Corinna Borden was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (a cancer of the immune system) at the young age of 29. After she finished all of her chemotherapy treatments, they found “a “residual hot spot” near the esophagus, which could not be biopsied because it was too close to her vena cava, the major vein in the body. “After trying a bone marrow transplant and a clinical trial, her blood count dropped so low she had to stop for risk of infection. This is when she turned to a holistic option in Mexico for treating cancer that is illegal in the US despite her physician husband’s wishes. Today at 34, she is alive, and it makes you wonder why holistic options in treating cancer are so discouraged, especially considering I knew someone who died from a side effect she suffered while undergoing conventional cancer treatments. I once spoke to a physician that utilizes holistic cancer treatments. He explained the biochemical mechanisms by which the holistic treatment he uses work, and they completely made sense. Unfortunately, he cannot advertise that he does this for fear that is would not go over well with the medical board despite the fact he practices in a state that supports physicians treating patients holistically. In some states they have made it illegal to treat cancer patients by any means other than the traditional routes. I understand the laws and regulations are meant to protect people, however, shouldn’t the patient have some sort of say in how they choose to fight death? Perhaps more lives could be saved if holistic therapies were accepted for used in conjunction with conventional medicine, in the very least when conventional options are failing. There are some states that protect patient access to alternative therapies from licensed physicians including Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. Click here to read about specific rights allowed to patients in regard to alternative therapies in Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Louisiana, and South Dakota.
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES | ABC News – Nov 1, 2011
The first signs of what would turn out to be a virulent cancer began at Christmas, when newlywed Corinna Borden was visiting family, hundreds of miles away from her husband. In bed that night, an intense pain welled up under her right breast. She was only 29.
She called her husband Walter, a doctor finishing his residency in Michigan, and he asked a few diagnostic questions — “Do you have a fever and did you vomit?” — then said it was likely a gall bladder problem.
Borden took an Advil and turned to a homeopathic remedy, a cleanse that involved drinking Epsom salts with grapefruit juice, then a big glass of olive oil, followed by apple juice.
After months of tests that baffled an array of doctors, Borden was diagnosed with stage-four Hodgkin’s lymphoma and she began a dual battle to stay alive and to keep her one-year marriage intact.
Her husband, Dr. Walter Parker, was committed to Western medicine. Borden embarked on a lonely journey to heal herself.
Borden, now 34, said the desire to write a book and its title, “I Dreamt of Sausage,” came in a dream, but she writes in her postscript that the book is more than a memoir that it’s a “story about recognizing the voices in your head and knowing which ones to listen to.”
Corinne Borden was diagnosed with cancer at 29 and chose holistic treatment, despite the fears of her husband, Walter Parker, who is a medical doctor.
The couple had dated for five years before they were married and Parker was used to her self-medicating through holistic methods. Borden’s mother left a career with the World Bank in Washington, D.C., to go into energy healing.
“I learned to create a mantra around the cancer,” said Borden. “I turned my mindset around. Faith in miracles happens every day.”
Parker, now 36, said that he was used to his wife’s herbal “self-medicating.”
“But that was nothing in my eyes compared to a cancer diagnosis,” he said. “That’s the way I am trained. You go with the evidence, what people have learned works.”
Borden’s pain escalated after she returned to their new home in Ann Arbor, Mich., far from the comfort of family and friends in Washington, D.C..
For weeks, while Parker was working marathon shifts at the hospital, she would clench a pillow against her stomach sobbing, until the Vicodin she was popping like candy kicked in.
“I can understand addiction to pain killers,” she said. “Living with pain you become irrational.”
On their first anniversary, they had to leave a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant. Borden says she ended up in fetal position waiting for the drugs to kick in and kill the pain of a “hot poker” in her belly.
“This is the pain makes me want to crawl out of my skin,” she writes.
Parker was baffled by his wife’s pain.
“As much as medical school teaches you, there is so much depth and nuance that I had a lack of understanding about what was going on,” he said. “I was overworked and frustrated. I just felt completely like I couldn’t do anything to help.”
After numerous visits to specialists, Borden was eventually diagnosed by her general practitioner who found the cancer.
“To be honest, it was kind of a relief to know what I was dealing with after months of not knowing,” she said. But the word “cancer” reverberated in her head and she was paralyzed with fear.
The couple’s plans to get pregnant were dashed with the diagnosis and cancer treatments stopped their sex life cold.
started six weeks of chemotherapy, but her husband was rarely around to support her.
“He would go to work at 6 in the morning and come home at 10 at night,” she said. “We’d have a half-hour conversation and sometimes, he’d fall asleep. I would say, ‘I don’t want to love and he’d be sleeping. I was so angry at him — not just at him but at the hospital for offering choices that take away my fertility and my quality of life.
“They had stolen my husband and my health,” Borden said. “It was like a double whammy.
“I felt Walter was choosing his job over taking care of me,” she said. “I felt all alone.”
While she endured conventional therapy, Borden juggled energy healing, nutritional supplements, a macrobiotic diet and acupuncture. One energy therapist asked her to trace her emotions: “Whenever you’re angry, resentful, full of self-hatred or unhappy — all of those emotions feed into your nervous system and send your body conflicting messages,” he told her.
Parker resented the philosophy that implied the cancer was her fault and she didn’t “try hard enough” to fix her body.
But Borden didn’t want to be a “passive recipient of a cure,” relying only on what she saw as the limited vision of her doctors.