An x-ray of my neck revealed a large mass where my fifth cervical vertebra should have been. The doctor told me that I shouldn’t drive. Getting rear-ended might break my neck.
I went under the knife four days later and woke up eight hours after that. When I first woke from my surgery, Dr. Makley that I had multiple myeloma. I was told that myeloma was an incurable but very treatable (?) blood cancer. Dispite the pathology report clearly stating a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, I was told that I had a single plasmacytoma that had a slight chance of not developing into full-blown multiple myeloma. My oncologist, Dr. Berger, told me that I had “pre” multiple, non-secretory myeloma, not frank multiple myeloma.
In January of 1995, 10 months after my diagnosis of a pre-myeloma, I felt pain and tingling extending from my lower back. The pathology report was difficult to understand so I will transcribe exactly what was written.
“Evidence of equivocal staining for epsilon heavy chains, suggests the unlikely possibility of IgE type plasma cell dyscrasia. Serum IgE quantitation will be helpful in excluding this possibility if it is clinically warranted.”
Dr. Berger told me that I should begin induction chemotherapy of (V.A.D.-vincristine, adriamycin, dexamethasone) followed by consolidation (high dose cytoxan) and an autologous stem cell transplant, all in 1995.
I underwent radiation to my sacrum and iliac crest and then began induction chemotherapy in April-May of 1995. Shortly after my first cycle of V.A.D. I developed a deep-vein thrombosis in my left leg. I completed 6 courses of V.A.D. from April-August ’95.
That September I had two courses of high-dose chemo (cytoxan) and in December of 1995 I underwent an autologous stem cell transplant. I relapsed by the end of the summer of 1997. At my appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Ann Rassiga, I was told that they had tried radiation and multiple chemotherapy regimens. Sadly Dr. Rassiga told me that “there is nothing more that we can do for you.”
I was young (36) and in otherwise good health and I had a difficult time thinking that I was end-stage. Perhaps I was in denial…and a little angry. Okay, I was a lot angry.
During the summer of ’97 my wife did some research on the Internet and found a clinic in Houston, Texas called The Burzynski Research Institute (BRI). I knew NOTHING about alternative cancer therapy. I only knew that I had to do something about my cancer (that was beginning to really hurt). I didn’t want to go to Germany (Dr. Hans Neiper), the Bahamas (IPT), or Mexico.
In November of 1997 I traveled to the BRI where I began antineoplaston therapy (ANP), a non-FDA approved therapy.
Over the next 17 months my “incurable” cancer slowly retreated and I have been cancer-free since April of 1999.
My health insurance, Medical Mutual of Ohio, deemed the non-toxic chemotherapy that took me from end-stage cancer to cancer-free to be “not medically necessary” and denied payment for it.
I spent the next few years wondering if I would relapse. After all, I was told that all MMers eventually relapse and die. A lived through many short, long-term and late-stage side effects from my conventional therapies. I still fear a relapse of my myeloma or a treatment-related secondary cancer from all the chemo and radiation I underwent from ’95-’97.
I launched the Galen Foundation DBA PeopleBeatingCancer in 2004. I spend my time researching cancers, blogging about cancer issues and working with cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. It may sound odd but I find cancer interesting. Coaching cancer patients, survivors and caregivers has become my passion.
ANP from the Burzynski Research Institute clearly put me into complete remission from my end-stage MM. However, MMers always relapse. Always. I have been in complete remission since 4/99 by living an evidence-based, non-toxic, anti-MM lifestyle through nutrition, supplementation, bone health, mind-body and lifestyle therapies.
I provide dozens of evidence-based, non-toxic, anti-MM therapies through my MM Cancer Coaching Program. I’ve learned that if you are diagnosed with cancer knowledge is power.