Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Transformation Journey Part 2: The Blessing Called Cancer

"God Games"

"The gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, I am told, once gathered on Mount Olympus to play one of their favorite games: "Hide the Truth from Humankind."
"Let's hide it at the bottom of the ocean," cried one.
"No, he'll eventually build submarines and find it."
"How about up on the moon?" suggested another.
"No, he is too ingenious for that. He'll eventually get there too."
Finally, the most mischievous of the gods, the one represented in humorous drawings as the little angel whose halo is always somewhat askance, spoke up.
"I've got a great idea. Let's hide it deep inside of him. He'll never think to look there."

From one of my favorite textbooks "Deep Healing" by Dr. Emmett E. Miller, M.D. I can't speak highly enough of Dr. Miller. The book goes on to say:

"I am told that there was great rejoicing on Mount Olympus that day for they realized that, as civilization grew more and more complex, the resulting stresses would generate a state of mind so distracted that few would ever perceive the subtle nature of truth within."

But I didn't learn this until much later. First came the lesson and the blessing called cancer.

It all began in October of 2001. My husband decided to have this "cyst" in his jaw removed. People had been noticing and commenting on his cheek and it appeared to him to be getting bigger and more noticeable. (He had planned to get it removed the year before, but my oldest son had broken his arm completely off, spent three hours in surgery, developed a nerve palsy and spent a few months in physical therapy.) He made an appointment with a plastic surgeon near his office. I asked him if he had checked credentials and recommendations. He said, "It's just a simple cyst removal." Evidently, the plastic surgeon felt the same way. He felt my husband's cheek and told him it was a simple cyst and he could remove it in the office the following Friday. No xray, no biopsy. At the time, I did question the fact that he didn't biopsy first, but I figured A) He was the surgeon and B) my husband had mentioned to him that he had had the cyst since he was 13 years old--he was now 41. Surely it couldn't be cancer after all those years.
1998-you can see the "cyst"

The nurse called and said my husband was ready to come home. When I arrived he was still a little groggy, but he looked up at me and said, "I have cancer. The doctor wants to talk to you." I said, "Are you sure you heard correctly?" He shook his head yes. I asked the nurse if she could please find the doctor because I had a two year old in my arms, and a nine year old to pick up at school. She said she would try to find him for me and disappeared. My husband was still emerging from that abyss between anesthesia and consciousness so I didn't ask him any questions and the nurse didn't say one thing or offer any details. Forty-five minutes later, she apparently was still looking for the doctor. For crying out loud, it wasn't a corn maze. You tell someone they have cancer and disappear? Deja vu

I went to find her. She told me the doctor must have left and he would talk to us on Wednesday when we came back in for follow-up. She gave me one single pack of gauze and said, "They'll change his dressing on Wednesday, but in case you need to reinforce it, here is some gauze." I hadn't met him, but I already didn't like the surgeon. I can deal with complications, but this shouted coward.

During the 30 minute ride home, my husband attempted to recount what the surgeon had told him. He said that when the surgeon opened his cheek he found a little more than he expected and it was cancer, and that he had to remove it in pieces. They would have to send the specimen to a lab and he hoped to know more by the time we went back for a follow-up on Wednesday. Then he left. My husband asked the anesthesiologist to show him what they had removed. He brought him a small container with a bunch of pieces of tissue floating in it. I didn't tell my husband that the worst thing you can do is remove cancer in "pieces," because you run the risk of one of them getting into the bloodstream and taking up residence somewhere else. I didn't have to. It wasn't good news at all.

And then there was the drainage tube incorrectly hooked up behind his ear. By the time we got home, his dressing was soaked and uncomfortable. There was no "reinforcing" it with the one piece of gauze they had generously afforded me. When I removed the dressing, I saw what appeared to be a straw coming out from behind his ear. Every time he swallowed, his saliva would come out of the top. If he smelled something cooking or even thought about food, it shot out of there like a squirt gun. It was genius really, with the mere mention of the word "steak" or "apple pie," and the correct aim, he could wipe out an entire table full of people with that thing. I gave up on the gauze and just put towels on his shoulder. It was ridiculous. Needless to say it was a rough weekend with little sleep. We didn't say anything to anyone because we didn't know what we were dealing with. My husband stared at the fire in the fireplace and slept.

On Monday morning, the doctors office called and asked to see us as soon as possible. We arrived and were told the doctor would be with us shortly. And then we waited. And we waited. Finally we were taken back to a small dimly lit room and after another wait, the surgeon and his senior partner came it. They looked like funeral directors about to tell someone their loved one had passed away. Senior partner did most of the talking. It went something like this:
My husbands cancer was a very rare aggressive cancer. In order to make sure that they got it all, they needed to go back in as soon as possible. This time, it would be performed in a hospital where they would remove the entire cheek to be able to fully see and explore the facial nerve and lymph glands. They would remove the lymph glands and check the nerve all the way back to the base of the brain to be sure no cells had "spilled" during the first surgery. They would then remove a skin flap from his back to replace the cheek, and sew his eye shut until they could be sure the facial nerve was working. He would be in the hospital for 3 weeks if there were no complications. If the lymph nodes they removed had any cancer cells present, they would also do radiation. Hopefully, within three months, he could return to work.
Oh, and by the way, the skin on your back doesn't match the skin on your face, so they could hook us up with some medical grade makeup that my husband would have to wear for the rest of his life.

Dang, these boys weren't playing around.

My husband was close to tears and in total shock. He asked Senior partner about statistics. "You have a fifty-fifty chance of surviving five years." That did it. My husband totally shut down. He told me later that all he could think about was not being able to watch his boys grow up. I saw the complete hopelessness in his eyes. Which lead me to one of things I tell all my clients. Statistics are facts about somebody else. No doctor has any business telling anyone how long they have to live. No doctor is God or worse yet, a Mayan historian running out of stone tablets. None of us are promised tomorrow.

My husband and I have been together since we were in high school. He has never been afraid of, or backed away from, anything. Except for a brief stint in middle school as a "Hack man" for the basketball team, football was his game. His favorite line; "Ah, nothing like the sound of crunching a quarterback." He was the All State defensive lineman. He is not a man I could ever see wearing makeup. He was so paralyzed with fear and helplessness. In his mind, he was already dying.

Western Medicine promotes this paranoia. Words like "victim" and "survivor" imply that cancer chases you down a dark alley with a gun and you are powerless. That couldn't be farther from the truth. But there are distinct advantages to the victim mentality. You can place the blame somewhere else. You can look outside yourself with the illusion that not only the blame but the control of the situation is out of your hands. And this is the biggest roadblock to both healing and cure.Because in order to heal at the cellular level, you have to look deep inside yourself.

But first I had a few pressing questions for senior partner.
  • Was this standard procedure for this type of cancer? "Yes."
  • So no matter where we would go to have it done, they would still remove the cheek, sew the eye, and remove the lymph nodes? "Yes."
  • Would you mind if we got a second opinion? "No, not at all."
  • Will you be doing the surgery? "Yes."
  • Have you had any other cases where you performed this surgery? "Yes, two of them."
  • Are they still alive? "Sadly, no."
Sadly, no, you will not be performing this surgery on my husband.

I must say, he really seemed sincere. And I don't mean to sound ungrateful. He was very kind. And he had beautiful skin. ( I almost asked him about moisturizers) But because of the actions of his younger partner, I really wasn't sure if they were being truthful, or if they really needed to go back in there because the first surgery had gone so wrong. I think that the young, cocky surgeon got in way over his head. Why else would you leave someone with a "squirt gun" ear?

The two of them wanted to operate that Friday. That was just a little too soon for me. I told them we needed time to process this information. They told us they had to send the cancer specimen to an Army lab for further tests because it was so rare that their lab couldn't classify it. In the car, my husband said he just wanted to get it over with and was ready to stay local and have it done in four days. But I wasn't. I needed to do some research. But first I had my most dreaded task of all. I had to tell my nine year old son that his dad had cancer.

My first born son was an only child for seven years. And before Xbox, video games, ice hockey, and cell phones, there was going to fire stations with dad, camping out with dad, learning to fish with dad, and a hundred GI Joe adventures with dad. My son had a GI Joe figure for all of us--even a nurse for me! They staged battles and took pictures and made their own GI Joe videos. When I arrived at his elementary school, I ran into my dear friend who reminded me about the PTA meeting that night. I told her that I couldn't be there. She asked what was wrong. And I broke down. I told her what we had just found out and she hugged me and cried with me. The beautiful women friends of mine in that PTA were my strength. I heard that there were lots of tears at that meeting. They organized people to bring us meals, added us to their church prayer lists, and offered to stay with my anti-social two year old who cried when anyone looked at him. Friends that we hadn't heard from since high school sent notes or prayed for us. This love and support meant the world to me.

The only thing my son remembers is the exact location of the car when I told him. He was worried, but okay. It was hard to see his dad laying there on the couch staring at the fire, withdrawn from all of us.
Later that night, when everyone was asleep, I looked up "adenocarcinoma of the parotid gland" on the internet. Indeed, the surgical procedure seemed to be the same. One doctor in England seemed to be considered an expert so I emailed him and explained to him what we had been told and asked if he had any advice. He was very nice and emailed me back. But the verdict didn't change, nor did the procedure. I wondered if I was just in denial. What if I had to accept that this mutilating surgery was the only way?

By now, I had been juicing for almost ten years. I wore out my cassette that came with my "Juiceman" juicer, by Jay Kordich. I was drinking a green drink periodically and I had the book, "Sick and Tired, Reclaim Your Inner Terrain. I was receiving a newsletter from a distributor of Dr. Young created products named Steve. I knew Dr. Young was a great microscopist and alkalizing was good for your blood, but it never occurred to me that this could help with cancer. This was all pretty new to me, and I was just beginning to understand. I didn't know Steve and had never met him, but he seemed to know Dr. Young and sold his products so I asked him if he knew what specific products Dr. Young might recommend for cancer. And then I fell asleep.

The next day, Steve emailed me back and sent me an article about a guy with Stage 4 lung cancer that had beat the odds by following Dr. Young's program. He didn't know what specific products he had used, but he asked me, "Why don't you call Dr. Young and talk to him. He does consultations."

Two days later, I was anxiously preparing for my phone consultation. Remember, this was almost 11 years ago. I was still in "nurse" mode. I gathered the few test results and lab reports that I had in case he had questions for me, and called Dr. Young. He didn't need to know any of that. He asked me one question:
Is your husband ready to take responsibility for his health? Yikes, I wasn't ready for that one!

At first I was a little surprised at his matter of fact attitude. There was no pity in his voice. Only strength and conviction. There was no hesitation and he was absolutely certain that my husband had to change his diet and alkalize his blood. My specific concern was losing those lymph nodes. Lymph tissue is a blessing. It surrounds foreign bodies to stop them from multiplying and migrating. I asked Dr. Young how long did my husband need to be on the greens before his lymph nodes would be clear. He said two weeks. I had my answer. I knew what to do. Dr. Young was so absolutely certain about his research that he gave me the confidence and the un-waivering belief that in two weeks there would be no trace of cancer. I tried to explain it to my husband, but he wasn't processing much. The only thing he remembers me telling him was, "Give me two weeks, and you'll be okay." And we immediately changed our diet and went green. I ordered Supergreens, Prime pH, MycoDetox I and II and Fibrada. The cloud had lifted for me. Dr. Young empowered me to be the rock, when everyone else was crumbling. And to be honest, I was on my own. People listened to me extol the virtues of Dr. Young and alkalinity, but no one seemed convinced. I always got the silence and blank stare. I talked to my old nurse buddies from the hospital, thinking they would be excited for me, and their response was:
"You know that natural stuff doesn't work. The cancer always comes back worse."

The only person who believed in me was my nine year old son. One of his fourth grade teachers was interested in telescopes and stargazing. So at night after his brother went to sleep, we told his dad we were going outside to "stargaze". We would sit on his swing set and talk about his concerns or fears about cancer. Once I explained the theory of alkalizing the blood, he instantly knew his dad would be okay. We built a whole GI Joe mission around taking care of our wounded soldier. He drew pictures of "green" army men in tanks and planes attacking cancer. He gave his dad a little green Army man to keep in his pocket to remind him that we were all with him and he was strong. I asked him to try to keep his dad laughing. All his fourth grade classmates wrote notes and jokes to "Mr. C."

A lot of people told my husband to get a second opinion. In fact his boss called and talked to me about going to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. We live less than 2 hours from there. I totally agreed. And so did my husband. We also got some good news from the Army lab. The cancer was not the deadly aggressive kind, but instead was a slow growing type called "acinic cell." Senior partner said the surgery would still be the same. We tried to get an appointment on our own but they said it would be weeks. We asked Senior partner if he could call for a referral to Johns Hopkins and we were able to get in the following week. I can't say enough about Johns Hopkins. It is a totally different atmosphere and an amazing healing place. The surgeon there asked my husband to get an MRI locally and bring it with him to the appointment.

By the time we went to Hopkins we had completely changed our diet. Specifically:

  • We ate no meat--but I did use Boca Burgers on occasion
  • I made fresh juice every day with apple, lemon, carrots, beets, and a pound of greens--Dr. Young would not have approved of all the sugar (apples, carrots, beets) but it was the only sugar my husband was doing at the time and I was not aware that cancer must have an abundance of sugar. I made juice based on my Jay Kordich tapes and Dr. Norman Walker book.
  • My husband super hydrated with Supergreens and Prime pH. He drank about two gallons of water a day with a scoop of Supergreens and Prime pH in each gallon.
  • We ate a lot of raw broccoli with Olive Oil and Sea Salt, fresh homemade hummus and celery, cauliflower "mashed potatoes", and Ezekialsprouted grain bread
  • He took the supplements MycoDetox I and II, and Fibrada
    I saw a huge change in my husband. He was interacting again. He went back to work with his "special diet," gallon of water and a pack of washcloths for his trigger ear. His skin cleared up and toenails grew in normally for the first time. His blood pressure was great and he lost about 20 pounds. Of course, all the doubters thought it was because he was getting sicker. At a time when he was supposed to be so ill, he looked and felt the best he ever had.

    The surgeon at Hopkins was fabulous. He examined my husband, looked at his chart and had talked to Senior partner about the previous surgery. There was a lot of conflicting information regarding the previous surgery. At one time, they had said they got all the cancer, then they said they got half the tumor and there was another half under the facial nerve. The MRI showed a spot near the surgery site that the surgeon couldn't really determine, without going back in, whether or not it was inflammation of the lymph nodes or cancer cells left behind. So my husband was given the following options:

    • Do nothing and wait. (this was my personal favorite) Since the cancer was acinic cell and slow growing, we could wait and hope that they got it all, and we were just seeing inflammation.
    • He could do one round of radiation. But you could only radiate this area once and then that would no longer be an option.
    • He could go back in and "clean up" the area to be sure there was absolutely nothing there. Clean up involved an incision along a natural crease in his neck which would barely be noticeable afterwards; he would fold back the cheek and explore the facial nerve down to the base of the brain; and lymph nodes closest to the previous surgical area. He would have the first and closest lymph node tested for the presence of cancer cells. If there was no cancer in the first lymph node, he would leave them all. I loved this man! This was approximately a two hour procedure and he would have to stay overnight. He had an opening in his surgery schedule the following week. I asked him if he had ever heard of Dr. Robert Young. He had not. I told him that we were alkalizing and doing green drinks and he wasn't going to find any cancer in those lymph nodes or elsewhere. I got the look and a smile.

    My husband was absolutely convinced that he needed the second surgery. When he saw all those pieces of his tumor after the first one, he felt for sure there were many more still left inside. So he opted for the clean up surgery. There was only one more question to ask. Would he still have this annoying tube in his ear after the next surgery? The doc laughed out loud.
    Sadly, no.

    So there we were. November 27, 2001, approximately 21 days after the first surgery, waiting for the second one to begin. We had come a long way. My husband was laughing and only slightly nervous. The students were there observing and helping him get ready. They asked us if they could have the cancer to study back in the classroom. I said, "there won't be anything in there." The surgeon laughed and told them, "His wife has him on some green diet." We signed a paper allowing them to take the specimen to study. I headed to the waiting room.

    Two hours seemed like eternity. And still I waited. I tried to read magazines, but nothing was registering. I paced. I began my typical "what if" scenario in my mind. What was taking so long if there wasn't anything in there? What if I had been wrong and the cancer had spread? This was an awful lot of pressure for a novice! Finally, the surgeon emerged and sat down next to me. He said something like: I just spent the last half hour going over this with your husband, but I doubt he will remember any of it. I explored the lymph nodes and sent a piece of the first one to the lab to be tested. There was no cancer. Just to be sure, I sent a second one. There was no cancer. There was no inflammation. I checked the facial nerve all the way back to the base of the brain. There was absolutely no cancer. In fact, I found absolutely no cancer cells anywhere.

    I wanted to go televangelist and jump up on the furniture and shout "Hallelujah."
    My husband less than a month after two major cancer surgeries. Looking pretty good! Note the bottle of greens !

    We later learned that my husbands surgeon was called before the Cancer Tumor Board to ask him why he operated on a man that clearly had no cancer. This past November, 2011, my husband was released from Johns Hopkins after ten years of follow up. He remains cancer free, medication free, and just last week helped some skinny State Trooper push two people in a jeep a quarter mile out of the middle of the road to safety. He didn't know that the parking brake was on the entire time.

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