“I’m not doing chemo,” Rodney Stamps said quietly.
“He might as well have told her that he was planning to jump off a bridge in the hope of bouncing the cancer out of his body.”
About 650,000 cancer patients receive chemotherapy in an outpatient oncology clinic every year in the U.S.
Rodney Stamps was not going to be one of them.
In the remarkable book that Stamps co-authored with his wife Paige, 90 Days to Live: Beating Cancer When Modern Medicine Offers No Hope, Stamps is given just that – 90 days. “Like a bolt out of lightning, Dr. A’s words hit me: ‘I’m sorry, Mr. Stamps, but unless you start treatment immediately, about 90 days is all you can expect.’ ”
After getting past the shock, most people, upon hearing those words, would follow the doctor’s advice and make haste to begin chemotherapy. But with Stamps, well, not so fast.
ALTERNATIVE IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
Rodney had been a nationally touring heavy metal drummer who, before the cancer ordeal, traded it all in for marriage, a family and a business. Rodney and Paige, writes Dr. George Yu in the book’s foreword, are part of a newer “wired” generation who, “while they respect professional advice, don’t put it on a pedestal to the exclusion of all else.”
Make what you will out of the statistics: Of those receiving chemotherapy treatment in the U.S., about 47 percent were still alive five years after treatment. Stamps’ assessment was jaded by the fact that two relatives underwent the treatment and did not survive. What’s more, medical professionals indicated that chemo could extend life but not necessarily cure the cancer.
The Stamps’ skepticism about the medical profession and traditional methods was clear: “The medical establishment is like the Pied Piper. Patients are expected to blindly follow, even when outcomes are not good. The stranglehold that the drug companies have on the entire process is evident in the training that medical students receive.”
90 Days to Live documents the Stamps’ furious efforts over a two-week period to research on their own and seek out alternative treatments that could save Rodney’s life. The approach was unorthodox, and time was not on their side as they understood they had to start some, any, kind of treatment as soon as possible lest the cancer spread and render any approach futile. Additionally, in the Stamps’ case, money was hardly no object: indeed it was, as the family tried to get a fire and security business off the ground and, by the way, they carried no health insurance.
ACTION, PASSION AND LOVE
Finally, Stamps lands on a course of action that he is willing to commit to; primarily a diet focused on enzymes and supplements, along with some unusual and, frankly, disgusting-sounding elements including coffee enemas and liver shakes.
But Stamps was all in, driven by the passion and love of his wife Paige, who serves as co-narrator throughout the book. She sits from an interesting perch, with the heavy emotions from her own experience and trying to stay calm and in control to support Rodney and their two children.
90 Days to Live is a well-written, heart-wrenching account of a couple who said no to traditional practices in their efforts to overcome the deadliest of all diseases. But as much as it is a medical story, it also is a love story, and readers feel that love throughout the book as the family faces its ultimate challenge at every turn.
The Stamps’ journey serves as an inspirational story and a compelling narrative. But more so, Dr. Eric Wood, ND, calls it “a must-read for anyone feeling trapped by their choices and thinking there’s no hope.”