Last year Heather Wascak, a mother of two was diagnosed with Heather Wascak was diagnosed with Stage IIIC fallopian tube cancer while pregnant with her second child.
After her daughter’s birth she did chemo, only to see the cancer return a few months later.
Wascak has now turned to more alternative and holistic medical treatments.
“It’s definitely not how I planned her first year to go. I had lots of plans to breastfeed her, and to baby wear, and to cloth diaper. All the stuff that I did with my son, and all the crunchy things that I enjoy, and all that stuff is just not able to happen,” Wascak tells us.
34 weeks pregnant last March and her doctor diagnosed her with an extremely rare form of fallopian tube cancer. Very difficult to detect because all her symptoms were exceedingly reminiscent of pregnancy.
“You’re peeing more often. That’s normal. Your back hurts. That’s normal. Like heartburn. Normal. Everything, so I was just told it was normal, but I knew something was wrong because I was pregnant before and it just was not the same. So that’s why I went to the ER two times and it was missed,” she says.
Originally she was planning on a completely natural home birth. But because of her recent compilations, She Instead had to have an emergency C-Section and hysterectomy.
“I started chemo 2 1/2 weeks after my daughter was born. I did six months of chemo. And then I was in remission for four months,” she said.
Even with all this trouble, doctors told the high school sweethearts, Heather and Dan, that the cancer had returned…
“I just started to feel like I could live again and be happy again. It took me like two months to recover from the chemo, so I had about two months of time where I felt normal, I guess you could say, and we were just getting back into the swing of things and I was just heartbroken and your chances of surviving long term are way worse if it comes back less than six months after chemo,” says Wascak.
Strongly wanting to avoid more chemo, Heather and Dan studied up an alternative cancer treatments.
“It’s a nerve-wracking decision,” Dan Wascak says.
Gerson Therapy: That’s what they chose a natural treatment that is not an FDA-approved treatment of cancer. Gerson Therapy involves a narrow diet of juice, coffee enemas, and supplements. Everything must be 100-percent organic. It’s supposed to heal the body from the inside-out.
“Okay. Typical day is I wake up, and as soon as I wake up, whoever is here, one of our helpers or my husband will make my first juice. Right now, I’m taking eight juices a day. Fresh, organic juices. The full program is 13 juices, but because I’ve had chemo before, I can’t do the full program yet because you’ll detox too quickly. And the chemo stays in your body for a long time, so that chemo would come out quickly and overload my liver. So I do eight juices a day, and I do one coffee enema a day, and prepping the food that I have to eat all day long is just insane,” explains Wascak.
It takes ten to 15 pounds of fresh organic fruits and vegetables a day to make the amount of juice involved.
Friends help the Wascaks at home so Dan can still work. Since Heather obviously cannot. She can leave home only miniscule amounts of time short trips.
“I’m sad because like today Dylan went to Rolly Pollys and I missed it, but I want to be here to see him get married and graduate and all that stuff, so it’s just a small price to pay for long-term health,” she says.
They are not against conventional medicine, in fact, Wascak credits her doctors with saving her life.
“My oncologist, obviously, is not on board and I understand why he’s not. It’s, he knows what he knows about this is what works. He wants me to live as long as possible, and he thinks that that’s more chemo. And I understand that, and I can appreciate his opinion, and I do respect him, and he’s taken really great care of me, but it’s not what I want right now,” she says.
Wascak’s oncologist works at Roswell. She stays in contact with him.
Dr. Stacey Akers is not Wascak’s doctor, but says it is crucial to maintain that relationship.
“I think you develop a special relationship with your patient, and you really get to know kind of where they are psychologically with their prognosis, with their diagnosis, what their expected outcome is. I think that’s really important,” says Akers.
Dr. Akers has had patients come to her with questions about alternative therapies, like Gerson, in the past.
“We’ve been supportive. The most important thing is that people let their providers know that they are seeking complimentary therapy so we can make sure if they are also seeking traditional therapy that there are no significant drug interactions,” she adds.
Wascak is seeing an Oregon doctor via Skype who specializes in Gerson Therapy and regularly goes to her primary care physician.
“What if you do have to make that choice of going back to chemo?” asked Dudzik.
“I will do it. I will do whatever it takes to be here as long as I can to be with my family and see my kids grow up as long as I can,” says Wascak.
Heather and Dan say the cancer diagnosis has definitely helped put into perspective what’s important in life.
“We say all the time it’s the best and worst thing that’s happened to us. Having cancer is a big problem. Something that’s worthy of complaining about. Snow on your car, not a big deal. So you kind of just let things roll off your shoulders that aren’t that important, and spending time with our kids and each other is the most important thing to both of us,” says Heather.
“On a really crappy day, now I can actually say that it was still a good day because we’re still here and healthy and alive. You tend to find the beauty a lot more easily now then I used to,” says Dan.
Since we interviewed Heather, she saw a doctor in Texas and found out the cancer has spread to other organs. She will now do a combination of Gerson Therapy and a lower dose of chemo.
The Wascak’s friends set up a “You Caring” fundraising page for them when Heather was first diagnosed. It’s still up and running and helped them pay bills, especially when Dan had to cut his hours. They have raised more than $12,000 so far. The goal is $25,000.