CancerGuide: Inspirational Patient Stories
Lisa Liscomb was diagnosed with an a brain tumor called Anaplastic Astrocytoma in July of 1998, at the age of 24. An MRI found a tumor the size of a plum in the left frontal lobe and Lisa underwent brain surgery to remove 60% of it. The first surgery was done at John Dempsey Hospital, UCONN Heath Center, in Farmington, CT. Six weeks of radiation treatment to the remaining mass and surrounding tissue was to follow at the same facility.
In November of 1998, an MRI showed that there was tumor and necrosis which was causing swelling and problems. Lisa was transferred to Boston to see Dr. Peter Black, Neurosurgeon. Dr. Black is using a procedure that would allow him to remove over 95% off the remaining mass effect. Lisa had her 2nd surgery to "clean out" the treatment area. The pathology showed necrosis and tumor.
For about a year after this surgery, Lisa was using large doses of Benefin Shark Cartilage to keep the tumor growth under control. She was advised by Dr. Dante Ruccio, a Naturopath in New Jersey, free of charge for over a year since her diagnosis. Shark Cartilage treatment is being studied world wide as an alternative treatment with few side effects. Lisa elected to stop the Shark Cartilage in October of 1999.
In November of 1999, it was determined that the tumor was growing again. Lisa tried an experimental drug called Temodar (or Temozolomide) with no response.
On January 31, 2000, Lisa had her third surgery. Dr. Black at Dana Farber in Boston removed 95% of the recurrent growth again. The pathology was Malignant Glioma.
Signs of response to treatment
In April of 2000, Lisa began treatment to control recurrent growth. This would include a combination being studied by Boston's best oncologists. The treatment would be administered under the care of Dr. Alexandra Flowers at John Dempsey back in Farmington, CT. The combination included BCNU and Carbloplatin every 6 weeks COMBINED with Thalidomide at a dosage of 400mg per day to start. Thalidomide, combined with conventional therapy, has shown results in brain tumor patients as well as other types of cancer.
At the same time, Lisa would begin an alternative treatment involving a potent tea from Paraguay. The tea combination included Purple Lapacho and Yerbamate Royal in a 50/50 blend. This tea is distributed by a company called Wisdom of the Ancients and has been found to have STRONG antioxidant effects.
Signs of victory!
In June of 2000, an MRI revealed that the area of recurrent growth had shrunk by 20% over a 6 week period !!! This was the first time that documented tumor shrinkage has occurred since Lisa's diagnosis.
Lisa will continue on this path to recovery. She will stay on this Chemo protocol every 6 weeks until the tumor is completely gone. The Thalidomide has been reduced to 200mg per day and is being taken 2 weeks on and then 2 weeks off. She will also continue drinking the Purple Lapacho / Yerbamate Royale tea blend. Lisa takes anti-oxidant supplements as well that include a Multi-vitamin, Echinachea, Coenzyme Q10, and Milk Thistle in order to rebuild her immune system over time.
How can we help others?
Lisa is now 26 years old and is showing no neurological side effects from the trauma that her brain and body has been through in the last 2 years. She and her husband of 6 years, Scott, are in the process of starting a foundation to help others stricken with cancer. The Foundation For Cancer Survival will provide information and assistance to persons with cancer and their loved ones. We feel that survival rates for cancer can be significantly improved with proper information and finances that are available to the patient quickly and efficiently. A very preliminary website has been created at:
Scott & Lisa Liscomb are available to help those facing cancer survival or those with any questions or comments.
Sadly - a serious turn for the worse...
On September 13, 2000 a new MRI scan showed two new tumors in a different area of Lisa's brain. This area is in the back base of the brain. (An area very difficult to treat) Lisa has elected not to have any additional treatments. As I write this on October 10, she has fallen into a state of unconsciousness and is not expected to be with us for very much longer. Lisa has tremendous faith and knows that there is more to our existence than the short time that we are on this earth. We accept God's will and know that there is a purpose in everything.
This CancerGuide Page By Scott Liscomb. © Scott Liscomb
Last Updated: 2003