Our Team is Complete!
“How much time does Rachel have if we don’t do chemo and immune therapy?” I asked, not sure if I wanted to hear the answer.
“some patients make it as long as six months and a few even make it a year” said Dr. Chen.
*whew* What a gut punch. As Rachel squeezed my hand a little harder, I tried to process what he had just said. This definitely put a sense of urgency behind whatever we do next.
We spent half of today with the final two doctors on our roster. Dr. Nick Chen was a short, dapper man of Asian descent with a slight accent. He has a long history in traditional oncology and is one of six doctors around the world leading the way in metronomic, low-dose chemotherapy and immune supporting treatments for advanced cancer cases. He answered all the questions we had prepared ahead of time (see below for our hand-written list) and laid out a plan of attack for the next 12 weeks that should aggressively assault the tumor load while also supporting and boosting Rachel’s immune system. He shared that traditional chemotherapies for this particular diagnosis have about a 50% positive response rate where his innovative approaches have demonstrated closer to 80 or 90% positive response over the first 12 weeks. Additionally, we discussed the use of “cyber-knife” radiation (look it up, it’s pretty cool) if the six lesions in the liver were not entirely erased during this first round of treatment.
Dr. Gignac (Geen-yack) looked like a cross between Kenny Rogers and King Richard the Lionheart-the Sean Connery version. His words were encouraging, informative, and uplifting. He focuses in naturopathic complementary treatments and is in partnership with Dr. Chen. He spoke for upwards of two hours with us about the history of naturopathic oncology, the studies around the effectiveness of certain supplements and specific diets as well as answering all our random, out there, and sometimes ignorant questions.
These are the Doctors we’ve been looking for. We now have a plan of action and advisors at our back that we trust. As Rachel starts her first treatment next week, there are many unknowns for us, but Rachel has this song playing on repeat in her head “…my life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ my savior and my God…”
Dr. Gignac put it well: “Remember, you are not your body”