Chapter Thirteen: The Quality of Life
In the previous chapter I talked mostly about the quantity of life (the length of life) that I was able to obtain in the cancer patient through nutritional therapy. Now I want to talk about quality of life. The next few patients that I am going to discuss have all died. However, even though they died, they were able, with the help of nutritional therapy, to have a much finer quality of life than could have been reasonably expected.
The first case I want to discuss is that of a patient I will call "Mr. R.H." I saw this 73-year-old man for the first time in November, 1981. Seven months prior to this he had been found to have cancer of the prostate. He received 35 radiation treatments. A scan done before the radiation showed no tumor activity in any of the bones. A scan done a few months after the radiation did show tumor activity in some of the bones. It was at this point that he decided to go on nutritional therapy.
In August, 1982, he began to have some pain in his left hip. Several doctors told him that they were sure that this was from the spread of his cancer and wanted to do more radiation. I suggested that he see an orthopedic surgeon and say nothing about his prostate cancer. The orthopedic surgeon found that he had a ligament strain, put him on some exercises and in a few weeks the pain was gone. In 1985 he developed some heart problems, but these were easily controlled by medication.
Mr. R.H. died in December, 1993, at the age of 85. My last contact with him was in October, 1991. At that time he was well, traveling a lot and enjoying life. So here was a man who had cancer of the prostate with metastases who not only lived 12 years, but also had at least 10 good-quality years. The American Cancer Society says the possibility of surviving five years with metastatic cancer is only about 1 out of 1,000.
The next is the story about a woman I will call "Mrs. H.R." She was 68 years old when I first saw her in July, 1977. Her history was that in 1974 she had her right breast removed because of cancer. Some radiation was done and was followed by 2 years of chemotherapy. Following the chemotherapy, her left breast was removed for "precautionary reasons." She was now beginning to develop metastatic skin lesions and wanted to go on nutritional therapy. This woman didn't feel well. She had very little energy to do anything.
Within one month she was beginning to feel better, and two months later she called me to say that she was feeling "very well." Over the next 9 years she did have some more nodules develop on the skin in the breast area. A few of them became uncomfortable and she had them surgically removed. The important thing was, that during all of this time, she felt well and lived a normal life. She lived with her son and his family. Her family was from a foreign country. Every summer during those nine years she was able to go and to spend at least two months with her family.
Sometime in 1986, someone talked her into having some radiation done on her chest wall. She never really recovered from that, went gradually downhill and died in January, 1987, at the age of 77. Shortly after that I received the following note from her son:
"I regret to inform you that my mother died on January 18, of lung and heart failure. Her lungs were completely invaded with cancer. I am convinced that the radiation therapy she had a year ago was the cause of her demise. In any case, I wish to thank you for giving her 10 years of dignified, healthy life that she would otherwise not have had."
The third case I want to talk about is that of "Mr. R.C." I first saw this 65-year-old man in November, 1976. Two months prior to this he had been found to have cancer of the prostate which had already metastasized to his right ribs. A transurethral resection had been done on the prostate gland. Neither radiation nor chemotherapy had been recommended because, he was told, the disease had already spread too far. He was put on a nutritional program.
This man was a "worrier." Every little ache or pain he got made him sure it was his cancer. It took a lot of support over several years to get him to realize that there were a number of things, other than cancer, which could cause these aches and pains. It wasn't until May, 1979, that I finally got him convinced. At that time he was having some low back pain. He was sure that this was from the spread of his cancer. He saw a good orthopedic surgeon, who did all of the tests, and found that this pain was from an old back problem (a degenerative disc). With some limitation of activity and some exercises, within one month the pain was gone. It was not until 11 years later, at the age of 76, that he began to get into serious trouble. In June, 1987, he began having a lot of pain. A bone scan at that time showed many "hot" areas. He had 10 radiation treatments in August, 1987, which relieved much of the pain but left him very weak. He died 5 months later.
Here, again, was a man with metastatic cancer. He was essentially told that there was nothing that could be done. Yes, he did die from his disease, but, in the meantime, he got 11 years of quality living.
"Mrs. A.B." was an 83-year-old woman when I first saw her in 1987. Just a few weeks earlier, she had a nodule removed from a breast which was found to be malignant. She was also found at this time to have chronic lymphatic leukemia. She did not want any radiation or chemotherapy, and I am not sure that her doctors, because of her age, were enthusiastic about using those forms of treatment.
She was placed on a nutritional program. She did very well. She had many interests and was able to pursue these with her usual vigor. She died 6 years later at the age of 89, but felt well and was active during most of that time. It is difficult to say whether she lived any longer because of her nutritional program, but there is no doubt that the quality of her life was far better than would have been expected had she done nothing at all.
"Mr. N.D." was 74 years old when I first saw him in August, 1979. One month prior to this he had been found to have cancer of the lower colon. He refused surgery because this would have necessitated a colostomy. He dreaded that idea.
He was put on a nutritional program. He did continue to have some rectal bleeding from time-to-time, but this was never a problem as far as causing anemia. He died 7 years later at the age of 81 from a heart attack.
Here, again, it is the quality of life that is so important. In this man's opinion a colostomy was a terrible thing to have. If he had a colostomy, whatever years of life he had left would have been ruined. As it was, he was able to live out the rest of his natural life with physical comfort and peace of mind.
God grant that all of us may do the same!