James Neal Treadwell
Lieutenant Colonel USMC (ret.)
In early March 2004, I started getting headaches. They slowly got worse. My Primary Care Physician was out of town so I went to his partner twice. He decided it was the diet that I was following. The headaches continued to get worse and my wife mentioned that I also seemed to be depressed. In April the headaches were very painful and I was having trouble with simple Excel spreadsheets. I went to see my Doctor and the resulting Cat Scans and X-rays revealed a growth in my brain. I was admitted to the San Diego Naval Medical Center and a craniotomy was performed on 27 April, 2004.
The surgery results showed that I had a GBM brain tumor (Glio Blastoma Multiforme Stage IV). The Doctor advised me I had 3-6 months to live.
The post surgery MRI follow up revealed that there was still part of the GBM remaining. A second craniotomy was performed on 26 May. I then started approximately six weeks of radiation and chemo treatments. At the end of the radiation treatment another MRI was conducted. I was advised that a second GBM tumor had grown IN SPITE of the radiation and chemo.
I was referred by the Navy Medical System to UCLA and a brain tumor specialist. This doctor recommended several new clinical studies that they were conducting. My wife and family were researching other options and found The Burzynski Clinic. None of the other clinical trials that we reviewed showed the success of Dr. Burzynski’s many years of research. We chose to go with the Burzynski Clinic against the recommendations of all our physicians. I must point out here that there were a number of success stories on the Burzynski website, but no one with whom we could actually have a conversation that had gone through the treatment.
Due to the fact that the tumor was growing so quickly, we were racing against time. We traveled to The Burzynski Clinic and walked in not knowing very much about the actual process and treatment. But absolutely everyone that we met or interacted with at the clinic was fantastic and very professional. They made us feel at ease and answered our questions. The process started with a very long interview because I would be participating in a FDA clinical trial. This was good news because Dr. Burzynski was listed under Quack Watch on the internet at that time and we were somewhat concerned with the quality and reliability of the treatments.
A prospective patient needs to know that the treatment is a 24 hour seven day a week process for at least six months. You MUST have a care giver who is willing to give that level of support and deal with the long term stress. My treatment lasted for 6 months. The first MRI was about one month after starting treatment and revealed a 22% reduction in the size of the tumor. Subsequent MRIs revealed a continuous decrease in size of both tumors until they were finally dead and just scar tissue. And they have remained that way!
My quality of life during the treatment went steadily down hill. When I started I was 59 years old, a former Marine and in very good physical condition. I traveled, surfed and exercised extensively. However, in three months, I became so weak that I needed a wheelchair. Also during the treatments my immune system faded rapidly and I became very susceptible to infections and other disorders such as diabetes. Some were quiet serious (life threatening) and many were just very painful. At the six month mark, my oncologist advised me that I needed to stop The Burzynski Clinic treatment or I would be dead from one of the many side effects that I was fighting. (I had been admitted to the hospital on two separate occasions at that time; once for a heart problem and once for a liver problem.)
During and after the treatment, I had the most trouble with the steroid Decadron. This medicine was critical to my treatment as it was required to keep my brain from swelling. Although it was a necessary drug, it wrecked havoc on my body and mind. Decadron caused me to go from eating voraciously, to not wanting to eat at all and then back to eating everything. I also had nightmares that were very disturbing. Decadron caused several personality changes, to include agitation, anger and it made me VERY difficult to live with. This was a major challenge to my wife (my caregiver). Slowly I was weaned off Decadron, which was a difficult, but the bloated face and body subsided and my strength came back over time.
I need to point out that we adopted several different avenues to help me recover. Of course lots of prayers from family and friends of every faith were very important. Diet was HUGELY important and we ate as much organic food as possible. My wife juiced organic vegetables and I stayed away from sugar. I had acupuncture treatments in order to help my immune system when I was physically able to get there. Dr. Burzynski’s treatment took care of the physical aspects; however, a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE (PMA) was/is critical. In my opinion, this helped me beat the GBM and the many side effects that I had to get through. On one hand, I had the numerous MRI reports showing the positive benefits that the treatment was providing and on the other, I had a Positive Mental Attitude that I could beat this GBM cancer. I also focused on the tumors disappearing by using different visualizations. I visualized myself back in the ocean and surfing whenever I became depressed and kept this goal in mind.
It has been just over six years since I was first diagnosed. I am fullyrecovered. I am back in the water relearning how to surf. I walk the dog daily, we are traveling again and life is VERY good. I owe Dr. Burzynski, his staff, and my wife, family and friends a tremendous debt of gratitude that I can never hope to repay. So if I can help you, I would appreciate that opportunity to pass on all the support that I received.
LOVE AND GRIT; Kicking Cancer Our Way
By Victoria Treadwell
"You have three, maybe six months to live,"said the neurosurgeon.
Jim and Victoria were a newly married couple; he a former U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel and avid surfer, she a devotee of meditation and personal spiritual development. Together, they were determined to beat Jim's stage IV brain cancer. Following the failure of chemotherapy and radiation, with no other viable options, they explored and ultimately embraced alternative healing methods, including the Burzynski treatment.
This is their successful journey; infused with humor, patient advocacy, thoughts on caretaking and creating one's reality. An empowering account for anyone searching for inspiration in overcoming cancer.
This remarkable book is available on amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. You may find more information at the loveandgrit.com website.