Sunday, December 20, 2009

There's snow baby, like our baby ... SHE's here!

There never seems to be a dull moment around here! Last night of all nights. After only about 2 feet of snow, this baby decides to make an appearance! Baby Addison was born this morning December 20, 2009 at 7:52 am, here is how it all went down.

Amy woke me at about 3:30 am complaining of cramps and pains. It seemed like they were coming on every 10 minutes or so. Seeing as we just had about 2 feet of show dumped on us, we decided to call the midwives office just to let them know that we thought this thing might eventually happen today. We just wanted to give her some notice.

Since being on this therapy and sort of tied to the house, we decided and had been planning on a home birth. This would of course assume that a snow-pocalypse didn't just occur and that the mid wives, et all would be able to actually get to our home. That didn't seem to be panning out for us and since the what was 10 minute pains started turning into bigger and more frequent contractions we decided that we needed to go to plan B and head to the hospital instead. We didn't really think it was going to happen this fast (again) but we thought, better to be safe and drive towards the hospital. This way we would be close and if it turns out to be nothing, we could just drive home.

Since there would be drive time involved, we also considered making the longer journey and meet up with our BirthCare team at their office in Alexandria, VA and give birth in their birthing suite. A drive that would normally take an hour in decent weather, but we figured it might be worth the shot and with other hospitals along the route, we could always stop early if need be. Everyone decided that they liked that plan and committed to digging themselves out and making the arctic journey. We left our house at about 5 AM.

I will admit, the roads were worse than I imagined they'd be. Though passable, there were enough people stuck in snow embankments along the way to make me thankful for what little patients that I do have. I was extra cautious and careful as to not have to deliver this baby on the side of a cold dark wintery highway by myself. A procedure that I had studied up for given all that could go wrong with a home birth in December, like snow!

So our midwife, birthing assistant and good friend Sarah were all safely waiting our arrival. We got inside and Amy was on the bed by 7 AM. Everyone knew their job and knew exactly what to do. I, being trained as a coach in the The Bradley Method for Natural Childbirth with our first daughter Ella, also knew what my role was and am pretty darn proud of the support that I provided. (Pat pat)

Not long after our arrival and Amy was in full blown active labor. Just about fifty two minutes after our arrival (7:52 AM), we were welcoming baby Addison into the world. Here she is ...


Addison
6 pounds 13 ounces
18.5 inches


I'll post more photos online soon, over here.

Mother and baby are both doing fine. Three hours after delivery, we fought our way back through the now melting snow to our home. We had a house full of family here today as we attempt to get things in some sort of order. I got caught back up on the therapy, but more importantly mom and baby have been relaxing all day. And yes, Ella just loves her new little baby sister.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

It has been a year, time for a recap. #Melanoma

December 17, 2009 marks the one year point since my journey began. I was sitting in the surgeon's office to get my pathology results from a mole that I had removed just seven days prior. He told me that one of three moles that he removed had contained what he called Malignant Melanoma. I had no idea what he was talking about.

Here I am at my daughter's 1st birthday party in November 2008. This is what what my melanoma looked like. It was on the back of my neck, even if I could see it in the mirror I may not have suspected anything.


WELCOME TO THE BUSINESS OF CANCER

As it was just before the holidays, I was able to squeak in to an appointment with the surgical oncologist at Washington Hospital Center. I went back to my office called my wife and then asked Steven to accompany me to the hospital. I was comforted by the fact that the doctors didn't show any real concern over this new diagnosis. It was almost as if they see it all the time and have no problem "fixing it."


SLASH

Just as we entered the new year, I was going in for my first surgery. It is called a local wide excision and it's intent is to achieve clear margins around the site of the cancerous tumor. It was explained to me to that the cut would be football shaped so that the opening could be pulled together and sewn shut. He even drew a picture of what the the cut the would look like and how big it would be. Can I just say, the actual cut was MUCH larger.

Pathology came back, margins were clear! Turns out there was no benefit I did not benefit from the surgery at all! During the surgery, another procedure called a sentinel lymph node biopsy was performed. I was injected with a radio active fluid which could be traced to the lymph node that filters in that region of the body. They then removed that lymph node to test for malignancy.

The pathology from the lymph node came back and showed that melanoma was present. The report also indicated that upon removing the lymph node, it appeared to be fractured or damaged. I was then scheduled for another surgery. They wanted to remove several lymph nodes around the area of the first, it was called a left neck dissection. They wanted to make sure they there was no other melanoma present in that region. This is when they flayed my neck and chest and removed about 40 lymph nodes. None of which were positive.

Melanoma was present in the soft tissue surrounding the sentinel lymph node. A margin around that area was found to be clear and once again the doctors were satisfied with their result and declared that they had cut it out.

By this point, it was February. I was still recovering from my last surgery. It took several weeks and several bottles of pain killers to get over that one. I still have no feeling on my neck, jaw or ear.


BURN

The next step was to have radiation on my neck at the site of the original mole. Seemed easy enough, and I was ready to go. I had gone in for my "dry run" and had my mask fitted and I was on the schedule. I would go in for radiation starting in about a week for 28 days.

Just before radiation started, I noticed another dark spot on my neck, this time on the right side. It was a small, light colored mole with a very dark center. I had it biopsied and sure enough, it too came back as malignant melanoma. My disease has spread.

With radiation no longer being a reasonable treatment option, I was off to see a medical oncologist at Johns Hopkins. I was told that he was the guy to talk to about drugs and that he works with doctors from all over the world and will recommend the best treatment options for my particular case.

We decided to treat this like a new primary melanoma versus a metastasis. It was recommended that I have another wide excision on the right side of the my neck and make sure we can again achieve clear margins. This sounded horrible but what choice did I have? I was prepared to have my neck cut open and this time lean towards the right for a few weeks.

On May 5, 2008 I was to go in to have my physical to make sure I was ready for a third surgery. I had been having some cramps in the days leading up and I mentioned it to the doctors. I went in for CT scan and thats when we found it. I had numerous little tumors on my liver, spleen and left adrenal glad. I now have Stage IV Malignant Melanoma and less than a 5% chance of living 5 another years.


POISON

Back to Baltimore to speak with the medical oncologist. IL-2 was his next recommendation. It's not toxic and doesn't pose any long term effect or damage to the liver, he said. You'll feel like you have the flu, some patients get itchy, but you'll get better. I was to start immediately and receive a round of treatment with up to 14 doses. It would then be followed with two weeks off before I would start another round. Two weeks after that I would go it in for more scans and determine results.

Bloated, sick and attached to my "little bag of gold" as the nurses referred to it. This was, hands down, the worst that I've felt in my entire life.

Well that didn't work. More than $100,000 was billed to my insurance company and I was just as sick if not worse than before I started. Again, I literally had NO BENEFIT from this treatment. With a 94% failure rate, IL-2 is clinically proven be just as effective as a sugar pill. It just costs a little more.

I spent the next two or so months talking with other medical oncologists and researching. I read about a wide variety of topics starting from alternative treatments to new and exciting clinical trials. There were a few new age drugs that really caught my eye. I was turned down by one and the other never called me back. I was going no where in a real hurry.


LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD


It was time for me to take control of my own future and health. I was already turned on to natural and alternative treatments from some friends. Not for cancer, but I've seen where food and these so called alternative treatments have helped some of these friends in the past. It was now time to make a real change and turn my situation around. It was time for the Gerson Therapy.

On September 8, 2009 I went to the Baja Nutri Care Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. There I began a new journey, one that involves not taking food for granted and eating for a purpose. Three weeks in Mexico and then I was back home to practice this therapy for the next two years.

The Gerson Therapy is a grueling regimen of 13 freshly prepared juices, 3 low-fat salt-free vegan meals including both raw and cooked vegetables, 5 coffee enemas, supplements and all the fresh organic fruit and vegetables that I want all day long. In addition, I cannot bathe or come into contact with fluoridated water. Salt or anything with sodium in it is off limits. The list goes on. Trust me, it is harder than it sounds. When your not actively doing something for the therapy, you are more than likely preparing something for the therapy. Hired and volunteered help is the only way to do it right.

Though not required, I've found that a dedicated Gerson Therapy room is quite helpful in the pursuit of health. Especially considering that there is a lot of carrot, apple and green leaf particles that get everywhere during the process!

I've come to realize that The Gerson Therapy is not a cure for cancer. The cure for cancer and all other degenerative diseases lives within all of us. It is our immune system. This therapy is one of many that help promote a healthy being. The body fights cancer every day. It is only when the immune system is in a state where it is no longer effective can the disease take hold. It is because my body is getting EVERYTHING that it needs, and NOTHING that it doesn't that I have a chance to overcome my illness. It won't be easy, and it won't be quick.

Here I am, sporting my favorite carrot and apple juice with my authentic Mexico T-shirt and American Cancer Society ball cap. I'm covering all my bases, I never been one to burn bridges. ;-)

The beard is coming in nicely, I think. I wonder if all the carrot juice has something to do with it.


CLINICAL TRIALS AND RESEARCH DRUGS


This is why I blog about my story. This is not some well funded, double blind clinical study to test the efficacy of carrot juice. I simply want to document my experiences and possibly help someone else who falls ill to the environment as I did. If it works, then I believe it is a great testament to Dr Gerson and his family's work. I also think that given this information, there should be real changes made in our world so people can live and stay healthy. If it doesn't work, then I will die and you will be left without a cure. Either way, it is an important message to share.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Post Healing Reaction Items and Thoughts

With my most recent healing reaction about 1 week behind me, I've been experiencing a couple rather suspect after effects. Last Tuesday which was immediately after the crisis, I noticed that I had two swollen lymph nodes in my groin. One being larger than the other, it has had my attention all week. At first I was feeling good about it since it could be a significant sign of my body collecting antibodies to fight off the malignancy. One week may not be long enough for it to go away, but I do have a little concern that it is still there.

My second post crisis observation is a skin rash. It started all at once and is on my elbows, hips and partially down the back side of my legs. It is an itchy rash and on appearance, it would seem to resemble a mild case of eczema. I started to put pure aloe on one of the spots, but then stopped soon after reading a few posts from the Gerson Therapy User Group. The rash could indicate quite a few conflicting things including detoxification, immune response or that in all my spare time from the therapy I've somehow contracted some flesh eating bacteria.

On a positive note, I've not felt any disturbances in my stomach for the past week. I typically have slight pains / discomforts in the areas of my spleen and liver. Since this last healing reaction, they have all stopped!

Both issues above could be linked to either healing or worsening. The Gerson Therapy allows your body to enter a mode of healing crisis in which inflammations/ reactions take many forms. I'm seeing signs that this therapy is working, but it is sometimes difficult to turn a blind eye on a new symptom and simply label it a "reaction". I just had more blood drawn so I'll be consulting with Dr Cervantes in a few days. I also plan to see my local naturopath for closer examination and get another opinion on the matter.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Finally, a day of rest.

Well it wasn't the seventh day but after four days of healing, I spent today resting. I woke up this morning with no fever and had a better appetite as well. The stomach was a little queazy but drinking peppermint tea did seem to help. So it seems like this things will be heading back to *normal* again, for a little while anyway. With the holidays and a wife who is *9* months pregnant, things are once again going to get more intense around the Brockey household. I'll do my best to keep everyone up to speed!

Thank you everyone for your love and support!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Another Day of Healing

My healing reaction has continued at full strength for a fourth straight day. As yesterday came to a close, I needed a break. I took one Tylenol and almost immediatley started feeling better. Although the healing process was being interrupted, for those couple of hours, I didn't care.

I woke up with only a slight fever, but it didn't take long to hit and then average ~102 for the remainder of the day. On a good note I've been keeping up with my diet. I'm eating, I'm just not finishing it. Although I am eating more now than I did the first time.

I've started to feel sick to my stomach each time I start a coffee break. When this occurred while in Mexico, the doctor reduced my juice intake and coffee schedule. Based on that, I decided to slow things down a bit today.

I am currently due for more bloodwork. I'll need to wait until this healing reaction is over, but even then my bloodwork will likely show some strange numbers. My guess is that my local doctor will be a touch more concerned than he's been with my earlier labs.

As terrible as I feel, I welcome the healing process to stay as long as it takes to heal my body. Within reason of course. With Christmas right around the corner, I need to be in tip top shape. As everything else has been by the book, I figure the next reaction should be in about 6 months. This exhausts the generous 12 month prognosis handed down by Dr Sharfman. I sure hope we can prove him wrong this time.

Correction: The book states that another strong healing reaction is typically seen in chemo pretreated cases around 6 months after the start of treatment. IL2 is considered chemo so I'll be expecting another major reaction in only a few months time. The book also states that I will likely experience smaller more predictable flare ups and inflammations and it could take the body any number of them to fully heal. The book is very clear about one thing, the healing process is unique for each individual and is dependent on countless factors, including the type and severity of the disease. Also please remember that the Gerson Therapy is not a specialized or focused treatment. It cleanses the whole body. As the theory goes, once the immune system is properly working the body will completely heal. Sorry for the confusion.




Saturday, December 5, 2009

Healing Day 3: Still going strong

The healing reaction is working on day 3 and is still going strong. I've had a constant low grade fever since 3 pm on Thursday and have taken zero pills to combat it. Yesterday evening was the closest I had come when it hit 103. I had the pills next to me waiting for it to go up, but by the next reading the fever had dropped and I felt much better.

I'm having some chest pains like I've not felt before. I think it could be simple muscle pain since I do feel like I have the flu. I pretty much feel just like I did while undergoing il2, except for I'm not concerned about losing all blood pressure or dying from one of the many side effects they don't really preare you for. In addition, I won't have Dr Sharfman laughing while telling me that maybe he understated the side effects just a little bit.

While I'm laying in bed, I've had some really generous people come over and help me out. I want to thank Jane Gates and my sister in law Amy King for being here and preparing my juices while I sleep. They both help me out during the week so they know the routine by now. My mom is coming over today to help out. Besides my loving wife Amy always here by my side, none of this would be possible without her. She manages everything for me, sets the schedule and is basically the reason anything gets done around here. All while being 8 months pregnant. I have a feeling I'm going to have some make up work once this whole cancer thing is behind us.

It's snowing outside right now, the first snow of the season. The first snow is always the best, and with the help of Dr Max Gerson, I hope to be around for many more.



Friday, December 4, 2009

Healing Reaction and #Melanoma: Let's #BeatCancer

This blog post comes straight to your computer right from my bed. I have started the much anticipated and now my second official healing reaction. For a few days now I could feel my body slowly drifting towards here, but the at 3 pm yesterday I started to get the chills and I knew something was up. I took my tempurature and sure enough it registered 99.5. I immediatly went to lay down and when I woke up about two hours later, I was hitting 101.8 on the thermometer. It's been up and down ever since, currently sitting at 100.7.

Though the healing reaction is what I am after, and the fever is a good thing, I certainly need to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get too high. Afterall I'm not taking anything for it, just more carrot/ apple juice and coffee. Melanoma has long been known to go into spontanious remission after a bout of sickness and fever. Western doctors will even tell you that. Were simply using the Gerson Therapy to align the body to heal itself. This is what this method is all about.

Happy Healing!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Big Pharma and Gerson Therapy finally working together!

So I got this wonderful email today.

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Good morning Mike,

After spending some time on sMelanoma, Cancer Stinks! today, I have a brief editorial question about your page.
sMelanoma provides information, personal experiences, inspiration, and resources for those effected by melanoma in some way. My name is Emily Brown and I am working with Proleukin to help them broaden awareness of their cancer treatment program and resources. Proleukin is a form of immunotherapy that uses the body's natural immune system to fight cancer. Proleukin has been used for over 10 years in the treatment of Metastatic Melanoma and for over 15 years in the treatment of metastatic kidney cancer. Besides offering treatment options, Proleukin.com offers a vast amount of resources for patients and physicians who are battling these types of cancer. I am not sure of your familiarity with Proleukin, but I hope that it is a good fit as a resource for sMelanoma.

Would you be willing to look at http://www.proleukin.com, and include a link to it as 'Metastatic Melanoma' if you believe it is a valuable resource for your readers?

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions at all, or for more information.
Mike, thank you so much for your time!
Best,
Emily
embrown1211@gmail.com

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If she spent even a second of the time on my website that she suggested she would know that my values and goals are compleltey different than that of her employer. That being said, Emily your big pharma link is now posted on my site, mind returning the favor and posting my link on the Proleukin website? Just maybe if we can work together we can bring down Big Pharma once and for all!

Simply amazing how far these guys go to peddle thier drugs. I get emails ALL the time from them. The best one went something like this, we see by your profile that you have stage 4 malignant melanoma. Sorry to hear that. If you would allow us to call you with some questions about treatmet, you'll be eligible to receive $100. Good deal -- that'll get me a weeks worth of carrot and apples!