badass cancer - the one they say they can't cure
So my husband got a brain tumor. A rare type of GBM Glioblastoma multiforme, with lots of variations in it. They couldn't quite put a definitive diagnosis on it but one thing was for sure, it was a Grade 4. The worst kind. Badass cancer. You know the one they'll say straight to your face they can't cure.
Not ones to take a challenge sitting down - we got into the drivers seat and set out to do everything possible to reverse it.
We were told the tumor was very hard to diagnose, it's nature was very unusual, it's behavior as very unexpected and without a doubt a cellular analysis proved it to be very aggressive.
- We were offered ' Golden standard treatment' for similar aggressive brain tumors - with no further diagnostic testing than the standard pathological analysis.
In our minds:
How could standard treatment be called 'GOLDEN' when it has a success rate of curing ZERO patients and offering the solace that you MIGHT live longer than 17months but chances are tiny. And how could you possibly assign a standard treatment to a tumor that is so NOT standard that they couldn't even diagnose it accurately. The hospital's 'standard treatment' was just one (quite limited) tool in the tool box.
We had to get a bigger and better tool box.
Firstly my husband (with extreme mental strength and motivation, for reasons I can't explain) vowed to be as healthy as possible on a cellular level, so that his body would cope with what lay ahead. Not one to advocate a healthy lifestyle before, in learning he had a terminal diagnosis, he took on a complete change of lifestyle with an astounding dedication.
I read everything I could, tracked down doctors, professors, specialists and discussed theories, options, dosages, antagonistic effects - and together with our oncologist, we built a strong strategy and today Karl is a walking talking experiment - probably healthier than most of us. Healthy - with cancer.
My uncle was diagnosed with GBM when he was 26. My grandfather - not having any of it - managed to get him enrolled in a pilot program to treat brain tumor patients with a novel immune therapy treatment using human derived interferon. He not only survived - his cancer reversed within a year, he stopped the therapy after 14 years and hasn't taken any medication since and is happily getting on with life in his 60's.
What are the chances that I would marry a man who would face the same fate 30 years later. With my grandfather's spirit perched on my shoulder I happily walked in to face our oncologist armed with a healthy dose of "I KNOW IT CAN BE DONE"
We just had to figure out how.
REVERSE THE DAMAGE
Our theory quickly established the patient as the key most important factor in dealing with cancer. It is not a parasite, a virus or a bacteria that you catch. Cancer is a ”system error” – something on a cellular level has been programmed wrong…so the system has to be rebooted to the factory settings so that it will work without bugging again.
Lifestyle and environment have constantly been linked to the development of cancer and speeding the development of cancer. So in order to reverse it, we thought it was simple.
REMOVE all the components that can accelerate the growth of cancer.
ADD all the components that can reduce the growth of cancer and aid in the battle.
CHALLENGE YOUR DOCTORS
You will meet many. Surgeons, oncologists, specialists, nurses - all human, all limited to their hard earned knowledge and limited time to read anything and everything published about your type of cancer.
So... you have to do the hard work.
There is not one meeting we've turned up to where we haven't prepared ourselves. We have read the studies, understood the risks, considered the facts, gathered at least 3 or 4 more opinions in order to make the most of each conversation.
If you are faced with discouragement - find another doctor. If you are faced with humility and curiosity - and willingness to have a healthy dialogue around your options then chances are you've found a doctor who has the capacity to think outside the box and enjoy the pioneering potential in helping save lives.