Tomorrow’s the day. The nail biting waiting is nearly over. It’s hard to tell if I’m more nervous or excited. Either way there’s enough of both feelings swirling around in my head to command my attention today. I’ve never been much of a gambler. Aside from taking chances behind the wheel or handle bars of a motorcycle, buying a few lottery tickets occasionally; gambling just doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve never dropped a penny in any casino. Upcoming treatment for my Leukemia will be the biggest gamble of my life, with my life! I will be in a clinical trial. Basically, they are experimenting with a combination of two drugs. The short term success of the drug is known, but outside of 10 or so years down the road, it’s unknown territory. The first hurdle is to get the very expensive drugs and numerous lab works, CT scans and bone marrow biopsy’s covered by insurance. Then we cross our fingers and hope no side effects bump me off the program. The side effects are the real gamble ranging from a rash to my heart exploding or my lungs swelling up and suffocating me to death (The latter being a very slim chance).
I was never a fan of Chemotherapy. It just doesn’t make sense to me to take a poison that kills everything with the hope that the good cells regrow and proliferate instead of the cancer cells. As Science has learned, Cancer cells are very resilient and quite often mutate. I have read many different statistics about the percentage of relapse or ‘new cancers’ caused by chemo and it’s staggering. Rather than suppressing the immune system (our natural protective system) and relying on drugs to fight the cancer, the approach of immunotherapy is the exact opposite.
My immune system has fought off more sickness and disease then I can every possibly imagine! Sure there has been some times where I’ve had to give it some help with antibiotics, but its success rate has been phenomenal! Somewhere along my path, I either came into contact with some cancer causing chemicals and/or had an illness that hindered my immune system from being up to its full potential and cancer got a foot hold. Poor diet and stress are also part of that cocktail. I have learned from genetic testing done on my bone marrow that I know have 3 extra chromosomes (You might say I’m a bit of an ‘overachiever’). I will never know just when and how that happened, but once my DNA was changed by the addition of these 3 extra chromosomes, my immune system became blind to the new killer blood cells that were created.
Immunotherapy is what it sounds like. My immune system has called 911 and they are going to send in some serious troops to hunt down and kill the unwanted guests. In addition to the “killers”, I will receive another drug that will boost my weakened immune system so that the attack will be from all angles with little, if any, collateral damage to the rest of my body or organs!
Chemotherapy would be like dropping a bomb on your house to get rid of a mouse problem. Yeah the mice would probably be gone, but so would your house! Chemo cripples an already compromised immune system. Your entire body is dependent upon a healthy, working immune system. When it is compromised everything begins to become unbalanced and diseases and infections can more easily infiltrate. Most people don’t die from the cancer, but rather from secondary infections arising from the cancer treatment! My brother was declared cancer free about 2 years before he died. The bone marrow transplant was successful at killing his CLL, but opened the door to a very aggressive lung infection that no one ever recovers from without a double lung transplant. He was on immune suppressing drugs until his very last day because of the Bone marrow transplant.
Immunotherapy helps to address the very reason cancer proliferated. Remove the cancer and correct the cause of the cancer and you will truly be cancer free! Think of it like your basement. If you had a leaky foundation and you installed a sump pump to remove the water, you are only addressing the resulting water and not the source. You could say you have a water problem when in reality it’s a foundation problem.
Chemo’s days are numbered. From what I am now seeing that’s available in clinical trials, the future of cancer treatments is looking very bright! Considering it takes 15-20 years to develop, test and approve a drug for standard treatment. Immunotherapy has been studied and tested for at least that long and scientists are making great discoveries! I encourage anyone with a cancer diagnosis to research these new therapy’s and also research what exactly chemo is and the success rate of Chemo on any cancer. Knowledge is power!