My name is Ted Wadman, my wife's name is Sandy, and the children in the photograph are our boys. Jared is now 14 years old, Cameron is 11, and Lucas is 7. Cameron has cerebral palsy and must be dressed, fed, and cared for completely. But as the picture indicates, overall, he is a very joyful boy…and he loves music. Lucas is a talented and gifted reader and generally a dynamo. At about 3 minutes old, it was obvious that he was much smarter than his parents. Jared, too, is a bright, talented, and cooperative kid. He helps out a lot with the demands at home. He is a great cook, with gourmet tastes.
Jared has been on Dr. Burzynski’s antineoplaston therapy for the last 3.5 years. At the age of 7, he was diagnosed with a low-grade astrocytoma in his hypothalamus. A surgical biopsy was performed by Dr. Michael Edwards, who was at the University of California at San Francisco. We live in Oregon but chose to go to San Francisco for the biopsy surgery. Jared had chemotherapy after surgery. His chemotherapy consisted of vincristine, and CCNU. He was given an experimental drug called 6TG (thioguanine), which was supposed to cross the blood-brain barrier. This chemotherapy was all part of an FDA-approved clinical trial conducted by MD Anderson Cancer Center. We never found out about the results of that trial.
Jared’s tumor was stable throughout the six cycles of chemotherapy. All the drugs except vincristine were given orally. He vomited during the first couple cycles until we obtained Zofran. It was only available in injectable form then, but we gave it to him orally and it stopped the nausea. By the sixth cycle, Jared’s blood counts dipped dangerously low. In the realm of chemotherapy, however, he handled it well.
Then the waiting began. Jared had MRIs every 3 months. He had no symptoms from the tumor except the original problem (precocious puberty), which is easy to treat. His tumor was stable until March of 1995 when Jared was 10 years old. At that time, everyone agreed the tumor had begun to grow. Jared's doctors at UCSF recommended stronger chemotherapy or radiation. The chemotherapy would be carboplatin and vincristine. Jared would lose his hair, suffer liver damage, nerve damage, kidney damage, bone marrow damage, and more. At the appointment with his oncologist in Portland, we spent an hour discussing the side effects and no time at all discussing the benefits of this therapy. All this for a child who was otherwise completely healthy. The only indication that the tumor was growing was the MRI.
Sandy had read about Dr. Burzynski in the book Choices in Healing by Michael Lerner. We decided to take Jared to the clinic to see if we might want to try this approach first. The prospect of a nontoxic treatment for our otherwise completely healthy child was too good to pass up. Jared’s tumor was slow growing, and we felt time was on our side. We did feel pressure to start treatment from our oncologists. They told us that "the bigger it gets the harder it is to treat." We chose to go to Houston to study and explore antineoplastons.
We hung out at the clinic for a week, talked to other patients, had an appointment with Dr. Burzynski, and talked to the doctors and our oncologists. We talked with the Michaels, whose child had the exact same tumor in the exact same place as Jared (see Paul’s story on this website). Surprisingly, the oncologists at UCSF were very negative about Jared starting antineoplaston therapy, even though they themselves were proposing "unproven" treatments. Our oncologist in Portland had only one comment: "The toxicity of the chemotherapy we are proposing is definitely a consideration."
At the end of the week at the Burzynski Clinic, we decided to put Jared on antineoplastons. Two weeks later (after returning to our home in Oregon), Jared started vomiting and stumbling around. The doctors at the Clinic said the uric acid levels in his blood must be high. We took Jared off antineoplaston treatment, and he had a blood test. His uric acid level was three times the normal level. The doctors said that this was an indication the tumor was breaking down. We gave Jared a glucose infusion, and his uric acid decreased. We then resumed antineoplaston treatment. Jared has been on allopurinol ever since to control the uric acid levels in his blood. The uric acid elevation has been the only side effect Jared has had from antineoplastons.
It took about 9 months for everyone (UCSF, Dr. Burzynski, and the radiologist in Corvallis) to agree that the tumor was shrinking. Jared is in partial remission, and his tumor continues to shrink a little with each MRI. We will keep Jared on antineoplaston therapy until the tumor is gone.
Between treatments, Jared leads a relatively normal life. He is strong, healthy, and happy. He made the honor roll last year, plays piano at church, and is a great big brother to Cameron and Lucas.
The logic we used to choose antineoplaston therapy for Jared was different than most patients who arrive at the Burzynski Clinic. Most have already failed chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Most are in very poor health from the ravages of chemotherapy, radiation, and long-term use of steroids. Most arrive in a desperate situation. Luckily, we were not at the point of desperation. We chose antineoplastons because we had time to seek out, learn about, and try this nontoxic treatment first.
We are active members of the Burzynski Patient Organization. Our personal goal is to see that everyone with a malignant brain tumor has access to antineoplaston therapy as a first-line treatment through any hospital in America. The FDA should have approved antineoplastons at least 5 years ago based on results in patients with brain tumors. Instead, the FDA has met Dr. Burzynski with ridiculous resistance, delays, and power playing that has cost many lives. No child should be given chemotherapy or be subjected to radiation as therapy for a malignant brain tumor without first seeing if antineoplaston therapy will work for them. We are working very hard to ensure that all children with malignant brain tumors get the same chance that Jared has had.
Update July 10, 2010
Hi Mary Jo,
I was 10 years old when my parents and I came to Houston from our home in Oregon for me to be treated by Dr. Burzynski. Naturally, the doctors at home recommended further Chemo therapy and radiation. I went through one round of Chemo after the initial diagnosis four years earlier, but seeing how the Chemo affected my health, my parents decided against radiation therapy. One day, my mother was shopping in a local bookstore, when she came upon a book by Michael Lerner called "Miracles in Healing" (at least I think that's the name of the book). There's a chapter of the book devoted to Dr. Burzynski. After the initial meeting with the Burzynski's and meeting his great staff in Houston, we knew we were in the right place. I started the ANP treatment, as an intravenous drip. Many patients whom we met with were on the treatment nearly twenty four hours per day. I had a low grade Astrocytoma tumor, which allowed me some freedom. I took three treatments per day, which typically lasted around 90 minutes each. I was on the intravenous form of treatment for five years. I was switched to the oral form of treatment shortly before my freshman year of high school. I spent the next 4 years taking nearly 80 pills per day, which I still preferred to the IV form of treatment. I was cleared to go off treatment when I was 19, after numerous MRI scans showed continuing stability of the tumor.
At almost 26 now, I haven't had a single MRI scan since going off treatment, and haven't had the need to. I've worked the front desk at a local hotel here in town for the last three years. The money could be better, but I enjoy the people I work with. I am trying to get to a point financially where I can continue my college education. I have began to think that a natural career path for me to take is to go into counseling, specifically for cancer patients and their families. I've talked to several people about my experience, and I hope, in a small way, I've been able to help them through a tough time.
During my time off, I enjoy cooking, experimenting with different ingredients, reading (my favorite genre is mystery thrillers, specifically David Baldacci novels), watching movies and TV, and being with friends and family. I periodically write a movie review blog (for no one in particular, just for my own enjoyment). I've loved all types of movies all of my life, so this seemed natural. It's harder than I thought it would be sometimes. I love getting feedback from people, and gaining loyal readers. I try to write a new entry every couple of weeks. Here's a link to my page.
Hope all is well for everybody, and for those who are fighting, know that you are in the right place.
This is Jared Wadman. How are you doing? A lot has been going on here lately. The biggest news is that I am no longer on the treatment. I stopped taking pills in January (with the doctor's approval, of course) I feel great. I'm going to a local community college. I'm in my third term and am going into the culinary arts school there in the fall.
The main reason that I am emailing you is, since I have beaten this disease, we want to celebrate. We want Stan and Barbara Burzynski to fly up here, and you and Steve and just about everybody else we've encountered over the past 10 years (yeah, 10 years!) so anyway, I dont have that many email addresses, and I was hoping to get some from you.
The party would be in august (around the 15th, my 20th birthday) I hope that gives you enough time to plan things out. If you can't come, thats ok. I'ill understand.
I'll talk to you later. Thanks