Recently Diagnosed or Relapsed? Stop Looking For a Miracle Cure, and Use Evidence-Based Therapies To Enhance Your Treatment and Prolong Your Remission

Multiple Myeloma an incurable disease, but I have spent the last 25 years in remission using a blend of conventional oncology and evidence-based nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle therapies from peer-reviewed studies that your oncologist probably hasn't told you about.

Click the orange button to the right to learn more about what you can start doing today.

Myeloma Diagnosis, Prognosis, Cured?

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I was diagnosed in 1994. My prognosis was 3-5 years. I have maintained complete remission from End-Stage Multiple Myeloma since 1999. Am I cured? 

Giving the newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patient an accurate prognosis is difficult at best. Misleading at worst. Let me explain.

My name is David Emerson. Welcome to PeopleBeatingCancer.org.  I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on February 14th, 1994. In 1994 my prognosis was 3-5 years. The prognosis for the NDMM patient today is 5-7 years. According to research, about 9% of patients live beyond 15 years.

Asking your oncologist for a multiple myeloma prognosis is normal of course. But understand that the statistics may not apply to you.

The story below explains everything- the good, the bad and the ugly. Am I cured? Is anyone ever cured from an incurable blood cancer?

You be the judge.

I underwent those conventional chemotherapies listed below:

all in 1995. I relapsed in 10/96, more radiation therapy, relapsed again in 9/97 and was told: “we can do nothing more for you.” I underwent a “quack” cancer therapy called antineoplaston therapy (ANP) from 11/97-4/99. By April of 1999 I reached complete remission where I have remained every since.

Makes you wonder about non-conventional therapies, doesn’t it…

I have remained in complete remission from my multiple myeloma by living an evidence-based, non-toxic, anti-myeloma lifestyle through:

  • anti-angiogenic nutrition,
  • anti-angiogenic supplementation,
  • evidence-based, non-toxic bone health therapies,
  • evidence-based mind-body therapies,
  • detoxification
  • frequent, moderate exercise-

and more. I consider my anti-myeloma regimen to be a metronomic, low-dose, maintenance myeloma therapy. But non-toxic.

The article below appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine in 1993.

The Multiple Myeloma Cancer Coaching Program guides MM patients, survivors and caregivers through everything the MM patient needs to know. I present the therapies (both conventional and non-conventional), complementary/integrative therapies, philosophies, questions, answers, everything the MM patient needs to manage his/her incurable blood cancer.

Important Issues in the Multiple Myeloma Debate-

Do you have MM? Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

To Learn More about Early Palliative Therapy- click now

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

The article below appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine.

Recommended Reading:

To Learn More About Diagnostic Criteria for Multiple Myeloma Click Now

David vs. Myeloma

In 1994 David Emerson, then just 34 years old, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow. Between 1994 and 1997 David combated three relapses of his myeloma with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant. On his third relapse his doctors told him there was nothing more that could be done and that he had 6-12 months to live.

Not accepting his fate, David did extensive research and sought out alternative therapies to survive. In 1997 he traveled to the Burzynski Research Institute in Houston, Texas where he underwent antineoplaston therapy, a non-FDA recommended therapy his health insurance deemed unnecessary. His myeloma slowly retreated and he has been cancer free since April of 1999.

David learned from his experience and although he knows that the specific therapy he chose will not work for everyone, he believes strongly that people facing chronic disease have a right to information about a full spectrum of approaches to cancer therapy. The information about multiple myeloma David found on the internet helped to save his life, and he is passionate about helping others succeed in their battles against chronic diseases of all kinds.

Read more about David and his battle against myeloma and the health system in the following article, reprinted from the Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine from 4/13/03

A Bitter Pill to Swallow

David Emerson beat back his cancer with unconventional therapies. Then he took on the health system that abandoned him in his fight

By Diane Solov

When conventional therapy failed to halt his aggressive cancer and a string of doctors had written him off, David Emerson took his medical care into his own hands.
He brewed herbs prescribed by a Chinese doctor he couldn’t understand, swallowed shark cartilage because sharks don’t get cancer, saw a massage therapist and started working out. He traveled coast to coast to consult with top research doctors and mulled last-hope therapies in places as suspect as Tijuana and Bermuda.
When he had been bounced to his fourth cancer specialist in a year – and the doctor dozed off during their first appointment – Emerson boarded a plane for Houston. He took a treatment offered there by an unconventional and highly controversial Poland-trained doctor named Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, who pumped his body full of urine laced with peptides that purportedly shrank tumors.

By all appearances, the treatment saved his life.
With his cancer in abeyance, Emerson launched the second biggest fight of his life.

Emerson sued his HMO and the doctors’ group that had the contract to care for him. His purpose: To exact a reckoning of how bureaucrats could declare the therapy that saved him “medically unnecessary.”

With a common-man sensibility evocative of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Emerson dared to challenge a health system unwilling to fight for his survival. Stung by the indifference of some of his doctors and an erratic series of insurance denials and approvals, he took aim at the rubric of managed care that has enraged patients for a decade.

How could his rare cancer be managed by a succession of oncologists? How could he trust a physician group that repeatedly denied its own doctors’ recommendations to consult with out-of-town specialists? How does someone unschooled in the health system’s complexities negotiate the ever shifting line between accepted treatments and promising new therapies?

Mostly, Emerson asked how a reasonably intelligent person could be expected to keep faith in a system that was better off if he were dead.

“The whole system is fundamentally flawed,” Emerson says. “I should have died because of it.”

In bouts with insurance companies, most cancer patients do die before the first round. Win or lose, Emerson’s lawsuit may be the elixir that continues to keep him alive.
David Emerson is not a crank. He is smart, well educated and articulate, despite the lingering effect of his early cancer treatment that he calls “chemo brain,” a list of deficits topped by short-term memory lapses. The youngest of four children of an affluent Shaker Heights family, he graduated from University School, an exclusive private school in Shaker, and Bowdoin College, a small liberal arts college in Maine, where he studied government and art history.

After trying a few jobs on for size, Emerson returned home and in 1991 took over the commercial printing business that his father, Oliver Emerson – founding publisher of Cleveland Magazine – started in the 1960s. He was working on his MBA nights and weekends, dating casually and living with the vigor you’d expect of a man with the world at his feet when he learned he had a disease that could kill him well before his 40th birthday.

A nagging pain in the neck launches Emerson’s journey in 1993. More irritating than alarming, Emerson shrugs it off as muscle strain. But a few months later, he stands at the mirror and notices that his right shoulder has shrunk. It is decidedly smaller than the left. Emerson, a lean 6 feet 6, can no longer grip the ball at his weekly basketball game. The strength has drained from his arm so it feels like a worn-out rubber band.

On the way home from work one Thursday afternoon in January 1994, Emerson swings by the urgent care center he passes every day on the way to the office. An X-ray shows an unmistakably substantial mass on his spine, and he is on the operating table within a week. Moments after the tube is pulled from his throat in University Hospitals’ recovery room, one of his doctors delivers the diagnosis.

“You have cancer,” he says.

Emerson, who is 34, starts to cry.

At first, there is just one tumor, called a plasmacytoma, at the fifth cervical vertebra. Doctors remove it and saw out a slice of his hip to bridge the fourth and sixth vertebrae. Emerson is given a brace for his back, some radiation treatments and returns to work at Emerson Press, hoping the cancer is behind him.

But just 13 months after his initial surgery, on Valentine’s Day 1995, Emerson learns the cancer has returned. The progression changes the diagnosis to multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable cancer.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, which are vital to the disease-fighting immune system. With this cancer, unregulated plasma cells run rampant. They congregate in the bone marrow and hard bone, then bore through bones like termites in an old clapboard house, leaving holes, collapsing bones and gumming up vital organs with the calcium dispersed from disintegrating bone. The cancer accounts for just 1 percent of all cancer deaths, and is particularly unusual in young white men. The typical victim is twice Emerson’s age, and blacks are twice as likely as whites to get it, although no one knows why.

Emerson’s myeloma is of a particularly unusual variety. His disease is counted among the 1 to 5 percent of multiple myeloma cases that refrain from emitting proteins in the urine that signal cancer activity. Instead, Emerson is the sentry for his cancer. He knows it has returned when aching pressure deep in his bones becomes undeniably real.
Because the new diagnosis confirms that cancer is now coursing through his body, Emerson receives targeted radiation treatments and standard chemotherapy, then in December 1995, the most aggressive treatment his doctors can offer – high-dose chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Before his first treatments, he’s optimistic enough about his future that he follows one of his physicians’ suggestions to harvest sperm before it is damaged by the radiation.

If Emerson is lucky, the standard treatment will let him beat the median remission of three years. He hopes for five.

The bone marrow transplant is brutal and the recovery long and hard. Emerson no longer can manage the family business, which has declined since his illness. He sells it the day before the transplant, essentially breaking even once the debt is paid.
Before he becomes unemployed, he applies for new medical coverage through HMO Health Ohio, a managed care plan offered by Medical Mutual of Ohio. Physician services are provided to HMO members through a contract with Mednet, a large doctors’ group in the eastern suburbs that its owner, University Hospitals, recently disbanded.
Then Emerson gets on with his life.

In September 1996, he marries Dawn White, the woman who, to his amazement, has endured waking up in bed sheets filled with hair the chemo has freed from every part of his body. But while honeymooning in Europe, Emerson again begins to feel the deep ache in his bones, and he knows the cancer is back.

New X-rays confirm the cancer is raging. Emerson has tumors in his skull, and lesions in the sacrum and the top of his hip bone have returned. Less than two years have passed since his first tumor was discovered, and Emerson already has run through his doctors’ bag of tricks.

“I realize my five-year plateau is gone,” he says. “I need to do something.”
Emerson sells his life insurance policies to a firm that buys them from the terminally ill. He nets $720,000 for the $1 million coverage – a high percentage of the policies’ face value that confirms expectations for a quick death.

Since he became sick, Emerson has pursued wellness therapies outside the medicine cabinet that he hopes will boost his immune system. He works out most days at the Cleveland Racquet Club, gives up wine, beer and caffeine, receives a weekly massage and brews the concoctions of herbs prescribed by the Chinese doctor he found at Asia Plaza.

“She would give me these bags full of stuff,” he says. “You boil it down, sometimes for hours, and you get kind of a tincture, this dark brown stuff.”

Emerson is feeling pretty healthy. Now the return of the bone pain – the cancer – so soon after the hellish high-dose chemo sparks enduring panic.

Doctors prescribe a bone-strengthening drug for Emerson, and targeted radiation treatments tamp down new lesions centered near his sacrum. But the play book is empty between its covers for his next move.

Emerson scours the Internet, a far clumsier tool in 1997 than now, in search of new therapies. Like a business executive preparing employees for a meeting, he makes it a habit to send memos to his doctors in advance of office visits detailing possibilities he wants to discuss.

“I’m going to my doctors with any and all ideas,” Emerson says. “‘Let’s try this, let’s try that.’ Some were conventional, some were less than conventional. I didn’t understand the delineation at that point. I just read stuff. So you go to your oncologists and you ask them.”

His second Mednet oncologist retires, and Dr. Anne Rassiga becomes the third Mednet cancer doctor Emerson has seen in the last seven months. She is keenly aware of Emerson’s anxiety and seems genuine in her efforts to help Emerson find alternatives, referring him to different multiple myeloma experts across the country for consultation.

Emerson travels to Los Angeles, Seattle and Toronto to consult with three of them. Each offers a different, unproven approach, including suggestions for high doses of his bone-strengthening medicine and a second bone-marrow transplant, a procedure that carries a 40 percent chance of death. Emerson ultimately rejects them all.

Then he fumes when, one by one, Mednet’s medical director stamps out denials to pay for the expert consultations his Mednet doctors recommended. Out-of-network services are not covered by his health plan, the form letter reads. “A second opinion can be done within Mednet.”

Time is becoming a factor for Emerson – and for the harried doctors assigned to his care. In a September 9, 1997, chart note, Rassiga comments that she has spent about two hours on Emerson’s care, and a Mednet staffer a month later confirms Emerson’s feeling that his caregivers are growing weary of his fight.

“Every time he comes in it takes 45 to 60 minutes to bring our doctor up to speed on the patient’s research of his disease,” a staffer notes. “Time is a problem as the doctor cannot spend an hour each visit.”

In late September, a year after Emerson’s honeymoon relapse, the tumors again appear to be on the move. Rassig
a again discusses Emerson’s limited options, then counsels him about palliative care, a treatment strategy that will manage his symptoms until his inevitable death, noting in his chart: “The patient still has difficulty accepting these as alternatives. He was supported as best we could manage.”

Emerson’s disease has been progressing for three years, and she expresses little hope that he will be able to outrun it. “Despite very aggressive treatment one would predict that the odds of death within probably less than several years, would be virtually 100 percent,” she says later in court papers.

Rassiga’s prognosis stuns Emerson like a wind-up punch to his head. Three weeks later, after Rassiga has left Mednet, Emerson is explaining his medical history to Dr. James Sabiers, his fourth Mednet oncologist in a year, then tells him about the Burzynski Clinic and antineoplaston therapy.

Sabiers is the only remaining oncologist in Mednet, and is logging between 350 and 450 patient consultations a year. When he dozes off during the appointment, Emerson resolves to do it his way.

“You know, I’m taking up his time, he’s a really busy guy,” Emerson says. “To try to jump into his mind, he thought I was toast, and statistically speaking I’m a goner. I truly believed that they didn’t have the time or the inclination to really figure out for me the next course of action.”

A couple of weeks later, Emerson is sitting in the waiting room of the Burzynski Clinic in Houston.

In his gut, he knows he has made the right choice, though many would disagree.

Burzynski has achieved national notoriety for his fight with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over a cancer therapy he developed using a drug he calls antineoplastons. The active ingredient is a peptide – a string of amino acids – that occurs naturally in urine and is believed by some to help kill cancer cells. Burzynski initially distilled the antineoplastons from donated urine, but he holds the patent on a synthetic version produced in Houston at the Burzynski Institute, a company in which he holds more than 80 percent of the stock.

The FDA pursued Burzynski for years for refusing to subject his antineoplastons to the government’s drug approval process. When Emerson arrives at the Houston clinic, a judge has just acquitted Burzynski and declared a mistrial on a sum of 75 federal criminal charges, including shipping unapproved drugs across state lines.

A loyal battery of patients has made Burzynski an icon in the alternative medicine movement and marshaled supporters to stage sign-wielding demonstrations for patient choice. The doctor also has become a target for conventional cancer researchers on the far side of the chasm. A chorus of critics insists Burzynski has flouted good science and blown any credibility by taking a direct financial interest in his innovation. To them, he is a white-coated charlatan preying on cancer’s most desperate victims.

Emerson unapologetically admits his desperation. But he is encouraged by journalists’ accounts of patients treated with Burzynski’s antineoplastons who defied death warrants issued by mainstream doctors.

“I’ve got to try,” he says. “What’s the alternative? To wait for the tumors to take over my body?”

Because of a 1996 court order, Burzynski administers antineoplastons only in FDA-approved clinical trials. Before Burzynski can start treatments, Emerson must find a hometown “monitor.” Sabiers offers to follow his disease and treat his symptoms but refuses to cooperate in the Burzynski therapy, noting in the chart that Emerson told him it is “non-FDA.”

Emerson denies he characterized the treatment as non-FDA and claims the Mednet oncologist told him he didn’t have time, which Sabiers later denies. “It didn’t meet my professional standards,” Sabiers says in court papers. Sabiers did not return Plain Dealer calls.

With a single phone call, a family friend finds an oncologist at MetroHealth willing to help. “He was so full of hope for himself, and everyone was telling him he was hopeless,” says Dr. Susan Gear Carter, who has since retired from MetroHealth.

Emerson knows he is stepping outside the circle of mainstream medicine, but Burzynski’s FDA trial seems no less credible than the unproven therapies multiple myeloma specialists offered at renowned medical centers.

Emerson’s medical status does not fit the criteria for Burzynski’s study, but Burzynski successfully petitions the FDA to grant approval to treat Emerson under a regulation that permits “compassionate use” exceptions for gravely ill patients without alternatives.

So in November 1997, Emerson joins 962 other cancer patients Burzynski will treat with antineoplastons that year. A port is installed in a vein in Emerson’s chest to convey the antineoplastons that are pumped from a bag he will wear around his waist for the next 10 months. Treatment for the subsequent seven months takes the form of 60 antineoplaston capsules that Emerson swallows each day. For much of the treatment, he emits a peculiar smell his family politely likens to garlic.

Emerson arrives at his regular appointments with Carter, then head of MetroHealth’s cancer center, hopeful that she will document a miracle. Carter is highly skeptical of Burzynski’s unproven treatment, but she supports Emerson with routine care, the MRIs Burzynski requires and a quiet compassion he missed in the serial oncologists at Mednet.

There are no simple tests to definitively determine the status of his disease. Carter deems him “stable,” but Burzynski interprets what he sees on the MRIs as evidence of a steady but certain retreat of his cancer. In September 1998, Emerson receives his best affirmation of life yet: The birth of his son, Alexander, conceived in Dawn’s womb with his rescued sperm.

“You know there is a bias about this odd Polish doctor giving urine to people,” Emerson says. “It almost sounds comical. But I’m alive today.”
Paying for a full course of antineoplaston therapy is like buying a four-bedroom colonial in the suburbs – without a mortgage.

From what he’s seen so far, Emerson knows his HMO is unlikely to pay for Burzynski’s antineoplaston treatment. Medical Mutual provides benefits for a network of physicians and requires authorization to go beyond it. Emerson went outside the network, and he did not receive authorization before he flew to Houston. The existence of a referral made midway through his therapy is in dispute.

Still, Emerson goes through the motions of working the long shot to have his HMO pay for the antineoplastons treatment. Before he started the treatments, Emerson asked Sabiers for a referral but was refused.

“I knew that was the process,” Emerson says. “You get your doctor to buy into this, otherwise the HMO won’t pay for it, even though there was confusion in my mind as to why I got all those referrals before and they won’t pay for [them].”

Emerson knows he is lucky to have access to the cash necessary to start the treatment regardless of the HMO’s position. His parents write a $110,000 check to Burzynski, and Emerson pays the $7,200 monthly charge. To his great surprise, Medical Mutual soon starts writing checks to Burzynski,too.

Medical Mutual denies charges for office visits and medical supplies at the Houston clinic, as well as claims for office visits and MRIs at MetroHealth. But the insurer writes Burzynski checks for more than $6,000 in April 1998 to pay for blood tests and “chemotherapy infusion” – the antineoplaston treatment.

As Medical Mutual’s explanations pour in, Emerson is as gleeful as a child who took a handful of cookies. But he doesn’t discount the possibility that a newfound sensibility has dawned on Medical Mutual. His insurance rulebook clearly covers therapy
with “chemical or biological antineoplastic agents,” and antineoplastons are antineoplastic – or anticancer.

But soon, the insurer’s denials outnumber its approvals. Some cite lack of physician authorization or out-of-network service. Some are denied simply as “not a covered benefit,” an apparent reference to the policy exclusion for experimental therapies. Some say the services are not approved by the medical director or are medically unnecessary – an explanation Emerson finds particularly maddening once Burzynski documents the treatments are working. How could they be unnecessary?

In two years of medical claims, Emerson can discern no pattern. Medical Mutual periodically pays Burzynski claims, some as late as January 2000, chipping in $25,254.78 altogether toward his antineoplaston treatment, according to Burzynski Clinic records. Medical Mutual says in court papers the payments were made by mistake.

Dr. Linda Peeno, a managed-care medical director who converted to patient advocacy, says if Emerson’s HMO is like most managed care plans, he stood a slim chance of persuading it to pay for the Burzynski therapy.

Peeno, whose story as an HMO whistleblower was told in the 2002 Showtime movie Damaged Care, draws on her personal experience when she decrees that managed care plans often are designed to skirt payment of high-ticket services.

“The basic strategy is anybody that’s expensive, there’s going to be a strategy to avoid paying for it,” says Peeno, who may testify as an expert witness if Emerson’s lawsuit proceeds to trial. “The decision is already made and then the rationale is done after the fact.”

Emerson faces an uphill battle to prove that case. The lawsuit against Mednet and Medical Mutual was filed in July 2001, and Emerson lost a critical first round in January, when a Hamilton County Common Pleas judge granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment without comment. Emerson has filed an appeal.

But Emerson believes that finances drove denial decisions. His lawyer, Robert Perez, learned that HMO Health Ohio capped Mednet’s fees at a set per-patient rate to cover all services delivered outside a hospital.

“There was a financial disincentive to make referrals,” says Perez, who works in Cincinnati. “That he’s alive demonstrates in a very vivid way why it should have been paid for. It worked.”

Mednet and Medical Mutual both say they cannot discuss the case because it is still in the courts. “Generally speaking, the company has an obligation to its members to effectively manage the payment of benefits according to the subscriber’s policy,” Medical Mutual said.

All insurance policies are different. But few would flatten the mountain Emerson likely would have had to climb to overcome coverage issues for an investigational therapy.

The domain of experimental therapies is loaded with ambiguity and nuance in the world of medicine. Novel, innovative, experimental, let’s-give-it-a-try therapies – all are stretched along a continuum of treatments, from those well-established as the standard of care to acknowledged research experiments to clear digressions from accepted regimens.

The concepts are dear to the medical community, but they are not absolute. “Standard of care” boils down to physician consensus about the best medical treatment given the evidence available to establish safety and effectiveness. Perhaps the most clear-cut is recognized clinical research, which is marked by controlled studies that undergo peer reviews and require patients’ informed consent.

When it comes down to it, though, even a treatment as mundane as a cold tablet is experimental, because no one can be sure it will work on an individual patient. A new surgical procedure lies somewhere on the spectrum, depending on how wide the swing from the tried and true. Prescribing drugs for conditions other than those that have been studied and approved by the FDA – the widely prevalent practice known as “off-label” pharmaceutical use – occupies another notch along the continuum. Off-label use of chemotherapy drugs is a staple of cancer care.

“The line between therapeutic innovation and experimentation is extremely thin,” notes Tom Murray, executive director of the Hastings Center, a bioethics institute in Garrison, New York. “Sometimes it’s no more than the intention of the physician.”

For a patient like Emerson, whose disease has stubbornly resisted containment, there were no options proven to spark a response. Emerson saw no distinction between taking antineoplastons and getting an off-label, high dose of his bone-strengthening drug, a treatment recommended by an L.A. myeloma expert that a Mednet oncologist agreed could be administered in Cleveland.

There’s nothing to say that Medical Mutual would have agreed to pay for that one, either. Insurance companies resist covering experimental therapies, particularly those far outside mainstream medicine. Medicare, which as the nation’s largest health care payer sets the trend for benefits coverage, didn’t start covering clinical trials until 2000. Even now, it picks up only routine costs of care associated with treatments.

There are sound ethical reasons not to pay for every possible intervention. “Resources are finite,” Murray says. “It’s a matter of justice that those resources get used to fund care that is useful and likely to make a difference. You want some minimal standards to believe it might be effective, and you want a fair process to determine that.”

Evidence of effectiveness, of course, also is a patient’s best shield against frauds that hawk cures made of use-less sugar water, or worse, something harmful. And a court ultimately may determine whether Emerson’s process was fair.

In the eyes of government regulators, the jury is still out on Burzynski’s treatment, too. The Burzynski Clinic still has 69 clinical trials open to patients for a wide assortment of cancers, but the FDA has not warmed to the therapy. An FDA spokeswoman who fielded a query about the status of the trials noted that Burzynski is a “sensitive” topic at the agency before sending along a warning statement in response: “To date, the safety and effectiveness of so-called ‘antineoplaston therapy’ have not been established. While the agency will continue to evaluate study results, FDA cannot verify that this therapy provides any benefits.”

It has been more than five years since Emerson first walked into Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s Houston clinic.

Emerson has not had a recent bone marrow biopsy or MRI, tests that provide clues to his cancer status. But he knows his cancer is in check. He does not feel the deep aches in his bones that have always telegraphed its forward march.

When she was caring for him, Dr. Susan Gear Carter, the MetroHealth oncologist who served as local monitor for his Burzynski treatment, saw Emerson improve. She readily concedes his survival is remarkable, but she believes there was no scientific evidence to prove that Emerson achieved remission.

“David is unusual,” says Carter, who since moved to Maine. “He survived beyond so-called expectations.”

Now 43, Emerson fills his days working at the small desktop publishing business he and his wife started. But the lawsuit and the issues that swirl around it often command his thoughts. He would like to re-pay his parents and Burzynski, but mostly,he wants consequences for Medical Mutual and Mednet.

“I don’t believe any of these people are evil,” Emerson says. “I think the system is.”
The disease has left its mark on Emerson’s health. He walks with a limp. Nerve damage from the intensive chemotherapy makes it hard to carry a bag of groceries up the stairs to his back door. He can no longer jog or chase his son, Alex, when they play catch in the back yard.

But these are not complaints. Emerson knows he is lucky to be alive and dares to hope he can skirt death long enough so his son, now four, will have a memory of his father.
“I had never expected to see 40,” Emerson says. “I would give my left arm to see 50.”

Diane Solov is a Plain Dealer medical reporter. Like virtually everyone, she has lost loved ones to cancer. She may be reached at 216-999-4133 or through magmail@plaind.com.

Leave a Comment:

Diane says a couple of weeks ago

I have been diagnosed with CKD stage 3. I also have mm and aFib. The nephrologist yesterday said my kidney function is actually very good but was concerned about the afib and recommended that I increase my potassium level to 4– it was at 3.7 with my last bloodwork. I’m concerned about increasing my potassium level since I believe that potassium is hard on the kidneys. Can you recommend a way to protect my kidneys and also help with my aFib. I have had mm for 3 years, was in remission for almost 2 years and had my second chemo treatment in Dec of 23 . I’m on Darzalex once a month and am doing well. I have tested positive for c dif but with no toxins. My creatinine and bun are within normal range and my eGRF is 56. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

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✊👍🖖 Mr.Emerson !!😁

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Kathryn Guillaum says a couple of years ago

Oh my; you are my inspiration. The rub is money…..plain and simple, for me.
I decided, however, to get off chemo for as long as I can possibly do it. I don’t have exotic supplements and certainly cannot travel to see alternative practitioners. SO, I will continue my bottom line supplements, drink lots of water, and pay attention to my body more; like taking a dog for a walk, I will do the same for myself; even when I have to nag myself to do it You know it takes mental strength too to fight this beast, and I’m still working on that. Circumstances make this part a challenge sometimes.
Well, I feel that i know you better, David!!
Thank you for this …..xo

Thomas J. Pope, Jr says a couple of years ago

Hi David, Did you receive the email with attachments that I sent to you several days ago? It might have gone to your “junk box”. I am the Air Force, retired, a guy that you shared excellent advice with. Thanks a million for letting me know whether you received the test results you requested.

    David Emerson says a couple of years ago

    Hi Tom- I did. I replied to you with the email below. I sent that reply on July 2.

    Let me know, thanks. David

    Hi Tom-

    If I read your diagnostic testing history correctly, your:

    Protein, Kidney, FLChains, white blood cells, immunoglobulins, etc. all indicate steady results.

    Your m-spike is the one reading that I don’t understand. It gives a percentage rather than a specific number?

    Are you experiencing any symptoms such as bone, joint or nerve pain? Any pins and needles?

    David Emerson

    David Emerson
    Multiple Myeloma survivor
    Director, Galen Foundation


Heather says a couple of years ago

Fascinating! I’m paralized due to spinal compression from myeloma. Wish I could have this treatment

    David Emerson says a couple of years ago

    Hi Heather-

    I am sorry for your spinal compression. This may or may not help but I was talking to a newly diagnosed MM patient last week who had 4 injections of kyphoplasty.

    Hang in there,

    David Emerson

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Stanley & Donna Waxmundsky says 5 years ago

Does Brzezinski’s treatment still administer antineoplaston therapy ? Our daughter age 42 has stage-4 breast cancer. She had surgery, chemo, radiation at stage-3. Having a biopsy done 5/2/2019 . She is still working and has little pain. Does the Burzynski Clinic do testing, MRI, PET etc. Our daughters Aetna insurance needs no referrals. So hopefully most will be covered. We are from NJ and I ask Clinic for some information today. We are not wealthy and would drive and find modest accommodation. I hope. Thanks for anything that could help us.

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Elga says 6 years ago

Hi David, the myeloma to mum (75 years) after two years is back (she had done velkade alkeran and cortisone). Now mum should do lenalidomide and cortisone, and I am very worried about these two drugs and toxicity. Can I ask you why in the pdf of the integration for the revlmid do you suggest only curcumin? thank you very much for your help

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Elga,

    Several things to consider. I agree that you should be concerned about toxicity of chemotherapy for your mom. The primary purpose of the MM CC program is to consider the program in its entirety. There are several integrative therapies for bortezomib therapy listed throughout the MM CC guides from nutrition to CBD oil to curcumin. Though a specific therapy such as detoxification might not be listed as an “integrative” therapy, research has shown it to enhance the efficacy of chemo while reducing side effects.

    Let me know if this makes sense or if you have any questions.


    David Emerson

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[…] a “diet.” I recommend a lifestyle change regarding what you eat and why. And after all, I have been living with an incurable cancer since 1994. This nutritional lifestyle change is pretty easy, step by […]

Neha Singhania says 6 years ago

Sir I am going to email you my father blood report ..Sir he is a depression patient for last 20 years..I gave conventional medicines for last one and half year but since October we are finding that they are enjoy working.his weight has fallen down to 45 kg and now I believe that he wll not be able to take chemo anymore.I recently came to know non conventional therapies which cure cancer.I stay in India can you please guide me how can I do therapies at home.Pleas guide him I have only him and I can’t live without him..Plz do reply me back.

Jill says 6 years ago

Dear David,
I have been actively searching for a coach for my Mom who has MM.
After reviewing the webinar, she had some questions, I was wondering if you have an email that I can write to you there?( personally I am not comfortable with blogs)
Thanks for being there!😊
Sincerely, a concerned daughter,

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Jill-

    I am emailing you now directly.


Rob Wright says 6 years ago

I lost both brother’s and my father to cancers.All youger than I am now. I am soon to be 70. Now its my turn?
I am eager to ask you and any others about positive thought processes. I feel I have brought (smouldering Myeloma}this upon myself thinking that cancer would be my end too! At this moment I am in the wait and see mode but have done much study in the last few weeks since diagnosis and feel a combination of several positive self healing must help. These include, First and foremost, a meditative, self affirmation that I am washing the problem out of my body, I do this physically in the mountain stream where I live. Nutrition, eating only organic foods of known cancer fighting value, exercise;mostly walking and cycling but am learning yoga. Removal of toxins from my body with colon flushing and sauna, Magnesium baths, Several affirmations during the day. I have had negative experiences with more than one doctor as I don’t wish to go down the chemotherapy path. I feel that we are all equipped with the right biology to fix ourselves, an example best described when we accidently cut ourselves, without intervention we heal. I am interested in self administered urine therapy but feel I am grabbing at straws. I tend to go through cycles of positive times and deep depression but feel I can curb the depression with mind control. Its hard when a Christian friend doing “the right things” with her MM suddenly has spine failure after feeling she had it beat. My question to you is based on my present approaches in particular positive mindfulness. Am I wrong?
An issue I feel we need to aware ourselves of, I have read so much in the pat few weeks and discovered a precurser of Mgus, H Pylori. I was treated for this about 10 years ago, In addition I was on a drug to block reflux for too many years Drs assured me there were no known side effects, Perhaps Pylori was one?

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Rob-

    You are correct, there are several mind-body therapies that have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. Further, there are several ways to increase the risk of multiple myeloma. HPV and certain environmental toxics both increase the risk of MM. H pylori is suspected but not proven to be linked to either MGUS or MM.

    Have you been diagnosed with cancer?

    David Emerson

Mike Palumbo says 6 years ago

Has it been your experience with LE Advanced bio curriculum w/ ginger and tumerones that because of its highly touted bioavailability (400mg = 2500 mg) that you don’t need to take 8 grams (13 capsules @600mg) of this supplement?
Mik Palumbo

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Mike-
    I approach the issue in your question from a different perspective. I do take LE Super bio-curcumin. I have taken different brands since Margaret began writing about it in 2006. Further, I have been in CR since ’99. I take only one capsule (400mg) because I remain in CR and believe I will be taking curcumin for the rest of my life. While I have never found studies that document negative effects from supplementing too much curcumin I have a fundamental belief that I shouldn’t take too much.

    Having said the above, if I ever relapsed I would increase my dose of curcumin.

    David Emerson

      Mike Palumbo says 6 years ago

      thanks for the reply…
      I was just trying to do the math and it seems that each 600 mg capsules provides approximately 3.75 of bioavailability of this product.
      That said, to consume 8 grams, 2 capsules would get one very best that total…
      Just an observation…

Mike Palumbo says 6 years ago

Has it been your experience with LE Advanced bio curriculum w/ ginger and timezones that because of its high touted bioavailability (400mg = 2500 mg) that you don’t need to take 8 grams (13 capsules @600mg) of this supplement?
Mik Palumbo

Ben Hayes says 6 years ago

My son has stage 4 metastatic Neuroblastoma, he recently relapsed in June and we have been told they are just keeping it at bay but I’m looking into more ! PleAse help David

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Ben-
    I am sorry to read of your son’s neuroblastoma diagnosis. As you know neuroblastoma is a difficult cancer. While the therapies cited below have shown efficacy against neuroblastoma, the research is limited.

    Immune Therapies for Neuroblastoma

    Curcumin induces apoptosis in human neuroblastoma cells via inhibition of AKT and Foxo3a nuclear translocation.
    Resveratrol Inhibits Tumor Growth of Human Neuroblastoma and …

    Where conventional oncology is considered, I would research and undergo “integrative” therapies if you are considering conventional chemotherapy drugs like the ones below.

    The main chemo drugs used include:
    Cyclophosphamide or ifosfamide.
    Cisplatin or carboplatin.
    Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
    Busulfan and melphalan (sometimes used during stem cell transplant)

    If it were my son I would through every evidence-based non-conventional therapy at neuroblastoma I could.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Hang in there.

    David Emerson

Sim says 6 years ago

I realized that you have asked about my M spike, I asked my doc but he did not tell me. I must say he was a conventional doc but now he is on the integrative side. I don’t know what that means in treating me. Whether it’s good or a bad thing.

I don’t want to rush on chemo but is there any way the treatment you suggested can help me or do they only Work best while on chemo?

Again I look forward to you advice.

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Sim-

    Yes, there are evidence-based non-toxic therapies- nutrition, supplementation, bone health, etc. I have remained in complete remission for years now by living a sort of anti-MM lifestyle with these therapies. The document that I emailed you is one of 13 different MM cancer coaching guides that I have researched and collected into what I call the MM CC program.

    I will send you the Introduction to outline and explainthe program. Also, if your Dr. considers you to be early stage then he and you both don’t want to begin undergoing toxic therapies.

    Look in you email inbox.


Sim says 6 years ago

Thank you for your the great information…i will email you my results now.


sim Smith says 6 years ago

Also i must say my total protein is 149 …range is (62-85) G/L
Globulin is 123 g/l …normal range is (26-45)

if you wish i could email these recent results to you. Just provide me with an email address.

sim Smith says 6 years ago

Hi David,

Thanks for sharing your story with us mm patients, very inspiring. I was diagnosed with mm in late 2015. this was discovered from a random blood test. From there on I have been seeing an oncologist who gave me a series test to do. MRI at the time in 2016 return negative, Skeletal survey also return negative, but at that time my HB was 9, bence jones protein was present. Biopsy return positived, but the doc refused to accepted the results as the first reply from Miami was not cleared to him so re requested another and that where he got them to say that they saw mm cells.

I continue to see him as the disease progress and not much is done about…he was on wait and see. Now my HB is at 6.5, slight bone pain, palpitation of heart, coughing now and then, slightly troubled kidney and a fairly good functioning liver. A/B ratio is 0.3 I strongly think its mm. I requested more scans but he says it is not necessary .

David I am desperately in need of your help in whatever way possible. We don’t have much choice of onc in the caribbean more so mm specialist. I just start to help myself by taking 8 x 1000gm curcumin daily, it just been a week since i have started. Over the past 4 months i lost 20lbs, now very skiny. I am scared and confused. I know you can imagine what I am like right now.

Your BEST advice …please please David .


    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Sim-

    I am sorry to read of your MM diagnosis though you appear to be early stage meaning your prognosis is good. There are several things for you to consider. I will enumerate below to help me cover all the bases.

    In general I think your oncologist’s direction to “wait and see” indicates that your original diagnosis was MM at an early stage. Has your oncologist told you your monoclonal protein or “m-spike?” This is an important indicator of your stage. While you may be frustrated with your onc. you don’t want to begin chemotherapy and or radiation until you have to.

    1) I agree that a MM specialist is preferable to a general oncologist though studies show that you are ahead of the curve by being early stage and by learning about your health, mm therapies, etc. on your own. Rather than expect your oncologist to offer ideas as you learn more about your MM status you can present issues to him to address.

    2) Bone Health- clear MRI and skeletal surveys early on indicated that you were not experiencing any bone involvement. This is great. Current “slight bone pain” indicates that you are beginning to develop bone involvement.

    3) Bence-Jones Protein- Bence-Jones protein indicates that you have light chain MM. There is a good chance that your creatinine levels are above normal and therefore your kidney’s are being damaged by your MM.

    4) If your hemoglobin (BB) is dropping it is possible that your MM cells are crowding out your red blood cells. This is a common symptom along with kidney damage and bone pain.

    I outlined the above assumptions to give you an idea of my thinking and to indicate that you MM has progressed and you should probably begin “induction therapy.” I know you suspect this already- I’m confirming your suspicions.

    Curcurmin is an excellent non-toxic MM therapy though your supplementation will be more effective by taking one of several formulas (brands) that studies show are more efficacious.

    Most oncologists want to treat, want to give the patient chemo before it is necessary. Your onc. seems to be the reverse. With specific MM diagnostics (monoclonal protein- m-spike) over 3, for example, I would think that your oncologist will begin you on chemotherapy in hopes of brain you back into remission.

    In other words, your kidney damage, bone damage, etc. should stop if chemotherapy reduces your MM into remission.

    I will email you the integrative therapies guide to introduce you to evidence-based non-toxic therapies that can enhance your chemo while minimizing collateral damage. I will send it to your yahoo account.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Hang in there,

    David Emerson

Ronald says 7 years ago

Hi David,

I have diagnosed with stage 3 myeloma, I have some lower back pain, but no other bone pain. The doctor said that my kidneys are backing up. I think it means that my kidneys are not cleansing the fluids properly. I have just gone through an MRI and CAT scan. In the very near future I will have an ECHO and lots of blood tests. I have not been given any results of the blood tests or urine tests that I have done, and I am about to go through some more blood tests this coming week end.

Is this enough infor?

Thanks for listening,


From: David Emerson
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:26 PM
To: ronaldmercier@sasktel.net
Subject: Re: Chemo

Hi Ron-

I am sorry to read of your MM diagnosis. Your question about induction chemotherapy, an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) and low-dose maintenance therapy depends largely on your stage at diagnosis and any current symptoms such as bone pain/damage, anemia, kidney involvement.

I can be more specific if I know your stage and symptoms at diagnosis.

David Emerson
Multiple Myeloma survivor
MM Cancer Coach
Director, Galen Foundation

    David Emerson says 7 years ago

    Hi Ron-

    Reduced kidney function (kidneys backing up) is a common symptom of MM. The blood tests you refer to will tell you something called your “M-spike” and your Kappa/Lambda and K/L ratio. And also how much MM is in your blood. The reason for all of the diagnostic testing is to give your oncologist a better idea of your MM and therefore a better idea of therapies such as chemo cocktails and radiation is needed.

    The ECHO is to see how your heart is doing. Chemo can be hard on the heart.

    All of these tests give you more info to make decisions going forward. Yes, it’s sort of a pain but worth it in the long run. If you talk to me and your onc. you will have two different opinions advising you about what to do.

    This is enough info for now. When you get the results of your blood and urine testing then we can talk again if you would like to.

    Hang in there,

    David Emerson

Lila says 8 years ago

Hi David,
I am hoping you will be able to give some information as my dad, who is in his 75th year, was just diagnosed today with multiple myeloma.
We listened to all the Dr. had to say such as:
-No cure
-very treatable with radiation & chemotherapy, which is very tolerable he said

-it has affected his spine & hip bones and will be having a full bone X-ray soon
-they scanned him again today & his spine has two tumours just below the base of his neck pressing on his spinal cord.

We spoke of alternative therapies that are more naturally based, such as cannabis oil, he was calm but stated there is no scientific proof that it is helpful.

The Dr.s have him scheduled for radiation in these areas starting tomorrow for 5 days & stated his lungs will have some scarring but it will not affect him.

Then they want to follow up with chemo.
It seems that from an afternoon consultation, then cannabis questions, then he left quickly to go get the radiation oncologist, it was so fast we felt obligated to accept due to the immediate request.

We are just kind of lost in which direction to take at this point. Continue with the radiation until we find a better option? Will the radiation do major damage? We read your story and it seems you have been through these options yourself, but the age is a huge factor.

We understand you are not a doctor but it seems you are one of the most experienced and honest people to approach about the natural end of things. Which is what we truly want to do, although the medical protocol is pointing in the opposite direction.

We would appreciate any help or advice you may have for us as we are still unaware. Thank you for your story it is truly a blessing we found this website.

Best regards,

Lila Ross

    David Emerson says 8 years ago

    Hi Lila-
    I am sorry to learn of your dad’s MM diagnosis. Keep in mind that as cancer’s go, myeloma is a very treatable cancer. Let me explain…

    – yes, conventional oncology considers MM incurable but I have lived with MM since ’94, in complete remission since ’99

    -yes, there are many chemotherapies that are FDA approved to treat MM. It is a stretch for your onc. to say that they are tolerable-

    -however I will say that there are many “integrative” therapies that studies have show are cytotoxic (kill) MM while they enhance the efficacy of specific chemos while they reduce the toxicity of that chemotherapy.

    – a good example of this is curcumin-

    -bone involvement is typical- this is what happened to me as well…

    -I disagree with your oncologist about the evidence-based efficacy of cannabis and MM. Or CBD oil as an integrative therapy for Velcade- a MM therapy- Do not expect conventional oncologists to be open to anything that has not be FDA approved. It is illegal for board certified physicians to prescribe any therapy that has NOT been approved by the FDA.

    -yes, a recommendation of chemo and radiation for your dad sounds pretty standard-

    – to be direct, your dad should consider a combination of therapies for his MM. Both conventional and non-conventional. If your dad has active MM lesions in his spine then local radiation is the fastest method to kill the MM in his neck. Yes, he may experience side effects. But there is no other therapy that will relief his pain in the time frame necessary to prevent further damage.

    Lila, there are many therapies that you and your dad need to learn about in an effort to guide his therapy for years to come. My experience has taught me that conventional oncology must be balanced with integrative and complementary therapies. Even nutrition plays a part. I will even encourage your dad to moderately but frequently exercise to keep his bones as healthy as possible.

    I am a cancer coach. Fees paid for my services go to supporting PeopleBeatingCancer, a 501c3 nonprofit. Your registration fee, if you choose to become a member, is a tax-deductible donation.

    I would like to work with you and your dad. I can help a lot. If you would like to register to cancer coach with me please go to PeopleBeatingCancerCoaching.org. Click “cancer coaching” in the top of the page and then click the blue button.

    Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks and hang in there.

    David Emerson
    MM Survivor, Creator PBC-

Lee Ann says 8 years ago

Hi David
Have been working with my friend of many years (since grade school) who has been suffering with multiple myeloma. He has had both chemo and radiation therapies and a stem cell transplant. He is looking for something else that might make a difference. I’m trying to help him find options. Came across the treatment with antineoplastons and I like what I’m reading about the response rates. Also, disappointed with the FDA and the influence of some big drug companies. Seems if they don’t have the patent, they won’t support even if drug has promise. How are you doing now? Are you on some type of therapy at this time? Thanks for your help.

    David Emerson says 8 years ago

    HI Lee Ann-

    I am sorry to learn of your friend’s MM. I (PeopleBeatingCancer) am able to give you and your friend a number of MM therapies- conventional, integrative or alternative. Some I’ve tried, some I’ve read about. The system I follow with cancer patients, survivors and caregivers is to ask/answer questions about your goals, experiences, cancer stage, side effects, etc. and then create a plan for you. I am not a medical doctor I am a long-term cancer survivor who has been living with and studying cancers for over 20 years.

    I call this plan “a different kind of second opinion.”

    This service is free. It’ what PBC does. Let me know if you are interested.

    thanks and hang in there.

    David Emerson

Stephanie Schiano says 8 years ago

I’d like to communicate with David if possible. I can be reached via email. I had an MM Diagnosis many years ago. I’ve had no treatment. I’m find.

    David Emerson says 8 years ago

    Hi Stephanie,

    David here. I am sorry to learn of your MM diagnosis but I am happy to read that you have been in remission for years and that you are doing fine. What would you like to discuss?

    David Emerson

      Mary-Claire Baker says 6 years ago

      Hello: I signed up for and watched David’s webinar last night, Wed, Aug 16. You talked about 13 guides that would be available for purchase at end of Webinar. The guides were never shown during the Webinar. You also mentioned a coupon good for $100 off. I never received a follow-up email so how do I purchase or view these guides? Please advise. Thank you, Mary C

        David Emerson says 6 years ago

        Hi Mary, Thank you for watching the webinar. I’m glad that you found it informative. I am sorry that things got confusing toward the end of the webinar, and that you were unable to access the cancer coaching programs link. I will talk to my Assistant Director to see if we can make the process less rushed. The guides are available by purchasing one of the cancer coaching programs, shown via a link at the end of the webinar. The coupon code for $100 off is: WEBINAR. Please see the link to select and purchase one of the cancer coaching programs below. I have attached the Introductory Guide to this email in case you had difficulty accessing it during the webinar. Thank you again.



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