November 29, 2007  

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The women struggling to keep their men folk alive are the real heroes behind the headlines.








What a deal! Thanks to a clever webmaster,
Harold's got Lance struggling to keep up.

Can Congestive Heart Failure Survivor Harold Brecher REALLY Beat out Lance Armstrong???

Well, not yet. But he has high hopes for the future.
Cancer survivor Armstrong and CHF survivor Brecher have quite a bit in common in addition to their love of biking. Both have exhibited an admirable determination to regain health and serve as models of hope for others; both have expressed the belief that surviving a serious ailment can serve a larger purpose: the obligation of the 'cured' to encourage public awareness of the deadly nature of diseases that year after year are leading causes of death. Both are urging greater dedication from the scientific and medical communities to devote needed resources to develop safe and reliable treatments and cures. And most important,  both had "Doctor Moms" to ease their path back to wellness. 

In  Harold's case, the 'Doctor Mom' was the wife who constructed and kept dibs on the nutritionally oriented "Phoenix Protocol" - and is still in charge. In Lance's case, it was his "real" mom - Linda Mooneyham Armstrong - a 17 year old single mom when Lance was born, she cherished and guided and protected him all his life, and especially so, when the cancer diagnosis threatened to wipe out all his dreams and hopes for a future. As Lance's first book "It's Not All the Bike"makes clear, his mom was there every step of the way.

But here's where they part paths: Harold tells an honest story about his recovery and publishes treatment specifics in full detail, giving credit to every substance which may have contributed and all who helped along the way.  There's no amount of money that would entice Harold to credit one of the 14 deadly drugs with his survival to date.  Yes, he took diuretics and Digoxin and other prescription items, and discarded them all as quickly as he could. We doubt he'd be back on his bike today if all he'd had were the drugs he's happily given up.

Lance has sold out to commercial interests, and distorted his recovery tale to credit only one treatment: chemotherapy; and one firm:  pharmaceutical industry giant Bristol-Myers-Squibb. At the celebration ceremony at the wind-up of the much-ballyhooed 3,200 mile bike trek across America, the Tour Of Hope which ended in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 18th , Lance appeared on stage with the 26 riders who made the historic trip, and made it sound as though every cancer patient who has ever survived owes their life to BMS. Really! Even more disheartening is his enthusiastic crusade for more money, more research, more clinical trials - all focused on more drugs - and obviously aimed at making lots of bucks for his high-profile corporate sponsor which has captured the best celebrity spokesperson ever to happen their way.
Lucky for B-M-S; lucky for Lance; not so lucky for well-meaning advocates and misguided misinformed cancer patients.

If you read Lance's 2001 best-seller carefully, you will find many scattered references to nutritional and dietary support - none of  which was part of the orthodox drug-focused protocol.  On page 89 he speaks at length about how he and his mom made such a dedicated study of cancer - reading every book medical journal and Internet research report they could find that offered guidelines for fighting cancer -  "I felt I might as well go back to school and become a doctor."  It became a true mother-son collaboration. "It was a project," he says, "and mom was the project director." She arranged for nutritional consultations, and repeatedly vowed, "We'll leave no stone unturned." When hospital personnel rejected the food regimen the nutritionist had recommend as compatible with chemo, his mom stood up to them and said, "Fine. We'll cook these things ourselves." Then she shopped and brought healthy food with her on every visit. And so Lance stuffed down two or more servings of Caesar salad made with free-range chickens before each drug session, to maintain strength, knowing he'd be nauseous and throwing up for hours afterward; he drank 15 or more glasses of water a day and loaded up on Vitamin C to counteract the drug toxicity; he stuck to sugar-free foods, organic veggies and rejected all beef and cheese products as his nutritionist directed.  When he woke after a treatment, hungry or not, he tried to eat the plate of sliced fruit and fresh veggies  his mom had prepared. "I was NOT a compliant patient," he says. "We set our own protocol. We were in charge."

One of the many mysteries of the Armstrong triumph is how someone so physically devastated by system-wide cancer and the cell destructive 'cure' was able to spring back in such superb physical condition, he was able to master the grueling Tour d' France,  not once, but five times. Is it reasonable to believe that the deadly drugs administered in heavy doses - bleomycin, etopside and cisplatin - all so toxic the nurses wore radio-protective garb when administering them -  which admittedly destroyed bone marrow, blood cells, muscle, supportive tissue, hair, nails - would then miraculously reverse effect and rebuild the shattered body into Yellow Jacket winning condition? Hardly.

Throughout the years we were grappling to uncover strategies designed to reverse congestive heart failure, we were astonished by the many calls received from a cadre of unrelated women all fighting the same disease, determined to keep the man in their life alive. They offered so many good suggestions, useable ideas, unknown resources, and daily encouragement with tales of their own success, we've called them our "Doctor Moms". They are a great untouched resource in this nation, and we hope to be able to unite them into a real force in the months ahead..

In his book Lance admits, "There are so many fronts to the cancer fights, I couldn't focus or rely on just one."
Quite so.  How sad that this valuable insight on the importance of a multi-factorial approach, with the patient, not the doctors, responsible for treatment decisions, is what it takes to beat any deadly disease. That's the honest survival message that's been squelched by the B-M-S hoopla. Here's hoping this challenge to honesty and full disclosure will reach Lance and cause him to rethink his obligation to cancer patients everywhere.

Lance, you said it right when you wrote "It's Not All the Bike". Get it right again, It's not all Bristol-Myers-Squibb.
Write a new book - here's the title: "Let's Hear It for the Doctor Moms". We'll help.



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