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To Chemo or Not To Chemo???????????

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Everyone...
I haven't posted for the past week because I've been obsessing about the whole chemo decision. Had my rectal surgery on Dec 30th 09 and was in the hospital for 2 weeks. Home on January 13th and had a great February--even though I continued to experience very irregular poops. February was a great month. I had a quality of life--got back into my art, working out, doing things and surgery healed beautifully. Had a 2 month follow up with my surgeon last week and he sat me down and lectured to me about the importance of doing chemo--NOW!
This is my window of "opportunity" and if I wait much longer, it will be gone. I have met with the oncologist twice and he stopped by to see me 3 times in the hospital. I have been a health nut for so long--take no pills--exercise daily--and absolutely terrified of having chemo destroy my now healthier body. Just about everyone I talk to...including family...encourages me to do the chemo--at least try it--and they reassure me I can always drop out. I have spoken to women who have had it and did not think it was that bad. Yet...
my gut keeps fighting it. I feel so healthy now (even though poops are still not stable) and don't want to lose the quality of life I've regained. Yet...statistics are overwhelming in favor of doing it--35% as opposed to 15% recurrence. I'm fighting WORLD WAR IV WITH MYSELF and don't know how to stop it. Please share your experiences. The treatment plan is 6 months and includes Fluora Uravil, Legavorin, and Oxalipatin Platinum. Yet, I'm told I'm cancer free now--they just want to protect me from the microscopic cells that can't be seen on any existing cameras. And--I was stage 3 with 3 lymph nodes infected--which were totally removed. Appreicate any and all feedback from your wonderful experience.
Thanks...maryjane

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

It's the lymph node involvement that makes your onc want to go with chemo for you. It's in the lymph system, which means who knows where it might have gone once there! I totally understand the dilemma of "poisoning" what you feel is now your "born again" healthy body! Tough decision, but it definitely is yours to make, with the help of input from others, including your oncologist. You are the one who has to live with your decision, either way you choose to go, so weigh the risks/benefits and then stand by your decision. You don't want to be doing the what-if dance later on down the road!

I know that probably doesn't help a lot, but that's really what it comes down to! You have to be your own advocate. There are some on here who chose to forego chemo and they are doing well. There are others who chose to do chemo and are doing well. Then there are those who are NOT doing so well. Sometimes it just feels too much like a crap shoot!
mary

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2118
Joined: Oct 2009

Chemo is the insurance, why not take the insurance? You have come so far. If you don't do the chemo and it comes back, what quality of life will you have then. If you do everything you can now, like your doc wants you to do, then you have a great chance of having an excellent quality of life for a very long time. You tell us you are a health nut but hey you still got cancer. Don't give cancer a second chance. As far as side effects, George continued to work full time while getting Folfox but for the 1 1/2 days every other week for infusion. Take care - Tina

Patteee's picture
Patteee
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

I was stage 3B colon cancer. I didn't even bat an eye when chemo was mentioned. In my heart and soul, with every fiber of my being I wanted to know I did EVERYTHING in my power to stop the cancer. Yes, I was cancer free with the resection, but with CRC it is the cancer cells we don't know about waiting to find a home that chemo gets. Rectal, I believe is a different ball of wax when related to reoccurance vs colon. Something about more lymph nodes, closer together and so forth. I would say to you to do the chemo and look at the rest of your life and not chance a reoccurance. Chemo is not a picnic in the park by any means. I think your concerns about it are valid. I was pretty sick for 4 out of 6 months, hospitalized 3 times for a week each time with severe reactions. It was months before my energy level was back up, and now a year later I am feeling almost okay again. I am concerned that some of the issues of neuropathy and chemo brain fog are permanent.

But ya know what? I saw, held, snuggled and kissed my 2 year old grandson this weekend. He makes my heart sing. He is my future, along with all the ones not even born yet. They are the reason I fought cancer with everything I could. I have no regrets.

TxKayaker's picture
TxKayaker
Posts: 177
Joined: Jun 2009

I had basically the same diagnosis as you and went ahead and did the 12 tx. Everyone is different on how they react to the chemo. I was lucky and had very little side effects.
No question in my mind if I were sitting where you are I would do the chemo.

Kerry S's picture
Kerry S
Posts: 607
Joined: Dec 2009

The chemo will not kill you, cancer can. I did the chemo/rad. I would go for the chemo as a damn good CYA. I also am not real happy with pills and doctors.

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

I'm a stage 4 survivor and was on the FOLFOX regime 5 years ago. It was considered "adjuvant" in that surgery had removed the tumours from my colon and liver and this was to "mop up" any micro-metastacies, etc.

I was off work and coped well with the treatment. I did have a recurrence 2 years later that was treated as well. I've had another recurrence more recently.

There is a wide range of responses and reactions to the chemo. Many of us tolerate it very well with minor "quality of life" issues. Others have significant negative reactions which can be quite difficult to cope with. You won't know until you try. There are also many things to be done to maintain health while on chemo.

The fact that you are stage 3 is a concern. This is a very "slippery disease" with a nasty tendency to recur, even after several years of being clear. A priority for you now is to prevent recurrence and prevent metastacies to the liver or elsewhere. The chemo that is being proposed is the standard preventative package.

Good luck in your deliberations... Rob; in Vancouver

Shayenne's picture
Shayenne
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

A hard decision to make, but I'd take the chemo as well! I am on Folfiri, and have been on it for over a year and still here. I don't even want to know what my insides look like, but it's what's helping keeping me alive. I'd do it just to get those yucky cancer cells all out of you. There are people who had resections, with no mop up chemo that had recurrence in their liver in just 3 months, and shorter, so just for insurance, I'd do it. The Folfox may be abit harder the Folfiri, but it's doable, lots of people still here because of it.

Hugsss!
~Donna

sfmarie's picture
sfmarie
Posts: 605
Joined: Aug 2009

from what i have learned is what the surgeons and oncs. fear the most. I too would take the insurance. It is a tough decision especially if you are soo enjoying your life now.

Steve Z's picture
Steve Z
Posts: 51
Joined: Sep 2009

4 months ago on this same board I asked the same question. I was 2B no lymph nodes involved. I had recovered from surgery and had just shot an 81(great for me) on one of my favarite golf corses. My onc put it this way, if you think about the future and you have a reoccurrence how bad will you wish you took the chemo. It came down to it's six month and I'll do what ever it takes to be at my daughters wedding. She's 2.

Trapbear's picture
Trapbear
Posts: 109
Joined: Sep 2009

Please do the chemo, my husband did 9 cycles of Xeloda and Oxi, and he did fine. They have lots of meds to help with side effects now. Now is your one chance to hit any stray cancer cells as hard as you can!!!!

coloCan
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009

to it but at least you'll know you fought with everything available.....Try the chemo....steve

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

I really can't add much more than what's been offered to you. You do have a "new normal" now whether you like it or not. You had cancer and were treated and things appear to be fine. That is wonderful! However, as you know all it takes is 1 cell to still be there to start it up again. You have to ask yourself if you're OK with that possibly being the outcome if you do not do the chemo now as advised. I'm not suggesting it WILL happen, just that it may happen.

My opinion on it, I would do the chemo as a precaution but that's mainly because if I didn't do the chemo and the cancer came back, I would not be OK with not having taken the advice of my oncologist. One doesn't get a whole lot of chances in life.

Good luck with your decision MaryJane.
-phil

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

and I don't regret it for one skinny minute!

I was stage III lymph positive (2/19) and was told to do the adjuvant chemo of 5-FU and leucovorin. They didn't pull out the bigger guns until there was a recurrence. This was the first line of treatment recommended in 2001 at the Mayo Clinic.

I opted to NOT do any of the chemo and embarked on a VERY rigorous natural regime that was based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and diet (juicing combined with vegan macrobiotics) with lots of exercise, yoga and prayer thrown in. You can read my story on my ACS webpage.

I honestly thought that the chemo would kill me before the cancer. I too had a strong gut reaction--an aversion--to doing the chemo and my hunch has paid off in spades, and here's why:

I will not experience any secondary cancers due to chemo
I will not experience any chemo-induced leukemia
I will not experience any permanent heart damage from chemo
I will not experience any permanent kidney damage from chemo
I will not experience any peripheral neuropathy due to chemo
I will not experience any mouth sores due to chemo
I will not experience any severe rashes due to chemo
I will not experience any fatigue due to chemo
I will not experience any severe diarrhea due to chemo
I will not have to take more medications to deal with chemo side effects

I DID experience increased health and vitality and have had EIGHT AND ONE HALF YEARS of living CANCER FREE post surgery.

I was told that I had a 30% chance of living beyond 5 years without the chemo and with the chemo it went up a bit. No one in my family (3 with cancer) lived after chemo so those were the odds I was going with. I took a different route, one that worked for me, designed for ME, and believed in by ME.

Cytotoxic chemicals pumped into a body that's health is already compromised makes NO sense to ME. This is all very personal, but when I saw at the chemo clinic that they were serving surgary donuts to chemo patients, I knew then and there that the western medical establishment has NO CLUE in truly healing a body from cancer. They practice MEDICINE (aka drugs) and that's what they know. I don't blame them, they saved my life through their wonderful diagnostic tests and their gifted surgeons, but I wasn't going to put my healing into their hands. It was up to ME to work as my own health advocate.

Do NOT sell yourself short and listen to your gut. Your body has given you a wake up call. Listen. Then decide what's best for YOU.

Hope this helps.

peace, emily who knows this is not the popular vote

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Emily...
I got yet another opinion today--this time from a gastrointestinal specialist--and of course she is a member of the medical community who supports chemo and her fellow oncologists. I totally agree with your thinking...and yet I've had almost no support to guide me thru all the medical opinions. So...your sharing bring me closer to who I am and how I feel and now my job is to be able to stand strong for what I believe. Congratulations on your strength--to stick to what you believed. I'm feeling a little more confident now that I've heard from you and John. I would like to know what kind of regime you followed while on your successful journey. Right now I'm with a naturopathic college cancer research program in Seattle and doing their supplement program...in addition to my own vitamins. I'm open to hearing how others do it. Again..thanks for making my day. You're a strong woman who is guided by your gut.
maryjane

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

My apologies..just re-read your response and see where you are doing the Traditional Chinese Medicine and juicing (which I was also doing). I got your response mixed up with Johns. Today is a very emotional day for me so please excuse my unclear thinking. Thanks again.
maryjane

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Emily..
Just wanted you to know...saw my oncologist yesterday and asked him about the same "I Will Not Experience" issues that you brought up. Of course---I kept getting the same answer-- "It's possible" which really helped me to make up my mind...quickly. You have inspired me to Hold On To My Gut Feeling and I'm looking forward to continued health and vitality. Would love to keep in touch with you if you're open for that. Today I was given my future regimen of supplements by my Naturapath and they are all geared towards treatment of my immune system, preventing adhesions from surgery,etc. It's going to be an interesting journey. I also have my 3 month CT scan check up on Tuesday. It's the UNKNOWN that is so challenging in this daily challenge. I'll be taking about 20 supplements a day when I get into this new routine. Also...can't stop visualizing those sugary donuts for the pleasure of chemo patients that you mentioned. Soooo inappropriate. When I took a look at the small room with no windows and no pictures on the wall and about 7 lazy boy chairs staring at empty walls--with stagnant air--I knew this environment did not offer one ounce of healing for me. So Emily...thanks for your sharing! It made a big difference in my final decision.
maryjane

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

I don't think I make too many friends here typing things like this, but you
did ask a question, and you do deserve a balance of answers.

I am a stage 3c cancer victim, having had 4' of colon removed,
and 7 out of 27+ lymph nodes infected. My surgery was over
3 years ago. I'm due for another scan soon. So far; so good.

My "window of opportunity was within 1 month of surgery,
or two months at the greatest. It took almost 6 months for my
surgical wounds to heal enough for chemo to even be considered.

During that time, I did one hell of a lot of research, and came
to a very, very solid conclusion that:
Chemotherapy is not a guarantee cancer cells will be gone; Every physician agreed.
Chemotherapy destroys the immune system; Every physician agreed.
Chemotherapy is known to cause second cancers; Every physician agreed.
Chemotherapy often causes permanent neurological problems; Every physician agreed.

I also found that of those that don't do chemo after surgery, 26% live 5 years or more.
Of those that do chemotherapy, 28% live 5 years or more.

That's a fantastic 2% advantage, if one excludes the other problems
described above. (Second cancers are cancers caused by the chemo).

I never got chemo. They said I was too far past that "window", but they
would try it if I want to go ahead with that. It would have a 50/50 chance
at that late time, since cancer cells would have floated about all over.

Well.. the fact is, that by the time they figure out that you have cancer,
the cells usually already have scattered anyway.

With all the research over a 6 month period, and being already
familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine, I chose to use medicinal
strength imported herbs that are known to kill cancer cells while
building up the immune system.

Did it work? Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps I'm just part
of that "26%" that keep going regardless. But if that's so, then perhaps
those that did chemo are just part of that 28% !

I do know one thing for sure; I didn't suffer the side effects of chemotherapy.
I don't have to worry about the "second cancers" that a good friend
of mine died from due to his round after round of chemo.

And I took great care to understand myself; my choices. That if I'm wrong,
I won't beat myself up over it, because the physicians make mistakes.

People die from cancer, animals die from cancer. It doesn't matter
what mood you have, or what you take as a remedy, if your own
body refuses to kill the errant cells and keep you alive, you can't
expect any foreign substance to do it, either.

If a tumor isn't so large that it's about to stop your life (as mine was),
and if it can be removed surgically (as mine was), then you should have
enough time to do some research and figure out for yourself what
direction you prefer to go.

I personally do not find chemotherapy to be a valid answer. And
radiation; it's ramifications, have killed more of my friends than I care
to think about.

I have lost a friend recently, to cancer (stage 1). His oncologist(s) had
absolutely no remedy to offer, and he had gone to the Florida's finest facilities.

He turned to a local herbalist; took herbs and "tinctures" of things
I never heard of, and some that have been documented to be useless
by other herbalists. He died a month ago.

Please, beware of remedies that cite any guarantee. There are
some very, very good options out there to fight cancer with,
and you don't have to spend much to use them. Do research,
and forget the quick remedy schemes. You have a condition
that kills people and animals; it's not a common cold.

The most effective remedies use your own body's resources to
fight the cancer with. They don't have side effects that make you feel
worse, instead of better, and they don't make idle promises.

Look through the archives here, it's loaded with other options.

There are many of us that have chosen different paths, so don't
let fear guide you, use your common sense and intuition; that's
what we were given to survive, so don't disregard it.

Trust thyself.

Good health.

John

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi John..
Bless you. I have received many comments and opinions regarding my TO CHEMO OR NOT TO CHEMO dilema. Most of them supported chemo. Two did not. Up until now--I have been 100% on your track--totally agree with your thinking and my mind was made up--no chemo. Then my surgeon, who I will forever be indebted to, sat me down with a 10 minute lecture on the importance of chemo for my rectal cancer and backed it up with statistics that are more persuasive than those you reported. I have to admit that with family and drs hammering away at me--I began to ignore MY gut and pay closer attention to THEIR guts. I've probably gathered 10 second opinions by now and, of course, the medical profession all agree with one another. I'm also in a natural treatment program taking supplements and was very frightened when one of the new regime supplements caused a bad case of diarrhea. I was left with distrust of everything. I have since read Lance Armstrong's book and was highly motivated by him. And..I began to pull away from my original thinking. I totally appreciate your support of my GUT FEELINGS about chemo and feel closer today to my original thinking. Only two of you are in my court--but that's all it takes to bring out the real me. Thank You. And please give me more info about the traditional Chinese Medicine you're taking.
maryjane

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2118
Joined: Oct 2009

Just remember the decision you make is the best decision for you. Everyone is different. You have asked for opinions, evaluated everthing, and the decision you make is in your best interest. Good luck in your treatment - Tina

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

You may want to read this book by Kris Carr. She had NO choice since there wasn't any treatment for her cancer, but she's lived way beyond any doctor's prediction by doing an all natural regime (vegan).

Check out her website by the same name.

peace, emily

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Maryjane,

You are putting a lot into this important decision-making process. And so you should. Your life may depend on it.

You speak a lot of "what to trust", your own "gut feelings" vs the "advice of doctors". I have been very lucky in that I have always had doctors who I have been able to trust. This includes my oncologist, my surgeons, my GP, and my naturopaths. That they all work together also helps! They are all up-to-date on current practices, they support holistic and complementary approaches, and they have my best health interests at heart.

I don't buy into the either/or dichotomy that tends to polarize the conventional/alternative cancer care debate. In my community we speak more of complementary care and the use of diet, supplements, exercise, meditation, and prayer along with surgery, radiation, and chemo. It is narrow thinking that sees these two approaches as mutually exclusive.

It seems to me that opposition to conventional medicine almost becomes an ideological "article of faith" for some proponents of "alternative only" care. I believe this does a disservice to the knowledge, wisdom, integrity, compassion, and skill that conventional practitioners bring. It also paints those of use who do use conventional treatments and who do trust conventional practioners as ill-informed, somewhat stupid, or perhaps deluded.

I don't think there are any here who are not in "your court" and who don't want the best possible outcome for you.

Wishing you continued good luck in your discernment process.

Rob; in Vancouver

Patteee's picture
Patteee
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

thank you Rob

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practiced for thousands
of years, and continues to be practiced side-by-side with
western medicine in China.

Since the westernization of China, individuals desire faster results
for their symptoms than TCM can usually accomplish. And of
course, nothing can beat the speed that western medicine can
rid you of the symptoms of whatever ails you!

Western medicine unfortunately doesn't cure the problem, it
merely gets rid of the symptom; the problem remains, usually
to manifest itself in ways worse than the previous symptom.

And of course, the side effects of most all western medications
are remedied by.... you guessed it... more medications. And that
compounds the side effects...

Practitioners of western medicine are called "doctors of medicine",
because that's how they remedy the symptom - with their knowledge
of what each medicine can do for the symptom presented.

Unfortunately, the WM practitioners are at the mercy of what the
pharmaceutical industry provides for information regarding their
product. And the practitioner has no way to weigh the product
for it's ability to do what the industry claims it will do, prior to
prescribing it.

Putting one's belief into their western medicine practitioner, is actually
putting one's belief in the pharmaceutical industry; the practitioner
is only the "middle man".

Merck's Vioxx almost killed my wife. Recalls of many of their
other products occur regularly. My wife's western medicine
practitioners swore by the medications they were prescribing,
and my wife and I had trusted them.

It took a ruptured cerebral aneurysm caused by Vioxx, to finally
convince her (and me) that western medicine has little if any,
redeeming value.

After years of suffering from RA, and the resultant aneurysm, we
found our present doctor of TCM. He put her RA into remission
using herbs that had no side effects, in less than one year.

Can it cure cancer? You will not find any competent TCM doctor
making that claim; No doctor can, WM or TCM. It would be a
fraudulent claim, if not an outright lie.

What TCM can do, is bolster your immune system, and help
it rid your body of what is damaging it; The emphasis is on "help".

Herbs and acupuncture are used to energize organs that need
to be energized to provide the chemicals needed by other organs.
Once the body is again balanced, it can get back to restoring
good health as it should be doing.

Once the body is in balance, treatments are stopped, and there
is no need for further treatment unless the body becomes out of
balance again. Poor diet, poor sleep, or extreme trauma can
toss things out of balance.....

TCM is basically the belief that the body is capable of fixing itself,
fighting diseases and infections, when it is in it's proper balance.

There are also herbs that were found to actually kill cancer cells.
(One herb is being studied by Merck. It's a useless study, destined
to fail, since that one herb used alone will not do too much; it is
to be used in a formula with a second herb at the least).

I posted a list of the herbs, among other TCM topics, and a quick
search of this forum and it's archives should locate it.

Oops, here:
http://csn.cancer.org/node/180842
http://csn.cancer.org/node/183225

Chemotherapy is only one path. For some, they claim it's kept
them alive.

There are also others that are still alive, after having taken a path
devoid of chemotherapy.

I don't recommend that anyone follow in my footsteps, but I do
recommend that one should not fear trying different paths.

The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation has caused much
harm and deaths. One has to decide if it's better to have their
own body's resources destroyed in the effort to destroy what's
ailing them, leaving their body to the mercy of the poisons to
do battle for them.........

Or to bolster their bodies resources, and allow their own body
to fight what's ailing them.

One works continuously for free; the other works as long as the
money holds out, or the body gives out, whichever comes first.

Research well, as long as you have time. Common sense and
intuition should prevail. Animals rely on it for self preservation
(there's no animal doctors in the middle of the woods), and yet
they live full lives. We're all just animals....

If the cancer is about to kill you unless it's removed immediately,
then western medicine's technology may be a better choice.

My tumor was totally obstructing my colon; TCM could clear
the blockage temporarily, but the tumor had to go. TCM would
have taken too long to get rid of that much, that fast; surgery was
the best way to go.

For the balance of cancer cells floating about?

I made my choice; you have to make yours.

Wishing you the very best of health!

John

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Although I personally chose a route that is an alternative to
mainstream medicine, if I find that it is failing me, I would not
rule out turning to mainstream medicine, or any other possible
remedy.

Flexibility is the key, and keeping an open mind to all possible
paths to take, should be the rule.

Cancer is an insidious disease; it's a good cell that's been
damaged and is surviving inside us against all odds, using the
fermentation process.

Our body hasn't turned against us, nor has some disease
taken over, our immune system is just malfunctioning.

We should be fighting cancer cells in any way possible, instead
of fighting the ravages of what was said to help us.... but the
bottom line, is to get rid of uncontrolled cells that will destroy us
if we allow them to continue to live within us uncontrolled.

"Whatever works that won't kill us trying"

John

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi John,
I was very grateful to get your e-mail. You describe your feelings and information in a very clear way that I understand. Today I visited the oncologist and asked him the 7 ?'s that you made such a great case of stating. And--He affirmed all 7 possibilities--so after hearing all that persuasive info again and how I was just leaving the window of opportunity--I discussed setting up an appointment for my 3 month CT scan and left. I start having doubts about my abandonment of chemo until I get back to this site and realize that I'm not alone. I feel strong when I have people like you talking truth to me. I will explore all the above info tomorrow. Right now I'm going to sleep---just too much to think about and I have tired brain syndrome. Thanks for all your wonderful sharing. I'll be asking more questions..I'm sure and appreciate people like you who are so willing to share your own experience.
Bless You...maryjane

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Just to clarify to anyone curious or concerned......

I don't correspond via Email regarding any topic being discussed
in an open forum. Anything I have to say, I say to the board and
through the board.

Keeping the thoughts and words in open forum allows for opposing
views and thoughts. We are all human and can make mistakes, as
well as having built prejudices regarding health care, etc.. Keeping the
discussion open and transparent, allows it all to be weighed in the
manner best for any reader.

I believe Maryjane "misspoke" regarding "Email", and was referring
my open messages to her here on this board.

(don't hit me, I hurt already)

John

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

My apologies, John. I was soooo brain dead last nite and I'm new to this kind of communication. Please excuse my misuse of terminology and change that to ...your "post"!
I appreciate your calling my attention to this phopa (sp) and will make every effort to use correct terminology.
maryjane

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3343
Joined: Jan 2010

I too am in the situation of having radiation and chemo recommended for me after my surgery.

Long before the diagnosis, I felt that both treatments were not something I would ever do...for the very reason that they both compromise an already unhealthy body. If they could be more precise in their efforts to kill ONLY cancer cells, I might feel differently.

I understand the 'gut' feeling as I am going with mine and will persue alternatives to standard treatment.

Each and every person must chart their own course thru this disease. The most important thing is 'no second guessing' or 'if I had done differently'...each person must be comfortable with their choices.

There are no guarantees...yet.

Hoping that you find the treatment option that works for you.

Best wishes,

Marie

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Marie...
Thanks for your response. I've just spent 2 weeks in the hospital getting my cancer removed surgically and making all that poison go away. Now they want me to put real toxic poisons back into my body--and pay a hefty price for that as well. There's something wrong with this picture. I'm with you--I'm looking at alternatives and preserving my recovering body that is beginning to feel pretty good.
Keep up the inspiration. I need it.
maryjane

P_I_T_A's picture
P_I_T_A
Posts: 133
Joined: Oct 2009

I was debating the same thing after my surgery. I was stage IIIa, only 1 positive lymph out of 18. Also, CAT scan before Tx showed me NED. I was gently convinced by others on this board to go ahead and throw everything at that you can and the sooner the better. I glad I made the decision to do the FOLFOX. And now, after I disconnect tomorrow, I'll only have 2 more treatments to go. The time really flew by and yes there were the usual side effects, but I just pushed through it. Judging by your attitude from all your previous post, I'm sure you're the kind of person that can push through too. Go for it!

-DJ

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Maryjane,

Not sure if this is helpful to you...

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a great resource for making informed decisions about cancer care.
CAM Website

The following excerpts are from their page on Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine

If You Are Thinking About Using TCM...
- Look for published research studies on TCM for the health condition that interests you.
- If you are thinking about trying TCM herbal remedies, it is better to use these products under the supervision of a medical professional trained in herbal medicine than to try to treat yourself.
- Ask about the training and experience of the TCM practitioner you are considering.
- Do not use TCM as a replacement for effective conventional care or as a reason to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem.

There are also some helpful guidelines in selecting a CAM Practitioner, including a list of appropriate questions to ask...
Selecting a CAM Practitioner

I would suggest that you find yourself a competent and professional practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or whatever other treatment modality you decide on, BEFORE you make your final decision to opt out of conventional treatments. Ideally a good TCM practitioner could work with your existing healthcare team. TCM is not a "do-it-yourself" program. TCM Doctors receive extensive training in diagnosis and treatment and often have advanced training in western medicine as well.

You need to make your own decisions based on your own situation and stage of life. I admire the diligence that you are putting into your deliberations and hope that whatever you decide proves effective in keeping you free of recurrences and metastases. I also hope that your decision brings you some peace of mind.

Be well... Rob; in Vancouver

"Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases."
Hippocrates

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Rob...
Really appreciate your post and links. I've looked them over and they offer many great suggestions in locating a qualified Practitioner. This has been a very difficult and exhausting decision for me to make but---it totally fits my belief system and I'm very comfortable with my decision. Both paths offer great risks--I'm much more comfortable with depending on my healthy body to get me thru this. As others have stated--I'll be practicing a focused program of daily exercise, naturapathic supplements, juicing (mainly green organic veggies), a disciplined diet of healthy foods, very limited red meat and lots of art and creativity, daily prayer, as well as spending fun time with my loving and very supportive partner. I'm in the 4th quarter now and intend to have a quality of life for whatever years I have left. Life is soooo short and soooo special! It may not be the most popular way but---IT'S MY WAY! How are you doing?
maryjane

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

You sound like you are much more at peace with this than in your earlier posts. Such is often the case when decisions are made.

Peace and blessings... Rob; in Vancouver

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

You've received a lot of great info here... I don't have anything to add, but I do wish you well in whatever you decide.

God Bless

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Maryjane,

You will also find excellent resources to help you make an informed decision right here on the ACS Website. You will find these sites within the "Treatment Decision Tools" portion of this site. Worthwhile links...

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

This is a great page with suggested questions for doctors and practitioners, advice on spotting questionable treatments, and insurance issues...
Guidelines for Using Complementary and ALternative Therapies

Most credible health agencies and practitioners today are supportive of the integration of complementary and alternative treatments. This seems to be equally true in the States as it is here in Canada. From my research it seems like most of the major cancer hospitals have good credible information available about non-conventional treatments.

Peace and blessings... Rob; in Vancouver

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Most all of the "alternative" medicine requires that the immune
system is built up as soundly as it possibly can be, to fight cancer.

Using it as an adjunctive to chemo and radiation can be frustrating,
since both methods destroy the immune system.

TCM is frequently used as an adjunctive to stifle the terrible side
effects of chemo or radiation, and attempts to rebuild the immune
system during treatments. Both my oncologists told me that they
would not allow any alternative to offset the side effects, because
they felt that it might also degrade the power of their treatments.

Compromising and attempting to have the best of everything
to provide a better chance at survival isn't a bad sounding idea,
but it can be counterproductive.

Anyone seriously considering any alternative -must- do their
own research and come to their own conclusion. Cancer is a
life-changing event, and can be a life-ending event.

It's difficult to break free of the mainstream madness, when there's
so little information about the other options available.

The information -is- out here. And many of the options and
alternatives to the pharmaceutical companies propaganda are
very, very viable options and alternatives.

No-one should let fear take control of the inner intuition and
guidance that comes with the well designed body.

You don't have to nuke the front lawn to get rid of the crabgrass.

Good health wishes for all!

John

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you John, and everyone else who responded to my POST "To Chemo Or Not to Chemo"! You all offered such gifts in sharing your thoughts and experience which helps me to hold my head high as I take a different road than the majority. I'm a big fan of Robert Frost's poem..."Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood...and I...I took the one LESS TRAVELED BY...and that has made all the difference." Think I was a born "rebel"!! And..appreciated your words, John, about being FLEXIBLE! My mantra is--"JUST FOR TODAY"! I did allow FEAR to take control of my intuition last week but fortunately I changed direction. I'll be coming up with more questions as the days roll by. Thanks for being out there.
your line--"You don't have to nuke the front lawn..." was refreshing.
maryjane

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

You don't have to nuke the front lawn to get rid of the crabgrass.

This made my day.

peace, emily

maryjane
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Emily..
Since you're the Juicer Queen...I wanted to ask you what veggies you juice? I'm in an alternative program where they suggest doing less fruit (due to the sugar) and more VEGGIES..very green VEGGIES. So do I cook Brocoli, Spinach etc first or just throw it in Raw??? Help!
maryjane

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