I’m a believer in science and I love data, numbers, data, and technology.
This can make me a bit weird.
The first time I had a CT scan I wanted to take apart the equipment to see how it worked. I asked a lot of questions. Fortunately the technician was amused, not annoyed. Maybe it helped that I was diagnosed with a type of cancer that, at the time, had an estimated survival of 6 months. People tend to be kind to dying people.
Except I didn’t die.
I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast disease in 2004 when I was in my 30s.
I went off the medical reservation when it came to treatment. The doctor wanted to immediately lop off both my breasts. I asked him how he’d feel about someone removing both his testicles.
I decided to take 6 months off to do alternative stuff. I took a cancer blood marker test every month. The numbers were stable until the last month — then they spiked, so I decided to try chemo.
I don’t think I would have survived the chemo if it wasn’t for the alternative stuff.
But, there is no way to prove it. I’m an anecdote, not a research study. I do experiment with myself all the time though. I have to because doctors keep telling me I don’t have long to live. And I don’t accept that.
More recently, in 2018, I was diagnosed with a ductal carcinoma. The breast cancer had come back and grown to the size of a grapefruit. I had a mastectomy. Then, in May of 2021, I had metastatic cancer in my lung, liver and brain.
Now, my liver is cancer free. My lung cancer has shrunk dramatically. I’m waiting on an MRI to see what is going on in my brain, but I feel mentally sharp and reasonably functional though I need to take breaks and rest a lot.
Back in May, there was a 6.7cm by 5.8 cm mass on my right upper lobe. By June it had grown to 9.7 by 7.0 cm. End of August, I had 4 masses — one in my lung that was 6.6 x 6.8 cm, a paratracheal mass that was 7.1 x 6.6 cm, one in my liver that was 3.9 x 3.2cm, and lymph node involvement of 2.0 x 3.5cm.
I went through radiation treatment. I also pursued some radical alternatives.
My liver is clean. My lung mass is down to 3.4 x 4.1 cm. The paratracheal mass is down to 1.9 x 2.9. The lymph node is at 1 x 1.8.
I’ve written a couple of articles talking about some of the lifestyle changes I’ve made to fight the cancer. What I do keeps evolving as I do more research and learn more. A couple of months ago I got a call out of the blue from someone who read about me on Medium and he shared a nutritional option with me. I decided to give it a try after reading several journal articles. I always check the research before I try anything.
I’ll continue to share what I’m trying by writing articles. I’m also writing a book in which I go into a lot more detail and provide references to all the research I’ve done.
Why am I being so upfront about my data? Because I have nothing to hide.
I’m experimenting on myself in addition to being treated by my great oncologists and doctors. I believe in science and also nutrition and holistic stuff. It’s not all or nothing for me.
I am not giving medical advice.
I am not a doctor, and encourage people dealing with cancer to talk over all options with their doctors. Hopefully, my sharing my own experience and research will motivate others to have a good dialog with their own medical team. I’m a big believer in modern technology and also in empowering oneself with knowledge. So please, talk to your doctor and ask questions. If your doctor refuses to answer questions — find someone who will.
It’s important to have physicians and other professionals in your life that you trust.
It’s also important to trust yourself. You are intelligent and able to make choices that work for you. What works for me may or may not be suitable for anyone else. By honestly sharing my own experience, maybe I’ll help someone else. If my experiment fails — well, that’s also information that might help someone else.
Knowledge is power.
Here are other articles I’ve written about this go-round with cancer: