Thursday, June 05, 2014

Round Two

The Drs. are calling Tim's second bout with melanoma a transient melanoma. This new lump was very near the original area, and the cancerous cells were likely there before at a microscopic level. The surgeon told us that often when there is a second occurrence the cancer has spread through the body. Thankfully, that is not the case for Tim. His PET scan and MRI are clear.

He had surgery last week to remove a larger area around the lump. That is it this time. They have no other treatments for this stage of melanoma except the interferon chemo he took last time. It is a treatment that is supposed to help boost your immune system against melanoma. Interferon helps some people, but not all. They told us that up front. Obviously, it didn't help Tim.

The surgeon was up front with us about this occurrence. We can hope that this is the last little bit of it, but there really is no way to know. Microscopic melanomas don't show up in the scans. We just wait and watch closely.

Yep, that is it. No treatments for this stage. They have new and exciting (sarcasm) treatments if the melanoma progresses to stage 4, but at this point it is just wait and see. Their only advice for prevention is to use sunscreen. No mention of diet or any other lifestyle changes that might help the body fight this. We can only wait and see if this happens again.

That's not good enough.

Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. They are designed to fight off disease. Why not cancer too?

I like our doctors. They are kind. They are doing what they think is best. What I don't like is that our medical profession only teaches doctors to cut and medicate. I can't believe that is the only choice. I can't believe there is nothing more we can do, but wait and see. So, we are reading. There are plenty of books out there, and there are doctors who take a more holistic approach (though they are rare in WV.)

On our trips back and forth to Duke we listened to Whole by T. Colin Campbell. The author was a research scientist for years when he found a link between animal proteins and cancer. He did a lot of studies on this connection and wrote another book, which we are reading too, called The China Study. He studied rural populations of China, with mostly plant based diets, and their incidences of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In  Whole he gives evidence for why nutrition is so important, why eating a plant based diet is best, and looks at the reasons he believes the studies about nutrition and disease do not reach mainstream popularity. He doesn't hold any punches pointing fingers at politics, professional self interest, pharmacies, media, and more.

I read this book Defeat Cancer Now by Tamara St. John. She was never formally diagnosed with cancer. She had no medical insurance, and did not go to the doctor, but based on lumps, swollen lymph nodes, and other symptoms self diagnosed herself with breast cancer. Her book is about how she put into practice various protocols of natural healing including The Budwig Protocol, elements of the Gerson Therapy, alkaline diet, and others.

Another book in our reading queue is Outsmart Your Cancer: Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments That Work. The author of this book began researching alternative cancer treatments when a family member was diagnosed. She puts the information all together in this book that summarizes the different protocols out there.

There is a lot information to wade through in these books, and many more books out there on the market. Almost all that we've read so far involve a diet change to a diet that includes no sugar or meat, and some call for a diet that includes no animal proteins. We are still reading. We are still sorting through the application of this information in our life. We have already made some changes. We are juicing. Most of our meals have been meatless. We are buying a lot more that is organic, and are thankful that our chemical free garden is starting to produce for us. Tim has been a rock of self control when it comes to sugar. (I wish that I could say the same.) Beyond that, we are still figuring things out.

The diet changes we are incorporating now are not hurtful. Anyone can agree that adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is healthy. We are still looking at other treatments we are reading about. We will also be talking to a nearby holistic doctor who has experience with cancer. Tim is not actively fighting cancer (that can be detected by scans,) but changing nothing, and just waiting around to see if another melanoma pops up is not acceptable. Having another one pop up and removing another chunk of Tim's shoulder is not acceptable. Having it progress to stage four and undergoing chemo with some new drug is not acceptable. We pray. We do what we can to prevent this from happening again, and then we wait and see.

1 comment:

  1. I can completely identify with your dilemma. My mom was diagnosed with recurrent thyroid cancer about 13 years ago and has to have scans every 3-6 months. The doctors wait around until her numbers jump or her small tumors (mm size) decide to grow to do any type of treatment. They have never once talked about visiting a nutrition expert. We did lots of reading and research on our own. Sugar plain and simple feeds cancer cells. My immediate family has been off sugar for about 4 months and really don't miss it. The meat is another story, haven't gone down that road yet. Our medical professionals certainly need more training in how food, especially processed food, affect our bodies.