Monthly Archives: May 2013

My sincere thanks and an apology

DSCN0499I want to thank everyone that has visited this blog (some repeatedly) dedicated to telling the story of my wife’s cancer battle and how she has benefited from using the integrative cancer care approach. I want to share the integrative cancer care option (i.e. conventional cancer care plus scientifically supported complementary therapies such as anticancer nutrition, etc.) with as many people as possible.. It adds some very helpful  tools and weapons to the cancer sufferer’s arsenal in their daily battle against cancer.

I recently developed a tear in the inside wall of my left eyeball and just had laser surgery this morning. I was advised to keep reading to an absolute minimum for three weeks (due to the stress the jerky back and forth movement of the eyeball produces during reading).If the tear progresses it will threaten the eyesight in my left eye so I have to take it as seriously as I can.

I will be slowing down somewhat on posting (but not stopping) during this period. I will try to post what I can so please continue to stop by and check what’s new. Your understanding is appreciated. Please continue to share this blog with as many others as you can (personally, on your mailing list, on Facebook, etc.) that are fighting their personal battle with cancer and are looking for more tools and weapons in their battle. Your help in informing people of the integrative cancer care option will be greatly appreciated.

When my ophthalmologist says I can come start reading as usual I have plans to improve the blog’s appearance and contents.

Thank you again for your kind support and sharing this information with others battling cancer (or who have friends or family who are doing so).             

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May 28, 2013 · 7:43 am

My wife’s story (the short version): how integrative cancer care helped prevent her from dying of malnutrition

My wife and I with Dr. Keith Block at the Block Center, and a copy of what I consider is the best book available for cancer patients and their families when dealing with cancer care: Life over Cancer by Dr. Block.

My wife and I with Dr. Keith Block at the Block Center, and a copy of what I consider is the best book available for cancer patients and their families when dealing with cancer care: Life over Cancer by Dr. Block.

Some people wonder why I’m so interested in sharing the integrative cancer care concept (i.e. the best of conventional cancer care such as surgery, chemo and radiation combined with scientifically supported complementary therapies such as anticancer nutrition, fitness, mind body wellness strategies).

I posted my wife’s full story (the long version) in five parts earlier in this blog. Here’s the condensed version.

My wife was diagnosed with stage 2b metastatic invasive breast cancer on Guam in November 2009. We flew to the Philippines six times and went to The Medical City where we got a second opinion, she got her mastectomy, she got four of her six chemo sessions and finally she got 33 radiation sessions (during a 56 day stay). By mid July 2010 the cancer went into remission and I figured if it did come back it would happen several years later. I was wrong.

The cancer recurred in November 2011 the first symptom being difficulty breathing because one of her lungs was almost completely filled with liquid. The liquid was drained and we eventually got confirmation that the cancer was back, had spread to her chest wall and this time it was stage 4.

We went to a local cancer clinic and they started my wife on a ladder of drugs starting with the oldest and least costly and bumping her up to newer more expensive ones each time the cancer adapted.

She reached a level at which the most expensive of her drugs cost $11,000 a bottle (Tykerb aka Lepatanib). While the drugs she was taking may have helped slow the cancer’s progress it continued to spread to form about thirty lesions on her lungs.

She also started experiencing several symptoms that greatly concerned me. She began to quickly lose a lot of weight (32 lbs.), lost her appetite and became progressively weak. From reading I found out that these are common symptoms of cachexia–a wasting symptom often experienced as cancer advances and, if left alone, can lead to death by malnutrition.

She also had tingling in the fingers of her left hand (from reading I felt this was possibly due to neuropathy which is nerve damage possibly due to extended use of certain chemo drugs). She also had numbness in her left hand and pain in her left arm possibly due to lymphadema from having two lymph glands removed after she was first diagnosed.

I realized I had to do something or she was slowly (or quickly) going to waste away and die.

I searched Amazon through dozens of books and ordered what I felt were the best ones. I also searched the internet through many websites looking for things I could do to slow the cancer’s progress.

In one of the books (Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Dr. Patrick Quillin) I found the recipe for the Dragonslayer shake. This is a nutritional shake which the recipe allows you to custom build according to your tastes. I constructed my version of it and began to feed it to my wife twice a day–morning and night. I also started giving her some supplements that, from reading, might help. Since this start I’ve significantly changed the shake (to an anticancer green smoothie I concocted) and some different supplements.

We also made significant changes to our diet based on information I found in these books: 1. Life Over Cancer by Dr. Keith Block MD (the best book on cancer care that I found) 2. Anticancer by Dr. David Servan Schreiber (also excellent and comes in hardback or audio version and he has a very good presentation on DVD if you prefer watching instead of reading or listening) 3. Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential Foods to Help Prevent Cancer by Richard Beliveau, Ph.D. and Denis Gingras, Ph.D.. The first two books were especially helpful and I highly recommend to anyone seeking proactive steps they can take to complement the conventional cancer care they are going through.

As I began to feed my wife the nutritional Dragonslayer shakes and then anticancer green smoothies my wife’s symptoms all slowly started to subside until they all went away.

While the drugs may have helped in slowing the growth of the cancer it did continue to progress in spite of them. Also there was a period of a few weeks (between two and four) where all drugs had to be discontinued because my wife had picked up a life threatening infection due to improper procedure at our local hospital and strong antibiotics had to be administered for several days while they tried to get the infection under control (the attempts failed and her infected port-a-cath had to be taken out and replaced. Also the Tykerb (aka Lepatanib) at one point was viewed as ineffective (after the cancer continued to spread to her lungs) and was stopped for several weeks. It has since been restarted.

During the first of my wife’s last two quarterly high resolution CT scans (taken Dec. 20, 2012) the images began to show shrinkage of the lesions on her lungs. The last one (taken March 25, 2013) showed marked shrinkage of all tumors to the point that many of them had “almost completely been resolved” in the words of the radiologist who wrote the report. More complete quoted wording of the CT scan reports can be found in my five part more complete telling of my wife’s story earlier in my blog.

To me the integrative cancer care approach is the missing piece of a puzzle being experienced by many people going through cancer treatment. If you visualize the cancer tumor as a tree then conventional care can be comparable to whacking away at the trees branches. I have a neighbor that has a large tree that he’s been trying to kill for years. He periodically cuts all of its branches off. But, with time, the tree always grows new branches because the root system is left intact. The integrative cancer care approach enables the cancer patient to proactively deal with the tumor’s root system (or its source of nourishment or fertilization by altering the body’s biochemistry to become less friendly to tumor growth) while their conventional care (surgery, radiation and chemo) helps to “debulk” or shrink the tumor, buying more time for the patient to make those changes.

I hope sharing my wife’s story and the integrative cancer care concept and how it’s helped us is of help to some cancer patients during what can be a very depressing, overwhelming and dark time. I hope it brings hope and the possibility of options that can be of help in their fight.

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Why does cancer hate cabbage? Things you didn’t know about the humble vegetable.

Photo by Liz West (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

Studies Recently carried out indicate that the substances contained in cruciferous vegetables are among those most responsible for the anticancer properties linked to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

–Richard Beliveau, Ph.D. and Denis Gingras, Ph.D.,   Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential foods to help prevent cancer

*A study of 5,000 Swedish women produced evidence that eating just one or two daily servings of cruciferous vegetables (for example cabbages, cauliflower or brocolli) had a 40 percent reduction in risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

*Numerous studies have linked the eating of crucifers to the prevention of a variety of cancers such as prostate cancer, gastrointestinal cancers (such as stomach and colorectal), and lung cancers,

Source: Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential foods to help prevent cancer
by Richard Beliveau, Ph.D. and Denis Gingras, Ph.D.

NOTE: I incorporate crucifers (such as cabbage, cauliflower and brocolli) into my wife’s twice daily green smoothies as an easy (and relatively tasty) way of getting it into her diet, sort of like drinking your salads. I wrote on how I do this (ingredients, etc.) in a blog post on May 23. 

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May 27, 2013 · 3:10 am

What is integrative cancer care and how can it help cancer sufferers better fight their illness and better recover from surgery, chemo and radiation. (6.5 minute video)

Keith I. Block, MD (author of Life Over Cancer and cofounder of The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care) commenting on what integrative cancer care is and how it can help cancer patients recover from chemo, radiation and surgery by complementing their conventional cancer treatment.

Many people will not be able to visit and receive testing and treatment at The Block Center for various reasons. However it will be possible for most people to receive conventional care where ever they live and, by studying books such as Life Over Cancer and Anticancer, make changes to diet and lifestyle (after checking with a physician to make sure such changes won’t negatively affect treatment) that will help make their body’s biochemistry more hostile to cancer cells and help them better recover from conventional cancer treatments.

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May 26, 2013 · 10:02 pm

Penny Block

With Penny Block at The Block Center

My wife with Penny Block, Ph.D., Executive Director and co-founder of The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie, Illinois.

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May 26, 2013 · 1:47 pm

 

Photo by epSos.de (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

Photo by epSos.de (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

During chemo: which foods to eat, which foods to avoid, which supplements can ease chemo side effects (article and 10.5 min. video)

Article and 10.5 minute video in which Dr. Block talks about during chemo:

*Which foods to eat

*Which foods to avoid

*Which supplements can ease chemo side effects

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May 26, 2013 · 1:38 pm