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A Perspective on Cancer Treatments

I became interested in a whole new world of medicine when my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer about a year ago, when I was the one who discovered the metastasis through a condition she had in her eye.

My second child had just been born and my mother and father had come to help take care of him for a few weeks.  When my mother walked in the door, to my surprise, her right eye lid was drooping and her pupil was constricted.  I was very concerned that she had a condition called Horner’s Syndrome, especially since she had a history of esophageal cancer a year ago that had been in remission.

Another sign of Horner’s syndrome is anhidrosis which means that you do not sweat normally.   We were outside that day and sure enough it was a hot June day.  I took a good look and noticed that she wasn’t sweating on the side of her face with the drooping lid and constricted pupil, but she was sweating on the other side.  I was trying not to get too nervous, but I feared the worst.   She actually had a procedure on her neck the week before and there was a hope in me that her Horner’s syndrome was from the procedure.  I called around to several neurologists in the area who said it could be from the neck procedure, but that we should probably get an MRI just to be safe.   I also spoke with several of the doctors I work with here at Metrolina eye and they agreed.

With the help of our wonderful staff, I was able to get my mother order a STAT MRI.

The results came back, and it turned out that she did in fact have a metastasis and now stage 4 cancer.

The metastasis was in her neck and it was compressing the sympathetic nerve that innervates the eye lid, pupil dilation and constriction and the nerve that controls the faces ability to sweat.

Causes of Horner syndrome can include:

  • Lesion of the primary neuron or postganglioic neuron
  • Brainstem stroke or tumor
  • Tumors or infection of the lung apex
  • Dissecting carotid aneurysm
  • Carotid artery ischemia
  • Migraine
  • Neck Trauma
  • Surgery in the chest cavity

This condition usually can’t be cured.  In some instances, if the nerve regenerates, the condition can go away, but sometimes, the nerve is severed permanently.

Most doctors will say that stage 4 cancer cannot be cured and that chemotherapy will only extend the life.  I decided to call different cancer research institutes and hospitals across the country to see if there were any studies on anything else that could help her cancer in addition to or besides the chemotherapy.  I spoke with one researcher who had studied the effects of  high dose Turmeric in combination with chemotherapy and he sent me the study. It showed that it increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy and decreased the side effects.

Once we read it,  we decided to try it in combination with the chemo therapy.  She has had scans every 3-4 months since and the cancer had shrunk in size each time.  Her last scan showed stability and a very small area remaining.  Her doctor considered her in remission/partial remission.  Her oncologist thinks there is still cancer, while I have gotten opinions from radiologists that believe it is scar tissue from her previous radiation.  Only time will tell us for sure.

Once I had seen that it appeared as if the Turmeric helped after the first scan, I decided to research other alternatives to use in combination with the chemotherapy in hopes that she can get off it all together.  I researched what is used in Asia for her type of cancer and across the world.  I researched alternative medical clinics and heard stories of people who had been cured.

I read about alkalizing the body in different ways and that cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline environment.  I read about essential oils that have anti cancer properties.  I read about different technology that could help right cancer.

After doing all of my research thoroughly, we came up with a treatment plan of our own in addition to the chemo and cut the chemo back from three times a month to one.

Her doctors comment has been to “Keep doing what you are doing.”

I feel like I was meant to be an eye doctor for so many reasons and to care for my patients eyes and improve their quality of life through sight.  When this happened to my mother, and I was able to discover her Horner’s syndrome, be the first doctor to catch it spreading, and get her quickly treated, it made me so thankful that I had the ability to help her through her medical journey.

*I am in no way recommending any type of alternative treatment for cancer, I am just telling my mothers story and what my family decided to do*

And for those of you reading, I would love to help your eyes as well.  To schedule, call our appointment line at Metrolina Eye today.


By Stacy Schorner, OD, FAAO

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