My Ovarian Cancer Story and Approach to Treatment
As the video indicates, I have decided not to get chemotherapy at this time. I have stage II mucinous ovarian cancer (possibly IC, though they can’t decide whether it spread to my pelvis via cell spillage from my first surgery or “naturally,” which determines the precise staging). They’ve surgically removed all cancer visible to the naked eye, but believe microscopic cells remain, putting me at high risk for recurrence. Does this make me currently “cancer free”? Who knows. I’m not thinking of it that way. Instead, I’m accepting that there are very likely microscopic cells that need to be addressed to avoid more tumor growth, and while they are still microscopic is an ideal time to start enlisting these alternative therapies and proactive protocols.
While my cancer diagnosis is what catapulted me into this world, many of these protocols are beneficial to everyone, so I encourage you to explore which might be useful for you, even if you are currently “healthy.” It is my hope that the research I’ve done collecting all of these data points and experimenting on myself will be of some use for others hoping to heal without infusing their bodies with poison, as well as for individuals hoping to avoid this fate for themselves and those they love. [Find more dirty details about my story in this post.]
Studies (that your oncologist won’t talk about) indicate that chemo actually SPREADS cancer stem cells, far more than it “cures” cancer. And arguing that you just spontaneously got cancer, unrelated to diet, air, water, lifestyle, toxin exposure, etc. is an incredibly non-scientific argument — and yet it’s most likely the explanation your oncologist will give you. If it’s not genetically linked (which it isn’t for me), then something else led your body into this compromised state. That’s not your fault, but it is an opportunity to find that trigger. Simply saying “It just happened” doesn’t feel very scientific to me. So I’m choosing another path.
Treatment Plans Are Personal, Not Universal
If this approach to health, wellness, and healing does not resonate with you, that’s entirely ok. Each body is different, and we are all attached to particular modes of operating. I wish you physical and mental flourishing regardless of the path you choose.
Let me also preface these posts by saying that while I was as diligent as possible in collecting scientific research AND compelling anecdotal information (when double blind studies have not yet been performed) in the communities I’ve connected to since this diagnosis, this unique collection of treatment and protocols are what I’ve customized for myself, based on the top resources I’ve found, as well as the ideologies and principles I believe in and what I know about my body. I’m not arguing it’s the only way forward, nor am I claiming it will work for everyone — it’s all an informed experiment (like any study).
Making Sense of Medical Studies and Efficacy Rates
Treating cancer is part science, part art form — even medical doctors agree with that. There are certainly many U.S. studies on cancer, but a) many rare forms (i.e. mucinous ovarian cancer, which accounts for only 3% of cases) are understudied and there’s little-to-no data on new treatments and protocols — with the only data indicating that the standard of care (i.e. chemo) is large ineffective, without offering a compelling alternative, and b) the influence of Big Pharma on many studies cannot be overstated (this Moss Reports article explains the confusion around the actual efficacy of chemo across all cancers; and the Beyond Chemo video series may also be of interest — it does a great job of calling out the for-profit cancer industry and revealing a more effective, integrative approach). Big Pharma sits on the boards of many/most hospitals and they fund many studies. (This article provides a good overview of the mucinous type and particular challenge.) Studies are designed and findings are worded in a way that favors their interests (i.e. chemo and the cabinet of additional drugs prescribed to offset some of the side effects from chemo). This is certainly not the first time we’ve seen this — the sugar industry and the alcohol industry have engaged in similar manipulations. So while we might like to think these are all unbiased and only have our well-being in mind, we’d be well-advised to think critically about the “data” being presented to us. It’s also worth noting that doctors get “kickbacks” from prescribing chemo. That blows my mind. Here’s one resource on the topic, but you can search for many more.
Many smart, well-educated, scientifically minded researchers wisely warn that we should look at much current research skeptically. “At least two editors of prestigious international medical journals remain deeply concerned about the independence and quality of much current scientific research. So where does one go for definitive information? Not an easy question to answer,” says Dr. Stephen Simpson. I highly recommend subscribing to the Moss Reports newsletter and considering purchasing one of Dr. Moss’s lengthy reports on specific types of cancer. (This interview is a good introduction to his approach and critique of many studies.)
I’m more compelled by studies of experimental treatments and protocols in other countries (but certainly don’t discount the role of Big Pharma in some of those countries, as well). Most of the studies that look beyond the chemo-default are coming out of countries like Germany and Israel. Here’s a particularly promising article about some scientists in Israel who think they’ve found a cure for cancer that works by attacking the stem cells that cause recurrence; the cure they’re developing would work in a matter of weeks and not be toxic like chemo. They believe this can launch next year (2020). While this is incredibly exciting, after the research I’ve done and the conversations I’ve had these last few months, I will be shocked if this is available in the US by next year or even the next 5 (if at all) (and here’s a great analysis of that research by the Moss Reports). Once you scratch beneath the surface of the American medical system, things get pretty ugly. So while I celebrate these breakthroughs and hope to try them very soon, I believe it’s important to continue optimizing your health in the meantime and not count on these being widely available in the near future. (Perhaps that sounds cynical, but I consider it realistic and proactive.)
If desired, one can find a way of poking holes in many/all treatments that have not (yet) been made “the standard of care.” I believe reading between the lines is essential, and finding some health advocates you trust who are at the forefront of these experimental and alternative therapies is key.
Developing a Personal Protocol
Can I be certain that any given protocol or therapy will work? Definitely not. But when I’m presented with a subpar remedy, such as with chemo in treating mucinous ovarian cancer, with efficacy rates below 25-30% (and the validity of even that placebo-level number is questionable in the absence of a dedicated study specifically on this type which does not respond like the others), this is my method for deciphering what to try:
Do I think there is some promising data (or, in the absence of clinical trials, compelling anecdotal evidence) that indicates there may be at least a 25% efficacy rate?
Is it non-toxic / low-risk?
If the answer to those is YES, then I’m on board and will engage those protocols in lieu of chemo at this point. (25% seems low in this context, right? But since that’s the published efficacy rate for chemo when treating my type of cancer, that’s how low the bar is.) IF it were to recur and spread, there is a scenario in which I might consider chemo (thought the more I research, the less likely that is). However, if I did eventually opt for chemo, I would do so in conjunction with these therapies, supplements, and administering protocols that are believed to enhance efficacy (there are far more studies of additional treatments in conjunction with chemo than on their own — see Big Pharma above for why).
But at this point, I’m approaching chemo as a last resort if absolutely necessary, not as a preventative. Even if you or someone you love does opt for chemo, some of these may be very helpful in enhancing the efficacy of those treatments. And if you are well, many are terrific preventative health measures.
I hope you find this useful. It’s an imperfect work in progress that I’ll be updating over time, but I wanted to make it available to as many people as possible. These posts reflect hundreds of hours of research, extensive personal consultations, and on-going experimentation. Wishing you health and healing.