Stage 4 Colon Cancer Thriver and Mistletoe Therapy! 😊
A while back I got to speak with Ivelisse Page about her story and now I'm excited to share it with you! 😁 Ivelisse is an 11-year survivor of stage 4 colon cancer who overcame a less than 8% chance of long-term survival and eventually co-founded the beloved nonprofit called Believe Big in 2011!!
Ivelisse had an extensive family history of colon cancer - her father died of colon cancer at age 39, her father's mother had it and half of her grandmother's siblings had it. Despite getting regular colonoscopies every 5 years for prevention, 3 years after her last colonoscopy and after a year of extreme fatigue, Ivelisse ended up in the emergency room with severe anemia; not long after that she was found to have colon cancer. The cancer had already spread to her liver, making it stage 4. Ivelisse was shocked by her diagnosis but later realized that a few factors were likely to have contributed:
1) She had an inherited condition called Lynch Syndrome in which colon cancer can grow more than 3 times as quickly as colon cancer in those who don't have the condition
2) She had a mutated MTHFR gene which made it harder for her body to detoxify
3) She had received 9 vaccinations within 2 months for an overseas missions trip a year prior to her diagnosis
Even though Ivelisse was diagnosed with the disease at the same age as her dad was when he was diagnosed and she was afraid of having the same outcome, she and her husband clung to their faith and earnestly prayed that God would guide them, give them wisdom and grant her healing. Jimmy, Ivelisse's husband, came up with this prayer that she prayed over and over again when she became afraid: I Will Have No Fear.
Ivelisse tweaked her diet, started taking supplements and consulted with several different doctors on what she should do. The conventional doctors she met with recommended chemotherapy and radiation; however, Ivelisse asked to clarify the benefit of taking chemotherapy treatment. The doctor she spoke with said that with treatment (who thought at the time that she was at stage 3), she would have a 66% chance of surviving and without treatment she'd have a 57% chance of surviving. Like me at my stage 4 diagnosis, Ivelisse didn't want to pursue treatments with serious deleterious side effects if it could only give her a small benefit (just a 9% increase in her chance of surviving).
Luckily for her, Ivelisse met with another doctor who had also been trained in natural medicine at a cancer center in Switzerland. This doctor, Dr. Hinderberger, recommended that Ivelisse try mistletoe therapy, which was a natural substance that had been shown to attack cancer cells but not healthy cells, lower tumor-related pain, increase energy, improve mood and strengthen the body. With no down side to the treatment besides a mild fever and mild redness at the injection site, Ivelisse began subcutaneous injections three times per week, two weeks before having surgery. She also took thymus, cimetidine and homeopathic remedies. Ivelisse's cancer was so aggressive that her doctor said she had a 75% chance that two weeks post-surgery the cancer would have voraciously re-grown and shown up on her scan. But amazingly, since her last surgery she has never had any sign of cancer again!!
01:10 Ivelisse's father's history of colon cancer - dad, grandma and grandma's siblings.
5-yr colonoscopy didn't prevent her cancer.
Diagnosed the same age as her dad.
Had colonoscopy 3 years before her diagnosis and didn't have typical symptoms but took 3 hour naps each day
4:25 Thought maybe it was lyme, fibromyalgia.
Had colonoscopy to rule out colon cancer
5:00 1st had colon resected
1/28 lymph nodes positive
It was in her liver (stage 4)
8% chance of surviving
Chemo - "I'm not going to go down sick" but enjoy her time left
Researched and prayed a lot
"We could do everything right and you could die; you could do everything wrong and live." - Jimmy, her husband
Prayed, "Give me what I need for today and wisdom beyond my years"
Saw Dr. Hinderberger who was an MD & trained in natural medicine; he introduced her to mistletoe. He studied at a cancer center in Switzerland
She had started on supplements and further tweaked her diet but Dr. H said she need something to attack the cells, that's where mistletoe comes in
9:38 Mistletoe attacks the cancer cells, but not good cells, lower tumor related pain, Increase energy and mood and strengthen her body, but may cause a fever
Had 2 weeks prior to liver surgery
At post-op appointment she asked the chance of the cancer showing up on her scan? He said there's a 25% chance that nothing will show up. 75% chance that it will pop up again and you'll have new cancer growth (2 weeks after surgery)
Her scan showed no cancer. Had follow-up scans every three months, then every 6 months, then once per year.
There has never been any evidence of disease since!!!
12:15 How long before her stage 4 diagnosis after she experienced symptoms? She had fatigue and numbness one year prior. Her face was yellowed also. Likely because her hematocrit levels were so low.
13:50 How did she get cancer? One year before she had gone on a missions trip to Africa and was required to have 9 immunizations to go (she got them within 2 months). She has had genetic testing and she has the MTHFR mutation which puts her at a disadvantage to detox.
16:15 Why Ivelisse didn't choose to do chemo and radiation? She interviewed 3 oncologists and wanted someone who would be on her side.
"What are my chances of surviving with chemotherapy? And what are my chances of surviving if I did nothing?" Diet and lifestyle don't play a factor in their research and findings. She only had one lymph node
What floored her: They offered the same treatments they gave her dad!!! He said with all things considered, with chemo at stage 3 you have a 66% chance of survival… 57% [without doing chemo].
21:10 Any health scares? No. The greatest thing you can do is be your own advocate. She puts appointments in her calendar. She puts colonoscopy yearly. She has Lynch syndrome, which enables the cancer to grow within 36 months.
22:20 She advocates for being educated. She had a colonoscopy and they found a polyp.
One of her natural physicians said that she had had a very emotional year (moving to Colorado
She gave her a special prep for her next colonoscopies.
24:30 It takes a whole year for the microbiome to re-establish after a colonoscopy prep.
27:08 She found out she had Lynch syndrome during her treatment at Johns Hopkins. She also had a family history of it and they tested it
Start get colonoscopies at 27 years old. With Lynch syndrome 50% of a person's children will have the gene as well.
29:50 Did she detox from vaccines? She has been careful moving forward with her kids' vaccines. She also has an infrared sauna which is phenomenal. She uses it 3 times per week. Sunlighten - Believe series. She also believes mistletoe has helped her body stay strong and detoxify.
32:00 Does she take extra supplements for MTHFR mutation? No, she thinks the sauna helps and she took blood work
Her environmental toxicity level is negligible, 0. They're careful about their home products, have put in water and air filters in her house. Pharmaceuticals, arsenic, etc. can be found in water supply
Pure Effect Filters - $1500. Dr. Nasha Winters recommended them too. Clean enough to drink! Like a Berkey filter for the home.
34:30 She stepped away from the day to day activities with Believe Big so she could focus in on the clinical trial and patient care and the Believe Big Institute of Health, a full licensed research cancer hospital. Stage of the art, green facility, enabling the best of modern science and technology and ancient therapies and wisdom from around the world.
Feel like everyone has to piece meal everything. Want to have everything under one roof where patients could get everything they need - individualized and data driven, helping a person know that they're getting the best care possible. They'll also have a wellness arm attached to it! :) To show deficiencies and prevent switches from turning on or off. To get evaluated and have a protocol to go by.
37:10 The best way to treat cancer is to prevent it.
37:30 They're finalizing all the aspects but there will be a wet area, dry area, eventually it will be inpatient and organic, biodynamic food will be grown on their own land and served to the patients!
Cooking classes offered.
They want to bridge the conventional and alternative arms of cancer treatment.
People doing conventional treatments will be able to go.
40:07 Data-driven precision medicine. Dr. Nasha Winters has been working for 27 years and they'll start with her data and go from there. Will have doctors with different
Dr. Winters will have medical in
Will have algorithmic intelligence.
Effi Holokos - pharmacist, herbalist and researcher
Debbi Lee will come with business experience and how medicine will impact the patients.
Jimmy will come with the wellness side with his fitness and wellness facilities experience.
42:30 God uses the ordinary and we get to be part of His story.
42:50 The mistletoe clinical trial. Unless a clinical trial is done on a substance the substance can't be used mainstream. A doctor can be sued for recommending something other than chemo, surgery or radiation because it's not the standard of care. Most clinical trials are funded by pharmaceutical companies. Mistletoe can't be patented so pharmaceutical companies can't make money off of it and won't back its research.
44:30 She's not against conventional medicine at all because it is needed, for example, antibiotics when we need them.
44:53 This got started when she spoke to her oncologist who was a lead researcher at Johns Hopkins who said let's talk about this. "It's just not that easy, Ivelise." Thus started the research funding with runs and dinners, etc. They raised $500,000 so the mistletoe trial could get started. The FDA approved of them to do it on Christmas Eve that year. Hopkins looked at the protocol, which was designed by researchers from different parts of the world.
Changed it to a subcutaneous to intravenous administration.
When God sets something into place, no one can stop His plans.
If anyone is interested in participating, you can go to BelieveBig.org to get more information on eligibility.
48:50 They're beginning to discuss phase 2 but they need to raise the funds for it.
49:18 Phase 1 is safety and efficacy - what's the tolerable dose to use in Phase 2.
All tumor types can participate in phase 1. There will be one tumor type in Phase 2.
50:10 BelieveBig.org/clinicaltrial to get additional information to participate. (Only at Johns Hopkins) Others can use mistletoe at other places through other doctors. But right now it's not the standard of care and insurance doesn't cover mistletoe therapy.
Mistletoe is listed under the homeopathic pharmacopoeia. Natural medicine physicians are able to prescribe it off-label when they believe it will help a patient in the United States.
Ivelisse used it subcutaneously but now it's used more IV because it helps people more quickly.
Ivelisse did the therapy 3 times per week and she could have stopped after three years but she still takes it twice per week and she still gets a reaction. Has had to increase her dosage over the years.
Fall of 2020 is the 100th anniversary of mistletoe therapy. Hundreds of clinical trials are being done but none have been in the United States before. It helps high risk patients with the BRCA gene.
54:40 She administers it herself. She never really got fevers from it, maybe a low grade fever but when she's feeling under the weather or been run down.
Then she gets a stronger reaction.
57:15 How can people pray for her and Believe Big? Needs wisdom in the days ahead. Last year they impacted over 180,000 and there is an increased need for grants. Can go on a run and raise money for them. People can donate online. Follow them on Instagram, @BelieveBig.
Everything is provided free for patients. It broke her heart to see people sitting by themselves. They can get a free call with an advocate.