Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shocking my doctor

I went to see my radiation oncologist last Friday. He wanted to check me out before they scope me on April 2nd. He walked in with his nurse and when they saw my neck and the area where I’d been radiated, they both were shocked.  They couldn't believe how good my skin looked. The nurse asked what I had done. 

Well, here it goes:  I was watching a documentary on TV about burn victims and how they are treated.  They were showing this guy who’d burned his arms in a car fire when I noticed that some of his burned skin looked like the skin on my neck. (After radiation it turns a chocolate brown color and stays that way.  I've met other neck cancer patients whose skin is still chocolate brown and very rough, two or three years after radiation.) In the documentary, nurses used a loofah-type sponge and warm water to rub off the burn victim’s dead skin off.  The brown skin was gone.

I got out of bed, got into the shower, took a soft loofah cloth and began to remove the dead skin from where I was burnt by the radiation.  I did it whenever I’d see a layer of that dark brown skin.  It hurt a little, but I took my time and got rid of all the burnt skin. Then I rubbed in this medicated ointment called Aquaphor, twice a day.

When I finished telling them what I'd done, there was silence.  Then my doctor said, “Wow, it looks great,” and the nurse smiled and nodded.

On another topic, I've been talking to a number of cancer patients and their loved ones about the treatment I've received and the fight that must be put up to beat this horrible disease-- and notice I wrote "beat" this horrible disease, not "try to beat" this horrible disease. No matter how bad you feel, never give up and never stop fighting. A positive attitude is healing. Do whatever is necessary to make yourself feel as good as you can while you're going through treatment.

I'll say it again:

Take charge of your medical path. Be proactive.

Just because they're doctors and have diplomas on their walls and wear white coats doesn't mean their diagnoses are the way you want to go.

Get other opinions.  Find your path to beating this horrible disease.
(The photo shows me getting drips of pure Vitamin C.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The only baby picture of me

Long time, no blog. Let me bring everybody up to speed:

The trismus-- that tightening of my jaw as a result of the radiation-- is gone. I just did the painful exercises and got through it. It was an unexpected and painful ordeal, complicated by thrush. To give you an idea of just how painful it was, I had to cancel my appearance at the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, where my documentary was being screened, and wrote in an email to my production partner:
“...been up since about 3:30 am. My mouth is dry to begin with because of only one saliva gland, but the thrush dries it even more so it's hard to swallow and when I sleep, my mouth and throat get so dry they stick together and it's hard to breathe. And my knees, hips, elbows and shoulder blades all feel like I've been in a street fight... But one a good note: I don't have cancer anymore!”

After the thrush set in, I called my doctor here in Los Angeles, and he immediately prescribed some drug to take five times a day for 10 days. I don't think I can take any more chemicals in my body, so I spoke to a friend of mine named Monica. She sent me to a website called Earth Clinic, which had a home remedy for thrush. I thought I had nothing to lose and might as well try it. If it didn’t work, I’d just go for the prescribed chemicals and just eat it. Well, to my surprise, it worked! And worked fast. My thrush was completely gone in a day and a half.

The remedy?

Take two tablespoons of Milk Of Magnesia
and two tablespoons of water.

Mix together.

Gargle three times a day.

That's it. My doctor here had no comment after looking in my mouth and seeing it “so clean,” as he put it. My thanks to Monica. I've stopped taking all pharmaceutical and chemical medicines except the shot from Germany that stimulates my adrenal glands.

I’ve got only two more shots to go, and than I’ll be done with chemicals and only taking holistic natural supplements.

I get scoped the first week in April. Then I'm done with treatments in the States. I have to go to Germany for about a week in April. There I'll do heat therapy, get UVB blood work and receive the usual doses of vitamin C with minerals, Vitamin D with amino acids, Vitamin B12 drips, and the rest.

I still have my good days and my bad days, but that too will end.

PS: I've gained a little weight. I now weigh 158 pounds. I'm trying to get to my original weight: 10 pounds 13 ounces.

(Above: The only baby picture of me)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Trying to find fun in the pain

My jaw is killing me. It hurts just to talk. If I don't move my mouth to much to talk it's palatable. I try to find the fun in the pain and I'm becoming a very good ventriloquist. My doctor at The Klinik emailed me to say that I’ll begin amino acids IV drip treatment next week. The drips will build up the proteins in my body which will help strengthen me while helping restore my immune system, which is totally trashed. It's funny: when I look in the mirror I have a hard time seeing the old Brett. This is what I looked like before cancer and this is what I looked like after:

I was 244 pounds before. Now I'm down to 151.

Remember: Try to find the fun in the pain.

Later today, I go to the doctor for my jaw.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A not-so-merry Trismus

Ever heard of Trismus? Me neither... not until I found out about it this week.

It's funny, if I were a doctor and about to give a patient radiation, I'd tell the patient about ALL the side effects not just the line about, “We're going to give you something and you’ll wind up with the worst sore throat you've ever had and blah, blah, blah, blah...”

Well, on Thursday the left side of my jaw bone started to get a little sore when I opened my mouth. Now, it's getting a little worse and I'm having a hard time opening my mouth wide-- like when I try to take a bite of food that I try desperately-- and need desperately-- to eat.

I’ve got radiation-induced trismus.

I had to look it up online to find out what was going on. According to the medical books and what the doctor could have warned me about to begin with, was that radiation therapy leads to trauma that requires repair. Repair results in scarring, which generates collagen, which leads to fibrosis of the connective tissue and results in the tissue tightening and stiff. These cellular and extracellular changes result in the limited jaw motion that they call “trismus.”

On a positive note, I got an e-mail from my doctor at The Klinik in Germany, saying that when I arrive there, she’ll give me medicine that the AMA hasn't approved. One is an IV drip of a medicine called Hepa-Merz, which will help heal my liver that’s been swollen from chemotherapy.

(I told her that I consider the healing of the liver to be preparing the liver for vodka. She now knows me well enough to ignore such remarks).

I'll also get a shot of Synacthen once a week -- to stimulate the adrenal glans to stimulate my appetite and help me gain weight-- and an IV drip of something called Neurium 600 injekt. This will make me feel better overall and help repair any nerve damage from the radiation.

I know two of the products work because I've already used them the last time I was at The Klinik.

Did I mention they’re not approved by the American Medical Association?

One more thing: I hope everyone is keeping up with President Obama's health care plan. In his address to Congress, he spoke of getting insurance companies to actually cover preventative medicines. Here’s a list of preventative medicines I've received from my doctors here and the ones I've received and will receive from The Klinik in Germany to prevent this cancer from returning for a third time:

(receiving now)
Blood tests
Nuprigen shots (if my white blood cell count dips too low)

(When I go to The Klinik)
Neurium 600 injekt
MPA 500mg Hexal
Derma-Recov. Growth Factor (for taste buds)

Holistic Medicines
(I've been taking some of these all through this second bout;
my American doctors would say they’re a waste of time)
Vitamin C and D with minerals IV's
(for my immune system)
Kimun (liver)
Mulgatol (vitamin B) (appetite
ICG-forte (immune system)
Boswellia (immune system)
Anti-Oxidant (immune system)
Selenium (cancer preventative)
Milk Thistle (cancer preventative)
Cats Claw (cancer preventative)
Astragalus (cancer preventative)

On The Rock Nutrition
(Men's Mix, Daily Mix and Energy
Mix in place of a multi-vitamin)
No Sugar
Low acid
High alkaline diet

Remember, as far as The AMA is concerned, after my scope shows up negative, I'm done. Then I get scoped once a month by my throat specialist and get a PT scan every three months.

Preventing the cancer from returning and rebuilding my battered system, I guess, is up to me.

Good Luck, Mr. President. This should be fun to watch.