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Sunday, September 08, 2013

Finding Our Way Forward

“Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism.” ~ David Suzuki (Canadian environmentalist, broadcaster and scientist)

   The oncologist appointment went well. Dr. Jones is thoughtful, kind, calm, and really cares about his patients. He is really the first person other than the enterologist who gave us the initial diagnosis of cancer, who has treated us with any dignity, respect, compassion, and understanding.

   Dr. J seemed appalled by the way in which the surgeon Mr. H treated us at each step along the way and was quite surprised I have a transcript of what exactly was said and took place in the exam with the surgeon.
  NEVER allow the ones you love to go to any doctor's appointment alone. The accompanying person needs to be able to take detailed notes because we don't hear and cannot take in everything thrown at us. So I was able to provide a very clear picture of what has taken place to date. The oncologist will be calling the surgeon to discuss things, and we may be asking for a new surgeon.
   He laid out three treatments and said Les and I, in conjunction with him, would make the final determination of what--if any treatments--Les chose. The tumor is quite nasty. It has progressed to angiogenesis--establishing a blood supply to feed and spread to other parts of the body. The CT scan also found a small node on Les' left lung which the oncologist is sure is not cancer but caused by exposure to TB as a child. He says all Brits of Les' age have had exposure to TB and these lung nodes are frequently seen, however it will bear watching. So the treatment choices we were given are:

1. short course radiotherapy of five days (1 fraction of radiation exposure per day) with surgery to follow one week later to remove the tumor. Rob says this will not shrink the tumor but keeps it from spreading and in his experience it keeps the cancer from returning to the area. He used the analogy of a sunburn. If you stay outside all morning and get sunburned, you will feel the consequences far more if you wait to engage in activities the next day as opposed to that same afternoon. Following the radiotherapy with immediate surgery will remove a lot of the irradiated tissue before the side effects are felt in the extreme.

2. Long course chemo/radiation of five weeks with administration of chemo drug 5FU (flourouracil) and radiation treatments. Les would have to recover sufficiently from this treatment before surgery could occur some 3-5 months later. We made it clear this would not be an option we would ever consider. Dr. J was surprised at our choice and said patients usually deal with the pill form called Capecitibane just fine and that radiotherapy was the more difficult one to overcome.

   This is when I established my credentials as an academic researcher which made him take a second look at me and Les. When I mentioned my research on the MD Anderson cancer center website in conjunction with research on the NIH site (National Institute of Health U.S. medical library, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the oncologist sat straight up and said, "Well it doesn't get any better than MD Anderson."
   This was my quiet way of establishing to Dr. J that the use of partial disclosure of treatment effects was not going to wash with me and Les, especially when I brought up the issue of second line cancers known to be a long term side effect of 5FU. The oncologist said to his knowledge this wasn't an issue in bowel cancers....and this is directly in opposition to what I have found in my the doctor rubbed his face with his hands, leaned back and said, "There is a third way to go and it has been studied by oncologists at Karolinska. They stole it from the Russians..."

3. Is known as 5 by 5: five days of radiotherapy and five weeks of waiting for the tumor to shrink, followed by surgery.

   Les has chosen option 1. The long term side effects of any radiotherapy to the bowel are a frequent need to urinate, a small bit of anal leakage which may require wearing a pad in one's underwear, and impotence. We feel these are thing we can live with and I am hoping the administration of Essiac and following the Gerson regimen with some other supplements will ameliorate the worst short and long term effects of radiation exposure.

   What the oncologist did not tell Les--as it is not pertinent to his specific situation at this point--is that if the tumor was inoperable they would have still recommended option 2 but it would not cure this cancer. I think radiation drives cancer deeper into the body's cells and both chemo and radiation cause second line cancers down the road: breast, Leukemia and Hodgkins Lymphoma to name a few. I believe we can stop any cancer recurrence by adhering to a strictly vegetarian diet, getting daily exercise and taking certain supplements as prophylactics, including Essiac every three months for two weeks. 
   And while I am pleased Dr. J is a humane, kind individual who believes in the efficacy of his work in treating cancer patients, I am still not willing to trust him unequivocally. It would be one thing if there weren't adequate clinical studies and actual living cases of people like me who have used other treatments to a much better effect--driving cancer into permanent remission or healing from the disease, without the terrible side effects of traditional treatments. Gerson and Essiac are only two of these. There is also Dr. Charles Burzynski's work with antineoplastins.
   The crux of the issue is the fact that Gerson, Essiac and Burzynski's antineoplastins cannot be copyrighted by the pharmaceutical companies which drive everything to do with traditional cancer treatment. It is a huge money making "industry" as the surgeon Mr. H. rightly called it. When making money drives the treatment then the cure will not be found because a cure will put the pharmaceuticals, radiologists, chemotherapists and foundations like MacMillan Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society out of business.
   Macmillan is huge over here, with a slick company branding and charity status. They pay to place cancer nurses in British hospital oncology wards and in return they are given space in the hospitals for their brochures--created by them for handing out to patients. Looking very closely at their entire site provides an insight into how well engineered this charity is, to profit from this disease.
   The cancer nurse who spoke to us after the surgeon rudely and indifferently put us in our places while she stood on and watched didn't even bother to take us to a private office--she took us to the Macmillan cancer center waiting room in the hospital and sat us down in public--in front of two strangers--who happened to be MacMillan community cancer volunteers--to commence discussing very personal and private issues with me and Les.
   When Les told her we had done some research online she cut him off mid sentences saying, " You must be very careful about doing that. There is a lot of misinformation out there. I would recommend you stick with the Macmillan website." Of course, she as it turns out, is a Macmillan funded cancer nurse.
   A visit to their website was quite informative for me. Slick branding which means they msut have hired a top notch PR firm and attorneys to vet it all, spending millions to create it.
   I looked up the Board of Directors and found not surprisingly two members who have direct ties to the cancer pharmaceutical industry. One is the retired director of Novartis--the world's largest pharmaceutical company which rakes in billions in government funding from all over the world to "continue the fight for a cure..." as long as Novartis can patent it and make billions on it.
   Novartis and other drug companies actively fight Dr. Burzynski in courts around the world because he owns the patent on antineoplastin therapy which just sailed through clinical trials in Japan with excellent results and which the medical journal Lancet refused to publish, saying they didn't have room for the data at this time.
   Until the cancer industry and its adherents stop twisting the data and statistics to shore up their therapies, I will remain a healthy sceptic. An example is the fact that cytotoxic therapy as chemo and radiation are known in medical circles are absolutely deadly (which is why doctors jokingly refer to 5FU as 5 feet under) with not only long term side effects like additional cancers, but often these treatments so weaken the patient, he or she succumbs to death--from the treatment not the disease--but this is NEVER openly acknowledged by the industry or reflected in its statistics. These deaths are added into the general statistics for cancer deaths overall.
   There is also the artificial five year cure rate. If one is diagnosed with cancer, receives treatment and lives without a recurrence then one is considered cured! But wait...if there is a cure why are so many foundations overseeing dragon boat races for funding, runs for a cure....if there is a cure why are all these companies in line with their hands out for donations from you, me and the world's governments to "fund a cure?"
   The fact is frequently after traditional treatment cancer reoccurs but if it happens in year six, nine, or fifteen then it is not statistically related to the original incidence or the treatment modality--at all.
   Nearly 70% of all cancer could be prevented with diet: mostly vegetarian, organic, occasional meals of chicken but no red meat, very little dairy, no refined white sugar, wheat, breads or pastas, sugar in very low moderate amounts, eating mostly fresh, raw fruits and vegetables which is closer to what humans evolved with in nature. Combined with a minimum of 20-30 minutes of daily activity such as walking, swimming, biking, gardening, humans have a much better chance of surviving on this polluted planet without developing this dreaded disease.
  We hope we've found a middle ground--a way of combining traditional modalities with alternative therapies to provide what is known in the States as complimentary treatment for cancer. Les believes this is the best option for him and I am confident together we will find our way forward toward good health, remission, and getting on with our lives for many more years.


Liz Siler said...

Hi Jacqueline. I sure hopw it is all going well for you. This was very interesting to read and I'm still trying to process it --- but my instinct says to stay away from people who are negative on the idea of your doing some research on your own! And I couldn't agree more about your final paragraph, "Nearly 70% of all cancer could be prevented with diet: mostly vegetarian, organic, occasional meals of chicken but no red meat, very little dairy, no refined white sugar, wheat, breads or pastas, sugar in very low moderate amounts, eating mostly fresh, raw fruits and vegetables which is closer to what humans evolved with in nature. Combined with a minimum of 20-30 minutes of daily activity such as walking, swimming, biking, gardening, humans have a much better chance of surviving on this polluted planet without developing this dreaded disease." I've been mostly "cured" of any symptoms of MS (though they say I still have the underlying diagnosis) by strict veganism. Good for you for being so proactive! I'm praying hard for you and Les!

Mike Muir said...

Sorry to be a pest and using email, I have had problems getting comments posted due to spam detectors.
Interesting article, much information and a discussion has ensued at this end re state of curedness.
Good luck to both of you.
Mike & Phill

Anonymous said...

Jaq: You're of an age when you could
remember the book "The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford. The book illustrated everything about how to diein the USA and line the pockets of all concerned. We are all borrowing our present body/home. When we die we go into or on to something else. IMO Hell and Heaven are inventions of religions, they themselves often as money hungry and greedy as the
medical companies and related.

As for Les who is number one in your relationship and also in his {grin}
a week of radiation followed by immediate surgery hopefully NOT
by the hands of Mr. Hallam (BTW in the UK surgeons are known as Mr. as opposed to being addressed)
is best. If a stoma is required even on a temporary basis, so be it.

Cancers is deadly, if only by the very nature of the beast.

"Vegetarian , organic, occasional meals of chicken but no red meat, very little dairy, no refined white sugar, wheat, breads or pastas, sugar in very low moderate amounts, eating mostly fresh, raw fruits and vegetables which is closer to what humans evolved with in nature."

That should be your diet, plus juicing. You might want to mention
Gerson on the blog as well.

Ken and Sheena said...

Bloody hell, Jaq. I learned more about cancer (and its so called treatments) than I thought I would be comfortable with there. But thanks for the info. I feel a little less ignorant now. And I'm really and truly glad that you are there watching Les's back and helping him with these decisions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jaq for your education and insights. Burznski is new to me so I'm looking into what he has to say for my benefit. I'm glad you found someone who listens to you with respect and that you will be able to change surgeons. If all of our heart felt good wishes can make a difference they will.

Lovely fall here in Pullman - Karen

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Liz,
We are so appreciative of your prayers on our behalf. I am thrilled to hear your change of diet is having a positive impact on your health. Have you started covering your new car with fabulous bumper stickers yet?

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Mike and Phill,
We are so very happy you are getting some good cruising time--if anyone deserves it, it is the two of you after all you have faced this past year in particular. I'm glad this post is generating discussion amongst folks. the more we discus,s the clearer hopefully things become for each of us. I would and could never make such a personal decision as what cancer treatment to have for someone else, 'nor would I ever belittle anyone's choice. I can only share my choice, the research I've done, the things I've learned with the hope this information helps other facing this dreaded disease.
Love to you both,

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hello Bryce,
I do indeed remember Mitford's book. Reading it was one of my wake up calls that the society in which I lived and breathed might not be as benevolent in its care of me and those I love as I was brought to believe.It was the first slip of the Godess Maya's veil (she who is the Goddess of Illusion) for me. We feel we have made en educated choice that offers us the best chance of a future in which Les is well and we can continue on our life together. Since you have asked, I will indeed do a post on Gerson therapy at some point. I have two classes to teach this semester and more students enrolled than ever previously--32 total so every minute I am not making juice, making Essiac, counting out pills, cleaning vegetables I am working online in my courses.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Ahhh Ken,
Although we only met one afternoon briefly, I was impressed by your intense ability to listen, which is a scarce skill.

I'm glad I can share what I've learned in my experience and research with cancer and that doing may help others if they are facing the same. It is such an intense and personal choice.

In reading your blog posts I am always impressed by the thought behind the words. This is something I seek to teach my students--good writing comes out of critical thinking. You do it all the time and it shows in your writing which is precise with an economy of words that make your writing a pleasure to read. Doing so will provide welcome relief to me and Les in the weeks to come.
Jaq and LesXX

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hey Girlfriend,
Did the summer in Pullman slip by as quickly for you and Jim as our did over here in Jolly Old England?

I found Burzynski through the research efforts of one of my college friends--a dear woman with a mind like a steel trap named Orinda--AKA Little Woman as she is two inches shorter than me!

I just hope in sharing all the information I find, to provide a larger scope with which other facing a cancer diagnosis can view their options, with a real understanding of what they are choosing.

I hope you are healing from your cancer journey Karen. May the Goddess keep you and Jim safe and healthy.
Love JaqXX

jercher said...

Dear ones,

There is comfort, for all of us that love you both, in knowing that your decisions will be very well informed. We are SO in your corner!! We love you, you know!

Pullmanites Jerry and Cheri

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Oh Little Bear and Big Bro,
How lovely and heart warming to log on and find a comment from you!! this made our day. :)
We love you both too and miss you two like the 60's miss Aquanet!!
Jaq and LesXX

Ken and Sheena said...

Hi Jaq & Les. I lost my grandmother to pancreatic cancer. Which was unfortunately, inoperable. I have been blessed, in that I have sailed through life without ever once being the occupant of a hospital bed, myself. But.... I've always felt, that if I ever were to be diagnosed with cancer, I would refuse to have the chemo and radiation treatments. My gut feeling was that they are a shotgun/scatter approach, which would probably do more harm than good in the long run. It's been reaffirming to read in your post above, that that approach may have had some merit, after all. Thankyou for that.

I know we've only met the once, and waved/smiled at each other a couple of times. But you and Les strike me as "good people". I look forward to bumping into both of you again. And I am genuinely humbled by your kind words about my writing style. Thankyou.

Anonymous said...

Hi you two,

Cliff and I send our thoughts and positive vibes, and support any road you both choose for Les' health. First of all, thank you for the update, I am glad that this dr. is more supportive of you, and is engaging your extensive knowledge with the subject with other forms of cancer treatment. One of my fondest memories of Pullman was going on a walk with you, and how you could point at plants and say what they were, and how they can be used to cure a random ailment. You have always been super awesome like that, and have inspired me to try more natural ways of taking care of myself, and not just pop a pill.

Anyway, take care, and big hugs!

-Christina and Cliff

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Christina!
Lovely to hear from you. I loved every moment I spent with you girlfriend. I was grateful to have a kindred spirit and heart friend out amongst the Palouse hills who was as radical a soul as myself! We are trying to be positive. I haven't mentioned any alternative therapies to the doctors as they are not open to such things over here--we are just doing them in conjunction to lessen the deadly side effects of traditional therapy. My love and hugs to you and Cliff.

Sandra said...

Hi Les & Jac

Nothing to do with this post but I saw on the red button BBC news yesterday, that they mentioned the letter box on the bridge. (I think only because Uri Geller lives in the village, they mentioned that) They really need to keep up with you, for everyone who reads your blog it was "old news"
Take care

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi both
Thanks for an interesting and informative post. It just goes to show that the "experts" are not always right! With you, Jaq, on Les's side, you've got the best chance of beating this between you. All the best, chin up.

Carol said...

Away to go Jaq!! I have just read your blog for the third time. There is nothing quite like accurate research to make the medical profession sit up and take notice. Keep them on the back foot, we’re both thinking about you. Love Carol & George.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Geoff and Mags,
Thanks for the vote of confidence. It's been 2 months since the initial diagnosis and every time we think there might be forward movement the surgeon or his associates go on vacation and bring everything to a grinding halt. I am doing what I can at this end...and we are traveling through this together and hopefully sooner rather than later we will cruising again and will finally meet up with you both in person.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thanks Carol. This waiting is interminable, especially when we know it is because the surgeon is on vacation. We have our new juice extractor and I've begun a modified version of Gerson therapy for Les along with Essiac, Modified Citrus Pectin and Chlorella. We are doing everything we can at this end.
Love to you and George,

Les Biggs said...

Hi Sandra
Well worth another blog

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs