exemplary lifestyle." Bukowiec is a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and a resident of the Saganing community in Standish.
"On the reservation, there is a high instance of lifestyle related diseases,"Bukowiec said.
Bukowiec said that she speaks to any one who wants to hear about how a vegan lifestylehas changed her life.
"My diet is not only vegan, its whole food, Bekowiec said. As close to natural as possible.
"I don' eat packaged or processed foods. I buy whole grains and I grind my own flour," she said.
Bukowiec said that she believes that the foods that are making people's lives so much easier, are full of unhealthy toxins.
"Were playing Russian Roulette," Bukowiec said. "All these unhealthy foods promote disease.
"The majority of people out there have no idea because they trust the food industry, but they are a business that makes things cheaply and efficiently," she said.
Bukowiec said that she learned her lesson the hard way, and now as a vegan, she has had a 180-degree shift.
"I had to surround myself with positive influences and seek out other vegans," Bukowiec said.
Her husband, Jerome, said their eating habits are totally different now. "It has changed our lives a lot," Jerome Bukowiec said. "We used to go to restaurants, and we dont barbecue like we used to. For her to save her life, she had to do it and it works."
Jerome Bukowiec said that he thinks that doctors are quick to put cancer patients under the knife, and use chemotherapy and radiation.
"There are cures out there, but they will never let them out," Jerome Bukowiec said. "That's not the way our system works.
"You really have to take care of yourself."
Mary Bukowiec said that she made a vow to the Lord that if he chose to heal her, she would not keep quiet about her alternative treatment.
"The truth about breast cancer is that you dont have to have it in your family to get it," Bukowiec said. "Men get it, and most men dont screen themselves."