First of all I must say, the response to my previous post has been completely overwhelming! I am absolutely blown away by the support that I have received from all corners of my life. People that I haven’t seen in over 15 years, casual acquaintances, people I have never even met before have been donating and offering words of encouragement and support. Did I do something right over the years? Is this how Karma works? (Dare I question why?)
The brain radiation treatment was surprisingly, eerily uneventful. I was placed on a metal table with a mask over my face, bolted down so I wouldn’t move a millimeter. Lasers poised, my brain was blasted, but I didn’t feel a thing. The whole operation took all of ten minutes, and afterwards, I was in the waiting room talking to the radiologist about the steroids I was to take to prevent swelling in the skull. Done and done.
Once home, I was pleased and completely flabbergasted to watch the donations come in. I became confident that I would be able to go to the Gerson Institute–the one in Mexico, not in Hawaii, as I found out that that is considered a “retreat” and not a licensed treatment center–and I started to put the wheels in motion. Since it was all a little confusing, I decided to call their office in San Diego to make sure I was going through the correct steps of applying. After a few questions, the woman on the phone told me that they no longer accept patients who have had brain metastasis, because of a risk of seizure with their treatment. Which means, no Gerson Institute for me. I was crestfallen, to say the least. Of all the alternative cancer treatments that I have heard of, Gerson has the highest success rate. I said “thank you for letting me know,” hung up the phone, and proceeded to freak the f**k out.
I began searching, searching, searching for the next best thing–something comparable, something equally radical, something to give me hope. I spent a couple days on the couch, reading everything i could, between fits of crying, grasping at the air and shouting “I love life! I want to live! I am going to live damnit!”
Fortunately, a client of mine has a friend who has lived with breast cancer for the past 30 years. She has the same type of hormone receptors, has had brain and bone mets like myself, and every single alternative doctor and treatment that I have heard of, she has been to them already. What a wealth of information and experience she could share with me, and I spoke with her about what my next move should be. She insisted that I go to a doctor in San Francisco named Dr. Tom Cowan, an M.D. who incorporates holistic healing in his practice. I had a phone consultation with him last Friday, and he insisted that there is no point in coming out to see him just yet, and that I need to get started on his protocol right away.
Like the Gerson therapy, the protocol involves lots of juicing, lots of vegetables, and 100% organic ingredients. What sets it apart is that I am instructed to use fats liberally, and not just any fat – the fat of grass-fed, pastured and humanely raised animals, butter and coconut oil. The theory here is that solid tumors respond better to a state of ketosis, whereas cancers of the blood and lymph respond better to a vegan diet. He also has me on a very extensive, strict supplement regime, that includes up to 100 pills a day. I just started on the food and supplements, and it is very confusing to time them correctly, and it definitely takes up a lot of time and energy to get it just right. Added to this, I will start injecting mistletoe extract into my abdomen every morning at 9am. I am still waiting to receive the mistletoe-that should be a fun addition to the mix. (Read about the efficacy of mistletoe extract as a cancer treatment here.)
Without the support that I have received from all you wonderful heroes, this type of treatment would not have been available to me. But now I am able to explore other options outside of the oncologist down the block, the one who just happens to be covered by medicare.
My Doctor’s Surprising Endorsement
Speaking of my oncologist, I had more chemo scheduled yesterday, but I nervously broke the news to him–that although I respect everything has done to me–er, I mean, for me– thus far, I am going to be trying something different, and if he would please monitor me through the process. To my absolute surprise, he gave me his full blessing. In his words, “All I can offer you is more dreadful chemo, and if you can find something better, I want you to do it.”
It seems that even he is aware of the flaws in the current cancer industry. My husband asked him what the chances of me responding to this current round of treatment, and he said “The chances of you improving or staying the same after 6 more rounds of chemo is about one in three. After that, it is unlikely that we would see an improvement, because at that point the cancer would have figured out how to be resistant, and then it’s on to the next chemo. There’s little chance that we would see a 100% improvement, and all we would be doing is trying to extend your life as best we can, with what we have available.”
Well, I probably don’t have to explain to anyone that those odds suck, and I might as well take up knitting as a cancer therapy with the results I’m likely to get with this chemo. The doctor agreed to give me scans once every couple of months, and I’ll still receive a couple of medications from him in the meantime.
On a Wing and a Prayer
I am putting all my faith into Dr. Cowan, but lord knows whether this will be the beginning or the end of my journey to heal. We’ll see in a few months if I’m responding to his protocol, and if not, it’s off to the next best option, and the next, and the next. I have no idea how much this will cost in the end, which is why you will see that I still have a donation button present on the site. I am so incredibly grateful for everyone that has donated so far, I can’t even begin to explain it. Without these donations, we would already be in the hole from the first round of blood tests and supplements, and by some grace of God, I have been supported by a network of caring people who would like to see me survive. Imagine that.
I have been inspired to live a life full of purpose and the desire to help others. If I am given the gift of living a long life, it shall be a life of paying it forward and acting in accordance with my deepest held beliefs. It’s only right that I have been given the chance to live, that I should pass that on to someone else in any way that I can. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.