Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The immune system and medical Information on the Internet

It looks like we will have the privilege of staying in this very comfortable home at 34 Franklin Road in Inuvik for a long time yet. And Sandra's work is likely to keep us here for another four to five years.

A lot of this blog entry is a repeat. I have done that on purpose. When trained to do presentations I have often been told: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them!” I don’t think it is possible to repeat too often any information that may lead to cancer recovery in our human bodies.

I recently received a pdf of a research paper from a colleague showing that low dose radiation boosts the immune system. He also sent me a copy of a paper with evidence that the low dose radiation of CT scans can boost the immune system to attack cancer in our bodies. One lesson learned here, is that low dose radiation prevents and reduces cancer. Low dose radiation is a benefit. It does not, repeat NOT, cause cancer.

Boosting the immune system is so very important. I am a bit disappointed in the paper only because it does not mention any emphasis on nutrition to boost the immune system. For example, a high dose of sugar cuts down the effectiveness of the immune system for hours, making the immune system incapable of fighting cancer cells. Also, the importance of taking additional zinc for example, for thymus health, especially as we grow older, since that is where T-cells come from. And we need T-cells to attack cancer cells and tumours. As you will note from this blog, I talk a lot about nutrition and ways to keep the immune system healthy.

Although I am still considered to have Stage 4 Clear Cell Renal Carcinoma, I have not had to have radiation or chemotherapy or drug-based immunotherapy. I have a dear cousin who passed away just days ago in California, ten years younger than me, who had the same disease, but who relied only on oncologist’s recommendations of various chemotherapies and radiation. Although I still have enlarged lymph nodes, no cancerous tumours are evident anywhere. They have disappeared from my lungs and abdomen. I also have great respect for mistletoe extracts developed in Germany. I inject myself with a regimen of Iscador three times a week (from mistletoe grown on oak trees), and will for the rest of my life. My one remaining kidney is not top notch, but it is stable and keeping me healthy.

A friend in Sherwood Park, Alberta is recovering from pancreatic cancer where surgery has not been an option. The various chemotherapy and radiation approaches are complemented by several natural therapies, including mistletoe derivative injections (mistletoe grown on apple trees in this case). As the medical literature confirms, the mistletoe injections reduce the nasty side effects of the chemotherapy. His weight is now stable, and his appetite is sustained.

The main thing about using the Internet for factual and useful information of a medical treatment nature is knowing what to search for and how best to do that. There are many useful data bases, and search engines starting with Google Scholar. Medical practitioners have their own special databases. First and foremost I ask the advice of qualified medical practitioners, naturopathic doctors, and nutritionists, so that I know what to search for to give me meaningful results.

Long before my cancer operation, I owed my blood pressure lowering to my spouse Sandra’s frantic searching of the Internet to lower my blood pressure so that my left hip operation could safely take place. Sandra found a link between sugar and blood pressure. I was on two blood pressure pills prescribed by our family doctor, walking 7 km/da 6 to 7 days a week, and trying to eat more veggies and so on. But my blood pressure was still in the 170s over 100s. Oh yes, and my cholesterol was high and my cholesterol meds were not working. Three weeks after cutting all refined sugar out of my diet I was down to 140/85 or so, and my cholesterol had returned to normal. At that point I swore off blood pressure pills and cholesterol medication and put my trust in nutrition. The Internet was the source of this vital life altering information. So now to this day, after my Stage 4 renal carcinoma operation and in recovery my blood pressure is down around 118/75 with no b.p. medication at all!

Since that time, both my nutritionist and my naturopathic doctor, who have literally saved my life as a cancer survivor, agree that sugar is the primary culprit to a broad range of health problems, including of course diabetes, but also blood pressure and cancer, to name a few. Sugar feeds cancer cells, and our immune systems are knocked senseless for a few hours every time we take a major sugar hit, so during those hours, our immune system is not in any condition to search and destroy cancer cells.

The emphasis on cancer drugs is absolutely pervasive in our medical systems. The March 17 2017 issue of the international journal Science, had approximately 30 pages devoted to Frontiers in cancer therapy. Great emphasis is placed on immunotherapy from a drug-based perspective. No mention is made whatsoever to special aspects of nutrition or natural therapies to increase the effectiveness of the immune system. This is unlikely to change in the future. I cannot imagine major food companies who depend upon sugar and carbohydrate-based foods for their profits investing millions in cancer recovery.

We all need to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing, and medical practitioners, including specialists, are only part of that equation. Sometimes our very survival depends on help from outside the conventional medical system.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The "yet" factor

Here it is September 19. Two days ago, September 17, Britain was celebrating the Battle of Britain turning point of WWII, and I was celebrating my 77th Birthday. For some reason that was a momentous occasion - primarily because I AM ALIVE going on two years soon in cancer recovery.

I just finished reading a Young Adult novel by John Green, The Fault in our Stars, about a 17-year old teenager with cancer. It illustrates so well the mixed feelings, the fear, the fleeting joys, and the family during and after, when terminal cancer strikes. I cried my way through it, because, although definitely a work of fiction, it is so true to life with cancer. And it took me out of my recent complacency by reminding me of the "yet" factor.

When things are going well, and cancer seems nowhere near, it is so easy to be complacent, and forget diet, forget exercise, forget natural healing processes at work. At one point in The Fault in our Stars the oncology team reviewing Hazel's recovery process argue about next steps. One oncologist remarks, "we know from other patients that most tumors eventually evolve a way to grow in spite of [a chemotherapy drug], but if that were the case, we'd see tumor growth on the scans, which we don't see. So it's not that yet." And during my first follow-up at Cross Cancer in Edmonton about two months after the operation in December 2015, the head oncologist mused out loud that since my cancer had not grown, in fact seemed noticeably smaller, the new immunotherapy drug they were planning to prescribe for me would not be necessary yet. There it is again, the YET factor.

But the important thing about the yet factor is that it has mobilized me anew to live one day at a time and be truly thankful for the love of the One who has enabled me to experience the mystery and the miracle of cancer recovery, at least for now. And to get back on track and stop cheating by eating sugar-based food and quickly putting that out of my mind, or by overloading on chemical laden prepared foods and meats and carb-only fast foods. So it is back on track for me.

I also wanted to mention again, as I talked about in my last post, that prolonged cancer operations, where the patient nears death, but then continues in life, can alter the way the mind works. This happened to me in many ways, as I mentioned. Also, if you are interested there are two other books I will mention. There is Wondering Who You Are, a memoir by Sonya Lea that highlights the complete personality change of her husband that became almost impossible to live with, because she was faced with the thoughts and feelings of "this is not the man I married." And, then there is Anita Moorjani's memoir, Dying to be me: My journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing where Anita experienced profound changes in thought after her near death experience and cancer-free recovery and came to truly believe in the heaven of eternity.

I am truly excited to write about my joy in cancer recovery. I am spending two full days per week now as my writing goal. I want to finish my recovery book by December 6, 2017, the second anniversary of my life-threatening 6-hour kidney cancer operation where my Stage 4 Clear Cell Renal Carcinoma was confirmed.

May your week be one of joy and gratitude for each day.

Monday, 4 September 2017

A summer in my healing journey

I am a writer. So -- if I am a writer, where is the evidence? Certainly not on my blog obviously. I must try to correct that. I have had a wonderful summer. Sandra was able to take 7 weeks away from work, so we travelled far and wide - Edmonton/Sherwood Park (Alberta), North Battleford/Chuchbridge (Saskatchewan), Toronto/Ottawa (Ontario), Chicago/Seneca (Illinois), Hayward (Wisconsin). We had a very uplifting 4-day spiritual retreat near Seneca. We spent a weekend at a cabin on the lake near Hayward in Wisconsin and kid-sat two wonderful precocious 8-year old girls, Madison and Lillian. They were the Rug Rats and we Sandra and I were dubbed Tickle Monsters! Unfortunately, the photos I took on my cell are too big for me to post on this blog and I don't have any way of making them smaller. One photo shows Sandra and the two girls during our 6-mile (10km) walk with the two girls one afternoon.

My last CT scan showed no cancer, but a few lymph nodes are still enlarged, which to me means that my immune system is still fighting something at the cellular level. But my health is just fine as far as we can tell. My one kidney is doing fine.

I may have mentioned that my depression went away after my 6-hour cancer operation on that fateful day 06 December 2015. And I may have mentioned strange medium and long-range memory lapses that don't really seem to have any pattern. There are some other noticeable changes in my brain function since that op. Now, are these things all due to oxygen starvation in the brain because of the 6-hour op? Are they after-effects of the anaesthesia? Or are they psychological in nature, i.e., my upbeat determination to heal, to redeem past time lost, to find joy, to be more prayerful - spending more time in prayer and meditation, to be spiritually sound?

So here is the list of post-op behaviours that I experience:
  • sporadic memory lapses, medium to long term
  • no depression after so many years suffering from it
  • less prone to procrastination
  • less anxiety
  • fewer mood swings
  • set stronger personal boundaries, and more argumentative (in good ways, so I am told!)
I have great respect for oncologists and their knowledge of immunotherapy and radiation treatment, but I firmly believe that natural healing has its place and is often the key to survival. 

I believe that natural healing by naturopathic means and special nutrition can be most beneficial in cases like mine, where the primary tumour and source of the cancer is removed through surgery (my left kidney in my case). I don't recommend that chemo and radiation be avoided, but rather than natural healing be explored at the same time. In my case, the natural healing took over immediately after the surgery, so much so that I have never had to endure any chemo or radiation.

If any of my readers would like to contact me with questions about cancer or about any aspects of my recovery journey, please feel free to contact me by email at david.malcolm@mcri.ca or text me at 1-867-446-7017. 

Best wishes to you all this wonderful autumn.

Friday, 12 May 2017

A busy start to 2017 - working and writing

I am sorry to take so long to add to my story of recovery. I seem to be getting stronger every day, and I feel better than I have for at least 3 decades! As far as I can tell I am quite cancer free, but will get another CT scan checkup later in the summer of 2017.

During February and March I had the opportunity to do some consulting work for new local tourism businesses in Tuktoyaktuk and in Sachs Harbour. It was my first time in Sachs. March is a beautiful time of year, with the sun returning and the days lengthening at 8 minutes per day or more. I really must post some photos of the North in early spring. I will not try to add to this blog once a week or so.

The biggest news right now is that I tentatively have a writing mentor, Melissa Addey, who lives in the UK - an accomplished published writer who works through an agent. I say "tentatively" because we are trying out the mentor relationship where I send Melissa some of my writing - she reads and critiques and responds with suggestions for improvement.

Of course that news needs to be supported by the announcement that I am working on two books, one is the story of my cancer recovery journey using natural healing rather than chemotherapy and radiation (including the limitations of this approach) to bring encouragement and helpful suggestions to other cancer sufferers, and the other is a young adult novel centered here in the Arctic, with a lot of the action around Mount Thor, a mysterious mountain in Nunavut that is famous for being the highest flat vertical cliff face on the planet, 4200 feet in height. Some of my fictional story takes place underneath that mountain.

This blog entry is a short one. In the next episode I will concentrate on the research behind mistletoe extract injections such as Iscador to battle cancer. Notice I said RESEARCH. There is a lot of hype against naturopathic methods because of ignorance (and drug company lobbying of the medical profession) on the one hand, and inadequate certification requirements on the other. As explained near the beginning of this entire blog, I work with Dr Nicole Redvers in Yellowknife, who is one of the best Naturopathic Doctors on the planet. Sandra and I have trusted her, especially after she literally saved Sandra's life from severe liver problems stemming from food allergies.

I commissioned my dear cousin Aleta Karstad to paint an oak tree, with a sprig of mistletoe, and a haiku I had written about mistletoe as a healer. I have yet to figure out how to copy the photo of the painting and paste it here, but here is the haiku:

Wind and oak whisper
Cherishing the mistletoe
Mystery healer

It would mean a lot more if you could see the painting. Got it! Here it is:


Saturday, 4 February 2017

Personal attributes of healing

Once upon a wintertime! Winter indeed, warm (for the Arctic) at between -6 and -12 C day after day. But with 40 cm or so of snow here in Inuvik within the past 72 hours. And thigh high snow drifts. One local resident says she can only remember one other year when there was this much snow. And of course the winter is far from over. But the sun is coming back. The sun is now up for about 6 hours a day with long drawn colourful twilight at sunrise and sunset.

I recently received a beautiful card from a dear friend in Illinois who wanted me to share about what really keeps me well in body and spirit. And my dearest friend and spouse Sandra agrees with her! I talk about the Iscador, the turmeric/curcumin, avoiding sugar, the good nutrition - but that is only the physical part of my cancer and kidney healing. What about the personal part: attitude and emotion and belief? And the spiritual part?

Because I am a very private person, having grown up as an only child, I don't often share my inmost thoughts and cares and beliefs. Ok, here goes - !

We often read of people who recover from grave ailments simply because they believe they will recover. People in drug trials who are given a placebo rather than the real thing, but who recover simply because they believe they have received a healing treatment. This underscores the importance of attitude.

Right from the beginning, the quite miraculous discovery of my Stage 4 renal carcinoma (chest, abdomen, and lungs) at age 75, discovered only when I was sent south out of the Arctic by air ambulance with a false alarm of heart attack, made me wonder about other wondrous support. Combined with the intervention of a truly exceptionally-gifted surgeon, Dr Adrian Fairey. Why was I still alive, when the surgeon expressed surprise about that fact before the operation, because a tumour was possibly within minutes of stopping my heart?

When I awoke from the anesthetic I had two first thoughts. The first was "I'm still alive." The second was "Nothing matters but salvation" - meaning being entirely ready and willing for whatever God had planned for me. And I began to develop a very positive attitude toward post-operative healing. I knew of my cousin Aleta who had healed from leukemia many years ago with little help from the conventional medical profession. If she could do it, I could too! That was good enough reasoning for me at the beginning.

Following close on the heels of a positive attitude was joy. Joy goes far beyond mirth, happiness, peace, and comfort. It includes all these but transcends them as an integral part of spiritual well-being. I realized that, in whatever time I had left in life I needed joy. 

Those of you who know me well know that I treasure the wisdom recorded in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. I read many, many, authors and books old and new, but none have the depth of meaning contained in the Bible. I prefer the King James Version of the Bible because I love the poetic resonance of old English. 

So, getting back to joy. Every time I read Joel 1:12 I have a profound sense of wonder. After naming several fruit trees Joel says: "all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men." From this came a profound personal revelation, that JOY is necessary in order for fruit to be produced. Anything of lasting value in my life, any spiritual fruit, cannot be produced without joy being there at the beginning. So if I want the miracle of healing, I need joy, first and foremost. When I refer to spiritual fruit I simply mean what the writer Paul refers to in his letter to the Christian church in Galatia, Gal 5:22: "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance -." Spirit with a capital "S" means that I need spirit way beyond the spirit of man, I need the Spirit of God. And of course I note that joy is mentioned right after "love" as the preeminent fruit of God's Spirit.

So both in terms of natural and spiritual healing in life, I am kept by the power of God. I can't help but think of the 10th verse of chapter 35 of the book of Isaiah: "the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

In conclusion, I ask myself: what else is necessary for healing to continue? And the only answer that comes is - thankfulness - gratitude. Being thankful to God that I have been given these added days of joy. Which leads to my "new year's resolution" for 2017, that I must show my gratitude by living the last days/years of my life to be a help to others as I journey.

Finally, back to the natural side of healing, my kidney is responding, slowly but surely, to better nutrition and plenty of water in my daily diet. The eGFR rating is now between 36 on the low end and 47 on the high end, much better than a year ago, when it hovered around 32 to 35, and the corresponding creatinine number now usually falls below 150. And I feel full of energy most of the time, not lethargic and tired out. My physical strength is returning, however slowly, and working out at the gym helps, not to mention shovelling snow!! And being virtually cancer free is wonderful, with the only cautionary note being that I need to keep my two enlarged lymph nodes in my chest shrinking to normal size. For that I need to continue to keep my immune system happy and healthy every day.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Cancer recovery reaches a milestone

Great news to report. I hopped on the Boeing 737 and visited the Stanton Medical Centre in Yellowknife on January 9th for a CT Scan of both chest and abdomen to see if there was further reduction of my kidney cancer. The radiologist gave the following final comments the Scan: "there is no evidence of recurrence or metastatic disease." This is really quite amazing when I compare this radiology report with the Feb 3, 2016 report (first one after the Dec 6 op) that still showed my lungs quite riddled with cancerous and other abnormal stuff. Other notes in this most recent report showed that for the first time the two enlarged lymph nodes in my chest are shrinking, still enlarged, but smaller than they were at the last Scan in August 2016.

The visiting oncologist from the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Dr John Walker (named after the famed brand of scotch no doubt) was very pleased with the result at the consultation the next day, Tuesday January 10th, and suggested that the next scan could be deferred for a period of about 6 months. He also suggested that I should return to Edmonton for a consult with Dr Adrian Fairey, my now renowned surgeon.

On Tuesday the 17th I journeyed to Edmonton, including an airline and aircraft change in Yellowknife, for an appointment with Dr Fairey the eminent surgeon the next day, Wednesday the 18th. Dr Fairey was all smiles, said how he always looked forward to seeing me (I am one of his success stories as far as cancer surgery is concerned), and his remarks re the radiology report were: "It doesn't get better than this!" He did caution that renal carcinoma was infamous for returning aggressively at any time. I am glad he said this because my natural inclination at such good news would ordinarily be: Yay, now I can eat chocolate, and peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and mountains of pasta, and ice cream, and----   and on and on. However, I am going to continue my chosen regimen of daily doses of concentrated curcumin and Iscador injections three times a week, and the minimization of sugar and simple carbs. And also minimizing the inflammation character of wheat in favour of oats, in porridge, in home-made bread, etc.

Although there would be no need for a definite appointment in the future with the oncological  results as they are, Dr Fairy encouraged me to contact him if I noticed any significant changes. He gave me this task because in his opinion oncologists often do not recognize situations that could be better addressed by surgery than by drug or radiation-based cancer treatment. So he wants me to alert him of any new thing happening by way of cancer recurrence.

Since no cancer can now be seen - I want to keep it that way. It is hard though, because I really crave sugar and carbs from time to time. And I am sure that I will be on Iscador injections for the rest of my life. And remember that Iscador is a commercial name of a medically active ingredient of mistletoe. With a reminder mistletoe was used in ancient times as a natural healing agent (see http://www.blackhillscelticevents.org/Events/CelticMistle.htm, for example). Here is a quote from this site: "Mistletoe was known by the Celts and the Vikings as a healing plant upon which superstition and myth had bestowed miraculous healing powers."

Which leads me to my cancer recovery mantra. And that is, that God has given us bodies that have very effective immune systems to fight all manner of disease, including cancer. Therefore we should use all natural means in God's creation to encourage the T-cells in our bodies to target the destruction of cancer cells. Only if natural healing systems fail should we turn to artificial medical means for killing cancer cells such as chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation. I find it amazing that good naturopathic medicine practitioners always recommend seeking help from the medical profession, whereas medical doctors never recommend natural healing. To their credit though, oncologists now are seeking those drugs or healing agents that influence the immune system to target cancer cells, and this healing system is loosely referred to as immunotherapy. Here is a definition taken at random from the Internet: "Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses substances either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function.

Huge amounts of money are being put into immunotherapy, not only in North America, but also in China for example. Part of an extensive chapter in an AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) supplement to Science Magazine, Precision medicine in China, December 2016, is devoted to immunotherapy treatment as part of what the Chinese medical fraternity refers to as precision medicine - in this case precisely programming T-cells to target and kill cancer cells.

The western medical system is completely brainwashed by the major drug companies, in the sense that drug administration is included in their medical training, whereas natural healing mechanisms are not. I repeat, I believe that chemotherapy and radiation should only be chosen if natural healing fails. My cancer recovery is a case in point. I have not been able to find renal carcinoma just going away on its own on any of the best medical sites that I visited on the Internet in 2016, including a special site for medical practitioners that a doctor friend introduced me to by giving me his password. Neither he nor the site shall be named!!

So, why me? I believe that my great and wonderful Creator (Isaiah 9:6) has kept me alive, not to strut and keep advertising the personal miracle of recovery, but to set to work to the best of my ability to help others, in whatever ways I can. That is my new-year's resolution for 2017.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Old Year passes - here comes 2017

As I walked Sandra to work this morning, December 28, the town folk were either asleep or still away south somewhere on vacation. -29C but no wind. The town was very quiet, except for the snow crunching under my -100C snow boots. And dark, of course, but the sun is starting to come closer back up to the horizon every day.

The lack of activity in Inuvik this morning seemed to add to my sense of isolation. But isolation has its advantages. I am free to walk anywhere with minimum chance of getting hit by a bus. I can. I can dream dreams and believe they will come to pass - because there is no-one to look over my shoulder and tell me "it's impossible" or "that won't work" &c. However, the down side is the wonderful coffee shop is closed for the holidays. Would you believe it? When people are relaxing off work and have the time to meet and sit and talk and drink a mocha and eat a muffin, the darn shop is closed! Life isn't always fair!

Well, with reference to my last blog, I am back on my Asus computer after having it repaired by the one tech person in Inuvik who knows these things. I have had to send things that I filed on the old Acer from mid October to last Friday. The server I use only holds three weeks of email. I have come to rely on the old USB flash drive method to keep documents from disappearing forever from memory.

And I am back from London. Sandra and I had the best time every in London this time around. We stayed at the Commodore Hotel just north of Hyde Park. It cost about $225 per night, which is cheap in London. But we were then in walking distance from Buckingham Palace, and only a couple of hundred metres from the nearest tube (underground railway) station. We used the tube (remember: Mind the Gap) to travel a bit further to the Covent Garden market and to book stores. We haunted coffee shops and book shops. We bought a real honest-to-goodness English china teapot (NOT made in China) for our friend Louie in Inuvik, and other neat gifts for the kids.

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 reception at Buckingham Palace on December 1 certainly met our expectations. We were able to meet Princess Anne, in whose honour the reception was held. She has now been President of the Royal Commission for 10 years. She asked where we were from as she shook hands with us. "Inuvik" we replied. "Oh, I've been there," was her reply. She visited Inuvik in 1970 when she was 20 years old. Great memory. Prince Philip was in fine form for his 95 years. I am sure there will be another reception in 2026, when I will be a sprightly 86!! I can hardly wait.

Ok, I am still concerned about the cancer thing of course. My next CT scan is in Yellowknife, Friday January 6, and my visit with the visiting oncologist from Cross Cancer Institute is on Tuesday the 10th. That will mean almost 5 months since my last CT scan August 22. All I know is I feel just fine. With the reduced weight and better nutrition I do indeed feel better than I did 30 years ago. However, the nagging cough, although less prominent, is still there. And that might be a symptom of continuing cancer. Looking back, the nagging cough began during the months preceding the discovery of the already Stage 4 kidney cancer just over a year ago. Does the cough mean anything today? Nobody knows.

Another reason to go to Yellowknife next week is that daughter Lynn and hubby Derrick are moving from our house on Ragged Ass Road to Saskatoon February 1. Derrick will continue driving for Superior Propane, and Lynn plans to go back to university. Anyway that puts us into a bind regarding what to do with our house. Rent it out (and how do we find good renters)? Sell it? That will keep us busy for a few days, including packing and moving yet more stuff into storage, including our piano. Not good to put a piano into cold, dry storage, but we have no choice since we do not want to sell the piano. I will let you know how this all turns out.

I need to figure out how to post photos in this blog. When I was in Tuk in late November, I took a really neat photo from my bandb window that showed the sun skimming red along the horizon, and two pingos outlined against the sun rise/set. 

So that is all for now. I will update you, dear reader, upon return from Yellowknife on Sunday the 15th after CT scan and packing and moving stuff from house to storage.