How I "BEAT CANCER FOUR TIMES"
My story starts with feeling a burning pain in my groin. Thinking it was just a strain I ignored it for several months until it was apparent that it wasn’t going away. Going to the doctor confirmed that I had testicular cancer, and the tumor markers signified that it had spread to other organs in the body.
After having the diseased testicle removed I went back to my urologist for a follow-up consultation. He had met with a group of doctors in the area, and they all agreed that I needed a complete lymph node dissection, followed by a course of chemotherapy. I asked what a lymph node dissection was and he said that they cut you open from your chest to your pelvis. They then take out as many lymph nodes as possible.
I told my urologist that this did not sound like a fun time and that I would like to get another opinion. He gave me the name of a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic who wanted to do the same surgery. By this time I was resigning myself to a major surgery.
My cousin Denise called me. She is a registered nurse who gave me some life changing advice. She gave me the name of a published urologist at University Hospital in Cleveland. After showing him all of my records he told me that my tumor markers had come down to normal, and that I had no signs of active cancer at the time. The only course of treatment would be keeping me under observation with follow up cat scans and blood work ups. If the cancer came back he would advise three heavy cycles of chemo and that should knock it out. (Make sure that you take all of your CT scans, x-rays, blood tests, and medical records with you so the reviewing doctor can get up to speed in a matter of minutes)
When I posed the question that the other two surgeons wanted to do a complete lymph node dissection, he said that they were totally useless. “We haven’t done those in ten years.” That was a “water shed” moment for me. If I hadn’t gotten that last expert opinion I would have gone through a terrible surgery for nothing.
To make a long story short, the cancer reappeared a year later. When I went in for chemotherapy, my oncologist wanted me to have a “Pet Scan” done to see where the cancer had metastasized (spread) to.
Being very inquisitive, I asked how a “Pet Scan” worked. My oncologist explained that a radioactive marker is mixed with glucose (sugar) then injected into your bloodstream. A scan is then performed to see where any active cancer calls are.
My oncologist explained that cancer cells are stupid. The minute they see sugar they start eating it, and since they have the ability to eat more sugar than normal cells, they light up like Christmas trees when they’re photographed or scanned.
This was another “water shed” moment. So cancer cells thrive on sugar, very interesting. The fact that cancer cells and tumors can be detected just by the amount of radioactive glucose they have consumed should tell us something about our diet.
I also asked if a cancer patient should take vitamins, herbs, and supplements during chemotherapy or radiation? “Herbs generally should not be taken during treatment, but you can take whatever you want. I’m just not sure how it will affect the potency of the drugs being administered”, she replied. My quest to find the “Keys to Surviving Cancer” had begun.