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

maryjane
maryjane Member Posts: 71
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
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
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Comments

  • msccolon
    msccolon Member Posts: 1,917
    Stage III with lymph node involvement
    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
  • Patteee
    Patteee Member Posts: 945
    I was stage 3B colon cancer.
    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
    TxKayaker Member Posts: 176
    I had basically the same
    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
    Kerry S Member Posts: 606
    I would go for the chemo
    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
    robinvan Member Posts: 1,012
    Hi Maryjane
    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
  • geotina
    geotina Member Posts: 2,111
    Maryjane
    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
  • Shayenne
    Shayenne Member Posts: 2,342
    robinvan said:

    Hi Maryjane
    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

    It's
    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
    sfmarie Member Posts: 602
    Microscopic
    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
    Steve Z Member Posts: 51
    I asked the same question
    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
    Trapbear Member Posts: 108
    Please do the chemo
    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
    coloCan Member Posts: 1,944 **
    Trapbear said:

    Please do the chemo
    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!!!!

    You can always have onc stop the chemo if you react badly
    to it but at least you'll know you fought with everything available.....Try the chemo....steve
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866
    Tough Call
    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
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
    I didn't do any chemo
    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
  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122
    Chemo?


    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
    maryjane Member Posts: 71
    John23 said:

    Chemo?


    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

    Thank you for sharing your courage to be YOU!
    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
    geotina Member Posts: 2,111
    maryjane said:

    Thank you for sharing your courage to be YOU!
    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

    Maryjane
    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
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
    maryjane said:

    Thank you for sharing your courage to be YOU!
    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

    Crazy Sexy Cancer
    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
  • maryjane
    maryjane Member Posts: 71
    2bhealed said:

    I didn't do any chemo
    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

    Thank You, Emily...Your sharing means alot to me!
    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
    maryjane Member Posts: 71
    2bhealed said:

    I didn't do any chemo
    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

    I just found your present regime...
    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
  • robinvan
    robinvan Member Posts: 1,012
    maryjane said:

    Thank you for sharing your courage to be YOU!
    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

    Decision making is hard work!
    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