That’s how convincingly the doctors had led Michael and me to believe that I had some form of lymphoma, but they just didn’t know which kind. Despite wanting to be an optimistic sort of guy, I felt obligated to be prepared for the worst, and in hindsight, the last 11 days have been very educational.
Since leaving the hospital on Friday before Thanksgiving, I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this concept called cancer. Like “AIDS”, cancer is not one disease, but rather a collection of dozens of diseases. Unlike “AIDS”, cancer at least has the common feature of cellular replication and life cycle run amok. I have a huge respect for people who have to face the reality of a confirmed diagnosis of any form of cancer.
I was determined to be rational about treatment options. The ENT surgeon mentioned radiation to my partner Michael, when she gave him her “it doesn’t look good” report immediately following my surgery. The Johns Hopkins Patient’s Guide to Lymphoma had me prepared to accept chemotherapy as an inevitable treatment ultimately. Just this morning I had made it halfway through Suzanne Somers’ Knockout, which includes interviews with several doctors who are successfully treating—and even curing—cancer without chemo, radiation or radical surgery.
Even before the surgical biopsy, I had visited with respected medical consultant, Jonathan Campbell, and had started the nutritional therapy described in his report Stopping Cancer Naturally and by Thanksgiving I was dosing up on vitamin C, curcumin and amino acids, in addition to the supplements I’ve been taking since 2007. This is not a program for the faint of heart, and frankly, I’m going to be a bit of a pissant whiner and state that I don’t even consider it particularly “natural”. It is, however non-toxic, and that’s what makes it worth trying.
I’m no stranger to high dose vitamin C. I had 3 or 4 infusions of intravenous nutrients, including vitamin C in 2007, when I first quit the regimen of two dozen or so prescription drugs I had been taking for years. It made a big difference in my energy and how I felt, but I simply couldn’t afford the $200-300 per pop. However, I’d sure like to reconnect with a woman I met during one of my drips. She was 60 years old, but looked younger and more vital than I did at 51. She had lived with cancer for more than a decade and had never had chemo or radiation. She was impatient for the drip to finish so she could get started on her trek to her summer home in Canada. What I’d give to see how she is doing today.
Some of those closest and dearest to me pleaded that I not “experiment” with such therapies. Medicine has advanced, they said. The doctors are having more success than they used to have.
Search the Internet and you will be flooded with articles insisting that survival rates have improved; that the US leads the world in cancer care; and you would be led to think no one even dies of cancer anymore.
My experience with AIDS most of my adult life has made me a skeptic. Because I’m Affected with an imbalanced, or dysfunctional immune system, I’ve seen how statistics and claims can be distorted by vested interests with plenty of money to barrage the public with pseudo-research and manipulated study results.
Somers’ book helped me understand how the same shenanigans are being perpetrated on people with cancer and their loved ones today.
Radiation causes cancer, but doctors want to use it to treat? The proliferation of toxic and hazardous chemicals in our daily environment—household cleaners, food additives and industrial pollutants—are blamed for the increase of some cancers, especially lymphoma, which I was supposed to have, yet the most commonly prescribed treatment is chemotherapy: a direct infusion of toxic, expensive and profitable drugs into the body. These treatments do not just kill cancer cells, they kill or mame every cell they contact!
Chemo and radiation wreck the immune system. As a person living with “AIDS” for more than a decade, why in the world would I first choose a treatment guaranteed to destroy whatever immune system I have left when there are promising alternatives based on strengthening it?
The rational part of my mind could not easily overlook these contradictions, yet there were times the last few weeks when I decided I would risk defying reason and do what I was told by “the experts”. I’m glad that choice is no longer required, but as we were heading to this afternoon’s appointment I was preparing Michael to accept my resolve that I had decided I would not consider chemo, radiation or another surgery. I was and I am willing to find the will and the strength to continue to fight for my health and for my life, but I am not willing to commit to the equivalent of the nuclear option.
The concept behind therapies based on high dose vitamin C and other novel compounds is two-fold. First, and most sensibly, they focus on strengthening the body’s own ability to control cancer cells. Everyone probably has such cells from time to time, especially as we age. Our bodies have a system for seeking them out and destroying them before they become troublesome. Why not try to restore that ability if and when it is lost or weakened?
On the offensive side of the equation, vitamin C, especially in doses that can only be achieved with intravenous injections, is actually drawn to the diseased tissue around cancerous tumors, where it generates hydrogen peroxide that kills the cancer cells, but leaves healthy tissue undamaged. I’ve probably butchered the description of how this all works, but wonks and geeks can do their own research, as I have, and draw their own conclusions.
Reading the accusations made by each side against the other of malpractice and abuse of patients left me with a headache. Ultimately I had to look at what each side had to gain from their positions. The one touting chemo and radiation is a $200 billion industry in the United States and controls the FDA and most elected officials. The team promoting and using non-lethal treatment operate small clinics and require people to take on a huge share of responsibility for their treatment. It really became a no-brainer pretty quickly, but then, I have been primed with my own early experimentation with HIV chemotherapy, aka HAART.
The treatment is controversial beyond belief. Read how abruptly the Mayo clinic’s website dismisses high dose vitamin C as “unproven”. It’s enough to convince most people that it is a fraud. Then check out Dr. Joanne Drisko’s research at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where my biopsy was done. Don’t miss the links at the bottom of the page, including this report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences a few years ago, that explains exactly how vitamin C kills cancer cells far more thoroughly than I just did.
Speaking of killing cancer cells, one of the things that I learned about cancer that deserves more contemplation, is that part of the cancer equation. Cancer is not just the out-of-control proliferation of cellular division. It is also the failure of these cells to die when they are supposed to. As long as we live, our bodies are in a constant state of replication and regeneration because we are also in a constant state of dying. At least our cells are. It’s a delicate balancing act that can sometimes get… unbalanced.
The condition of cellular programmed death is called apoptosis. Cells can also die by necrosis (premature). The point is that living objects are meant to die. It’s part of the process called life. That the only treatments available from our mainstream medical system basically disable, cripple and deny patients of a quality of life in order to survive a few months longer makes me wonder if we’ve missed the point of the lesson of cancer. Is our inability to accept the inevitability of our own deaths—programmed from birth—a form of personal cancer?