My Story cont'd
In the week leading up to the meeting with the neurosurgeon there was a lot of time for reflection; time to try and process the events that brought me to this point. I’m sure its just human nature but this is where my mind took me on a journey searching for answers to questions that likely go through everyone’s mind that faces a life threatening event like this. How did this happen to me? Am I going to die? What can I do to get better? Where do I go for answers? How will this impact the rest of my life? and on and on and on. I’m sure my mind was still going through these questions and more on the day we went to see the neurosurgeon. Although his news had been very serious on the phone his demeanor in the office seemed somewhat calming and it put both my wife and myself slightly at ease. He delivered his recommendations (chemo and radiation) in a matter of fact style and suggested someone from the Cross Cancer Clinic would be in touch to advise us what the schedule would be. Before we left I remember asking him what I should be doing to help myself in the meantime and his response left me a little disappointed. He suggested that I should just eat a normal diet and not drink too much (it was right around Christmas time). I know I left thinking, Is that the best you got? I’m not sure if my wife and I discussed it on the ride home but it really bothered me. As a matter of fact, I’m sure it was his comment that gave me a bit of determination to find a better solution.
The idea of chemo and radiation went against everything my wife and I had learned about the effects of cancer treatment over the years, but after much discussion and prayerful thought I/we elected to go for the first round of chemo and radiation, which would last about 6 weeks. I say ‘we’ because through it all we were really in this battle together. The chemo was in the form of capsules and I took it 7 days a week for the full 6 weeks; the radiation was 5 days a week for 6 weeks and each session took about 30 minutes to complete. Most of that time was in setup, though. There were 3 separate beams that I was ‘hit’ with and each blast would only last a minute or so. The rest of the time was changing positions for the next beam. I did feel nausea on the very first day of chemo but after that the chemo didn’t seem to bother me at all. It was late in the process when the radiation took it’s toll on me, though. I remember being in the shower one morning and shampooing my hair. I looked down at the drain and saw an unusual amount of hair in the little drain basket we used in the drain. When I looked in my hands and saw whole clumps of hair I knew exactly what was happening. By the time I finished my shower there were clumps of hair all over the tub and my hair was starting to look quite sparse in places; mainly where the radiation beams entered. Wow! That was fairly shocking at the time but there wasn’t anything I could do but accept it. It took me a few days to come to terms with my next move but I eventually just had to ‘buzz’ it all off. Done! No more clumps of hair in the shower; no more funny looking hairdo’s; just the new sleek chrome-dome look that radiation generally causes. It took a little while to get use to it but there really wasn’t any alternative and it was going to grow back anyway; at least most of it.
After the 6 weeks of chemo and radiation the chemo oncologist suggested I continue with the second round of chemo (because that was their protocol), only this round would be 2 1/2-3 times the level I had just finished. In my mind that was really going to trash my immune system so I asked the doctor if I could see a copy of the clinical trials and she complied. In summary, the trials revealed that the chemo I was on was an alkalating agent similar to the mustard gas that was used in the first World War. It was destructive to all cells and not just cancer cells, so yes my immune system would be trashed and all for a meagre 2 1/2 more months of life expectancy. Plus, at what quality of life would those last months be. For me that just seemed to be a lot more of a gamble than trying to find a more healthy route to fight the cancer. I politely declined the oncologist’s offer of more chemo but suggested I would still like to be monitored with followup MRI’s. She agreed and said I could opt back into their protocol at any time if that was my desire.
With the medical side behind me now, I knew I had to turn over every rock to find an alternative therapy that could give me better odds at fighting this cancer. I had already started some research while I was on the first round of chemo and radiation but now I had to kick it up a notch.
With the help of our chiropractor friend whom I felt was just as knowledgeable as a naturopath, we began to map out a health regimen that seemed to show results almost immediately.
Most of the initial changes I made had to do with diet. I eliminated alcohol, sugar and artificial sweeteners, coffee, fast foods, and junky snack foods, white flour (cookies, cakes, bread, etc) white rice, white pasta, no pork products or processed meats (including bacon). I increased my intake of fruits and vegetables, clean filtered water (no tap water). We also created a supplement program that focused on three things” keep the liver clean, keep the bowels moving and build the immune system. I was also using a natural alternative that I think was instrumental in helping to fight the cancer as well. I won’t go into all the details of the whole program here but those that are interested can contact me for more information.
I’m still doing a lot of things we put in place originally with slight changes here and there. My program with Cross Cancer Clinic ended after 5 years so now I get an annual MRI arranged through my family doctor; just to continue the monitoring.
We had an opportunity to see the neurosurgeon in November of 2018 and during our visit my wife asked him if he had seen anyone with a tumor like this survive past 5 years. He replied “l’ve been doing this for 13 years and I’ve never seen anyone survive this long.”
Bob Scribner – Edmonton, Alberta