At some point in our lives, we will encounter someone who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Whether its yourself or a loved one, it will most always come as a shock with a sense of denial. It’s hard to plan, let alone think of the next step to take in this painful journey when faced with such devastating news.
In my case, when my husband was diagnosed with a mass in his brain, my first thought was that we were going to fight it and win. Cancer would not take my love away from me and I refused to accept the finality of the doctor’s words. Since all the physicians began to treat him like “Dead Man Walking” every time he came to the hospital for treatment, I couldn’t talk to the surgeon, radiologist or the oncologist about alternative methods. I didn’t understand why they even cared what we did because in their eyes he was already dead, but they would not step outside the western medicine box to help me with radical treatments. I believe it had a lot to do with big pharma and medical malpractice liability. Regardless, their resistance to go beyond protocol left me feeling very alone with nowhere to turn to for help. In addition, I hit a wall with differing drug therapies being covered under our medical insurance. If a drug is not a standard approved treatment for a particular illness, then they will not cover the cost of providing that drug to a patient. With so many gray areas regarding illness, this is a frustrating problem with our medical insurance system.
The first place I went to for more information was, yes you guessed it, the internet. Mostly, I found horror stories, but there were a few inspirational ones too, where the patient had survived the impossible, in this case Stage IV brain cancer. If they could survive it, so could my husband. I found alternative drugs like Rick Simpson Gold Marijuana paste, Curcumin, Melatonin and a host of other holistic treatments. I also found the one man that everyone goes to for advice upon diagnosis of GBM (Glioblastoma) and his name was Ben Williams. He had survived this deadly disease for over twenty years. Everyone wanted to know what he did to survive.
I promptly purchased his book and took it to the oncologist. He said we would have to follow protocol first and then he would consider trying some of the things Ben Williams discussed. In my husband’s case, we never made it that far. The treatment almost killed him before the tumor so he was never strong enough to sample the cocktails Ben Williams suggested.
However, I learned that through it all, western medicine doctors do not, by far, have all the answers. They are not God and should not be given that power, as much as they strongly suggest we blindly follow and listen to their advice. Again, not all doctors are the same. Some will help with thinking outside the box, but others will shame you for even asking. So, what is the message that I want to give regarding terminal illness? Each of us individually are the only ones really in control of our bodies. Specialists, family members, loved ones, they can only suggest what steps to take with our health. Ultimately, it is up to ourselves to do what is best and only we know within what that is.
Some may disapprove of this next statement, but I want to share what I believe to be true. There is no rhyme or reason to why some people survive terminal illness and others do not. Leading edge targeted and immunotherapies did not save my daughter from Melanoma cancer, but they have saved countless others lives. I truly believe that when our time is up, God calls us home and there is nothing we can do to stay here in our physical bodies. The ones who survive? It wasn’t their time and they must have more lessons to learn before they return to their spiritual families.
Then where do we go? Which way do we turn?
Here are some of the websites I found to answer some questions when dealing with wellness:
Inspire together we're better is a wonderful site that has specific illness chat rooms you can ask questions, read about others journeys and discover new treatment plans
Clinical Trials can save a life when there is no hope with standardized treatment plans, use this site to research hospitals in your area offering varying options:
Financial support is always a huge consideration when dealing with illness, especially cancer. Cancercare.org saved me thousands of dollars when the new year turned over and I had to fulfill my deductible again when needing chemo drugs for my husbands brain tumor. They were able to get me the prescription with no money out of my pocket.
Radical Remissions by Kelly A Turner is a book about surviving cancer against all odds. This book was my bible during my husbands illness. It gave me hope which was all I had to get me through those dark days. I highly recommend the reading as it can bring you comfort if you loved one is sick.