Cancer The Path to Healing: This has got to come out…
On October 4, 2000, the worst nightmare of my life occurred…
I still faintly remember the terrifying words the doctor spoke as he patted me on the leg during the colonoscopy procedure: “This has got to come out!” He was referring to a two-inch tumor in my sigmoid colon. Through the haze of the IV drugs, that were supposed to put me to sleep, I was awake enough to see the horrendous-looking tumor on the huge monitor. I slowly nodded my head in agreement.
Two days later the biopsy came back and the doctor called with the news that indeed, the tumor was malignant. My doctor recommended a highly respected Houston Gastroenterologist surgeon and on Monday afternoon, October 9, my husband Robert and I sat in the surgeon’s office while he explained the operation needed to remove the tumor. As I signed the papers to have the surgery and picked a day for surgery, I felt like I was walking through a dense fog in which I hoped would clear up and I would find all of this was just a dream.
At 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 11, I was wheeled to surgery to have the tumor removed and a colon resection performed. During the four hour surgery twelve inches and twenty-one lymph nodes were taken from my colon and the surrounding area. The surgeon pronounced the surgery a success and seemed very happy that he was able to “get everything that he could see.” After a week in the hospital, I went home feeling very well. We waited for the pathology report. The result was that out of twenty-one lymph nodes seventeen had cancer cells involved. I was devastated. My mind felt like it was spinning out of control. Stress was becoming more of a way-of-life than an occasional visitor.
Six Months of Preventative Double-Whammy Chemotherapy
I was referred to a worldwide, well-known oncologist in the Houston Medical Center. During my first appointment he was visibly concerned because a CAT scan had not been performed “before” surgery. He made the comment that he certainly “hoped” the cancer had not spread to other organs, specifically the liver…something I had not even thought about nor was mentioned as a possibility by the surgeon! The CAT scan had not been performed before surgery because there had been a scheduling conflict and they were eager to get me into surgery ASAP. So now after the normal tumor marker test and blood work, I was scheduled for a CAT scan that evening. I was, once again, very stressed and very nervous about the outcome. I remember praying that night and, through my tears, begging God that the doctor’s words would be “you are well.”
Soon I was back in the oncologist’s office for the results of the CAT scan and the lab work. The results of the tumor marker test and blood work came back well below normal (which is usually the norm when all of the tumor is removed) and the CAT scan did not show evidence of metastasis in any other organs. The oncologist words were: “you are well” (yes, he used those exact words – God answered my prayer!); however, he wanted me to do “preventive” chemotherapy for six months. He also suggested we do what he called a “double whammy” which would include the chemotherapy drugs 5-FU, Camptosar (irinotecan) and leucovorin (considered a vitamin – Folinic acid). Instead of using the FDA two-drug approach, he explained the third drug, leucovorin, would “supposedly” keep the side effects down from the other two drugs. I found out a year later that the FDA briefly stopped clinical trials on Camptosar because people were dying from being given doses that were too high. It’s amazing that it took the FDA five years from the time that Camptosar was introduced to the market to “realize” that the doses begin given were too high and thus causing death! At the present, the FDA recommends a “reduction in the starting dose” when using Camptosar. The oncologist assured me that side effects would be minimal…no nausea, minimal hair loss…the most pronounced side effect would be diarrhea, which could easily be controlled with Imodium AD.
I had the first chemotherapy treatment on December 14, 2000 two weeks after having emergency gallbladder removal. The cycle would involve one treatment each week for four weeks and then one week off. As the IV started through the port-a-cath, I could actually taste the drugs almost immediately and could even feel them going through my body. I remember feeling it behind my eyes. I asked the nurse if this was normal, and with a smile she assured me that it was.
After the second treatment the diarrhea started, and it was relentless. No amount of Imodium AD helped. Nausea followed, and not even a $1500 bottle of an anti-nausea prescription med would touch it. No foods or drinks looked good to me, not even water. Needless to say, Christmas 2000, was a huge blur.
By the third visit, I had lost seven pounds in one week. After the fourth chemo treatment, I ended up in the hospital with severe dehydration and was given eight bags of fluid in the course of one evening. I didn’t know it at the time, but Robert told me (years later) that the doctor was very concerned as to whether or not I would be able to even walk out of the hospital. I knew in my heart that I could not keep this up and still be alive in 6 months.
Emotionally, I was a wreck. Physically I felt horrible. A feeling of hopelessness had set in, and I began to feel like I would never be well again.
Cancer The Path to Healing: Stopping…Stepping Out of the Box
During my week off of chemo, as I was lying awake one night (sleep did not come easy during this time), I prayed and asked God that if He didn’t want me to do the chemo to show me by allowing my husband, Robert, to agree that we should look into some alternative methods. Robert, a paramedic, had really wanted me to do the chemo thinking that it was my only hope to get well. The next day, I took a big breath and said to Robert, “Maybe we should consider stopping the chemo and begin to look into alternative methods.” To my great surprise, he replied, “I’ve already been doing some research on the Internet and I think there’s another route we should take a look at.” Hallelujah!! God had given me an answer plain and clear! We ordered six books off of the Internet pertaining to alternative medicine and the treatment of cancer and I literally devoured them in a week’s time. I was so very encouraged by what I read and for the very first time since the initial diagnosis I began to feel there were answers and, most importantly, maybe I could actually get well. It was as if cool water was being poured into my parched and weary soul.
In the meantime, we went back to the oncologist and told him that I wanted to stop the chemo. He told me that I (a private piano teacher) and one other musician were the only ones having problems with the side effects from the “drug cocktail”. These side-effects included unrelenting nausea, diarrhea, blisters on the ends of the fingers, red spots on the legs, weight loss, loss of hunger, lack of energy and dehydration. When I told him my husband and I were going to look into alternative treatments, he reminded me of the statistics and stated that one of his patients with colon cancer had tried the alternative route and had to return and do chemo. To this day I’m not sure why he felt like he needed to say those words unless, of course, he was trying to scare me into staying with conventional treatment. An important thing to remember is that cancer statistics come from people who are using conventional medicine as their primary treatment. I believe that if statistics were done on those that use alternative medicine as their primary treatment, we would see a huge difference.
The oncologist suggested that I take a month off and then come back. According to him I would then continue the FDA approved regimen, which statistically would only give me a thirty percent chance of not having a recurrence. I was not willing to go through the hellacious side-effects of chemo with a seventy percent chance that the cancer would come back and in the process wreck my immune system! We told him we would think about it but we both knew we would not be back. I remember feeling such a sense of relief and freedom as I walked out of that office. I felt like I was breaking out of prison!
The Search for an Alternative Doctor
Robert and I knew in our hearts that alternative treatment was where God was leading us. Now our job was to find a trustworthy doctor in the Houston area. I thought this would be the easy part since Houston is over-flowing with doctors. However, I quickly learned most doctors providing alternative medicine treatment keep low profiles, especially if they are helping people with cancer. Legally, they can make no claims, even if what they are doing works. Robert went to an alternative medicine site on the Internet and typed in “Houston, TX.” Two names came up–Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, of the famous Burzynski Clinic, and Dr. Edward Group, of Global Healing Center. We were familiar with Dr. Burzynski because of some trouble he had been in with the FDA a few years back over his anti-neoplastons therapy – which, by the way, is successful for many with cancer. We thought he must have been doing something right since the FDA and the State of Texas were continually after him. We called the clinic and learned the cost for his services was not within our financial reach and that a $15,000.00 retainer fee was required in case our insurance would not pay. It was money we just didn’t have. Robert went ahead and made an appointment for a consultation thinking we could at least hear what Dr. Burzynski had to say. Next, Robert decided to call Global Healing Center and spoke with Joan Group who was the receptionist/secretary. He was very impressed by her kindness and concern. We found out that Dr. Group offered a two-hour consultation for a price we could definitely afford. Robert scheduled an appointment and canceled the appointment with Dr. Burzynski.
Cancer The Path to Healing: Our Introduction to Alternative Medicine
Not really knowing what to expect, we were very apprehensive about the first visit. As we listened intently to Dr. Group’s presentation, we quickly realized that everything he was saying held true to what we had been researching. We were impressed by his knowledge, his professionalism, his compassion and his tell-it-like-it-is approach. He told us that when you get the body cleansed and healthy and the immune system functioning properly, cancer couldn’t take-hold under these conditions. He was very patient in answering our many questions. We were impressed and told him we needed to pray and talk and then we would make our decision. Dr. Group put no pressure on us and thanked us for coming in.
This is Where I’m Supposed to Be
As we left the office and walked into the elevator, I told Robert, “I really believe this is where God wants me.” Looking back, I cannot explain why I was so certain except to say that it was definitely a GOD-thing. However, we would need help financially in paying for Dr. Group’s services. The “wonderful” insurance that we paid for every month would not cover one penny of this protocol, even though it would be considerably less than six months of chemotherapy (one month had amounted to over $18,000!), pharmaceutical drugs for side-effects and most likely more than several hospital stays. I dropped Robert off at work after we both agreed to pray that if this was where I was to receive treatment, God would provide the financial means. As I drove home by myself, I had a long out-loud conversation with God: “God, you know we don’t have the money to manage this, but since you led us to Dr. Group, I’m going to take my hands off of this and leave all the particulars up to you. I feel in my spirit this is exactly where you want me, but I need your confirmation.” At that moment there was an unexplainable peace that washed over me and for the first time in many, many months, I actually felt fear leave my mind.
That very afternoon our answer came. My parents called and asked how the appointment went and I explained what had happened and how I felt this was where I needed to be. To my surprise, they told me they had already decided to pay for the program! That’s right…once again, God had provided His answer!
“Where God guides, God provides.”
Robert and I were in tears at how God was continuing to show His provision in my life. We called Joan Group the next day and asked her to schedule my first appointment. I started on my healing program the next week, February 2001. I was so appreciative and excited to finally be on a program that would not harm my body but would actually help it to get healthy. This program, or “regimen” as I now like to call it, was extremely intense, but I was more than willing to do whatever was necessary to get well. My weekly schedule consisted of an appointment with Dr. Group and then on to Whole Foods to buy my healthy food for the week. It took a long time for my body to detoxify from just one month of chemotherapy as well as all the other toxins that were in my body from years of abuse. But as the cleansing process continued, to my amazement, I could see that changes were gradually beginning to take place not only in my body, but also in my mind.
My Individual Program
My program consisted of cleansing the entire body…liver/gall bladder flushes and digestive tract cleansing with Oxy-Powder®, and oxygen-based colon cleanser, as well as harmful organism cleansing and heavy metal cleansing, organic vegetarian diet along with vegetable juicing, ozonated water (super-charged water – machine I used), hi-tech supplementation including pancreatic enzymes, exercise and lymphatic drainage techniques, energy balancing, skin brushing, zapping and toxin removal baths. I completely changed all my cosmetics, skin care and hair products, deodorant, laundry soap, etc. to “non-toxic” products. We purchased shower filters and a water filter for the kitchen faucet. I did not put my hands or body in any chlorinated water. I used gloves when washing dishes and cleaning. We purchased a negative ion air purification system for the main living areas of our home. We also placed EMF protection on cell phones, in the living area and on the computers. I also learned about aromatherapy using essential oils and Rose Bulgaria became my favorite because of its calming effect on my body. I kept myself educated by reading positive and up-lifting books and by listening to healing music such as The Mozart Effect every morning as I was getting dressed. I distanced myself from any type of negativity (including some friends), which also meant that I didn’t watch much TV. I took long walks, meditated on Scripture and recited positive affirmations to myself.
I had a weekly appointment with Dr. Group for chiropractic, quantum energy work/hands on healing and program accountability – I needed to be held accountable and to make sure that I was doing my program correctly. I had told Dr. Group, in the beginning, that if he asked me to stand on my head for three hours each day, I would do it because I didn’t want to have to do chemo…ever! I was very faithful to the program that was set up for me. I was honest with myself and with Dr. Group. I knew that I had to take whatever time necessary for “me” in order for my body to heal properly. At first I felt like I was being very selfish with my “me” time (most Moms will understand this feeling) but in the grand scheme of life, taking six months to a year or more to heal is just a small part of our time here on earth. I learned that the job allocated to me was to do the protocol and to work on getting well – not constantly questioning the protocol or supplements or dwelling on the “what ifs” of life. Dr. Group’s job, in my mind, was to put together the protocol that God wanted for me, thus I needed to keep my hands out of it and just focus on “my job.” I mention this because the job of getting well and staying well is a huge one and not to be taken lightly. It takes both physical and mental energy. I fully believe it also takes a team effort. The last thing I needed on my plate was to try to do or question Dr. Group’s job. Basically it’s called trust and faith that God is big enough to have everything in order and control. I decided to have faith that God would show Dr. Group what to use and to trust that Dr. Group was listening and implementing.
Cancer The Path to Healing: The Emotional Aspect of Cancer
One very important aspect that I want to mention is the emotional effect that a cancer diagnosis has on a person. During my initial consult, Dr. Group asked me how I was doing emotionally. I told him I was devastated and not handling the diagnosis well. My mind seemed to be completely “out-of-control” with an over-abundance of “what ifs” and made-up scenarios. I had a very bad case of “victim” mentality. Each week Dr. Group counseled and educated me about the tools needed to get control of my mind and emotions. I’ll admit I wasn’t a very fast learner in this area. I needed to hear concepts over and over and finally I would start to grasp some of them…still very slowly, though. In a nutshell, I needed to actually believe (mind and heart) that I would get well; however, my mind kept reminding me that I didn’t know very many with cancer who had actually achieved wellness and stayed well. Seemingly, my biggest battle was with my mind!
Dr. Group suggested that I think of my progress as climbing a ladder. It was okay to stay on the same step for a short time, but I needed to be careful not to fall back. Did I take some steps back? You bet I did. Between Dr. Group and Robert, I wasn’t allowed to stay on those steps for very long. Both of these men were tremendous coaches and were not one bit afraid of “getting on my case” when I tended to get overwhelmed with self-pity or doubt. I realize, now, just how important it is to have people who are willing to “kick your backside” in order to get you back on track. Yes, there is a time and place for sympathy, but not when you are out there fighting for your life!
Time to Test…Dealing with Negativity
In April of 2001, Dr. Group decided it was time to do an AMAS test, a highly sensitive blood test that measures cancer cells in the blood. It can detect cancer cells as early as sixteen months before the conventional tests. A normal or cancer-free score is 134 and below. My first reading was 188, which was on the high side of low. I was not happy with the results and immediately allowed my mind to convince me that I was getting worse instead of better. The tears flowed and defeat, once again, was knocking at the door of my mind. Had I made the wrong choice? Was choosing alternative medicine playing with my life? All kinds of questions entered my mind and, yes, panic was beginning. As I talked to Dr. Group about the results, he said that he believed this number was actually on its way down and that I would continue to get well and would be okay. (Years later I learned that he had not wanted to do an AMAS test in the beginning because he knew it would probably come back on the high side and the effect on me, emotionally, would not be conducive to my health.) On its way down? I would continue to get well and be okay? Hmmm, with my negative thinking, I had never even entertained the possibility that the numbers were going down! And, by the way, Dr. Group was correct – the numbers were on their way down!
In the meantime, I continued to notice that my body was becoming more and more healthy. Between October 2000, and August 2001, I had lost eighty-two pounds, which I desperately needed to lose, by just focusing on getting my body healthy. Friends and family began telling me how great I looked and how they couldn’t believe I was the same person who had been diagnosed with cancer in October. One of my aunts told me I looked like a teenager and she even had her glasses on! One evening we were in a restaurant and a family we had been on church youth trips with didn’t recognize me and actually thought Robert had a new wife! (Well, in reality, he did!) To this day, we chuckle about that incident! Seriously, I actually felt better than I had in twenty years. My energy levels were tremendous. Slowly but surely even my confidence level was rising. I was becoming reacquainted with good health and well-being. You see, I had totally forgotten what it was like to be healthy and I must say that I liked what I was feeling on the inside and what I was seeing in the mirror.
Time Away to Reflect
During July of 2001 we took a vacation to Payson, Arizona and met up with some of our family. It was so nice to be able to get away to such a beautiful and peaceful place. Robert bought a large tackle box in which to carry all my supplements. Once we arrived in Phoenix we immediately went to Whole Foods in order to purchase food to take to Payson. While I could have chosen to “take a break” from my protocol, I believed that since cancer doesn’t take a break, neither would I…sort of a “no excuses whatsoever” stance. Even at the restaurants we frequented, I made sure that I was making healthy choices that were on or close to my protocol.
Robert and I were able to get away one day and take a trip up to the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had ever been and we were excited to get to go by ourselves. What a magnificent work of God’s creation! At one point during our walk there was a place where people could actually walk out on a platform that literally jutted out from the sides of the canyon. As I walked onto the platform (very timidly, since I have a fear of heights), I suddenly noticed I was there by myself. As I stood there looking at the vastness of the canyon (while holding tightly to the rail), it came to me that if God could create something this awesome and spectacular, then He could certainly heal me from cancer. In fact, that is exactly what I prayed at that moment. I remember the wind beginning to softly blow and the different colors of the canyon seemed to glow as the sun’s rays fell gently on the sides of the canyon. As I turned to walk away, once again I felt like everything was going to be okay.
As I stood there looking at the vastness of the canyon (and holding tightly to the rail!), it came to me that if God could create something this awesome and spectacular, then He could certainly heal me from cancer.
Cancer The Path to Healing: Second AMAS Test…SWEET RESULTS!
On August 13, 2001, I did another AMAS test. I was so apprehensive about the results, but I was told so many times that I was okay, I was actually allowing myself to believe it. (Well, most days anyway.) On Thursday, August 16, 2001, I went in for my weekly appointment. As I was driving to the appointment, I felt a definite peace and calmness, but…my mind continued to wonder “why” Dr. Group had not called me about my results like he usually did when I had lab work. Should I be worried? Does this mean the results are not good?
As I entered Dr. Group’s office, I sensed something different. “Hey, Dr. Group. How are you?” I said. He looked up and said with a smile, “I’m fine…and so are you!” Dr. Group’s next words were: “You are cancer-free!” Dr. Group was ecstatic to tell me that my number was 76! NORMAL! I could not believe what I was hearing. Of course, I had to see the report for myself. CANCER FREE! What wonderful words those were to my ears. Words I had prayed over and over to hear. Could I really let myself believe those words? Not many people diagnosed with cancer get the privilege to hear such good news. And with conventional medicine the words now used are “no evidence of disease” or “remission”…but I like the word “CURED”. I didn’t know whether to cry, jump for joy or scream!
My family and friends were elated. Needless to say, I was elated also, but still…a bit cautious.
I had learned so much during the previous ten months – from diagnosis to healing. Thanks to my new found interest in natural medicine and Dr. Group’s encouragement, I began studying for my CN (Certified Nutritionist) certification and then on to study to become a Naturopathic Practitioner, a Holistic Health Practitioner and a Certified Herbalist while doing an alternative medicine internship under Dr. Group. If anyone would have told me that all of this would be the result of a cancer diagnosis, I would have told them they were crazy.
Truly, God gives beauty for ashes; Strength for fear; Gladness for mourning; Peace for despair.
(Crystal Lewis – Beauty for Ashes)
Cancer The Path to Healing: YES…There ARE Answers!
l now know that cancer doesn’t have to be regarded as the dreaded disease that conventional medicine makes it out to be. There are answers and those diagnosed must be willing to take the time to research and to educate themselves. Statistics now say that one in three people will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. In my opinion, this definitely qualifies cancer as an epidemic. Those with cancer or any other degenerative disease must understand that there are choices – good choices that can work without causing more health concerns down the road – effective choices which are actually non-toxic and good for the body.
In September 2002 I had the privilege of attending and giving a portion of my testimony during the ABEIM Cancer Symposium Speaker’s Banquet in Dallas, Texas. Many of the brightest minds in alternative cancer medicine were in attendance. I was literally in “alternative medicine heaven” and was so excited to actually meet many of the doctors whose books I had read at the beginning of my “path to healing.” At the Speaker’s Banquet everyone was asked to get up and give a two-minute introduction. Dr. Group nudged me to take a turn. In my heart I really wanted to take that opportunity to publicly thank all the wonderful doctors, including Dr. Group, who have not been afraid to “step-out-of-the-box” when it comes to non-toxic cancer protocols. I wanted them to hear a huge THANK YOU from a stage three colon cancer patient who was now absolutely cancer-free. But I was also a bit apprehensive in speaking to such a large group. So I spoke and tried not to let them see my hands shake and yes I went over the two-minutes. I was so humbled to even get to be in the same room as these true healers…definitely an experience I will never, ever forget!
The Journey Continues
As of January 2017 I remain cancer free. I have certification as a naturopath practitioner (traditional naturopathy). After doing an internship under Dr. Group and serving as Vice-President of Global Healing Center for almost 4 years, I founded my own natural health and wellness company in 2004, Oasis Advanced Wellness (OAWHealth.com) Specialties include wellness coaching, women’s hormone balancing, cancer nutrition, diet/nutrition, stress reduction techniques, customized wellness programs, formulation of natural products and the formulation of an anti-aging all-natural skin care, Oasis Serene™ Botanicals.
What a journey this continues to be! I have no doubt that God has guided me through every step of my healing process and there has been a purpose for each step that had to be taken. I thank God every day for the healing He has performed in my body and for helping me to have the courage to step out-of-the-box. I also thank Robert (my soul mate and wonderful husband), Dr. Group, our daughter Brandi, my sister Denise and my precious Dad and Mom (both now enjoying eternity in heaven) for all their support, endless prayers and continued encouragement as well as all our extended family members and friends who mentioned my name to God for healing. When I couldn’t stand by myself, they literally held me up until I was able to stand on my own. And because of the vastness of the Internet, there were people all over the world praying for my healing. I received beautiful cards and emails which continually reminded me that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
If I Can Get Well…So Can YOU!
One last thing I want to make sure is understood by everyone who reads this testimony. I am no one special when it comes to being healed of cancer. If I can get well, so can others. No, it’s not as easy as going once a week and sitting in a chair for hours while the most toxic of chemicals race through your system and then going home to try to “live your life” until your next appointment. The most difficult part for me was accepting the fact that “I” am totally responsible for my own health…not my doctor, not my husband, not my friends, not my family…but ME! If I didn’t do what was necessary to support my body in the healing process every single day, it was my fault, no excuses.
The most difficult part for me was accepting the fact that “I” am totally responsible for my own health…not my doctor, not my husband, not my friends, not my family… but ME! If I didn’t do what was necessary to support my body in the healing process every single day,
it was my fault, no excuses.
Taking responsibility for our own health is a foreign concept to many because 1) we have been taught that the answers to our health concerns are found only in conventional medicine and 2) we tend bristle at the thought that we actually played a part in our body developing disease. We have learned to be a people of “excuses” and to make “choices of convenience” no matter what facet of life. We seemingly do not want to take responsibility for much, but instead find it easier to blame everything and everybody (including God) for our lack of good health. I want to change that concept. I want to challenge and encourage people dealing with illness and disease to take that first step “out-of-the-box” toward a life of health and well-being. That first step consists of being willing to understand that what you have been doing is obviously not conducive to good health or you would not be sick…thus change must happen in order for healing to begin! The steps that come afterward get easier and easier. I did it – You CAN, too!