A Natural Hodgkin Survivor’s Take on the Connecticut Teen Forced Into Chemotherapy

Homepage screenshot from the hospital holding Cassandra against her will, injecting her with multiple rounds of toxic chemical treatment that she doesn't want and feels violated for having forced into her. Notice the message... I'm sure Cassandra and her entire family couldn't agree more.

Screenshot from the hospital holding Cassandra against her will, forcing her to receive chemotherapy she doesn’t want. Notice the message, “It’s the Trip Home that Truly Heals.” I’m sure Cassandra and her entire family couldn’t agree more.

Recently there has been a firestorm around the case of “Cassandra C.”, the 17-year-old who was taken from her mother and home and forced by a state ruling to undergo chemotherapy for her Hodgkin’s lymphoma that she didn’t want.

You can read some of Cassandra’s version of the story HERE, which includes the details of her being taken from her mother and strapped down to receive her unwanted chemotherapy treatments. As a mother of soon to be three daughters and a natural Hodgkin’s survivor of 6 years now, this particular statement from her brought me to tears:

“After a week, they decided to force chemotherapy on me. I should have had the right to say no, but I didn’t. I was strapped to a bed by my wrists and ankles and sedated. I woke up in the recovery room with a port surgically placed in my chest. I was outraged and felt completely violated.”

So much of this story has sickened me, but if you think of the hard facts of what happened here- an almost legal (Cassandra will be 18 in September) American citizen being removed from her home and care of her mother, forced to receive a toxic substance into her body, and then of course what most don’t think about- be given the bill for tens of thousands of dollars for pharmaceutical treatment she didn’t even want in the first place- it doesn’t even seem like America does it?

And Then There’s the Media….

The mainstream media has touted this as heroic and a victory for Cassandra’s future, but there are many of us who oppose this because we know that there are other options than conventional chemotherapy and radiation. We also know the reality of cancer and chemotherapy, mostly from first hand experience with a loved one or ourselves. I will say that there are always cases where although chemo does help initially, it permanently effects the immune system resulting often in a recurrence of the same cancer or a secondary cancer. There are also other side effects- in the case of Hodgkin’s specifically I know of, affecting the heart, fertility, and white blood cell count permanently.

Once someone receives conventional treatment and goes into “remission,” in the large majority of cases, little is done to support the body in what it needs to restore itself from the toxic onslaught of pharmaceutical chemicals. This should be done or at least encouraged by oncologists in the manner of organic plant-based nutrition, detox, and lifestyle changes. But it’s not, primarily because medical oncologists have only a few methods of treatment in their tool box: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation (and to their credit a few “clinical studies” that have shown success but can only be utilized after the other three have failed or your cancer isn’t considered treatable with the others.)

The media, in their research for their articles and news reports most likely consult the major cancer organizations out there which all stand by (and are influenced financially by) the American Medical Association and American Cancer Society. These two groups only accept that cancer is curable through pharmaceutical chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery per FDA definition. Their statistics for number of patients “cured” of Hodgkin’s lymphoma with chemotherapy and radiation are in the 85-90% range. Remember that all this means is that the patient lived 5 years. If they still had cancer at that mark, they still would be considered a success even if they were on their death bed or had a secondary cancer. If they’re alive, they are considered a success and survivor, no matter their current health.

 

My Alternative Hodgkin’s Story….

When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s in 2008 it was my husband who felt initially uneasy about the only option I was given from my oncologist: 6 rounds of R-CHOP chemotherapy and most likely radiation to follow. That same visit we also learned about my stage of lymphoma (Stage 2- cancer activity on both sides of my body- a walnut sized tumor in my neck and lemon sized tumor in my armpit,) and information about how my sub-type of Hodgkin’s behaved.

We also learned I was “lucky” and had “the good kind of cancer” because of its success rate (see statistics above)- but even with that knowledge were rushed into a tour of the chemotherapy room where I would receive my treatment, the wig shop because I would lose my hair, and was given a referral to a fertility specialist because I would want to look into freezing either my eggs or my husband and my fertilized embryos due the likelihood of infertility after treatment. We were also asked that same day to schedule my appointment to have the port inserted in my chest where I would receive my chemo treatments for the next 3-4 months.

We went home that afternoon and my husband dropped the bomb on me that he had a very firm impression and conviction that he didn’t want me to undergo the treatment that was being offered. I was initially angered by his reaction because I was scared to death! I just wanted this cancer out of me and to move on with my life.

But I had to agree with him on the basis that the possibility of infertility scared me almost more than the cancer itself. This is where I can identify with Cassandra so intimately.

The treatment scared me more than the cancer.

I personally did not know anything about alternative treatments at the time of my diagnosis. My husband initially just began searching for other options besides chemotherapy which naturally led us down the path of exploring alternative and natural methods to heal cancer.

Cassandra stated in her interview with the Associated Press that it disgusts her to have “such toxic harmful drugs” in her body and she’d like to explore alternative treatments:

“I always tell people I do want treatment for my cancer, I just don’t believe in the chemotherapy,” wrote Cassandra. “I want something more natural, something that’s not drugs. If the court decided to let me go, I would look into natural remedies that would stop the growth of the cancer. I would take vitamins and remedies that fight inflammation. I would eat healthy and go to the gym, and I would still monitor the cancer with regular scans.”

After the Connecticut Supreme Court decision to take Cassandra from her home in order to force her to do chemotherapy, her mother, Jackie Fortin said “that as a single mom for the last 15 years she wouldn’t allow her daughter to die.” She said they want to explore alternative treatments that don’t include putting the “poison” of chemotherapy into her body.

Even the doctors admit that without treatment she would have had two years to live. Why couldn’t they have allowed her a reasonable amount of time to explore her treatment of choice?

 

“3 Months to Try Alternative Treatments”….

At first I was very much in disagreement with my husband’s idea to pursue an alternative treatment for my Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It wasn’t until I began my own research on alternative treatments and also drew from my own experience with relatives who had suffered extremely negative effects from chemotherapy, that I decided to give my nontoxic nutritional protocol a chance. I knew that even if I didn’t do anything, I would have at least a year to live (which was stated as two years in Cassandra’s case,) so I figure why not try something that would help my body and not harm it at all- and in the best case scenario cure my cancer. I gave myself (and even had a new, agreeable oncologist who supported me) 3 months to try my alternative protocol.

I began my nontoxic protocol on November 4th, 2008. It was election day and to say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I ate horribly my entire life and now I was going to be eating a mostly raw organic vegan diet, the Budwig mixture of organic cottage cheese and flax seed oil, and juicing vegetables. I also took close over 50 caplets or pills of vitamins and supplements such as Beta 1, 3-D Glucan. I also went through a series of detox protocols which you can read about HERE.

The key to pursuing alternative or natural, nontoxic cancer protocols responsibly is monitoring carefully and working closely with a supportive doctor who respects your choice in healing. If what you are doing isn’t showing improvement in your condition, you need to regroup, continue research, and discuss with your healing support system what your next steps are.

Remember that YOU are hiring your doctor to work alongside you and respect your wishes. YOU are paying THEM! If they disagree with your choice, find a new doctor.

Unfortunately in Cassandra’s case (they tried to seek a second opinion,) this right was taken from her and her mother by the state. All personal choice about Cassandra’s body was taken from them by the government.

 

Looking Forward….

There is still such hope in Cassandra’s story. She is young and in good health and can pursue an integrative approach to her treatment if she would be allowed. If her mother is granted visitation, together they can explore integrating nutrition and supplements to help counteract the side effects of the chemotherapy and also move forward with a diet and nutritional protocol that will help keep the cancer away once she finishes her treatment. I wouldn’t expect this from the hospital after reading this quote from Cassandra:

“The nurses and PCA’s have been nothing but nice to me,” wrote Cassandra. “They understand I am going through a difficult time and they do anything to make me feel better. My caseworkers from DCF have also gone out of their way to make me feel better and more like I am at home. Although bringing me ice cream sundaes, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, and buying me cute things once n a while does put a smile on my face and I do appreciate it, nothing can replace waking up to my cat in the morning in my own bed, with my mom cooking breakfast downstairs while I get ready for work.”

But perhaps things will change in the policy of allowing Cassandra and her mother to work alongside her doctors in handling her cancer care.

 

Natural Survivors…We DO Exist!

If my story isn’t enough to get you thinking about the efficacy of alternative cancer treatment, you can find hundreds of stories on the web of people who have cured much more aggressive cancers than Hodgkin’s lymphoma with natural therapies. This impressive list on Alternative Cancer Compass is a great place to start. ChrisBeatCancer.com also has video and text testimonies of many natural survivors.

You can also see my story on video HERE in my interview with Incredible Healing Journals.

The Truth About Cancer series also has a fantastic comprehensive compilation on everything you need to know about alternative therapies with interviews from natural survivors, leading medical doctors and experts in the field.

I would love to hear your comments below and have a healthy discussion around what is to be done about cases like this in the future. There is much to be learned from Cassandra’s case and perhaps some reasonable decisions can be made in future cases if we can get our stories of alternative treatment success to be told truthfully in the mainstream media.

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29 thoughts on “A Natural Hodgkin Survivor’s Take on the Connecticut Teen Forced Into Chemotherapy

  1. I’m so incredibly saddened by this decision. It’s breaking my heart. She, and everyone else, should be allowed to choose what medical treatment they want or don’t want. I’m praying for her and sharing her story over and over again on my personal page and my health/wellness page as well! (www.facebook.com/puregenesisproducts).

    I follow Chris Wark as well….and love to share all of the natural healing stories possible so that people see it IS a viable option…actually the BEST option. (I will be sharing your story as well!) Educating others about prevention and healing is my passion! Blessings to you, thank you for helping to spread the word!!

    XOXO
    Kim

  2. Stage 4 Inflammatory breast cancer. Was given 2 days 9/26/12. Did have radiation as my disks were crumbling. Have done alternative, CYMA Sound therapy, Budwig diet, meridian tapping, soursop tea, Endogenous respiration. Doing amazingly well as I have watched 6 friends die now the last 8 weeks. They did exactly what their doctors said.

  3. I have a rare MPN, a blood cancer, and I almost passesd away from multiple abdominal blood clots. There is more to explain, but if you contact me, I will tell you more. I make extreeme levels of platelets. since it is not a solid tumor, some of the information I can find is not applicable. I have to take at least two hyrdroxy urea tablets a day to keep the numbers down. I would like to do this a nautural way, or better, solve the condition in the first place. There is so much out there, where do I start?

  4. This is sad!!! I hope someone would initiate to change the system of the government when it comes to treating cancer. There are a lot of alternative non toxic treatment for cancer. We should sign a petition to the government that there are a lot of cancer survivor that used holistic approach in treating their cancer. Include my signature if there’s one who will write to the government in opposing the conventional therapy for cancer.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story and I couldn’t agree more that every patient should have the right to choose how they care for and heal their body. I’m a stage 2 breast cancer survivor who chose a non-traditional route with a mix of conventional and integrative therapies. This was a very personal decision, and I was fortunate to have so much support. I can’t imagine being told that I or my child did not have the right to follow the path my research and instincts told me to pursue. Over the past year I’ve been sharing my experiences with friends and family, partly as my own therapy, but also just to put information out there to let people know that there are options. The truth is, there is so much that is known to be effective in fighting cancer that we just don’t have access to through the U.S. medical system. As with all things, no answer is right for everyone, but we should all have the ability to make our own informed choices. In the meantime, I am pulling and praying for Cassandra and her mother. All the best to you in your continued good health.

  6. Wonderful to read your story, it’s so encouraging g to see more and more people healing themselves using natural therapies. I was diagnosed with Myeloma and decided to treat it holistically. I live Australia, and after a lot of research decided to go and see Dr Nicholas Gonzalez in New York. this was a big decision, as you can imagine the distance and cost of getting there. This was two years ago, and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have made, I am feeling better than I can ever remember and I know that I will beat this disease. His programme made sense to me and is not difficult to follow, he is always available for questions and explains things thoroughly, It has changed my life and those closest to me for the better.

    • Hey Kid (: I just commented on the Holistic and Alternative Cancer Support board to your thermographer regarding the state of Arizona getting involved in your case…I’ll copy and paste our conversation for you. This took place after I posted the above blog post there….

      Carol Thermoqueen Conti: Thank you so much! I have a 17 year-old patient doing the same thing you did and feeling GREAT – see “Kid against Chemo” here on FB. Now the state of Arizona is trying to get involved and threatening to take him from his parents.

      Cortney Worrell Campbell: Carol Thermoqueen Conti- isn’t he 18 now? I have messaged briefly with him. UGH!

      Carol Thermoqueen Conti: Courtney, He just turned 17. He was diagnosed last June and given 6 months to live – which will be up on the 22nd of this month and he is doing GREAT. We are having a party to mark this passage on the 24th at his Naturopath’s house. I have been performing free monthly scans, (as I do for all of my cancer patient’s going through alternative therapy), and the cancerous nodes are shrinking. If they, (the state) try to take him it will be over my dead body.

      Cortney Worrell Campbell: Carol Thermoqueen Conti- it just might be over mine, too. I might just fly my 34 week pregnant belly out there to testify for him!

  7. I had stage 4 leiomyosarcoma. My doctors initially thought it was just a large ovarian cyst that they found during an ultrasound of my pregnancy with my 5th child. We continued to monitor it via ultrasound throughout the pregnancy. On one of these ultrasounds a few more abdominal masses were found and then dismissed with a subsequend MRI. I had a c-section and what was going to be a cystectomy. I did have an oncologist in the OR to help with the surgery. However, when they opened me up they found cancer everywhere in my abdomen. My oncologist was very aggressive and removed all she could see including my uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and appendix and did a couple of saline washes of my abdominal cavity. It was a huge surgery and I lost a lot of blood. In the aftermath, after we finally determined what kind of cancer it was, we knew we had to decide on a course of treatment soon. I was so overwhelmed just recovering from my surgery, dealing with surgical menopause at age 34, and taking care of a newborn and 4 other kids. I cried every day. I was told that this cancer is very aggressive with a high rate of recurrence. I was told radiation didn’t work and chemo would only give me an extra 3-6 months. Without chemo I would only last a year. My husband started researching alternative therapies when we came upon only one survivor of my cancer with no recurrence. She had been following the Hallelujah Acres diet and made it to 5 years with no recurrence. She was my inspiration. I changed my diet and began seeing a naturopath and received high dose IV vitamin C, IV hydrogen peroxide, and IV ozone therapy. I was diagnosed in April 2013 and I am currently cancer free!

    • Carrie- your story is a perfect example of why it is so important for all of us to make prayerful and well-sifted through decision in our cancer care. Not everyone will be at peace with 100% holistic or 100% conventional. A lot of time there is a gray area where we will settle. I am so thankful that you were taken care of when you needed to be and that you also found Hallelujah Acres when you did. (:

      -Cortney

  8. This is wrong in so many ways! If she wanted an abortion she could have one without the consent of her parents but she’s not mature enough to make the decision for her treatment? WRONG!!! So wrong! I can’t imagine how she must feel! America needs to wake up before it happens to your child! The laws need to be revised! NEWS ITEM: Teen’s Forced Chemotherapy Upheld by Connecticut’s Highest Court

    Does The State Have The Right To Force Treatment On You?

    Shouldn’t we all be allowed to choose and seek our own treatment? Why does the State feel that they have a right to intervene?

    We’ll be talking about this Story on Wednesday’s program and you can call in and voice your opinion.

    THAT RADIO SHOW w/ Jeff The Music Man
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  9. I have doing the gerson therapy, drinking alkaline water, cbd oil having great success in September they said 3 months it’s been 4 months and I feel better than ever also I grate a habanero Chile n a tooth of garlic a little organic butter won’t lie it burns n for the juicing organic vegetables is the key

  10. Isn’t it ironic that those kind caseworkers are providing Cassandra with sugar, dairy, and fast food? All of which encourage the growth of her cancer and further suppress her immune system.

  11. I hope more people educate themselves regarding cancer before they are diagnosed with cancer. People need a basis for chemo and alternative treatments while they can evaluate options without emotions interfering in decisions. We desperately need changes in our policies regarding treatments but I don’t know how. Could you imagine if alternative treatments were allowed and covered by insurance providers how much money insurance companies would save and how many lives would be saved!

  12. Thanks so much for sharing! I too believe we need to be able to make our own choices about our health. If I am ever diagnosed with cancer I will choose so called “alternative” methods over toxic chemotherapy and radiation.
    It breaks my heart that is Cassandra saying the PCA’s have been nice to her bringing her Subway, ice cream, etc. The foods they are bringing her are feeding her cancer! If they are going to poison her with chemotherapy she should be eating foods that will help to build her immune system, not foods that will suppress it.
    My heart goes out to Cassandra and her mom and I hope and pray for a reversal on that decision so Cassandra can fight her cancer in the way she feels is best for her body!

  13. This is a heartbreaking case, I just want to wish Cassandra all the best and hope they allow her to begin detoxing and following a healthy diet, It’s her only hope, it just beggars belief that the so called intelligent people in the world allow this to happen.

  14. Keep saying it. Keep supporting alternatives to the cancer machine that invites us to be “survivors”. I don’t wear Pink and I refuse survivorship. If you have taken your turn at cancer and won without Big Pharma, you understand. To the rest of the world, we’re nuts.
    Those who understand must band together.

    Join me and tell your survivorship story on my
    Facebook: Search for the Cause, Not Just the Cure.

  15. This should be taken to the federal supreme court. It should be decided legally once and for all who has the rights when it comes to a minor.

    As adults we can chose mainstream or original medicine. Whose to say one is more correct on a legal level? If the court deems we do not have these rights then we might as well line up our children for their shots and chemo upon cancer diagnosis.

    But it should be overwhelmingly obvious that the court system is at odds with itself. How can a medical Guardian like Michael Shiavo decide have his wife starved and dehydrated to death or women allowed to kill their own children up to any stage but some how we do not have the freedom of choice over our own children?

    And what about those who posses sufficient reason to decide for themselves? Can anyone honestly tell the difference between 17 and 18? At best this is arbitrary and ageist. At worst this is a product of a juggernaut medical cartel out of control for money and power.

  16. If things continue to trend this way the only recourse for parents who wish to treat their children with original medicine is to not get diagnosed by mainstream doctors and do treatments in secret.

  17. I sometimes wonder how democracy at times be so much stifling and an array of scientists and doctors be dumbed for a variety of reasons.Reason it out.What to do if the State does not listen.Spread the message without fear and move to country which promotes healing and health for treatment.Be part of alternative and integrative medicine and honour those practitioners who are healing people.Make it a movement.Be wise and see the ill designes of business.Make it another freedom movement.
    As for me,after operation and radiation for my PC in 2008, I am following Budwig Protocol and some detoxing.So far so good,and encouraged by your experience.