I had “concerning” symptoms.
In late 2014, I moved 1,300 miles from a home and community that I lived in and loved for over 30 years. The things that led to this move were numerous and difficult. Life is full of changes, so I set my mind on making the best of it.
Three weeks later, scary symptoms had me searching for a doctor—fast. Ten years prior, I had been diagnosed with uterine fibroids. I hoped that the symptoms I was now experiencing were from the fibroids.
The doctor I found said the symptoms were “concerning,” and I was sent to get an MRI and blood work done. The results of the MRI showed that a fibroid was pressing on one of my kidneys, but no cancer was detected. Although the doctor was relieved, I was told a hysterectomy was required. Soon, I went to a lab for pre-operative blood work.
I got the results on Christmas Eve: My CA 125 was high. I was told that I needed to see an oncologist as soon as the holidays were over.
Surgery was scheduled immediately.
In another unfamiliar city three hours away, I met the oncologist just moments before he examined me. When the exam ended, he told me that I had “the hallmarks of sarcoma.” Sarcoma sounded threatening and deadly to me, although I didn’t actually know what it was. I asked the doctor if fibroids were causing my symptoms and he said “maybe.” A radical hysterectomy was scheduled to take place two days later. I knew that scheduling surgery so quickly was a bad sign. Two days later, I trembled in fear as I was admitted to the hospital.
After a week in the hospital, I went home with no diagnosis and no information about what had taken place during the surgery. A discharge coordinator had come to my room the day before to ask a few routine questions. She made notes on a clipboard and said that no follow-up seemed to be necessary. I thought that meant I was ok. I felt quite well, and I didn’t need or want to fill the pain medication prescription that I was sent home with.
How was I supposed to know?
The day of my post-operative follow-up, the doctor started the visit by telling me that all of my biopsies and washes were negative, but that high grade clear cell carcinoma had been found in an ovary. He didn’t say what stage the cancer was, but he said the risk of recurrence was high. He recommended three months of chemotherapy, which surprised me greatly. He said that I “must have known this in the hospital.” How could I know something that was never told to me? Much later on, I realized I should have asked a lot of questions but I didn’t know what to ask at the time.
I expressed worry that the chemo would make me sick. The oncologist said, “You won’t get sick. People work right through their chemo these days.” He acted as if my concern about getting sick from chemo was silly. I didn’t understand his confidence that I would sail through chemo easily, considering the most time he had spent with me was while I was unconscious.
There was no mention of the sarcoma this time, and I was clueless about whether this clear cell carcinoma diagnosis was the same thing or something separate. (Later, I found out—on my own—that it is not the same.) The doctor spent about ten minutes with me, handed me an insurance form to sign and said, “See you in three months.”
With that, he was off to his next patient.
The rest seemed to be up to me.
I left his office with nothing but an appointment card for three months out. I knew very little about cancer, other than it was often treated with chemo and radiation and that sometimes people got well and sometimes they didn’t. I didn’t know which group I’d end up in. I felt a fear that nearly made me vomit.
I was far from my friends, family, and community of support. In the short time I’d lived in my new home, I had not had many opportunities to meet people. I hadn’t even fully unpacked yet! I knew in every cell of my being that depression, fear and loneliness, coupled with rigorous chemo, would kill me faster than any cancer could.
My intuition was screaming at me.
The next morning, I searched online for “cancer treatment.” I discovered there were other choices available!
I called the oncologist’s office to say that I was considering my options and wasn’t ready for chemo. The nurse on the phone asked me questions about what I was looking into, including asking for the name of the other doctors I was considering. I was weary, and my voice wasn’t strong, but I stood my ground. I knew there had to be something else.
The call ended with the nurse telling me, “Whatever you do, be aggressive because what you have is aggressive.” Her words did not sway me from my decision. I would not be talked into treatment that I wasn’t comfortable with.
I took control of my healing with that phone call.
I never looked back.
Frightened but focused, I spent three weeks investigating and calling cancer treatment facilities, including well known ones that advertise heavily on television. Representatives and patient advocates from these places were attentive and listened to me thoroughly, but it became evident that chemo would still be the treatment given. I was firmly resolved to find an alternative.
During this time, my daughter connected me with two wonderful people willing to help me by sharing information about changes I could make that wouldn’t hurt me and had helped others with cancer. These changes included juicing, transitioning to a plant-based diet, filtering my drinking water, eliminating toxic skin products, and practicing forgiveness.
I was willing to do all of it, and I stopped eating the Standard American Diet immediately. For the next four weeks I ate organic vegetables and quinoa—practically nothing else. I purchased a water purification system and found recipes to make my own deodorant and toothpaste.
As I grew stronger—and hungrier—I included more organic whole foods into my diet to ensure I was getting ample nutrition each day. Foods like nuts, seeds, and small amounts of pastured organic meat, but no processed foods and almost no sugar.
There was something else.
It seemed that every time I searched online for information about cancer treatments, German cancer clinics were always in the search results. When it happened too many times to feel like coincidence, I called a German cancer clinic referral service to get specific treatment details and costs. I learned that I would need my surgical and pathology reports to move forward, but I didn’t have them.
The records were at the chemo center I had been referred to weeks before, and they had refused to give me the records when I went there. It took another ten days of persistent calls to the oncologist’s office until my records finally arrived by mail.
I faxed the information to the referral service to review my records, and two days later four clinics were suggested. I had the option to pick one or all four to review my surgical and pathology reports. I wanted to hear from all four.
I had a phone call or e-mail from the medical director of each clinic within two days. Each of them gave me as much time as I needed to ask important questions. None of them pressured me to choose their clinic.
All of the doctors noted that I was dangerously anemic, which needed to be addressed before any treatment started. I was shocked. Why hadn’t the surgeon or his nurse told me this? Even more surprising, all of these new doctors gave me the same prognosis—and it was quite different from what the surgeon/oncologist had told me.
After comparing costs, I chose Klinik Marinus am Stein in Brannenburg, Germany, run by Dr. Axel Weber.
It was a life- and health-changing decision.
I arrived at Klinik Marinus on February 25, 2015. I was exhausted from traveling and worried about my future. I had not seen a doctor in six weeks.
I expected to complete pages of paperwork at Klinik Marinus and then wait a long time for the doctor to call me in to his office. Instead, I was asked to fill out one simple form, have my picture taken if I was up to it (I wasn’t) and told that Dr. Weber would see me when I was ready.
When I was ready, not when the doctor was ready? Where was I?
My husband and I had just spent 24 hours eating crummy airline food and we were famished. I asked if we could eat before seeing Dr. Weber. The kitchen staff was told to prepare a meal for us, and we were led to the dining room. I couldn’t grasp the kindness and consideration I was being shown, but I got used to it fast! I now know how vital that is to the healing process.
I saw Dr. Weber an hour later. For the first time, a physician was reviewing my pathology report with me line by line. Hope began to slowly replace my fear of treatment and fear of dying. My blood was drawn the next day, for the first time in two months. I began to cry while the nurse completed the draw, and she asked if I was afraid of needles. When I told her that I was afraid of the results, she called Dr. Weber. He came to see me and assured me that I needn’t be worried.
Two days later the lab results were in and Dr. Weber searched the clinic until he found me. He didn’t want me to spend any more time worrying. My CA 125 was normal. He said that the news was good, but treatment was still necessary. I was so relieved that I hugged him!
That night, I slept well for the first time in over three months.
Let the healing begin.
I returned to the States four weeks later with a small suitcase full of follow-up supplements that were provided as part of my treatment at Klinik Marinus. I found a new doctor to monitor me at home. I kept Dr. Weber informed by e-mail. He always responded quickly and with encouragement for my future.
My blood results continued to be normal and my American doctor was pleased for me. To her credit, she asked what the German treatment consisted of. Since that time, I have seen other doctors and have had more testing.
I remain cancer free and deeply grateful!
A year after my diagnosis, I read Radical Remission© by Dr. Kelly Turner. I was so excited by what I was reading that I could hardly sit still! Unknowingly, I had used every one of Dr. Turner’s “9 Healing Factors” of Radical Remission©. At the time, I didn’t have the same “names” for the steps or know that people had used them to heal from cancer—even after doctors told them there was nothing more that could be done. The factors had become my lifestyle, and now I was reading survivors’ stories that validated what I was doing. A huge burden of fear for my future lifted from me.
Your Choices deserve Support!
If you are reading this, it’s probably because you or someone you love has cancer. Although the diagnosis, and perhaps treatment, may differ from mine, we all want to do everything we can to recover, stay well and live long. Cancer is overwhelming and frightening for all of us. Having to weigh treatment options is especially difficult.
Learning what you can do on your own to strengthen your immune system and help you get better is empowering! The 9 Healing Factors of Radical Remission© offer simple strategies and action steps that you can do for yourself—and use safely with any treatment!
I'd love to help you on your journey.
The biggest investment needed to bring them into your own life is commitment and follow-through. Using the 9 Healing Factors will give you confidence, and the survivor stories will give you hope.
You deserve both.
If I can help you make the 9 Healing Factors of Radical Remission© part of your recovery and healing or if you would like more information about my German cancer treatment experience, please get in touch.
I’m always here and I’d love to talk to you! Contact me to arrange your free 15-Minute Discovery Session.