Hello, my dear readers! I realize it has been a while since I have shared any information about my health and my journey. I want to take this opportunity to share some of the amazing things that have been happening and how excited I am to resume my immunotherapy cancer treatment.
As many of you may know already, I began immunotherapy about a year ago. During the initial treatment, I felt fantastic. The treatment itself was doing amazing things for my body. I had more energy, I felt great, and was confident that God-willing, I would be able to achieve results good enough that my doctors could put me on maintenance therapies.
Unfortunately, another diagnosis threw a wrench into my immunotherapy treatment. I had to discontinue immunotherapy at that point until my team felt it was ok to resume treatment.
But the good news is, I have once again resumed my immunotherapy treatment, and I have been back on the regimen for a couple of phases now. Although there were a couple of hiccups at first, I feel confident (as do my team) that this time I will be able to complete my treatment. I just returned from Peru, where I met with Dr. Nuñez and learned a great deal about myself, more about my home country, and about the life-saving benefits many patients have experienced through immunotherapy.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with all of you a little bit about the treatment, and why I feel it is the right fit for me. Cancer, as many of you already know, is a very personal disease. While two people might have the same exact cancer, same stage, same symptoms, same everything—their bodies may not respond exactly the same to treatment. Where one person may sail through the process and achieve the optimal result of being completely cancer-free, another person may struggle. The treatment that saved the life of the other patient may make them extremely ill. Or there is the possibility that it might not work at all.
With traditional cancer therapies, each person is generally treated the same way. The same cocktail of drugs is used, with minor adjustments being made to treat side effects. Ultimately, however, the individual’s body chemistry, their personal conditions, and medical history will have a huge role in the effectiveness of any given treatment.
Immunotherapy for Cancer Treatment
With that being said, immunotherapy is different. It is customized for the individual. The individual’s own blood is drawn, analyzed, and processed and antibodies to the individual’s specific cancer are then developed. It uses each individual’s own unique chemistry and biomarkers to customize a specialized treatment for each patient. Because specific antibodies are developed using your own blood and your own cancer cells, it makes each treatment completely built and centered around each individual patient. It doesn’t get much more personalized than that!
So why did I opt for immunotherapy, and why THIS specific immunotherapy? Why did I need to go all the way to Peru in order to receive the treatment? In short, much of it has to do with Dr. Cesar Nuñez. Dr. Nuñez is an immunologist who has specialized in treating cancer for the past fifteen years. His knowledge and expertise goes so far beyond what most people would expect from their doctor or their team that I feel blessed to be working with him. Whenever I am around him, he emits a sense of calm and peace. It is impossible not to feel calmed and peaceful when I am in his presence.
Before I began my individualized treatment with Dr. Nuñez, I had the opportunity to learn directly from his patients what it was like working with him. Not many doctors will put you in touch with their patients, but the fact that he had so many who spoke so highly of him was something that made me feel I was on the right path. He is able to use his personalized immunotherapy to treat cancers that other doctors won’t even touch. And while it might not work for everybody, his approach is completely aligned with my own personal beliefs and values. It seemed like a no-brainer to seek treatment from him. His patients’ success stories and kind words about him made him an even more obvious choice for me.
What’s more, Dr. Nuñez is able to take any anxiety I may be having about my diagnosis or treatment and explain it in a way that helps make sense of it. For me, this is extremely important because when you’re working with as many different doctors as I have, it is crucial to be able to understand everything that is happening. He can explain things in a way that I wasn’t able to see beforehand. This is an incredibly valuable asset to have in a doctor!
I am very excited about sharing some of the experiences I had with Dr. Nuñez while I was there. Because I wanted to be able to pass on as much of his knowledge and expertise with my readers around the world, I took the opportunity to sit down with him in a one-on-one interview. It wasn’t something that was planned out—the entire process happened very organically and very naturally. Things fell into place in a way that gave us all a sense of purpose.
I didn’t have a list of questions or a big plan. I am not a journalist or somebody who generally loves being on-camera. But it was a challenge I felt I needed to embrace because of how groundbreaking the work of Dr. Nuñez is. It was so important to me to be able to bring the wisdom and compassion of this doctor to as many of my readers as possible that I pushed aside all of my fears and anxieties and went for it! Using my e-book, 10 Questions All Cancer Patients Must Ask Their Oncologists, as a guide for the interview, the result is a beautiful 25-minute video which I cannot WAIT to share! Stay tuned because it’s coming soon! The interview was conducted in Spanish, so we are waiting on subtitles for my English-speaking audience.
The Lab and Customizing Treatment for Immunotherapy
While I was in Peru to resume my immunotherapy treatment, I was also given the opportunity to tour Dr. Nuñez’s new lab that is currently under construction. It is located just outside of Lima, and it is scheduled to open in December of 2018. The new lab promises to continue to deliver some of the most groundbreaking therapies to people who are fighting cancer. During the tour, I was able to see much of the process of how a treatment is customized for each patient.
The entire lab is on it's way to continue to deliver Dr Nunez's vision of quality care for all his cancer patients. It is clean, pristine, and the staff and animals are treated with the utmost respect. Each employee has a very distinct role in the lab setting so that there are no risks of cross-contamination or mistreatment of the hens used in developing individualized treatments. It is truly God’s work they are all doing there, and the complexity of the science coupled with the amazing peacefulness and hope are awe-inspiring.
I have included a few pictures and made it into a short video on my new youtube channel, check it out!
There is no black and white with cancer. There is no silver bullet or miracle cure that works for every single patient. However, for me, immunotherapy and Dr. Nunez have been an absolute blessing. His approach is very holistic and he takes into consideration all concerns and ideas his patients may have. My trip to Peru was incredible for so many reasons.
I was able to journey high into the mountains to bear witness to the process of harvesting the very maca root that will be used in my line of supplements and superfoods. I was able to eat some of my favorite dishes from my favorite restaurants where fresh, local ingredients, many of which are superfoods, are used to create beautiful and healthy meals. I was able to spend some time with my dad and reflect upon the importance of heritage and family. I was able to visit a non-profit that is near and dear to my heart, called "Peace and Hope International", an organization working in Latin America to protect women and children from violence as well as providing resources to reduce human trafficking. I was able to step out of my own comfort zone and conduct an on-camera interview with the highly esteemed Dr. Cesar Nuñez as well as visit his new lab that is opening soon. And I was able to resume my immunotherapy, which was the main purpose for this trip to begin with. I am very excited to be working with Dr. Nuñez, and cannot wait for the day I am told my treatment is complete, and I can move on to maintenance. It is an honor and my privilege to be able to share all of these treasurable moments of my journey with you all.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3