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Since October 2018 my sister Michelle has gone through an extreme amount of pain and heartache. Early this year she found out that she has stage 4 terminal cancer after being misdiagnosed multiple times for more than 2 months. The health system in New Zealand has put her through hell. She was told that with no treatment she would have 2-3 months to live and with chemotherapy and radiation she would have up to a year.
Michelle was never convinced with chemotherapy, so the thought of doing that was not what she wanted to do. So, she started looking into other options overseas using different methods that have less harm on the body with good results. She came across Verita Life which have clinics in Thailand, Germany and Mexico.
I recently got back from spending a month in Thailand with her in the clinic and so far, she’s had amazing results.
Whenever someone mentions an alternative to treating cancer everyone seems to freak out. In my opinion, the alternative cancer treatments that Michelle has been through shouldn’t be called alternative, weird, or however people describe it when they first hear about them. A very low percentage of cancer patients who go through chemotherapy have good long-term results.
This post is not to give you a bunch of medical facts and information though. I want to let you in on some insight about this clinic and what kind of alternative cancer treatments they have given Michelle to hopefully inspire some to think about alternative methods to treat cancer, and how getting overseas treatment might be something to investigate! This is Michelle’s story.
The timeline of Michelle’s journey
Michelle’s story is not unfamiliar unfortunately in New Zealand. News stories are coming out more and more of people being misdiagnosed and diagnosed too late. This is what my sister went through and how she came to the agreement to go to Verita instead of staying in NZ.
- Michelle found a lump on her breast and after googling she found her symptoms matched a rare type of cancer called inflammatory breast cancer
- 26th October – Her GP checked the lump on her breast and wrote down inflammatory breast cancer with a question mark on notes. She was then referred to the breast clinic who refused to see her. They said it was just an infection.
- 29th October – She had an ultrasound and was told it was 50/50 cancer or infection.
- The breast clinic had declined to see her 3 times altogether after recommendations by 3 different Dr’s in Masterton, NZ. During that time she had 2 visits to A&E Dr’s, and on one visit she was kept in hospital overnight on IV antibiotics, and still, the clinic refused to see her. Only once Masterton hospital had done the biopsy did they finally make an appointment for her to see them and she was then told by the breast surgeon on the first visit that it wasn’t cancer.
- 1st November – The hospital decided to do a biopsy to find out what was happening. She was told that there was no sign of infection, but she was inclined to think it was cancer which she thought was growing fast because there was so much fluid being created.
- 6th November – She had a chest, abdominal & pelvic\CT scan which showed a breast mass 39 x 37mm. The report said its likely breast malignancy. It also showed there were 2 small nodes in her lungs, the largest was 8mm. At the end of the notes, it said otherwise no evidence of metastatic disease.
- 12th November – The breast clinic finally agreed to see her a week later after her biopsy. The 1st words out of the mouth of the breast surgeon were ‘good news it’s not cancer’. Michelle’s breast wound had closed over and the breast surgeon decided to take the dissolvable stitches out unsuccessfully. That evening Michelle experienced severe swelling in the area of the stitches with sharp pain and was back in A&E. A fluid-filled blister developed and burst in the waiting room at A&E. After being seen by a Dr. she was told to fill out an ACC (Accident Compensation) treatment injury form to help with ongoing costs, which was eventually turned down by ACC.
- During this time there were multiple A&E visits due to pain and the wound constantly leaking vast amounts of fluid.
- 3rd December – After finally been pressed, the head breast surgeon diagnosed her as having plasma cell mastitis, an extremely rare autoimmune disease which is very hard to treat. She was put-on long-term antibiotics and was told it would be many months, maybe longer, before this issue would resolve. But she was reassured it would resolve and was again told it was not cancer.
- 5th December – Michelle was in severe pain again. She went to Drs. The wound had yet again formed a blister and she was in extreme agony. The Dr gave her morphine but wouldn’t lance the blister and instead sent her home with a needle to do it herself. As Michelle couldn’t do it herself, she went to the district nurses. The district nurse lanced it and they agreed to come reguarly to change her dressing.
- 17th December – Michelle heard about a breast surgeon, a locum (a Dr filling in while someone is away). Michelle wanted a second opinion as her breast was now entirely inflamed to over 3 times its normal size and was now purple (the pain was extreme). It was difficult to move or be driven anywhere in a car. Michelle went to see a new breast surgeon and he agreed to have a look just as a consult. As soon as he saw it, he wanted to operate that night but as Michelle had eaten, he booked it in for the next morning. After reviewing it in the morning, he said he had spoken to colleagues & done some more research and had found that surgery wasn’t going to be straight forward and had risks of recurrence.
- 21st of December – Michelle had gotten worse and was developing fevers. The Dr operated & drained it, took another biopsy and tested again for any infection.
- The pain remained extreme and the wound was leaking vast amounts of fluid.
- The week of Christmas and New Years – The surgeon left from his job and Michelle met with the next surgeon. She asked if he had any results back from the biopsy previously done and he said they were nothing different. Michelle asked if it was still PCM and he said yes.
- 11th January – Michelle went back to the surgeon because the district nurses weren’t happy with how the wound was looking. He dismissed that and sent Michelle home. She then got a phone call from him a short time later to say that he needed to see Michelle right away. He said ‘I’ve got good news, bad news and embarrassing news. The bad news is that its cancer, the good news is that we can do a mastectomy, embarrassing news is that we only just found your biopsy results today’. He explained that the results showed it was stage 3 invasive ductile carcinoma and he also thought inflammatory breast cancer.
- 14th January – Michelle went to the breast clinic and the surgeon said that it was stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma and that it was entirely treatable. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation she expected to be able to give Michelle the all clear in 5 years. The breast surgeon didn’t seem concerned about the fact it could be inflammatory breast cancer when Michelle asked. A scan was booked for the first week of Feb. Michelle asked her if it was worthwhile bringing it forward and she said no. Michelle had a feeling that she should have the scan sooner rather than later. The next morning her husband rung the hospital to see if they could move the scan forward and they said yes, as there was a Juniors Drs strike and they had space available.
- 17th January – Chris rung to see if they had the results from the scan. They said it must go through the Dr but with some persisting, they picked up a copy that night. Chris brought the results home and read them out to Michelle because she had a consultation with Dr Hossami who is the head of Integrative Oncology at Verita Life Thailand. Dr Hossami needed to know the results so that he could work out a treatment plan for Michelle and so she could book a place in the clinic.
- The results showed that the breast mass had increased by 39x37mm to 58x40mm. There were now several abnormal lymph nodes. It also said there were now also 4 lung nodes present and the original 8mm node now measured 13mm. The lung nodes had metastasized. Michelle did some Google searching and found that if inflammatory breast cancer has metastasized then it’s usually terminal.
- 18th January – Michelle had the oncologist appointment in Wellington hospital where the medical oncologist explained to her that inflammatory breast cancer is rare but extremely aggressive and fast growing & is easily spread through the blood & lymphatic systems. He also explained that once even a small metastasis had happened (like the ones in her lungs on the first scan) it means the patient is classed as stage 4 and terminal.
- 28th of January – Michelle started treatment at Verita Life in Thailand.
Verita Life Thailand
‘Integrative, Safe and Effective Treatments that help your body Fight Cancer.’
Verita Life treats the body to attack cancer from as many directions as possible. There’s a big focus on immune health as well as mindset at Verita Life.
Why Thailand? Well, New Zealand doesn’t allow most of these treatments into the country so it’s not available.
For example, one of the alternative cancer treatments is a high dose of intravenous vitamin C which helps boosts your immune system to help fight against cancer. A simple dose of high intravenous Vitamin C is available, but only a handful of Drs will prescribe and no one in her region will administer it to patients. It’s not funded and no hospital will administer or prescribe it
However, her dog was diagnosed with cancer and they gave their dog a high dose of vitamin c because of its cancer-fighting abilities. Why is this available for her dog but not for herself?
Another part of Michelle’s treatment is Medical Marijuana Oil (50/50 TCH & CBD) which is not allowed in New Zealand. This was used to treat symptoms like nausea, pain & loss of appetite but also at high enough doses it works on a therapeutic level to help treat cancers as well.
Alternative Cancer treatments that Michelle went through:
- High dose introvenous vitamin c
- Marijuana oil
- Local Hyperthermia
- Hydro sun
- NK cell therapy
- Exercise with oxygen therapy
- Dietary changes they recommend also include cutting out all processed sugars – as sugar feeds cancer, no dairy products as dairy also increases cancer growth, processed foods & alcohol, and eating organic food is also recommended.
There was also plenty of pills, potions & powders Michelle had to take 3 times per day, which were a combination of prescription medicines & herbal preparations shown to fight cancer.
The biggest chunk of the day for the cancer patients at Verita Life was the IV infusions which can take anywhere from a few hours to the entire day to complete.
Every cancer patient is different which means the clinic personalize which treatments are needed for your case. There are more alternative cancer treatments available that other patients were getting but as my sister didn’t have those I don’t want to talk about specifically as I don’t know enough about them. However, if you look at Veritas website, they go into detail about the other alternative cancer treatments here.
Results during treatment
Here are some results that Michelle has been seeing:
- The open surgical wound that she was told it would never close has almost fully healed.
- the lump on her breast has shrunk to the point that it doesn’t bother her anymore and she is no longer in constant discomfort and severe pain
- When she got to Thailand, she could hardly have the energy to walk. She came off the plane on a wheelchair as she was too weak & sick to walk further than short distances at a time. Now she is swimming almost every day. Her energy levels have risen significantly.
- Thanks to the medical marijuana that is available here in Thailand she has the appetite to eat, getting rid of her nausea, and has helped the pain subside.
- The numbers on her tumour marker tests have dropped significantly which means she is responding well to treatment. Her numbers are close to the normal range.
End Results after 6-week treatment
Michelle has just finished her 6 weeks and I’m pleased to announce that she has had some incredible end results:
- Her breast tumour has halved in size
- 2/4 lung nodes have disappeared. The two that are still present have halved in size
- The cancer is her lymph nodes has disappeared
Michelle is now on her way to success, with the Thailand Drs hoping improvements will continue to happen with an ongoing at-home treatment plan. Those results are incredible for someone who was told she only had a couple of months left.
Michelle may never be absolutely cancer-free, although she could be one day. There is also a possibility it may just go into remission and never disappear but overall, they make no guarantees and the treatments work in varying degrees for everyone. Results will be dependant on each individual and how far advanced the cancer had already progressed before treatment started. Michelle’s, however, was very advanced so there is a possibility she may never be cancer free and there is also a chance it could come back one day as inflammatory breast cancer is very aggressive and has a high recurrence rate. We are hoping for a miracle cure, but she also wanted to improve my quality of life at the very least, and that has certainly happened,
It’s such a shame that these alternative cancer treatments are not available in New Zealand and that people must travel so far to receive them.
When I was at the clinic helping Michelle there were several people from all around the world including Saudi Arabia, Australia, Doha, Malaysia, Thailand, UK and more!
The age range was vast too. From 19 to 70s, there was a huge range of different patients with different cancers at the Verita Life Thailand.
I asked on my social media if anyone had any questions about the clinic or Michelle specifically. If you do have any other questions, then make sure you comment below and I’ll add the answer to the post for you to help others who may have the same question!
What are the costs of receiving treatments?
The costs are high but I’m unable to give you an exact figure because every patient is different. No cancer is the same, not one body is the same and people react to things differently. With the consult at Verita life the Dr will go over your results and then work out a full treatment plan and then the costs come from that.
How do they measure improvement or decline?
“The measurement of improvement or decline happens as all cancer departments (conventional and alternative cancer treatments) do through scans, blood tests (tumour markers) and physical examination, if applicable.” – Answer from Verita Life Thailand
What do the marker tests measure?
“Tumour markers are substances made by cancer cells or by normal cells in response to cancer in the body.” ‘We may use these marker tests to predict the risk in certain cases, but we do not usually use them to diagnose cancer. These tests are most often done on people already diagnosed with cancer. They can help indicate if cancer has spread, whether the treatment is working, or if cancer recurs after treatment.’ – Answer from Verita Life Thailand
What kind of treatments are they offering that can/can’t be offered in NZ?
All alternative cancer treatments were not available in New Zealand with the acceptation of intravenous high dose vitamin C. This wasn’t available in my sister’s region, and it’s not part of the standard health system in NZ. This would mean that my sister would have to travel, which at that time she couldn’t do easily, and pay for it herself.
Are they involved/led any published medical research on their treatment options? If so, what were the results?
“We, Verita Life, have not published any paper or medical research on our treatments yet. However, over the past 4 years, we have been keeping records of every patient and following up with them to collect all data needed. We also have studied and compiled the scientific evidence and researches on every cancer treatment we use to prove its efficacy. We can provide these studies to the patients upon request. “ – Answer from Verita Life Thailand
Michelle, Chris (her husband) and the whole family would like to thank everyone for all the love and support you have provided us over the previous months. My (other) sister and I set up a donation page to help support Michelle and Chris. As you can imagine, this is a huge finical strain on them and the cost is still on-going as Michelle is still fighting for her life with at home treatment. If you would like to donate, then you can do below.
If you would like to contact me further about this article then you can email [email protected] or feel free to leave a comment below.