Once my week of immuno-oncology treatment was finished in Mexico, the Issels Medical Center transferred me from the hospital in Tijuana to their facility in Santa Barbara, CA. The fact that their focus on cancer is one week of the four and the rest of the time is spent on optimizing my immune system means that I could get this treatment in the US. That translates into insurance covering some of the office visits, tests, and protocols.
So up to Santa Barbara I went, vaccines in hand. I had two coolers with me: in one I carried dry ice and a tiny IV bag of autologous dendritic cells that had been sensitized to my cancer cells, and in the other one I carried two containers with tiny vials of autlogous cytokines (the proteins dendricitic cells use for signalling killer cells when cancer cells are detected) – enough for bi-weekly injections for the next six months. Just looking at those coolers brought a big grin to my face.
I had rented a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Barbara on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The way the bay curves inland at Santa Barbara meant that I would have a sunrise view every morning to greet each lovely day with a quiet and joyful heart. It was wonderful! The first thing I noticed when I got to the apartment was that all the light bulbs in the fixtures were a horrid yellow color. Make a note, I thought: pick up some cool white light bulbs at the store.
My first day at the clinic was very nice. All the staff were friendly, and the facility was small, but well set up. Each room offered a specific type of treatment that would be available to me during my time there. The two treating doctors were available to me at any time for questions, consultations, or to review lab work.
Dr. Christian Issels, son of Issels Medical Center’s founder Josef Issels, MD, told me that his primary job as a naturopathic doctor was to get to the bottom of why my immune system was “sleeping” and had allowed this tumor to form. There were some abnormalities with my blood work, but nothing terribly alarming, nor were there elevated cancer markers at this point.
The total focus during this time was to rid my body of any and all toxins that were overwhelming my immune system and to have targeted treatments that are clinically proven to boost immune function. These treatments included things like hyperbaric chamber or oxygen therapy, sauna, massage, acupuncture, two kinds of bio-feedback/cellular “training,” nutrient IVs, and even psychological counseling. I was sent off site for colon hydrotherapy, coffee enemas, lab work, and halotherapy at the Santa Barbara Salt Cave. I chose to add chiropractic care, so I also saw a wonderful doctor two doors down from the Issels Medical Center each of the three weeks I was there.
The treatments at the Issels Center were important and impactful, and my time at the apartment was also powerfully healing. I got up before sunrise to sit quietly in the large corner windows to greet the beautiful view as the light changed and brightened. I practiced my qigong exercises to the calming sound of waves rolling into shore. In the afternoons when I returned from the Issels Center, I walked down by the beach, and even got to meet my Tai Chi instructor a couple of times for classes. I was able to spend hours centering, praying, journaling and continuing the visualizations I had started in Mexico.
There are quite a few members of the Transformational Leadership Council who reside in Santa Barbara, so I was able to see some lady friends while I was there, and I met with Dawa Tarchin Phillips, a meditation teacher and good friend of ours, each week for deep spiritual conversations and inquiry.
The other patients and I became friends. Spending four to five hours per day with the same people in a similar situation as you for three weeks brings you closer than you’d believe. Each week some of the patients went home while new ones arrived. We shared our stories, experiences, things we had read or seen others using to heal naturally, and most of all supported each other with positivity and love. We became a mini community. I never felt lonely, although I had plenty of time to myself.
In my next post, I will share with you the things I learned during these three weeks (the yellow light bulbs will be one of the topics), and what kind of wonderful support I got from my family and friends.