Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Designing a new suit of armour

We decided to cancel our wonderful 1.5 years-in-the-planning cruise on the Danube River. We were supposed to leave Inuvik tomorrow. Which means we will miss the highlight of visiting with Yvonne's parents in Stuttgart. And other things, like visiting the Holocaust memorial at Dachau. Anyway, after reading the radiology report in detail, after conferring with best friends about this, as well as the oncologist's somewhat worrying call Friday afternoon, we had to make the decision. And as a dyed-in-the-wool Scot it is heartbreaking to cancel a prepaid cruise and airfare holiday.

I believe that we have begun full awareness and treatment soon enough to beat this thing. To uncloak the monster and strike it dead.

I am humbled and joyous to read all of the good wishes that have come to me from far corners of the world: from Saudi Arabia, from UK, from USA, from Vietnam, and many places in my home and native land. I am convinced that joy is a prerequisite to healing, so let God's will be done. Joy, and what happens without it, is one focus of my 2014 poetry book Pine Cones and Small Stones: Poems for Warming in a Cold Climate. I still have several copies of the book, for which the publication was generously supported by the NWT Arts Council. My dear cousin Karen in California, who succumbed to the same renal carcinoma that I have almost two months ago, designed the cover. If you drop me a line with your mailing address at david.malcolm@mcri.ca I will gladly send you a copy.

Well, time to try another phone call to Cross Cancer Institute re my first appointment for next steps. I am hopeful that new immunotherapies will boost my immune system to destroy THE THING. Also, I have a telephone consult booked with Dr Redvers about increasing Iscador strength tomorrow afternoon at 4:15.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The answer is - no! The Stage 4 Renal Carcinoma is alive

Well, where to start, I got a rude awakening this time. The CT scan last week in Yellowknife showed for the first time that three small nodules in the lower left lobe of my lungs are slowly growing; one has grown from 6mm to 8mm. Lymph nodes in my chest have grown too, whereas they had been slowly shrinking for most of the past two years, showing that my immune system is working overtime fighting something, probably cancer. Of greater worry is that cancerous activity is apparentlty happening in the posterior region of the L1 vertebra in the lumbar region of my back and also something thought to be cancer going on at the base of the spine, where I have had some osteoarthritis in the past. No pain though. Anyway, these new developments are certainly scary.

I have a HELP request in to Dr Nicole Redvers about possibly increasing my Iscador (extract from mistletoe)strength. I am now on Series 2 whereas I could upgrade to Series 3 perhaps. Everything I read about Iscador indicates it helps to shrink tumours and make them disappear.

The good news is that the cancer is moving slowly at this point and hopefully more subject to treatment. The oncologists at Cross Cancer in Edmonton are talking about using a new immunotherapy that is not drug based to target cancer cells in tumours. This new treatment has been successful in other types of cancer. This treatment may start soon.

All this in the face of a planned trip leaving this coming Wednesday the 15th for Munich, then by train to visit friends in Stuttgart, Germany, visit Dachau etc. Then to Budapest to start the Danube River cruise with 6 other Inuvikites for a week ending up at Nuremburg. Then back to Ottawa to visit Shauna and kids. We have one day in Edmonton on the way back, on December 05, where I could meet with Cross Cancer perhaps if required.

One of my books read this past summer was The Write Prescription: Telling Your Story to Live With and Beyond Illness, by Judith Hannon. She gave many writing exercises, including one where we were asked to write to describe the disease we were challenged with, give it a name, and talk to it like a living thing. So I did that with cancer, and here is the result, at least the part that is printable here!:
"Cancer, you are a sinister hide-and-seek now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t monster. You are evil incarnate. You are cold grey iron. Lurking. Hiding. In your face there is darkness and dismay. Your face has the cold grey eyes and pale bloodless skin of death. Your hair is the colour of cremation’s fire. You wear a long black cloak, perhaps to smother each victim. Neither male or female, you are outside of time and space in this universe."
I still believe that an attitude of gratitude with love and joy will help to defeat the thing. In the meantime I will continue to work on my cancer recovery book, which might help other cancer sufferers deal with their challenges. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Have I walked away from Stage 4 Kidney Cancer?

Well, it is nearly two years (23 months) since my diagnosis by Dr Adrian Fairey of Stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma, and I am feeling very well. This week is another critical one, because I go to Yellowknife for another CT scan (Tuesday, November 07) and follow-up with an oncologist from Cross Cancer Institute from Edmonton (Thursday, November 09).

If I can I will send a short follow up post from the hotel in Yellowknife on Thursday evening November 09.

I have written an outline for my cancer recovery book Waking up (nearly) dead. I believe the book is very important now. Six weeks ago I lost my dear cousin Karen from the same disease, and that has reminded me of the 8%/5year rule in the stats. Only 8% of us who have been operated on for kidney cancer will make the 5 year mark following diagnosis or operation. That is not a morbid thought, it is a very realistic one. Now this last week, I lost another dear friend, Eric H, from lung cancer. He was about 15 years younger than me, and the cancer was too advanced at diagnosis I believe for immunotherapy drugs or radiation treatment to be effective.

And why should immunotherapy not include nutritive ways of increasing immune response? Why has nearly no research money been put into the importance of nutrition, minerals like zinc that improve the health of the thymus to produce healthy T-Cells, and natural therapies like mistletoe injections, which are proven in accepted medical research to improve quality of life for some cancer sufferers who are experiencing normal chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. And my thesis is that in cases where the primary tumour(s) can be removed by surgery, Iscador injections (mistletoe from oak) can cause cancerous tumours to shrink and/or disappear. I am convinced that has happened in my case.

More news Thursday or next weekend after my CT scan and oncology consultation.

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: