As I finished the final edits to this book, the New York Times
featured an in-depth article about the failure of conventional medicine to cure more cancers.
According to the New York Times
, adjusting for the size and age of the population, cancer death rates dropped only 5 percent from 1950 to 2005.
What other technology has performed so miserably over this fifty-five year period? Would you accept a medical therapy that has not improved much since 1950?
In contrast, the death rate from heart disease dropped 64 percent in that time, and for flu and pneumonia it fell 58 percent.
The New York Times
was especially critical of expensive conventional treatments that subject patients to much mutilation and suffering, yet yield survival improvements of only a few months.
Clearly, as the Times
states, "we are not winning the war against cancer."
This book is written to show another side of cancer treatment and what you can do now to prevent getting this dreaded disease.
As a reader, you must know there are no guarantees. Cancer kills and continues to kill. Yet there are some who beat it. Some beat it with traditional methods, and some with alternative methods. No one can tell you what will work for sure. You need to gather as much information as you can and make your own decisions.
But there is hope, and this book offers new choices. It is important you know that there are more methods than traditional chemotherapy and radiation available, and these are what this book attempts to bring to you, my faithful readers. Although I have always leaned toward alternative medicine, the testimonials of the "cured" patients made a believer out of me.
It is a very brave choice to go against traditional medicine and embrace the alternative route. It's easier to try the traditional route and then, if it fails, go to the alternatives, but often it can be too late. My friend Farrah—would she have made it if she had gone alternative first? There is no way of knowing.
When you receive a cancer diagnosis, you're more vulnerable than at any other time in your life. I've personally had the experience twice, as you will read in this book, and my only hope for survival was alternatives. But that was my decision, what I thought best for me.
I cannot make up your mind for you. I can only offer you these incredible professionals who have chosen to go another way. Some are completely alternative, while some are more integrated, but all are having success, great success.
Does everyone survive, though? The sad answer is no. Having cancer is a lonely experience. It is the one time in your life that you cannot ask those closest to you, "What should I do?" It's too heavy a burden to place on another person. This is your life, your decision, and cancer kills.
Read this book carefully. See and feel if the information resonates. I know that for myself, after having interviewed all of these incredible doctors, scientists, professionals, and patients, my choice overwhelmingly would be to use only alternative treatments regardless of what kind of cancer I contracted.
I am not a doctor or a scientist, but merely a passionate layperson, a filter, a messenger. I spoke with so many patients who are living normal, happy, fulfilled lives, and their enthusiasm and great quality of life convinced me that indeed you can live with cancer. You can manage cancer. You don't have to be degraded by humiliating treatments and protocols. And in some cases, you can be cured of cancer.
It is with great humility I ask you to read these pages and then listen to your heart and choose what is best for you. Writing this book has taken away my fear of cancer. I hope reading it does the same for you.
A CANCER STORY—MINE November 2008, 4:00 a.m.
I wake up. I can’t breathe. I am choking, being
strangled to death; it feels like there are two hands around my neck
squeezing tighter and tighter. My body is covered head to toe with welts
and a horrible rash: the itching and burning is unbearable. The rash is in
my ears, in my nose, in my vagina, on the bottoms of my feet, everywhere—
under my arms, my scalp, the back of my neck. Every single inch
of my body is covered with welts except my face. I don’t know why. I
struggle to the telephone and call one of the doctors I trust. I start to tell
him what is happening, and he stops me: “You are in danger. Go to the hospital
right now.” I knew it. I could feel that my breath was running out.
No time to wait for an ambulance. We race to the emergency room. I
am gasping, begging for yet one more breath. I am suffocating. I am running
out of time. I don’t have time to think or be frightened; I can only
concentrate on getting one last breath. I am dizzy . . . the world is spinning.
Breathing is all I can think about.
We arrive. My husband has called the hospital in advance. They are
waiting for me. The emergency room workers—nurses, doctors, and other
professionals—are wonderful people. They have dealt with this before.
They are reassuring: “Okay, we’ll take care of her.”
As soon as I am in the emergency room they inject me with Decadron, a
powerful steroid. “Why can’t you breathe?” the ER doc seems to be
yelling in my ear, but I can’t answer. I am unable to get words out. They
inject me with Benadryl for the welts and the rash. Now I’m inside the
ER, but I still can’t breathe. I can’t even sit up. I am bent over trying to
find oxygen anywhere . . .
They put me on oxygen and albuterol to get me breathing, and slowly,
slowly, life returns. I am still grabbing for each breath, and there
are spasms in my lungs, like someone is turning a knob that pulls my
lungs inside out, but unlike before, the breath is there . . . labored but
“We have to do a CAT scan,” he says. I already know that there are
large amounts of radiation inherent in CAT scans, and it bothers me to
think of doing that to my body. This is the first time I have had any pharmaceutical
drugs in me in eight years.
I always say, “I am not anti-pharmaceutical, but they should be saved as
the last tool in the practitioner’s back pocket.” My life was just saved by
pharmaceuticals. Maybe this is one of those times that radiation is justified
to find out what is wrong? Because something is seriously wrong. I
am healthy. I don’t know anyone who does more for her health than I do
on a daily basis. CAT scan . . . I don’t know.
I say to the doctor, “It seems to me that I’ve either been poisoned or am
having some kind of serious allergic reaction to something. I mean,
doesn’t that make sense? The rash, the strangling, the asphyxiation.
Sounds classic, doesn’t it?”
“We don’t know. A CAT scan will tell us. I really recommend you do
this,” the doctor says. “Next time you might not be so lucky—you might
not get here in time. You were almost out.”
I know that. I could feel the life going out of me in the car ride over.
“Okay,” I answer meekly. I am concerned and wary. My husband is with
me, holding my hands, rubbing them. His face is twisted with fear, concern.
Nothing is making sense.
A week ago, I was the picture of health. I hosted a beautiful evening at
my home for all the wonderful doctors who had participated in my bestsellerBreakthrough.
It was a beautiful, warm evening, and together we all
celebrated health and wellness. The stars were out that night in full force,
and while the air was filled with the sounds of live musicians playing my
soft jazz favorites, the forty people at the table were enthusiastically conversing
about the possibilities of aging without illness; aging with bones,
brain, and health intact; dying healthy at a very old age. We were all
turned on. We had all realized it was attainable, and we were excited to
know that we had jumped on this incredible bandwagon in time.
This was an amazing group of people. These doctors were the courageous
ones who stepped out of the Western “standard of care” box to declare
that the present template of medicine is not working. Drugs are not
the answer. Drugs and chemicals are degrading the brains of our elders
and sneaking up on the unsuspecting young ones.
I looked around at this group of healthy-looking, vibrant people and
was excited to bring them all together. We were all living this new approach
to wellness. And before our delicious organic meal was served,
everyone pulled out their little bags of supplements. We all got a laugh
over that one.
It was so exciting to talk about true health enthusiastically instead of in
the hushed tones that accompany talk of a loved one in a diseased state. I
felt there always seemed to be a hopelessness that accompanied so many
of today’s approaches to health. Even when they worked, there seemed
to be an undesired reaction in the body. Somehow you weren’t the same
person anymore; you became slowed down, aging faster, fragile.
Socially, in most groups I tempered my conversations on my approach
to health because those who entrusted their lives to allopathic, “standard
of care” Western doctors might not want to entertain the idea that they
might have made the wrong choice or that their way wasn’t the best way.
I respected that. Life and health are about choices. There is the old way
and the new way, and each of us has to do what makes us most comfortable.
I chose the new way and I have never felt better, happier, more energetic,
more hormonally balanced, and more sexually vibrant in my life.
So why am I here,
in this hospital? What happened?
It’s surreal, being wheeled into the CAT scan room. I’m immediately
brought back to my radiation treatments for breast cancer years earlier. I
know I wouldn’t make that same choice today. The only health problems
I’ve had—until tonight—have been related to radiation exposure, but
thanks to the incredible doctors I had the privilege of interviewing and
knowing, I was able to rectify what had been damaged—using “nature’s
tools,” as Dr. Jonathan Wright says.
I am now dressed in a blue hospital gown, and so far I’ve been reinforced
by three rounds of oxygen and albuterol. I’m starting to feel normal
again. Drugs have been my lifesaver this time. This is what they are for.
Knowing the toxicity of all chemical drugs, I’ve already started thinking
about the supplement regime and detox treatments I’ll have when I get
out of here, to get all the residue of pharmaceuticals out of me. I’m hopeful
this will be the one and only time I have to resort to Western drugs.
“We’re going to inject you with a harmless dye,” says the radiologist. “It
will make you feel warm, and like you have to pee your pants, but the
feeling will pass. It won’t take long, maybe fifteen minutes, so just relax.”
I’m already on an IV of glucose, so she injects the dye into my IV. I immediately
feel the warmth, a rather uncomfortable warmth, and then indeed
I feel like I will pee right on the table. Click, click, click,
something mechanical that’s going wonky. Click, click, click.
again. I lie there still so they can get the best pictures.
“Okay, that’s it,” she says, then pauses. There is something in the radiologist’s
face, but I can’t pinpoint it. It lasts only a nanosecond, but there
was definitely something in her face, her tone.
“Have you had breast cancer?” she asks, seeming concerned.
“Yes,” I answer.
“Right,” she says.
I am wheeled back to the ER, and Alan and I wait. I want to get out of
here. I want to go home.
The door opens and the doctor and the nurse come in and close the
door behind them. The doctor stands and looks at me for a moment and
then says, “I have brought her with me for courage because I hate what I
have to say.” The moment feels frozen, still.
“We have very bad news,” he continued. My heart started pounding,
like it was jumping out of my chest. “You have a mass in your lung; it
looks like the cancer has metastasized to your liver. We don’t know what
is wrong with your liver, but it is so enlarged that it is filling your entire
abdomen. You have so many tumors in your chest we can’t count them,
and they all have masses in them, and you have a blood clot, and you
have pneumonia. So we are going to check you into the hospital and start
treating the blood clot because that will kill you first.”
The air has been sucked out of the room. I look at my husband’s face
and see that it is contorted with fear, pain, and confusion. My heart is
pounding so hard that for the first time in my life I say, “I . . . I think you
need to give me something to calm me down. I’m afraid I am going to
have a heart attack.”
“Absolutely,” the doctor says.
My blood pressure is at 191. I am usually 110 over 80. Pounding,
pounding, pounding. Disbelief! I look at Alan; there are no words. We
hold hands. His eyes are liquid, as are mine. What can we even say? We’ve
just been coldcocked.
Surreal again. I am being wheeled upstairs, checked into a hospital
room. There is a flurry of activity, IVs being hooked up. I hear my weak
voice asking, “What are you putting in these IVs?”
“Heparin,” a nurse says, “a blood thinner for your blood clot, and in the
other one is Levaquin, an antibiotic for your pneumonia, plus Ativan to
calm you down.” I am grateful for the Ativan. Drugs! Me, the non-drug
advocate. I’ve had so many drugs this morning, my head is spinning.
What is happening to my life? To our life?
“Call Bruce,” my son, I say to Alan, trying to keep the panic from my
voice. “He’s shooting in Atlanta; call him on his cell phone.” Then I tell
him to call Leslie, Stephen, my sister Maureen, and my brother Danny.
Both Alan and I are numb.
The oncologist comes into my room. He has the bedside manner of a
moose: no compassion, no tenderness, no cautious approach. He sits in
the chair with his arms folded defensively.
“You’ve got cancer. I just looked at your CAT scan and it’s everywhere,”
he says matter-of-factly.
“Everywhere?” I ask, stunned. “Everywhere?”
“Everywhere,” he states, like he’s telling me he got tickets to the Lakers
game. “Your lungs, your liver, tumors around your heart . . . I’ve never
seen so much cancer.”
He leaves the room and the sound of the machinery I am hooked up to
fills the silence left by the shock and awe of this death sentence I’ve just
been given. Alan lies down on the little bed with me and holds me like
he’ll never let go. There are no tears from either of us. We are too stunned
to cry. Nurses come and go, adjusting my equipment; we just continue to
hold each other for what seems like hours.
Our embrace is broken by Alan’s cell phone. It’s Bruce. “Ma . . .” His
voice is cracking. “You are the rock of this family; you are what keeps us
“I know, Bruce. I’m going to figure this out. There’s a doctor in Italy . . .”
I trail off.
Bruce’s voice is emotional. “I can’t imagine being in a world without
I have never felt so sad. I have never felt so out of control and helpless.
I am trying to be convincing, I am trying to be upbeat, but the words
aren’t coming out of me.
Caroline, my daughter-in-law, calls. Her mother died of breast cancer
when she was thirteen, then her surrogate mother (her mother’s sister)
died of ovarian cancer, and then her stepmother died of ovarian cancer.
Now me. This is just too much for her. I can hear it in her voice. I
love her; I am her earth mother in spirit, the designate for her mother.
“Bruce is flying home tonight,” she says shakily, “and we will be at the
hospital in the morning. I’ll bring you some fresh chicken soup.” That is
her way, that is how she dealt with her mother’s death; she takes charge,
she handles things. She knows soup will comfort me. The concern in her
voice is palpable. I am trying to make things okay, but they aren’t, and we
both know it. I don’t have any spark in me. I’ve just been hit by an atom
One by one my children call, then the grandchildren, telling me they
love me. That’s when I start to cry. I will never see them grow up. Will
they remember me? I love them all so much.
My stepdaughter, Leslie, doesn’t call; she just gets in her car and drives
to the hospital. She walks into the room, takes one look at her father, usually
a take-charge kind of guy, and sees that he is not able to function. He
can’t talk. Leslie and I have been through a lot, and we have come out of
it so unbelievably close, so loving, and such great friends. It is a parent/
daughter/friend/business partnership that is sacred to me.
The oncologist is just leaving the room again as Leslie arrives, and I can
tell her mood is anxious but fierce. She dislikes Dr. Oncology immediately.
She says, “What an asshole. How does he know you have cancer?
How can he be sure? You just had your stem cells banked in August with
the NeoStem company. You had to do a complete cancer workup before
they would bank your stem cells. You were clear. Your blood work was
I think. How could I have cancer?
Then the lung cancer doctor enters the room. Maybe he has better
news. But no—he says, “I just looked at your CAT scan, and you have
lung cancer that has metastasized.” He is nicer, more thoughtful. “I mean,
I’m going to think about this,” he says. “Maybe it’s something else, but
this sure doesn’t look good. I’ll be back tomorrow.” Leslie takes out pen
and paper and is making notes. She will continue to do this the entire
week, writing down everything everyone is saying. Thank God, because
when you are stunned and on medication, things get foggy.
Day one is almost over. The most shocking, devastating day of my life,
our life! I know the facts: when you have lung cancer and it has metastasized
to your liver, heart, abdomen, and all over your body, you have at
most two months—maybe only two weeks or less.
I look at Alan and the sadness is overwhelming. I am in that “valley of
fear” I have often heard about, and I see my death.
As night envelops the room, the nurse comes in and puts something
dreamy in my IV—more drugs, but I can’t resist. I want to sleep. I want
this nightmare to be over. Alan climbs into my little bed under the covers
and holds me tight. When I wake the next morning he is still holding me.
He hasn’t moved. The idea of leaving him . . . oh my God, that thought is
overwhelming. Day 2.
The morning is nurses, blood pressure, routines. They’ve done
this a thousand times before. They can’t get involved, not really. It would
make their job too difficult. Every patient has a story. Mine is no different.
Every day, people are diagnosed with cancer, bad cancer . . . this is
just another case.
I hoped in the morning we would awake to find that this is a bad
dream, but reality is all around us. Bruce, Caroline, and Leslie are sitting
vigil at the foot of my bed. The tone is shock and fear, coupled with
Leslie’s fierce insistence that this just can’t be.
Bruce holds me and cries, tells me he loves me. He holds me in a way
that speaks volumes. Touches my hand. Connecting. Showing that life is
fleeting, and that no day should be wasted. As a teenager I gave birth to
him and the connection between us has always been profound. Caroline
has me dead in her head. It is all sense memory for her. Her mother’s
breast cancer spread to her liver and she died a month later. Caroline,
hearing that I’ve cancer in my liver, knows the inevitable.
My stepson, Stephen, calls. He is awkward with emotions. It’s because
he feels it so much that he is uncomfortable with expressing it. I know
that. I hear it in his voice.
The surgeon walks into my room. “I just looked at your CAT scan, and
it’s cancer.” Again. The same doom. Each time I hear it, my soul accepts
the injury. I feel deep, profound grief and disbelief that I am being
forced to leave all those I love. So soon, so unfinished. It just doesn’t feel
Dr. Oncologist enters. “What do you want to do? We could prescribe
“Excuse me,” I say. Even in my drugged state I know this is not the answer
for me. “Just so you know, I would rather die; I would never take any
of your treatments.”
Dr. Oncologist just shrugs and leaves the room.
“Asshole,” Leslie says.
Caroline says, “What an arrogant prick!”
Being an oncologist involves constantly delivering bad news, very bad
news. Maybe Dr. Oncologist uses his arrogance to protect himself.
Caroline says, “I looked up your symptoms and it could be something
called valley fever. You get a rash, you get pneumonia. And it comes from
the top two layers of soil in the desert of the Southwest. You work in
your organic garden all the time, and you dig regularly in the ruins in
New Mexico. It makes sense.”
Dr. Lung Cancer comes in. “Could it be valley fever?” I ask him.
“Well,” he says slowly, “it could possibly be, but I doubt it. But let me
think about it. Most likely it’s not. It really looks like it’s cancer.”
That night, Alan, who still hasn’t shaved or showered, again climbs
into my little bed with me, and the nurse puts the dreamy stuff into my
IV. Alan holds me tight under the covers. The next morning, we are still
entangled in each other’s arms.
Caroline, Bruce, and Leslie are sitting there, Leslie with her notepad
and her sleeves rolled up. Caroline is angry with all the doctors. “Idiots!”
she says. “Except the internist.” We all like him. He is open. He is managing
all the doctors and reporting to me.
Dr. Internist says, “They want you to take Coumadin, a blood thinner,
for your blood clot.”
“I don’t want to take Coumadin,” I tell him. “I know that drug; it’s got
terrible side effects. I’m not going to take it. There is a natural blood thinner
called nattokinase; I’ll take that. But I won’t take Coumadin.”
Dr. Internist laughs. “Well, you know what you want.”
I tell him, “Listen, I haven’t taken a drug in nine years. I’m taking only
lifesaving drugs for the moment, just until I can figure out what I am
going to do.”
The stress is unbelievable. I feel crazy—trying to figure out if I’m going
to die soon, trying to avoid unnecessary pharmaceutical drugs, as I’m on
so many drugs already at the moment. I realize how easy it is to become
pharmaceuticalized. I am now on at least six drugs and fighting to resist
The nurse walks in. “I have your blood pressure medicines.”
“Since when have I been on blood pressure medicine?” I ask, feeling
“Oh, it’s been in your IV all along,” she says.
“Who ordered that?” I ask incredulously.
“Your doctor ordered it,” she says flatly.
“No, I don’t want blood pressure medicine.” My voice is rising, “I don’t
have high blood pressure. I am upset. I am very upset
! Wouldn’t you be?” Day 3.
Dr. Lung Cancer and Dr. Surgeon come in, along with Dr. Oncologist.
“We’ve been talking,” says Dr. Lung Cancer, “and we think you
should be biopsied. That way we can rule out anything else, and then you
can decide how you want to deal with your cancer.”
“What does a biopsy entail?” I ask.
Dr. Surgeon says, “Well, we will cut open your throat, put a tube down
your chest, and go into your lung and take a piece of tissue. And then we
will take a piece from a couple of the tumors in your chest. The complications
are that we will be working around your vocal cords, and there is
a possibility that we could damage them. So it’s up to you.”
I look at Alan. I look at Bruce, then Caroline and Leslie. Leslie says, “Do
it. Then you’ll know. I know you don’t have cancer. You are too healthy.
You do everything you are supposed to do to not get cancer. You eat organic,
you take supplements, you take antioxidants, you exercise, you
sleep. You are happy. You don’t have cancer.”
Bruce is a mess. He’s so vulnerable, and Alan is shutting down. I can
tell he is choosing to die with me if I am going to die.
“I’m going to have the surgery,” I tell everyone later that day. We all
agree that it is necessary. We need the information.
Barry Manilow walks into my hospital room. He’s my best friend.
“What is going on?” he asks, very concerned.
I tell him I’ve been diagnosed with full-body cancer but that it just
seems impossible. How could it be? He can’t believe it either. He calls me
several times that day.
That night, linked up to this IV, which I am now referring to as “my
buddy,” I am sure feeling the drugs; I get out of bed and start dancing
with my rolling IV, singing, “Wherever we go, whatever we do, we’re
gonna go through it, together.” We all crack up. It’s a needed relief from
all the doom.
My family around me, Barry calling, Alan never leaving my side, my sister,
like Bruce, telling me she can’t live in a world without me. And it hits
me. Like a loudspeaker is in my head, I hear it; so real that I look around
to see if anyone else hears it, but they can’t. It is only for me to hear. It was
an epiphany. In the face of seeing my death, while in the space of this valley
of fear, the words ring through my head: It’s not who you are, it’s not whatyou have, it’s not where you live, it’s not what you do, it’s only, only aboutwho you love, and who loves you. And the more you love, the better!
A moment of complete and utter clarity. And I know that no matter
what happens I will never be the same. I feel only gratitude that I have
such deep and profound love in my life.
Once again Alan climbs into my little bed with me; the nurse puts the
dreamy stuff in my IV. Tomorrow I will be going into surgery to find out
if I am going to live or die. Most probably die, because four doctors plus
the emergency room doctor and the radiologist have diagnosed me with
full-body cancer. Yet I feel grateful. Even in this moment when I want
more life, when I want to live with every fiber of my being, I know that
I have more love in my life than many people ever experience. And I
fall into my dreamy, drugged sleep holding my husband, who never lets
me go. Day 4.
This morning is different. Nurses very busy, lots of tests, blood
pressure, then two nurses (men) in white coats come to get me to wheel
me downstairs into surgery. I hold Alan’s hand and look at him with a
longing that hurts my heart. My aching, pained heart. The feeling is indescribable.
“I love you,” I whisper. He kisses me on my face and forehead and tells
me I will be okay.
Dr. Surgeon comes up to me right before I go out. We’re all wearing
shower caps, which makes me laugh, but I’m nervous. “Look, Doc,” I say
groggily, “I’m a songbird—I have a need to sing every day of my life.
Please, please be careful and save my vocal cords.” And then I am in
Where do we go in that space? It’s like time lost. How long am I there?
Where is “there”? But I’m waking up. I can sort of hear that Alan is talking
to me. I’m trying my best to hear, struggling. What is he saying? I’m so
“You don’t have cancer. You don’t have cancer,” he whispers to me. He
strokes my hair. I cry.
My eyes open. I can’t believe it. I don’t have cancer . . . I’m going to
I’m out of the ICU and back in my hospital room. Bruce, Leslie, and
Caroline are around me. Bruce is speechless. Caroline is simultaneously
happy and pissed off at what they put us all through, and Leslie keeps
saying, “I knew you didn’t have cancer. I knew it!”
You would think I’d be ecstatic. I want to be, but I am experiencing
post-traumatic stress, I guess. Sadness gets into your cells. My body, my
cells, accepted the death sentence of inoperable cancer as fact, and now
they are shut down. My soul has been injured.
How do you heal an injured soul? I can’t find my happiness. Yet I am
relieved. Day 5.
Dr. Oncologist comes into my room. Now, you would think
he’d say, “Well, sometimes it’s good to be wrong.” Or “Isn’t it great that
you don’t have cancer?” But no. He walks in, doesn’t sit down, just looks
at me and says angrily, “Well, you should have told me you were on
I am flabbergasted. I don’t know what to say to him; I am so stunned
by his lack of compassion that I just stare at him. I am not on steroids. I
would never take steroids. But because he is stuck in old thinking and so
out of touch with new medicine, he has no clue and doesn’t understand
cortisol replacement as part of the menopausal experience.
I don’t know where to begin with him. He’s too arrogant to listen to a
“stupid actress,” anyway. So much of his attitude with me has been the
unsaid but definite “So you think all your ‘alternatives’ are going to help
you now, missy?”
Why steroids would have anything to do with being misdiagnosed
with full-body cancer, I can’t guess. But we still don’t know what has
gone wrong in my body. We still have to find out what caused me to end
up in the ER.
I think Dr. Oncologist is embarrassed that he so horribly misdiagnosed
me. That he put me and my family through a trauma no one should have
to endure. (I hear later that my personal oncologist called him and said,
“Don’t tell her she has cancer until you do a biopsy,” and he arrogantly
replied, “Look, this is bad—the cancer is everywhere. You can’t give this
woman false hopes.”) I think for all these reasons he is embarrassed . . .
and mad. Would he rather I have cancer than be wrong?
A simple “I’m sorry” from any of the doctors would go a long way, and
would help in healing. How hard is it to make an apology? Are doctors so
concerned with lawsuits that they can’t be human anymore? What happened
to the Hippocratic oath that all doctors take: “First do no harm”?
So he has to find a reason to have made such a stupid, arrogant mistake.
Man, is he searching for something, anything. What am I going to
say to this guy? He isn’t worth it—I just want him to go, to get out of my
room. I never want to see him again. He turns abruptly and leaves.
Later that day, just as I’m beginning to see some light, hope, and a future
with my loved ones, the infectious disease doctors march into my
room, four of them, in white coats. One of them, whom we’ll nickname
“Nurse Ratched” after she leaves the room, is the head of infectious diseases
for the hospital. She says, “Now that we’ve ruled out cancer, we all
think you have a serious infectious disease.” Oh God,
I thought. It’s beginning again!
“Like what?” I ask, not sure I want to hear the answer.
“Well,” begins Nurse Ratched, “we believe you have either tuberculosis,
leprosy, or coccidiomycosis, which is valley fever, which can bring with it
meningitis and brain damage.”
Caroline jumped in. “That’s what I thought it was, valley fever. Everything
I read about it describes her symptoms.”
“Well,” says Nurse Ratched, dismissing Caroline, “it’s most likely tuberculosis.
After looking at her CAT scan, this is what we
all believe. Now,
Suzanne, I know you understand our job is to protect the community, so
we are going to move you to an isolation room so your germs cannot escape
into the hospital community.”
I am once again in shock. TB? Leprosy? Really?
My kids and Alan pack my things up; I am covered with a blanket, a
shower cap, and a face mask and wheeled upstairs to what turns out to be
a closetlike room, obviously rarely used, with a huge motor that supposedly
takes my germs out into cyberspace or somewhere.
All the nurses and doctors who come and go from my room are now
in full protective clothing, covered head to toe in what looks like beekeeper
suits. I can’t tell if they are men or women, and I feel like a living
I am contaminated.
I am a danger to the community.
When the door opens I see that a police guard has been placed outside
my room for security reasons, but I misunderstand. I think it’s to keep me
from escaping. Don’t let HER out. She will harm you.
My children are no longer allowed to be in contact with me. No visitors.
They either don’t care about Alan or realize that he will get crazy if
they try to keep him out.
That’s when I lose it. I break down in sobs. It’s all been too much. So
much stress and craziness. I sob and sob. Alan still does not leave my side.
He still has not showered or shaved, and he climbs into my little bed in
this horrible noisy room and gets under the covers with me and all my
germs to go to sleep. Another day gone. What will tomorrow bring?
By now I am beginning to be able to think. I’m still stunned, but the
fight is coming back. I e-mail a couple of the doctors I know from my
Each of them has suggestions for building
back up, for detoxing the drugs out of me, for finding natural approaches
to what is being diagnosed as either TB, valley fever, or—God of
gods!—leprosy. Just crazy!
Dr. Jonathan Wright says, “You gotta get out of there.”
“I know,” I say. “But they won’t let me go, I am evidently a threat to the
“Listen, I have your blood work from a month ago and it is all stellar.
There is no way you could have these diseases. TB would have presented
itself long before this, and leprosy is a joke. It doesn’t look like that on a
Dr. Infectious is back in my hospital room again. “I want to go home,” I
Dr. Infectious answers, “Well, that is not possible. We have to wait for
your cultures to come back.”
“How long will that take?” I ask.
“At least a couple of weeks, maybe six weeks,” she says matter-of-factly.
It’s no problem for her to have me sit idly waiting for test results.
“No, no, no!” I say loudly. I have the urge to start pounding on the bedside
table violently. “No, I am not staying here! I want to go home. I wantto go hoooome!
” I say murderously. (Shades of Shirley MacLaine in Termsof Endearment.
) “I WANT TO GO HOME. I AM GOING HOME!”
“Well . . . ,” Dr. Infectious begins anxiously. (Good,
I thought. My fight
is coming back. I think she’s nervous that I’m going to make a scene, and
I am. I’ve had it.) “I will release you, but you must sign a paper agreeing
to be quarantined to your property for six weeks. You may not go to any
public place. If you do not sign this paper, I will report you to the Department
of Health, and you do not want that publicity. You must take
the medicines for TB, leprosy, coccidiomycosis, and meningitis. We also
want you to take Coumadin and the antibiotic Levaquin for your pneumonia.
And by the way the leprosy medicine may make you sweat
Really, truly, I am a nice person, I am always polite, but I am having
thoughts of saying terrible things to her. But I don’t, can’t. She has the
power, and until I get out of here, she is the warden. I am powerless. Patients
are rendered powerless. Now I know it firsthand.
I e-mail Dr. Wright. “Sign the paper,” he says. “Tell her you’ll be a good
girl. Tell her you will take the medicines. When you get home, send me
the names of the medicines and I will research them for you.”
So four hours later I am being wheeled out of the hospital, with
$5,000 worth of medicines in my hand I know I am not going to take. (I
just look at it as my getaway money.) I am covered from head to toe to
minimize my exposure to the community, and I am put in my car.
As Alan gets into the driver’s seat, I feel exhausted. I have never been
through such a terrible ordeal—and I was an abused child! My childhood
was spent hiding and sleeping in a closet to protect us from the violence;
but never, never have I experienced anything like this.
As we drive home in the beautiful southern California sunshine, I look
around the streets of Los Angeles, knowing that the world continues on,
and I say to Alan, “I feel like we’ve both been in a terrible earthquake and
a huge building fell down on us, and at the very, very last moment, just as
we were running out of air, they were able to pull us out of the rubble. So
I am relieved to be out from under, and I am relieved to be going home,
but we were buried alive and it is going to take some time to get over the
We drive onto our property, quarantined from the outside world for
diseases no one is even sure I have. Immediately I e-mail Dr. Wright with
the names of the medicines I have been given. He shoots back an answer
within twenty minutes.
“First of all,” he says, “these drugs will kill you. Seriously, they are so
toxic to the body that I don’t know what this doctor is thinking. Second,
it is mandated by law that these drugs not be given unless there is an absolute
diagnosis, which you do not have. It is also mandated by law that
you only give these drugs one at a time, to see how the patient tolerates
them, because these are all so toxic to the liver. So I am not exaggerating
that these drugs have the potential to kill you or seriously injure and debilitate
your liver. How long did she say she wanted you to stay on these
drugs?” he asks.
“Anywhere from two to six weeks,” I answer.
“Good God,” he says. “You have to do what feels comfortable to you,
but until these cultures come back, I advise you for your health’s sake not
to take these drugs.”
As he is talking I begin dumping thousands of dollars’ worth of useless,
toxic drugs into the trash can. What a waste. What trauma. What a terrible
thing to thrust on me so she can “protect the community,” even
though she does not have a diagnosis. She would rather destroy my liver
and make me sick for life so she can write in her report that she has followed
protocol (wrongly, I will later find out). This is dangerous medicine.
And once again, I feel sure that I am experiencing my second
horrible misdiagnosis in one week. How can this be? How can this be
happening to me?
While in the hospital I kept repeating to all the doctors that I felt either
I had been poisoned or was experiencing a severe allergic attack. Just
weeks before this episode I had had my killer cells tested to measure the
strength of my immune system; I clearly remember what my doctor had
said looking at my results: “Wow, your numbers are great, they are at 43.”
I said, “I have no frame of reference.” “Well, most adults your age have immune
systems at 2 or 3, you are at 43!”
So how did I go from perfect health and a very strong immune system
to lying in a hospital bed, near death, diagnosed with full-body cancer?
No one could answer this question and none of the professionals were all
that interested in finding out. My queries were dismissed as insignificant.
Something terrible had happened to me. Something I ate or something I
breathed, or maybe it was foul play. Who knows? The whole thing was
very disturbing. All I knew was that I did not have cancer. The biopsy
confirmed this to be true. No cancer anywhere.
What if I had taken the full-body chemotherapy as suggested? I shudder
to think what might have happened to my health. It would have been
seriously degraded. How often is this happening to innocent, trusting patients?
I’ll never know what caused the attack, but I do know that being an informed
patient saved my good health. I had enough knowledge to realize
that even if the diagnosis were true, that if I did indeed have cancer
metastasized throughout my entire body, I had other options and chemical
poison was not an option for me.
If this horrible misdiagnosis could happen to me—a known health advocate,
a bestselling author of health books, and a famous person—then what
is happening to the rest of the people in this country? What happens to
the average Joe who trusts in the system, the average Joe who when diagnosed
says, “Okay, Doc, if that’s what you think, bring on the full-body
chemical poisoning. We’ll figure out how to pay for it somehow.”
I was lucky, though, because I knew something that the average Joe
doesn’t: Prior to this episode I had been keeping a file on doctors who
were curing cancer without drugs, surgery, or poisons. I never thought it
would be something I might need to access personally. In my darkest moments,
even when it all seemed hopeless, I had one little ray of light to
hold on to—that “out there” was another way. It gave me hope, and is my
reason for writing this book.
Now I want to introduce you to these healers, so if ever you find yourself
in a similar horrifying situation, you will know there are options,
choices. . . . Information is power, and being informed will always allow
you to make the best choices for yourself or your loved ones. From the Hardcover edition.