Amanda D. never thought she’d go to Mexico for medical treatment, but now she can’t imagine where she’d be if she hadn’t gone.
The mother, horse rider, and coach from Georgia was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer called chondroblastic osteosarcoma at 34 years old. “I live a pretty healthy lifestyle,” Amanda told Valdosta Daily Times. “It’s just not something happens to someone that’s 34 and healthy. It seems surreal.”
Even more unusual was that the kind of cancer Amanda has is known primarily to affect children. But it hit her in full force, having advanced to stage 3 by the time her doctors discovered it. Her tumor was located in the thecal sack on her lower back, which affects the legs. The cancer caused pain throughout her body, as well as paralysis and nerve damage in her feet. Needless to say, she wasn’t able to ride horses for a long while, and she wasn’t sure if she’d ever be able to again.
Her doctors didn’t offer much hope that she’d recover, but they suggested chemotherapy and radiation to see if that would shrink her tumor. She traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida to undergo 27 rounds of radiation treatment and five rounds of chemotherapy.
But six months later, doctors discovered that Amanda’s tumor was growing. She was experiencing numbness in her hips, legs, and knee. In great pain, she began to seek other opinions about where she could go from there. Doctors suggested a clinical trial drug, which was unsuccessful and left her very sick. Another hospital said she could do more chemotherapy. She decided she was done with that, and began to research on her own.
Having heard about alternative cancer treatments from a friend, Amanda began trying a regimen called Gerson Therapy, which involves a strict plant-heavy diet and daily detoxifying enemas. Sticking to the regimen on her own was hard, though, and she ended up discovering a hospital in Mexico where she could learn more about the treatment and even try immunotherapy drugs.
So Amanda and her mother packed their things and traveled to CHIPSA Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico. CHIPSA is a full-service hospital offering alternative and integrative immunotherapy treatments. Amanda arrived at the hospital in a wheelchair with very little hope. All she wanted was for CHIPSA to help relieve some of her pain.
After a three-week treatment regimen of Apatone (high-dose vitamin C and K3), ValloVax, and Gerson Therapy, Amanda walked out of the hospital and returned home. Having weaned off of her many pain medications, Amanda just felt like something had changed inside her body. She knew she was better.
Sure enough, after performing a routine surgery on her back, Amanda’s doctors informed her that her tumor was dead. She was cancer free.
Amanda’s recovery is remarkable, but it hasn’t been easy. She is finally back to working and caring for her family, who is extremely grateful that she is alive and well. Her students are also very enthusiastic about her return. One student, 12-year-old Kendall Grace Drumheller, told Valdosta Daily Times that Amanda “is always there to boost her confidence.” When she returned to coaching, Drumheller said she “felt like my number one cheerleader returned, and she was no longer feeling as sick.”
Amanda is a cheerleader for so many, and luckily, she had many cheerleaders of her own. She says she couldn’t have made it through without the support of her family.
Since becoming cancer free, she has been attending weekly occupational therapy sessions to help her regain strength back in her feet. She also spends her free time coaching students and competing in events with her horses, both of which she’s grateful to still do.
“I wouldn’t want to face a battle like this without a lot of faith,” she said. And that faith keeps her going. She doesn’t focus on the “what ifs.” She remains grateful for each day that she has been given, and she hopes her story will inspire others who are battling cancer.