My mother-in-law has brain cancer
I’m at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center with my mother-in-law and the rest of the family. On Sunday night mama was admitted because of speech and memory loss. After an MRI that confirmed the existence of tumors (later confirmed malignant) she went through two surgeries: one to remove the operable mass (there still are inoperable masses) on Monday and a second yesterday to insert a shunt to drain fluids from her brain to her abdomen.
Of course, we are all in shock.
Brain cancer, to be specific: glioblastoma multiforme.
Glioblastoma multiforme is the most aggresive of all gliomas, a collection of tumors arising from glia or their precursors within the central nervous system. It’s the type of cancer with “fingers” or “tentacles” (which just gives me the heebie-jeebies to imagine).
According to the hospital’s cancer staff, not “good.” But I have an enormous amount of hope.
- The hospital staff has been very helpful through the week, according to my sisters-in-law. They suggest going the conventional route: radiation and chemotherapy and then using the CyberKnife System near the end, aimed at the center of larger masses. My mama’s type of cancer isn’t the ideal type of cancer for the CyberKnife System, which is why it would only be used near the end.
If, after three or four times, the cancer continues to come back after changing the dose of chemo, then the hospital staff said alternative therapies could be considered. But they sounded reluctant to suggest trying anything out of the ordinary, even then.
Going the full radiation/chemo route means mama’s life will be extended, but there is no guarantee of recovery. In fact the opposite is true: they seem to guarantee the cancer will outrun their methods. It’s just a matter of when.
- Since the hospital isn’t accurately in the know about alternative therapies, I determined to be the A.T. representative. So I’ve been researching the Burzynski Clinic in Huston, TX. Dr. Burzynski is known for his research with Antineoplastons, which act as “molecular switches to turn off cancer cells without destroying normal cells.” Dr. Burzynski works on inoperable brainstem glioma, the most challenging of all brain tumors, to prove there is a chance for survival. Watch the movie “Burzynski” on YouTube video and let me know what you think. (Unfortunately my iPod can’t play the movie on the weak hospital WiFi and this computer doesn’t have sound. I’ve watched the first fifteen minutes at the hotel this morning, though, and it looks promising.)With anything considered “alternative thereapy,” there are always nay-sayers. Dr. Burzynski’s work is criticized and rejected on QuackWatch.com as well as ScienceBlogs.com.
But, from one FDA-approved study of Ananplastic Astrocytoma patients (another glioma brain cancer): of those treated with radiation and chemotherapy 5 of 54 patients (9%) remained cancer free versus those treated only with Antineoplastons, 5 of 20 patients (25%) remained cancer free. (This is in the Burzynski movie.)
- My friend also sent me information about the Gerson Therapy via RenegadeHealth.com (which, oddly, is blocked as a “Malicious Web Site” on this hospital computer). “The Gerson Therapy is a natural treatment that activates the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself through an organic, vegetarian diet, raw juices, coffee enemas and natural supplements.”
Just from my preliminary research, this probably isn’t an option because their treatment centers are in Mexico and Hungary. But the diet might be something my sister-in-law can incorporate as Cook. (So thankful mama will have someone to be with her full time.)
What do you think? Do you have experience with brain cancer? What type? Do you have other suggestions of where to look?