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.