In May of 2014, we noticed a lump in Ryder’s back right next to his spine. We were concerned, but not scared, until the next day when a friend of Teddy’s who worked as a nurse took a look and said she didn’t want to scare us, but we needed to make sure that it wasn’t cancer. That kicked us into high gear to find out what was going on with our son as fast as possible.
At that point we started realizing there were more symptoms to be concerned about than just the lump. Ryder was turning one that month and was nowhere near even being able to crawl. He had stopped growing at around six months of age. After being born above the 90th percentile in both height and weight, he had dropped down to the 25th. Ryder also still could not handle any food, and would gag whenever we tried to feed him anything. All the same, we kept getting turned away by both his pediatrician and then a physician’s assistant at the hospital, both insisting there was nothing wrong and that we should just keep an eye on it.
We knew something just did not feel right and kept pressing for answers. When we were finally granted an ultrasound and then an MRI on May 16th, they revealed that the lump was just “the tip of the iceberg” as the doctors put it. Ryder had a tumor larger than his kidney growing inside and out of his spinal canal and two secondary tumors, all of which had metastasized into his bones. It was also discovered at that time that Ryder had been born with a double aorta on his heart. Although not life threatening, it would prevent him from eating solid foods until corrected.
All of a sudden the same doctors who initially told us that everything was fine now couldn’t get him into treatment fast enough.
We didn’t know as much about natural cancer treatments then as we do now, but we were already becoming very interested in natural health and had seen and heard several documentaries and interviews about different treatment options. Both of us knew that non-toxic treatments were what we wanted to try first for our son. It was made clear to us very quickly however that would not be an option and so we pivoted to an integrative approach, doing everything we could to both mitigate the damage done by chemotherapy and help Ryder to heal as quickly as possible.
We found a naturopath in the area that specialized in cancer to consult with, spoke over the phone with various cancer coaches and other doctors all over the country, and spent hours buried in books or on the internet doing research of our own. The cabinet in our hospital room soon had a large arsenal of supplements which we gave Ryder ourselves through the NG feeding tube we requested and the nurses were blown away when we showed up with a juicer and let them know we would not be needing any of the provided food for Ryder or ourselves. At home, it started looking more and more like a full blown alternative cancer clinic with all the devices we were obtaining. We had a bit of savings built up at that point and did not hesitate to spend it all, and then some, on what we thought was best for Ryder.
Through all of this Ryder’s tumor shrunk faster than anyone expected, we were able to avoid virtually all other conventional medicines and procedures that usually come with chemotherapy, and his overall appearance and energy levels were much more vibrant than the other kids in the oncology ward.
The next MRI revealed even more progress and after three months of chemotherapy and halfway into the starting protocol, Ryder had made so much progress his oncology team was OK with our wishes to discontinue the chemo early and adopt a “wait and see” approach. They have continued to monitor his progress while we continue our natural regimen.
In the ensuing months and years we’ve continued to refine Ryder’s protocol and adapt to the new challenges of successfully applying all of these alternative healing modalities to a growing toddler. In July of 2015 after researching the best pediatric heart surgeons in the country we flew to Pennsylvania to have Ryder’s double aorta corrected. At around that time we removed the feeding tube and through trial and error made the protocol work even given the fact that Ryder now tastes all food and supplements he receives.
At present, the secondary tumors are gone, along with the metastasis to his hip bones. The primary tumor is a small fraction on what it was to start and with the exception of a small hiccup after we transitioned off of the feeding tube has been going steadily in the right direction. We continue to employ a mix of super nutrition, targeted supplementation, energy medicine and healthy lifestyle practices to make sure Ryder not only survives, but thrives in his health for the rest of his life.
Along the way, we started this website to share what we’ve learned with anyone going through cancer, especially cancer parents, and make the information a little easier to find for them than it was for us.