In January of 1998, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer as it had spread to my bone and lungs. My prognosis, as delivered by a respected specialist at a large university medical school, was that I had considerably less than a year to live. As a 40 year old father of 2 young children ages 1 and 5 and the husband of a loving wife, I was devastated. This sent the whole family into a state of shock and disbelief. I spent the next 60 days both educating myself on where I should have my treatment, and who I will select as a doctor while starting radiation treatment for my back where the cancer had spread to the bone. I decided that I needed a major medical facility where the most in cutting edge technologies would be available. I chose M D Anderson in Houston, Texas.
I began with surgery in 1998 to remove my cancerous kidney. Tissue from this was then used to create a vaccine which was then treated with a protein and refined. This was the very early stages of vaccine therapy. About this time I met a fellow patient by the name of Gerald White who also been told to get his affairs in order. He was rapidly pursuing complementary therapies such as guided imagery and I was intrigued by the subject. I began to read about it with a purpose of involving this technique, where possible in my treatment program. Weekly I would receive an injection and I would visualize the vaccine destroying the cancer cells. This routine continued for 8 months, during which time I remained stable. To me this was a win, in that I had bought a year’s time to research and develop a plan of what to do in case this did not work.
In January of 1999, my check up showed the tumor starting to grow again. I was beginning to lose the feeling in my legs as the tumor had destroyed my L-4 vertebrae. I never lost sight of the good side that I was now a year into the fight and still very much active in moving forward with the fight.
On February 2, I had back surgery which was adjudged successful. After 5 weeks of recovery, I returned to MDA to begin a 3 drug protocol of IL-2, Interferon and GMCSF. This required that I receive one injection of each drug daily, 5 days per week. Over the course of 8 months, I lost 50 pounds and received 326 injections. As the drugs were being injected, I continued my prayer and imagery program as I visualized the drugs killing the cancer cells as an integral part of my own personal recovery strategy. I had that sense of well being that comes from feeling that I was in complete charge of my healing program. On October 25, 1999, I received my last injection before my November checkup.
On November 2, 1999, I was declared to be in full remission. What a wonderful moment that was – a rebirth, in some ways as shocking as was the original diagnosis. I have since been on a 90 day checkup regimen and now, three years later, I am cancer free and I work full time. My story so far has been a successful one but we need to expand the effort. Through sponsored research must we pursue new , more effective drugs. Whereas only a comparative few can participate in clinical drug trials, 100% of all rcc patients can develop a personal program of mind/body medicine involving prayers, meditation and guided imagery . Continued success in this arena will result in what is now considered anecdotal becoming undeniably factual and thousands of lives will be saved literally without a dime changing hands. When I first met Gerald White, the book “Cancer Wars – MAARS Journey” was still a gleam in his eye as we were both locked in our own death struggles with this capricious killer. Today this book and audio cassest (is available as imagery tools).
I wish each of you the success I have found with the admonition that you are most likely going to have to reach out for it and make the determined and focused effort that it seems to require. Take responsibility for your treatment. Stay informed. Seek out the best doctors. Take informed chances with qualified doctors. Pray and visualize the destruction of this disease. In spite of all the difficulty we have had finding the “magic bullet”, rcc is vulnerable to the elements of the human immune system and therein is the weakness that allows us to kill it once and for all.
If anyone want to discuss this personally with me, I refer you to the phone number shown below.
God bless you and keep you focused!