Xochi has been fighting from a rare form of cancer, called Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET) or Carcinoid Tumour for the past sixteen years, after being diagnosed in 1999.
From the day she was diagnosed, Xochi decided to be active in choosing the best therapies for her. Sixteen years ago the doctors recommended Xochi undergo chemotherapy and radiation, but after asking whether this would truly work and being told that it was uncertain, Xochi was more convinced to only go for treatments she truly believed would work for her and she looked for the best experts in the field.
That began Xochi’s sixteen-year journey to find potential cures that would help her, which also included traditional medicine, alternative therapies, painting and her positive attitude. Xochi comments, “It was in this spirit that my husband Frank and I embarked on this journey of discovery, doing intense research to find the best possible treatments.
“Even though I had been fighting cancer for 16 years, I felt I was a very healthy cancer patient! I had energy to burn! I used this energy to help many causes, such as helping other people with cancer – I volunteered for Hospice and Palliative Care programmes, helping patients and their families.”
Xochi has been considered stage 4 i.e. with distant spread e.g. to the liver and bones since her diagnosis but in 2015 her disease drastically progressed. The cancer became very aggressive and spread to almost every bone in her body. Within a month, she lost 2st 4lbs (32 pounds). Xochi adds, “I started losing energy in the summer of 2015 – by September my life force was weakening. In the blink of an eye, I wasn’t that woman with the energy to burn, to help, to give of myself, to do for others anymore.”
The drastic weight loss and depleted energy levels left Xochi dazed as she struggled with the realisation that she was in fact dying. “My body’s frame had turned into a skeleton. My once firm rump was gone. My once strong arms that could carry any load, were just bones and skin unable to carry anything. The legs that had carried me through my entire life, dancing, riding my Harley, building businesses, gardening and running to someone’s rescue – gone, gone, gone,” Xochi recalls.
When Xochi and her husband visited her cancer specialist’s office in 2015 after her symptoms had worsened, Dr Rodney Pommier informed them that there were no treatments in the United States to help. However, he informed them of an effective treatment that had been used in London, Switzerland, Holland and Germany for over a decade and had achieved great results.
Dr Pommier contacted Professor Martyn Caplin, Consultant Gastroenterologist and NET specialist at The Wellington Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK, to get Xochi set up for the special tumour targeted therapy called Peptide Receptor Radiotargeted Therapy known as PRRT to try and stabilise the disease and hopefully prolong her life.
PRRT contains a radioactive isotope which is attached to a chemical called octreotide. The octreotide binds to the cancer cells and gets taken up into the cancer and kills the cells.
In October 2015, Xochi and her husband flew to London to visit Professor Martyn Caplin at The Wellington Hospital to receive her first PRRT treatment, but this was no mean feat. Xochi was so weak by this time that she could barely walk along the jetway to the plane. She could no longer eat or drink much and simple tasks became enormous. The day after Xochi landed in London, she was admitted to the hospital, receiving her first treatment that very afternoon
Xochi comments, “The treatment worked like crazy, I couldn’t believe it. It was nothing short of a miracle. Almost instantly my energy started coming back and I felt so much better.
“We walked out of The Wellington Hospital and I told my husband I wanted to go for a walk. He was a little shocked! We walked to the famous Abby Road. I walked back and forth in the crosswalk and then started to dance in the middle of the crosswalk. I felt so alive!”
Xochi continues, “I am getting my life back. I have completed two, of the four, PRRT Treatments. I am now gardening again, cooking, cleaning and all of those little things we take for granted, including painting. I am an artist and painting is very important to me.”
Xochi was then able to put some weight back on after her drastic weight loss and the chronic pain she was experiencing prior to the treatment was remarkably reduced.
Xochi adds, “Professor Caplin is an excellent consultant and I would recommend anyone with the same condition as me to pay him a visit, especially with the treatment only available in certain cities and hospitals. The Wellington Hospital is great, with wonderful attentive staff to help you throughout your treatment. I feel truly blessed to have found this successful and effective treatment in London and I can’t thank Professor Caplin enough for his expertise and compassion towards me.