On Cancer Cures, Celebrity Billionaires, and Cute Puppies
Especially Cute Puppies
"Hey guys! Here's a cancer treatment no one knows about that could have saved tens of millions of lives over the past 60 years!" 70 likes.
"Hey guys, here's a meme of Elon Musk in a Karen wig!" 70 likes.
About 8 years ago on Facebook, my late husband — who was an electrical engineer — wryly commented that perhaps in his quest for funding development of E-beam technology he would begin to litter his powerpoint presentations with cute puppy pictures to get more attention. After all, that’s what worked on Facebook at the time. He was particularly fond of Samoyeds.
Speaking of my late husband Robb, a commenter stopped by on my last post and asked,
I lost my stepdad to glioblastoma. It was quick, about a year and a half. My close friend just lost her dad to the same thing, again it happened super fast, less than two years. Given the aggressive malignant nature of glioblastoma, do you think Coley's can have an effect? Also, given the uptick in out-of-the-blue cancers this past year (especially if they are spike shot induced), what is the likelihood of Coley's working for jabbed cancer patients?
I responded, but decided to edit that comment here with further details:
Yes. My husband was treated with Coley's toxins, and died of glioblastoma as well. In time, I'll make many more posts about it. These are the personal stories I want to weave into a book, but they take more emotional energy and editing than writing the funny or the scientific stuff.
Although my husband Robb was not cured, he did have a very good quality of life for a year, which is the median survival of someone with glioblastoma. Especially for his age. He was 60. Without surgery they predicted he'd have been gone in 2 months. Without conventional treatment, no more than 6.
My personal experience with this is that you sort of get one chance with glioblastoma to get it under control because once it gets too large you need higher levels of corticosteroids that keep edema under control in the limited space you have in the brain (!) but the catch 22 with steroids is that they suppress the immune response you need to defeat the cancer.
Once it recurs it is generally multifocal and the battle is lost at that point. Interestingly, in my husband’s case, there was some localized immune memory in the original location of the tumor where there was no recurrence at all on MRI, after he’d done about 4 months of Coley’s immunotherapy, but there were then three other tumors that rapidly appeared on MRI during the 6 weeks he decided he was tired of doing Coley’s injections.
The therapy wasn’t difficult on him like it is for many patients, but Robb also had a short attention span and he was stubborn. ;)
I’m not sure that Coley’s would have been an ultimate cure for my husband. Sometimes the therapy does stop working. But Dr. Bill Coley’s own experience was that it needed to be continued several times a week for up to 6 months to produce a complete durable response. Robb did it for 4 months.
Nevertheless, his experience was remarkable compared to most glioblastoma patients. The neurosurgeon’s secretary said, “In 15 years I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The neurosurgeon was quite fatalistic about the diagnosis and flatly told Robb she herself would undergo neither surgery nor treatment for this cancer.
We both believed what she insinuated about the uselessness of conventional therapy, and I’d already been through the wringer as a child with my mother experiencing four years of the human meat grinder known as conventional oncology in the 1980s. But I wasn’t prepared to lose my husband in two months.
I rallied every friend I could think of to beg Robb to do the surgery for my sake, and then in a very short time period I looked for an immunotherapy that might work that would allow him to bypass conventional therapy, as that would be a hurdle he’d have to jump first in order to get into an immunotherapy clinical trial in the US.
That made no sense to me. I didn’t think he should, in the metaphorical words of George H.W. Bush, “abandon free market principles in order to save the free market.” (Destroy the immune system in order to save it.)
Robb never did any conventional treatment after the surgery at all, and never had a US oncologist. We did, however, continue with a few visits to Robb’s neurosurgeon, who was absolutely thrilled to see him alive and improved when we returned from Mexico after 4 months.
Several months after Robb’s death, the neurosurgeon wrote me a card to tell me that observing our experience had changed her. Here’s the proof: an email from an Air Force Colonel who was a fellow patient of Robb’s at the clinic. This is the most gratifying email I will probably ever receive:
I have blocked out the name of the clinic because they like to keep a low profile due to what I hope are ever more obvious reasons to people in the covid era. It is not a large clinic with gobs of money and an army of lawyers behind it.
Approximately three weeks before my husband died on Nov. 18, 2014, just the day before his second surgery and about a year after he had his first seizure, he cut down 7 trees in the backyard:
I definitely credit the treatment for that, though he did have a pretty incredible ability to maintain homeostasis compared to other people. After the second surgery, we just could not control the swelling. I remained friends with Robb’s neurosurgeon on Facebook from 2014 until I deleted my Facebook account in Sept. 2021.
A few months after Robb died, I learned of an exceedingly interesting result where preconditioning the immune system with a tetanus vaccine before dendritic cell therapy led to long-term survival for some.
Sadly, it was too late for Robb, and devastating to learn that if I’d had just one more piece of the puzzle the year before, he might have lived.
But here is something important to remember. Nobody lives forever. All that each of us gets when we try to extend our lives with medicine or good health, is a little more quality time here on Planet Earth.
The Old Air Force Colonel was right. Our loved ones will live on in our memories, as long as we ourselves live.
Here’s a fun thirty second video! Robb starring in an HP commercial in 1989.
He was joyous like that til the damn near end. And that is what really matters.
P.S. If you got all the way through this and thought, “What the hell is Coley’s?” then you really need to read this seminal article of mine on Coley’s toxins. So far it’s the most important thing I’ve written on Substack, so please don’t miss it.