Dear Precious Person,
I want to tell you my story. It's a story of devastation, struggle, anguish, fear, pain, disappointment, healing, hope and joy.
In August 2004, I was having trouble breathing and eating, so I went to a doctor. An X-ray showed a mass on my left lung, so a biopsy was ordered. I'll never forget the day I got the results. I was told I had stage 3 Invasive Thymoma. How does one wrap their mind around that news?
I was in shock. My husband and I were devastated. I tried to be brave as I told my teenage and adult children. I was scared. The doctors said it's very rare, it likes to encase things and is very slow growing. The mass was so large they needed to do chemo before they could even do surgery, followed by radiation treatment. All I knew was to trust the oncologist who was telling me this, he said he had a very good survival rate and we'd be friends for a very long time.
So I went through chemo, surgery and radiation. I lost all my hair, had horrible night sweats, couldn't stand to drink water (which I love) because it tasted metallic. Then they cracked my sternum open to remove my thymus and the remaining cancer, then stapled me back together. The pain was horrible after surgery, so I was on a lot of pain medication. When I healed from that, I had radiation every day for a month. Then I had to have follow-up CT scans with contrast every six months as they watched to see if it would return.
They told me if I made it two years, then I'd be considered cancer free. At 23 months, they found a spot on my diaphragm. I was devastated. I now was diagnosed with thymic carcinoma. I had cancer.
When I called my sister, Sandy (Dr. Kevin's mom) to tell her the news, she was so sad to hear it had returned. During that call she shared with me about nutrition and alternative treatments that weren't as harsh. Honestly, I just could not wrap my mind around how that had anything to do with cancer, or how it could help once you had cancer. (Besides, I was scared and didn't want to trust something that wasn't accepted and mainstream. I mean the doctors certainly know what needs to be done! Right?) So I went through surgery, chemo and everything associated with it a second time.
After surgery, Dr. Kevin talked to me about nutrition, trying to help me get my body back from the chemo and surgery. That's when I started listening and being open and learning about the [Maximized Living] Advanced Plan. I started wondering if, in fact, nutrition may play a role.
I started listening to the information about sugar feeding cancer and what foods to avoid and what foods to eat. I tried very hard to follow the plan. I would be able to do it for a good three months at a time. Even though Dr. Kevin told me I needed to do it for life, I was feeling good, I couldn't imagine living without some of the fun stuff sometimes, so I'd occasionally have a piece of bread when we ate out, occasionally a dessert, or a piece of dark chocolate at night.
I continued to meet with my oncologist on a regular basis for the CT check. He told me it wasn't a matter IF the cancer would return, but WHEN. Well I didn't believe him. And things went along well, years passed and he called me his miracle patient.
Then I started getting pain in my side or back. It would come and go. At first I thought something was going on with my kidney. Different trips to the urgent care and doctors turned up nothing. They had me doing all sorts of tests and could find nothing. I never dreamed it was the return of my cancer because my oncologist told me my CT scans were fine. I even mention to him the pain that comes and goes and said I'd been to the doctor and they didn't find anything. Well the end of May this year the pain came and didn't go away. It got increasingly worse until there were times I just couldn't stand it. It took over my life, it was all I could think about. It definitely changed my lifestyle. All the time, I'm trying to figure out what was going on. Finally my general doctor ordered an MRI. I went to Metro Imaging because they'd give me the results right there.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 changed my life forever.
After my MRI, it took a long time to get the results. The nurse came and told us the radiologist had been talking to my doctor and my doctor had the results and wanted to see me. I said "So I should schedule an appointment then?" She said "No, you need to go see him right now, he knows your coming." I looked at my husband and said "This can't be good."
That is the day I found out I had a tumor on my spine. It was on the left side of my spine between T9-T12, wrapped around my vertebrae and on some of the left ribs. and if it got bigger, I could be paralyzed. Oh my G! I was shocked and devastated and very scared. Imagine calling your family and giving them that news. We were all a bit terrified. When I called my sister Sandy, she was so sad to hear and asked if I would like to talk to Kevin. I said I'd be open to it, and asked Kevin to find out information for me, but frankly I was terrified, and still not sure what I wanted to do.
That same day, my oncologist called and said he'd get a neurosurgeon to do the biopsy right away and I was to bring the disk with the MRI. So I waited and waited. Not until Friday morning did I get any call. It was my oncologist calling in a panic, saying I needed to bring the disk to him that morning. I was a bit miffed that nobody had called me all week, let me be scared and now they were in a panic. When I dropped the disk off and was in the parking lot leaving, his nurse called and said the doctor needed to see me now. I called Kevin because I was scared and I was starting to contemplate alternatives. I knew my oncologist would not be supportive.
Kevin gave me some strategies and questions to ask. Well the oncologist didn't like my questions and got very defensive. He told me let's just get the biopsy, and when I woke up from the biopsy I'd be asking when do we start! I called Kevin, because he was researching alternative treatment centers with help from Dr. Charles Majors.
Another family member put me in touch with my niece-in-law's sister, who has a PhD in neuroscience. She would be able to read the MRI and CTs and she would be very frank and let me know exactly what was going on. She looked at my MRI and confirmed what my oncologist said. She said I should find someone who only does spine surgeries and said, yes it was in the bone in certain areas of my spine, so they'd probably have to do bone grafts and fuse my spine! She also asked to see my February CT where the oncologist that I had trusted with my care for the last eight years, told me everything was fine. When she saw that CT, she said it was there then and it was just about as big then. She confirmed that it was a slowing growing, low aggression invasive thymoma.
That did it! First, there was NO WAY I was going to have my spine fused and secondly, several people that I trusted with my health had really dropped the ball.
This is a slow growing thing, so it wasn't like it just appeared one day. (Did you know surgery actually spreads the cancer cells into the blood, so surgery actually makes cancer worse! No wonder my oncologist was sure the cancer would come back and had said we'd be friends for a long time.) Now I was really open to alternative treatment and contacting the two places Dr. Kevin and Dr. Majors told me about. So that's the part about the struggle, fear, pain and disappointment.
Now this is the healing, hope and joy part.
While waiting to figure out where I was going to go, I was doing a lot of praying. Also, Dr. Kevin had me start eating lots of greens and told me some supplements to start taking to help build my immune system.. I was in intense pain and had been taking Advil all day long every day for several weeks, just to get through the days and nights. I decided I would stop and just put up with the pain because I no longer wanted to put that into my body.
One of the places recommended was An Oasis of Healing in Mesa, AZ. It's an integrative oncology healing center that provides natural and conventional therapies for the treatment of cancer which helps you: 1) stop making cancer 2) selectively target and eliminate the cancer using Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT), high-dose intravenous Vitamin C and other therapies, and 3) enhances your immune system. Dr. Kevin and Dr. Majors really liked it because it treated the whole person, not just the cancer. I looked at their web site, liked what I saw and when I called Monday I was able to talk to Dr. Lodi himself, the doctor who founded and runs it. He spent 45 minutes with me on the phone! No doctor had ever given me that much time! I prayed that night for guidance and in the morning it was clear that I wanted to go to An Oasis for Healing.
Having made that decision, even so, I wasn't sure I could give up forever many of the foods that I loved, and eat raw vegan forever. I emailed Dr. Majors asking how does one do that. He emailed me back that:
"It's not a fight, it's a journey, and I love eating the way I do now! I love knowing that what I eat is healing me not killing me. Nothing tastes as good as being with my family feels, and nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.
Well that put it in perspective! I could honestly say that was a great way to look at it! So we left for An Oasis for Healing that Thursday, and Friday I had my initial consult with Dr. Lodi.
I still had a lot of pain since I wasn't taking anything. Dr. Lodi was going to write up my treatment plan after our consultation, but in the meantime, that day I had my first Vitamin C IV (antioxidant, kills cancer cells) treatment. I felt a little less pain after that. Then I had another Vitamin C IV treatment Saturday and I felt less pain! Wow, just two treatments and the pain was lessening, even before any IPT! What a feeling! Something is working because the pain was being caused by the tumor pressing on my spine and nerves, so something must be pressing less!
The next Tuesday and Thursday they scheduled me for IPT (insulin potentiated low dose chemotherapy). This is where they inject insulin to drop your blood sugar, which then wakes up your cancer cells because they think it's time to feed, and they're the first ones to feed. When your blood sugar is low enough, they know those cancer cells are waiting to feed, so they inject a 10 percent solution of whatever IPT is in your treatment plan, which goes straight to those waiting cancer cells, so it's a direct target to the cancer.
This way you avoid the usual side effects of regular chemotherapy (which goes on for hours and hours of poison going everywhere, killing bad cells AND good cells...and did you know in mainstream chemotherapy they can only do chemotherapy every three weeks because it takes that long for your white blood cells to recover, but cancer cells recover the next day!) Here at Oasis they also ice my head, hands and feet, to protect my extremities and constrict those blood vessels so the IPT can't get to them.
After being given the IPT, which only take MINUTES!!, they then have you eat something sweet to raise your blood sugar level, so the cancer thinks it's been fed and it closes up with all that poison in it. After my first IPT, the pain was just about gone. After the 2nd IPT, the pain is gone! It's amazing, after living with pain all those months, to have it gone and feel life again!
My days are spent with other therapies, education classes, learning how to eat and what my body needs in order to help it heal and then help it be strong and no longer be this great host to this cancer. I'm taking therapeutic level supplements to get my body in balance. I am learning so much about myself, about food, about how to help my body, how to love my body, how crucial the right nutrition is. I just had my first doctor follow-up today (Wednesday) and they are so pleased. They can tell by my blood work and how I'm feeling that good progress is being made. I told them I feel such love and peace here and actually feel joyful, and they are excited for me.
I am here to tell you that cancer is not a death sentence, cancer isn't something to fear if you have been diagnosed with it. It's your body telling you that you need to change what you're doing.
I'm here to tell you there IS another way. I've just started this journey, but it's one I'm glad I'm on. I'll be forever grateful to my sister for not giving up on me or being afraid to encourage me to consider another way. I'll be forever grateful to my nephew, Kevin for being there for me, taking my calls, calming my fears, spending hours researching and getting information to me, encouraging me, and loving me enough to help me start this journey of hope and healing. I'll be forever grateful for my husband who took this leap of faith with me, is fully engaged with the program, is by my side supporting the entire process and tells me every day I'm worth it. Spouses get "second-hand health" here, so he's benefiting too! Blessings are just everywhere!
I can't stress enough, that if you don't have cancer, learn how nutrition plays a vital role in raising your immune system so it can keep your body fighting off those cancer cells that we all have. If you have cancer or have been diagnosed with cancer, there are other, gentler ways to target the cancer. There is hope and there is healing and there is joy!