Saturday, April 12, 2014

Choosing Joy

We arrived home to Mammoth on Sunday evening and after unloading, we started a fire, cuddled up on the couch with our favorite blanket and enjoyed the blessing of a clean house, clean carpets and beautiful flowers on our table (many thanks to our neighbors and friends). We soaked up the few hours we were home until we packed our bags the next day and drove 3 hours to Reno, for Kickers first treatment at his new clinic with his new Oncologist, Dr. H. She is wonderful and the nurses are amazing. What an incredible difference from our experience at Loma Linda.

Fast forward to now. I am sitting in my bed writing with barely the energy to type. The last few days have been hard on this momma. I think that the emotional wear and tear, the stress, the fear is all catching up to me. I am trying so hard to be grateful that we are home, but I think part of the challenge is that we ARE home. When we were here before, Kicker was healthy. Our life was so good, so amazing and I remember always thinking, that I was AM the luckiest girl in the world. Today, I had a hundred errands I needed to run, but couldn't take Kicker out in public. What used to be so normal and so second nature, has to be thoughtful, mapped out, and planned on Josh's days off.  I want to be able to get dressed in my work clothes, meet with clients and on my lunch break, run home to give the kids a
smooch. I want to have our friends over for dinner without asking if anyone is sick or has been sick. I want to go to play dates at the park. I want to look on Instagram without crumbling to pieces, being remained of everyone else's healthy children and perfect lives. I want to sleep through the night without waking in fear of the what ifs. I want to study prenatal nutrition and blood chemistry, not research cancer treatments and the toxic effects of chemotherapy. I want to have the energy and excitement to plan my beautiful little girls 5th birthday party. I want to have light-hearted conversations with my husband, dreaming about our next 'adventure.' I want to go to bed with him, happy, every night and joke like we always used to. I want this headache to go away-you know the crying headache, where the front of your head throbs due to the contraction of your face from the constant release of tears.



The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering" 



The sites and sounds of my baby boy being held down and drugged while I sat helpless in the corner of the room, haunts me. I can't take much more of watching my baby go through this. The lumbar puncture (LP) is a procedure where they give him two meds to consciously sedate him, and then lay him on his side and use a needle to administer chemo into his spine.  He has had at least 10 of these in the last four months.  The last few LP's have gone terribly. The sedation meds don't seem to work for him, his body metabolizes them too quickly. So he just lays on his side and screams for his mommy, the kind of crying/screaming that I had never, ever heard come out of him until this all began 4 months ago. With a minimum of 2 nurses holding him down and the doctor behind him performing the surgery, he is terrified. I just close my eyes and try so hard to pray, but usually I can't even form a thought, let alone words. My body aches from the tension and the front of my neck is always soaked from tears. Every damn day, I can't help but ask for the millionth time, "why him God, why him?" Every time he gets accessed (a large needle going into the port in his chest) he screams and just has the look in his eyes of despair and fear.  We keep asking the nurses if he will 'get used to it,' and each time we are reminded "that he is only 3, so of course it is going to be terrifying."  So many people have told me that I am so strong and that if anyone can handle this, its me. Although their words are kind and well meant, I don't feel strong and I sure as hell don't believe I am fit to handle this.



Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need"


Last week we began our most intensive phase of treatment yet. He is going to be pumped full of all kinds of chemo drugs-one in particular that is known for causing heart damage. He is supposed to loose his hair, not feel well and become neutropenic, almost 'guaranteeing' a hospital stay. Although I try hard to stay positive and not believe any of that, it is so scary. I am completely aware that I have lost track of  'living 15 minutes at a time.' Surely that is part of the reason I have been a hot mess. As a parent, you just want to do anything you can to ensure your children are happy, healthy and safe. When you loose that control, you can't help but loose your own strength and control.


Hard times make the good times better and we DO have more good days than bad. For that I am grateful. My son is healthy and strong, considering he has cancer. In 3 years from now, we WILL be through this and he will have kicked cancers ass. Even now, I can look back and be reminded of all the answered prayers, the amazing progress Kicker has made, and see the overwhelming support we have. To have family and friends behind us is a huge blessing. To see pictures of people holding #teamkicker signs is so motivating. The messages, cards, gifts, donations, have truly had our jaws on the floor and helped piece back together our broken hearts. We have so much to be thankful for and I know, deep down….deep, deep, deeeeeeep down, somewhere, that God has intention and a plan for our lives that included this journey from the beginning. I pray that, I KNOW that He is going to make good of this bad and use us in some incredible way. I am going to trust that this affliction is meaningful. Every second of my misery, my obedience is producing glory, somehow, someway. I trust that this journey is working for Gods ETERNAL glory. I will not loose heart. (Do I truly believe all of that? I am trying, so very hard to). Although I am going to bed with a broken heart and tear stains on my shirt, I am going to wake up and choose joy! Will you join me?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why We Are Doing Chemo

Short Answer:
To avoid being charged with child abuse and have our son taken away from us. 

Long Answer: 
I have had so many eyebrows raised at us during the last 4 months. Some from disbelief of what has happened to Kicker, some from true empathy and many eyebrows have been raised in true disdain from our medical team of the questions I bring to challenge their puppet like acts. Most recently, however, I have realized many are raising their eyebrows in more of a "why the hell is this mom-who is so super crunchy-choosing to give her kid chemotherapy instead of doing holistic cancer treatment?" I have had private messages, emails, even phone calls of caring people telling me how poisonous chemotherapy is and that there are so many better, less harmful options out there. And although their hearts and intentions  are kind-I always want to respond with tears of frustration "Do you REALLY think that I don't know that?"

If you think we live in a free country, let me tell you what would happen if we in fact had chosen NOT to give Kicker conventional cancer treatment (complete with spoonfuls of sugar to help the chemo go down). 

I used to be certain that I was in charge of my child's best interest. Their health, their day to day decisions, what time they go to bed, what they eat, when they go to the doctor, etc. When you are married by the state-what you make together (and I am not talking about cookies and chicken, I am talking about whoopee) belongs to the state. We already looked at the option of getting divorced for 'legal' purposes to ensure Kicker has the opportunity to receive the best care-but we 'made' Kicker the good ol' Christain way-WHEN we were married. So whether we stayed married or not, he belongs to the state. Just wait until I send the damn state his last clinic bill for the 3 different doses of chemotherapy, the blood thinning medication they use for his portacath, the numbing cream for his lumbar puncture, the anti nauseous medication they give him prior to his treatment, the doctors hourly wages and the operation room charges. Not to mention the bills for the emotional help I will need after watching a team of 5 people hold down my babies body while he screamed for me as a needle was jammed into his spine to put chemotherapy in his tiny little body. 

There have been two recent cases in the news proving the repercussions of a parents who made a researched, educated and loving decision for the medical treatment of their child, that is outside of conventional care. You can read about them here and here

The night we were told of Kicker's diagnosis, we had a conference call with our team of alternative physicians. After listening to the Oncologists plan of treatment, rate of survivorship, estimated cost, etc. We were anxious to hear our next option so that we could compare and make a prayerful decision over which plan to take for Kicker.  When we started to hear our alternative team talk about 'getting on a flight to Germany' or driving over the boarder to Mexico, we quickly became overwhelmed and confused. It is at that moment we realized that we didn't actually have a choice, unless we wanted to risk ending up in jail and/or loosing our son to the state. It was maddening. To be in the 'fight' of your life and suddenly realize you had no choice on making the best decision for your sons care.  We got off that phone call and I leaned against the wall of that dark and dirty hospital room, slid to the floor and cried. At this point, I realized that I had lost all control. 

In a statement regarding the Amish girl who was almost taken from her parents for seeking alternative care, the hospital said, "that its goal is to ensure that the girl receives the most appropriate care based on scientific evidence and added that the allegation has never been about 'parental unfitness.' It said neither the hospital nor anyone else is requesting legal or physical custody of the child; instead, the hospital said, this case 'involves a disagreement between providers and parents over what course of treatment is best for their child.' (the PARENTS, if fit-mentally stable, educated and loving, should always have the right to make the decision of what is in the BEST interest of their child, PERIOD) The ruling said that while adults can refuse medical treatment regardless of the consequences, children do not have those same rights because of their vulnerability and inability to make critical decisions in a mature manner. Read more here.So since when does an educated, intelligent and prayerful parent have an inability to make critical decisions in a mature manner? I would rather not have my son's life in the hands of someone who knows nothing about him, is being driven by profit and ultimately approaching treatment in a "one size, fits all" manner. I want to have his care in someone who will not tell me he becomes a 'number.' I want to have his care in the hands of someone who is going to have HIS best interest in mind and make changes to his protocol as needed.


"A court ordering a little girl to be ripped away from her loving and competent parents, and forced to submit to procedures that could kill or sterilize her, simply because her parents sought to first pursue a less invasive treatment option — – one the hospital disagreed with because it did not itself provide it.” said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center. Read more here.

Because of advances in medicine, such as chemotherapy treatment, many people can survive cancer now. In the case of leukemia, there has been a significant increase in the survivorship of this disease in the past two decades. However, as most educated parents would do, once you research those statistics, you begin to learn that the word "survive" and "thrive" are very different. I want my baby to not just survive, while experiencing hair loss, infections, a suppressed immune system, infertility, organ damage, cardiovascular disease, being crippled, and god forbid, another form of cancer in 10 years. Those are PROVEN and COMMON side effects from chemotherapy and the other drugs used in conventional cancer treatment. So yes, I am grateful that my boy will survive, but I sure as hell want him to THRIVE and that is why, despite the eyebrows raised in disdain from our conventional medical team, we are doing everything we can to make that happen. When the medical world uses the word "survive," it surely doesn't mean "thrive." 


So will we be in the news because we took our child away from conventional care and flew to Europe to get alternative treatment? No, at least not now-but the more I learn, the wider that door seems to get. We have a peace about where we are at for now. Although it is a daily struggle and a constant reminder that God is in control and He is the ultimate physician. As I have begun communicating with Him again (God that is) It is really a lot of weight off my shoulders to be reminded that He has this. He is the ultimate physician. And for that I am thankful. 



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bone Broth As An Alternative Therapy For Cancer

Can diet cure cancer? I believe it can play an extremely important role in healing the body of cancer alongside other therapies. I believe that one of the very important parts of that diet, should include bone broth. 

What if our grandma was right…That chicken soup WAS really good for the soul. After all it always made us feel better when we were sick. To this day, we correlate chicken soup with being ill. So what is it about the chicken soup? Is it the chicken? The veggies? The broth? I believe it is a combination of all three that gives this super food a reason to be in everyones' daily routine for better health!  In this post I am going to specifically cover the importance of bone broth {a form of chicken soup} and its healing properties for chronic disease.

What is Bone Broth?

real food daily
Bone Broth is the soup from bones (beef, poultry, fish) cooked over a long period of time (12-48 hours) flavored with vegetables and fresh herbs. Once finished cooking, the liquid (broth) is strained from the bones and vegetables and stored in the fridge/freezer to be consumed. You can enjoy broth as a warm beverage, a base to cook legumes and grains in-significantly increasing the digestibility and nutrient content of those otherwise difficult to digest foods. We typically use the carcass of an organic, pastured chicken that we had previously roasted for dinner. Once the meat has been consumed, we reserve the carcass in the freezer until I have the opportunity to make broth.

When suffering from an illness, infection or chronic disease, it is an attack on our immune system in the form of inflammation in the body. Therefore it is essential to incorporate anti-inflammatory nutrients into your diet through food and supplementation in order to heal your immune system. Did you know that 80-90% of our immune system is located in our gut? Let me break it down for you: what we eat, goes into our gut, which then contributes to the integrity of our immune system. Therefore it is essential that we choose our nutrients wisely and eat with a purpose, right? 

Why Our Gut Needs Bone Broth: 

alternative therapy for cancer
photo courtesy of therealfoodguide.com
The most common understanding of our gut, is that it receives and absorbs the food we eat and turns it into nutrients which keep us alive. Some of you have a love/hate relationship with your gut. You LOVE eating, but HATE how your gut reacts to the foods you are eating. Let me explain the 'hate' aspect of your relationship with your gut. We are created to have a thick mucousal lining that surrounds our gut to keep specific nutrients in and only let the necessary, digested nutrients into our blood stream. Picture a thick workout resistance band-the kind many physical therapists use for rehabilitation. This 'band' stretches over the top of the brain and continues through the body, surrounding the organs and glands superior to inferior, ending around the urinary tract. This mucousal lining acts as a protective barrier from the toxins we absorb through our skin; it protects our organs and prevents undigested foods and bugs from slipping into our blood stream. Due to the exposure of environmental toxins, indulgence in the standard American diet, pharmaceutical drug use and physical/emotional stress, that mucousal lining begins to resemble less of the workout resistance band and more like a pair of fishnet stockings. Those above mentioned 'toxins' cause the mucosal lining to become penetrated, letting undigested foods slip from the gut into the bloodstream. This activate the bodies immune system to respond as it finds 'foreign invaders' floating through the blood stream. The white blood cells mount an attack and histamine is produced.  Thus, food allergies are born. When this continues and goes on ignored, our own immune system becomes so used to 'attacking' foreign invaders that it begins to loose recognition of good and bad. Picture one of our military soldiers. They have been at war for 72 hours straight. No sleep, little food, just an intense gun battle. The air is so thick with smoke that it is hard to see anything. The solider is exhausted and becomes delirious. As a self defense reaction, he begins shooting at anything and everything that comes in his sight. This is similar to what would happen to our own immune system with a constant assault of undigested foods and bugs getting into our blood stream. Our white blood cells (the soldiers)-become so delirious, that they start attacking everything, good and bad. Thus leading to autoimmune disease. Definition of an autoimmune disease via Wikipedia: Arise from an abnormal immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body (autoimmunity). This may be restricted to certain organs (e.g. in autoimmune thyroiditis) or involve a particular tissue in different places. Can you even imagine the gut and mucousal lining disruption from chemotherapy, steroids, antibiotics, anti-funglas and radiation? Understanding that many of those medications may be necessary to treat the disease-it is crucial to do whatever we can to preserve our future health by being proactive and using our diet to cure cancer. 

Healing with Bone Broth:

ketogenic diet for cancer
Chicken Feet are an
incredible source of
gelatin for your broth!
Can Diet Cure Cancer?So how does bone broth help with this war going on in our body? The gelatinous properties naturally occurring from the joints and connective tissues in the bones, are drawn out into the broth during the cooking process.  These nutrients patch up the holes in our mucousal lining. Gelatin, which is plentiful in homemade bone broth, is an incredible digestive aid. It has been used very successfully in the treatment of many intestinal diseases such as IBS, Crohns, Colitis and even Rheumatoid Arthritis. Speaking of digestive aid, bone broth specifically helps stimulate the production of stomach acid, necessary in the breakdown and absorption of proteins and minerals. Many people fighting disease, especially cancer, quickly loose the ability to properly digest their food. Due to the sympathetic {stressful} state their body is in, combined with the laundry list of pharmaceuticals they are taking, producing stomach acid is a challenge.  I have been receiving many emails from other cancer moms who are very concerned with their child's eating challenges during treatment. Most of these children are loosing weight, constantly throwing up and severely anemic. Sadly they are on antacid medications, which further suppresses the stomach acid necessary to digest protein. It is no wonder that forcing these children to eat anything is such a task; their little bodies no longer have the raw materials needed to digest food. Bone broth is a very effective and gentle way to stimulate digestion and calm the stomach. Not only is it full of nutrients {gelatin, minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium}, needed for a growing child, it is full of some essential amino acids. 

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins, as many of you know, are one of the most important aspects of our immune system. Two of the most important amino acids coming from gelatin that help promote a healthy immune system are Glycine and Proline. These amino acids have incredible anti-inflammatory abilities as well as detox properties.  Published in JAMA in 1935 {Journal of the American Medical Association}, Dr. Reuban Ottenberg stated:

"It has been suggested that the administration of extra amounts of proteins containing an abundance of glycine (such as gelatin) will help the work in the liver. This seems particularly plausible since the recent work of Quick, who has shown that the ability of the liver to perform this protective synthesis is limited by the amount of glycine available." 

So in other words-not only will glycine promote healing, but will help the liver detox as well.  For more on the specifics of the other specific nutrients in broth, read here

chemo for childhood leukemiaWith a lack of attention to the absolute need to detox our children when they are going through rounds and rounds of cyto-toxic drugs {chemotherapy}, this is one easy way to begin supporting their bodies own ability to detoxing.  

As I mentioned above, many cancer patients bodies are so disrupted form the overload of medications that they loose the ability of their body to function properly. They need the raw materials to do that. A sour stomach isn't a Pepsid deficiency; the inability to fight a bacterial infection isn't a Septra deficiency. Those are symptoms that the body is lacking the raw materials to do its job. So how do we get those raw materials back? Your right, we consume them! My previous knowledge in anatomy and physiology reminds me that if a specific organ or gland need support, then consume that same 'organ or gland' from a healthy source. No I am not talking about cannibalism (although that would have made for a super interesting and dramatic twist to this otherwise boring blog post). I am talking about therapeutic healing from pasture raised animals. When I would have a client come to me with severe adrenal fatigue, I would give them pharmaceutical grade nutrients that included desiccated adrenal glands from a healthy pasture raised animal. When I had a women suffering the
ketogenic diet for cancer
Kicker getting his raw materials from
homemade bone broth!
symptoms of a poor functioning thyroid, she would see incredible progress through supplementing with thyroid nutrients from a healthy, pasture raised animals' thyroid gland. For leukemia, which is a cancer of the bone marrow, I was insistent on getting Kicker to consume plenty of bone marrow. Bone broth should always include bone marrow, which helps provide the raw materials for healthy blood cells and immune development. In fact, 
the gelatin components of bone broth, coming from marrow, has been incredibly successful in the treatment of anemia and other diseases of the blood, even cancer.  

After 16 rounds of chemo in almost 3 months, my 3 year old little fighter has yet to experience any side effects from chemotherapy. I believe it is nothing short of a miracle and thank God for the knowledge and resources we have for diet, detox and alternative therapy for cancer to support our son in the battle of his life. 

So I believe Grandma was not only right, but she would be so happy to know that her advice has now been published in a clinical study done at University of Nebraska Medical Center.  “The current study, therefore, presents evidence that chicken soup might have an anti-inflammatory activity, namely the inhibition of neutrophil migration,” said Dr. Rennard. This is particularly good news for individuals with chronic inflammation, auto-immune conditions and cancer.  

Bone Broth Recipe:

You can use the bones from any healthy animal-preferably a organically raised, pastured animal that is not being fed grain and not given antibiotics. The quality of healing will be a reflection of the quality of the food we are eating, so we must choose wisely!

real food daily
Photo Courtesy of Selah Wellness


Ideally you want your broth to be the consistency of jello when it has cooled. This ensures that it is full of nutrient dense gelatin. Warming it up will melt the consistency to a liquid which can be easily consumed, however the jigglier the better.  Side Note: The song that comes to mind when I think about gelatinous broth is "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard…" with my own version "my bone broth brings all the boys to the yard, and there like its jigglier than yours, damn right, its jigglier than yours…." Sorry.  Moving on






This is a recipe for chicken bone broth. We prefer this over the others as it has such a soothing, smooth taste and is particularly calming to the tummy.


The carcass of one whole, pastured raised chicken
2 Chicken 
feet {this is optional, but it adds so much gelatin to the broth}
4
 quarts
 of
 purified
 water
 
2
 tablespoons 
raw
 apple
 cider
vinegar
 
1‐2
 
onions
 
2‐4
carrots

3‐4
 celery
 stalks

{the next two ingredients are to be added in the last 20 minutes of cooking}
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 bunch of Parsley
{The following is not necessary but adds a wonderful flavor}
Fresh 
bay 
leaf

Fresh 
thyme
Fresh 
rosemary
Fresh 
sage


Rinse 
chicken and 
feet
. 
Place all ingredients in the pot with the purified water. {I always purchase organic vegetables so I don't even peel the onions or chop the carrots and celery}.  Let the ingredients sit for 
30 
minutes, which allows the raw apple cider vinegar to draw the minerals out of the bones. Bring 
to
 a 
boil. Skim the impurities that have risen to the top of the stock pot, then reduce 
the 
heat 
to 
a 
simmer 
and 
cook 
for
 12 
to 
24 
hours. 
Add the sea salt and 
 parsley
 at the end-about 20 minutes before turning the heat off. Strain the liquid through a sieve and store in glass mason jars. Broth can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for a few months.

video






Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Reality.

Gosh there are so many things in my reality to be thankful for. I read something yesterday that said "What if tomorrow you woke up and all that was left was what you had actually thanked the Lord for. It made me think. Yeah, I need to spend more time thanking God and less time yelling at Him.

Today was one of those days that I was reminded again of the reality we are in. It hit me quick. Almost like when you are 9 months pregnant and you all of the sudden have to pee. Like "omg tie your shoes, tie your shoes, keep tying your shoes-oh crap I'm wearing Toms" until you can compose yourself enough to stand back up and walk to a bathroom. That's what happened today in clinic. Kicker had just been accessed {the nurse had put a needle through his portacath to be able to take labs and administer chemo}. We were sent back out to the waiting room while we waited for his labs to come back. I just looked around the room that was filled with babies, kids, teenagers. They were all bald. Their faces were grey, they looked exhausted and very very sick. This sweet little baby who couldn't have been more than 7 months old, was sitting in her car seat with an IV line hanging from her arm. She was bald. Not just baby bald, but no eyelashes or eyebrows bald. I had Selah in my lap and I did everything I could to busy myself playing with her hair so I wouldn't start crying. The clinic door opened and in comes another family, with a bald toddler who was wearing a mask and holding his bottle of Zofran (anti-nauseous medication) with a death grip. I quickly looked down and continued helping Kicker color his dinosaur picture.  I couldn't look up. If I did, the tears would have spilled over and I would not have been able to stop it. Thankfully our nurse called us back shortly after, and we went to the infusion lab.

The infusion lab. Ugh. Picture a big, cold, stuffy office filled with cubicles, but without the sophistication. Instead of short walls surrounding each desk space, you have curtains. Instead of emails and faxes, the occupants are receiving chemotherapy and Zofran.  Instead of the sound of phones ringing and light mumbling you hear vomiting and crying.  The nurse assigns you your "chair." Today we were number 9. Kicker knows his numbers so one of his favorite things to do is find his chair. We walked by a sweet teenage girl who was laid back in her chair. Her face was so puffy from the steroids that you could barley see the whites in her eyes. She was wearing adorable skinny jeans and a new pair of Toms. Her mommy was rubbing her bald head and saying quietly "it is going to be ok honey, its going to be ok." Then we saw our first roommate from the hospital. Sweet little Alex. He is 5 and has stage 4 Nueroblastoma. When I asked his mom how he was doing, all she could do was nod her head 'no.' I asked if he had been hospitalized since we were with them and she told me they had been admitted 4 times since December.

Finally we get to chair 9. I get the iPads out, the coloring books, snacks and water. Kicker sees his 'robot' (IV pole) and immediately starts telling sissy all about the robot and how the robot gives him his super power juice. I smile as I see his strength and his pride in what he is going through. Quickly that moment of admiration is interrupted by the loud and strong sounds of our next "cubicle" neighbor dry heaving. She couldn't have been older than 6 or 7. As she was vomiting, she was crying to her daddy and telling him that she wanted to go home. I saw Selah quickly look up and her eyes darted to me with concern. I immediately distracted her so that she wouldn't say anything inappropriate or offensive out loud. Everything about this shit is inappropriate and offensive. There really is no way to hide that or to escape it. The reality for most of these children is offensive and unfair. Knowing there is something that these kids can do to ease their pain, to help with their fight and to make them more comfortable is what makes me crazy. I know that we have been blessed with how amazing Kicker has done. The fact that he has not had one single side effect from 14 rounds of chemo is nothing short of a miracle. And although I know that could all change in a minute, I have to believe that everything we are doing alongside his conventional treatment is helping.

During our brief meeting with our Oncologist today I couldn't help myself but voice my concern about the lack of education and provision for diet and detox implementation. He L-I-T-E-R-L-L-Y went silent. When he didn't respond he packed up his computer uncomfortably and said "I will see you next week." And.that.was.it. That is so overwhelming. To feel so alone in what you know is truth. The minute I begin to question myself and everything I have studied, everything we are doing for Kicker, I am quickly reminded of the reality of most cancer patients. And that it is NOT Kicker's reality. I know that this could change and that is why we live 15 minutes at a time. But I know that Kicker is not a statistic. He is outside of the box in regards to his fight with cancer and I pray that he is bringing light to the need for better treatment for these children.

Our reality gives us many reasons to be thankful. Our reality is so much richer now. The little moments that used to not mean much, mean EVERYTHING now. As a parent I would always say "I never knew I could love someone so much." But now I know that is not true. When you think you could lose your child, that love becomes bigger and deeper and more than words could even describe. Our reality isn't pretty, but it is blessed and I pray that God will use us to help make other families going through this, stronger and ease just a bit of their pain.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Death by Drugs

*Did you know that Cancer is the #1 disease killer of American children? Cancer claims the lives of more children each year than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis and diabetes combined.

* The average childhood cancer victim loses 71 life years; a significant loss of productivity to society

*One in five children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. die.

*Three of five children diagnosed in the U.S. suffer long-term effects of treatment, such as infertility, cognitive issues, learning disabilities, and secondary cancers.

*Cancer kills half of all kids diagnosed worldwide.

* In the past 20 years only two new cancer drugs have been approved specifically for pediatric cancer

Even with these devastating statistics, for most of us, it is all out of sight, out of mind. In fact, pediatric cancer research funds 3.8% (to be exact) from the largest federal cancer research organizations, with the majority of funds supporting research for adult cancers.  

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER:

Did you know that most children fighting cancer actually die from the TREATMENT not the disease? In my most recent research (sleep is overrated these days) I am learning that most children who die, and have had an autopsy done, the autopsy shows they are CANCER FREE, but that the chemo and radiation is what killed them.

It is important to understand that I am grateful for the advances in medicine, for the invention of chemotherapy to treat cancer. As most of you know, my 3 year old is in the beginning of his own fight against cancer and has already had 14 rounds of chemo in 2.5 months. I am also appreciative of conventional medicine. HOWEVER, it is criminal that our kids are not given the knowledge, resources and support they need to truly KICK cancer and recover into vibrant healthy individuals (If you could see me right now, my jaw is clenched, my fingers are almost making dents on the keyboard and I have my super mean mommy face on).  

These kids are honestly treated like a herd of cattle. For Type B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia they line ‘em up, pump them with their dose of drugs, give each.and.every.single.one.of.them the SAME EXACT protocol….whatever happened to the saying ‘you are an individual, God didn’t make any other person on this earth like you.’  We were even told by our Oncologist as we were signing our sons life away in paperwork “This form is where you are told that Kicker will become a number …” Um, what? Did you actually say outloud that my 3-year-old precious little baby who has a life threatening disease is going to become a freaking number?  Ohhhh…GAME ON BUDDY!  Have our Oncologists turned into Chemotherapists? Rather than taking a Holistic approach (holistic doesn’t mean hippie by the way: ho·lis·tic adjective \hō-ˈlis-tik\ : relating to or concerned with complete systems rather than with individual parts.) Well I want an Oncologist, not a chemotherapist.

I want each child to be treated like an individual.  Why would my child, who is doing so well with treatment, experiencing no side effects, need the SAME dose as the child whose labs are poor, who has chronic infections and is barely surviving, or vise versa??

For our ‘second opinion’ on treatment for Kicker, we met with the TOP Pediatric Oncologist at CHLA.  I was desperate to find a doctor who would approach our son’s treatment as an INDIVIDUAL. I shared with him all of the alternative therapies we were doing with Kicker, including diet. I was so excited to share with him that Kicker had not had any side effects from treatments, that there were no traceable cancer cells in his body after his first month of treatment and that his labs had ALWAYS come back above average. His response? Almost laughing under his breath he said, "You are just wasting your money on all of that other stuff." At that exact moment, Josh grabbed my hand under the desk as if to keep me held down so that I didn’t reach across his desk and slap him. That is when I knew, that it was all on me. I had to do something. But how, what? Where do I start? We have to get this information out to these beautiful families who are doing "whatever the doctor says" to keep their children alive. 

I want these families to have the resource and knowledge of ALL that they can do to help their child’s body fight cancer and not only win, but have an amazing quality of life so they can accomplish their dreams. This will not happen, if we continue the conventional medicine mantra of “Cut, Burn & Poison” the HELL out of it.


THE UGLY TRUTH:

Chemotherapy poisons your entire body as an attempt to kill the cancer cells before the "treatment" brings your body to an unrecoverable state.  The dismal hope with chemotherapy treatment is that the cancer will be ‘cut, burned and poisoned;’ and your body will only be half dead.
"Her hair was burnt so badly that it never grew back. She literally, for want of a better description, looked like Golum in The Hobbit. She was a fried wretched little child, emaciated, unable to process nutrients, had shingles, had suffered immeasurably. We had rubber gloves to change her diaper because her urine was so toxic from the chemotherapy. The problem is I get six months through this and then I stop and I said, "Okay, what do we do now?" They said, "She dies." Rick Schiff, a police sergeant with the San Francisco Police Departmentand daddy to 4 year old Chrissie who earned her wings at age 6.  [once Chrissie had passed]… we brought Chrissie back and they did an autopsy. The autopsy showed that she died absolutely cancer-free with no sign of cancer and both the oncologist and the radio oncologist were there. We were looking through optics, slides of my daughter's brain. They all confirmed that the damage that they saw was a result of the chemotherapy and radiation. So we know that she died cancer free. The only child of that diagnosis that's ever been cancer free and we know what killed her."

Chemotherapy and radiation are used to treat almost ALL types of pediatric cancer. They are both also recognized as poison and come with a never ending list of side effects that are so gruesome, I wont give you the details here.  One of those side effects can be death. The doctors also make sure to disclose that chemotherapy and radiation do not discriminate. The chemo does not have the ability to just kill the bad cells. They kill everything. This is why the effects of these drugs/treatment can be so devastating and end up killing many children.  Upon hearing this, I immediately knew there would be a way we could still support Kickers body to heal and recover while he underwent such an aggressive and toxic treatment plan. I understand the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation, but shouldn’t we then approach the treatment of our children to not just ‘cut, burn and poison,’ but seal up, detox and heal as well? That is what we are doing with our son. And so far it is working very well. 

WHERE DO WE START?

Knowledge is power!  A study done by Dr. Thomas Seyfried at Boston College showed that those following a strict Ketogenic Diet, could reduce chemotherapy dosage by 75% and still find NO CANCER PRESENT at the conclusion of treatment.  It is not new science that glucose feeds cancer cells and fat starves them. This is even recognized amongst many conventional physicians, especially for treating seizures.

When I asked our nurse practitioner the first week in the hospital why the kids were being fed Cheetos, diet coke and chocolate pudding, she said "A calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie, we just want these kids to eat." And then I slapped her. Just kidding-but I honestly wanted to cry.  If there is a way to lessen the amount of poison that is being used to kill the cancer in our children and assist their bodies NATURAL ability to heal, then why wouldn’t we be doing that. After all, doesn’t the medical industry have ‘our best interest in mind?’

“Most conventional cancer treatments tend to add insult to injury by doing more harm than good -- a fact that has been largely swept under the rug by the medical industry. The real culprits—the underlying causes—are completely ignored, and that is, I believe, the root of the problem. The cancer industry has become a massive for-profit business that is doing everything in its power to maintain the status quo. It is, quite simply, not interested in truly reducing cancer rates; it's interested in treating cancer.  From that perspective, the more cancer cases the better... Even many oncologists, whom most regard as the go-to specialist upon receiving a cancer diagnosis, may be better described as chemotherapy specialists than cancer specialists.” Dr. Joseph Mercola
I do want to believe that most of our doctors have our best interest in mind. Why would you want to become a pediatric oncologist if you didn’t want to save lives, right? I just believe that they are being controlled like puppets by a bigger industry that has no mindset of treating the whole body, and like all physicians will tell you “we only receive 1 week of nutrition in medical school.” That is comforting (sarcastic voice), that the very fuel that we put into our body 3-5X a day to give us energy, life, etc. is only studied by the very people who we depend on to save our life for 1 DAMN WEEK!?!?!  Ok, ok, I will get back to the point…


Following a strict Ketogenic diet and avoiding all glucose except veggies and some fruit is the first step that we took.  Second we incorporate a daily detox regime that includes supplementation (that is NOT contraindicated with any of the conventional treatment he is doing). We do at home remedies such as Epsom salt baths, use of essential oils on pressure points to maintain the integrity of his immune system, etc. We do castor oil packs on his little liver to help drain toxins. We incorporate juicing as often as possible. We do ozone therapy and will soon begin some IV vitamin C therapy once he is on a lower dose of chemo. We also see our Osteopathic physician, Dr. Moreno, once a week, the day after his chemo treatment. Dr. Moreno helps Kickers body eliminate all of the unnecessary toxins from the chemo, works on the emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of his precious body.


This is just a very short, and not even all-inclusive list of some of the things we are doing to support our son.  My next post will include more details the support we are giving Kicker, so stay tuned and start doing your research. There IS hope. I believe if we can bring light to this travesty, that we will get more than 3.8% of funding for cancer research and then….just maybe, we will have the ability for a beautiful marriage of conventional and alternative medicine in approaching disease.

*For those of you are like details on studies, links, research, etc. these will all be published in the book I am working on. In the meantime, as this is my personal blog I am leaving a lot of the citations, research articles out. If you are interested, please email me and I can get it to you. Thank you for your visit and the time you have taken to read this!