the ME film-In Production

Director Lexie Shabel began filming “the ME film” the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Struggling to choose between the traditional cancer treatments supported by her Jewish family in New Jersey and the less conventional therapies she discovered in her adopted, rural New Mexico home, the camera follows Lexie as she tries to forge a path that is true to her in the pressure-filled world of cancer treatments.

In one doctors office after another, Lexie discovered that in the first hours of a breast cancer diagnosis, women are frequently advised to remove their breasts, lymph nodes – and sometimes reproductive organs – to protect themselves against future cancers. Many women feel pressured to make fast, fearful decisions about treatment, often without having time to digest the life-altering news and come back to a place of rational self-awareness.

She consulted Google, looking for “complementary and alternative breast cancer treatments” where she found little. It took months of digging and help from friends to find remedies that were not based in a hospital setting and that empowered her to heal herself, physically and emotionally.

Taking stock of her life, Lexie realized that although the cancer was a shock, the truth was that she was pretty unhealthy to begin with. As an ambitious, workaholic, reality TV camerawoman, she had been suffering from what is commonly now known as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. The cancer was just the olive in an already toxic martini.

As a fourth-generation cancer patient, she had an idea of what to expect but she was uncomfortable with surgery. Buying time to gain back her sense of self, she continued filming as she took some of the prescribed chemotherapy treatments. After losing her hair (and her feminine identity), she decided to take her healing into her own hands. She went against the path her grandmother and aunt took and opted out of surgery and radiation. She started with well breast massage, European-mistletoe injections and somatic experiencing emotional therapy. She continued to try many other alternative treatments, which are documented in “the ME film” and in her blogs on Now, six years later, she is healthier than she’s ever been though lives with her tumor that vacillates between being active and dormant. Her treatments have ranged from costly nutritional IV’s to an inexpensive DIY protocol where she relies mostly on herself and a few practitioners.

If there is a message to this film, it is not to choose an alternative route or a traditional one. Rather, it is to make a decision that is right for you based upon empowerment, not fear. It is also the story of how this silent killer became Lexie’s best friend and most powerful healer. What makes this film different from what’s out there is the high quality of documentation from the first day of diagnosis, the access into an engaging, funny character’s personal journey taking a very different path. Also, a modern soundtrack will attract audiences beyond those looking for stories about cancer.

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