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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1
38 / A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1
The first thing most people
notice about 41-year-old Beth
Gomez is her striking blue eyes.
It's not just that they are beau-
tiful, which they are, like daz-
zling topaz waters. It's something
more. There is an inner light, vi-
brancy, a love for life that shines
through.
I've known Beth for almost a
year now and still can't get over
her amazing transformation. To-
day, I'm meeting her for coffee at
a corner cafe. I'm sitting at a ta-
ble in the corner when she walks
in with a bounce in her step and
a gentle confidence, looking bet-
ter than ever in a black tank top
and jeans.
When I first met this tall, bru-
nette beauty in 2009, she had
just finished a courageous bat-
tle with Stage 3 colon cancer. At
the age of 38, Beth insisted upon
having a colonoscopy due to a
family history with the disease.
After the first doctor told her she
didn't need one, Beth sought out
another who would authorize
the diagnostic test.
Two months later, Beth under-
went surgery to have a tumor in
her colon, discovered during the
colonoscopy, removed. She was
recovering in the hospital when
she learned she had cancer and
would need to see a medical
oncologist for follow-up treat-
ment.
After an initial evaluation, the
oncologist scheduled Beth for
twelve rounds of chemotherapy.
Today I ask her what that experi-
ence was like.
"I remember being so scared
for that first treatment," Beth
says. "And then they wouldn't
let my husband come into the
room with me. It was this tiny
room and there were about eight
of us crammed in there together.
I cried the entire time."
For Beth, it was the begin-
ning of a downward spiral as she
would become violently ill af-
ter each round of treatment. She
couldn't keep anything down
-- not even water. As she grew
weaker, she asked her oncolo-
gist for advice on how to keep
the food down, but was given
little support. Instead, she was
given more and more prescrip-
tion drugs. At one point, the side
effects grew so severe that the
oncologist suggested she be ad-
mitted to a hospital. Beth and
her family knew there had to be
a better way.
"By this point, I had become
a walking medicine cabinet.
They had me on so many drugs
and I was just feeling worse and
worse," she says. "I didn't even
want to get out of bed most
days. About that time, my dad
saw a commercial for Cancer
Treatment Centers of America
and asked me to call and talk to
them to see if there were other
options."
Within just a few days, Beth
found herself at Cancer Treat-
ment Centers of America
(CTCA)
near Phoenix, Arizona for an
evaluation. During her first ap-
pointment, Beth was introduced
to the members of her Patient
Empowerment Team
TM
, including
her medical oncologist, natur-
opathic physician, nutritionist,
mind-body medicine specialist
and care manager.
Since they were all located
within the hospital, Beth would
have access to them every time
she visited CTCA. She also had
the comfort of knowing they
were working together to de-
velop a customized treatment
plan specifically for her needs.
According to Edgar D. Star-
en, MD, PhD, MBA, senior vice
president for clinical affairs and
chief medical officer at CTCA,
Patient Empowered Care
SM
ad-
vances care through health lit-
eracy, essentially giving patients
more time and greater access to
all clinical team members for
more responsive, personalized
care. This ultimately leads to a
greater understanding of their
condition, options and plan for
treatment.
"Time is one element, but
even more important are the
value and quality of the commu-
nications and interactions with
their care team," Dr. Staren says.
"When patients are provided
clear and thorough information
and an understanding of their
condition, they are empowered to
make educated decisions about
their cancer care; we believe this
will lead to improved clinical re-
sults, including quality of life."
It was during Beth's first hour-
long session with her natur-
opathic physician, Dr. Shauna
Birdsall, that Beth learned about
the natural benefits of Zinc and
B6 and how they might be able
to alleviate her nausea.
Tears well up in Beth's eyes
as she tells the next part of the
story.
"I went home that night and
took the Zinc and B6 supple-
ments I received at the hospi-
tal. I woke up the next morning
and walked out to the driveway
where my husband was work-
ing on his car. I asked him if
we could go for a walk. Mind
you, it had been months since
I wanted to do anything but lay
in bed. He tells me it was the
first time he saw me look alive
and well in months, and I did
-- I felt like my old self again.
It was as though literally, over-
night, all the horrible side effects
were gone. All of those months
I suffered and it was something
as simple as two natural supple-
ments that gave me my quality
of life back."
Beth says she gets emotion-
al every time she thinks about
that moment and how CTCA
took her out of the downward
spiral. Today, she is a consum-
mate advocate for the unique in-
tegrated treatment model offered
at CTCA, and for good reason.
Following the guidance of her
Patient Empowerment TeamTM,
she looks and feels better than
ever.
As Beth sits across from me
recounting her journey from des-
peration to hope, a tear comes to
my eye as well. It's hard not to
get a little emotional when you
see someone who has been giv-
en their life back, and has taken
that as an opportunity to become
their best self.
Now I know a little bit more
about what makes those blue
eyes sparkle. Her story is an in-
spiration to me to seek out my
best life, and a reminder to al-
ways get a second opinion. She
is an inspiration and I know, for
Beth, the best is yet to come.
* No case is typical. You should not
expect to see these results.
For more information, call (888)
214-9488 or visit cancercenter.com
Unique Integrative Treatment May Ease Side Effects
and Improve Quality of Life for Cancer Patients
by betsy Rice
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