Pancreatic Cancer Miracle, Chris Joseph! 😊
I love stories like Chris' - overcoming hopelessness and sickness to be able to thrive and get his life and health back! Side note, he has also been part of some pretty cool things along the way, like helping to restore New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 through sponsoring musicians (see the interview for more about that)!
- embracing love and support
- following his intuition
- taking charge of his health (including researching)
- having strong reasons for living
- releasing suppressed emotions
Chris also did a combination of conventional and alternative treatments: chemotherapy (which he started and stopped when he felt extremely ill); alternative treatments including mistletoe injections, glutathione, ozone, high dose vitamin C, hyperthermia and laetrile; and a 2-year course of the conventional immunotherapy Keytruda. He also changed his diet, though not quite radically enough to be considered under the Radical Remission factors, by reducing sugar. Research suggests that genetic mutations (both the number and kind of mutation) influence the duration of survival when a person is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, however Chris is unaware of the mutation status of the genes in his tumor so it's unknown what role that played in his situation.
You can find the show notes from the interview and the interview link at my blog post.
That's Chris' amazing story, right? But what else is common in "spontaneous" remissions from pancreatic cancer? If you're interested, check out my latest research updated today on my website to find out more (I don't want to make this email too long). 😊
2:40 Diagnosis was 10/31/20 - 4 years ago!
Minor stomach discomfort lingering for several weeks. Depressed but didn't have a reason to be depressed. It was stunningly scary and devastating, it was like his world fell apart.
Doctors are not gods. It was a mistake that almost killed him to follow blindly his doctor. His doctor misdiagnosed him and gave him a chemo that made him worse (he had a certain type of pancreatic cancer that was unresponsive to it).
4:52 He thought he was going to die of the chemo. March 2017 he quit chemo. It opened up a world of alternatives. It taught him to question the doctors. Doctors do their best but they make mistakes. If they're not curious and thinking critically he doesn't want a doctor like that who is close-minded.
6:05 If he could go back he would have researched his doctor before. He was so afraid he didn't question the doctor. His doctor would get offended when he asked him questions.
7:21 His cancer had grown after his first chemo. His second type of chemo was much more difficult. Chemo is not a smart bomb - it can kill cancer cells but also healthy cells. He would not do chemotherapy again if he got cancer again, but he doesn't recommend the same for others.
9:10 What changed his mind was March 2017 he thought he was going to die when he wwent to the ER. It was anxiety and fear talking in his head but that was the point where he said he couldn't do chemo anymore. He was supposed to go the next day but he decided not to go.
10:05 His anxiety's role in his treatment? Good and bad… His anxiety is less now but he and others always have some amount of fear that the cancer could come back any time. It propelled him to take charge of his own health care.
11:38 Did his treatment cause increased anxiety? He thinks it did. Your body feels so lowsy and his oncologist wanted him to take pain pills which weren't for him - they made him more depressed and anxious. He was taking an anti-anxiety drug which helped until he stopped taking it and his anxiety went off the charts with withdrawal. He's the guy who gets all the side effects on the warning labels on drugs.
13:05 His first thoughts after he quit chemo? He started researching and knew he didn't want to die. He had an acquaintance who went to a facility in Germany. He looked there, Mexico and his regular doctor in LA is an osteopath who practices both western and natural medicine. She gave him some non-western medicine - in late March he got mistletoe, glutathione, ozone, vitamin C. It had a really good effect on making his body and mind feel better. He felt he was starting on the healing process.
14:45 He decided to go to Germany to get treatment there. SC dendritic stem cell, hyperthermia (heat therapy), laetrile, vitamin C - some overlapping what he was doing in LA. He was feeling healthier than he had in a few months. May 2017 he got back and the FDA approved Keytruda for his rare type of pancreatic cancer. He did 2 years of Keytruda ending in May 2019. He's a mix of the good part of non western medicine and the better part of western medicine.
16:33 How he felt going to Germany? The thought of going to Germany was scary. He had a recurring thought that he wasn't going to survive the trip. His body was still beaten up from chemo 1.5 months prior. He used the extra money fundraised to have extra people go with him to Germany. He was rarely alone and was outpatient. Scary and exciting to be there. Didn't speak German, had never been there before. He had some time for sightseeing. Scary being in another country still knowing he had a deadly form of cancer. There is no guarantee of successful outcomes.
19:00 Christmas 2016 he was not in a good mental state. He was first grateful to be with his sons, then scared he wouldn't be there next year, then convinced he wouldn't be there next year. Knowing what he knows now he would've done something differently. Broke down on his knees in tears in the bathroom. But he couldn't have done anything differently at the time. It makes what is going on now that much more rich and delightful.
21:10 My grandma walks in! 🤣
22:00 He was not in denial but amplified the negative. We are coming up on the holiday season. What would he recommend for people getting diagnosed now?
23:15 He's always been a crier. Crying IS ok for men and boys! He truly thinks it helped him! Ask lots of questions. Bring someone with you to the doctor's office to take notes, ask questions. Get 2nd, 3rd opinions. Western medicine is good but has its limitations. Explore alternatives. He learned to do this after a few months. Get a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. There's before cancer and after cancer.
25:10 What was it like getting treatments in Germany? Painless infusions. Hyperthermia, applying heat to the tumor. Infusio in Frankfurt, Germany. They were great and knew how to treat people. Knew that they were all scared. Treated like a king! Great compared to his experience in the US. It's important to have great people you're working with.
26:40 What led him to trying immunotherapy? (Keytruda) His doctor in Germany wanted him to try it, his GP in LA, an oncologist wanted him to. To him he did natural and western medicine immunotherapies. If three people tell you something - it seems like a good thing to do. The side effects seemed to be minimal; and he had few side effects, nothing like the chemo he had before. He got some itchy skin and that was the worst for him. He was working full-time at the time. Immunotherapy makes more sense than radiation, chemo and surgery. In addition to exercising, connecting with other humans, nutrition and showing your emotions, it's a much more holistic approach to getting better. It's a lifelong commitment. It all contributes to being healthier.
30:20 If we're just waiting for a vaccine or treatment for COVID, that's a really bad wellness program - eat healthier, exercise, take supplements.
31:05 He tried to eat healthy before cancer but he consulted with a lot of nutritionists after and he got such different opinions and he was frustrated and angry about it. He didn't cook either so he had to do what he could to eat much healthier. All agreed on reducing sugar so he became much more conscious of reducing sugar in his diet. His doctor in Germany knew the place he stayed at was across the street from a bakery. His doctor said that part of life is enjoying life. If you eat something like that sparingly it's ok, you don't have to be perfect. He said do better and do the best you can. It took a lot of pressure off of him.
34:20 Nutrition is good not just for cancer but also COVID and other illnesses. He has a responsibility to himself and everyone around him to stay healthy.
35:13 What his scans showed? They started showing a gradual reduction in about September 2017. He had one in June and September. The results of Germany and the western medicine both helped, he thinks. It was great to show that there was a slight reduction! He was always scared but overall there was a 33% reduction! There's something still in his body now but it could be dead tissue. It's not growing or spreading.
37:00 Dr. Nasha Winters is a mentor to a doctor who he thinks saved his life. He thinks she's a hero.
37:40 How is he approaching his health maintenance now? A) He's moving his body a couple hours a day every day. Exercise bike, pilates machine, pool, walks on the beach daily 45 minutes, yoga. He figures he has to keep moving (like a shark). It makes him feel better. In COVID it also gets him out of the house, which he thinks is really important for people these days.
39:30 Everyone has to find their own journey. His book isn't a medical advice book. He tells his story and realized his story gives hope to people. Exercise, supplements, etc. can be done while getting western medicine treatments.
41:20 Crying is a gift. It helps us release.
42:18 Embracing support is important. At the time when you're living with cancer and talking and writing about living with cancer, for him, he got tired of it. In terms of support system, he's kind of a loner, which is not a great thing when you have a potentially deadly disease. 4 years ago he realized he was too afraid of being alone, which he didn't have before. His kids were 14 and 12 at the time. His gf and ex-wife, good friends and brothers were a critical part of his recovery. He had to change his mindset to embrace their support because it wasn't natural to him. He used to enjoy his aloneness a lot more before. It became easy to see that connecting with people and accepting their love and loving them was an integral part of his journey, without question.
45:45 Isolation and not hugging, not having face to face conversations takes a toll. Sometimes you don't know what you're missing out on.
46:40 He's always happy to talk to people by phone, text, email, Facebook message to tell his story. He's giving away his book to a lot of people to those who can't afford it. LifeisaRideBook.com - find him on FB and Instagram. He is willing to send a book to anyone.
47:55 The driving force to sharing his story? He had people in his life who kept him alive or helped keep him alive. Brad Willis who wrote the foreword of his book said that if he survived this that he'd probably write a book and pay it forward. He wants to be hope the same way other people were hope for him. We're all here to serve a purpose if we can find it and if we can be of service to people… If he can have the last third of his life being of service to others it would be a great way to spend that.
49:50 Threadheads idea… He crowdfunded for his musician friends before crowdfunding was a thing. ThreadHead came together in 2007 after Hurricane Katrina. They met at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. They wanted to crowdfund and turned into a 501c3 - they've raised 3/4 million dollars that's funded dozens and dozens of records.
52:30 Life is a Ride is Paul Sanchez's title song of his album. Chris came up with some lyrics and sent them to him. Sometimes you can find blessings when you have no idea you're going to find blessings. He was cringing and so embarrassed to send a verse he came up with to Paul but it worked out great. The companion to his book, Life is a Ride. There were a bunch of articles that came out about what they were doing with the foundation. There was some press about it. Definitely wishes he didn't have to go through the bad stuff but there have been so many great things that have gone with it.
55:45 How can we pray for him? It's bigger than he. He would like for us to pray for peace, tolerance, more love, gratitude, sharing, being good people. We could all improve in that area. With everything going on in our country we could all pray for that. Connecting with good people is where it is all going to start.