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Jamaica: A cure for cancer

Posted by on March 4, 2012 in My Health Updates, Other Drugs, Sutent, Targeted Therapies (Sutent, Afinitor, Cabo, etc.) - 31 Comments
Jamaica 2


I’m excited to report that we’ve discovered a cure for cancer. It’s called Jamaica. Dena and I last spent not quite a week at the Half Moon Resort, located, appropriately enough, on a little half moon bay on the island. The photo to the side is the view from the porch of our cottage. The resort boasts a list of activities as long as the tax code, but we did very few of them. That’s the key to the cure — stress reduction. Don’t worry, just hang out. Adopt the Jamaican mindset. (Well, the Jamaican mindset of the regular folks on the island; I’d advise avoiding the mindset of the Jamaican drug gangs that infest some of the cities. Killing people with automatic weapons tends to elevate stress levels.)

Here’s what we did: Hung out on the beach and played golf and ate lobster at sea-lined restaurants. That’s about it. We didn’t explore the rest of the island, we didn’t go parasailing or snorklng, we didn’t ride horses on the beach or swim with the dolphins. Julie McCoy of the Love Boat would not have been impressed. One beautiful day while Dena laid out on the beach I actually laid around in the room watching the Accenture golf tournament (as I try to avoid too much sun exposure, thanks to Sutent) . Yes, there was a sunny beach just steps, literally, from my porch, but I hung out in our room with the french doors open, cool breeze flowing, Red Stripe beer in hand and watched Rory Mcllroy lose to Hunter Mahan in the championship match. Some may suggest that was a waste of an expensive island vacation. I say it’s what cured my cancer.

I may be exaggerating a little bit. I’m not entirely sure my cancer was cured in Jamaica. The CT scans suggest otherwise. Perhaps we need to launch a clinical trial to test my theory. In the meantime, Dena and  are still trying to figure out our next move.

We both feel it’s a little strange to be continuing on the Sutent regimen when it appears not to be working. For one thing, the drug still causes you to feel sick all the time, which is fine if it’s working but less inspiring if it’s not. I was supposed to start a new cycle just before heading off to Jamaica, but Dena and I decided not to bother. We didn’t want the side effects messing up our island getaway if the drug’s not really having a positive impact on the cancer. (Our doctor concurred that there was no real harm in putting the next cycle off a week.) I’ve been back for close to a week and still haven’t resumed it; however, I will start it up again tonight.

We’re in a bit of a strange limbo. I always feel better when I’m taking aggressive action against the cancer, even if it results in some nasty side effects. I would go through IL-2 all over again if I thought it would help. There’s one clinical trial we looked at that would require me to go through chemo, then IL-2 and then something else (I’ve forgotten what), which would be about as brutal as it gets. I’d do it, but Dr. Hammers, our oncologist, didn’t feel that the data showed enough promise at this time. He dared me to do it anyway, “just for the hell of it.”

So that puts us in this environment of uncertainty with Sutent. If it’s not working, why keep at it? Why not move on? I know the answer: It might be slowing the growth of the disease in the lungs. Maybe. We don’t really know. What we do know is that, slow or not, the disease continues to progress. Dena and I briefly discussed the option of going to Dr. Hammers and saying we want to move on to a new regimen now rather than wait two more months for another CT scan to make a decision. The problem with that is that we’re not entirely sure what that next regimen should be. As I noted in the last post on Sutent, we may opt for an mTOR inhibitor such as Afinitor.

I always love reading the pages of the drug companies trying to explain the benefits of their drugs while also adhering to the government’s demand that they list everything that could go possibly go wrong no matter how unlikely. Ask your doctor how X can help you overcome indigestion. X can result in lung failure, seizures, hypothermia, black plague, kidney failure, bleeding eyes, Elephantiasis, memory loss, nostril flaring, neck goiters, winking ulcers, women and children despising you and chapped lips. And death. Or worse. So ask your doctor today, and put that afternoon indigestion behind you!

This is what the Afinitor website says: “AFINITOR can cause serious side effects including lung or breathing problems, infections,  and kidney failure, which can lead to death. Mouth  ulcers and mouth sores are common side effects. AFINITOR can affect blood cell counts, kidney and liver function,  and blood sugar and cholesterol levels.” The page shows a relaxed middle-aged couple smiling as they look pleasantly out what appears to be a train window, as if they are on their way to a vacation in southern France. Just under this pleasant photo, the page goes on to mention multiple more things that “could lead to death” (underlined in red).

It would be fun to hold a contest in which people try to guess what’s going on in that pleasant-faced couple’s minds as they smilingly contemplate mouth ulcers and kidney failure. So if you want to give it a whirl, submit your entries in the comments section below.

Here’s Dena’s: “Seriously, we’re paying $9,000 a month for mouth ulcers when I could get be getting diamonds? Yeah, this is one romantic trip.”

For now – we’re going to continue the current course, which is to stick with Sutent, but continue to research next steps.  We see Dr. Hammers in two weeks, so the strategy could change after that — we’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, I’m going to collect Jamaican sand and sea and bottle it into vials for IV injection. No worries, mon, that’ll be $9,000 a pop.


  • Lindadbattle

    Chris, I am so happy you and Dena were able to get some me time.  Dad and I loved staying with Kate and Josie.  If we find this treatment is really working maybe Dena and I could switch out sometimes and I will go help you with the treatment.


    • Pete

      Pretty sneaky way to get to Jamaica, Linda !

  • Alison

    If Jamaica is that good to you, maybe you should consider an island-hopping adventure to see which Caribbean locale has the best effects!  Lots of love to you and Dena!

  • Jplantin

    So this is the cure. Sign me up!
    Janet P
    Kc fighter

  • Nancy McGuire

    I am a 59 year old white female with none of the risk factors for kidney cancer.  I was dianosed in April of 2011 and promptly had my right kidney removed.  Started on Sutent, 50 mg (I weigh 125 and am 5’3″ tall) and took the whole 4 week cycle.  Had lots of side effects and beginning 2nd cycle, took 37.5 mg.  2nd and 3rd cycles I had to stop after 2 weeks (mostly b/c of high blood pressure) and would stay off a week or 2 before beginning next cycle (in some instances, I was off as long as 3 weeks b/c of low white blood counts).  Finished 4th and 5th cycles with whole 4 week dose with the exception of the 5th cycle….did not complete last 2 doses.  Doctor has now declared me off Sutent as I seemed to have every side effect possible, plus a low sodium count of 95, which I survived (low sodium and other problems occurrred b/c I had diarrhea for days (beginning Feb8a and followed by diarrhea and a diet of water only…nothing stayed down).  Anyway, ended up in ICU for 5 days to restore sodium.  I had 15 lymph nodes removed with April 2011 surgery, 2 of which tested positive.  I say take Sutent 2 weeks and be off 2 weeks.  Side effects much better.  Good luck.  Don’t know where I will go from here. Nancy Mc

    • Dena Battle

      Nancy — have you talked to your doctor about trying high dose IL-2?  I think you would be a good candidate.  It’s a tough treatment, but the only thing that provides a durable response to kidney cancer.  If you want more info, feel free to email me at dena_battle@yahoo.com.

      • Nixoncheryl

        Nancy IL-2 has worked so far for me. I also will be glad to help you with info on the treatment and side effects. nixoncheryl@att.com

  • ConnieAbel

    My husband was on Afinitor for 18 months before having to switch to Votrient.He has also taken Nexavar for a short time.Afinitor side effects were far less severe than the others.He has been fighting this battle for 4 years,stage 4 RCC.My prayers are with you both.

  • Ginny Ruder

    Chris, I have been in love with Half Moon since 2000.  Next time you go, meet Stella the “Village Elder” who is an amazing healer.  I hope you found the labyrinth there it is very peaceful.  My tumor was taken with a partial nephrectomy and  I got a clear read after the 6mo check…not having other treatment as I have a very unusually type of cancer.  
    Love to you and hope you go back to HM.

    • Chris Battle

      We plan to get back at the next opportunity!

  • Pam Hendricks

    Hi Chris and Dena,  I am so glad you guys had a great trip.  Jamacia is on my list of things to do.  I have to think the trip must have helped and only $9000 a pop you will be a millionaire in no time at all.  Love you, Pam Hendricks
    PS – Mike and Dan both say hello.

  • Danamoon

    Considering what our bill is for the HIL-2 treatment, I’d buy your $9,000/bottle Jamaican cure.  We’d still be saving a fortune and probably have a lot more fun too!

  • Nixoncheryl

    Hi Chris and Dena,
    Cheryl Nixon here, Stage 4 RCC. I am very proud to say I have had great success with IL-2. My last treatment was in Aug. with all mets in the lungs reduced to shadows. I now have stable disease. Having gone through that treatment I can’t possibly fathom that sandwiched between chemo and something else. I applaud your sense of humor and pray for a cure or at least new drugs. I have been following your journey since my diagnosis Dec. 3, 2010. Thank you so much for the courage you have and for allowing all of us to walk this journey with you. I am also happy to share info of my journey with anyone that I could help. We are all in this together.

    • Chris Battle

      Hi Cheryl, I hope you feel free to share your experiences with IL-2 here. If you’d like to write a guest blog post, I’d be happy to publish it here!

      • Nixoncheryl

        Thanks Chris. We are all in this battle together.

  • Karen in Ottawa Canada

    I whole heartedly agree – Jamaica is like magic!  I spent a week there the first winter after my 2008 diagnosis (T3 G3 N0 M0) and you’ve now made me realize that it must have been Jamaica that started & kept me on this NED path.   As I write this, I’m vacationing in Fort Myers Beach, Florida – hope Jamaica doesn’t get wind of my treason – couldn’t see the PGA Honda Classic in Montego Bay, so had to choose Florida for this winter’s holiday!
    Best of luck on the next scans, and I hope Sutent starts doing it’s thing again, perhaps the break from it will kickstart it again.

  • Cjk1947

    Caption for picture: Man: “Sounds like a great way to die, doesn’t it honey?  Do you want some too?”  Woman:  “Hmmmmmm…I don’t think so….”

  • Jendarren

    Hello, Im on Affinitor 5 weeks now and so far ok, no sore mouth ulcers feet hands. Had problems with the breathing but steroids has sorted that out. Its ok good luck

    • Chris Battle

      Fantastic, that’s encouraging. I hope it keeps working well for you!

  • ellenhowe08

    Glad to hear you had a wonderful trip. You guys are always in my thoughts and prayers. Ellen

    • Chris Battle

      Thanks Ellen, looking forward to catching up soon.

  • Thebraunsteins

    Welcome home, Chris and Dena!  Half Moon Bay looks like the perfect spot to forget the stresses of RCC!  Wish you could have disposed of the bugger in a deep hole on the beach!

    If you decide to move to Afinitor, you’ll hopefully find the treatment to  be much easier on your body.  I struggled with mouth sores during the initial few weeks, but fortunately they subsided.  A common problem with Afinitor is what happens INSIDE the body…with the lungs specifically.  I know you and Dena are more than well versed in all of this!  Folks on the List are talking about the combination drug therapies right now…maybe that’s the way to go….hmmm….decisions, decisions…don’t ya just love it!!!

    Praying for you guys…and don’t forget…Inlyta is out there now as well.

    Margo Braunstein
    Palm City, FL 

    • Jendarren

       Hi Margo can you tell me about the Afinitor regarding the Lungs please. Ive been on it for 6 weeks now and am having an early C.T scan later today (not that I want it) as Ive been in terrible pain in all my lungs and have a kind of cracking feeling there . Every movement I make is so painful especially on left side under breast and along the left side below the armpit where the bra stap sits. When I breath in it hurts. It be good to hear that this is normally what happens and it isnt something that Ive experienced alone. Oh Inwill be asking for the Inlyta… have you heard good things about this too?
      Thank you

      • Chris Battle

        Jenny, I hope the CT scans came back with good news.

    • Chris Battle

      Inlyta is definitely on the list of options we’ve been discussing, Margo. We’re still hashing out what we want to do next, but it’s encouraging to hear that your experiences with the side effects of Affinitor aren’t as bad as some of the other drugs.

  • Bobbejo46

    Love you….keeping you in our prayers and thoughts!

  • Rick in Pittsburgh

    Caption suggestion: From here to eternity, only $9,000!

  • Liz Monahan

    Please let us know when the Jamaica cure clinical trial starts – I will join you there and stay as long as it takes. :-)  I’m glad you had such a nice holiday; it sounds wonderful so I will have to mention it to my husband! 

  • Beccisaporito

    Chris, So happy Jamaica was a great experience and much needed rest for you both! I know Aunt Linda and Uncle Tony had a good time with the girls. I posted on Facebook about kidney cancer funding and asked all my friends to write the letter and re-post the article. I am in awe of you and Dena and constantly pray for you and send so many good thoughts your way. Much love to you all, Becci

  • Jplantin

    Now that you have discovered the cure for cancer; now we need to discover the cure for the ills of our golf game. Not sure all the medicine in the world can help.

    • Anonymous

      Sadly, all too true.

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