A New Lease on Life: How Amanda L. Overcame Stage-3 Osteosarcoma at CHIPSA Hospital

Amanda L. came to CHIPSA Hospital last October looking for ways to improve her quality of life after surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy failed to treat her late-stage cancer.

But she believes CHIPSA did more than that. According to her, not only did they improve her quality of life, they also extended it.

Amanda was diagnosed in March of 2017 with an aggressive bone cancer called chondroblastic osteosarcoma. Her tumor was considered stage 3, grade 4, and metastasized. After undergoing surgery, 27 rounds of radiation, and 5 rounds of chemotherapy, she believed her cancer was gone. But 6 months later, her follow-up scans showed that the tumor was growing again. When a trial drug failed and left her very sick, she knew she had to explore other options.

Other hospitals kept suggesting another round of intense chemotherapy,” she said. “I just knew I couldn’t do that again.”

Amanda’s employer, an Occupational Therapist and believer in natural medicine, suggested she try a nutritional therapy like the Gerson protocol. When she realized that it was difficult to do it on her own, she began to consider CHIPSA. After extensive research and conversation with survivors, Amanda knew in her heart that CHIPSA was the right place for her. They had a lot of different treatment options that weren’t available to her in the U.S., and they weren’t as invasive as those she was using at home.

But the most important thing CHIPSA offered her was hope.

Amanda rolled into CHIPSA in a wheel chair, very sick and unable to walk around on her own. But she walked out three weeks later without the pain medications she brought in with her. When she returned home, her local hospital performed one more surgery to relieve some pain she had from the original tumor. They advised her she’d probably have to do more chemotherapy when they were through.

But I just knew I was better,” she said. “I was off all of my pain medications. I knew something had changed.”

When Amanda’s doctors finished her surgery, they came out and told her that she was cancer free. 

AmandaI’m currently considered cancer free,” said Amanda. “I’m pain free. I resumed my lifestyle. I was in a wheel chair at CHIPSA. But now I’m riding horses again.

When it comes to CHIPSA, Amanda has only one regret: that she didn’t come sooner.

One of the reasons she hesitated to come to CHIPSA was because of its location. She and her mother would have to travel a bit to get to get there, and many people in her life were shocked that she’d consider Mexico for medical treatments.

But Amanda says she and her mother felt perfectly safe in Tijuana. “I traveled there with my 73-year-old mother,” she said. “She has never flown anywhere, and she told me she’d never get on a plane. But we felt very safe in Mexico. My mom would come back in a heartbeat. She even explored Tijuana by herself. She felt as safe here as any city in our country.”

For anyone who is facing a cancer diagnosis, or has a loved one battling cancer, Amanda wants to share the keys to her success.

First, get a good support system. “My mom and my husband are my biggest cheerleaders,” she said. “Your companion is your biggest asset. There were times that I was too sick at the hospital to really be involved, but my mom learned the protocol.” 

Amanda’s mom helped her stick to that protocol even after they left CHIPSA and returned home. She made sure she continued juicing and kept up with her Apatone and other supplements.

Having a support system at CHIPSA was another way Amanda stayed on top of her treatments. The doctors and staff members followed up with her to make sure she was staying on track, but it was the other patients she met there who really kept her going. “We always check in with one another,” she said.

Lastly, Amanda says it’s important to become educated about your particular cancer diagnosis. “Every patient is different, every cancer is different, and every body is different. I think sometimes we lose sight of that.” 

Amanda’s life after CHIPSA has been an active one, as she takes care of her 7-year-old stepdaughter, trains horses, and coaches children.

I was told non-curative for two years. So to be cancer free to me is just a second lease on life.