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Wayne Reeder

Leukemia

This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

View CTCA treatment results for prevalent cancers we treat

Video: Wayne Reeder - Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Survivor

Wayne Reeder - Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Survivor

No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results.

Wayne and Linda's journey with cancer

Overview

My story

Thanksgiving Day of 2011 was the first big turning point in my fight with cancer. I was sitting at the dinner table with my wife, Linda, and our two sons, when I couldn’t even swallow a sip of water, let alone get the turkey down.

I was scared. Five years earlier, I had gone to a hospital near my home in Colorado with a painful spider bite on my leg. The doctor noticed the swelling on my neck and felt around my glands and throat. I thought it was strange that he was focused more on my neck than the spider bite. I think she knew when she looked at me that I had a problem.

Days later I learned that my problem was cancer. I was sent to a cancer hospital, where I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The doctor said I had the disease for a while and said we were going to “watch and wait” to see how things progressed. I told him I didn’t want to wait. I didn’t want to watch, either. I wanted to get better.

I went for a second opinion and it was pretty much the same. So I stopped going to cancer doctors because the ones I had met up to that point didn’t do anything for me. I mean, I wouldn’t take my car to a mechanic if he couldn’t fix it, either.

Choosing CTCA

On Thanksgiving of 2011, the day I couldn’t swallow, I saw a television commercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). I got up from the table and made the call. I said to my wife, what have I got to lose?

I told the woman on the phone about my diagnosis in 2006 and she asked if I wanted to talk to a CTCA patient who had a similar cancer as mine. I did. My conversation with this patient – especially hearing about how she was treated at CTCA – cemented my decision. I was going to CTCA for treatment.

Within a few days, I was on a plane to Phoenix for my first visit to the hospital in Goodyear, Arizona. A limo driver greeted me at the airport and took me straight to the hospital.

My first impression? I couldn’t even believe it was a hospital. It didn’t smell like a hospital, and everyone treated me so good from the moment I walked through the door. When I got to the front desk, I got a schedule of everything I would be doing over the next five days, from blood tests to CT scans to tests I had never heard of. I was surprised how easy everything was made for me. It was like clockwork.

Meeting Dr. Jason Niu was another big turning point in my fight with cancer. I will never forget him because he was the first doctor who offered me both help and hope. Dr. Niu told me he could get my cancer into remission by the early summer, which was only six months away.

Those five years without treatment were five years of nothing but stress from the time I woke up in the morning to the time I went to bed at night. Coming to CTCA cut down on my stress.

Starting treatment

In early December, I had my first round of chemotherapy. The doctors on my care team came up with a combination of two chemotherapy drugs that a recent study showed would be better than traditional chemotherapy. I felt like I was getting the most advanced treatment possible for my cancer.

My first treatment was over two days: eight hours on the first day and four hours on the second, followed by a shot to help build up my blood cells. With the swelling in my neck down, I was feeling good.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was in pain after my first treatment. In fact, I was feeling pretty beat up, my bones especially. But it didn’t last long. One of the great things about CTCA is that you have a whole team of doctors and clinicians who can handle anything that comes up.

During my treatment, I saw a naturopathic physician, a nutritionist and a physical therapist. I had acupuncture and massage therapy to help with the pain of treatment and with my arthritis. I took supplements to reduce inflammation and fatigue. These therapies worked hand in hand, helping with the healing process.

My wife, Linda, liked the holistic care we both got at CTCA. She describes it as healing for your body, mind and spirit. I’ve been married to Linda for most of my life so it’s important to me that she gets treated right, too. As my caregiver, Linda was able to get massages and get her hair and nails done. She called coming to CTCA her spa vacation.

Being part of the team

At CTCA, it really felt like Linda and I were important. None of the clinicians ever said, this is what I’m doing and when I’m going to do it. Instead, they would say, this is what I’d like to do for you. What do you think? They didn’t force anything on us. Linda and I made the final decision on every treatment.

When I met Dr. Niu the first time, he spent at least 30 minutes with me, going over a comprehensive plan for my treatment and including me at every step along the way. I felt real comfortable with him because he took the time to explain everything and answer every question Linda and I had.

Dr. Niu told me I would need four or five treatments, six at the most. It worked out just as he said. I feel much better these days. In fact, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt as good as I do now. I’ve got a lot of energy, a lot of hope and a new outlook on life.

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