And how you may be able to avoid chemo, too…
Seven years ago, Lisa’s life changed forever.
She and her husband were living on Vancouver Island in a lovely home they’d built together. They were living their middle-aged years in style…
Playing music together, gardening, cooking, and heading out to the local jazz clubs for fun. Lisa worked as an assistant at a law firm – a job she enjoyed. Her office had an excellent work culture, which she appreciated.
Life was good.
Until Lisa found a lump in her breast, driving home from work one day.
“I just got a shooting pain and put my hand there and felt it right away. There was no warning.”
The next morning, she went to her doctor.
“I was freaked out, obviously. And my doctor was freaked out, too – that was clear.”
Lisa was only in her early fifties.
She had the tumor removed six weeks later…
But the cancer had spread to her skull and spine.
Her oncologist at the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA) broke the news that was now obvious: Lisa’s form of cancer was particularly aggressive.
Her doctors weren’t sure if treatment would work.
As more tumours cropped up, Lisa had additional surgery and four rounds of radiation treatment.
The radiation helped…until it didn’t.
After a slight reprieve, Lisa started feeling worse again.
This time, standard treatment had no more options for her – aside from chemo.
But from the very beginning of this whole ordeal, Lisa was crystal clear about one thing…
Above all, she wanted to avoid chemo.
And even with the news that it was now her only choice, she felt the same.
So, with no other choice, Lisa immediately began looking outside standard care to see if there were any other options for her.
She was terrified and sick.
But it’s truly amazing what the human spirit can do when you have nothing left to lose.
She’d heard of Cancer Treatment Options and Management (C-TOAM) through a friend…
“My husband and I thought, ‘It can’t hurt to see what they say. What other choice do we have at this point?’ We were desperate.”
So she booked a Second Opinion with our cancer expert, Alex Rolland.
“Alex was wonderful. He gave us so much information, he answered so many questions. He spoke to my husband so that my husband understood, instead of me trying to relay what he said. You know, we’re not scientists, either of us. So yeah, Alex was wonderful that way, just great.”
Alex recommended a specific treatment combination, which Lisa brought to her oncologist.
And what happened next is what we see so often…
It turns out that Alex’s treatment recommendation was exactly what Lisa’s oncologist had wanted to give her – but COULDN’T! Because it wasn’t part of standard care protocol.
“My BCCA oncologist told me that the drugs that she would like to give me were the exact drugs that Alex suggested I be on. She said she would like to give them to me, but she couldn’t get them. So two different chemotherapies were still my only options through BCCA.”
Aaaand…this is exactly why C-TOAM exists!
Lisa told Alex the situation. She was worried she’d gotten her hopes up for nothing.But hope was here to stay for Lisa…
Alex had a simple solution.
He sent Lisa to another nearby (and highly respected) oncologist, with whom we often work, to get her the prescription for the right drugs.
“Alex said to me, ‘if you go see this other oncologist, we can get you the right drugs and you don’t have to do chemotherapy – and, in fact, chemotherapy’s not right for you anyway.’”
Lisa agreed instantly.
“I was like, well, I have to at least give this a try – I’d be crazy not to – because my whole body just went “no” to the idea of chemotherapy.”
(And it turns out, her hunch was right! As Alex said, chemo would have been fruitless for her type of cancer, regardless. Can you imagine if she had gone on it? Only to continue getting worse? This, very sadly, happens to patients all the time.)
“So that’s what I did: I went and met the other oncologist, and I really liked him right away. He was awesome, and everything happened exactly like Alex said it would.”
Through C-TOAM, Lisa was able to quickly access the right treatments.
As if she hadn’t already run up against enough hurdles, one of the treatments that Alex and her new oncologist wanted for her was not yet available through Lisa’s medical coverage.
…Alex and his team solved this problem for her, too!
“Alex was able to help me get these drugs, so I’m not paying for them.”
As is almost always the case these days, we were able to get Lisa’s treatment fully covered! With the help of our client advocacy service and our worldwide cancer care network. Lisa started taking the new drugs with great results.
…And that’s how she was able to avoid chemo!
Her story is another win for Precision Oncology.
And it shows the power of bridging the gap: C-TOAM picks up where standard care leaves off.
If you’re thinking, ‘this sounds too good to be true…’
Well…Lisa was as surprised as you might be!
“I’ve just trusted in the medical system in this country forever and I was really surprised to find that by going to a private oncologist I could get the drugs I actually need versus the drugs that my local cancer agency could give me.”
But it’s been a very good surprise…
“I’ve been on the new drugs now for a few months and I feel better than I’ve felt in a couple of years. I feel really good – like, shockingly good. And I’m not having any side effects from them at all. I feel fabulous. (Although I do often have tired days still.) Overall, it’s incredible how I feel now. I’m almost afraid to say it…they’re going to make me go back to work!”
This makes me so happy to hear.
A big thank you to Lisa for sharing her story with us.
I hope you find it as hope-inspiring as I do…
Remember: you always have more options than you think.
👉 If you’d like to find out what your best treatment options are, and see if you can also avoid chemo, go ahead and book a Precision Second Opinion with our cancer expert, Alex Rolland. He’ll be happy to guide you toward better treatment – and faster recovery.
We want that for you. And I know you want that, too.on July 28, 2021
Tags: Advocacy, Cancer Survivors, Knowledge is Power, Precision Oncology, Targeted Treatment
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