For decades, a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma has been akin to a death sentence. But some victims have been determined to beat the mesothelioma odds and do so by defying the conventional and reaching out to search for new ways to conquer their disease.
One example is the case of Jim McHutchison, a resident of York, Maine, whose fight against asbestos-caused cancer was recently profiled in a blog on Tech Guru.
Jim was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the fall of 2012, though he can’t pinpoint when he may have been exposed to asbestos during his lifetime and his career as an advertising specialist.
Though it took a while to diagnosis Jim after he began coughing and having chest pains, it didn’t take the McHutchisons long to decide that they weren’t going to accept the grim prognosis the doctors offered.
So they went on a quest, visiting some 40 doctors up and down the East Coast. All of them presented Jim with just two options: extrapleural pneumonectomy, a very serious surgery with high risk and a long recovery period; and traditional chemotherapy, which hasn’t been all that successful in treating mesothelioma and carries with it many unpleasant and debilitating side effects.
Instead, Jim and his wife, Pepper, opted to try some alternative therapies. They began with a close look at Budwig’s Protocol, a cancer-fighting method developed by a German doctor in the 1950s.
It involves a diet that includes fruit, cottage cheese, and flaxseed oil. The McHutchisons enjoy it together, with Pepper eating what Jim eats, he reports. So far, it’s helped.
The mesothelioma victim and his wife have also experimented with other natural compounds, including Vitamin C infusions, Jim reports.
He adds that he’s not sure which have been responsible for his survival but he believes his positive attitude, curious mind, and willingness to try alternative treatments has led to his success in beating the cancer monster.
Now, for the last year, Jim has opted to add the new immunotherapy drug, Keytruda, to his get-well-soon regimen. He’s been receiving the drug since August 2015 and has suffered few side effects and plenty of success.
“I don’t know if I’m in remission but everything has diminished on Keytruda,” says Jim. “My family physician says I am a medical miracle and I feel great.”
More and more mesothelioma patients are turning away from radical surgeries and life-altering chemotherapy treatments in favor of different, less-severe options.
Thankfully, there are some doctors who are willing to stray from the norm and assist their patients in finding alternatives, though many still recommend traditional treatment. It remains largely up to the patient to look for ways to stay alive.