In this post I will answer the questions many of you have asked me about my treatment while I was in Mexico at the immuno-oncology hospital during the month of April: what in the world did they do to you?!
First, I received daily non-toxic IV chemotherapy targeted to weaken the cancer cells, but which does not damage my healthy cells. I also received IV infusions of multi-vitamins and multi-minerals. I was feeling so good that I shocked the nursing staff by heading out to the stairwell of the six-story hospital to “run the stairs.”
I got my first dose of enhanced immune cells (LAK and NK cells) via IV after they finished two days of spring training in the lab to be turned into the strongest offensive line possible (look out, Dallas Cowboys!). Since the tumor is angiogenic, or receiving blood flow, these cells will come knocking on cancer’s door; they were put right back into my blood stream. Look out!
Here’s the really intense part, as if it weren’t intense enough already, right? About five minutes after getting my cells back, my throat started to be scratchy, then sore, and then I could feel my tonsils getting swollen. My back started to hurt and I started to feel feverish. My doctor told me that I am very sensitive. It was a good sign that the immune response was starting so quickly. Five hours later, I was still in the immune response phase and the tumor site itched like crazy, like your skin does when it’s healing after a sunburn.
The next day I got a shot of my own, sensitized Dendritic cells which send chemical signals to “start the play” when they come across cells that don’t belong in the system. They are antigen-presenting cells, and they play a pivotal role in summoning the right immune cells for the right pathogens or cancer cells to be removed from my body. They had been isolated with my circulating tumor calls and all the “daughter” cells that were separated out of my blood. They had a great chance to get to know the specific cells they were going to be looking for in my body when they returned. There were billions of the cells they needed to be alerting my immune cells to, but there were about 10 billion more Dendritic cells than DNA-damaged cells!
When the Dendritic cells were injected into my leg, I started to feel the same way I had the day before when the LAK and NK cells hit my system. The injection went into my leg so the DCs would flow directly into the lymphatic system. The immunologist had suggested the previous day that a intratumoral injection be done to get my enhanced fighter cells directly into the malignant mass. I agreed, and a syringe of those cells had been held back. After the DCs injection, she gave me three small injections of the immune cells I had received the day before directly into the tumor.
The next day (my last day), the tumor was actually smaller! The area where the injections were done could be seen later by ultrasound as distinctly different from the rest of the tumor. There is more cell differentiation (that’s good), and noticably fewer cancer cells.
The immuno-oncology hospital sent me to their clinic in Santa Barbara that afternoon with enough autologous cytokines (I will be writing about them in a future blog) for me to do bi-weekly injections for the next six months. It is expected that I will be in full remission by then. My prognosis is very good!
I am thankful to you all, my family, friends, and colleagues. You never know the twists and turns life will hand you, but I have to say that I’m grateful for your love, support, encouragement, and uplifting responses. My next post will be focused on the inner work I did while at the hospital. I believe the emotional, spiritual, and energetic aspects of life has a huge role to play in our healing processes, and I have put my whole mind and soul into this aspect of healing.