UPDATE November 2004
I have been cancer free for the past 6 years and this coming May it will be 7 years. I am now 20 years old and am going to collage to get my Physical Therapist Assistants degree. I recently just had a baby boy. I named him Chase Devin Buford. He was born on July 10th, 2004. Weighing 7 pounds 14 1/2 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches tall. He is now 4 months and is a hand full, but I love every bit of it.
As far as my family goes my mom and dad are doing great. Right now they're pretty busy with work and my two younger brothers. Who are in every extra curricular activity imaginable. Willy my middle brother is now 16 and will be turning 17 this March. Kevin my youngest brother is now 7 and he will be turning 8 this January.
I don't know where I would be without my family, the Buryzinski Clinic, and the people who were willing to take time aside to help me when I needed it the most. I am glad that through my trial of life I was able to make relationships and bonds that will never be broken. I hope to continue strengthening these relationships.
UPDATE by Dan and Robin Ressel, April 1999
Jessi has finished antineoplaston therapy as of February 1999, when she stopped taking a maintenance dosage of antineoplastons in capsule form.
Jessi's mom, Robin, says anyone wanting information about Dr. Burzynski's treatment can call her at 417-886-6145.
CONGRATULATIONS FROM EVERYONE IN THE PATIENTS GROUP, JESSI. ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK HAS PAID OFF!
Roosevelt told a stunned and grieving nation, "This is a day that will live in infamy." My day of infamy is March 27, 1996, the day that my beautiful blue-eyed-daughter Jessica was diagnosed with a malignant brain stem tumor that was inoperable.
In a shaky voice, the doctor explained that a tiny pea-sized monster invading the center of her head was responsible for plaguing my 11-year-old with double vision that came on so quickly. Jessi had a brain stem glioma, the second most common cause of death in children in the United States. There is no cure for this type of cancer. Her life expectancy was 8 to 18 months.
The doctors said that the standard course of treatment was radiation and chemotherapy. Not only would Jessi be horribly ill from the side effects of these conventional treatments, she would die in a matter of months. She would die with or without treatment.
The doctor left the room as my husband Dan held me tight. My heart had shattered, and the intense pain in the pit of my stomach would not quit. But I refused to accept this fate. Tears streaming down my face, I whispered in Dan's ear, "We're not going to lose out little girl!"
I will never forget that moment when I decided death was not an option. To save Jessi meant declaring war on her illness. We had to control the cancer, not let it control us. I told God I knew there was hope for Jessi, I just needed help finding it. I prayed for strength every day as I spent endless hours educating myself on brain tumors, nutrition, and alternative cancer therapies.
I made hundreds of phone calls, searched the Internet and libraries, and read everything I could get my hands on. Finally, one sunny April afternoon, a red booklet arrived in the mail. A wave of emotion swept over me as I looked through it. I knew God had given us the path for Jessi to take.
The booklet came from Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski in Houston, Texas. It contained information about a medicine he developed called antineoplastons. Antineoplastons are a safe nontoxic cancer therapy that has almost no side effects. At the time, antineoplastons had been used for over 18 years with excellent success in treating Jessi's type of cancer. Within 6 weeks of starting therapy, her double vision disappeared. She continued to go to school, ride her bike, and play basketball with her 8-year-old brother Willy.
Dan and I were overjoyed! Jessi's illness no longer threatened her life, and we had such a wonderful reason to celebrate! Ironically, we did not know that a storm was brewing. The cancer was no longer a threat, but our federal government and our health insurance carrier were. We were soon caught in the middle of a raging war to defend Jessi's doctor from the fury of the Food and Drug Administration. As if that were not enough to deal with, we were also forced to take on Aetna Health Insurance in a major legal battle for not approving medical coverage for Jessi's antineoplaston therapy.
The FDA vs Dr. Burzynski
Since 1983, the FDA has attacked the Burzynski Clinic with repeated abuse, harassment, red tape, and four federal indictments. The first three failed to prove any wrongdoing. However, the fourth indictment was the government's most vindictive attempt to put Dr. Burzynski out of business.
The fourth indictment resulted in an illegal raid of the Clinic, confiscation of thousands of documents and records, and two criminal trials. To date, none of the documents or records have been returned to the Clinic. The terrifying reality was that the government agency designed to protect the public was not the slightest bit concerned for the life of my daughter. Neither was the FDA concerned about the lives of 300 other desperate patients with cancer, who had neither hope nor any remaining treatment options.
The FDA seemed interested only in silencing the most promising cancer breakthrough of the century. It made absolutely no sense to me that one branch of the FDA gave Dr. Burzynski full approval to treat his patients with antineoplastons in Phase II clinical trials, and at the very same time, another branch had charged him with 75 counts of criminal activity and wanted to put him in jail for 290 years!
The court date was scheduled for January 1997. For months we lived under constant fear that Jessi would lose access to her life-saving medicine. If Dr. Burzynski would have been convicted on just one charge, he would have had to serve a minimum of 8 years in prison. His Clinic would have closed, cutting off all of his patients from their cancer medicine.
The insanity of this bizarre situation and saving Jessi's life forced me to become politically involved. In September of 1996, my family and I traveled to Washington, DC. Even though I was in my fifth month of pregnancy, I knew how important it was for us to make the trip. We attended and spoke at a rally in front of the White House with 75 supporters from the Burzynski Patient Group.
We also met with several US Senators and Congressmen. Our common goal was to save the lives of the people we love. We were trying to stop the upcoming federal trial by asking the Senate and the House to mandate FDA reform. In spite of all our lobbying efforts and hard work, the trial proceeded as planned.
The first trial began in Houston on January 6, 1997. The terrible crime Dr. Burzynski was alleged to have committed was using his unapproved medicine to save the lives of patients with cancer who did not live in Texas. A fellow Burzynski patient approached prosecuting attorney Michael Clark. She questioned Mr. Clark point blank, asking him if the government had made provisions for patients to continue to receive antineoplastons should Dr. Burzynski be sent to prison. Mr. Clark's comment: "No that's not my responsibility, I'm just doing my job." This attitude was also the defense of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials after the Holocaust.
Currently, Jessi is a healthy 14-year-old and remains in remission. On March 25, 1998, she was able to stop using the IV infusion pump. For a year and half, Jessi received her antineoplaston treatment as a slow intravenous drip through a chest catheter, 22 hours a day. She wore a small purse-sized back pack that contained her battery-operated pump and two IV bags. Even though the pump was an inconvenience, it saved her life!
After graduating off the pump, Jessi took antineoplastons in capsule form (48 pills a day) as a maintenance dosage. Jessi stopped taking the capsules in February of this year.
Since Jessi was diagnosed, I have learned so much about myself as a parent. I learned that I have an unending supply of strength and courage. When it comes to saving my daughter, I will move mountains and make the impossible happen.
Robin and Dan Ressel
UPDATE March 2014
It is now 2014 another year has come and another year has passed with so many memories created. I am now 29yrs old a mother of two children Chase who is now 9 and Aralynn who is 4. My children bring so much joy and happiness in my life. They keep me on my toes and I love every bit of it. I will never forget all the love and strength my parents (Dan and Robin) had during some of our most difficult struggles. I will never forget all the support and guidance from our extend family, friends, and even strangers that had the belief in the treatment my family choose to do.
I will now have been cancer free officially 17yrs in March 2014. YAY!!! Every day I thank God for all the blessing he brought through for the kind caring heart of Dr. Burzynski and the Burzynski Clinic along with my family being able to have the freedom of choice to use antineoplastons therapy. Every day I watched my children with my loved ones around me and I know in my heart I would not be here to enjoy those moments if it were not for Dr. Burzyski’s and his antineoplastons.