You did what? Saying No to Conventional Cancer Treatment

Last updated date: 01:35:43 03-05-2016
Name: Hollie Quinn Length of Time with Disease:   1 Year
Age Cured:  28  -   Gender:  Female Length of Time in Remission:   13 Years
Country Healed in:  United States, Colorado Primary Therapy Used in Healing: Herbal Medicine Treatment
Disease: Breast Cancer Healing Practitioner:  Mederi Centre for Natural Healing
Areas Affected:  Breasts - Stage 2 Cure Scale :  Has been in remission since completiton of therapy

The following is an interview with Hollie and Patrick Quinn authors of the book “You Did What? Saying No to Conventional Cancer Treatment”.  In 2002, when Hollie was 28 years old and 38 weeks pregnant with her first child she discovered a lump in her breasts.  Her doctors confirmed the worst – stage 2 breast cancer. She was told that she would have to undergo very aggressive chemotherapy, radiation and 5 years of hormone therapy or she would die.  Hollie, with her husbands support, decided to pursue other options. This interview chronicles those options and her path back to health.

John: I was excited to see your book and to hear your story, 'cause this is exactly the kind of content that I wanted to get for the site.  Could you just describe what was happening in your life at the time?  I think you were newly-married and had  just found out that you had breast cancer…

Holly: Yeah, I was 27 years old, and I was 38 weeks pregnant with our first child, and, I discovered a lump. And within about 48 hours was diagnosed with breast cancer.

John:  Wow. And so you went to the doctor, and the doctor said there was nothing you could, or he said radiation?

Holly:  First they recommended surgery. So I did undergo a lumpectomy and sent on a biopsy. Based on the pathology results of my cancer, they recommended very aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, and five years of hormone therapy.

Some of the doctors said I would die if I did not do all of those things. Another physician, recommended additional extensive surgery. So I turned all of that down, and instead, did primarily a herbal medicine treatment protocol under the guidance of a clinic in Oregon.

It's called the Center for Natural Healing. The nice thing about it is you don't have to travel to the clinic. They do all their consultations remotely.

Patrick:  So really, in summarizing Holly's case, John, it really highlights a couple of problems with conventional breast cancer treatment in particular. One is, and we've since confirmed this, but, you know, at the time, it was just a fast and furious learning process on our part to try to figure all this out quickly.

There are really two problems. There's widespread over‑treatment of women, meaning treating lots and lots of women, at least tens of thousands a year, who don't need the treatments they're getting.

Then there's also a certain subcategory of women with breast cancer who are really only going to get sicker with the kind of conventional treatments that are in use. So Holly's cancer, you know, it wasn't late stage cancer. It wasn't early stage, either. It was kind of middle‑of‑the‑road.

As she mentioned, when they looked at the big picture, their treatment recommendations were very, very aggressive. They said that by definition, cancer in a 27‑year‑old woman is a very aggressive cancer. There are all these very specific diagnostic indicators, prognostic indicators that were negative, so six months of aggressive chemotherapy, a bunch of rounds of radiation therapy.

Again, she mentioned the one surgeon wanted to do additional surgery, pretty extensive surgery too, to scoop out all the lymph nodes in her right arm, and a little bit more, and then the five years of hormone treatment - Tamoxifen the drug.

The rest of the story fast forwarding, is that Holly rejected all of that, and she was right, and they were wrong. So, here we are. We're eight years out, and she's the picture of health. She never had to go through any of those harmful treatments, so that really is just a big, looming question mark for the breast cancer world.

You know, how many more times are they wrong like this?

John:  And when you say they are wrong, how do you define that they were wrong? Just in the fact that she was able to heal herself through these herbal medicine, or...?

Holly:  Well, they said I... [clears throat] some doctors said I would die if I did not follow those conventional treatment recommendations.

Patrick:  Yeah.

Holly:  But all of them said this was not a choice. This was not optional. This was absolutely necessary. I had to do all of this.

And when you're, you know, you're terrified with the cancer diagnosis, and you're sitting in a, a doctor's office, and you presume that they have all the knowledge that there is about how best to treat cancer, you know, you're taking this as truth, and unfortunately it's not the whole picture.

Patrick:  OK, so to add to that...

John:  Yeah.

Patrick:  We would break that answer down into two sub‑answers, if you will, to your question.

So, in the book, we argue that if, especially given how really, really toxic these treatments are, radiation and chemotherapy, in particular. And there's no denying that the treatments are a lot, lot better than they were 20 or 30 years ago, but that's not saying a whole lot.

20 and 30 years ago, and beyond, you might die within days of starting a chemo protocol. They were just like instantly fatal in many cases, so it's not the case now. They've really refined those drugs, and that's good news that's to be celebrated, but still, these are really toxic treatments.

So, we would say if your doctors tell you that you need toxic treatments, and you don't, that's a medical mistake. And then the second part is that if they give you these treatments and they don't work, then that's also a medical mistake.

Because what happens if you're treated for cancer with these aggressive conventional treatments and it doesn't work? You're actually worse off because your body is really, really damaged and the cancer comes back or it comes back and its worse, which is not uncommon as well.

So both of those cases are are real problems for conventional medicine to answer. In our book, we just come out and say, hey, those are medical mistakes and we can do better and obviously we think that Holly's treatment choices were a whole lot better.

John:  OK, so how did you come to these decisions, like to forgo the conventional treatments? I mean you were probably scared when the doctor diagnosed you. How did you make that decision not to go to the treatments that they were suggesting? What, what was your...I guess you guys had a lot of conversations.

Holly:  Yeah, it was definitely a process. It's not a decision made lightly nor quickly, so, from diagnosis to the actual final decision day was two months.

I was on maternity leave, Patrick took a leave of absence from work and we basically just researched day and night - books, journals, medical studies and then we would go in.

We met with dozens of different physicians, oncologists and so we do our research, come up with a question, go into the oncologist office, ask them the question, which would then lead to more questions that we go back to research it. It was a very intense full‑time [laughs] job.

Patrick:  And we should note that we were not at all inclined or aware of alternative medicine and not even eating healthy really. We live across the street from a Carl's Jr and a McDonald's and, you know, that sort of typified our diet - lots of sodas and all that.

I mean we're relatively fit people, but you know that's part of the story of health in western society. Even relatively fit people can be pretty sick under the covers.

So anyways, even just within seeking out information about, within the bounds of conventional medicine we interviewed a lot of different doctors. We got lots of different opinions, probably four or five different medical oncologists, the chemotherapy folks, several different radiation oncologists and probably three or four, at least, surgeons.

And so, we recommend that strongly when we give people our opinion on how they should proceed. Even if you're not going to try alternative medicine, then at the very least you should really get multiple opinions from the conventional physicians that you're talking to. We did that for sure in the extreme.

Then we took the very first step ever in our lives towards non-conventional medicine. So a neighbor recommended an oriental medicine doctor in Santa Monica where we live and we went to see her. And she pulled a book off her shelf, written by the founder of the clinic that ended up treating Holly. It was just a series of somewhat serendipitous steps that led us in the direction and it just went from there.

Holly:  Also, we should note and this is talked about in detail in the book that I was actually hours away from beginning chemotherapy. I was on the track to start all the conventional treatment recommendations because I didn't want to do nothing but my gut instinct was saying it wasn't the right way. It took us months to find a scientifically valid alternative.

John:  Yeah, so you must have come across quite a few alternative therapies.

Holly:  We did but we have [laughs] a pretty high standard. We really wanted to choose a treatment that was proven, that intuitively made sense. And yeah, it took us a couple of months to find it.

Unfortunately, a lot of these really valid alternative treatments are very much hidden from view. They're very hard to find.

John:  So how did you whittle them down? How did you decide to go to this herbalist group? Because that's a pretty big decision.

Holly:  It was the book that Patrick just mentioned a moment ago that was recommended to us. It's called "Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer". It was such a thorough, scientifically based book and that immediately made me want to call the clinic, which the author had founded. And I just, can't recommend it enough. [Laughs]

Patrick:  Yeah, we had just come out of months of really, really, really intense discussions, and in depth discussions with all sorts of conventional doctors. Then we spoke to Donnie Yance, the author of the book and the founder of the clinic. We've not met anyone who has a better understanding of the disease, cancer, than the folks at this clinic, and Donnie in particular. It was really eye opening.

For example, there are other good therapies out there, such as Gerson therapy which has cured a lot of people of very serious cancer, but the Gerson process seemed to be a little bit more diffuse. For example, we couldn't find one Gerson expert clinic whereas these folks, you know, they're not Gerson therapists, but they have their own model similar to Gerson therapy, and they're all concentrated at this clinic. They've been practicing for decades, I think it's over 20 years now, only really treating cancer. I mean, about 99 percent of what they treat is cancer. They've treated some other ailments too. They were just concentrated, and really in depth experts at what they do.

Holly:  The other thing that really drew us to this clinic is that they are by no means anti- conventional treatment. In fact, they do use chemotherapy in certain cases but they use it in a very different way, which we talk about in the book. They did not think it was necessary for my case, and certainly not necessary at that point in my disease.

It was something they said, really you should keep it in your back pocket, meaning you start with treatments that are going to do the least amount of harm, and then you pull in toxic treatments only if it's necessary down the line.

So that was another really important thing that, again, attracted us to the clinic. Their knowledge of conventional treatment - it was the same as sitting with an oncologist.

Patrick:  Or better, you might say.

Holly:  Mm‑hmm.

Patrick: The reverse, of course, is not true. Conventional oncologists don't know the first thing about anti angiogenesis, and nutritional starving of cancer via your diet, or the slew of other deeply scientific things that are out there in the non conventional medicine world but the reverse was true with these folks at this clinic.

They had really in depth information about all the chemotherapy cocktails, and the various drugs, and the pros and cons, and so forth. Holly mentioned another really important point, which is that at some point we realized that there was also very different overall decision-making logic applied. With conventional medicine it was, "Break out the big guns right away, and let them fly." And we thought, "Well, you know, Holly's 27 years old. She's got her whole life ahead of her."

This has become a prominent topic of discussion now because so many younger people are getting cancer, younger adults in particular.  A lot of thoughtful physicians are starting to step back and say, "Well, wait a minute, we don't have good information on what happens when you've given people massive doses of chemotherapy and radiation in their 20s, and in their 30s, you know, large numbers of people."

So that logical problem has played out.

The folks from the clinic were the exact opposite. They said, "Let's see if we can calm your body down. Let's see if we can get on top of the cancer," and of course there was always a lot of caution, very, very close monitoring. Holly had blood tests, and breast exams, and safe scans every six weeks at least, for like two years.

So a lot of very cautious watching and waiting, and then using smart, safe medicine to see if that's working. Like Holly said "break out the big guns later, only if necessary," and it wasn't necessary.

John:  But you said that she did it remotely, so how did she have all these tests done?

Holly: You have to have your own team of local physicians, and you have to find ones that will order tests that the clinic asks them to order. Some of them, the physicians, are ordering these tests anyway, so it's just a matter of sending over the results to the clinic to review and analyze.

John:  And how did you choose your team? Was it just your regular doctor?

Holly:  No, we interviewed multiple different oncologists, and decided on one. We thought about it as though we were interviewing physicians. Most people don't think about it in that way but we actively sat down with different doctors, and asked them a lot of questions, and then made a decision on who we wanted to work with.

The other side is whether they wanted to work with me. When I decided to turn down conventional treatment, there was at least one physician who wouldn't even return phone calls. She would have nothing more to do with me.

Patrick: For Holly's particular treatment protocol, this was easy, or relatively easier to pull off. For example, if you needed a physician to administer chemotherapy, if that were to have been part of the clinic's treatment protocol, that's a harder thing to find someone to do. The reason is because the clinic's in the lead and they have a very different way of administering chemotherapy.

The dosing and the timing are all very different. The drugs that are used, they do a lot of off label drug use, so it would be really hard to find an oncologist to participate in that kind of thing. They're used to being in charge.

Holly:  But you can find them.

Patrick:  Yeah, you can definitely find them. The oncologist we did find, the local oncologist who did exams and all that, who is just a wonderful person by the way was...

Holly:  She just basically agreed to monitor me.

Patrick:  Yeah, she was doing the physical exams, and then running a lot of blood tests. Then elsewhere we sought out imaging technology as well, to help with that, and that was really the whole process.

John:  Cool. Ok. Going back to your original condition when you experienced a lump in your breast were you feeling tired? Did you have any other symptoms?

Holly:  You know, I was 38 weeks pregnant, so, [laughs] it's kind of hard to sort out, what you're feeling at that point just because there's so many different late pregnancy symptoms that one experiences, including breast lumps. So initially my midwife, and OBGYN just figured it was a benign pregnancy related breast issue, but luckily they took it seriously, and did an ultrasound and biopsy right away.

John:  And did you ever experience any real symptoms of this?

Holly:  Um, of the cancer...

John:  Yeah.

Holly:  It's a hard question to answer because part of what the clinic does is that they address the underlying reasons why cancer developed in the first place. By rebalancing the body all my other health ailments that I had experienced for a couple decades completely disappeared. So you could argue that a lot of those health ailments were partly because there was cancer in my body.

So, again, hard question to answer. I can tell you my energy went through the roof when I began my treatment protocol under the clinic. I had a newborn baby and I had numerous other health problems completely disappear, including migraines, frequent GI problems, cysts, vertigo, just about everything went away.

John:  OK. Cool. And so now, on a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel? Do you feel perfect?

Holly:  I do. Ironically, I was much healthier after the cancer, after the treatment.

John:  That's great, and I guess it probably changed Patrick's life too?

Holly:  It has. Yeah. Nutritional science is a key component. He also completely changed his diet. Probably the best way to summarize it is we only eat whole foods, meaning non-processed foods, and as much organic as possible.

Patrick:  Yeah, we decided to go all in on this approach. So we changed our diet, we changed all of our personal care and home care products. We even changed a lot of how we live spiritually, and emotionally, and mentally - so we both really went all in.

We weren't going to have you know, Dad food, and Mom food, or, you know, Mom's food, and the kids' food, or something like that. So it's really transformed our whole life inside and out, and that's been one of the benefits for sure.

Holly:  Yeah. It's really about just reducing exposure to toxins.

John:  And so, when, when you say, "Spiritually," you mean stress, I'm guessing?

Patrick:  Yeah.

John:  Like reducing it?

Patrick:  Yeah.

Holly:  Yes, definitely.

Patrick:  When you look at the big picture of wellness, I mean, in western society, it's pretty clear. I mean, the writing's on the wall. There are certain things we absolutely have to start doing. We've got to have a better diet. Our diets are toxic. We have to reduce stress. We just live way too stressful lives.

In our research those things really leaped out, and so they're really required. In the book we argue that, especially if you have cancer, but even if you don't, it's really time to start paying attention to these things.

John:  Perfect. So I'm going to make an assumption that a lot of other people that go to this clinic haven't always been successful...What's the success rate?

Holly: I think they have different success rates depending on the cancer, but it's pretty spectacular because most of the patients that come to them are stage three, stage four. A lot of them have only been given a few weeks, or months to live but they have such a tremendous success rate with that population.

It really says a lot about their treatment approach. They're also very focused on quality of life, so even if they aren't able to extend the life long term, they are able to make the end of life more comfortable. We do highlight some key studies from the clinic in the book.

John:  What was the difference between you getting cured, Holly, and others who haven't been as successful?

Holly: I haven't talked to a lot of those that have not been successful, so that's a little bit of a hard question to answer. I can just tell you what I did do which was I committed to this 200 percent.

Once they prescribed the protocol, they can't make sure you take every single pill, and tincture, and substance that is prescribed, versus, when you're going into chemotherapy, that's a very easy thing to administer, and they know what you got when you got it.

So, I was 200 percent committed to the protocol, to the diet changes, to all the lifestyle changes and eventually, it took me a little bit of time, but I did look at it as a gift, to myself, to be able to live the rest of my life healthier...also a gift to my family.

Patrick: There's a really key distinction between Holly and others, even other patients at the clinic. As she mentioned, the majority of patients who come there, come there after many, many years of failed conventional treatments, and by that time, not only is their cancer usually worse, but, cancer will actually adapt to conventional treatments, it'll start blocking the mechanisms by which they function. So in a sense the cancer becomes stronger, or smarter, but of course, at the same time the body is getting sicker all the time, more and more depleted.

There is really a point of no return and the beautiful thing about Holly's situation is that it was close. We were this close, like she said, "A day away," to starting those treatments, but she never once started down that path of those very harmful conventional treatments.

Holly:  I was an easier patient for them, in some respects, because I hadn't done any damage to my body.

Patrick:  Yeah.

John:  And you were stage one, right?

Holly:  No, I was stage two.

John:  Stage two. Grade?

Patrick:  Stage two, grade two. There were a pair of tumors in the breast instead of one, and technically she was lymph node positive. Beyond that, there were some other diagnostic indicators, or prognostic indicators that were negative

Holly:  That were not good.

Patrick:  Yeah.

Holly:  That what he means when he says negative.

Patrick:  For her prognosis, right.

Holly:  Again, any time you have cancer in a young person, it's almost always a more aggressive cancer.

John:  Great. So, I'm on to my last question. Do you have any words of wisdom, or thoughts on healing that might help other people?

Holly:  I have lots. [laughs] A couple of things that, that come to mind are how important it is to get a hold of the fear, and just stay calm especially during that decision making process because when you're making really life altering decisions in the state of panic and fear, you can make some mistakes.

So trying to find that, that state of calm, and surrounding yourself with people that can assist with that, I think, is so important.

Then the second thing is really to assemble a good team of practitioners on both sides of the fence, so to speak, meaning conventional, and non conventional, and then explicitly choose who you want to lead your treatment.

And if you end up primarily going with conventional treatment to make sure that you do still address the underlying reasons why the cancer developed in the first place. Usually that does require having an alternative practitioner on your team.

Patrick:  Yeah. One of the ways we like to summarize the story, this is really a story about integrated medicine. The future is one of integrated medicine, integrating all the wisdom that we've learned over, say, the last 5,000 years or so.

Conventional medicine, by definition, is not complete. It's very, very good at certain things that it does, and when you need those tools, and when they're the right tools for the job they're pretty outstanding but they're not the whole picture.

And in particular, as Holly just mentioned, and as we talk over and over again about, you really need to get to the root causes, which is diet and stress and the overall balance of your body. So that really means putting together a complete team to look at the whole picture, and that's really the best way to get well.

John:  That's great. Well, thank you guys so much. I'm going to recommend that everybody get the book and I'll actually post that little video again underneath the story when I get it posted.

Holly:  Great. Thank you.

Patrick:  Yeah, that's great. We really appreciate you having us, John.

John:  Oh, that was perfect. Thank you so much.

Patrick:  Take care.

Holly:  OK, take care.

John:  OK, bye.

Recommended Reading:

Hollie and Patrick Quinn are the authors of “You Did What? Saying No to Conventional Cancer Treatment” which details Hollie’s journey to health in more detail. Here is a quote from a review found on Amazon regarding the book:

“These young authors have done a great services to the world by sharing their story and their exact steps, including how they came to such a brave decision, the name and phone number of their treating clinic, their favorite cookbook, and lifestyle changes, that brought Hollie (the new mother with cancer at the center of this story) back to health and living cancer-free.”

Also recommended reading is the following book “Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer” by Donald R. Yance, Jr., C.N., M.H., A.H.G., with Arlene Valentine. This is the book that influenced Hollie and Patrick.

Recommend Links:

Mederi Centre for Natural Healing:


Posted by John McComb on May 03 2016 01:35

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