I'd like to start by thanking everyone for the kindness they have shown me (and Care Bridge for the space to express it in.)
As you know, I have cancer and you are probably wondering how I'm doing. Well, I'm doing just fine—I have seen some improvement.
In September 2016 I became aware of a rather firm area under my ribs on the right side. Thinking it was my diaphragm, I went to my chiropractor who said it wasn't, and that I should see a GI (gastroenterologist). So I did.
She said my liver was 2 1/2 times normal size and sent me for an ultrasound—it looked suspicious. So I had a CAT scan which led to a CAT scan guided biopsy. The verdict was cancer in the liver.
Soon after, around October 10th, I saw a surgeon, Dr. Charles Cha, or Dr. Cha Cha, for short. His report said it was inoperable and to give me palliative care (keep me comfortable till I die). The next day, I saw an oncologist who told me that I have fourth stage cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer, that, while it sounds like an Italian singer, is actually something that started in the bile ducts and metastasized to the liver (where the bile ducts are).
Dr. Fischbach, the oncologist, said basically, that without treatment (treatment that improves or stops the condition) I had six months to a year to live.
Sounds bad doesn't it?
What we did was the following: I immediately had a PET scan (to see if there was any cancer in the lymph nodes—none was detected) and I was started on chemotherapy.
They gave me Cisplatin and Gemzar along with two anti-nausea drugs accompanied by a steroid to help them work.
The original plan was to do 8 cycles of this and get a CAT scan after every two cycles to check progress. (A cycle is one infusion per week for two weeks, then a week off).
The CAT scan I had after the first two cycles and after the second two cycles (no animals were harmed during the PET or CAT scans) showed that the cancer had not grown (or in my mind) had not shrunk. Therefore I decided to switch over to, what the medical profession prefers to call, complementary therapies with the support of Dr. Fischbach.
In contrast to Allopathic medicine (what our MD's practice) which approaches disease with the intent of relieving its symptoms by medicating it, killing it, or removing it. Naturopathy, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and other nature aligned systems, attempt to use the body's own systems and resources to bring it back to health by encouraging and boosting their harmonious functioning.
After five weeks of these therapies (I'm writing this in the middle of February, 2017), my cancer markers have become reduced by about one third. Hence, I'm continuing them.