UNDETERRED BY THE STATUS QUO
It's Very Possible That There Is No Need To Sacrifice Hair, Breasts, Quality of Life Because You Have Cancer
My name is Laura Magill. [Email: email@example.com]
I'm 48 years old, married and a mother of 5. I advocate for a safer and more friendly breast cancer treatment, also known as 'integrative'* and/or 'complementary treatment,'* because I was diagnosed with stage IIIB breast cancer, a "5.8 cm x 4.3 x 5.8 cm"** (about 2" x 2") breast tumor, that metastasized to my lymph nodes in January, 2011 and I refused chemo, radiation and surgery, I had amazing results within 6 months and maintained a better quality of life than prior to the diagnosis. After only 2 1/2 months of special non-toxic Intravenous treatments at the Pacific Medical Center of Hope in Fresno, California, the same tumor shrunk to around "4.4 x 1.5 cm." [That beats the 6 rounds of chemotherapy the oncologist wanted to give me, over a period of 18 weeks, that may have promoted tumor growth, caused heart problems, and compromised my immune system.]
Please scroll down for videos!
You Have A Choice: Life-Giving Or Life-Sucking Treatment ?
Please read my story at the above links: 'INFORMATION' and 'MY PERSONAL STORY,' PARTS 1, 2, and 3.
I titled this blog/website 'choose2beatcancer' to emphasize choices in cancer treatment. When diagnosed, I asked myself, 'why go along with the 'one-size-fits-all' chemo/radiation/surgery 'conventional' treatment that can harm more than the 'healing' it's supposed to provide?' As a woman, I felt I could tend to be more careful and educated about the clothes, shoes, or cars I have purchased than what I allow in my body, like the toxins and poison that traditional cancer treatment recommends may put the cancer into 'remission" ...
After conducting a lot of research after I was diagnosed, I felt I had a choice to be treated in a living way.... life-giving... or treated in a way that would cause sickness and very possibly permanent and irreversible damage to my body... life-sucking....
*UPDATE* 2012 to 2013:
The cancer returned quickly, I chose chemo and surgery only, but during chemo, where the breast/lymph node tumors totally shrunk to nothing, the cancer spread to the bones and my oncologist told me I was 'terminal' in July 2012. I had a Chemosensitivity Test done. The results of that test showed what chemo agents would be best for my genetics/my tumors. Please see "Chemotherapy Alternatives" for more on the FDA-approved Chemosensitivity Test that most oncologists don't like, or they will tell you it's 'not FDA-approved.' By September, 2012, I was 'in remission' despite the 'terminal' prognosis. Read on through the updates to find out how I did it.
*UPDATE* MARCH 2012
- Since the 2011-2012 recurrence, I decided to do chemo (in February 2012) with complementary therapies, and have a double mastectomy (in September 2012) due to the late stage status, the aggressive activity that accompanied the recurrence, and the cancer invading the skin and possibly the left breast.
If you're interested in the cryoablation option (May 2011), I believe that option is very feasible for tumors smaller than mine, unless the tumor abuts a major nerve or has invaded the skin. However, you must consult with a qualified doctor on this issue. Cryoablation clinical trials are going on in the US right now, and I believe doctors recommend surgically removing the frozen/dead tumor tissue following cryoablation. When the doctor cryoablated my tumors, I refused the surgery. This resulted in complications when I elected the mastectomy because the cryo left lots of tricky scar tissue for my surgeon to maneuver around.
RECURRENCE CATALYST? THE EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT 3BP: I believe the recent recurrence was spurred on by an experimental substance injected at an out-of-state clinic intratumorally in August 2011, but I will never know for sure. Please see the section on 'Clinical Trials' for links to a list of clinical trials for which you may be eligible.
**UPDATE** JULY, 2012
I learned the cancer spread to the bones. This happened during my 6-months of chemotherapy treatments. My conventional oncologist told me I was 'terminal.' Technically, I went to stage 4. (There is no stage 5!.) I learned I had so many 'lesions' on my spine, tailbone, and pelvis, the radiologist reported them as 'innumerable' and did not provide a quantity. Two months later, (September 2012) my bone biopsy showed the tumors were 'inactive' ! After the new bone cancer diagnosis, I began Xgeva, a once-month conventional cancer shot, and a natural substance given by my integrative doc (Dr. Nezami) that is supposed to work in tandem with the Xgeva. This is where conventional oncologists don't have all the answers. It's always best to integrate, if you can.
*UPDATE* SEPTEMBER 2012
VIDEO FOR LOCAL NEWS - 'VALLEY LIFE' -
I just happened to be at the integrative doctor's clinic, Pacific Medical Center of Hope, when Alysia Sofios of KMPH showed up. We talked about how good I felt throughout chemotherapy treatments and the complementary treatment I used in addition to the chemotherapy.
*UPDATE* AUGUST, 2013
STILL IN REMISSION.... MY DAILY/WEEKLY MAINTENANCE PROGRAM. WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR 'MAINTENANCE'?
I'm still in remission and feeling great. I've maintained a diet full of greens, raw foods and fresh-pressed vegetable/fruit juices. I get quarterly PET scans, monthly blood tests where my dr. checks for all kinds of 'tumor markers' or indications of cancer. (Cancer cells always give off all kinds of signs that run through the blood.) My tumor markers all are in the 'normal' range. I see my integrative dr every two to four weeks to get 3 or 4 baggies of intravenous substances that I'm confident are keeping the cancer from returning. I go to the oncologists' office once/month for a special shot that is supposed to keep the bone cancer from returning. My recent PET/MRI showed bone lesions are still inactive and they are healing. NO active tumors.
This is where my treatment is totally different from conventional cancer treatment which has ZERO answers to the 'in-between' time of tumor eradication and potential for recurrence. Conventional cancer has no answer but to just give more chemotherapy and even then, oncologists say they need to see solid tumors... Dr. Nezami's treatment keeps the cancer away....
Cancer Is Not The Big Enemy Our Society Makes It Out To Be
JANUARY 2011 TO SEPTEMBER 2011 OVERVIEW.
When I initially refused chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery - all of which is the 'status quo' protocol for breast cancer treatment that is not much different as the treatment from 30-40 years ago - an integrative treating doctor, Dr. Nezami, from the Pacific Medical Center of Hope in Fresno, California, agreed to treat my failing health using cutting edge intravenous therapies, supplements, and hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The tumors shrunk significantly by May, 2011, then, were frozen out in a procedure called 'cryoablation' (cancer killed by freezing) in mid-May, 2011. I hadn't gone under the knife, I still had all my lymph nodes, and I did not suffer from lymphedema (arm strength loss and swelling).... my labs showed tumor markers at the lowest end of the scale for someone who didn't have cancer (September 2011) -- and the tumors totally responded to the treatment without the horrific potentially lifelong side-effects of chemo, radiation and surgery.
WHAT I WAS LIKE PRIOR TO THE DIAGNOSIS - HOW I FELT AFTER THE 'UNCONVENTIONAL' INTEGRATIVE TREATMENT
Despite the recurrence, I do not regret refusing conventional treatment because I felt so good after I started treatment with Dr. Nezami and I learned a lot. It should be noted that prior to my diagnosis, I was lethargic, depressed, moody, sleepless, low energy, had twice/month migraines that another doctor spent two years trying to treat, had frequent bladder infections... (Now I know those were all signs of cancer/estrogen imbalance). After I began seeing Dr. Nezami, I felt like I was 21 again.
AUGUST 2011: THE EXPERIMENTAL ALABAMA TREATMENTS.
In August, 2011, I returned to Alabama to receive what the doctor there called 'cleanup injections' (an experimental compound called 3-bromopyruvate) which resulted in my September, 2011 lab results showing that my tumor markers substantially decreased to '2' from a constant '31' during the treatment. According to my cancer-antigen test, '0-25': The scale for a 'normal' measurement = for someone who doesn't have cancer; 'Over 25= cancer activity.' One oncologist opined that lab result of '2' was error. I never had my tumor markers re-tested until October, 2011. (*Update* - I do not recommend these experimental 3-bromopyruvate injections because I believe they caused more aggressive tumor growth after a very short-term appearance of 'remission.')
*UPDATE* RE CHEMO 2012 -FEELING VERY GOOD AND HOW I BATTLED NAUSEA AND WON:
With the new regimen (February - July, 2012) of chemotherapy plus integrative and complementary therapies, my tumors showed substantial clinical response. I lost my hair during my 14th week into chemotherapy (8 weeks of Cytoxin didn't touch my hair, but the Taxol did) but I never had bone pain, internal organ pains, mouth sores, hand sores, esophogeal sores, loss of appetite, weight gain, bloating, fingernail loss, or any other toxic side effects.. I only felt tired and on some days, very fatigued. While on Cytoxin, I had slight nausea that wasn't worthy of taking the Zofran or other nausea meds. Instead, I smoked marijuana through a vaporizer and after only about 3 puffs and 5 minutes, the nausea disappeared. While on weekly Taxol, no nausea at all... People comment on how good I looked, strangers approached me acting confused that I was bald but I looked so good (so they thought I was bald for 'style'). People commented on how my skin 'glowed.' I attribute all that to the complementary treatments.
GREAT LINKS FOR YOU TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MY TREATMENT AND 'COMPLEMENTARY' TREATMENTS TO ANY CANCER, NOT JUST BREAST
If you want more information about the treatment I received that eventually shrunk my tumors by almost half prior to the cryoablation, please go to these links. There is also information on the integrative treatments that I used along with the chemotherapy.
RELATED PUBLICATIONS / MEDIA
1. Fresno Bee, July 2, 2011, "LAURA M. GUZMAN MAGILL: Fighting Cancer With Alternative Treatment Option," published in "Valley Voices" Opinion pages (Go to 'Fresno Bee Article' on my website)
2. Cancer Control Society, September 4, 2011, 'Recovered Patients Testimonies' (see video below, or go to this link to order the 2011 videos) http://www.cancercontrolsociety.com/convention2011.html
3. Fresno Magazine, October, 2011: "Is Alternative Medicine Life-Saving or Full Of False Hope?" by Todd R. Brown. Date of Release: September 22, 2011. In stores October 1, 2011. Email me for a hard copy, I'd be glad to mail it to you. OR, for an online copy, go here! http://www.fresnomag.com/
4. KYNO Radio Interview, 940 AM, October 3, 2011, 5 pm, "The Drive" with Bill McEwen and Gail Marshall. Here is the link to listen online: http://940kyno.com/ If you missed it, go to this link where KYNO lists past podcasts, go to October 3, Session 2, 5 pm: http://940kyno.com/index.php?c=75
5. Fresno Bee, August 9, 2013, "Unrealistic, Challenging and In Remission." Published in the Valley Voices Opinion pages. Click on "Fresno Bee Article" option.
6. Appearance on 'Connect With Me' with John Malos on MeTv, October 25, 2013. Here is the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXzjq6bIcyA&feature=c4-overview&list=UU66KDnrX9brCdm9a3jjo6Cw
HERE IS THE SHORT VIDEO FROM THE CANCER CONTROL SOCIETY 2011 CONFERENCE WHERE I SHARED MY TESTIMONY:
VIDEO FROM MY OCTOBER 25, 2013 APPEARANCE ON 'CONNECT WITH ME' WITH JOHN MALOS
CHRONOLOGY OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
IN THE CANCER JOURNEY- including 2011-2012 Recurrence Information
January, 2011: I was diagnosed with Stage III invasive metastatic ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer. I had a little over 2" x 2" tumor in my right breast and several lumps in my right side lymph nodes.
January 27, 2011: Following the diagnosis, and a 'multidisciplinary meeting' at the local Breast Center, the conventional doctors told me to make an appointment for a 'port' placement the next week for the first of 6 rounds of chemotherapy. The doctors theorized the tumor would shrink with chemo by May, 2011, the tumor could be cut out by mastectomy, and then, the radiologist would burn remaining cancer cells with radiation after the surgery.
February 2, 2011: I started treatment with Dr. Nezami at Pacific Medical Center of Hope in Fresno, California because I refused conventional treatment and Dr. Nezami agreed to help me by giving me treatments to assist me with quality of life. http://www.theregenerativemedicine.com/
April, 2011: I learned of a doctor out of state who would freeze out the tumors using liquid nitrogen and helium to freeze/warm the cancer cells, effectively killing all the cancer cells without the invasive nature of surgery.
May, 2011: I flew across the country to have the cryoablation procedure. The cancer cells were frozen out. My July PET scan showed no cancer activity in the Breast Tumor but slight inflammation, which is normal after the cryoablation procedure because the tissue at the tumor site was still a little swollen and healing.
August, 2011: I flew out of state for the second time and had followup intra-tumoral injections called 3-bromopyruvate to kill any leftover cancer cells in two lymph nodes. This experimental procedure should be viewed with great caution since it can lead to very fast cancer cell death which can lead to prompt cancer stem cells to quickly regenerate to replace the cancer cells that were quickly killed off. If we have cancer, its in our stem cells, and the 3-bromopyruvate doesn't touch the stem cells, does it? There is not any evidence that it does, as far as what I am aware of.
September, 2011: I had a blood test that measured my 'tumor markers.' The test showed I had tumor markers of '2' -- with the scale of 0-25 'normal' for someone who doesn't have cancer. Prior to September, from February to July, 2011, my tumor markers remained constant at about 31.
October, 2011: I showed evidence of recurrence and in November, 2011, my PET scan showed inflammation and SUV numbers of 1.6 to 4, with 5+ being indicative of cancer. Since the inflammation was in the area of the tumor sites, it appeared as confirmation the tumors were reforming. I believe the cancer returned so much more aggressively due to the experimental intratumoral injections I got out of state.
October 2011-January 2012: I was very very sick, constantly nauseous, vomiting almost daily, and I lost approximately 15 pounds during this time. I could not exercise, could barely eat, and it took 2 hours to take my 30+ supplements because I was so nauseous. During this time, the integrative treatments that once were effective against my tumors were now barely holding it back. The cancer grew like crazy during this time. The once gone tumors exploded as they returned to fill my ENTIRE right breast, my right lymph nodes, my left breast, left lymph nodes, and invaded the pec muscle. Why was I constantly nauseous? I believe it was because the crazy growing cancer caused my body to be very acidic. I knew the only answer now was to agree to chemotherapy to kill off the bulk, while the integrative therapies would help increase the effects of the chemo, while at the same time treat the stem cells, or the root of the cancer.
February 2012: Started 6 month chemotherapy regimen.
April 2012: My integrative doctor saw signs of bone cancer metastasis in my blood tests, but my oncologist said that since there was no showing of solid tumors in the bone scan, she refused to order bone cancer meds. (*The Key is you don't want to wait until solid tumors show up!)
May, 2012: Started losing my hair, so I pierced my ears and rocked bald.
June 2012: My last chemotherapy treatment.
July 2012 "Terminal": I felt really good, but got an infection in my port that resulted from a uterine tract infection bug crawling up and hiding in my port... I got sepsis, went to hospital, and stayed there for 7 days. When the doctors scanned my abdomen for the infection, they found all the bone lesions all over my spine, tailbone, pelvis and told me I was 'terminal.'
August 2012: Septic again. Another infection. Hospital 7 days.
September 2012: Blood tests and scans showed I was in Remission! Time for Double mastectomy in Sacramento. Left Fresno, didn't trust any surgeons here... Loved my surgeon, who recommended radiation. I declined radiation. After all, radiation doesn't touch the stem cells. Does it kill off the 'micro-metastasized' cancer? The 'stray' cancer cells? Yes, but it also kills good cells and harms internal organs.
August-October 2013: Still in remission.
***This blog/website is dedicated to options in cancer treatment and subsequent life-giving results. When we are diagnosed with breast cancer, or any kind of cancer, we should ask the hard questions. Who do we trust, and what is our basis of such trust? We are stewards over the bodies God gives us - so let's seek wise counsel, always check out the authority and basis for what doctors advise, and conduct exhaustive research on our own because doctors don't tell us everything we need to know - they just don't have the time. Most conventional doctors have a different kind of training from those 'integrative' doctors who can provide the kinds of quality of life services like Dr. Nezami provides at Pacific Medical Center of Hope.
I said 'no' to conventional doctors at first, and I said no to exclusively conventional cancer treatment. I was far better off in the short and long term saying no to exclusively chemo, radiation and surgery. I don't know one person who was diagnosed with a stage III cancer, said 'yes,' to chemo and the next week felt like they were 21 again.....
* * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* "Integrative," "Complementary," and "Alternative" are all terms of art as defined:
"Complementary and Alternative Treatment/Medicine" : "one that shifts the focus from the traditional, population-based approach to a definition that focuses on the individual," (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14618859); "group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine," (http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/).
"Integrative Medicine": "combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness," ( http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02054/Andrew-Weil-Integrative-Medicine.html ) ; "In other words, integrative medicine "cherry picks" the very best, scientifically validated therapies from both conventional and CAM systems." ( http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02054/Andrew-Weil-Integrative-Medicine.html )
"Conventional Medicine": ". . . the kind of medicine most Americans still encounter in hospitals and clinics. Often both expensive and invasive, it is also very good at some things; for example, handling emergency conditions such as massive injury or a life-threatening stroke. Dr. Weil is unstinting in his appreciation for conventional medicine's strengths. "If I were hit by a bus," he says, "I'd want to be taken immediately to a high-tech emergency room." Some conventional medicine is scientifically validated, some is not. " ( http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02054/Andrew-Weil-Integrative-Medicine.html )
** The measurements in quotes are from my March 2, 2011 MRI and the accompanying report.
Please friend me and I would love to see you on Facebook. I closed my personal account, but maintain a business account where I once in awhile post good articles on cancer.
MARCH 29, 2012:
With the recurrence, many have contacted me very confused or saying the 'alternative treatment didn't work,' or wondering why I've decided to undergo chemo because I was 'so against it.' This note is to clarify my current treatment and explain.
[Many people contact me to criticize me for turning to chemotherapy. Those are the extremists on the 'alternative' cancer therapy side. Then, there are the 'extremists' on the 'conventional' cancer treatment side who heavily criticize me for doing anything other than conventional. If you are having to make the choice, make it for yourself. Expect to be criticized heavily by anyone. I was pleased to get 'advice' from people who offered up asparagus and soursop as cancer 'cures.' I was open minded. Being open minded is good, but I suggest you use wisdom with whatever you choose. ]
WHAT I KNEW ABOUT CHEMO:
My research showed that only THREE cancer types truly 'respond' to chemo, mine wasn't one of the 3. And that cancer is in your stem cells, which again, chemo doesn't touch... Chemo only destroys the active cancer cells... So, why do chemo when the cancer will simply return? Keep reading...
I learned Oncologists are the only doctors that are allowed in house pharmacies so they order the chemo directly from manufacturer, then, according to a few outspoken oncologists, they mark up the drug by 300,000%. They pay maybe around 300$/baggie and charge insurance $15000-25000.00 per baggie, that is, per 'round.' I learned that when I was a 'cash pay' patient without insurance, every type of medical procedure was 'negotiable' with a sizeable 'discount' based on cash pay, but not for chemotherapy. When I asked two oncologists for a cash pay price, both offices declined, saying it was against policy. In America, all other types of drs must send you to an outside pharmacy to get a drug.... One local family law attorney who represented an oncologist's wife said the evidence in his case showed the local oncologists cancer care center paid their in-house pharmacist $50,000, and then the oncologist made hundreds of thousands of dollars/month salary.
In Germany, socialized medicine, the same exact chemo costs around $350 per bag. (That's what my friend paid.) That is because doctors don't make profits because there is no 'insurance' that will pay crazy amounts for chemo treatments. There is no profit margin. You are not a dollar sign in Germany, where cutting edge cancer treatment abounds.
MAY 2011 RECAP- TUMOR ERADICATION BY CRYOABLATION INSTEAD OF SURGERY:
I was a good candidate for surgery, mastectomy, but when I refused surgery because of what I perceived as high risks, I flew out of state for the 4-hour procedure. I was put under anesthesia, and walked away with a little swelling and some minor freezer burn where the tumors were close to the skin. The pre-cryo scans showed the tumors had all shrunk by almost half.
The biggest problem with cryoablation? -- in my case, it was explained to me that because the tumor was so large, the cryoablation may not be totally successful. Also, I faced major nerve damage to the arm if the dr froze the entire tumors in 2 lymph nodes because those nodes were up against the axillary nerve. So, he could only freeze part of 2 lymph nodes. He had to leave a little bit of cancer in those two lymph nodes.... This is where I got into trouble, I believe.
FEB - AUGUST 2011 RECAP :
Tumor marker tests run regularly during this time remained at 31. "Normal' no-cancer-activity range is 0-25. To clarify, I still got treatments at Pacific Medical Center of Hope during this time.
AUGUST 2011 RECAP:
On the out of state doctor's recommendations, I returned to 'have the lymph node tumors cleaned up' with an experimental substance, called 3 bromopyruvate (aka 3bp, 3-bromo pyruvate), that was injected into my tumors directly, or intratumorally, which was supposed to kill whatever cancer was leftover. Upon looking back, I believe this was a big mistake. This was a substance that has been researched over the last 20 years by Dr. Ko, with the only significant studies done on rats. It has been used on some people, but there are no significant published studies on that. The inventor was awarded a $250K grant by Susan Komen several years ago. I'm not sure why the inventor never did clinical studies on humans after receiving that money. I heard she travels at no charge all over the world to provide and mix the substance to radiologists and cancer patients all over the world. Side effects? I gained 14 pounds of water weight. Water gain or retention is one of the known side effects of this experimental substance. (Other side effects I signed off in a consent form included 'death' and another lady I spoke with had anaphylactic shock after the injections and went to ICU for 3 days...)
SEPTEMBER 2011 :
In early September, my tumor marker lab showed tumor markers decreased from 31 -before the out of state trip- to 2 ... I couldn't have a PET scan for awhile because the injections create inflammation, which a PET scan could confuse with 'cancer activity'... It appeared, based on this test and others, that the cancer was totally gone, in remission, no activity.
LATE SEPT TO OCTOBER 2011:
I started having nausea daily. My doctor ran exhaustive tests, brain mri, abdomen mri, ct's, lab tests, endoscopy, all negative. The nausea and vomiting got worse as time passed and I lost about 10 pounds.
PET SCAN - The breast showed 'hot spots' now, after 6 months of 'remission.' The lymph nodes that had cancer until August showed 'hotter spots'...
A PET Scan showed the cancer returned and was trying to re-form tumors and the cancer seemed like it returned more aggressively. This was confusing because all of Dr. Nezami's other patients got better, their tumors shrunk just like mine, for example, mine shrunk in the first 3-4 months of treatment. Other folks' tumors have been proven to have shrunk within a week, some took only two weeks...
My tumors had originally totally responded and shrunk when just doing Dr Nezami's natural substance non-toxic quality of life therapies... But, after the experimental 3 bromopyruvate intratumoral injections, I was the only one at the clinic who got worse and I was also the only one at the clinic who did the experimental substance treatment. (Later, I met another lady who also did the same 3-bromopyruvate treatment. She went to Alabama to get cryoablation, but the dr got her to do 3-bromopyruvate injections and she stayed there for two months getting these experimental injections. She and her husband shared the treatment regimen with me and tole me her tumor markers skyrocketed into the thousands after getting the 3-bromopyruvate injections... She died a few months after the treatment and tumor marker increase. She was Stage IV, in her 30's and mother to two small children. On the other hand, I've met Stage IV cancer patients with tumor markers in the thousands, and given a few weeks to a few months to live (according to their lab results) who, when compliant with Dr. Nezami's treatments, eventually showed no sign of cancer activity.) I've never met a Stage 4 patient at Dr. Nezami's who got 'worse.'
The November PET SCAN showed SUV numbers at 1.6-4 ish. SUV is the PET measurement with SUV 5+ representing cancer activity, and below 4 represents inflammation, but in my case, the 'inflammation' was in the areas of the prior tumors, so for me, the SUV numbers meant the cancer was returning. (SUV 5+ can also simply be inflammation without cancer, so there are other tests a doctor can run to determine the difference between the inflammation, or if its really cancer activity...) My doctor also ran other tests that confirmed I had cancer activity and it was progressing. The totality of tests showed more cancer, more progression...
The cancer seemed to return more aggressively, again, unlike anyone else who was getting treatments at the same clinic. So I decided at this time to do chemo - and do it in a way I felt was tailored to my body...
By December, my tumor markers had inched up and it seemed like the treatments that the cancer had previously been so responsive to had barely been able to 'keep up' with the aggressive cancer growth. I had no explanation for this. I did not fault Dr Nezami's IV treatments and do not believe my body developed a 'rejection' of Dr. Nezami's treatments because all his other patients totally respond to the IV and hyperbaric treatments, even after they get better and they decrease the treatments for 'maintenance.' I do believe the intratumoral experimental substance from the August out of state trip caused me to take a turn for the worse, where there was immediate cancer death and then worse aggressive cancer growth within a month and a half. Experimental treatment where you sign consent forms is always a risk and should always be viewed with caution.
In May, 2011, prior to the tumor cryoablation, my doctor ordered a biopsy for a chemosensitivity test. Though not 'fda-approved,' the chemosensitivity test showed to which chemo agents my tumor would respond/shrink. I'm glad I did this non-insurance covered test and I believe it was well worth it. What is the risk? Oncologists may not recognize it however. My oncologist was wary and told me so. Her concerns were that it wasn't FDA approved and that 'intravivo' versus 'intervivo' tumor tissue testing may not be so reliable. So, I thought to do it and find an oncologist who will consider the results before I jumped in to do random chemo that my body may not respond to or that could make my cancer worse--which is a possibility with chemotherapy sometimes. My feeling was that I really didn't have much to lose. I was going downhill one way or another at that point.
FEBRUARY 2012 -
I started chemo mid-Feb because I couldn't get insurance prior to that time. (I also thought if I remained cash pay, I would have more control or choices in my treatment.) I found an oncologist at UCSF-Fresno who agreed to openly discuss my treatment plans or what was in my best interest. The best thing is, she is open minded and hasn't judged me or criticized me for my prior treatment decisions. Most doctors I've met with berate me for the prior treatment and I likewise ask them what is their point to go to the past and that cancer patients die and/or have recurrence after chemo surgery and radiation also, so what is their point...
MY CANCER TREATMENT/CHEMO REGIMEN CONSISTED OF:
Day 1: blood labs to make sure I'm ready for chemo,
Day 2: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and Intravenous therapy at Pacific Medical Center of Hope that is intended to boost the effects of chemo while protecting me from the toxic side effects and permanent damage to bodily organs,
DAY 3: Chemo, 980 mg cytoxin, preceded by Zofran, a common chemo related anti-nausea drug.
DAY 4: Intravenous therapy at Dr. Nezami's, with Neulasta shot at UCSF to build white cells.
After 4 rounds, 8 weeks, of Cytoxin, I had Taxol chemo weekly...
During 'off' weeks during the first 4 rounds, I got a few days of Intravenous therapies that were known not to interfere with the chemo but they boosted my immune system...
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT DECADRON ('DEC'):
Decadron is a 'standard of care' anti-nausea steroid that, long term, has pretty bad side effects.. I learned early on that I am in the '10% of people' that react very badly to Decadron aka dexamethasone. Generally, according to online research, patients may feel the stimulant, anti-nausea, anti inflammatory effects with jitters and insomnia usually the first day, and then, the next two days there are withdrawal symptoms. In 'withdrawal,' I experienced severe mood swings, crying for no reason, and I just didn't feel 'right.' I was able to avoid decadron during the Cytoxin rounds, but my oncologist told me that I had to take decadron during the 12-weeks of weekly Taxol because Taxol is known to cause anaphylactic shock and is too toxic to be safe without the anti-allergy effects of decadron.
DEC AND ROUND 1 CHEMO: I wasn't told I was going to be given decadron until it was too late, it was already in the I.V. baggie, going into my arm. That's how 'standard' it is... they didn't even tell me what I was getting. Many chemo patients have no clue what Dec is and how strong it is, how it causes osteoporis in the healthiest and youngest of people when used long term. I didn't like how I felt with decadron , which felt worse than chemo, so I asked for no dec the next round.
DEC AND ROUND 2 CHEMO: I had chemo at around 1 pm, and 10 hours later, I began severely vomiting every 20 minutes until about 2-3 pm the next day. By the next day, I was mostly dry heaving because there was nothing left to vomit. The vomiting and nausea is caused by chemo hitting the stomach lining. Because this was a horrible experience, I was determined to find an alternative to Dec...
DEC AND ROUND 3 CHEMO: By this time, Dr. Nezami found "Marinol" - and this worked for me. I had absolutely no nausea, and no side effects. I took the Marinol before chemo and after, With food.
CANCER IS A CHRONIC DISEASE, IT'S IN THE STEM CELLS,,,,,AND WHY I DECIDED TO DO CHEMO:
I have been very vocal about my opposition to simply treating cancer with the 'standard of care' chemo-radiation-surgery without anything else... This one size fits all approach can't possibly work for everyone. Chemo is poison, radiation just burns the flesh at the tumor sites, and can reflect off cells to burn other parts of your body. Surgery is risky because of the cutting, the blood, and is a great risk for spreading the cancer all over the body if the micro-metastasis , not seen by human eye, is cut and gets into blood and finds a new place in the body to sit and form new tumors... Surgery and anesthesia is a trauma to the immune system, so I know I've got to go into surgery super healthy to be able to fight off cancer spreading.. And if cancer is in our stem cells, then, how does chemo-radiation-surgery without anything else help ? Its a short term fix... All it does it treat the symptom but doesnt get to the bottom, the root, of the chronic disease called cancer... I didn't believe in, nor will I ever believe in, having to almost die in order to live... or having to almost die to treat the cancer, to get rid of it, to live...
Cancer is a chronic disease and should be treated as such.
I learned Dr. Nezami's treatments change the epigenetics - and epigenetics controls the stem cells. His therapies allege to change the cancer stem cells to normal stem cells -- and this may take a long time. If you don't know what epigenetics is, google it , there is also an article in a mainstream news magazine about how our diets, good foods, change our epigenetics for the good and, with bad food, for the bad... That article link is posted on my website in the NEWS section. There are other articles in mainstream news about epigenetics.
Chemo alone does not change your epigenetics. Chemo is designed to kill cancer, and other anti-cancer drugs are designed to 'inhibit' or 'block' receptors which stimulate cancers. The problem is with those inhibiting or blocking drugs, they may block or inhibit good cell processes as well...
Since chemo DOES kill currently active cancer cells and it does shrink tumors and for me, it is a temporary fix to get rid of the rising number of cancer cells that came back aggressively and are trying to form bigger tumors. I only agreed to do chemo if I could complement with Dr. Nezami's treatments because I knew his treatments would protect me from the toxic side effects of chemo-alone-treatment... I also knew, that with the CHEMOSENSITIVITY TEST, and Dr. Nezami's I.V. treatments, I would be in the best possible place to do chemo treatment, survive it, to have the chemo effects maximized, while protecting my body from the toxic side effects... Thus, this whole 'you need to almost die in order to live' concept behind chemo poison did not necessary - in my situation...
After 3 months of chemo, I lost my hair, but I didn't have have mouth sores, hand sores, or other toxic side effects. (except that one time of 14-hour vomiting due to my refusal of decadron....)
What is the best way? Looking back, I would not do cryoablation again unless my tumor was much smaller, like stage 1 or 2. I say this because I learned much later that the same Alabama doctor knew that his other patients, whose tumors he cryoablated, had recurrences. He originally told me he only had one with recurrence and that was an 8 cm tumor...
With regard to the 3bp? Would I ever consider taking the out of state doctor's advice to do 3-bromopyruvate injections? Looking back, knowing what I know now, I would not. I believe tumor eradication by freezing, that is now in clinical trials, may one day be proven as a safer alternative to surgery. I hope it puts all breast surgeons out of business.
MY PLAN: ...
The 16 rounds (baggies) of chemotherapy consisted of 4 bags every-other-week of Cytoxin, the next 12 with Taxol, once/week. Round 16 was the second week of July. Each 'round' or baggie took around 1 hour to intake by Intravenous, through my port, with 'pre-med' baggy that takes about 1 hour... I had surgery, double mastectomy, after chemo to get rid of the tumor bulk. The second time around, I felt I had no choice to get surgery because the tumor entered the skin and I felt like the breast tissue was too weak and could remain a good environment or site for cancer recurrence... Cryoablation therefore wasn't an option the second time around. Reconstruction will come a year after surgery. Why double mastectomy? During the second recurrence, some small lumps showed up in left breast that we agreed wouldn't be biopsied because I already agreed to double mastectomy...
I hope this explains the plan and why I chose chemo as part of my treatment plan.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email or message me. Guzmanmagill@gmail.com