VIDEO by Robert Geiger speaking discussing “What is Cancer?” In 10 minutes, Robert gives an overview of what causes cancer and what you can do about it. It’s a great place to start in learning about cancer.
I recently had the honor of being interviewed by my friend, Louis Vitiello, and his partner on his podcast show, “Vegan vs. Carnivore.” It was a great conversation. I got to tell my story and talk about the systemic nature of Cancer Cures and how we can all get control of our health. Have a listen!
On March 25th, my mother’s birthday, I got to call her with the best birthday present…EVER! I told her that my oncologist just gave me the news that the tumors in my liver were either gone or dead! The CEA protein marker used to identify cancer in my body was almost imperceptible.
I am CANCER-FREE!!!
Since it’s been a while since my last post, here’s a recap of what’s been happening….
How it All Started
It all started nearly 15 months ago, on January 10th, when I went to the hospital thinking I was constipated and wound up needing emergency surgery to remove a tumor completely blocking my colon. A couple days later, my surgeon came into my hospital room and announced to me that I had stage 4 colon cancer with secondary metastasizes in my liver. I was just recovering from radical surgery leaving me with a huge incision on my belly and a colostomy bag hanging from my abdomen. It was not a pleasant situation, so the new diagnosis was just more bad news on top of bad news.
A couple months later, after recovering completely from the surgery, my doctors suggested that I go back in and have the ostomy “taken down” because I was doing so well. This meant they wanted to reconnect my descending colon to my sigmoid colon and make my bowels work again! This is really a very good thing. Never underestimate a properly working pooper! So, in May, four months after my first surgery, I went in again for my 2nd surgery.
What I did not realize, however, was the extent to which my body chemistry for repairing my second surgery was also so encouraging to growing cancer. Repairing large incisions requires lots of angiogenesis related chemicals in the blood that encourage capillariy growth to feed new tissue with blood. But it also supplies cancerous tumors with capillaries that help them grow!
The result was a tripling in the size of my formerly smaller, more manageable liver tumors. This was really disheartening for me. It was frightening. Up until the second surgery, I had slowed their growth using my natural therapy of diet and supplements. But, could I take care of these new larger tumors? I did not know.
Over the next few months we watched the new, larger tumors. Their growth all but stopped, but a new phenomenon occurred…Pain. Every inhalation of breath let me know they were there. Several times, after a vigorous workout on the racquetball court, I irritated the tumor on top of my liver just under my rib cage and I found out how painful it could be. I had to break out the serious pain killers and chill on the couch!
I was diligent with my diet and supplements, but the tumors were not shrinking. Up to this point, I still had not yet chosen to use chemotherapy as part of my anti-cancer regimen.
Making the Tough Choices
At end of August/Early September, my considerations were simple and the risks were pretty clear. To date, and much to the surprise of my doctors, my liver function was pristine…even though almost half my liver was now tumorous material. The risk was that, if my liver somehow started functioning less than 100%, I would now have a severe health challenge in addition to the tumors that could seriously limit my ability to sustain chemotherapy if I were to choose trying it. Stated another way, it could kill me.
I had a really tough decision to make. To do chemo, or not to do chemo.
The daily pain helped make my decision a lot easier. Even thought there was a chance that, given time, a totally natural approach might have worked, if it did not, my liver did not have any more margin for error. So, I decided to do chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy, Oh My
I started chemo at the end of September. It was as shocking to my system as it was to my psyche. During the previous 9 months, I did everything I could to get my body into the best shape I’d been in since I was 30 years old. I was, and am still, 180 pounds and in great physical shape. I could run several miles, play racquetball for 1 to 2 hours at a time with no problem, and overall, I felt fantastic!
Honestly though, in my mind and emotionally, I felt like I had failed. It took me several months to reconcile my feelings with the reality of chemotherapy. To my credit, for at least the first 8 treatments over 16 months I felt good due largely to my continued exercise, diet and supplements. My oncologist was impressed that my side effects were minimal. I did not lose my hair like so many others. I did not experience nausea or diarrhea.
But I did feel like a traitor to my own convictions. I know what causes cancer and I know how to defeat it. And yet, I had trouble shrinking those tumors. I was scared of the considerable pain they were causing. I was scared that my liver could start to fail. Fear is a powerful motivator, but I felt like a coward.
My Oncologist / Healing Partner
At this point, I need to tell you a little about my oncologist. If you have read my blog, you know that I’m a huge advocate of natural methods – and still am. At the start of my cancer journey, I decided I to pursue a natural path. But the engineer in me wanted to measure and test and monitor my results. When I met my oncologist, I told him that I was not wanting to do chemo at this time. Rather, what I wanted was a partner to help me monitor my progress while I did everything I could do for myself first. I wanted him to do the blood tests, ultrasounds, MRI’s, and any other tests as needed to let me know how things were progressing. It did not seem prudent to proceed without this kind of support.
To my surprise and his credit, he agreed. Most oncologists would have sent me packing because I was not simply agreeing immediately to their recommended course of chemotherapy.
When it came down to making the decision, I did not feel pressured by my oncologist. I felt his support and his willingness to give me the help he could. My sister, a neonatal nurse practitioner, who was also incredibly supportive of my choices to date, felt that I was at a decision point as well. But she would have supported any choice I made.
Chemotherapy, the Details
Let me take a little sidebar and tell you a bit about chemotherapy. It’s not fun. I could never really tell how I would feel on any give day. Chemo went in two week cycles. Week one was a crap shoot. Mostly, I felt effected by the chemo from a mild discomfort to feeling totally crappy and wanting to live on the couch. The second week of each cycle, I felt mostly back to normal – at least the first 8 cycles. The second week, I felt up to exercise, which is great for the body.
After 8 cycles over 16 weeks, I had another MRI. The results were more than encouraging. Tumors that were the size of my index finger were now the size of my finger nail! Needless to say, I fell to my knees and cried tears of joy and emotional relief. My oncologist recommended we stay the course and do 4 more cycles over 8 weeks to try to completely eradicate the rest of the tumors. With this much progress already made, and with my enhanced ability to handle the treatments with limited side effects, I saw no reason to stop and agreed to continue.
The Cancer Cure
At the time of this writing, it’s been a month since my last chemo treatment. I just had an MRI on March 23rd and got the results on March 25th. My sister and my wife were there with me and we all heard it together. The tumors are either gone or dead with no living tumor activity in my liver. There’s a little scar tissue, but my CEA marker reading is about 1.2 in a normal range of about 1-to-4 for non-cancer patients!
In a word, I am CANCER-FREE!
I realize now that I needn’t feel like I initially failed in my mission on my own. What I did to get myself in tip-top shape and to strengthen my immune system through exercise, diet and supplementation was a KEY part of my overall recovery process. It gave me a superior ability to withstand the chemo treatments and allowed them to work that much more effectively in my system. Also, having a rejuvenated, strong immune system is the KEY to not growing cancer in your body and not having a recurrence and having to go back for any more chemo!
I am so very grateful for all the support you have given me, from my family and friends. I’m humbled by the gracious generosity shown by so many in my darkest hours of need. All these words do not even begin to express the depths of my feelings and my gratitude.
It’s good that I have two sons, because they have been and are my strongest motivation. I want to be there when they graduate from college, get married, have children, or whatever they choose to do with their lives. I want to see who they become on their journeys. The same can be said of the rest of my family and friends. Theres so much I do not want to mis on their journeys.
In addition to my family and friends, I also owe a debt of gratitude to my oncologist for his support as a healer, and to his caring pa’s and staff. While I dreaded the possibility of having to do chemo, they made the experience as tolerable as it could have been. They were there when I needed them. They responded to my concerns and questions with candor and honesty.
I owe so much to so many. Most of all, I owe my loving wife, Nanette, who has been my rock. She has been the foundation upon which I stood during my recovery. She has stood by me every step of the way without wavering. It’s been tough on her. Yet, she gave me the space and the time to heal and supported every decision I felt I needed to make on this leg of our journey together. Thank you, my dearest Nanette.
And thank you, my readers, for all the love and support you have given me. I felt the outpouring an it gave me that much more reason to stay the course.
Two more quick mentions (sorry, it would take another 2000 words to mention everyone, so please forgive me). First, thank you to my sister Doreen for her steadfast support, love, encouragement and for being there at my oncologist appointments. Second, thank you to my friend, Christine Alexander, for visiting me in the hospital way back in January 2014 and giving me the gift of a book that set me off in the right direction from day one. I can never repay that gift and it saved my life.
Thank you all so very much. I could not have done it without all of you.
As for me now, well, life is now ahead of me again! I’ve had almost 15 months to ponder and think about my life – where I’ve been and where I want to go. My journey is far from over. I just got the confirmation that my life is now full speed ahead!
I know it’s been a while since my last update. When I last posted, I was getting ready to go back into hospital to take down my ostomy, i.e., to reconnect my colon. Since January, I’ve recovered from emergency surgery to remove a tumor blocking my colon, and then treated myself for stage 4 colon cancer. The treatment was going so sell that my oncologist suggested I just keep doing it for a while and go in for the second surgery.This from a man dedicated mostly to the use of Chemotherapy. May 9th, I went in for surgery 4 months to the day since my 1st surgery! Now that’s some progress! I checked in at 197 pounds. I was in such good shape that I had played racquetball twice in the previous week. I remember that week. I was properly dreading going in for roughly the same surgery with a similar recovery period of 4-6 weeks. I just HAD to get on the court and FEEL ALIVE! I thank my friend Lee for indulging me with some friendly competition. On May 9th, at 9 am, Nanette and I went to the hospital and check in for my 11 am surgery. It was pretty uneventful. They were expecting me. I got my ID wristband, got out of my clothes and into a hospital gown. Then up on the bed to start the IV and get me comfortable. The anesthesiologist came to visit me and offered me an epidural which I declined. I didn’t think it was smart for have people messing around with needles too close to my spinal nerves. Better safe than sorry.
Surgery, Recovery and Pain
There is a strange thing that happens when you go in for surgery. There’s the before surgery time, the surgery, and there’s recovery. It’s like you close your eyes one moment, and then almost immediately open them in recovery. There’s no sense of any time passing. For me, one moment I was very happy and comfortable. Then I was given a little something in my IV to “relax” me, and the next minute I was in absolutely excruciating agony unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. Don’t think for a minute that I’m being dramatic. I actually can’t think of words that adequately describe the despair I felt amid this agony. It was just awful. No wonder they wanted to give me an epidural block! For the rest of that day following the surgery, I just endured the pain between doses of pain killer every 8 minutes. It got so that Nanette set a timer on her phone to remind me to press the red “pain” button every 8 minutes. I did this because god forbid I went some time without pressing it, like if I dozed off. After waking up, the pain comes roaring back and I’d have to play catch up to get the pain killer level back up. It takes 3-4 presses over a half our before I would get relief because of that 8 minute between pushes limit. This went on for 4 miserable days. During this time, they got me up to walk (more like an ambling shuffle) holding on for dear life to my rolling IV bottle holder. I seemed to be slowly getting better during this time. On the 5th day, I got up for my walk and didn’t make it 75 feet from my bed. I could barely stand up. Something was wrong. Turns out that I had an infection rapidly developing under my abdominal my wounds. My surgeon came in for a look. He had to pop open some staples and literally open the incisions to allow the infection to drain. For the next 5 days I drained and received IV antibiotics to help clear it up. I didn’t get out of bed for a couple days, though, because the infection knocked me out pretty badly. By the 8th day, the infection started to get under control and I started walking around again. Things were looking well enough to send me home by the 10th day.
Before I left though, I asked to see the ostomy nurse that was so very helpful to me in January when I first got my ostomy. She showed me how to use the colostomy bags and gave me the confidence I needed to go home and do this for myself. She also gave me a bunch of supplies to get started which turned out to be over 2 months of supplies. I had no idea how generous this was of her, though, until I went to order supplies. I needed to return this favor. I found out how generous she had been to men when I ordered 3 months of ostomy supplies in April right before finding out that I was to go back and have the ostomy taken down (reconnected). I had a big box of stuff for her that cost about a thousand dollars. It was already purchased and paid for before I knew I was not going to need most of it! I told you she was generous to me. Got to pay it forward!
When I got home, my mom came to visit during the first week. This is a week when it hurts to do pretty much anything. I was so doped up, though that I’m afraid I was not much of a conversationalist. Mom was great, though, and just kept me company which was about all I was up for. This was also much different than my first hospital visit in January. In January, I was given dire news and everyone was upset. Mom was extremely troubled back then. But after 4 months of healing to the point of being told to return to the hospital and take down the ostomy because I was so strong, it was cause for celebration rather than concern. Mom was as relieved as I was. And let me tell you something, never underestimate the value of a properly working pooper! The second week, Nanette was home for 10 days. Nanette took really great care of me and I cannot thank or love her enough for doing so. She was as patient and loving as could be. I really don’t know how I could go through this without her. After that, It was just me and I pretty much focused on relaxing and healing. Somewhere during this time, around the beginning of June, I got off any medications or pain killers and my head started clearing up. It also took about as long for my intestinal tract to get back in shape, due to all the antibiotics, so I could get back on my mostly raw veggie diet. It’s hard to digest raw food without the proper intestinal bacteria to do the work!
Today was an eventful day
During this entire recovery period, I have required daily home nursing visits to tend to the two holes I had in my abdomen up until today! One has just closed up as of today on the main incision. The other is the hole from the ostomy which was as big and deep as your index finger! To be expected, I suppose, considering that this was the hole through which they put my descending colon. Combined with all the nasty intestinal bacteria it was exposed to, this hole’s been tougher to heal. Every day they came and cleaned and packed the holes so they would heal from the inside out. Today was the first day that I was able to pack this wound myself with gauze. You have to do that with deep holes. You have to help them heal from the inside out. If you just sewed them closed, the hole would fill up with infection and you could become septic and die. This is what happened to King Henry VIII with his every rotting leg wound. None of that for me, thank you As of today, I can finally take care of this remaining much smaller and manageable hole myself. It’s about the size of a nickel and a centimeter deep, but it’s now healing rapidly. It will probably be gone within the next two to three weeks.
I’m so very thankful to the nurses that visited and cared for me over these past few weeks. There’s no way I could have done it myself. Also, thanks to all the folks at Wake Med in Cary. All the staff was so very genial, friendly and professional. I always felt like I was in good hands. Another thanks goes to the surgeon who saved my life in January, and gave me back a normal functioning colon in May, Dr. Michael Malik in Cary, NC. He’s really excellent in every way as a physician and healer. Thanks also to my oncologist for suggesting I get reconnected in the first place. He’s really been quite supportive of my “complimentary” therapy. He’s done a great job of monitoring my progress and advising me on how I’m doing and interpreting the numbers for me.
First, continue healing up the last of my ostomy wound. That should be done by the end of June. Exercise to get my abdomen back in healthy working order. Lots of walking to get back my my leg strength and endurance. Cancer therapy wise, I’m continuing with the modified Budwig protocol a la Bill Henderson. To that, I’m adding some pretty strong liver cleansing using coffee enemas. I know that may sound strange, but it’s a time tested treatment that used to be in the physicians treatment books until they took it out in the 70’s. (That’s another blog post) I made a deal with my oncologist that for the next six weeks, I will be doubling down on my therapy and focusing on my liver to reduce the tumors. After six weeks, we’ll do another MRI of the liver and see what we see. I also know that I need to start thinking about the future. That’s been difficult. I think that’s yet another blog post. I’ll end this update by saying thank you to you, my readers and loyal friends and family for all the unconditional love and support you’ve given me when I’ve needed it most. Nanette and I literally could not have made it without you. It’s my mission in life to somehow pay that forward in whatever way I can.
Just want to share this interview with me that took place on Marilyn Lipman Shannon’s show, “Breaking Free,” on Monday, April 28th. I was very honored to be Marilyn’s guest and had a great time speaking about life and breaking free of cancer! Considering all the challenges I’ve had this year, and what I’ve got to break free of, it was wonderful to be able to share that with Marilyn and her listeners
For more information on Marilyn Shannon’s show, Breaking Free, please click on this link, http://www.nissancommunications.com/breakingfree.php
Last weeks post mentioned the 5 Keys to a Healthy, Cancer-Killing Immune system. This week, we’ll expand on each of the 5 keys. If you followed last weeks post, you know that you must choose to live, choose to change your lifestyle, and learn what that means in terms of the specifics. I.e., you need to know what to eat and what to not eat, for example.
1 Eat Organic, Natural Vegetarian Food
Before I even knew anything else, I knew that a vegetarian diet was best for us. Funny how I knew that, but didn’t act on it until I was diagnosed with cancer? It is said that most people only really change when they are too afraid not to.
Guilty as charged. Immediately after surgery, I started eating a vegetarian diet. I went vegan and cut out all meat and diary, and minimized all forms of sugar and glutenous flour. That means I eat mostly Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts and Legumes. You might think that’s boring. But there are some rather tasty spices that are also chock full of anti-cancer ingredients that makes it all taste great! Among the most important spices are Turmeric, Cumin, Oregano, and many others. Juicing of veggies is also a major part of most healthy diets. Alternative cancer treatments start with some form of vegetarian diet as a base and build on top of it. There is a wonderful website you can check to research this more called CancerTutor.com. Take a look and you’ll see just how essential it is to cut out the meat and diary.
Most important, avoid sugar – and the taste of sugar (sweet) – like the plague. Anything that metabolizes into
2 Alkalize your body
Most people eating a typically western diet suffer from acidosis. Acidosis is an acidic ph balance in the blood and throughout the body. It is widely recognized that disease and especially cancer likes to to live in an acidic body. The opposite is also true. Cancer can not live in an alkaline body. Take a look at the recently posted PH Food Chart and look at the right side columns to see what foods promote a healthy alkaline PH in your body. Acidic bodies are also lower in oxygen vs. Alkaline bodies which are higher in oxygen. Cancer cells are anaerobic and hate oxygen. This is why you don’t see “Heart Cancer” because the heart is the most oxygenated organ in the body getting oxygen directly from the lungs and then sending it to the rest of the body.
3 Lower your stress
Stress is more detrimental to your health than you think. Half of the US population suffers from stress related ailments. Psychological stress causes your body to generate chemicals that have adverse impact on your health overall. Cortisol is one of those chemicals that can cause all kinds of problems. Read about Cortisol it here.
Areas to look to reduce stress are:
- Your Environment. Look around you. Do you like your room? Is it a mess? How about your apartment or home? Is it conducive to relaxing and being safe and comfortable? Could you use aroma therapy like diffusing essential oils to help you relax?
- Your Job. Do you like your job? Is your job stressing you out? Can you get a job that you might enjoy more?
- Your Relationships. Surround yourself with people with positive attitudes. You don’t need to have people around you talking about negative or upsetting topics while you are recovering from cancer.
- The Nightly News. Do you really need to fill your mind with negative stories about the horrors of daily life? ‘nough said.
- Exercise. See below. Exercise is essential
- Spirituality. Whatever you believe, there are some essential concepts that you need to consider. Forgiveness is one. Grudges. Hating. Being Angry. Find a way to forgive and let it go. If you are holding onto a old offense or hurt, let it go. You don’t need it and it’s killing you, however slowly. If you pray, then speak to your God. If you don’t, then do what you need to do to find peace.
Overall, do whatever you can to reduce stress in every area of your life. Every little bit counts! Just do it.
4 Take Natural Supplements
Augment your immune system with the Immune System strengthening and supporting natural supplements that you need for your body. I know that there are literally thousands of supplements out there at the local vitamin shop or GNC store. But there are certain things that you simply must have and you may have to supplement to get it. For example, if you don’t get a lot of sun, you will need to take vitamin D. Many reportedly effective alternative cancer treatments make use of well chosen supplements to help you heal and boost your immune system.
Supplements simply can not be ignored in a cancer therapy. With Cancer, your immune system is compromised (or you would not have grown cancer). You need to mend your immune system as quickly as possible. You can only eat so much food at a time. No matter how good the food, you will need MORE nutrients than you can get from the food to initially stem the tide of cancer in your body.
I’m following the supplement regimen recommended by Bill Henderson in his book, Cancer-Free. All I can say is, it’s working for me. It’s cost effective and extremely potent.
That’s right, Exercise…and do it for the rest of your life! I read a great book called, “Younger Next Year,” by Chris Crowley. In Younger Next Year, the authors assert that you need to do something aerobic 4 times a week and strength training like [preferably] lift free weights twice a week – for the rest of your life.
That may sound brash, but it’s true. Remember the old adage, “Use it or lose it.” If you don’t exercise, you will soon BE an “old adage.” Seriously, though, cancer cells are “anaerobic.” That means a cancer cell’s metabolism does not require oxygen, nor do they like it. Cancer cells “eat” glucose. The more sugar you consume, the better your cancer cells like it. This is exactly why I suggested above that you avoid sugar and sweeteners like the plague, unless you want to feed your cancer.
What we are talking about is not just a few minor changes in your life, but a complete overhaul of your lifestyle. But it means you have a choice. You can choose to change your life and live happily for a long, long time, or do the standard chemo/radiation and be on the 2-5 year “cure” plan?
That is the question, as Hamlet put it so concisely. In my next article, I’ll expand on the 5 Keys to a Healthy, Cancer-Killing Immune System.
Again, I ask you, What are you going to do?
For all those that love you. For yourself. For all the people in your life whose lives you can be part of, I implore you to Choose Life! Carpe Diem. Seize the day.
It’s clear. You are the cure to your own cancer. It’s all you.
That may be scary. You might rather that there really was a magic pill. But there is not. You simply must choose to nurture and cure yourself.
This is what it really means to change your mindset and your lifestyle. As I said previously, I’m here to help you. I’ll publish as much as I can to help you find your own healing path. Living with cancer requires you start making better choices right now, and every now for the rest of your life.
Remember… To be or not to be. It’s your choice. Start by making one better choice for life, today!