In October of 2008 I was diagnosed with Stage II Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma. After weeks of testing and the staging confirmed by PET/CAT scans and a bone marrow biopsy, my husband Kevin and I had to make a decision. Were we going to go with the oncologist’s recommendation of R-CHOP chemotherapy and radiation? There were so many unsettling factors. The type of Hodgkin’s I had was very rare and there were no conclusive studies on what type of conventional treatment was MOST effective. The chemotherapy that was suggested by my oncologist had many side effects, but the one I found completely unbearable was infertility.
On the same day we received my official diagnosis and were given our tour through the chemo room and the wig shop, Kevin and I came home feeling unsettled and bewildered. While I was lost in my thoughts of whether to freeze my eggs or agree to have embryos frozen, he began research on alternative cancer treatment. Neither one of us had any experience in the alternative cancer world. He began discovering other people who felt similarly as we did. They believed there had to be another way, a better way to treat cancer. We also found several survivors who treated or were treating naturally, such as Jerry Brunetti and Kris Carr.
Over the next few weeks, packages arrived at our door on a daily basis. Kevin began to read about the reasons that conventional medicine was not always the best way to approach treating cancer. He became more and more educated on the effectiveness of alternative cancer treatment. I had difficulty having faith in his new alternative cancer philosophy. How could this “natural” treatment be so effective, but yet doctors continue to treat almost exclusively with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery? It must be because modern American medicine was superior to diet change and supplementation? I needed to educate MYSELF. I focused on a book by Bill Henderson called “Cancer Free: Your Guide to Non-Toxic Healing” and in November began the protocol he lays out in his book:
3. Budwig Protocol (Cottage Cheese/Flaxseed Oil)
7. HcG Urine Test to monitor progress
After many heated arguments and tears, I had finally agreed to give alternative cancer treatment a 3 month trial period. Our next step was to find an oncologist who supported us in our journey. After leaving the first oncologist, we found a holistic M.D. at first who knew of an oncologist, Dr. Stephen Szabo who she heard was more-open minded to patients trying alternative treatments. After one visit with him he confirmed that he believed I had “time to try alternative therapies” and agreed to monitor the cancer while I continued my nutritional protocol. It was shortly after this I began to notice the cancerous lymph node in my neck drastically reducing in size, almost to the point of non-detection after only a month on my new diet.
In January of 2009, I attended the 12 day detoxification and raw foods course at the Living Foods Institute here in Atlanta. It was there I was introduced to new ways to enjoy raw foods. I also received 7 colonics to detox my colon in order to allow proper assimilation of the cancer-fighting nutrients I was putting into my body. I did many other things to detox my body also, such as drinking Essiac Tea, reflexology, drinking Alkaline water, sweating in a dry heat sauna, and exercising on a Cellerciser rebounder. During this time I also kept my anxiety levels calm through prayer, reading biblical scripture, and reciting positive affirmations.
My January HcG Test showed improvement from my November score. I was set for another HcG test in March when I discovered I was pregnant. It was a scary and uncharted territory for us. My oncologist seemed confident and we worked together along with my OBGYN through the next few months of morning sickness and blood tests to make sure my body was handling the pregnancy well and the cancer wasn’t acting up.
Finally, on May 4th, 2009, Dr. Szabo gave us the surprising news that I was in “clinical” remission! He believed that CT/PET scans were NOT a superior way to monitor the form of cancer I had because of its indolent nature. Instead, I am monitored via bloodwork and physical examinations. Following several months of excellent health reports, I received “clinical” remission status. I went on to have an unmedicated and natural birth to our sweet daughter on November 19th 2009.
As of this writing in November, 2013 I remain in clinical remission. I have chosen to address my cancer through lifestyle change. This is a lifelong commitment. My diet is not as extreme as it was in the beginning, but I still stay away from sugar, processed foods, and conventional foods as much as possible. I eat a TON of nutrient-dense, organic vegetables: including my 64 ounce veggie smoothie as often as I can being a busy mother of two young daughters. I am also juicing vegetables and finally loving it. When I eat meat, it is grass fed, free-range meat or wild-caught fish. I still drink green tea several times a day and take two Beta Glucan capsules each morning. I also eat the Cottage Cheese/ Flaxseed Oil mixture at least 4 days a week. Oh, and we had our second daughter in April, 2014!
I think there is a place for conventional medical treatment and intervention/monitoring. For my husband and I, it was a PRAYERFUL decision to approach the cancer the way we did. We believe that God gave us a fully functioning, self-healing body that when nourished as it was intended, can fight off the malfunctioning cell growth of any form of cancer. It will be a journey to keep the cancer away, not a destination. That is how we hope Americans will begin to look at their health care.
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My Series on Fighting Cancer with Alternative Therapies