Mesothelioma Survivor Takes Alternative Medicine Path

Mesothelioma survivor Tammy House

Tammy House didn’t need a specialist or a big-city cancer center to beat the long odds and become an inspirational mesothelioma survivor.

She did it her way.

House, 49, lives in Port Saunders, a small fishing village on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada. It is more than 2,000 miles away from the expertise usually critical to fighting mesothelioma, a deadly cancer with no cure.

“I took a different path, but to each his own. Based on everything I heard about this cancer, I had nothing to lose,” House told The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com. “So why not give it a try?”

Hitting the Three-Year Survival Mark

House, who will reach the three-year survival mark in January, took a holistic, alternative approach to treatment after being diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, opting against major surgery at a specialty center or debilitating chemotherapy.

Instead, she embarked on an aggressive regime of products and procedures at home that are not all based on scientific evidence.

At one point, she was taking 92 different supplements in a day.

“I just thought there has to be an alternative to the chemotherapy and radiation therapy that everyone is using and just dying. It’s sad but true. It just ruins your body,” she said. “I was ready to try something else.”

It started after a discussion with a friend of a friend whose husband had beaten two different stage 4 cancers to regain his life after it seemingly was over.

She could not resist giving it a try.

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First Exploring Her Options

House made the decision after considerable contemplation and prayer. The diagnosis didn’t come easy, and neither did the decision to reject conventional treatment.

“I don’t think some of the doctors believe in it, but it’s the journey I’m on now. I grew up in a Christian home, and I put my life in God’s hands,” she said. “I’ve taken the more natural approach.”

Doctors closer to home first believed it was a less serious illness, then admitted their uncertainty, sending her 800 miles away to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

She was diagnosed accurately there, but doctors suggested she find someone with more experience in treating this rare cancer.

They sent her to the nearest specialty center, 2,000 miles away in Toronto, where she received palliative radiation to ease the pain, a confirmation of the diagnosis, and a recommendation to treat the cancer aggressively.

After listening to the prognosis, she and her husband decided against chemotherapy and surgery.

Spreading the Word

House returned to Port Saunders and met with an herbalist. She began a regimen that started with a significant change in her diet, an all-natural, organic menu with absolutely no sugar.

The supplements included large amounts of graviola, turmeric, omega 3 oils, magnesium, a variety of vitamins and ample amounts of green tea. She did coffee enemas regularly, too.

Graviola extract comes from a type of broadleaf evergreen tree. Turmeric is a flowering plant that has been used in India for thousands of years as a medicinal herb.

Neither has been proven scientifically to cure or slow cancers, but believers have existed for centuries.

House returned to Toronto months later, and doctors were surprised by what they saw on her scans. She flew back a third time, almost a year ago, and the tumors were negligible.

“The doctors were amazed because the tumors were almost all gone,” she said. “They hardly believed what they saw. The blood work was all good, too. They told me, whatever you’re doing, just keep it up.”

House’s daily routine today isn’t the same as it once was. But it is considerably closer than it has been in three years.

Instead of the full-speed-ahead, working-three-jobs lifestyle she once enjoyed, she has slowed considerably.

The toughest part now has been mentally, wondering how long her alternative treatment methods will work.

She worries how her health might affect her 20-year-old daughter, or her husband, who has his own trucking business.

“I was always such a hard worker, then suddenly my life just stopped. I was only 46 at the time. It was upsetting, and it’s still upsetting to me,” she said. “But I feel very fortunate to be where I’m at now.”

She has returned to work part-time as a caregiver for an elderly couple. She believes in the path she has taken, wanting to let others know there are alternatives to conventional medicine.

“I was fortunate that God put someone into my life who recommended this path. I would not be here today if not for that,” she said. “My plan now is to stay on this path and see where it leads.”

Senior Content Writer

Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers.

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