Kidney Cancer, treatment options and the return of Hope!!!
I posted this post on the ACOR.org site and wanted to post it here as an update and to talk a little about a new tool in my arsenal against this disease.
Having posted a few times and reading the posts from others, I wanted to share a message of hope with those either still here or just getting here and reading through the site.
I am sitting here writing this message feeling like I have been through some crazy nightmare but realizing that this is no nightmare, it is now my life. Never before could I have comprehended that humans could go through such horror or endure such mental and physical torture. It is hard to believe that the information that I wrote about my own journey at the bottom of this post has actually happened to me, but it has. I know that there are many here who have been through hell and all I have to say is that I celebrate each and every one of you and your spirit to survive. There is not a thing about cancer that is easy and though we all have believed that this is an awful disease that happens to someone else, the true horror of the disease didn't become apparent to us until the day we were diagnosed. Every one of us remembers that moment in time when the world collapsed on us.
Initially, I relied on my surgeon and doctor to make the decisions. It was like being in the carwash where you throw it in neutral, put your left tire in the guide way and the roller comes along and drags you through the process. Crazy brushes start flailing, sprayers start waving back and forth and you are dragged through a machine, unable to see what is really happening until you are thrust through the high speed air dryers at the end of the ride, hopefully with your antenna and hood ornament still in place!!! The only difference is that it isn't your car, it is your body, the brushes are CT scans, the spray nozzles are needles and the dryers are surgery.
They announce that you are "Clear" and then sometime later, the dreaded beast returns in the form of recurrence and all of a sudden, that period of euphoria turns back to thoughts of death and research of the next thing that will cure. I entered into the world of HD-IL2 treatment.
It was about this time that I started searching here for people in the same position in treatment that I was in. Lost, depressed and focusing on how my family would live without me, I found people who were dealing with this disease but no one who was on, or had gone through, my path exactly. For instance, it seemed that everyone who had gone through HD-IL2 was a complete responder and had none of the oddities of my experience. Again, I was lost. I was spending my life focused on the disease and not on living my life.
I think we all start to think about what else is out there that could do what the medical doctors can't seem to. It is in this state of mind that we consider treatments that sound like miracles but to a reasonable person are scams that requires us to give large sums of money or go to other countries but that there is some miracle treatment there that can make us whole again. Inevitably, someone does the research and it turns out to be a scam and we're back in the position of trying to figure out what to do next.
Having my disease progress while I was taking sorafenib was a hard blow. It made me realize that this cancer is aggressive. Having it give mixed results after something as difficult as HD-IL2 was an even tougher thing to deal with as I endured scan after scan of mixed results. I knew that I had to do whatever I could to boost and support my immune system. It was obvious that if poison doesn't work, the immune system is the only really feasible remaining answer. Why else would IL-2 exist?
In my search for things that would boost my immune system, I found diets, meditation and other things that kinda helped but I found a program which has given me so much more, Hope. In addition to restoring my hope, this program has restored my sense of control over the disease which has allowed me to make some critical decisions regarding my treatment and has given me permission to live my life again. I have taken control over my body again...
The program that I am referring to is Gerald White's MAARS Guided Imagery program. It consists of his book "Three Months to Life" and his CD "Guided Imagery for Cancer Patients. I was very skeptical at first as I had tried guided imagery from the cancer support center and the hospital which were not very good. After reading through Jerry's website, I decided to order his book and disk as it was inexpensive and if it could at least offer the relaxation that it promised, my immune system would benefit and that is the first step to help.
What I experienced through his program was something that I hadn't expected. Not only was there science behind the program of guided imagery to help fight cancer but Gerald cites several other texts on which his program is based that offer the scientific background to the cellular level activity as well as relaxation exercises. Since I am an engineer by trade, this really appealed to me. Here was a very inexpensive program that didn't require me to fly somewhere. I could do this at my own will on my schedule and it wasn't going to make me sick!!!
That was back in September just before my "worsening" CT scan. Since then, I have read his book along with several texts on his site on the science, meditation and relaxation. I listen to Gerald White's CD at least twice a day and things have turned around for me. I have restored hope, thoughts are returning to the future and I am living my life again everyday. I have been able to question my doctors about their decisions, look at treatment options objectively and am now enjoying an extended period of time while not on treatment. Best of all, my last CT scan came back with "all lesions shrinking" in both my lungs and on my liver.
With the Holiday's here, being able to eat is a big thing to me after having spent over a year sick as a dog, coping with diarrhea and losing weight. Having my condition turn around after beginning this guided imagery program is a huge gift to me. Having hope that I will survive this disease is the best gift anyone could have given and this is exactly what this program has done for me. Regardless of what happens, I have been given back my life here and now and I appreciate every moment of every day.
I encourage everyone with cancer to get this program and use it. Use it every day. Use it when you are on treatment. Use it when you are not on treatment. Convert the CD to MP3 and listen to it on your Ipad, Iphone, MP3 player, whatever. Listen to it at lunch. Listen to it on public transit and most definitely listen to it as you go to bed at night.
For more information and to order the program, go to:
Thanks for reading through this long message but I honestly feel very strongly that there are many things in this program that are beneficial in fighting cancer whether you are currently on treatment or getting a break from it. Doing everything that you can to fight this disease simply must include getting back the feeling that you can conquer this beast.
Happy Holidays to everyone and I pray that you will all find healing and most of all, hope in the new year!!!
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