Ah, a warm bath! Epsom salt, lavender, baking soda. Clean, pure water. Maybe even a candle and some music, if you really want to treat yourself. Soaking every night is one of my favorite, simple pleasures.
Hyperthermia takes that idea to a whole new level.
My inside-out healing experiment continues. Of course, I wish I were just…done. But the reality of some cancers, including ovarian, is that traditional oncology doesn’t have good answers. Yes, I accepted surgery, even though it was brutal. Yes, I accepted chemo, even though it empowers cancer stem cells and pollutes already challenged bodies. No, traditional oncology does not understand the cancer markers or how to heal most patients like me. So, ringing the bell and taking a rest was never an option for me and most people with ovarian (pancreatic, appendiceal, etc) cancer. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the alternative/naturopathic/functional community is working hard on truly healing alternatives. Could I have done these things from the beginning? I wonder…
Are they working now? In many ways, yes.
How do I know? Some cancer markers are moving in the right direction, as are many pre-cancer terrain blood markers. Do these therapies in aggregate cost less than traditional treatments? Yes, some are even free lifestyle choices. Should insurance pay for these things instead of/in addition to traditional therapies when they don’t work? Yes. Should they at the very least educate doctors so they might help patients more? Hell yes. Why don’t they? Well, we’ve talked about that before. The short answer is lack of empathy in research and medicine – lack of empathy for people suffering and dying. In any case, we can educate ourselves.
Let’s get back to the good news.
Here are the nontoxic therapies that work in my experience and data:
- Clean, Mediterranean Ketogenic Diet – we’re not talking about the Atkins version here, but rather a diet rich in phytonutrients from low carb organic veggies (mostly those that grow above ground) and fruits (berries, lemons, limes); healthy fats (olives and olive oil; macadamia nut oil; avocados, and their oil; nuts, and seeds; virgin coconut and MCT oil, organic ghee/dairy if your body can process it); clean, fresh, and pastured animal protein (wild salmon, poultry, eggs). Even super dark organic chocolate (85% or more) is on the menu (great for the immune system). Why keto? Cancer cells need glucose to grow. Healthy cells can adapt to metabolizing healthy fats. Eating keto starves cancer while fueling your healthy cells. It’s been known for a long time, and I will admit I resisted. Rice and beans is one of my favorite meals, and morally, I’d like to be vegan. It just didn’t work well for my individual body. Functional genomics can help you understand what you’re body needs too – what you can and cannot digest, where you have detoxification challenges and what you’ll need (foods and supplements, since our soil is depleted) to stay healthy in a toxic world. Curious about healthy keto? Ketotarian by Dr. Will Cole is a great place to start.
- Intermittent fasting – and longer periods of fasting, if possible. Fasting gives your body a chance to focus on healing rather than digesting. Fasting promotes autophagy, the elimination of damaged cells like cancer.
- Mistletoe Therapy – a natural and long-used (in Europe) immunotherapy. Injecting the right form of mistletoe subcutaneously turns on the immune system in ways that are important for fighting cancer as well as recovering from the onslaught of traditional chemotherapy. You can find someone to support mistletoe therapy here, to see if it might help you or your loved ones.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – oxygen supports healthy cells and healing, while killing anaerobic pathogens and molds…and cancer. That’s part of why I exercise, even when I don’t feel like it. Running. Yoga. The elliptical. Lifting weights to maintain muscle mass. Doing all of those while taking deep breaths, especially through the nose, is good. Taking deep breaths in a fully oxygenated chamber is even more powerful. We’re lucky to have Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Brook Park, Ohio, with encouraging, supportive, and empathetic staff with world-class training. My experience says it not only supports reversing the cancering process, but accelerates healing from surgical procedures, kicks headaches to the curb, and enhances energy.
- Hyperthermia – there are several different kinds out there, often combined with chemotherapies. Local, regional, and whole-body. The idea is simple. Fever at the right level kills bad stuff and levels the playing field for healthy cells. I just completed experimental whole-body hyperthermia at a high temperature which should be part of the future of chemo-free cancer treatment. Verthermia was started by the kind of courageous, entrepreneurial scientists and clinicians we need. Despite decades of ridicule by mainstream oncological research colleagues, they persisted and today, give hope to patients much, much sicker than me. It’s still new and somewhat experimental, but we were all encouraged by progress so far as well as my “so healthy except for cancer” body’s potential for taking over the cancer fight as it should.
- Removing all sources of toxicity – emotional and physical. We’ve talked about this many times, and it’s vital.
- Supporting/modulating immune response, especially for people who suffer from mold toxicity and mast cell activation. Your immune system can’t deal with the random cancer cell formation that happens in all healthy bodies if it’s too distracted by emergencies elsewhere – Ditto, we’ve talked about this already. Through a handful of simple, functional tests, you can find out what’s challenging you in particular, which is part of how to bio-individualize your own healing. It’s like fixing the foundation before you renovate the house.
- Supplements that support important body functions, in line with the needs of your body in today’s world – given the functional genomics of my own body, I’m benefiting from high doses of vitamins D, K, A, and B12. Resveratrol, curcumin, vitamin E, and vitamin C (among other natural powerhouse nutrients) help the body get rid of cancer stem cells.
I’m not saying that chemo didn’t work for you if it did. Nor am I recommending you skip traditional oncology if you get a difficult cancer diagnosis. Doing what is right for your body is all that matters, and you are the only one who gets to decide. Lots of people have opinions, but the truth is no one can take this journey for you and you get to decide how, when, where, what, and whom. If you do accept traditional therapies, my experience suggests an integrative approach with rockstar nutritional advice can make a huge difference in tolerating and optimizing the outcomes of such imperfect traditional treatments. Integrative support gave me a surprisingly high quality of life, even in the midst of the onslaught.
What I am offering here are proven healing modalities you can choose to add, especially if traditional chemo fails you….and please, don’t accept any narrative that says you or your body “failed chemo.” How obscene and to say a human body didn’t heal while absorbing some of the worst poisons known to man, manufactured in a lab with profit as the primary goal. What does it even mean “fail”? Markers that don’t come into range…but no one understands them. Maintenance drugs that can kill you in other ways (e.g., a heart attack, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s)…although off the books of oncology. Sitting on pins and needles because recurrence rates are so damn high, while trying to “stay positive,” “have faith,” “keep calm and carry on.” Yeah, I meditate and pray, but to deal with that kind of uncertainty, this scientist needs more solid, scientific, AND non-toxic therapeutic ground. It’s out there, just nowhere in the halls of our most storied medical institutions.
I’ve also tried many other healing modalities recently and through the years, many of which I continue to use therapeutically. Here’s a partial list: healing prayer, walking in nature, grounding, castor oil packs, getting plenty of sleep, saunas, coffee enemas, cranial-sacral therapy, cranial osteopathic manipulation (helpful for putting abdominal organs back in place after major surgery), laughter, meditation, EMDR, EFT/tapping, and rebounding. And yes, I do enjoy a warm bath! All of those means of self-care have a place but did not move the needle on my cancer markers as much as the 8 targeted therapies listed above. Part of the challenge in this work is to prioritize because there’s only so much we can do. I’ve also tried juice fasts, eating vegan, and eating paleo over the years…I wish those worked for my body, but they didn’t. In hindsight, mold toxicity and detoxification gene variants made those options more challenging than healing for me when I practiced them. You have to find what fits your body now. The right partners will work collaboratively to bio-individualize your healing rather than promoting dogma.
Now that some cancer markers are moving in the right direction, we are encouraged. The evidence is, we have some of what we need with these therapies. Some of them we figured out on our own. Now, we’re relieved to be in the care of a naturopathic network that has been practicing non-toxic cancer treatment and prevention, thanks to Dr. Nasha Winters. Her book, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, was one of our bibles from the beginning. If you want to prevent cancer or support your current treatments, you might find it an invaluable resource. If you want a capable and empathetic partner in this work, Dr. Winters’s network of practitioners is wonderful, including mine: Dr. Laura Mouriño of Options Naturopathic.
I’m not going to pretend any of this is simple or easy. It’s not, yet. It’s experimental. It takes time, discipline, and emotional fortitude. Sometimes aggressive cancers need more, like chemo. The traditional cancer researchers are not saving us, but that’s okay. At some point, enough courageous and entrepreneurial researchers, docs…and even patients willing to experiment and share…will be out there, connecting with each other and communicating about what really works, in line with the divine design of our bodies and the planet.
Then and only then, we will finally win the war on cancer.
We’ll stop cancer before it starts, through individual education and choices as well as collective action (e.g., cleaning up our air, water, and food system). We’ll support our bodies’ natural ability to get ahead of the cancering process if/when it starts, rather than destroying patients’ immune systems. We’ll do all of these things rather than continue to bear witness to the suffering of our loved ones (and sometimes ourselves). We all have more power than we think in this fight.
The next time you have a good, long, comforting soak in a warm bath, you can dream about all that.
I know I will.
Thanks as always to the best life partner I could have, John LeMay, for…too many things to mention, the least of which is edits to this post. Thanks also to brave doctors and researchers, such as Dr. Roger Vertrees and Dr. Jan Winetz of Verthermia; Dr. Robert Fischer and his team at the First Baptist Medical Center in Dallas; Dr. Laura Mouriño of Options Naturopathic; and Dr. Jessica Hutchins whose superpowers include empathy and curiosity. Last but not least, thanks to the professionals at Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Brook Park, Ohio – Ellie, Chris, Denise, Jessica, and B.J. – who make the place feel like a second home for people working hard to heal.