Jerry - Reno, Nevada
If stress can be a cause of cancer, and an important healing tool, Jerry Bing has experienced both.
She was born in California and moved to Nevada as a child. "I went to 22 schools by the time I was 22."
Early on, her lungs were a weak spot. "At age 7, I had bronchitis and I went to Texas to live because it was dry. My aunt and uncle lived on a farm there. Seven months later I outgrew the bronchitis and went back to Vallejo, California."
Weak lungs run in her family. Her mother, grandmother, and brother died of emphysema.
Jerry was twice married and twice divorced. During her second marriage, she experienced two miscarriages and a premature baby who lived just two weeks.
About 1985 she had a hysterectomy and entered politics. "I had just won an election to be County Commissioner and was going to take office in January. I wanted no female problems. After the surgery, I was fine."
In 1988, she ran for re-election. "The sheriff wanted me gone because I had questioned his budget. One night, there was a big black tie function in town, I was arrested for DUI, handcuffed, thrown in jail. The arrest was made two blocks from my home. Normally, they would have said just to walk the two blocks home, but they had an agenda. I lost my drivers license for a year, so I ran a campaign without a car, and hired an 18-year old nanny to help drive me around. My 50 year old husband had an affair with the nanny and my mother died on my daughter's 8th birthday." It was not a good year.
Four years later, it was time to run for office again. "This time, the sheriff came and said it was a big mistake that I was out of office and they wanted me to run again and would help campaign. I was running against the man who had beat me in 1988. Even though every group was in support of me, and the sheriff's office was openly going against the incumbent, I lost that election."
In 1993, after several stressful years, she and her family took a vacation that ended in Disneyland. "Tuesday night, we were at dinner and I needed to get some more cigarettes. I knew I shouldn't smoke, but I didn't have a lung problem. Wednesday morning I woke up and didn't feel very good. I don't remember driving to the airport or flying home."
That marked the end of her cigarette habit, but the beginning of a mysterious illness.
"By Sunday I was in a coma for two weeks and had the kind of pneumonia that Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, died of. They had me on steroids. In two weeks I had gained 70 pounds and my legs looked like elephant trunks. I wore a size 24 dress when I got out of the hospital. I couldn't get out of bed to go to the bathroom. They had told me at discharge that all this was pneumonia."
Jerry underwent physical therapy three days a week for more than a year. After six months though, her right arm was still non-functional and her therapist said something else was wrong. Her doctor said it was a torn rotator cuff. Three surgeries followed – one for the rotator cuff, and two hip replacements.
In October 2001 she was back in the hospital emergency room with bronchitis. "They said they wanted to be on the safe side and take x-rays. It showed a spot in the lung. Every three months I had it x-rayed. First time they said it could be cancerous, but the second time they said it was not growing. The September 2003 x-ray said it was growing. I was referred to a surgeon to get it cut out. He told me this is the hardest surgery to have, harder than the knee. He said he was going to take half my lung – my upper left lobe. It was indeed the hardest surgery I had. I was home bound for a month, on oxygen 24/7."
In September 2004, x-rays showed another spot, this time it was the right lung. "The surgeon said he couldn't take another half out or I wouldn't be breathing, so he took out just a wedge. The x-ray in September 2006, found a third spot. Dr. Frank Shallenberger of Carson City, Nevada, told me about insulin potentiation therapy versus traditional chemo and referred me to Dr. Frank George. I knew instinctively I did not want to do the standard chemo and radiation, and for my lung cancer alternative treatment was the right choice."
Jerry's alternative lung cancer treatment started IPT in October 2006. She had IVs five days a week for seven months. Jerry started with IPT twice a week, and alternated with vitamin C and PolyMVA.
"It was very effective because in May of 2007 I was in Reno and had a PET scan and it said cancer was undetectable. Another PET scan in October 2007 said there was no cancer. There is no symptom of lung cancer. You don't get sick, you don't cough. Another gal caught her cancer because her chiropractor deduced that her hurting leg might mean lung cancer."
Jerry feels blessed she caught it early. "But I was naïve when it first showed up in 2005 and they cut it out. I believed them when they said it was all gone."
Jerry lives in Nevada in the winter, and in Scottsdale in the summer. Her passion is golf.
"I tried to be normal and play golf when I was going through IPT that year. I would bend over to put my ball on the tee and darn near pass out."
But she kept at it and started a maintenance IPT schedule in May 2007. She worked with Dr. Shallenberger in Nevada to continue with IPT every other week. By October, 2007, she was down to IPT once a month. A PET Scan in December, 2007, said cancer was undetectable. April, 2008 was her last monthly IPT. She continued to take vitamin C IVs once a week.
"You do a maintenance schedule because when you get a clear test, it's undetectable but the cancer is there. We know it was detectable at one time and it came back three times."
As is the case with all cancer patients, Jerry Bing had to confront the issue of food. "When I started IPT, I did cut out the carbs. That was hard for me, I don't like salad, I don't like veggies. I gave up my trips to In-And-Out burger. Some days I would go have lunch. Some days I don't know how I got into my car and drove over here – how did I get out of bed? I had good days and bad days. Getting sick gets rids of a lot of vanity."
And how did she do with the diet thing in the maintenance phase? "I don't buy cookies and pies. I am bad about pastas and breads. I don't do French Fries, I do fruit. At one time they said margarine was really bad, then butter; who knows. I understand the theory of no sugar because cancer loves sugar. Sugar means no carbs."
Jerry's zest for life is clearly infectious to all who meet her. "White wine has one carb, red wine has two carbs, and vodka and gin have none. I looked it up in my carb book. So my conclusion was I could have my vodka martini. I discovered Flemings has this wonderful white cosmo – white cranberry juice, citron vodka, and peach schnapps."
She has been known to share one of those at happy hour with her golfing buddies, including one who is going through IPT with her. "We play golf when we can. I tell her you have to accept that this is your life. My year was bad last year, some days I was home in bed throwing up. The good news is I was in bed looking at a golf course. I had to do what I had to do when I had to do it. I am still dealing with cancer, but because the tests show its at an undetectable level, I feel I have a little more leeway. I am not going to eat just fish and lettuce for the rest of my life. I've given up pancakes and waffles. I am today feeling better than I have since before the lung surgery, and I atribute that to my choice of alternative treatment for lung cancer. I can play golf again. I just need more muscle strength to hit the ball harder."
Jerry was not able to play golf for almost a decade after the pneumonia that ended her Disneyland vacation. "I have felt so good this year that I am now ready to get back to my three days a week of golf. I am ready to get back to my normal life and have the doctors work around me. My breathing is good except when I go up hills. My oxygen test is always at 95, 98 so my saturation level is great. You know, I should have died in 1993. There is a reason why I am still here. I don't know what it is. I've outlived my mother – she died at 62 – and my brother – he died at age 60 of emphysema. I am in great health! I just have these little problems periodically."
She feels blessed that she has what she describes as the best of both worlds – to live in Reno in the winter where she can continue with IPT with her doctor in Carson City just 20 minutes away – and to live in Scottsdale. "There are people who fly in from Pennsylvania to do this."
As they like to say in golf, positive mental attitude brings peak performance.
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