I must make it clear that I very much appreciate the care I received from my physician and my various oncologists. I firmly believe that their rapid intervention was largely responsible for the initial containment of my cancer. Small cell does not wait. The chemo, harsh as it was, most likely helped to save my life.
The radiation treatments also put the original tumor to rest (instead of me). I think my radiologist is one of the most sensitive and caring physicians I have ever met. I thank God for his help.
But, for many reasons (I will not go into here), our (U.S.) medical system has been unable or unwilling to properly investigate alternative treatments. They can be a powerful addition to conventional treatment.
I wouldn't have bypassed conventional treatment. Cancers are very unforgiving and I wasn't about to experiment with small cell lung cancer. In my mind, that would be suicide.
On the other hand, my decision was simple. Conventional Treatment ran out and I wanted to treat the whole person. It is too bad the two systems can't integrate here in the U.S.
I learned a lot about alternative treatment during my stay at the Issels Clinic. When I had some back spasms (I have a weak back), I was expecting the nurse to come back with a hypo of some muscle relaxer. Instead, she came back with a hot water bottle which immediately took care of the problem. My nasal inflammation, she came in with some aloe (still in the plant) and prepared it right there and then. By then, I shouldn't have been surprised that it would work as well as it did!
I have not had to resume any blood pressure medications, my blood pressure is quite normal. I have lost 45 lbs and my weight is now normal. I haven't ever had acid reflux again.
But I really became a believer watching with my own eyes. A Canadian gentleman arrived at the Issels Clinic very near the end of his life. His family refused to accept his terminal diagnosis. They took matters into their own hands and sought alternative treatment.
With a massive stomach tumor, he had to use a feeding tube to bypass it. When I first saw him, he was grey and slumped in his wheel chair. He had the pallor of death. I was stunned. He had been given two weeks to live before leaving Canada.
One week later I say him sitting upstairs in the dining room and he was eating lightly. He didn't talk as far as I know. The second week I saw him walking along on the shopping trip downtown that the clinic organizes weekly. We spoke briefly and I commented on his great improvement.
At the end of his third week, I saw him walk out of the hospital carrying his suitcase and with a big smile on his face. He had very good color and was obviously feeling very well. This mans life was taken back from the brink! It was a great inspiration and encouraged us all.
I wish everybody could do as well. Not everybody does. There are also many heartbreaks. There must be many factors: Will to survive, attitude, physical makeup, spirituality, genetics, and perhaps many others.
The greatest lesson I learned? Never take no for an answer. Educate yourself and take charge of your care. Keep positive! Don't assume anybody else will take care of you as you would take care of yourself. You must fight. You must survive. It is up to you.
UPDATE: 15 Feb, 2012
Well, it has been some time since I originally wrote this page and I have received many emails asking how I am doing. Here is the update:
I have been feeling very well indeed. Sometimes I feel a bit tired but I usually get over it in a few days. My last CT scan result came back last September and it was clean (no changes over the last many years). That is very good news indeed!
The Quercetin and Saw Palmetto I took for my enlarged prostate has helped and I am not currently having to take it. I will start again if need be. More good news!
It is now nearly eleven years since the initial diagnosis of small cell carcinoma in my left lung. In that time, it returned, I fought it off with alternative treatments, and it is more than nine years since I left the Issels clinic cancer free. I have been back but just for checkups and additional supplies (vitamins and other sorts of things).
I can't say that I don't suffer side effects from the chemo and radiation. I think about that nearly often. But overall, I am still loving every day.
Christian Issels, the son of the late Dr. Issels who started the Issels clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, operates the Issels Clinic in Northern California (Santa Barbara). As I understand it, they concentrate on holistic techniques that help the balance of the body and help avoid the body "stress" that can eventually lead to chronic diseases, cancer being just one of them.
I have met Christian at the clinic in Santa Barbara, California and I plan to become a regular visitor. From here (south of LA) it is about a three and 1/2 hour drive.
As I indicated earlier, I am retired from the aerospace business and I am doing my own home business. In the last several years, I taught myself how to program windows database applications and I now write software for several small companies in southern California. I also have my own product which is doing very well. Most importantly, it is a lot of fun.
So, I live each day thankful that I am here to enjoy it. I know how far I have come and I also know that I have to work every day to keep myself as healthy as possible.
Thanks for reading my story and please keep yourself safe.
I received a nice letter from Tamra. She is doing well and the doctors are very excited. Make sure to read "Tamra's page (see below menu side bar). She is truly an inspiration to all of us that know her. Don't miss this message of hope!
I have to make one additional comment though. I have now seen about 6 different oncologists. Actually, I have lost count. Either their insurance or mine changes, then on to the next one...
Out of the lot, NOT ONE hasn't been totally blown away by my progress. Yet, NOT ONE has ever asked how the clinic did it. Sure, the nurses and receptionists will often ask me in private, but NOT ONE physician.
My current oncologist, upon my initial visit, asked "When were you diagnosed with SCLC". "2001" I replied. He responded "Why, that is impossible!". I asked "Why?". He replied "Because you would be dead".
Trust me, if an auto repair shop in Mexico fixed a long term chronic problem in my car, I know my local mechanic would be dying (pardon the pun) to find out how. Go figure...
Good luck and God Bless!