The Mind Leads the Body

I’ve been fighting fear every day for the past few weeks.

I guess I fight it every day but it’s been harder to ignore recently. I don’t know if it has something to do with my cousin or just the CT scan date closing in on me, but I’ve been nervous and scared.

Cancer isn’t easy. Obviously. The hardest part is you never get a break from your mind. I wake up every day and the thoughts start instantly. From the ileostomy to the supplements to the juicing to the restricted diet to the not going into work everyday to not knowing how we will afford extra treatments, there just never is a break from the fact that I’m fighting something that can kill me.

It just wears on me. This giant weight always on my shoulder trying to bring me down.

Last night I took some time to read Radical Remission. Like I’ve said before, I only read it when I feel an urge to read it. The chapter was called “Having Strong Reasons for Living”. This is the final key factor that all Radical Remission cases have in common. She explains this as not being a fear of death, but more so a love of living. Everyone fears death in some way, but not everyone loves life.

I have the obvious strong reasons for living. Wife. Kids. Brothers. Friends. Parents. Cousins. Aunts. Uncles. Family. I truly love all of them. I think the hardest thing I think about when my mind travels to the dark side is how they’ll go on without me. Life goes on when people leave, and I just can’t imagine not being here with the people I love.

The thing I love about this book is it explains that having those feelings and feeling those feelings are important. Releasing the emotion of fear is healing. Feel it, embrace it, release it. One of the alternative healers in this book, A Hawaiian kahuna healer describes the concept of fear like this:

“It is an experiential fact that you cannot feel fear if your body is totally relaxed.  However, even though there are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to relax — such as massage, meditation, play, laughter, herbs — that does not always solve the problem. The real problem lies behind the tension, behind the fear. The real problem is not even the idea that something is fearful. The real problem is that you feel helpless. When this problem of helplessness is solved, the fear disappears… and a huge amount of tension disappears. Fundamentally, what I’m really talking about is confidence, a kind of core confidence. There is no quick and easy fix I know of that will produce this kind of confidence. It takes internal awareness and one or more internal decisions”

Helpless. That’s a better word for what I’ve been feeling. I have a CT scan coming up. I feel well. The only side effects I have from the EGFR drug are fatigue, painful cuts on my hands, a rash that no longer hurts or burns, and some slight vision changes at times. No it isn’t brain metastasis. I refuse to believe that. Plus I haven’t had a headache in months —which I relate to my diet— because if you know me, I used to have a headache at least twice a week.

But I still can only control very little in the grand scheme of things. I have to rely on faith that my body can and will do what it is designed to do, which is fight disease. I am giving it the fuel it needs to do this, and I am giving myself mistletoe injections to boost the “Killer Healing T-Cells” that kill heal cancer; however, there is still no way for me to know if anything I am doing is working. My cancer markers show no cancer, never have. My blood work, minus the glucose, is perfect or near perfect, and I have no pain. My liver levels are especially positive as they’re perfectly healthy since stopping chemo. My docs tell me my blood work, lack of pain and good attitude show I’m the picture of health.

But that doesn’t mean my body is actually fighting cancer. The immune system, when weakened, tends to overlook cancer cells, which is what makes cancer so hard to fight. What will show I’m fighting cancer is the dreaded CT scan.

I think my fear/helplessness is from scanxiety. Heather and I lately have a new saying, “Keep Moving Forward”. We are using it more often and we relate it to this whole journey we are on, especially the CT scan. I was hesitant to do one in December because I already knew what it would show. It would show cancer in my liver. I was only 2 months out from my scan in October and I had stopped the toxic drug what was doing what it was designed to do, shrink the tumors. The scan would have just given the intake CTCA oncologist who told me I was “going to die” more fuel to tell me I was killing myself. I didn’t need that then.

But I need to know now. I keep saying the scan changes nothing. And I truly believe that. HOWEVER, if the scan is bad and it shows a progression or spread of cancer to other organs, something does indeed change.

My faith. In myself. In this marvelous body. In God. In my integrative protocol.

I’m not on this alternative/integrative path because I hate doctors. I’m not on this path because I have the strongest faith in the world, or because I think I’m smarter than anyone. In fact, as the saying goes, my faith is, at times, smaller than the smallest mustard seed. I’m on this path because the research that is out there to all the masses shows that treatment of late stage colon cancer with chemotherapy does not work. In fact, this Washington Post article says it all.

“The efficacy of cancer drugs is beyond the FDA’s control, and no one doubts it would approve transformative drugs or drug combinations if they appeared. In fact, the FDA has already shown that it is willing to approve nearly any cancer drug that comes before it. A study of 71 drugs approved for solid tumors from 2002 through 2014 showed that the median improvement in survival times was just 2.1 months. If we are going to make real progress against cancer, we must acknowledge that such marginal gains — achieved at the price of substantial cost and toxicity — are just not good enough. We must also acknowledge that no matter what we do with the FDA, it can’t produce better medicines.”

2.1 months. That’s the progress the cancer industry has made in the last decade. Disgusting.

I’m on this path because I have strong reasons to want to stay alive. I endlessly research. I know more about colon cancer than I do about javascript and css now. I talk to my oncologists using the same big words they use and talk about new studies with them. I’m not saying I know as much as a doctor, I’m just saying I know about the new drugs and the new studies and how the body works to heal from cancer. I know colon cancer immunotherapy trials are in phase 1 and are having good success. I know that the cancer research world is hell bent on changing cancer into a “chronic” disease like diabetes through vaccines, which are also showing some success. But both those options, while promising, have their side effects too. Immunotherapy reprograms the “Healing T-Cells” to ignore biologic barriers in the body, which have led to some patients in the trials developing auto-immune disorders. With brain cancer, they are trying to break the blood/brain barrier, which is there for a very important reason, to prevent unknown substances from wrecking havoc on the mind.

It’s scary and hopeful, which is a strange place to be.

But I will continue to Keep Moving Forward because what other choice do I have?

A cancer conqueror, Glenn Sabin, had a very powerful story about his healing journey.

I was 28 years old and newly married when I was told that I had an incurable form of leukemia that typically strikes people in their seventies. The choices offered were either an experimental bone marrow transplant or “watchful waiting” — essentially waiting for the disease to make the first move. I loved life so much that, for literally two decades, I painstakingly looked for answers on how to best position my body and mind to heal. I have followed a rigourous, evidence-based, integrative oncology protocol for years, including exercise, supplements, diet, mind-body exercises, and more—and it has resulted in a complete remission. Throughout all of this, I have come to believe that the brain is the most powerful and least understood organ in the human body. I believe it runs the entire human machine and that its innate healing capacity is enormous. The healing of any disease starts with a calm, unfettered mind and a strong desire to live.

Glenn is in medical journals and had his case documented by oncologists at the Cancer Institute in Boston and by his oncologist at Harvard Medical School. They have no reasons how or why he beat his incurable cancer other than he is one of the many Radical Remission cases that exist.

This African healer also believes the mind is the “primary shaper in the health of the physical body.”

“I’ve seen that my conventional medicine colleagues sometimes fail to cure their patients, and with that kind of patient, the doctors are telling them that they’re going to die. But my spirits are telling me that they’re not going to die, they’re going to live. What makes someone get better is the belief that they are going to live, to get over this problem. When you believe in something in your brain, your whole body accepts that, and then you pour through your problem. But when your brain does not accept you are going to overcome this, then you are definitely dying.”

“It’s the strength of the belief of somebody that makes them get better.

I saw a video by a well known chiropractor, Dr Charles Major, that said something that stuck with me. I can’t find the video right now, but I will post it if I do. He beat cancer naturally himself and now uses his knowledge to help other cancer patients. His quote to one of his patients during an office visit went something like this.

If you get a paper cut, are you scared it won’t heal? Or do you believe that the body will heal that cut? The same system that heals your body of that paper cut can heal cancer as well

It’s a powerful statement. It’s hard to have faith in our bodies to heal from disease, especially diseases that can result in death, but the very first step towards healing is trusting that the body works as it should.

I do believe I can overcome this disease. I do believe I can heal. I do believe the body is designed to fight cancer. I also believe the body is designed to get sick and get stronger. I think we too often as a society ignore this fact. Say it with me, WE ARE MEANT TO GET SICK. The body needs disease to get stronger. We ignore the symptoms of disease. We want the quick fix to feel better and get back to our comfortable lives. The fact is, when we prevent our immune system from getting a fever, or chickenpox, or the seasonal flu, we set do our body a disservice. Just like a weightlifter needs to tear his muscles in order for them to get bigger and stronger, the immune system needs to learn how to fight disease to get stronger as well. The human body is the most complex machine ever created or imagined and we are barely scratching the surface of it’s potential because we constantly hold it back.

Why is cancer now a 1 in 2 chance for men and a 1 in 3 chance for women to get in their lifetimes? Why is the immune system failing to fight it? Is it because it is no longer strong enough to fight it? Can I make mine strong enough again to heal from cancer? I truly don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I just try to reason through the research as best I can.

But I do know one thing… I have that innate core confidence that healing is possible from stage 4 cancer. I don’t always know how I’m going to get to that point and how I’ll find or afford the possible other treatments I’ll need, but I try not to worry about the things I can’t control. We’ve made it this far… and we’ll make it farther.

Healing starts with your mindset and regardless of the outcome of my scan, I’ll keep moving forward.