By Marion Algier – Ask Marion
1600+ Americans die every day of Cancer. At the turn of the 20th Century, the late 1900’s, 1 in 200 Americans developed Cancer. Today (2015) 1 out of 3 Americans will have Cancer during their lifetime. Part one of Beating the Odds was written during my chemo and fact finding stage and quickly thereafter a reality set in for me that sent me on an even greater search mission…
I have met and heard Suzanne Somers speak several times and just recently heard her speak again on TV during one of those late nights when I couldn’t sleep while going through treatment… When I first heard her speak, I thought she was brave and fascinating but I couldn’t relate. Now I find her even more fascinating and believe I could hold my own with her in a conversation about Cancer choices.
Before my last and final chemo treatment my gyn oncologist told me that my stage 3 inoperable tumor that was outside the uterus was gone, at least not visible to the naked eye, and that my cervix was clean. She added that there would be some additional radiation; I had had 5 to cauterize the tumor and stop the bleeding when I was first diagnosed. The look on her face was amazing, to which I commented, “I told you that I was going to beat this and I know you didn’t think I was going to make it!” She snapped back with, “I never said that!!”. “I know you didn’t”, I said, “But I could see it on your face!” Perhaps an acting class should be added to premed requirements?!?
From that good news I expected perhaps 5 to 15 additional treatments on the outside, which falls into the perameter of my interpretation of the word “some”. I suggested that perhaps since I had such a long drive that I could have the required PET and CT scans before I saw her next when we were to have our serious next step discussion. Before I knew it, the radiation oncologist was telling me that he had mapped out 35 additional radiation treatments before I even had had my CT scan, let alone the next step meeting with my gynecological oncologist… meaning 40 total radiation treatments, if you factor in the initial 5. I was stunned and left in a daze.
And from there I seriously began reading anything and everything I could find on alternative or holistic treatments and got 3 more opinions about the radiation, including from Sanoviv, a healing clinic and hospital facility in Mexico, where we took our daughter when she came down with ulcerative colitis at age 21 and Kaiser wanted to remove her entire colon at that early age. It is where I would be if we were still in the same financial situation, and it is my recommendation to anyone who can afford to write a check and is not victim to our ever worsening medical insurance and treatment system, including the AMA, FDA, FTC, Big Business, Big Pharma, Big Agri, Big Government, the mainstream media and undereducated physicians in nutrition, detox and cleansing the body, etc… Because it is all about the money and control for them. And for those of us heading toward retirement and MediCare/Medicaid or the like, I can only say start praying and voting for some true positive change!! Cause where we are and where we are headed is not where any of us want to be! I promise you!!
Sanoviv said, radiation should be a last resort for me, not the first one and promoted a program of cleansing, nutrition change, detox and perhaps hyperthermia. Unfortunately, American medical insurance generally won’t cover those types of treatments and definitely not in Mexico, even though they are much much cheaper than what they pay for chemo, radiation and surgery, the big three of Western Medicine. The next radiologist I went to said 50 radiation treatments… meaning a total of 55 if you factor in the initial 5, to which I said, “Really? If I have 55 radiation treatments, I will be able to hire myself out to the local nuclear power plant as a radiation source!” She didn’t laugh.
And then my husband and I headed to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) for my fourth opinion. They ran every test again in 1-day and I met with everyone that would become my official team on another plua a lot of auxiliary people that offer services that you don’t get anywhere else, from acupuncture, to massages, to vitamin C infusions and B-12 shots, to Reiki and chiropractic and the list goes on… all under one roof. My disappointment was that they were not as alternative as I had hoped… as their website made it sound, but they are among the best out there in the U.S., unless you go completely holistic. The radiation oncologist at CTCA said 25 radiation treatments, with 5 omitted from the areas where I had already been radiated, with a TOMO machine of which there are only 200 in the world, that pinpoint the radiation and reduce spillover to other organs… but certainly not completely.
After much soul searching I left the decision to my husband because I just could not decide. My heart was telling me one thing and my head was telling me another. He decided I should probably have the treatments because he was worried about testing my progress if I went completely holistic on my own, even though Sanoviv and their type of approach was his first choice as well. I mentally fought with myself until the moment I stepped foot on the plane to head back on my own for 6-weeks of daily radiation treatment Monday through Fridays, with a two day break on the weekend, on which they would take us on field trips and have activities to treat the soul as well as the body… the whole person instead of just the disease.
Soon after I arrived and received a new schedule, I noticed that an additional 10-radiation boost treatments had been added. Therewith my internal debate began all over again, as well as my continued search of options. During and since that time I have become a walking encyclopedia on traditional Cancer treatments, new and holistic treatments for Cancer; on the real stats and rates on Cancer cures; on the short and long term side effects of chemo and radiation; have read everything I can find on natural cures; and have collected endless stories from and about actual Cancer patients and their journeys. I have also found an amazing Cancer Coach and we’ve since become great friends. She is an RN, an acupuncturist, a minister focused on spiritual healing as well as a Cancer Coach. She is the greatest gift I have received through my 9-month journey. One of the 9 main points in a great book, Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, that was given me from a completely unlikely source when I was praying over whether to have the boost treatments or not… is finding a peer group, one person or a crowd, that supports and encourages you. I found that ‘expert’ support in her and have been amazingly blessed to have a strong group of others who have supported, encouraged and prayed with and for me during every step of my journey with Cancer… which has included taking an integrative approach that has become more and more holistic (or alternative) in most people’s eyes. Sadly, most people keep taking the drugs and following the U.S. conventional medicine’s cut, poison and burn approach over and over again as ‘the system’ fills their pockets with profit until they often ultimately kill or at least maim us with their cures. Every once in a while, patients survive and are cured, but when you research the actual stats, you realize that the true numbers aren’t good and for most patients the reality doesn’t hit until several years after their initial treatments.
When I talk to patients at CTCA, who really are one of the best in the US (but don’t focus on true dietary change, nor do they promote detox and cleansing) and hear people tell me over and over again that they have been going there for 13+ years and are on their 2nd, 3rd or 4th relapse or new Cancer, often given them by the chemo or radiation treatments they received… I just have to wonder. They keep letting the Docs try another drug, another operation or more radiation on them… and with all the information out there, I just have to shake my head. One of the long term side effects of both radiation and chemo is a new unrelated Cancer within 5-years.
I did not have the 10 additional radiation boost treatments and just returned for what I like to call my well-baby check-up. I scheduled my port removal surgery before I had my check-up or prognosis report. For me, it was the next step in moving on.
The surgery went off without a hitch; only 20-minutes in recovery after being put under and not a single surgery related pain. I was at my next appointment 90-mins after I was wheeled in for surgery with lunch in my hand. And my overall prognosis, although not as ‘perfect’ as I wanted, was good too! After blood and urine workups, an MRI and a CT scan (very likely the last one I will agree to have), they told me that my markers were good/low, my tumor was gone and that there was no evidence of disease/Cancer (NED), ‘No Cancer’, anywhere in my uterus, cervix or pelvic area. The words every Cancer patient prays to hear. But… then came the always dreaded ‘But’… I have 4 lymph nodes higher up that have increased in size. Something I knew was a strong possibility, since I refused the boosts and any mini-chemos and because natural protocols generally take longer to work. But when you hear those words, your heart skips a beat and all kinds of crazy thoughts stream through your mind… even when you know you are doing the right thing. It was, however, a good exercise for me, because I’ve suddenly identified with how people get sucked in to saying yes to whatever the doctors say. And, I was also reminded that in the end it is all up to them man upstairs no matter what I do.
The targeted therapy my gyn oncologist suggested is a type of immunotherapy, specifically Bevacizuma, an injectable Avastin… one of the 3 drugs that were part of my chemo cocktail and seemingly worked well for me.
I immediately said “No!” without hesitation or even a thought, but took the written information along with the printout of my bloodwork and test results.
Later that afternoon I walked to the local coffee shop, “It’s All Good” and treated myself to a cup of coffee. Only my 3rd cup in 2+ months for a girl who used to say, “If they could just put it into my arm intravenously, I wouldn’t always have to be carrying around a cup”, although I really do love the taste! As I sat there I felt those seeds of doubt creep in, even though my prognosis was great and I knew before I came that my lymph nodes probably wouldn’t be 100% clear this quickly. And as my pal Susi said when I spoke with her the next day… The targeted Bevacizumab treatment was definitely better than chemo or radiation, but still another bad drug in my body and that we can clean the 4 remaining minimally larger lymph nodes (enlarged during radiation treatments) naturally. And why are they bigger? “Where do you think all the dead and lingering Cancer cells went?“, asked Susi. “The lymph nodes after radiation and chemo did their job and got clogged with Cancer and the poisons.” A question I had posed to the doctors when I got my 4 opinions on whether to have or not have radiation at all. Everyone but Sanoviv said lymph nodes were not like tonsils and could not be cleaned after Cancer. BTW… my oncologist at CTCA told me my lymph nodes had doubled in size, making it sound dire. When I read the report myself, it said minimal increase in size and my tumor markers are waaay low/good!
I have my weak moments like everyone else… but each time God intervenes and bolsters me up, like getting the Radical Remissions book from someone I barely knew that I’d only spoken to a few times who worked at the guest quarters where I was staying; or suddenly hearing Amazing Grace playing on the carillon in the park during a down moment as I passed on my walk from the coffee shop back to the hospital; or sitting next to a Lebanese/Canadian student on my most recent flight home that told me that his pharmacist uncle told him that when they receive it, chemo comes in boxes with huge poison markings on them and they won’t touch the outside of the bags without double rubber gloves… and how he talked about the $50,000 kick back the doctors and hospitals get for promoting certain of these drugs. Hello… ding, ding, ding… caching, caching, caching!!!
As Irma Bombeck used to say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” And that is what I have decided to do!!
I am writing a book, “Cancer – Beating the Odds”; speaking from my soap box and to groups whenever asked; and I’ve tried to share my journey, in great detail, with everyone… not for attention or to hear the sound of my own voice, but because knowledge and information is what is missing. My goal is and has been to create awareness so that nobody ever says yes to chemo, radiation therapy or unnecessary surgery again because they felt they had no options or too little information, as well as giving people some of those options from one source when they are too ill, weak, frightened or overwhelmed to do the research on their own after being diagnosed.
If I had it all to do over again, I would perhaps have had the initial 5 radiation treatments at the very beginning to stop the bleeding and cauterize my tumor, but none of the rest. Not the chemo nor any additional radiation, both of which I fought myself on every step of the way, especially the radiation. But had my journey gone differently, what would I have to share? Every time I speak people are only interested in the chemo and radiation in context of my story but are fascinated and ask endless questions about the holistic possibilities or new options like gnome testing, immunotherapy and hyperthermia, etc., because they are hungry for a better way. People are finally realizing that most other countries have more options or aren’t doing chemo and radiation at all anymore.
I often have to hold back the tears of joy when I hear from an old high school friend that didn’t do the chemo or radiation, went holistic, and is Cancer free. Or when an RN in the audience I’m speaking to keeps nodding her head yes throughout my talk and then volunteers to share that mammograms cause more Cancers than detect cases, since most of what they detect are false positives or irregular cells that might never have become cancerous… something I always thought and believed since I had the 1st of only two mammograms I’ve ever had. Or when someone tells me they cured themselves of Cancer with high doses of a natural herb, a holistic protocol or just through prayer. Recently my friend and mentor suggested that perhaps we might do some events together in the future, which left me walking on air. But then there are also the horror stories of people with stage one breast Cancer who have gone under the knife and had complete mastectomies and reconstruction, when they only had irregular cells, not Cancer, that bring very different tears to my eyes. Each day I believe more and more that God brought me on this journey for me to help create awareness, change and hope! And that I/we made the choices I did, against my gut feelings, because as I live with the side effects daily (fatigue, skin burning, kidney pain, bowel and sexual issues… and who knows what is still to come) caused of by those choices, I will always be prompted to keep up the fight.
When you reach the end of your life, for most of us, it is not the things you did in life that will haunt you, but rather the things you did not do! In order to heal from Cancer, one of the things you must do, especially if your Cancer… like mine, was fed more by stress rather than by food or environmental causes, is to get rid of that stress (your demons) or at least minimize it. You also must do your homework, take the power back for the decisions on your healthcare and change your lifestyle.
Although my Cancer was not caused by food, I have cut out all sugar, carbs, dairy, processed foods, coffee, alcohol and GMO foods. I had done a lot of this months before, but have honed it to virtually zero over the past 7-weeks. And yes, some days it is a really tough go, because nobody else is on this diet at my house, as they suggest, but I have learned to live with the temptations. I eat salads, smoothies, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, (as much raw or fermented as I can), range free eggs and small amounts of meat, poultry and fish… wild and organic when at all possible and I only drink 9+ alkaline water. I make homemade soups and fresh squeeze all my juice. I essentially eat nothing white and wheat grass & coconut oil have become my best friends. And I have added a list of other protocols to my routine to finish cleaning out those last four lymph nodes and prevent a relapse.
With the latest stats showing that 1 in 3 Americans living today will have Cancer at some point in their lives, it will be you, your spouse, or many people very close to you. So each of us needs to know what they are going to do… which path they are going to choose, before they hear the words, “You have Cancer!”