Government Reform and Oversight Committee
February 12, 1998
State Senator Ed Gochenour of Macon, Georgia
Thank you Mr. Chairman and committee members.
My name is Ed Gochenour and I am a State Senator from Georgia. I have a wife, Ginger, and we have been married 21 years. We have two boys ages eight and eleven.
I have to run every two years just as you do and on the same cycle. One week before this past election I had an incident that caused me to believe something was wrong with my health. My initial reaction was that it was stress related because it was in the final days of the campaign. I called a doctor friend of mine and she got me into see a neurologist the next day. The neurologist thought I had a mini stroke based on his examination. He sent me for some test including an MRI just to see if I had had any previous stokes. Well, the MRI came back showing a 2 inch brain tumor in the right front side of the brain.
I went to three of the best neurosurgeons in Atlanta and they seemed to contradict themselves in what the best options for treatment were for me. The last doctor was one of the best neurosurgeons at Emory University in Atlanta. This doctor suggested chemotherapy and radiation and said this might control the growth of the tumor for a while but eventually it would come back and be a lot worse and at that time we would have to see what options were available. Obviously this was not a very good option in my opinion. I decided against chemotherapy and radiation because of the toxic side affects and the increase chance of other cancers they themselves caused. A person that takes chemo and radiation is 25 times more likely to have another form of cancer than the average person.
I talked it over with my wife and we decided to look at an alternative type of treatment. I looked and studied the options for several weeks and decided that Dr. Burzynski had the cure for brain tumors.
I began treatment in the middle of December and three weeks later 50% of the tumor was gone. After five months the cancerous part of the tumor was completely gone. I have to remain on the IV part of the treatment until the end of this year and then will take the antineoplastons for several years by capsule.
After learning of alternative treatments and the problems they were having with the FDA, this past January during the Georgia General Assembly I introduced and was successful in getting passed an Access to Medical Treatment Act. The citizens of Georgia believe that patients ought to have the access to the treatment of their choice when their lives are threatened. Because I am a State Senator my name has been in many stories nationwide associated with Dr. Burzynski. This has led many potential patients to call and ask me about the treatment and for help getting into a protocol.
The most disheartening thing about the whole ordeal with the FDA is that while the FDA is allowing the antineoplastons to go through clinical trials to test their efficacy, they are making patients take treatments they do not want to take before they can become a part of a clinical trial. One reason we choose Dr. Burzynski is that his medicine is nontoxic. For the FDA to make a patient take radiation before they can become part of a clinical trial for antineoplastons is unreal.
The FDA will not allow patients that don't fit the protocols to take the antineoplastons without a fight. One gentleman from Texas had high blood pressure and because the medicine is a sodium based medicine taking the normal dose the way the protocol requires would have caused him more problems. This gentleman needed a special treatment unique to him. It took six weeks of fighting with the FDA and getting his Congressman involved before he could take the treatment.
When the FDA was created it was with good intent. The citizens of this country needed help with determining whether drugs were safe or not. But if I allowed my two boys to grow up without supervision they would become something different than they are now. They would be arrogant, belligerent, undisciplined and uncaring much like the FDA has become. I believe it is time that Congress steps in and brings some discipline to this department and restore some integrity.
Thank you for your time.