Lan is a 55-year-old Indonesian lady. About two months ago, August 2016, her stomach felt bloated and she passed out “oily” urine. She consulted one doctor after another (five in all) and was told she had gastric problems. One doctor in Jakarta examined her and said there was nothing wrong with her! She was given medications by these doctors, but her problem persisted.
She eventually consulted a doctor in a private hospital in Jakarta. A blood test, done on 22 September 2016, showed her CA 125 was at 4,563.8 (normal = 35.0) and her GGT was elevated at 92.0 (normal 9.0 – 36.0). The rest of the blood parameters were within normal range.
A CT scan, done the next day, showed a cystic lesion in the right ovary, measuring 3.5 x 2.85 x 2.0 cm. There was a bit of fluid in the lower lobes of her lungs.
Lan underwent a total hysterectomy on 28 September 2016. The operation was done in Jakarta and cost IDR 49 million. Before the surgery, 3 liters of fluid was tapped out of her abdomen.
Histopathology report confirmed a malignant well differentiated adenocarcinoma, probably originating from the ovary.
As a “standard operating procedure” the surgeon suggested that Lan undergo 4 to 6 cycles of chemotherapy since there is no knowing if the cancer had already spread to other organs.
Lan asked the surgeon if chemo was going to cure her. The surgeon replied: From my experience (practising in Germany for 30 plus years) ten patients had chemo, ten patients did.
Lan returned to her hometown and consulted a gynae-oncologist. Lan was told that the doctor in Jakarta who operated on her did not remove the cancer completely. From the USG, he told Lan that the cancer had spread all over. Lan sensed that this gynae-oncologist was not happy with her because she did go to him for the operation but instead went to Jakarta for the operation. Lan had consulted this gynae-oncologist before her operation.
Anyway, according to the gynae-oncologist, Lan had to undergo 6 to 12 cycles of chemo. Each cycle of chemo would cost IDR 20 million.
Chris: That means with 12 cycles it is going to cost you IDR 240 million? Is that big money?
Daughter: That is roughly what a house would cost — IDR 240 million.
C: So, if you spend IDR 240 and is cured, it is okay. If you die, 240 million gone and a house also fly away. Did you ask this gynae-oncologist if the chemo he is giving you is going to cure you?
D: The doctor said: Mungkin sembuh (probably can cure) tergantung kepada semangat hidup Anda (it all depends on your will to live).
C: Did you ask if he has any medicine to make “your will to live” stronger?
My advice to Lan and his family members that morning:
- You now know that chemo cannot cure you for sure. And according to the Jakarta surgeon, ten patients underwent chemo, ten of them died. What does that tell you?
- You know that chemo will make your life miserable — all those side effects. That is, if chemo does not kill you and if you continue to live.
- Chemo is going to cost you a house — IDR 240 million.
- I cannot tell you to go for chemo or not to go. It is up to you to make your own decision.
- Even you take my herbs, there will be no cure. But at least, by taking the herbs and taking care of the diet, it is not going to cost you a house!
- I don’t know of any way to get out of this. You go for chemo, you will die one day. Take my herbs, you will also die. So what path do you want to take?
- I also warned Lan that our therapy is not easy to follow. The herbs taste awful. And she has to take care of her diet.
My advice to all patients: We don’t have any magic bullet for your problem. Our therapy is not easy to follow. If you cannot cope with that, then please do not come and see us.