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Attitude is Everything has always been my mantra. It seems that the more troublesome an event or challenge I've faced, my natural defense mechanism (that I attribute to my parents, siblings and friends) is to use positive thinking as the kick starter and humor as the mechanism to power through the adversity.
I found out I had small cell lung cancer two days before I was about to move to Zurich Switzerland to accept an assignment as partner in a large private equity firm there. The first two weeks were very rocky and then 180 degrees to the positive and the two ends of the spectrum are important to understand.
I will not name names to protect the guilty, but I initially had the biopsy done by a local medical group. That group, in an attempt to keep the business local, delayed telling me the results for one whole week so that I could meet with their cancer specialists. When I did meet with their specialist (and when I found out I had small cell lung cancer) the bedside manner, outlook and demeanor could not have been more negative. It was basically "what you have can't be cured".
I left that doctor's office at 2pm, with my head held high, and immediately faxed the biopsy report to MD Anderson in Houston Tx. MD Anderson called me back at 4pm and asked if I could be there at 7:30 the next morning. Of course I said yes.....went home and packed a bag and drove to the airport.
Customer service leads to positive thinking.
MD Anderson people met me at 10:30pm IN THE HOTEL and checked me in, including doing my initial blood work, right there in the hotel. When I walked into the hospital the next morning, I was already checked in and they already had my initial blood work.
Contrast that with my local provider intentionally sitting on my biopsy results for a week in hopes of retaining my business.
Contrast my two first meetings:
The first thing the oncologist at MD Anderson said to me was "Joe, We've got this....you need to think positive."
Wow....is all I could think. Already being a student of the power of positive thinking, I was amazed at the contrast between a local provider somehow thinking it was in my best interest to tell me I was going to die versus the #1 cancer center in the world telling me "no problem, we got this Joe"
From that moment on I made three promises to myself (that I can now thankfully say are promises that I've kept):
First, I promised to be absolutely positive regardless of the short term challenges I faced, and
Second, I promised to let my prayer posse take over and believe in the power of prayer, and
Third, I promised to make at least one person in the hospital laugh every day.
That was an epiphany and a great start to an amazing adventure with many lows, offset by incredible highs.
And as a businessman, I can say that many industries and businesses could learn a thing or two from the MD Anderson customer service business model. Think about it, how many businesses are there in the world where 100% of the customers fear for their lives and are in need of hope. And they've figured out a way to incorporate "hope" into a service offering. Truly amazing.
A rocky start Sept 2016
The initial plan was to start chemo and radiation simultaneously, both targeted at my left lung where a very large tumor the size of my fist was, along with cancerous lymph nodes nearby.At the end of the first week, I woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in my left side and drove myself to the MD Anderson emergency center.
After a CT scan in the emergency room, the ER doc came into my room and said "I have some bad news.....you have pneumonia", to which I replied "Thank God, I thought you were going to tell me I had Cancer"
The real problem then became a cascading effect. The pneumonia was clouding the view of the people administering the very targeted radiation and radiation was suspended until the pneumonia could clear up. There's only one serious problem with that as follows: The radiation regimen was cut in half in days and doubled in twice per day treatments. Sounds good except the radiation coming in at 6 different angles twice per day meant that my esophagus was being bombarded 12 times per day.My esophagus became fried bacon and nothing would go through it either way. I told people in the hospital this was good news because the chemo wouldn't make me throw up since nothing could go up or down. There's always a silver lining.
They wanted to put a feeding tube in me and I made a decision that dumbfounded them, but I knew it was right for me. The year before I got diagnosed I lost 25 lbs (from 225 to 200lbs). I decided that at 200lbs, I still had a whole lot of fat stores to live off of, and I was convinced the human body can withstand a lot more than we understand.So I went for 8 weeks without any nutrients in my body, keeping my body hydrated solely by IV fluids. My weight dropped to 115 lbs and I was a poster child for a WWII holocaust story.From there, they also radiated my brain prophylacticly and even when my esophagus was healed enough for liquids to pass through, my taste buds had been altered so much by the chemo therapy that eating (and throwing up) were still an adventure for some time.A rocky start for sureBut I kept up the positive thinking and laughter.
The side benefit of being 5'10" and only 115 pounds is that my BMI was FINALLY in the green zone. LOL
After I lost all of my hair, I was taking a stroll through a Houston shopping mall and I'd noticed that in the middle of my bald head, there was one lonely long gray hair sticking out of the side of my head. For fun, I walked into a barber shop and told the barber "I need a haircut" Ha "Literally A hair....cut" He didn't charge me to clip my lone hair and we both got a good laugh out of it. Subsequently, when I make regular trips back to Houston for my quarterly scans, I go see my friendly barbers and tell a few jokes
When 9 out of 10 Doctors Tell You You're Dead, You are Supposed to Lie Down - Jan 2017
A PET scan was scheduled to coincide with my last radiation. Up to that point, I dealt with the radiation oncologists for radiation and the thoracic (lung) oncologist for the chemo. My radiation oncologist just happened to be in line to be the number 2 guy in the entire organization. Great guy, who told me he had good news and bad news. The good news was that the chemo and radiation had done their job in my Left Lung (which was amazing considering the size of the tumor there). The bad news was that my PET lit up like a Christmas Tree from head to toe. The cancer had spread to my neck, my Right Lung, my stomach, my liver, my bladder, my pancreas and my tail bone. Dozens of tumors.
I know how to use Google. And I knew, for starters, that small cell lung cancer was bad news with very low success rates. And FURTHER, I knew exactly what it meant when SCLC metastasized that far afield in so many locations.
So he didn't have to tell me what it meant, I cited the statistics to him as he nodded approval with a grim face. The numbers are simple. <1% survivability and a median/mean life expectancy of 3 months. He confirmed that my numbers were correct.
But unlike the local oncologist that said I was going to die before I even started, he then went on:
"Joe, we are not going to give up. There are some other things we want to try and I'd like you to go see your thoracic oncologist this afternoon to discuss them"
So I laughed and said, "You guys are good.....really good!!!!....you have a way of telling me my odds are 0% and there is no hope....but then you somehow give me hope......and I am prewired for hope, so I'm all good"
My thoracic oncologist told me he could put me in a clinical trial that "Would NOT save my life, but the best case scenario might extend my life by a year...or so"
A year (or so) sounds a lot better than 3 months, so I said "Let's go for it"
7/22/ 2020 UPDATE NOTE: My radiation oncologist mentioned above was none other than Dr. Stephen Hahn, who is now the Commissioner of the FDA. Truth is stranger than fiction
Strangest Call of My Life from a Veterinarian - Jan. 2017
The meaning of the Vet Med symbol couldn't fit my precarious situation more perfectly.....even though I am human. The staff of the Greek god Aesculapius, encircled by a sacred serpent, is held as a symbol of hope and triumph over illness. It represents the miraculous events that occur as nature defies the inevitable.
Could you define a better mantra/objective for my situation than this?
As mentioned in the "About" section above, I am a big OSU fan and I bleed orange. To that end, I belong to an OSU message board where we get on-line and cuss/discuss OSU sports.
Two days after coming home from being told I've got 0% chance to survive, I read a post on the OSU sports board that simply said "If you have cancer or know someone who does, give me a shout"
I had known the author of that post (and his sons) for a very long time, so I picked up the phone and called him. He is a large animal veterinarian in Western Oklahoma. What he told me next should have stunned me, but I was fairly numb and not stun-able (new word that should be a word).
He told me a story of a scientist at Merck Animal Health (veterinary side of Merck) that had performed cancer research on mice by injecting different types of cancers into different mice body parts. And this scientist stumbled (trial and error) across a product in their canine product line that was batting 1.000 in killing these different cancers.
He told me that the scientist in question got diagnosed with 4th stage brain cancer and was told "no hope, 3 months to live". This person decided "what the heck" and started taking the canine medicine. Six weeks later, she was all clear.
I had just been told I've got no hope and 3 months to live, so it wasn't a hard decision for me to take the leap.
For convenience it can be ordered here if you choose. The Viral Nature of this has caused a shortage of Panacur, so you might want to order the Safeguard brand
For the alternate brand SafeGuard, click here (same product, same company)
For the brand I started with Panacur C, click here (same product, same company)
My Cure Regimen and the period of the unknown Mar. 2017
I mentioned earlier that I am a voracious researcher on various alternative methods and I came to a conclusion in January 2017 that, in addition to the new canine drug experiment, that I also would begin a regimen that would include the following:
Bio-Available Curcumin (600mg per day, 2 pills per day 7 days a week). A product called Theracurmin HP by Integrative Therapeutics is bioavailable., and
CBD oil (1-2 droppers-ful [equal to 25mg per day] under the tongue, 7 days a week)
For Convenience, you can order this here, but of course if you choose to search the internet for the cheapest source that would be good
NOTE: July 22, 2020 updated:
I have eliminated Vitamin E as a required part of the protocol as there are simply too many instances (eg, blood thinners) where it needs to be eliminated, and it is the least important of the items
So the period of unknown started in the 3rd week of January 2017 and included the above three items every day (7 days per week) and the canine medicine (1 GRAM PER DAY FOR 3 CONSECUTIVE DAYS) per week. Take 4 days off and repeat each week. Each gram of Panacur C has approximately 222 mg of fenbendazole, in case you are trying a different branded product.
[2019 edit: There is a new section at the end of the blog dedicated to more detailed discussion of dosages. Please read it thoroughtly]
July 2020 update: I now believe that 7 days per week is now prudent for virtually everyone and there is no longer believed to be a need to take 4 days off per week
It really doesn't matter what time of the day or with/without food. Many people take this regimen concurrent with chemo, immunotherapy and radiation. Most people asks me if I altered my diet. My answer is "I probably should have, but I didn't"
NOTE 1: Because cancer is notorious for reoccurrences, I plan on taking this regimen the rest of my life. Why not?
NOTE 2: Many people ask whether it can be taken while on chemo, radiation and/or immunotherapy. I say yes to all three. Why not? My recommendation is to do just that.
NOTE 3: About 80% of the people who have followed my lead have been transparent with their oncologists. And of those about 80% of the oncologists have been supportive.
I chose not to tell mine until I was "all clear" for 3 quarters (9 months), but that is a personal decision.
Many people ask how to take the tasteless dry powder. I simply toss it in my mouth and chase it with water as it will not dissolve in liquids. However, if that doesn't work for you, mix it in yogurt or a smoothie
[2019 Edit: There is evidence that FZ (because it is not water soluble) will not uptake into your blood stream unless taken with food or fats. I recommend now to take it with a meal.]
I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist. I am not prescribing any medicine. I am not recommending any medication, over the counter or not. I am not recommending any other supplements.
All I am doing is telling my own unique story, hence the URL for this site www.mycancerstory.rocks
I am giving testimony to what I did and what my story is, and I refuse to be punished solely for telling my story in hopes that someday the medical and big pharma players will pay attention to alternatives out there.
The canine medicine that I took was available over the counter from numerous pet medicine on-line sites. It is branded as Panacur C and the drug name is Fenbendazole. It is the one gram size for small dogs per the picture below. The dosage is one 1-gram packet per day for 3 consecutive days, then 4 days off.......to be repeated every week.
Some people choose to take 7 days a week for the first 6 weeks to "kick-off" their regimen.
Many people buy other brands and other product forms (e.g., pills or liquids) made for larger animals. IMPORTANT. The 1 gram packets above equate to 222mg of Fenbendazole per packet, such that a 3 day (one week) supply equals 1 box of 3 packets. If you are using a liquid, with say 100mg per ml of liquid, then the proper adjusted dosage would be 2.2 mls, or about half a teaspoon.
DISCLAIMER AGAIN: I am not a doctor or a scientist. This dosage was passed to me by someone who was involved in the research. I believe the reason for taking 4 days off is such that the anthelmintic drug does not harm the liver or kidneys.
The Johns Hopkins toxicity study that I have seen shows that 500mg per day is well tolerated, but if there is one area you should consult your physician is this.
Raising eyebrows at MD Anderson May 2017
I GOT TO MEET MY GRANDSON WHEN I WAS TOLD IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!!
The schedule I am on is to go in to Houston quarterly. I have a PET scan done on Monday and then meet with my thoracic oncologist on Tuesday. In my regular quarterly PET scan in the first week of May, 2017, my Tuesday meeting was my first sign that the positive thinking, the prayer posse, the humor, the supplements and, yes, the canine dewormer all combined "might just" be working.
My oncologist was literally stupefied. My PET was "all clear". No residual or recurrent tumor is demonstrated. No apparent metastasis.
"Are you kidding me?" 3 months earlier, In January, my PET lit up like a Christmas tree. There was cancer in my body from head to toe. And it was a terrifyingly dangerous metastasis that leaves virtually 100% of its victims dead within 3 months. Here I was 3 months later and the PET scan was completely dark......void of any light.....anywhere.
All I could think of at that moment was that I was told I would never get to meet my grandchildren. I got to meet Luke my first grandchild 2.5 weeks earlier......and now the prospects of him actually knowing his grandad just went way up.
I didn't tell my oncologist about my alternative treatment path for a simple reason. Even though the clinical trial I was on was admitted by my doctors to be only a "possible short term extension of life of maybe a year or so", I still didn't want to get kicked off the trial.
So my doctor scratched his head and said "We don't quite know what to make of this as you are the only patient on the clinical trial with this kind of response."
I left his office absolutely sure it wasn't the clinical trial drug.
FULL DISCLOSURE WITH DOC A FUN DAY September 2017
The clinical trial ended in September 2017 and, therefore, I couldn't possibly be kicked off of it :)
So when my PET scan in September also turned up "all clear" (meaning I had most likely been all clear for 6 months), I decided it was time to "come clean" with my trusted oncologist (who I like and trust very much by the way).
But before disclosing everything to him, I decided I need to do a little "set up" first.
After he very excitedly told me the continued good news of being "all clear" for a second consecutive quarter, I asked him a "very loaded" question. I asked, "Doc, what is really going on here? Can you disclose to me how I am doing versus all of the other patients on the clinical trial with the exact same condition"?
His answer was what I already suspected. He said, "Joe we can't explain it, but you are kind of a sole data outlier right now" Meaning with hundreds of like kind patients, I was the only one with a cure. I knew then my other alternative regimen was largely responsible, but I decided to come clean anyway.
I said, "Doc, I'm glad you told me that about my results within the trial, because I have something to share with you". I proceeded to tell him all about the canine dewormer as I watched his jaw drop :)
His next words I'll never forget (and remember for context he and I had become good friends by this time). He said, "you little shit, I knew there was something up with you.....and....I've had some weird days here at MD Anderson, but this one probably tops them all"
His next sentence almost floored me. He said, "You know, we've known for decades that these anthelmintic class of drugs (meaning to destroy parasites in the intestines) could have possible efficacy against cancer, and in fact in the 80's and 90's there was a drug called Levamisole that was used on colon cancer and it is an anthelmintic drug".
I said, "Doc, if you have known for decades why hasn't more work been done on it?" His answer was honest. He said, "probably because of money...all of these drugs are far off-patent and nobody is going to spend a gazillion dollars to repurpose them for cancer.....only to have generic competition the next day."
I knew he was right.
And he knew I was onto something incredible for me and my story.
January and April 2018
So the PET scan in January 2018 was also "all clear"On Tuesday April 25, 2018, My MD Anderson thoracic oncologist entered the room and said the following, "I am going to have to ask you to leave this hospital, because we only treat patients with cancer here at MD Anderson".My PET was once again "all clear", which made the 4th consecutive quarter......one whole year. And that followed a grim diagnosis and a grim outlook of no hope, no cure, nothing else we can do and simply "I'm sorry"He told me that I am the data outlier.....of all time.I asked him....point blank...."Do you believe my alternative regimen was effective in my success thus far?"He smiled and said, "Let me say it this way......I'll meet you half way and say it had an impact and that is all I'm going to say"So now I am fielding way too many calls daily as my story has spread from Europe to N America to Asia.The purpose of this blog is such that someone can read from start to finish what I endured, what I did differently and probably why I am still vertical on the right side of the grass, when I am supposed to be dead. If after reading this someone STILL needs to talk to me, I will make myself available.My theory is simple. For some reason I was spared. God isn't done with me yet. And I think one of the reasons is to help others.
WHEN YOU ARE TOLD YOU HAVE TERMINAL CANCER, THE RANGE OF EMOTIONS AND RANGE OR IRRATIONALITY CAN OVERWHELM YOU. I AM HERE TO SAY......"TAKE A DEEP BREATH......BELIEVE......YOU'VE GOT THIS......AND THEN CARRY ON.THERE IS ALWAYS:
Where do I go from here?
I am only one man with limited resources. But I want to make change happen when it comes to unique and alternative cancer therapies. So I am working on two things simultaneously as follows:
1. I am telling my story to as many people as possible. I am not prescribing medicine and I am not qualified to give advice on medical treatments. BUT.....I am qualified to tell my story to as many people as possible. Hopefully, as people begin trying what worked for me ,they will stay in touch and in the coming months I hope to be able to share other amazing success stories. [Hint: I already know of people other than me with success, but I won't include their stories here until (i) they have made it to 4 quarters of success and (ii) they approve of their story being told. My hope is to have an off market miniature clinical trial made up of people who were in my shoes. I can tell you I'm on the way.
2. I believe some serious change needs to occur in our drug regulatory system. For example, Fenbendazole is a decades old "off patent" formulation, meaning it is a generic that anyone can make and sell. But it is unique in that:
(i) it has already gone through human clinical trials (decades ago) as an anthelmentic (de-wormer), meaning all of the clinical trial work related to toxicity have already been done and it has, for many years, been deemed "safe for human consumption.
(ii) It's original clinical approval was for intestinal parasites and not cancer.
(iii) In order to repurpose the drug as an anti-cancer protocol would require all new and very expensive clinical trials.
(iv) No company is going to spend millions of dollars in the required regulatory work to repurpose the drug for cancer WITHOUT any proprietary protection from competition. It would be suicidal to do the heavy lifting in approval costs, only to have a generic manufacturer ride those coattails and compete the next day (And the synthesis of the fenbendazole molecule is very easy and cheap to do)
I firmly believe this is a situation where either (a) the pathway to the repurposing of the drug needs to be cheapened and shortened OR (b) The US Patent laws in combination with the FDA approval should give the party doing the heavy lifting of costs (to achieve the repurposing) some form of propriety protection such that those heavy lifting costs can be recouped.
This is only common sense.
I may be a one man effort, but I want to change that and I will work to get the word out to make that happen.
A Pharmacy Recommendation
As you have read below in my section regarding my regimen, I truly believe there are a few key supplements that contributed to my amazing story. But with all of them, obtaining the right ones with the right purity levels and concentrations is not easy. Let me save you some time and money.A member of my prayer posse is a very trusted pharmacist that can get you1. the right high purity CBD oils. Of course, he will not sell you the Panacur C, but that is cheap and readily available from a number of on-line sources.If you are interested in supplementing the fenbendazole with the right complimentary supplements, contact email@example.com and tell him Joe sent you
Note: I am not doing this blog to make money in any commercial way. Everything in the regimen can be sourced by yourself easily on line. I provide Randy McAdoo's contact info as a means of convenience.
Can't Believe My Eyes- What is Wrong With our System
I had lunch today with a long-time friend Dr. David Albert M.D., the Founder and Chief Medical Officer of AliveCor, an amazing tech company in the cardiology space in the Silicon Valley. David and I go way back, as I was the first seed investor in his company Data Critical, which we ultimately took public and then sold out to GE Medical. David then became chief scientist for GE Medical before leaving there to found AliveCor. I wouldn't do justice to the AliveCor story, but it is a very cool company you will be hearing a lot about in the future.The subject matter of my cancer story came up and I questioned the notion that the industry of medicine (20% of our GDP) would ever allow a cheap and efficient cure to ever occur.
At that moment Dr. Albert pulled up his smart phone and sent me the above article.The headline of Goldman Sachs questioning whether curing disease was a sustainable business model made me literally SCREAM in the restaurant. The audacity of the question itself is SO utterly repugnant.... I don't know where to begin.Yes, Goldman Sachs, if we come up with a cheap, efficient cure for cancer, there will be billions of savings.....meaning billions of revenue contractions.....meaning hundreds of thousands of personnel that need outplacement to new careers....and billions of buildings purposed for research that also would need repurposing. Yes, Goldman Sachs, that would be bad for the business of cancer research and treatment.....your so called "Sustainable Business Model".
What the headline should've postulated is "In a dream world, wouldn't it be great if we could put some of our industrial medical complex OUT OF BUSINESS? Shouldn't that be the GOAL?"Instead, we literally have one of Wall Street's largest firms postulating about how terrible the business world would be if we cured disease? REALLY?If this doesn't raise the hair on the back of your neck and cause you to be even MORE suspicious of motivations in medicine, then nothing will wake you or shake you.Dr. Albert agrees with me. He has spent his life inventing cardiology technologies to save lives and cure diseases, business model be damned. And he is as incensed by the Goldman Sachs headline as I am..
Some Success Stories other than me - June 2018
My story began to spread like wildfire about in August of 2017. Over the last 11 months, approximately 25 people with varying kinds and stages of cancer have started the regimen outlined here on this blog.
I am now happy to be able to report some other success stories other than me.
1. As I mentioned in the original post, I was the first person in the history of MD Anderson to have small cell lung cancer metastasized throughout my entire body (neck, lungs, stomach, liver, pancreas and bones) and live to tell the tale. 12 weeks ago, another patient, identical to me in small cell metastasis and also a patient at MD Anderson, started the regimen. Last week, she called me from Houston and said she just received her PET results and it was great news. Unfortunately she had complications from liver disease that I suspect had more to do with her immune system and immunotherapy and not related to cancer
2. I have TWO cases of 4th stage Pancreatic cancer, each given 3 months to live. In each case, their tumors haven't disappeared but they have shrunk almost to non-existence and they are living a normal lif