Chapter Eleven – the Interactive Chapter
More Essiac tea stories. If you would like to submit your story, please
Mrs. S. B. W.
Several more lumps appeared in year 2000, this time under my arm and in the groin as well as in my neck. This time I reluctantly agreed to the biopsy. The anesthetist was wonderful; the doctor was elderly and unpleasant. The resulting prognosis was poor. The cancer was already a Grade 3 lymphoma and I was given two to three years left to live. My immediate reaction was ‘I don’t care, I’m not having these people near me.’ They wanted to test my bone marrow with the intention of organizing a bone marrow transplant for the future but I refused. A friend had just died a horrible death from a failed transplant and I really didn’t fancy that. I thanked the doctors and left the hospital.
I had already become more aware of the options available with alternative medicine prior to my diagnosis and I decided to explore them in more depth. Firstly I discovered a lovely book by Jonathon Chamberlain called ‘Fighting Cancer.’ I read it from cover to cover and it gave me hope. It discussed all types of treatments including allopathic and alternative options. The book confirmed my gut reaction; don’t have radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
I started having spiritual healing and I found a nutritionist trained in oncology who advised my which vitamins I should take and how to change my diet. The first thing I gave up was dairy food and I limited wheat products and carbohydrates. I went to a talk at the local cancer help centre where a visiting nutritionist suggested other remedies worth trying, one of which was Essiac. She explained that the tea could be obtained from a variety of sources, some better than others. I looked around for the best source I could find and have been taking the tea since late 2000.
I found the preparation a bit daunting at first but a friend offered to come round every time I made it up, just for the moral support as much as anything and so that I couldn’t find any excuses for not bothering to do it. From time to time I have dabbled in other ‘cures’ but I attribute my ‘survival’ to the combination of my dietary changes, four-herb Essiac + Essiac ‘Gold’ (since August 2005) which seems to reduce the size of the lumps in my neck and spiritual healing.
I had one blip during the spring and summer of last year, 2005, when the lumps around the uterus were making my monthly periods unstoppable. In spite of regular blood transfusions, I was becoming very anemic and was threatened with the local hospice; I was quite literally bleeding to death. I was put into a lymphoma ward in the hospital where no one was interested in anything else but my cancer; they weren’t interested in my hormone levels. They offered me radiotherapy to the uterus but the side effects were going to be awful, so I said no.
Right from the beginning I had been interested in maintaining my quality of life and I wasn’t going to put myself through unnecessary discomfort and pain. I asked a very nice woman doctor if she had any other ideas. In passing she mentioned Norethisterone, a ‘progesterone only’ drug that they sometimes gave to people stop the bleeding. I wrote down the name and asked my local doctor for it when I got home. The bleeding stopped almost overnight and I have had no problems since.
I don’t have check-ups any more; I manage everything for myself. I live with my lumps, they don’t bother me and no one else notices them. I have my children and I get on with my life. I work part-time in a health food shop, I travel when I can afford to and my energy levels are fine. Cancer has given me a new kind of freedom to explore what life is really all about. I’ve learned so much about so many other things and I’ve learned to respect older, more ancient and wiser ways of living.
I had been working all my life since age fifteen and having been a great traveler I was really looking forward to retirement. However I had had some really nasty viruses during my last years of working and three months before I was due to retire I felt very unwell. I made several visits to my local doctor, I had private checkups but unfortunately it took over two years to diagnose the cancer. They do call it the silent killer.
Oddly enough, after fighting for two years I was almost relieved to know what I had to face and the medical care I received after May 1999 was excellent. I had already been taking homeopathic remedies for eighteen months before the cancer was diagnosed. I took arnica while I was in hospital for the operation and I was up and walking about long before the other women in my ward.
No one would choose to go through chemotherapy but it did work for me. My CA125 count was 4000 before the operation and after three doses of chemo it was down to 6 and has remained there ever since. I had a total of six chemotherapy treatments, taking both doses together with three weeks between each treatment session.
After I had finished the course of chemotherapy, a friend took me to the Bristol Cancer Centre in October 1999 and this is where I took control of my life again, following their dietary recommendations with the various complementary therapies available at the centre. I started taking Essiac at the same time and began combining it with the Iscador homeopathic remedy in June 2000. I have been taking them both ever since, with just a brief three-month break from the Essiac in the summer of 2004. I have been keeping to the standard four-herb formula and the standard 30ml dose daily, leaving the formulae and dosage options as a back up should my health begin to deteriorate. I take the Iscador as five drops twice daily from Monday to Friday with the weekend off from treatment.
So many people want to have everything done for them and they only start looking for alternative treatment when the regular options run out. They can’t be bothered to make the Essiac for themselves until they are at death’s door and then of course it is too late. I was one of a group of four women with ovarian cancer when I started out and now I am the only one left alive.
I attribute my recovery to a mixture of Essiac, Iscador and being willing to make the effort to look after myself. I enjoy my life. I make sure I get out of the house every day, whatever the weather, even if I only have contact with people in the shops. I have my garden to take care of, I go to seminars and antique fairs, I do a lot of charity work and I’m a regular at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, visiting once a week for lunch and complementary treatment.
I have been discharged from the hospital and on my penultimate visit, I was told by the surgeon that when I was operated on they had given me only a 5% chance of survival. It took me a few years to pick up after the operation and the chemotherapy treatment and I still have occasional ‘pyjama’ days but overall I am well, alive and still in touch with this wonderful world.
By the beginning of November 1999 I was in a lot of pain, especially after a full day working on my fishing boat and lifting the nets and the weights. I was having problems passing water, sometimes getting up two or three times in the night. I saw another doctor who gave me an examination and sent me for a blood test. My PSA count was 65.8 and the doctor told me ‘You’ve got the Big C. You’d better go and see a specialist.’
Within a week I had another blood test, biopsies and a bone scan. The PSA count had already increased to 68.5. The bone scan was clear but I had a large, metastasized tumour in the prostate area. Surgery was not recommended because I would only have had about 6% chance of recovery. They put me on a hormone suppressant, Casodex, one 50mg tablet a day, and gave me an appointment for two months later.
By this time I was in a lot of pain. I couldn’t sit, I had to lie down all the time just to try to be comfortable. The worst thing was that I didn’t feel that I had any support. There was no one to advise me. I was just left to fend for myself.
I went out for a drive feeling terrible. I parked the car and went for a walk. When I passed a health food shop, I saw the door was open so I walked in. A man asked me if I wanted any help, I told him I had just been diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer and he recommended I try taking Essiac alongside the hormone treatment. Ten days later I was able to sit down without any pain and people didn’t even think I had cancer. I passed a dark-coloured urine for five to six weeks and pieces of creamy-greenish coloured growth from my back passage and an unusual sticky substance started coming down my nose. Within three months my PSA count was down to 7.9.
I decided to look after myself, changing my diet, giving up milk and red meat. I started buying all organic food, I don’t smoke or drink and I gave up using the microwave. I had been introduced to Mali Klein in April 2000 and she taught me how to grow and prepare the herbs. I stopped buying the Essiac product from the health shop because it was too expensive and started making up my own.
At the same time I started using diluted Sheep Sorrel Solution as an enema twice a week. At first the enemas made my back passage feel sore so I stopped using them for a couple of weeks and then started again. This time I found I was getting a lot of heat right up my back to my neck after using the enema. I had always had a lot of pain in my back and neck and blinding headaches but not any more. I had suffered with haemorrhoids since I was a teenager and they vanished as well. I used to have a sensitive stomach, unable to eat very spicy food and not many vegetables. After starting the Essiac therapy I found I could eat just about anything with no bad effects. When I wore the skin off my knee one time under my oilskins out at sea, I soaked a piece of Kleenex in Sheep Sorrel Solution and held it against the wound twice a day for two days and the skin healed completely.
When I saw the cancer specialist again in June 2000 he told me the prostate
was back to normal and there was no sign of the tumour on the scans. My
PSA count was down to 2.8. And that’s when all the trouble started
because the oncologist wanted me to have thirty-two radiotherapy treatments.
Now I was worried about this because I had heard of other people having
a really bad time after radiotherapy. It might have helped the cancer
but it messed up everything else and I didn’t want that. The specialist
wasn’t a happy man when I refused the treatment; he told me I wouldn’t
be given the chance to have radiotherapy again. My local doctor talked
him into putting me back on the list but I had already decided not to
have radiotherapy unless my PSA count started going up again and there
was no alternative. I continued with the hormone treatment, changing to
one Zoladex injection once every three months in the spring of 2001.
I vary the treatment by alternating the four-herb tea with ‘Essiac Gold’. I vary the dose by taking a 30ml dose once daily at night for three weeks of every month and taking the same dose night and morning during the fourth week. When I was doing the enema treatment, I varied it over the years depending how I was feeling, occasionally using it once every third day at night for a month and then giving it a break before starting to use it again just once a week. Now I do the sublingual Sheep sorrel therapy as it’s much easier and just as effective as the enema, doing it every other day for a week and giving myself at least a fortnight off in between treatment sessions.
I feel better now than I have done for years. I can still do a full day’s work, including contract gardening work two days a week + two days active charity work as well as exercising the neighbour’s dog every morning. I drink at least two litres of filtered and oxygenated water a day and I make my own vitamin and mineral concoction out of natural products, stirring it all together with organic fruit juice and drinking it once a day, normally early afternoon. I follow a healthy diet, typically starting with organic porridge for breakfast, fruit salad and a sandwich made with yeast-free bread for lunch and fish, chicken or turkey with plenty of organic vegetables for the evening meal.
I’ve come to realize that if you want to get well you’ve got to change your ideas and your way of life. You’ve got to work hard to help yourself. Help for people with cancer is scarce and it’s a good idea to work together with other people you meet in the same situation so that you can help each other. I hope this will be encouraging for everyone who reads it.
Arthur Corney, case history by Norma Corney
The specialist we saw was an urologist. He considered biopsies unnecessarily invasive and thought they could aggravate the condition. He based his diagnosis on a comprehensive blood test (PSA 233) and an internal examination. He was also very open to the idea of using complementary therapies for cancer. Working in conjunction with our regular doctor, he started Arthur on the hormone therapy that held the PSA count to 0.9 until October 2003 when a routine test showed an increase to 159. The specialist recommended Ellagic acid as a supplement and the PSA count dropped to 64.
In February 2004 Arthur discovered three lumps in his neck. One was removed and proved to be malignant. His PSA count was 882. He continued with the hormone treatment and started having spiritual healing. The two remaining lumps disappeared. In April 2004 the oral hormone therapy was changed to Stilboestrol tablets (3mg once daily) on the advice of the specialist and the PSA count dropped to 154. We decided to stop the Ellagic acid and try Pau-pau in July.
The PSA count continued rising, to 188 in August and up to 460 by October 2004. The Stilboestrol had been increased to 5mg daily but made Arthur feel tired and unwell. He stopped taking the Pau-pau in October because it made him feel nauseous.
We were referred to an oncologist in December 2004 who ordered an immediate bone scan which showed extensive metastases all over Arthur’s body. The hormone treatment was immediately terminated and we were told that there was no possibility of a cure. Any treatment would only be palliative. We were put in touch with a Macmillan nurse (terminal cancer care nurses, UK) and offered a course of twelve doses of chemotherapy that Arthur agreed to try, as much to please the family as anything else. He tolerated the first two treatments but felt very unwell after the third and decided to stop. Our only option left was to try complementary treatment.
Our Macmillan nurse mentioned that a couple of her patients had done very well on Essiac. We started with the capsules in February 2005 and changed to making up the tea a month later as we had been told the tea might be more effective. A few days after starting the Essiac, Arthur said he felt generally better in himself. His quality of life remained good and even though he had some discomfort in his bones he continued to fell well. We met Mali on a residential course she was running in Scotland and enjoyed a magical week in the Western Isles learning a lot more about Essiac. Arthur was taking the regular four-herb remedy at this stage, 30ml in 60ml of warm water at night having done the Sheep sorrel sublingual therapy for fifteen minutes half an hour before.
We returned home from Scotland and began to experiment with the other Essiac formulae while continuing with the Sheep sorrel solution. We spent the summer redesigning the garden, Arthur doing most of the heavy work himself. We changed our eating habits reducing dairy products and red meat; we were buying organic food and I introduced a variety of vitamin and mineral supplements into Arthur’s diet including flaxseed oil, saw palmetto, Noni juice, calcium and magnesium, Vitamins C and E and selenium. He didn’t like taking tablets so we opted for Zambroza, a broad spectrum antioxidant in liquid form when it came out at the end of 2005 and cut out most of the other supplements except the vitamins C and E with selenium.
Arthur continued to feel well until December when he began to have crippling pains in his neck and tumours were discovered at the base of the skull with inflammation and swelling into the lining of the brain. He was given a short course of radiotherapy to the head and neck. He continued with the Essiac therapy, just using the Burdock tea combinations during the radiation and had no side effects from the treatment. Increasing the Sheep sorrel sublingual therapy to thirty minutes three times weekly proved more effective in that he had more pronounced ‘positive’ side effects- sweating, smelly diarrhoea and sometimes frothy urine. Within three weeks the pain in his neck had virtually gone and the swelling was reduced to near normal by mid-February. The oncologist said several times that he was delighted and amazed at how well Arthur had done.
He continued with the Essiac but unfortunately nearly four years of hormone treatment had caused osteoporosis and Arthur developed breathing difficulties as a result of his increasingly bent posture. He was admitted to a local hospice in the middle of August 2006 for ten days to ‘fine tune’ the pain medication and start oxygen therapy. The hospital consultant knew about Essiac and was happy to write up the doses on the drug chart.
He came home but his condition was deteriorating by the beginning of September, although he was able to go out in a wheel chair every day and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. His last night was spent listening to his favourite music and he went to bed as normal. He passed away peacefully the following morning having not spent even one whole day in bed.
I know that we did everything we could and gave it our best shot. Essiac
helped my husband to feel well and enjoy a good quality of life for most
of his last twenty months of life in spite of aggressive secondary cancers
and I would recommend it to anyone for use in palliative care.