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Daylady checking in - Cancer Across the Pond

daylady
daylady Member Posts: 122

Hi Ladies!  Just thought I would check in and let you know I am back from Germany from the first of what is probably going to be many visits this year.  I was at the Herzog Cancer Clinic outside Frankfurt Germany.  In three weeks I did whole body hyperthermia, local hyperthermia, daily vitamin and enzyme infusions, low dose chemotherapy, and a whole host of other supportive therapies.  Dr. Herzog is probably one of the most incredible oncologists in the world...a master at hyperthermia (not available in the US).  I am going back Feb. 22nd for 10 days (more full body hyperthermia and low dose chemo) and then in March when I return they will do repeat scans and tests to determine how I'm doing.  My husband went with me and was able to stay in my room with me.  I am going alone next time, but he will return with me in March.  In the US, the focus seems to be on killing the cancer (at any cost sometimes...).  In Germany, the focus is 100% on keeping the patient alive, maintaining quality life, and treating cancer...in that order.  There were people from all over the world at this clinic (including three doctors from the US who were being treted there) and I saw things that were flat out amazing!!  There are no guarantees and no magic bullets in this life, but treatments that are available over there that have not been approved here are incredible. 

There was a rancher there from Idaho with advanced cancer of the tonsil and throat.  In the states they wanted to operate, remove a portion of his tongue, install a feeding tube and do high dose chemo for a year.  His son wouldn't let anyone touch him, and made him get on a plane to the Herzog Clinic in Germany.  In 3 weeks we watched him undergo local hyperthermia and low dose chemo and his tumor was 80% (!!!) reuced by the time he left.  He will be back in 10 days for cycle #2. 

Most people (myself included) go there for the full body hyperthermia combined with low dose chemo.  It is amazing what it can do.  I was able to qualify for extreme full body hyperthermia.  In this treatment, in a very carefully controlled setting, your body is heated to 107 degrees (you are out, don't feel a thing) at which point, the cancer cells become compromised and start to die.  When your body is at the highest heat they also do low or moderate dose chemo, because when the cancer cells are compromised it takes far less chemo to get the same effect.  Does not affect your normal cells. 

They have a plan B for me as well.  If this should not work, there is a surgeon at the university hospital that has perfected a surgery that goes in through the artery in your groin, identifies the artery feeding your tumor (mine is in the liver), injects chemo directly into the tumor and then seals it off with a material that solidifies at bodt temperature.  If successful, the tumor dies from the inside/out.  There was one of the US doctors there that had had it done three times and it was working.  He had arrived at the clinic with about 6 weeks to live. 

I don't know where this journey will take me, but I do feel this was the right choice for me.  My only regret is that I did not explore having treatment outside the US sooner.  I think we have great surgeons.  Radiation carries its own risks, but I know there are some good things done.  My feeling is that the chemotherapy approach in the US leaves a lot to be desired. 

My husband and I are going on a Panama Cruise in another week, and then I head back to Germany for round 2 on Feb. 22nd.  I'll be in touch when I can.  Hope everyone is doing well.  Hugs to all - Helen

Comments

  • Lou Ann M
    Lou Ann M Member Posts: 996
    So happy

    i am so glad that you have the chance to try this.  I hope it brings nothing but success for you.  Enjoy your trip and rest before you go back for round two.  Hugs and prayers, Lou Ann

  • ConnieSW
    ConnieSW Member Posts: 1,578 **
    edited January 2017 #3
    Telepathy

    Wow!  I sat down with my iPad to write and see if anyone had heard from you and, presto, there you were!  I'm more than delighted to learn you are doing so well and am fascinated with your description of the treatment.  Can't  wait to hear more.  Enjoy your trip.

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,801 **
    edited January 2017 #4
    Helen - Yippee! So GREAT to

    Helen - Yippee! So GREAT to hear from you. What an amazing approach to take. Glad to hear you are feeling good and enjoying life in between the treatments. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. Looking forward to learning about the next steps.

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi

  • Nellasing
    Nellasing Member Posts: 528
    Wow Helen, So good to hear from you!!!

    That was such an interesting report.  More people need to know about these alternatives.  It's great that you are able to do it and report back.  We'll all be sending our prayers that all goes well and waiting for your update.  Have a great trip and rest up!!!  (((HUGS)))

  • derMaus
    derMaus Member Posts: 558
    Fascinating

    Thank you for checking in; I'd wondered how your German treatments were going. Some of these ideas are fascinating, especially the 'hot' chemo part - so different than what we have here in the states. I also loved the elegant simplicity of shooting a tumor full of chemo, plugging the hole then leaving it to die, which made me wonder why we don't do that here. God knows we're not shy about chemo, or injecting things into our systems. Years ago I was struggling with massive fibroids and explored uterine artery embolization as an alternative to surgery. Your approach reminds me of a much-more-sophisticated use of that technology. This is all so interesting...please keep us posted as you are able. Thanks again and best wishes! B

  • Kvdyson
    Kvdyson Member Posts: 789
    edited January 2017 #7
    Helen, you are amazing! So

    Helen, you are amazing! So glad to know that you are doing well and getting innovative treatments that are making you feel positive about the future. Best wishes to you and please keep us updated!

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 2,928 **
    edited January 2017 #8
    Thank you for checking in,

    Thank you for checking in, Helen!  I also appreciate you telling us what they are doing and how it is going.  Please keep us posted.

  • Kaleena
    Kaleena Member Posts: 2,059
    Thanks for sharing

    Helen, Very interesting. I am glad that you feel comfortable and positive - thats always the best medicine!   I can't tell you how many times I changed doctors because of that so hearing your story even confirms that.   Thank you so much for sharing and giving us another hopeful way to treat this disease.

  • pgdaughter
    pgdaughter Member Posts: 22
    edited February 2017 #10
    Any updates, Helen?

    Hi Helen, I was wondering how you're doing? And the treatment at Herzog? 
    Wondering if to explore it for my mother...

  • daylady
    daylady Member Posts: 122

    Any updates, Helen?

    Hi Helen, I was wondering how you're doing? And the treatment at Herzog? 
    Wondering if to explore it for my mother...

    Cycle #2 about to start...

    Well, I left Germany at the end of January.  They sent me home with low dose chemo in tablet form (1x daily), as well as some injectable enzymes (2x a week) .  As soon as we got home, my husband and I headed off on a Panama Cruise to celebrate his 70th birthday.  We had a ball!  And I felt great the whole time.  Before I left I got the results back of marker tests that the Herzog Clinic literally badgered Kaiser into doing.  I tested positive on 3 out of 4 markers.  That opens the door to all kinds of different treatments, including herceptin, which is available as an injectible in Europe.  Kaise has told me they won't help because the FDA hasn't approved it for uterine cancer as yet (see why I am traveling to Germany??!!), but it is definitely available in Germany.  I also got my biopsy material from Kaiser's pathology department and I'm takig it to Germany with me so they can run the rest of the tests they want to run.  I'm feeling VERY positive about everything at the moment, and some of the lower back/pelvic area discomfor that I have been feeling is nearly gone so I think even the stuff they have me on now might be working.  So far, so good.  I honestly think it is the best decision I've ever made.  Hugs!  - Helen

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,801 **
    Helen,

    Helen,

    So glad things are working and that you are feeling well. I hope this round 2 brings even more positive results.

    It sounds like your Panama trip was just what you needed. We all should enjoy every minute of every day! Happy to hear you had such a great time.

    Too bad America hasn't caught up to the Germans on treatments. It would be such a gift to all of us if we could be a bit more open to the alternatives out there.

    Thanks so much for checking in. I think of you often.

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi

  • Lou Ann M
    Lou Ann M Member Posts: 996
    edited February 2017 #13
    So happy

    i am so excited that things are going well.  I hope you continue on this path.

    Hugs and prayers, Lou Ann

  • Nellasing
    Nellasing Member Posts: 528
    Oh Helen,

    That is such a great update.  So glad you got to go on your trip and enjoy it and that Kaiser got their tails in gear and got the testing done you needed.  It's great you have the materials to take back to Germany with you!  We'll be hoping and praying and waiting to hear how things go this time- so glad you are in less pain!!!!  (((HUGS)))

  • Soup52
    Soup52 Member Posts: 905
    edited February 2017 #15
    Great news Helen! Prayers

    Great news Helen! Prayers that it continues!

  • Kvdyson
    Kvdyson Member Posts: 789
    edited February 2017 #16
    Thank you for sharing that

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful news, Helen! It's so great that things are finally going your way. You deserve it! Can't wait to hear from you about cycle #2! Kim