Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ARIZONA . . . My hope!

I’ve gotten a lot of emails and calls from folks asking about the Doctor in Arizona. If I haven’t replied to your emails, please don’t take it personally. I honestly can’t keep up. I will do my best to reply to everyone. I just need your patience. I also didn’t have very good Internet connection while there, so if you sent an email for any reason and I haven’t replied, please don’t take it personally. If I don’t reply within the next couple of weeks, try resending your message. In the meantime, I thought I’d better get an update up so folks can know what’s going on.

So . . . where to begin?

Let me start by saying, Dr. Joe Brown is AWESOME!!

Here’s the story:

We arrived there with a flat tire. I won’t go into details about that: in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, in extreme heat (thankfully, we had a spare), but we were worried because that meant spending more money on tires if we were to get home safely. We were already pushing it by going out there, but we had high hopes and a lot of prayers behind us, so we went (I mean, we were only 70 miles away from the doctor’s office, so why turn back at that point), trusting God to show us His will. As my husband was fixing the tire he asked, “Now, is this from God or Satan?” We’d asked God to close the doors if He didn’t want us there. So . . . we were wondering. Because of the flat tire, we were twenty minutes late for our appointment, but they were understanding.

The intake meeting was thorough. Dr. Brown never gave us the impression that he was in a hurry or had other things to move on to. In fact, the intake meeting lasted THREE HOURS, and I can honestly say it only felt like ONE. Hubby knew how much the meeting would cost per hour (and no, that’s not why the doc took his time, lol). We had a billion questions, and we wanted answers, and he answered them. It was so GOOD. It was during this meeting we learned about the treatments and the supplements I would need, how often, that he has experience with stem cell transplant patients (we actually found that out before we left), etc. I watched and listened closely (not just during the meeting, but during the treatments), because usually I can tell if someone hasn’t had experience with patients like me, but he knew exactly what he was doing in every way. It was a big relief.

My biggest question was if his treatment would cause graft vs. host disease because he’s strengthening my immune system and this isn’t “my immune system.” He said without hesitation and with complete confidence (and he wasn’t an arrogant doctor, btw), “No.” He said none of his patients who’ve undergone stem cell transplants have gotten graft vs. host disease from his treatments. Absolutely none. Then he said he can’t say that it can never happen, but he (strongly) doesn’t believe it will.

After the meeting, we decided that’s all we could afford. We wanted to buy the supplements he suggested, but the meeting ended up being more than we expected (like I said, it felt like one hour, but the clock told a different story), and we still needed tires for the car. So, we paid for the meeting and left. We were going to find a way to come back, but we didn’t know how to make that possible yet (financially). It’s not that Dr. Brown’s services are expensive, because they’re not. Not at all. It’s just that when something like this isn’t covered by insurance and the money is coming out of pocket, it’s unaffordable. When we reached our car, Dr. Brown’s assistant came after us and said that Dr. Brown wanted to give me a free partial treatment before we left. Of course, we were happy and willing to do this. Dr. Brown got me hooked up on IVs and ended up giving me a full treatment. During the intake he said that if he had “leftovers” he could give those to me for free because he would throw them away, and he’d rather they get used. I have a feeling, he didn’t treat me with “leftovers” that day.

Anyway, I was so touched that he would be so generous, I thanked him but felt that was inadequate. He said he just wanted me to get well. Then he offered to treat me for the next two days at a discounted rate that we could afford. Actually, both treatments combined were approximately worth the amount of the car tires, but we took his offer and ended up buying new tires on our credit card. You see, we NEVER use our credit card because we don’t believe it’s right to be in debt. We only have credit cards so we can have “good credit” here in the States (which makes no sense to us). When we moved here from Holland we had no credit, which equaled to bad credit (which also didn't make sense to us). So for example, to build up credit, I’ll shop at Kohl’s (with that Kohl’s credit card), and immediately go to the service desk and pay it off. :-) We firmly believe in not spending what we don’t have. Anyway, so it was a big deal for hubby to use our credit card to buy new tires, but we needed to make the 900-mile trip home safely. I also have to add, the people we were staying with left us a generous gift which actually paid for the entire next two treatments.

So . . . was God opening doors or closing them? You tell me. :-)

During the treatments, Dr. Brown said that by Friday I would have more energy (that was Tuesday or Wednesday). Honestly, I was skeptical. I’ve had a lot of doctors tell me things like this, and their predictions didn’t happen. However, by Thursday (not Friday), when we were in the car heading home (we were in a hurry because I had a Noon appointment on Friday with the radiation doc), I had a TON of energy. I was laughing without getting tired, making jokes, and feeling like my old self. It lasted for several days (I’m still stronger actually). It’s WONDERFUL!!!

And so is Dr. Joe Brown.

Now for what my radiation doc said. He’s very positive and he's excited about the success of the first localized radiation. He says it was radiation that knocked out the tumor in my head (oh, and it’s DEAD; apparently, there isn’t a sliver of it left like we thought; it’s GONE), and they want to do the same treatment on the tumors (there are three) on my spine. He feels confident that will take care of it. So, I’ll get 15 treatments of radiation on my spine on each tumor. This will take approximately three weeks.

Dr. Brown told me I should do what my oncologist here tells me to do, so if he wants radiation and chemo, I need to do it. Well, I found out that the doc here plans to do chemo after this radiation. Two outpatient chemo rounds, and one inpatient chemo round for five days (which I've been doing for the past year, and a lot of “good” it did). You see, since I still have tumors, that means little cancer cells are still floating around my body, but we can’t see them because they’re so small. We can only see them when they hook onto something and start multiplying into billions of cells (which they’ve now done on my spine; this new radiation doc explained all this, and I really like him too. He’s awesome. He took his time with us and answered all our questions, showed us the pictures, and didn’t make us feel stupid). Well, I’ve decided that I DON’T WANT CHEMO. I talked to the other doc’s assistant (the doc who’s been in charge from the beginning and wants to do the chemo--again), and she said I don’t have to do it, that it’s my choice. I believe what Dr. Brown is doing for me will do the job of the chemo (find those little cancer cells that we can’t see and kill them). And I’m still so weak that I don’t believe I will do well on chemo again. Seriously. I really don’t think I’ll recover. So, I don’t plan on doing chemo again.

Okay, so that’s the latest. I’ll start radiation on Monday (it was going to be on Friday, but I also have a photopheresis appointment—this is a “light therapy” where they run my blood through a machine to calm down the t-cells to keep graft vs. host disease under control—on that same day). The photo people say I should stay out of the sun after a treatment, or at least, spend as little time in the sun as possible (they even gave me sunscreen and sunglasses). Well, I was thinking, wouldn’t radiation be similar to being in the sun? So, I called my regular doc, and he said all was well and it’d be fine. Then I called the radiation folks, since they’re the experts in radiation treatment. I started at the reception desk and was forwarded through several people who couldn’t answer my question, but they kept saying it was a good question. I finally got the assistant to the doc who was to call me back after she asked the doc if it would be safe. Whew. She called back and said I might have some minor side-effects, yada, yada.

We moved the appointment to Monday.

You know, it’s one thing to downplay the side-effects, but they don’t have to live with them.

So, all is well. I have energy that I haven’t had in ages, and it’s because of God working through Dr. Brown. That fact can’t be denied.

P.S. Several years ago, Dr. Joe Brown was a cancer patient and told he had a month to live (after going through treatment after treatment and surgery after surgery with no success). He took things into his own hands and has now been 15 YEARS in remission. If you want to know more about him, click on all the links or his picture above. His story is also told on YouTube on a TV show called The Incurables. It's in three parts. I encourage you to watch it. 


  1. So happy you're trying this! I was praying that the LORD give you wisdom to decide which route to go and that you would have peace in your decision. Keep us posted. Love you! :)

  2. Sandi, thanks for the update. Praying away and so grateful to the Lord for all He's doing.

  3. Hi Sandi,

    I'm so glad you found this doctor. I hope you will get well again. And most important stay well. hugs Anouk

  4. I am so glad you are feeling better and that God brought this man into your life! You are an inspiration to thousands and we rejoice at your news. Now to share your praise report...(and I am still praying the rest of the treatments go as well!!!)~Cheri' Horgan