Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Got My Fishes!

Well! Belated Happy New Year to all! I am long overdue for an update, I know. Much has happened, and I am excited for the opportunity to share my experiences w/you all. Get cozy… This is a bit long. Sorry!!

As you all know, since the fall I have been getting treated by my naturopathic doctor, having 2 full regimens (20 total treatments) of intravenous Vitamin C, and also hyperthermic (heat) treatments off and on. (I have many of you to thank for making these treatments financially possible!) I have also been exercising, making dietary changes, and taking supplements to fight cancer.

January rolled around, and my oncologist and I determined it was time for another PET scan to evaluate the status of the cancer. This was a “you win some, you lose some” kind of victory. The spots on the ribs, pelvic bone, and tailbone appear to have vanished! (Hooray!) However, the spot on the sternum has grown a bit, and a handful of lymph nodes in and around the chest and armpit areas are still lighting up. So… we are still fighting the same fight. I feel fortunate that I have not really lost any ground.

That being said, I have felt a renewed determination to get even more aggressive. I felt that something was lacking in my current care, but didn’t know what that “something” was… Then, from an unlikely source, I heard of a holistic/naturopath doctor in Scottsdale named Martha Grout who was reportedly “curing cancer.” (She, of course, does not make that claim, or she’d be shut down by the powers that be!) I researched her and discovered that she offered many of the treatments I had read about two years ago, but didn’t think anyone in Arizona offered them! (such as diagnostic blood work from Europe, and treatments like alpha lipoic acid, and IPT, which is a low-dose chemo) She was an MD for 25 years prior to becoming a natural/holistic doctor. I had a phone consultation with her and was greatly impressed. Scott and I then met her and liked what she had to offer.

It was at this point that I had another faith-building experience. The fee for what Dr.Grout wanted to do—just diagnostically to get the ball rolling—was about $4000. It was for a Biofocus blood test, which would be sent to a lab in Germany. This test would find and isolate circulating tumor cells in my blood and test them extensively to find out what treatments are most effective to defeat the cancer. It would test all of the different chemotherapies, as well as heat treatments, mistletoe extract, and other therapies. If specific chemos proved effective against my tumor cells, I was prepared to begin a regimen of Insulin Potentiation Therapy—IPT, or personalized low dose chemo, which uses a fraction of what conventional oncologists are prescribing, but targets the cancer using its weakness for sugar. This made sense to me, and I was willing. The initial lab bill, however, caused some hesitation. $4000?! I was far short of that in my medical bank account, having depleted funds in financing the Vitamin C treatments. But each time I prayed about what to do, I felt incredible peace that I was on the right track and that the Lord would provide. Of course, the adversary works on us, as he always does, and left me doubting. Would exhausting all the funds (and using credit if needed) be reckless? Would I be a foolish steward over that sacred money that was supplied by brotherly love? Or would taking that leap be an act of faith and trust in God? I wavered for days despite the answer Scott and I both had already been given. Then, one morning I had the Lord tell me in black & white…

I knelt to pray, as I always do in the mornings, in the same spot at the foot of my bed. There I found our church magazine, the Ensign, sitting square beside my spot. I quickly flipped thru it and landed on an article titled, “The Savior’s Compassion” by S. Kent Brown. I noticed a blurb indicating it was an article about the miracle of the fishes. I assumed it was a reference to the Savior feeding the thousands with the fishes and loaves, and decided that if anyone needed a fishes and loves kind of miracle, I did. I decided to read it that morning over breakfast. It actually turned out to be an article about the miracle of the fishes almost causing the fishermen’s nets to burst and to practically sink two boats, and how in that miracle, the Savior showed his compassion for his newly called apostles. I realized upon completion of that article that this was PRECISELY what my Father in Heaven wanted me to read that day, and that He wanted me to know He would provide. I prayed and received that confirmation yet again. After that, I would not turn back or doubt my decision to pursue the expensive testing. (Interesting note: When I tried to quickly flip to that article easily that night to show Scott, it was hard to find! It was not at the centerfold or any dog eared pages. The fact that I landed on it so easily that morning was further testament to me that I needed to read it. Here is the link to that article, if you’re interested:

The doctor was kind enough to let me pay for just half of the blood test up front. When the Biofocus lab received my specimens, they discovered NO circulating tumor cells! Which is GREAT NEWS! It means my body is doing its job to keep the cancer at bay. Other good news: Because they found no circulating tumor cells, they could not perform all of the diagnostic testing, and for that reason, the lab bill was less than half of what was anticipated! The Biofocus lab folks did test my blood for NK cell activity (Natural Killer cells), and discovered my NK activity to be very low. To build that up, the decision was made to put me on thymus, and also Iscador (a mistletoe extract). Iscador comes from Europe and is not cheap, but is far less expensive than chemo!! I will self-inject it into my stomach 3x/week. I was taught there and then, on the spot, and injected myself with my first dose. When we settled up the bill, I had a credit from my previous payment, and not only did it cover the Iscador and the thymus, but it left me with $8 extra to go toward a future appointment, as well as a bit of funds still in the M&I medical account. God DID provide!! I thanked Him fervently! I am so blessed that He has let me know time and time again in this battle that he is ABSOULTELY aware of me, and is here for me!

I still have an uphill climb ahead, and I know I will continue to need help, but I am optimistic that I will KICK this thing in the pants. It will not beat me. I am ready to keep up the fight, and I am happy!

Thanks for all the continued love and support! I love you all!