Eight Years Later: Bailey O’Brien Shares How She Beat Terminal Melanoma at CHIPSA
Bailey O’Brien was diagnosed with terminal melanoma when she was just 20 years old. Eight years later, she is alive and thriving with NO signs of cancer.
Her story began in 2007, just as she was embarking upon her first semester of college. She imagined battling late night study sessions, tough professors, and bad cafeteria food, but she didn’t imagine battling cancer.
But that’s the feat she was given. After discovering a strange mole on her head that was changing and growing, Bailey learned she had melanoma, an aggressive, dangerous type of skin cancer. So she took a medical leave of absence to undergo surgery and interferon treatments. Being only 18 years old at the time, her doctors were optimistic that her cancer would not come back.
Bailey returned to life as normal. She joined her university’s competitive swim team and was excelling in all areas of her college career.
“But my bubble was burst,” she said.
In 2010, one of her regular check-up scans showed an area of concern. After getting a biopsy, Bailey was told that her melanoma had returned.
This time, Bailey’s treatments were more aggressive. She had another surgery, which was unfortunately unsuccessful. Her third surgery not only removed her tumor, but also the surrounding tissue, which sadly led to the loss of part of her ear.
“It was devastating,” she said.
Because Bailey’s cancer had already returned once, her doctors told her that there was an 80% chance that it would return again. They advised her to undergo radiation treatments, but gave her no guarantees that they would prevent recurrence.
“At this point, I knew I didn’t have a lot of time left,” Bailey said. “Not knowing for sure whether or not the radiation would help, I just decided to go for it in case it did.”
Two weeks after completing radiation, however, Bailey found a small lump underneath her chin. She had to leave a swim training trip in Hawaii to visit her oncologist in New York. The fine needle aspiration showed that the lump was, again, melanoma.
“At that point, I felt like I was just getting knocked down over and over again. I didn’t know how much I could continue going on.“
But the news was only to get worse. Bailey went back to school while she waited for the results of her most recent scan.
One day, Bailey’s mom and sister arrived at her college dorm and told her to sit down. She then told her that her scan not only confirmed the cancer under her chin, but also showed more tumors on her neck, lungs, and spine.
“That was one time in my cancer journey that I felt totally hopeless. I was sure I would die. I just tried to think of what I could do that might help me. But there was nothing. I was seeing doctors at Sloan Kettering and Dana Farber, two top oncology hospitals in the states, but they didn’t offer me hope for a cure.”
Bailey’s mom couldn’t accept that her daughter would die of cancer at just 20 years old. She had too much life left to live.
So she began to look for other options. With help from her friend who knew of some alternative methods, Bailey’s mother started heavily researching. They wanted to find something different that could support Bailey’s body and healing.
Their research uncovered a treatment called Coley’s toxins, a therapy that used to be mainstream in the United States. Seeing that the success rates for melanoma patients were pretty good, especially combined with Gerson therapy, Bailey’s mom felt like this could be their best shot.
That’s when the O’Briens discovered CHIPSA.
“I talked with the doctors there about the radical diet commitment and lifestyle changes I’d need to make,” Bailey said. “I wasn’t looking forward to it, but having studied nutrition, I believe that if you don’t feed your body things that are good for you, you’ll get sick.”
So rather than follow her doctor’s recommendation to begin a chemotherapy pill, Bailey headed to Mexico. She left behind family, friends, and doctors in the U.S. She said goodbye to her comfort zone to trust her gut and do what she believed would help her.
“I felt strongly that CHIPSA was my best option.”
Bailey’s treatments at CHIPSA included the foundational Gerson therapy regimen, Coley’s toxins vaccines, IV Apatone therapy, and autologous dendritic cell vaccines.
Editor’s Note: To learn more details about Bailey’s treatment regimen at CHIPSA, visit this link https://chipsahospital.org/the-treatments-bailey-obrien-used-at-chipsa-hospital-to-beat-stage-4-cancer/ or click the button below:See Bailey’s Treatment Plan Here
“After three weeks of treatment at CHIPSA,” said Bailey, “I could no longer feel the lump under my chin.”
She continued the integral parts of her treatment at home, which included a strict diet plan. She drank 13 juices a day and ate Hippocrates soup for lunch and dinner. She also did Coley’s toxins injections 3 times per week along with liver shots.
After three weeks of continuing treatment at home, Bailey went to see her oncologist for a PET scan. “I got the results the day before my 21st birthday,” she said.
To her doctor’s surprise, Bailey’s scan revealed NO signs of active cancer.
“It was more than I had even imagined was possible. It was incredible.”
Bailey continued with her natural therapies for a long time after getting these positive results, as she had read that people who fared better generally continued therapy for much longer. She slowly decreased her juice intake, enemas, and Coley’s toxins injections.
Eight years later, she is still thriving. She has had no signs of cancer recurrence.
What made Bailey choose CHIPSA even when her doctors were urging her not to?
Bailey was certainly scared to try integrative treatments all the way in Mexico at such a young age. But facing terminal cancer was even scarier.
“The decision was easy for me. I had exhausted all of the options that I thought could give me significant survival, so I was ready for the treatments CHIPSA had to offer.”
When it came time to start treatment at CHIPSA, Bailey had to make the tough choice of missing out on her college swim team’s major meet against their top rival team. She wanted to be there to cheer them on and help them win, but she also felt inside that she shouldn’t delay her treatment even one week. “It was heartbreaking,” she said. “But I knew that my life was more important. If it was going to put me at greater risk to go to CHIPSA later, then I needed to go right then.”
Bailey recently attended CHIPSA’s survivor reunion event with 21 other late-stage cancer survivors, some who have been living without cancer for over 40 years. “It’s not every day that you meet another stage 4 cancer survivor,” she said.
But CHIPSA hopes to change that. Our goal is to create a world where it could be every day that you meet people who have survived late stage cancer.
“People ought to give it a chance, says Bailey. “Even if the rest of the people in your world are telling you it’s not possible, I believe that it is. All you need is a small group of people who believe that it’s possible. I had that, and it worked for me.”