I still remember the exact day (May 18, 2007) and where I was when I heard the words, “Dad has lung cancer. It’s inoperable. It’s going to kill him.” I was at my friend Rachel’s place in the Catskills and I had called my parents to see how things went at the doctor. I knew he had a slight cough that didn’t go away for months. I knew he was having tests done to get more information about what was going on. Yes, he was a smoker, a woodworker, and metal worker. At the age of 65 his lungs had been through a lot since he began smoking when he was 10 years old.
I knew all that and still, when I heard those words, I had trouble catching my breath. I had to sit down on the nearest couch to keep myself from passing out. The world seemed to spin off its axis and I was going to be hurled into space. This is not a ride I wanted to be on.
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Dad had a heart attack on Christmas Eve when I was eight and he survived. He had colon cancer just five years before (in 2002) and survived. They removed 12 inches of his colon and said that chemo was not necessary because they’d gotten it all. I sat with him all night as he hallucinated from the IV pain medication after surgery. My sister and I took turns keeping watch. I got on my knees and I BEGGED God to please give me more time with my Dad. He’d already given us 20 years since his heart attack, but I felt like I’d missed it. Like I should have paid closer attention. I wanted him to live so I could know him better. To love him better.
His Oxygen saturation was at 80% and they were having trouble getting it any higher. My Dad’s mom was a chain smoker and was unable to come off life support after a surgery so I had a picture of what this could look like. After being hooked up to machines, her entire body filling up with fluid, sores that you could stuff yards of gauze inside of, and several Code Blues, my Dad signed the DNR. We drove 300 miles to see her one last time and he told her it was okay to go into the light. And she did. Is this what was going to happen to my Dad too?
My mom and I decided to each write him a letter and plead him to stop smoking so that he could be with us longer. He’d already had the world’s easiest detox. The smoke was cleared from his body and because he was on IV pain meds and recovering from major surgery, he didn’t even notice. The post-op pain was an effective distraction from withdrawal symptoms.
I know how intense quitting smoking can be. I only smoked for about two years, yet I managed to be up to nearly two packs per day in the end. I thought about quitting, and when I finally did it took a lot of planning and getting my mind ready for it. What I didn’t know was that I would have such a dramatic physical withdrawal. I was hacking stuff out of my lungs for at least two months. That was after only two years of smoking. Imagine what it’s like for someone that has smoked for 50 years!
We strategized that the best time to give him the letters was the night before his discharge so that he would have the night to think about it and no access to talk to us about it and get mad in front of us. My mom went home and got all of his pipes, pipe cleaners, ashtrays, matches, and tobacco out of sight. We picked him up and didn’t say a word, and he never smoked again. Every now and then he would tease that maybe he should start, but no one ever laughed and he quickly dropped it.
When my Dad was first diagnosed with lung cancer, I did a ton of research on cancer and cancer prevention. I read up on the Budwig Protocol and joined online support groups. I went to the local health food store and bought things that I’d heard might help with chemo and radiation side effects. I brought armfuls of things that I was hoping he would use to get better. I didn’t believe that this cancer was going to kill him. I thought we could find a way out of it like we had before. I prayed, I cried, I screamed. Only he wanted nothing to do with any of the remedies or information that I found. He didn’t want to eat cottage cheese and flax. He wanted cookies and sesame sticks and pop (soda to you weirdos, lol). He wanted Carvel ice cream and Little Debbies. He wanted to enjoy his food because it was all he had left to enjoy. He didn’t want to talk to a man who’d used homeopathic treatments to reverse cancers. He wanted to do chemo and radiation. I finally had to accept this and just be there to support him on his journey.
The intention of the chemo was never to save him. The intention of the chemo was to give him a better, less painful, death. The radiation was to reduce the brain tumor that developed a few months after his lung cancer diagnosis so that we wouldn’t lose him mentally before we lost him physically. He made some beautiful picture frames and furniture during his chemo. We flew across the country to see loved ones that we’d waited too long to see. We had others visit to say goodbye.
On April 12, 2008, we stood around my Dad’s bed loving him until his last breath.
Here we are over seven years after my father’s death and I’ve known waaaay too many people before and since that have had many forms of cancer. I knew two people just this year that died from pancreatic cancer. It seems that I hear of a diagnosis of someone’s loved one each month.
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. The World Health Organization has stated that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women alive today will receive a cancer diagnosis. How is it that with all the research we’ve done to cure cancer that this number is not lower or that survival rates are not more improved?
I think the answer is that it’s not a cure we should be looking for so much as prevention and reversal. All of us have cancer in us at any given time. Our immune system is designed to find abnormal cells (cancer) and stop them from multiplying. Most of the time our bodies do an admirable job at this. However, if our immune system is compromised in any way it can lessen our body’s ability to fight the good fight. Cancer takes hold and thrives.
Most of the answers are simple. I once heard that each can of sugary soda that you drink reduces your immune function by 50% for up to eight hours! Most of the answers are simple, but they are not easy to apply. Some of the answers are simple and they are easy to apply if you are willing to make some changes for your health and for your children’s health.
When cancer made a visit to my family again this past year, I started looking for answers again. This time I joined Facebook groups, I Googled, and I found The Truth About Cancer The Quest for the Cures video series. I watched all 11 episodes about why we have this epidemic and how we can make lifestyle changes to prevent and reverse cancer. The series was offered for a limited time so I stayed up late each night with my notebook and watched and learned.
I threw out my non-stick pans and plastic dishes. I started using my cast iron skillet for more than just burgers. I bought glass water bottles and stopped buying bottled water (except in a thirst emergency). I started buying more organic foods and spices. I changed my soap, laundry detergent, and cleaning agents. I started taking care of myself emotionally.
I have so many more things to work on, but this was a start! The Truth About Cancer got me to see that I can make different choices that will make a difference for my current and future health.
Ty Bollinger traveled around the world to get answers from people who are curing people from cancer and videotaped these interviews to share with the world. And guess what? They are finding cures that are not chemo, surgery and radiation. Most of these cures are not mainstream. In fact, they are often shunned as being quackery.
Starting yesterday, there is a now a new video series available: The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest. I invite you to watch it to see for yourself what you think of these brave doctors and alternative medicine practitioners that are finding answers for those willing to open their minds and live a healthy life. I’m not sure if having these videos available eight or more years ago would have made a difference in my father’s fate. I do know that all I can do now is to listen and do everything I can to apply this new knowledge to my own life and to raise my child in healthier ways than I have previously lived.
I’d venture to say that we’ve all known someone with cancer. We’ve at least known someone who knows someone. Most of us have it in our family history. There’s plenty of it in mine. Let’s start changing how we live so that we can live without cancer. Let’s give our children the gift of the first generation to see a drop in the number of cancers diagnosed instead of the steady increase we’re seeing now.
See the trailer here:
Start watching here (free for 11 days only):
This video series is important to watch because the information you hear may save your life or your loved one’s life. It may be the key to it all.