Archive for January, 2012

Managing My Health

To summarize, I was diagnosed with primary amyloidosis in the liver and multiple myeloma late December 2011.  Both are incurable, both are progressive diseases, meaning they get worse over time, and both are fatal.

I had an MRI of my heart two weeks ago to determine if the amyloidosis is present in the heart.  The complications arise when the amyloid proteins start messing with an organ’s functioning, most often in the kidneys and the heart.  So far it appears my kidneys are not affected at all.

The MRI came back positive for amyloids in the heart, though it’s not entirely conclusive until you do a heart biopsy.  But that’s risky, and they are fairly confident that what they saw in the MRI indicates heart involvement.

I also had a CT scan of my chest last week, because what appeared to be another hematoma showed up as a bump on the left side of my chest.  It got bigger over the course of a week, and very painful.  I couldn’t bend without extremely sharp pain, and it started to affect the way I walk.  I saw Dr Greenberg who ordered the CT scan.  He initially thought it might be a tumor.  I really couldn’t understand how a tumor could grow so quickly, but whatever.  Turns out form the CT scan he believes it IS just a hematoma, and he told me to just continue taking my vitamin K (hematomas arise out of my clotting problems.)  Pain is slowly subsiding now…

It did show some good news in that my heart is of normal size, blood vessels are normal, there is no pleural or pericardial disease, and there are no bone lesions in the area they scanned.

Now on to the fun stuff.  Treatment.

Dr. Kang is recommending courses of high-dosage chemotherapy (Velcade / Dexamethasone) and then to see if I would be eligible for stem cell transplantation.  This is the standard course of treatment for multiple myeloma.  Chemo is also often prescribed for amyloidosis, but they don’t really, really know if it’s effective because it is so rare.

Linda and I have been doing a lot of research.  Wait, let me rephrase that…, a LOT OF RESEARCH.  As you may know we have been selling health-related products from Hallelujah Acres through Brodsky Ministries for some time now.  After hearing about our pastor (from NY) and his father being cured from his cancer by going on the hallelujah diet, so began an education in how nutrition can affect your health – both positively and negatively.

I never had a thought that it would be ME that we would be applying this knowledge to.

Aside from the hallelujah diet, there are many other doctors and nutritionists who have written books on the effectiveness of a raw-plant diet on healing.  One, for example, is Dr. Max Gerson, who was healing cancer patients as far back as World War II by his research on nutritive medicine.

Also in our research we wanted to find out just how effective traditional medical therapy was for amyloidosis and multiple myeloma.  Well, the answer is, not very.  There are many stories you will hear about this person and that person who was ‘cured’ by having chemotherapy.  Statistics will bear out, though, that unfortunately when a cancer is halted by chemo or radiation, it comes back elsewhere, more aggressive, more often than not.  It truly becomes a battle, one with many battles.  And unfortunately, it is your body that is the battlefield in this war.

From Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemotherapy  ):  Chemotherapy is highly effective in some cancers, useless in others, and unnecessary in still others.  Taking all forms of cancer together, people who receive chemotherapy increase their odds of living five years after diagnosis by about two percentage points (e.g., from about 61% being alive after five years to about 63% of them being alive after five years).[34] However, this overall rate obscures the wide variation. Cytotoxic chemotherapy produces much larger gains for some forms of cancer, including testicular cancer (about 40% of the men who live five years after diagnosis are alive because of chemotherapy), lymphomas (about 13%), and cervical cancer (12%).[34] By contrast, chemotherapy is essentially useless in other cancers, including prostate cancer, melanoma of the skin, multiple myeloma, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and pancreatic cancer: people who receive chemotherapy for these conditions are just as likely to die within five years as people who do not.[34] Chemotherapy only slightly improves survival for some of the most common forms of cancer, including breast cancers (1.5%) and lung cancers (1.5%).[34]  (this citation goes on to say, “To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.”)

So, essentially, I will have a 2-3 % better chance of living past 5 years if I take on this battle*.  Oh, let me rephrase that.  The battle becomes, not so much with the cancer, as it does with the chemo drugs.  Effectiveness aside, chemotherapy, as you know has some incredibly destructive side effects.  What it does is it targets fast-growing cells.  All cells,  Not just cancer cells.  It weakens the immune system.  It causes other problems such as peripheral neuropathy (which in reading actual patient posts in forums – is horrible, horrible, horrible), hair loss, pain, nausea, and one that doesn’t make sense for ME, it causes bleeding – make patents more likely to bleed internally.  Oh great – me, with the Factor X deficiency taking chemo.  I don’t see how that would work out here.

So to help all these side effects, the doctors prescribe MORE drugs.  So you end up taking drugs to deal with the drug that was supposed to heal you.  Which eventually does not.  Not great medicine.

*Actually it would be 2-3% if it were a different kind of cancer.  But multiple myeloma is one of those cancers that chemo is essentially useless for

From the New England Journal of Medicine:

“High-dose therapy with supporting autologous stem-cell transplantation remains a controversial treatment for cancer. In multiple myeloma, first-line regimens incorporating high-dose therapy yield higher remission rates than do conventional-dose treatments, but evidence that this translates into improved survival is limited.“

So what does this mean?  One of the most respected publications in the medical field is saying that the specific course of treatment that my doctors want to give me is not likely to improve my odds of survival.

It seems to make sense to me that since cancer can only occur in a body with a weakened immune system, if you take chemo which will batter that immune system further, the cancer will only come back, and worse.  And that appears to be what happens time and again.  So instead of taking something you KNOW will damage your immunity further, how about helping your immune system by strengthening it?  How do you do that?  Nutrition.  By feeding your body all the rich nutrition it needs, and at the same time, cut out all the things that can weaken it (such as animal products, dairy, sugar, all processed foods — especially those with chemicals), your immunity gets better, and our wonderful bodies which God created, can continue to heal itself.

Heal itself?  Mark, have you gone mad?  No, not really.  Any medicine you take does one of two things.  It either covers up a symptom, or does something that allows your immune system to function properly.  That is it.  No medicine ever cured anything, ever.  Ezekiel 47:12 reads:  12 Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.

Hippocrates echoed this passage when he uttered his famous quote, “Let food be your medicine and medicine your food”.

And Genesis 1:29 says:  And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. “

So it is in God’s plan that he has healed us, and through the resources he makes available to us, primarily in what we eat – nutrition.  That is not to say that doctors don’t play an extremely valuable part of this equation.  I am certainly not refusing medical care while boasting that God will heal me, God will heal me (regardless of what I do or don’t do.)

No, not at all.  I will work with my doctors in testing and diagnoses but just not this particular plan of treatment.  I am not doing the chemo or stem cell transplantation.

What I AM doing is I have changed my diet, dramatically.  I drink 6-8 glasses of fresh vegetable juice every day, lots of salads, nuts, and supplemental vitamins and herbs known for their powerful antioxidant and alkalinity properties.  No more meat, dairy, sugars…. well a little tiny bit, but I am replacing that with more natural sweeteners such as Stevia.  No more processed food.  If it comes from a package in the supermarket, basically it’s not going down my gullet.   A mostly raw, organic vegetable diet will cure me, and I would ask you to pray with me and be in agreement with me that God will use these things to make me healthy once again.

I will be going back to get labs taken periodically to see how I am progressing.

Thanks for reading!  Blessings,


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