Lisa Gardner – New Hampshire
My name is Lisa Gardner. I am a 46-year-old wife, mother, and special education para-educator. February 28, 2018, I was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. The 10 cm tumor was growing in my upper stomach and into my esophagus. The cancer had spread to 4 major lymph nodes around my aorta, making my case inoperable. Doctors had very low expectations, giving me a year maybe two to live, and they clearly stated that stage 4 stomach cancer patients do not live longer than five years once diagnosed. A little over a year later with lots of prayers, dietary changes, chemotherapy, cryotherapy, and immunotherapy, my last PET scan on March 27, 2019, showed no sign of disease!
My first thought for treatment was surgery. Any chance of recovery, which I had researched, was a result of total stomach removal. I was unable to do so because the cancer had already gone outside of my stomach and into my lymph nodes around my aorta, but I believe God had a new recovery plan for me to heal. I prayed nonstop and asked friends, family, coworkers, and local churches to also pray for my healing.
I immediately made dietary changes to try to heal my body. I cut out sugar and acid-causing foods, added carrot juice, made lots of healthy smoothies, and ate only small amounts of fish and chicken. I also incorporated other cancer-fighting foods, dietary herbs, and supplements. This really helped to relieve my pain right away. I had no more acid reflux, and my level of discomfort was to a minimum. I eventually decided to eat only a plant-based diet without refined sugar. Nutrition was a very important part of the healing process.
Medically, I was put on chemotherapy after being declined for immunotherapy because it was considered a second-line treatment in the medical insurance world. The cancer stabilized for a bit, but my health began to deteriorate due to my inability to eat and immune suppression. After five months, the chemotherapy stopped working, and the cancer came back more than 75 percent. I now weighed 101 pounds, could barely eat due to the blockage and was fading fast. Thank God my doctor called my insurance company and had my immunotherapy, Ketruda, approved in September 2018.
At the same time, my doctor continued to proceed to refer me to the Gastro department to have a stent put in to allow food to make its way through my esophagus and into my stomach. Luckily for me, instead of the stent, Gastro had a new treatment to freeze tumors out of the esophagus and stomach area through cryotherapy. It made a world of difference. I could then eat with little trouble. My health was now improving every day, and I gained back 25 pounds. I was even able to start exercising to improve my health as well. Finally, after a little over a year, my last PET scan on May 27, 2019, revealed no evidence of cancer! I thank God for each day and pray that others with cancer continue to heal. May my story give you the hope to carry through.