My story begins on New Year's Eve, 2007 when I thought I had the flu. My gut wrenched with pain and was throwing up. Because it was a holiday and Saturday night, I chose to ride out the storm at home rather than heading to the emergency room. By the next morning, the pain had subsided and I felt weak from dehydration. Two days later, I felt like I was recuperating from a 24 hour bug just getting back to normal. Two weeks later, I was still having some loose stools and occasional diarrhea. I called my doctor to set up an appointment.
My doctor felt like it could be the beginning signs of gall bladder problems and scheduled me for some tests. I had just about every test run that could be run with no explanation for the continued diarrhea. All tests came back normal. The only test I hadn't had done was a colonoscopy and the doctor couldn't see me until May. This was now the end of February. My doctor called to speed up the date, but could only get me in on April 25th, 2008. So I waited.
The colonoscopy was done with some problems noted during the procedure. On May 1, 2008, I got a call at home at 6:00 pm in the evening from the gastroenterologist stating my results were positive for cancer. He asked me to have a CT scan the next day. I was to tell the clinic it was an emergency and get it done ASAP.
The next day, I went to the clinic for the emergency abdominal CT scan. They gave me some yucky white stuff to drink and told me to come back in 2 hours for the scan.
I had such a hard time getting the white chalky substance down but did it. When I arrived back at the clinic, they gave me more stuff to drink. I took a couple of sips and just couldn't drink any more. The technician said I had to drink more. I went into the bathroom to try and all hell broke loose. I started throwing up everything. The technician finally knocked on the door when she realized I was having difficulty, they agreed to do the test anyway.
Once the abdominal CT scan was done, the staff asked me to go immediately to the emergency room. They wouldn't tell me anything. Being stubborn, I went home to cover my flowers because it was supposed to freeze that night. I made sure my cat was well fed for the weekend and had a friend take me to the emergency room.
My gut was once again in pain from the throwing up and the emergency room was expecting me. I was then told that my colon had totally blocked and the lower half of my colon had collapsed. That's when I realized my condition was very serious. I had just been told yesterday I had cancer... The process wasn't supposed to go this fast?!!! They put me on a morphine drip and stuck a tube down my throat to keep all fluids away from the colon in hopes that it would re-expand by itself. I was told surgery would have to be done to remove the blockage.
On Sunday, May 4th, I was prepped for surgery. No idea what was to be done, what the outcome would be, only that they knew there was a blockage that had to be removed and I had cancer.
When I awoke from surgery, the doctor explained my full condition. Eighteen inches of my colon had been removed along with 80 lymph nodes for testing. The doctor explained to me that I had stage IV cancer according to the CT scan with cancer in the tissue surrounding the stomach and left lower lobe of the liver.
After three days, the doctor sent me home with follow-up to the oncologist for scheduled chemo. What goes through a person's mind at this point? I wasn't ready to die. Three years earlier, I had miraculously survived an auto accident after being thrown 90 yards, my husband's death from the accident, and months of therapy to just be able to walk again. God did not save me from that accident just to turn around and let me die from cancer.
My wonderful daughter had come for the surgery and to be with me when I came home from the hospital. Two days home and my temperature started to spike. I returned to the emergency room. The admitting doctor asked me what my DNR orders were. I looked at that doctor and replied, "You bring on those paddles!!! I'm not even close to checking out yet." Remember, my diagnosis was, after all, stage IV. For those of you who don't know the stages, stage IV is end stage cancer. I knew this because my career was managing home care and hospice agencies. I was truly in a case of full denial.
It turned out that during my surgery, I had contracted a strep infection in the wound. Wonderful, huh? I felt like I was in a mash tent. "Give her 5 more milligrams of morphine...." the doctor stated about 4 times while I was thinking of the commercial.... "Anesthesia on!!!, Anesthesia on!!!" I screamed. It was like having surgery without the anesthesia. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
They kept me in the hospital until the strep was under control with antibiotic IVs. I was once again sent home to recuperate from the surgery with scheduled visits to the oncologist and surgeon. Home care was added to dress the wound, open and draining.
When I met with the surgeon, I asked him could this really be stage IV colon cancer? After all, he had me wide open, the CT scan could have been wrong... I wanted this bad dream to go away. The surgeon stated it was definitely stage IV. He said that surgery on the liver would be possible, if necessary due to the location of the tumor but because too much infection could result from the colon, the liver was left untouched. The dream wasn't going away, it was just getting worse.
The results of the lymph node study came back with 10 of the 80 being positive for cancer. The cancer had already spread into the lymph nodes.... terrible news. My CEA number had climbed to 175.8.
Then I went to meet my oncologist. He explained to me that I would be receiving three drugs; Oxaliplatin, 5-FU, and Avastin. I wouldn't lose all of my hair but would lose some. I asked him, as well, if this was really stage IV cancer. He said, definitely, yes. He then told me to go to the chemo room for a video of what to expect from the chemo treatment. I asked him, "So what are my chances?" His reply, "From six months to two years, depending on how you react to the chemo treatment." He then walked out of the room to let me fend for myself.
Six months?? That is when I went home to search the internet, become an expert on my diagnosis, and prayed for direction. I knew I did not want this doctor for my oncologist. He gave me no hope at all. I called Mayo clinic to schedule a second opinion. I started searching for all sorts of cure-alls for cancer on the internet.
I came upon a web site from a mother who had lost her child to gioblastoma at the age of 2. The picture of this beautiful little girl with no hair just stuck out on the page. I read the whole article. The mother had set up the web site stating that if only she had known about DCA she might have saved her daughter. The mother also stated if you can't get DCA take Vitamin B1 three times a day.
I went out the next day and got vitamin B1 and began taking it three times a day. (100 milligrams). I began searching for a way to get some DCA and found someone who might be able to get some for me.
My trip to Mayo clinic was in June with surgery scheduled for the end of June to place a port-a-cath in my chest to make it easier to infuse the chemotherapy. When I met with the doctor at Mayo, he confirmed the stage IV diagnosis. I was devastated. I asked him if he had heard about DCA and the clinical trials they were starting at the University of Alberta in Canada. His response was "If I were you, I would go to Canada." I had prayed for direction and this was it. DCA was going to give me the hope I needed to fight this battle that lay before me.
When I returned, I received a call that the DCA had arrived and wanted to start taking it immediately but was unsure how I would react to it. Living alone, I didn't want to take the first dose by myself. I scheduled a meeting with a clinical nutritionist who was doing research with black light therapy for live blood samples under a microscope. Before I took the first dose, we looked at my blood under the microscope to see the red blood cells all clumped together. According to the charts, my blood was distressed with cancer. Yet, another confirmation of how sick I really was. Twenty minutes after I took the DCA, we looked at my blood again and saw the red blood cells separating and starting to move around all by themselves. I knew in my mind and heart, this was going to work. I saw physical results only twenty minutes after taking the first dose. The nutritionist also recommended to take protease and enzymes to help my body work more efficiently.
DCA was the first thing I took every morning. I would mix about 1/8 tsp in 1/4 cup of water and drink it. I took 4 protease before breakfast, 4 multiple enzymes after each meal along with vitamin B1 three times a day. I took another 4 protease at bedtime. This was my regime for two weeks prior to my placement of the port-a-cath. I was unsure of the interaction with the pain meds, etc. when I had my port-a-cath implanted on July 2nd so I stopped taking the DCA the day before surgery.
On July 7th, 2008, I began my chemotherapy program. It was to be 10 treatments, every other week. I was to go home with the IV for 48 hours. I had no idea what to expect. I waited for the worst. The doctor told me to graze through food. Constantly trying to eat something, no matter what my appetite was. My new oncologist, who stated she was optimistic, told me not to take vitamins A, C, D, & E while on the chemo. "Stop taking the vitamins two days before and don't begin again until three days after the chemo." I took the DCA for three days in between the weeks I was doing chemo while I could take the antioxidants. The enzymes were taken every day along with the vitamin B1. I drank Pepsi to settle my stomach which had caffeine at least three times a day along with protein drinks to get my caloric count up. On the sixth treatment of Oxaliplatin, I developed an allergic reaction. The doctor stated this happens to a lot of patients. I could no longer take this chemo drug. I lost over 30 pounds during my chemo treatments. I had to start taking Vitamin B2 every day because of sores on my mouth from the chemo draining my riboflavin after about the 4th treatment. I took L-Lysine daily to help with the sores in my mouth, as well, after the 2nd chemo treatment.
In October, I was hating the chemo by this time, losing lots of hair, my fingers were black, and my nails were so soft, I had to clip them to nothing. I was counting down the days until the 10th treatment was done. On the day of my 10th and final treatment, the oncologist dropped the bomb. She told me that I would have to do at least 4 more treatments. I told her, emphatically, "NO". After all, my CEA was at 7.9 now. She then explained that because the lymph nodes were involved, the cancer could plant itself anywhere and there were free floating cells running though my body. I would be needing the 4 more treatments and then possibly could take a break for awhile. I told her, "the tumors are gone!". She totally disagreed with me so I requested a new PET scan. A PET scan was scheduled. I had a meeting with my family to discuss the options. My family wanted me to do the additional chemo treatments. I agreed until we got the PET scan results. Two more treatments were done and I could feel myself getting weaker and sicker. My insides felt like mush. I knew if I did any more, the chemo would do me in, I wouldn't have to wait for the cancer to take over.
The PET scan came back just as I had said. All tumors were gone, even the one in my liver. My CEA was now at 3.8. The doctor wanted me to continue the chemo anyway. At this point I called Mayo for a second opinion.
My trip to Mayo was an eventful one. He agreed with me, no more chemo, watch the CEA number and do PET scans every three months. He also stated "Do us both a favor and take the DCA every day. Your case will be monitored as to your progress." My CEA at Mayo was 2.7.
Another PET scan was done in February 2009 with the same results, no tumors or signs of cancer.
I am continuing to take the DCA with good results along with the enzymes, vitamin C, Omega 3, and vitamin B1. My CEA bounces between 3.8 and 2.7 but stays under 4 which is considered to be normal. The only side effect is an increased appetite and weight gain. I have decided being a little overweight is a lot better than the alternative. I am now seeing a nutritionist to help me maintain and lose some weight. What a difference from a year ago.
My doctor is still not ready to believe that the DCA had anything to do with my progress but has acknowledged that I am a miracle. Yes, I am a miracle, God has directed my path. God answers our prayers sometimes through others if we are only willing to listen.
For those of you who are skeptical about DCA, I am living proof that it works. I will continue with it until clinical trials are finished to say once the cancer is gone, it's gone. Godspeed to all of you who are still fighting your battle, my prayers are with you and your families.
Link to her DCA Survey form