The Story of four Year Old Ryann's full remission of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
was diagnosed with
Lymphoblastic Leukemia just before turning four. She had contracted a
virus over the summer that all four of my kids had gotten, but she handled
it better than the older three. Shortly after that, she developed pneumonia
out of the blue. After recovering from the pneumonia, she came down with
another viral illness. She was very sick, and her glands became very
swollen. She began to bruise very easily, she had pale skin and low energy.
At that point, my family doctor said that we should go to Scottish Rite
for blood work. They told me that her hemoglobin was low (around 8 with
normal being around 12), and that it was more than likely a “mono- like
illness.” They said she need time to recover, and that I should wait six
weeks and have her tested again. Around 5 weeks later, in the fall, she came
down with yet another viral illness. It was her Birthday weekend, and she
was so sick that we cancelled her Birthday party. I took her to her
Pediatrician on Monday, and was shocked to find out that her hemoglobin was 4.
By that time, her abdomen was swollen from an enlarged liver, and she was
in danger for her life. Her pediatrician said that we should go to the E.R
immediately, and not long after we arrived, we were told that she had
Leukemia. It had taken around 4 months for the leukemia cells to show up in
her blood. We were wheeled up to the Cancer floor that night, and she began
her fight. We were told the next morning that with this type of Leukemia,
for girls it is a 2 1/2 year protocol of chemotherapy and steroids. The cure
rate was over 80%.
Ryann is my youngest of four children, and I felt
like I had done everything “right” with her. I had a drug free delivery,
nursed her for one year, and gave her all organic baby food. I tried to cook
healthy and stay away from processed foods, but looking back on it now, I
wasn’t doing nearly what I should have been doing.
My first instinct was to help her fight by loading her with anything and everything that would
be good for her. After talking to the doctors, they told me not to even give
her a vitamin. They didn’t want anything to interfere with the medicines.
After a week in the hospital, I began to research. I began to find out that
there were many foods that were proven to fight all types of cancers as well
as strengthen the immune system.
I decided that I would make sure that I
gave her every food or food-based supplement that I could. I discussed this
with her doctors, and they were ok with it, as long as it was food. I talked
to many different people including a former pediatric oncologist, several
researchers, and I even traveled to New York Presbyterian Hospital to an
integrative clinic for children with childhood cancer. I knew right off the
bat to keep sugar and processed foods out of her diet, and add many organic
fruits and vegetables. I was told to add some more food based supplements
that have been studied to help with side effects and with the liver. I did
all of this with the approval from her doctors.
in remission within the first two weeks of treatment
From the time Ryann was diagnosed, she began to amaze people with her strength and lack of side
effects. She was in remission within the first two weeks of treatment.
During the most aggressive parts of the treatment protocol, her blood counts
were staying surprisingly high, and she her side-effects were minimal, while
the medicine was doing its job. Her oncologist would always tell me that her
counts were “perfect.” I learned to give her ginger instead of zofran on the
days that she received her chemo, and she rarely got sick. She lost her hair
much later than most kids do, and she was happy and full of energy.
giving her food based, organic supplements and adding more and more organic,
healthy foods. The doctors told me to expect many hospitalizations due to
her immune system being suppressed, and she made it through Delayed
Intensification (the hardest phase of the protocol) with no problems. Many
children spend weeks in the hospital during this time. The doctors began to
notice the difference it was making. I remember asking her doctor if it was
ok that she was doing so well. He told me, “Yes! You don’t have to have
side-effects to cure leukemia.” She entered pre-school right before turning
five, and started ballet. She picked up a few minor illnesses, but she would
get over them quickly. I started to notice my other three kids were not
coming down with the usual strep and colds that you see in school -
especially elementary school.
As time went by, I continued to find
more and more information about nutrition and cancer. I searched for anyone
that had information on nutrition and integrative/holistic treatment for
cancer. I found information on supplements that strengthened the immune
system, like immunocal. I focused on keeping her body
high in alkalinity, oxygenated and helping her detoxify properly. Every food
and supplement was studied and proven to keep her immune system strong and
I added new foods, and If I couldn’t find it in the stores or
local farms, I would find out which was the purest way of getting in the
supplement form. I talked to someone that told the most important thing I
could do was to juice many powerful, cancer fighting and immune system
building vegetables daily. I also began to read every label, cook with
different oils and stopped using a microwave. I researched the best water
and the best foods to keep the body alkaline and oxygenated. I also took
many things out of our diet that I thought were good, but were not. I found
new ways to cook the foods that we loved and the best ways to cook to keep
nutrients in the food.
I took her to Dr. Bhatia after she had been on
treatment for one year. She still had over half of the treatment to go.
After examining her and taking note of everything that I had been doing, she
added a few supplements, gave me advice about adding good oils to her diet,
and she told me to take diary out of her diet and limit gluten. She
explained the reasons that cancer can occur in the body. I took her to her
oncologist two weeks later, and we were both very surprised to see that her
blood counts had decreased substantially from where they normally were. Her
liver enzymes had improved.
I told him that I made the changes to her diet,
and we both came to the conclusion that taking dairy out of her diet
actually made her chemo work better! After stopping the meds for two weeks,
she never went back up to the dosage that she was on before. In other words
- it took less medicine to do the job - meaning less risk of side-effects
and harm to her liver. I also began to see a change in Ryann. She seemed
sleep better and her abdomen, which always seemed to be bloated, went down
Her doctor really started to take notice of the
difference it was making, and he would tell her that it was because of how
she was eating. He told her that she needed to be in a medical journal, and
that she should be documented.
Ryann began Kindergarten this year,
just 4 months before completing treatment. It has been an especially bad
year for flu/cold and other illnesses. The amazing thing is that not one of
my kids has been sick in one year. Ryann, who has been taking powerful chemo
that makes her much more susceptible to illnesses, has not been sick once!
Better yet, Ryann finished treatment in December of this year, and she made
it through the entire protocol without being hospitalized once!!
says he doesn’t specifically recall At her last on-treatment visit, before
stopping her daily chemo, the doctor came in and said that “Ryann broke the
CBC machine.” The lab-tech ran her counts twice because she didn’t believe
that her hemoglobin and platelets were so high. She has had none of the
side-effects that the chemo and steroids can cause, such as neuropathy, bone
and joint damage and problems with concentrating. She is a happy, healthy
and energetic 6 year old, and if you saw her, you would never know that she
had been sick. She is now done with the medicine, but she will have all of
these other amazing, powerful nutrients that God put on this earth to keep
her healthy for life.
I am still learning and adding things, and I am
planning on further testing for heavy metals, vitamin deficiencies and any
other things that might interfere with her health. She does not crave “bad”
foods, and we substitute healthy, gluten and dairy free goodies for the
times that her class has celebrations. She is very good about passing up on
I have seen the difference that nutrition can make
in not only keeping her strong during treatment, but actually helping the
medicines to work better. She has made her doctors take notice of what good
nutrition can do, and I hope that her story can make a difference for others
as well. I am thankful for this journey and the knowledge that I have
gained, and it is my hope that her doctors will help share this with other
patients and Moms that are desperate for their children to have the good
health that they deserve.
Kim Hayes is Ryann's mother. You're welcome to email her
with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
How I treat relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia
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