Breast Cancer: Surgery, Chemo and Radiation Failed — Stage 2 turned Stage 4

2 Jun 2017

Dear Dr. Teo,

My name is Carl (name changed) and I come from Singapore. I am requesting for an appointment for my Mother, who has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.

My Mother is a Chinese national, and she was initially diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer in February 2016. She underwent numerous rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and even a surgery to cut off her breast. However, the metastatic breast cancer eventually spread to both her lungs and liver this year. In fact, her condition is getting worse despite undergoing chemotherapy.

On her end, she exercises (walk, jog, stretching exercises) everyday for at least 45 minutes each day. Moreover, she watches her diet. No sweet sugary food, significantly more green and fruits. No meat and only fish as a animal based protein source. She also juices and drink daily a blend of Green apple, Beetroot and Carrots. Furthermore, she also blends asparagus and eat them very frequently. Recently, she has also began drinking Turmeric tea.

Dr Teo, would you please help my mother in her quest of overcoming cancer? I assure you that she still has a lot of will and determination to live. Please mail to me an appropriate date and time that you would be open for consultation.

Thank you so much for your time reading this mail! I hope to receive a reply soon. Have a great day ahead!

Reply: We are open Monday to Friday at about 11 am …. but let me know first your proposed date before to buy your tickets … to make sure I am in Penang.

Dear Dr. Teo,

Thank you for the information! May I know roughly how much the herbs would cost? Because, we have spent quite a bit on chemo, surgery and other things. Therefore, it would be good to know the approximate cost of the herbs so that we can better plan our finances and budgets. Thank you for your assistance! Really appreciate it a lot.

Reply: Read this …https://cacare.org/  — everything explained about the herbs, etc. Consultation is free … unlike in Singapore where patients may have to pay thousands of dollars for their herbs.

Dear Dr. Teo,

I have contacted you a few months back regarding my mother, a stage 4 breast cancer patient. Would it be possible if we fly over to consult you next week? Between 4th to 11th December. My mother is a Chinese national suffering from stage 4 cancer with both metastasize in the lungs and liver.

Thank you so much. Warmest regards.

One morning in December 2017

At long last, I got to meet Carl after 6 months! There are 4 in his family, mom and dad, daughter and son and Carl is the elder of the 2 siblings. He is 20 years old. This morning, he came alone without his mother. The medical reports are not complete and there are no CT or PET scan.

This is a the story of his mother… a Stage 2 breast cancer turned Stage 4 after extensive chemo treatments for a year. What has gone wrong?

  • More than a year ago, February 2019, PY was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time there were already some small dots in her lung. The doctor did nothing about this lung metastasis (?).
  • From March – September 2016, PY underwent chemotherapy.

a) Initially, the drugs used were: Gemcitabine and Herceptin.

b) In June the combination changed to: Pertuzumab (Perjeta), Gemcitabine and Herceptin.

c) In September the oncologist tried Trastuzumab (Kadcyla) and Herceptin.

  • September 2016, PY had a right mastectomy.

CT scan report, 28 July 2017 indicated:

a) No evidence of local recurrence.

b) Extensive bilateral lung metastasis.

c) Ill-defined hypodensity in segment 7, measuring 1.0 cm. Other subcentimetre hypodensities in segment 2 and 8 are too small to characterise.

CT scan report, 2 October 2017 indicated: 

a) There is interval enlargement of multiple lung metastases.

b) Interval enlargement of fluid collection inferior to the right mastectomy site.

c) Interval enlargement of a right lower paratracheal lymph node.

d) Hepatic hypodensities are stable in size.

e) Overall, findings are consistent with disease progression.

CT scan report, 28 November 2017 indicated:

  • Bilateral lung metastases have increased in size and extent compared to 2 Oct. 2017.

Based on the above reports, PY’s treatment was said to be ineffective and she was scheduled to meet her oncologist again next week. It was that this point in time that Carl came to seek our advice on behalf of his mother. Actually he was just on a “shopping” trip — wanting to know what we can do to help his mother.

After spending one and half hours explaining, I sent Carl home without any herbs.

Go back and discuss with your mom first. Go ahead and see your oncologists next week and continue with what he wants you to do. Come back to see me again if you think I can help you. And this time, it is best that you bring your mom along plus her full medical reports and scans.

Conversation with 20-year-old Carl: 1. Change doctor? Change direction?

 Following are some of points we discussed that morning.

  1. I told Carl that if I have my way, I would not want to take up this case. 

Let the doctors take care of the mother till the end. In this way, when his mother dies, Carl or anyone else would not have a scapegoat to put their blame on.

I shared the burden of knowing that his 44-year-old mother is going to suffer a lot more before she dies. I imagine it is hard for anyone to face such a situation. I felt real sorry for this young man. 

  1. The questions Carl posed, admittedly are irritating at times and indeed a waste of time.

On this gloomy morning, God helped me to keep cool and let me see the humane need of this patient. I tried to be as nice as I could in my explanation. At the end, both of us struck a “bond.” And I also hoped his trip to Penang was not a waste of money!

I have learnt some lessons from Carl and I do hope Carl did learn some lessons about how to heal his mother.

  1. The cancer may attack the bone and finally the brain. As it is now, the cancer had already spread to the lungs and liver in spite of all the chemos. Know that this is not the end of the spread yet. The final stop is the brain, if she is unlucky. 

What can we do about it? You go on treating and treating —- chemo and more chemo and radiation. Amy Cohen put it rightly before she died after the cancer spread to her brain.

  1. Our therapy cannot cure her cancer. I make is completely clear that coming to see us would not change the outcome. We may be able to help, but we cannot cure her.

Furthermore, undergoing our therapy is not like going on a honeymoon. It requires a lot of commitment on the part of the patient. We show you the path, but you have to help yourself. Most patients would agree to do their best when they are dying, but the moment they get better, they start to “misbehave” — wanting to eat this and wanting to eat that. Then, they don’t want to take the herbs anymore if they can — giving all kinds of excuses or complaints.

  1. I suggested that Carl may want to change doctors/hospital.

Go to SGH. Or why not go back to China for medical or alternative treatments? Carl wanted to know by undergoing all these changes, what would be the benefits? I don’t know. But According to Einstein, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.

6.Carl want to know if it is possible for his mom to stop chemotherapy and then take our herbs for two or three months.

Then we will see if the herbs help her. My response: That is just absurd. If months of chemo did not cure and make her worse, don’t expect the herbs to show results within a month or two. Herbs are not magic potion!

  1. How much will our herbs cost?

Many patients spent thousands of dollars on their failed treatments and when they come to us, they are concerned about cost. Our consultation is free — yes, one a half hours talking to me is foc.

In general the Indonesians are much poorer but they never ask such questions

Just read these two emails.

Hi Dr. Chris,

Greeting!

I am from Singapore.

I was referred to you by my relative whose mother in law were treated by you while undergoing cancer treatment. My relative shared that she suffer almost no pain during the last stage of her life.

My dad has just been diagnosed with pancreas cancer and has just had his first Chemo treatment.

… I will appreciate if you can advise me on below:

……..

4)      How much is the consultation fee? (range if there is no fixed rate)

5)      Medicine cost?

Thanks and I look forward to hear more from you.

This is an email from Indonesia.

Hello Dr. Chris, I am T from …. Indonesia. I am female, 19 years old. Last month, I was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia-M2 (AML-M2) by my BMP result. Right now, I am feeling good. I have no fatigue, fever, bleeding and bruise.

I don’t want to do chemotherapy treatments because all of the side effects. I wanna use natural way. So, I totally changed my diet and consider your herbs to help me. Can we meet on this Thursday (14 Dec)? Thank you.

(Note: T — a second year engineering student, is in need of help. She came with her mom and Auntie. Her father died when she was 2 years old. Her mother said she has no money to send her for medical treatment which could run to thousands of dollars. I felt real sad. If T comes back to see us again and is really committed to follow our therapy — my wife and I would like to “adopt” her as our daughter!)

Carl countered, You need to understand that there are many Singaporeans who have financial difficulties.

Yes, this is one lesson I learned from Carl this morning. I need to fully understand that!

But I told Carl frankly, unfortunately, the kiasu attitude may also have a part to play in this. I told Carl, Singapore dollar is three times Malaysian ringgit. That makes our herbs cost peanuts!

Conversation with 20-year-old Carl 2: What is the cost of your herbs?

  1. One last point. I told Carl, If you need my help, you should bring you mother here. And also bring all the CT / PET scans.

Carl suggested that it would easier if I just send the herbs by post if his mom would like to follow our therapy. My reply was, No, we cannot do that. 

Early in life, my mother taught me that good things never come easy. Noting is served on a silver plate for ordinary folks like us. We have to work hard to succeed. If you are not prepared to help yourself or want an easy way out, nobody can help you.

Conversation with 20-year-old Carl: 3. More questions

 

By asking me all these questions, you have revealed your attitude and personality!

I told my patients this: By talking to you for 5 minutes, I know if I can help you or not. Seventy percent of patients fail the test! Certain people just cannot be helped.

Comment

Earlier, I posted an article, Metastatic Breast Cancer: My mom wants to live. Her commitment made her well. In this article RR’s son came to seek our help on behalf of his mother who has Stage 4 breast cancer, just like Carl.

My morning talking with RR’s son is far different from talking with Carl. One comes genuinely wanting to find help for his mother, another comes to “window shop” for his mother.

 

 

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