Jodi (Gold) Fenton
Growing up I was never an athletic person. So, when I discovered road biking and racing at the age of 29, I felt as though I was living the part of my childhood that I’d missed out on the first time around. On Friday, April 28th, I had gone to get a deep tissue massage to limber up for the big race on Saturday. Right after the massage, my right leg buckled on me, and I thought to myself “Gee, that was a great massage. I’m so relaxed I can’t even walk correctly.” The next day at the race, we were all lined up at the start, the referee blew the whistle, and everyone took off. Everyone, that is, except for me. For some reason, my right leg didn’t move the pedal when my mind said it was time to race. Again, I chalked it up to having a bad day, and after already being behind the others, pulled out of the race one lap in to it.
The following week I noticed that when I walked, I would stub my toes on my right foot (I was convinced that my right leg was longer than my left), that I was dragging my right leg, and that I was having difficulty writing (I am right-handed). I attributed all of these oddities to the massage that I’d had the week before; perhaps the massage therapist had pinched a nerve and as a result, I couldn’t walk or write correctly. Still not convinced that there was really something wrong with me, I went to my Chiropractor and asked him to “fix what the massage therapist had done.” His reply was “Jodi, there’s nothing wrong with your back, you need to see a Neurologist.” That’s when the “fun” began.
I met with my Neurologist on Tuesday, May 9th and went in for an MRI Wednesday, May 10th. Later that day, my doctor called to tell me there was a lesion on my brain; it could be an infection, it could be a parasite, or it could be a brain tumor. I left work immediately, and checked in to the hospital for a series of tests and monitoring. The tests were several CAT Scans and additional MRIs to make sure there were no signs of tumors elsewhere in my body. The tests all came back negative (indicating that if it was a tumor, it was a primary brain tumor, not one that had started elsewhere and metastasized), and I was scheduled for a biopsy the morning of Monday, May 15th.
On May 15, 2000, at the age of 31, I was diagnosed with an inoperable Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a stage 3-brain tumor. My parents (from Florida) and my sister (from San Francisco) were with me that day. My first comment when I saw my father was “Ya’ know, Dad, I don’t mess around, I go straight for the big stuff. I haven’t even had a cavity before, and I get a brain tumor.” My dad chuckled, as well as he could, and replied, “You would have been better off with the cavity.” By the time I got out of the hospital on May 16th, I had appointments set up with the top local Neuroncologists and Neurosurgeons.
A friend of mine, who had unfortunately lost his wife several years earlier, told me about Dr. Burzynski. He begged me to look into Dr. Burzynski and his treatment, and if I liked what I saw, to please try that before I underwent any other treatment. My family and I did extensive research on Dr. Burzynski, including speaking with several of his patients, and meeting with Tom Elias, the author of The Burzynski Breakthrough. I liked what I read and heard. Dr. Burzynski’s treatment instinctively made sense, and there were no known side effects. Conversely, I didn’t like what I heard when I spoke with the Neuroncologists and Neurosurgeons. These doctors didn’t speak about “curing” me; rather, they talked about prolonging my life “until the next best medicine comes around.” Also, as an active 31-year old, I couldn’t imagine subjecting myself to chemotherapy, and what I’d heard of its horrible side effects.
I met with Dr. Burzynski on Monday, June 5, 2000. I was sold immediately. My father, who is a very stoic individual, noted that Dr. Burzynski “has a sparkle in his eye.” Perhaps it was that “sparkle” that convinced me I was in the right place. I started on the IV treatment June 6th, and was home in Los Angeles Monday, June 26th. I responded so well to Antineoplaston therapy, and my tumor was breaking down so rapidly, that after only two months on treatment, I was moved from the IV form of the medicine to a less-potent capsule form. The enhancing part of the tumor was gone. Also, I was back at work full time after having only taken two months off for medical leave. I was back on my bike in October 2000, albeit it a slower pace, but I was back. I couldn’t imagine I would have been able to do that had I chosen the chemotherapy route. In December 2000, I was told that all that remained of the tumor was scar tissue. This fact was validated by my local Neurologist, who, at one time was skeptical of Dr. Burzynski’s treatment, though now admits, “This treatment obviously worked for you.”
On October 31, 2001, I took my last dose of Antineoplastons. I have completed my cancer treatment. I recently had an MRI to make sure that no tumor has grown back after been off medicine for a month. Indeed, everything is still o.k., and I think I have seen the last of this cancer. I credit Dr. Burzynski with saving my life (I was given 6 – 18 months to live), and doing it in such a way that I could live and enjoy my life while undergoing treatment. I thank everyone at Dr. Burzynski’s clinic; the doctors, nurses, staff, and Dr. Burzynski himself are all very compassionate and caring individuals, who helped make the journey that much more enjoyable.
Update November 2014
My update is that it's now been 14.5 years since diagnosis and I remain cancer free and healthy! I am married and have two amazing children: a 5-year old son and 3-year old daughter :)
Update March 2009
Well…I’m thrilled to announce that Zachary Jordan Fenton was born on Feb. 28th – 5 lbs. 14 oz. and 20 in. He is such a sweet little boy and we are so grateful that he is in our lives! I had a c-section and am feeling and doing well.
Update August 2004
This past May marked the 4-year anniversary of my diagnosis, and it’s been nearly three years since I’ve been off treatment. I am ECSTATIC to report that, thanks to Dr. Burzynski and his Antineoplaston treatment, my scans continue to show only scar tissue, and that I am healthy and well.
In October 2003, I had the great honor of being selected for the 26-person Tour of Hope team to bicycle across the country with Lance Armstrong to help raise awareness for cancer research and encourage participation in clinical trials. I was the only brain cancer survivor on the team, and several of my teammates (including cancer survivors, doctors, nurses, researchers, and caregivers), were amazed that I had actually survived brain cancer. This amazement shocked me, as I had met so many other brain cancer survivors through my association with The Burzynski Clinic.