My mom has been battling breast cancer for over 8 years, and I can’t sit and watch it destroy her any longer. I’m starting a blog in hopes of somehow getting it to the right person, and getting her the help she so desperately wants and needs. She really wants to go to the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, Texas, and I’m determined to find a way to get her there. It seems nearly impossible as insurance won’t cover it and I’m sure it’s extremely expensive. I don’t know what I can do, but getting her story out there is a start.
My Mom’s Story
My mom, Wanda Cline, has been battling a serious form of breast cancer since May 2002, using both traditional and alternative methods. She was diagnosed at the age of 48 and had 6 months of chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy, and then radiation. Her cancer is HER2 positive and hormone negative, meaning that it is much more aggressive than the more common hormone-fueled breast cancer. Cancer was found in two of the lymph nodes that were removed during surgery, but not evident anywhere else in her body.
The cancer returned with a vengeance in January 2006. It was in her lungs, bones, and in the brachial plexus nerves that control her left hand and arm. She lost use of her left hand and arm (which was difficult as she was a church organist and pianist). The nerve damage to her hand, arm, shoulder, and pectoral muscles were indescribably and relentlessly painful. Then, when she began chemotherapy again, the pain and nerve damage increased because chemotherapy drugs are neurotoxins. During her first chemo treatment after the cancer returned she was sobbing with pain as the drugs traveled through her veins, killing off what was left of her already damaged nerves. There were many days ahead of her with endless pain and progressive paralysis of her hand as chemo went on. She had to resort to narcotic painkillers for about six months, and then it took two months to get off of the drugs because her body had become addicted to them.
After being on chemotherapy for 18 months chemo began to lose its effectiveness. The tumors were spreading and growing, and becoming resistant to different chemos. She then went to the University of Michigan for a couple consultations with their specialists in radiation and oncology. They didn’t recommend radiation for her tumors, and they felt her oncologist was doing the appropriate trials of chemotherapies on her. They had nothing new to offer her.
Her oncologist then told her, “I know what you want, and I can’t do it for you.” He knew she wanted a long, long remission with a good quality of life, and he knew it wasn’t possible with current chemotherapies. The next combination of chemo drugs she was scheduled to try had side effects she wasn’t happy about, and supposedly only gave the patients a few months of progression-free time.
It was clear to her what the future held for her by staying on chemotherapy, so she decided to take a break from chemotherapy in Jun 2007 and try a natural approach. She wanted to try natural methods before chemo completely destroyed her immune system. She began to follow Dr. Johanna Budwig’s Protocol. She is one of the most respected and recommended of the “alternative” cancer doctors. Flaxseed oil is at the core of the diet. The remainder of the lifestyle is a vegetarian diet, plenty of sunshine and exercise, rest, and no stress. My mom followed Budwig’s protocol strictly for years, adding to it a sauna she used every night, coffee enemas, growing her own wheatgrass for juicing and sprouts to eat.
In May 2009 my mom’s pain came back tremendously. I remember taking her to the ER and they gave her a muscle relaxer and sent her on her way. Her Family Doctor didn’t even do any tests to see if the cancer came back. By August 2009 she ended up in the ER, paralyzed, and had immediate radiation because there was a large tumor on her spine which was causing her paralysis and pain. She was in the hospital for 6 weeks. When released from the hospital she had to go live with my grandma (next door to my mom’s house) because it’s all one level, and she is in a motorized wheelchair. In March 2010 she went back on chemo (pills this time) but it’s not looking that good. For awhile this summer she had some hope, as she was walking with a walker and took 150 steps with a cane at physical therapy. She even rode her bike once with adult training wheels a short distance. As of September 2010 she has new tumors in her pelvis, femur, lung, many tumors on her ribs, and three new tumors on her liver. The original tumor on her spine is showing new activity, and another tumor next to it has is growing. She also has constant nerve damage from the bra line down and is in tremendous pain. She is in constant pain and can’t sleep. Her quality of life is poor, and it’s to the point where she doesn’t want to go on. She’s spent the last few weeks thinking about killing herself just to be away from all of the pain.
I don’t know what I can do, but I want to do something. I want to find a way to get her to Texas where she might have some hope. It’s not just a matter of the clinic being expensive, but she’s in a motorized wheelchair…how do we get her down there? I’m going to look into it and see exactly what all of the costs will be, and I’m determined to try to find a way to get her there.