Cancer What I've Done
Season 3 Episode 6: Cancer: What I Did Right and What I Did Wrong
In this very candid and personal podcast, Brad gives an update on his cancer journey and the lessons learned along the way. If you, or someone you know is facing cancer, Brad hopes his suggestions and words of caution will help.
21 Min 39 Sec


    I have cancer. My doctors say it will kill me. During my 3-year journey with cancer I have made good decisions and bad decisions. That’s what we are going to talk about today. How my journey might help you or someone you know. I’m Brad Bright and this is the GOD is the Issue podcast where we show how God is the issue in every issue,

    including prostate cancer.

    Cancer has been in the news a lot recently. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, tried to keep his prostate cancer a secret  — even from his boss, the President of the United States. King Charles of England has just been diagnosed with cancer. If you live in the US, you probably have a 50% chance of getting cancer during your lifetime. Over 3 million men in the US currently have prostate cancer. 30,000 American men will die from it this year. It is the 2nd deadliest form of cancer for American males, 2nd only to lung cancer.

    Today I want to talk about some of the CRITICAL lessons I have learned during the last 3 years of living with prostate cancer. Some I learned the hard way and wish I could redo.  Others I got right.

    1st LESSON LEARNED through cancer:

    Most medical professionals are smart and have great intentions, but they can make MISTAKES. So, ask for a copy of EVERY report and READ it for yourself.

    I’m an optimist. As such, I have had a bad habit of not taking health issues very seriously. I always figure things will work out. But 3 years ago my doctor told me I had prostate cancer.  Six months later I had surgery. They told me they thought they got it all, but I should keep an eye on it for the next 5 years.

    I should have asked for a copy of the post-surgery report. I didn’t. I found out a year later they had misread the post-surgery report. The report clearly indicated that they did not get all the cancer. Instead of reading through the report myself, I had relied on the professionals to get it right. BAD decision.

    2nd LESSON LEARNED through cancer:

    YOU choose YOUR treatment based on what YOU value.  No one can make that decision for you. 

    A year and a half ago prostate cancer stuck again with a vengeance. “Stage 4 metastatic cancer.” The doctors said they could not cure me — only slow down the cancer. It was a death sentence.

    Tumors had spread across my abdomen and into the hip bone. It was a BIG DEAL. My life expectancy dropped down to maybe 5 or 6 years. 

    The first thing I told my doctor was, “I don’t fear death, but I do fear pain, so, I won’t be doing chemo.” I am far more concerned about the QUALITY of my remaining life than about the LENGTH of it.

    You see, I want to stay in the saddle as long as possible. After that, I want to go quickly — God willing. I love life, but as a follower of Jesus, death is simply the next step to something far better.

    A lot of sincere people will offer advice. Some of it will be very helpful, so, listen, but don’t let them pressure you. Do your own research and then prayerfully choose a course of action. And then TELL your doctor how YOU want to proceed. If you don’t, your doctor will almost always make the “safe” choice (the choice that prolongs life), not necessarily the choice that minimizes your suffering or keeps you active.

    3rd LESSON LEARNED through cancer:

    Unless it is a highly aggressive cancer, take the time you need at each step to think BEFORE you make a decision.

    Don’t let fear drive the process. There is a very good reason why they say that doctors “PRACTICE” medicine. Doctors are smart people, but they don’t always get it right. Two of my doctors directly contradicted each other.

    So, listen very closely to their advice, but then step back, do some research, and think it through.

    My doctors recommended I go on a testosterone suppressant regimen because prostate cancer feeds on testosterone. The suppressant stops prostate cancer dead in its tracks — for a while. But eventually the cancer learns to produce its own testosterone — and it’s off to the races again. I’m not at that point — YET.

    After a COUPLE WEEKS of reflection and conversation with my wife, I took my doctor’s recommendation regarding the testosterone suppressant therapy. That was 16 months ago.

    For the first 3 weeks I was miserable. After that, I adjusted — more or less.

    Last July, (8 months ago) the doctor said the abdominal tumors were almost entirely gone. He said the remaining abdominal tumors were probably benign. Although the testosterone suppressant prevents cancer from spreading, they had no explanation for why or how the abdominal tumors had disappeared in 8 months.

    I have some ideas in that regard that I will talk about shortly.

    4th LESSON LEARNED through cancer: 

    Modern medical science can do phenomenal stuff, but it has limitations. So, recognize the strengths and weaknesses of modern medical science. Take advantage of its strengths. but don’t be stymied by its weaknesses.

    As I mentioned earlier, I chose not to have chemotherapy, because it permanently damages your immune system, and it can really mess with your head. It can even kill you outright. A year ago, chemo killed a friend of mine a week after starting. But chemo is a very personal decision between you and your doctor.

    However, I did choose to have radiation therapy.

    Last August (seven months ago) I had high intensity radiation treatments on the tumor in my hip since it doesn’t damage the immune system.

    It completely wiped me out for a couple weeks. It seemed like all I did was sleep. But it paid off.

    My latest test results (four weeks ago) showed the tumor in my hip bone has shrunk by 2/3’s.

    That was great news.  However, when I asked my doctor how to get rid of the rest of the tumor in my hip bone,

    he responded, “Luck!”  I don’t believe in luck.

    Which leads me to my next lesson learned:

    5th LESSON LEARNED through cancer.

    Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of modern medicine. Look at non-traditional forms of medicine with an open mind but some healthy skepticism. Read as much as you can. Take time to consider the evidence carefully.

    I used to be HIGHLY skeptical of alternative medicine. However, I’ve been doing a lot of reading since I was diagnosed with cancer.

    In recent years, a lot of licensed medical doctors have been doing their own research.  They are exploring alternatives that the pharmaceutical companies will NEVER study. Why?  Because there is no money in it.

    If pharmaceuticals have to invest a half-billion dollars to bring a drug to market, they are not going to study how to repurpose an existing drug that is already widely available. They’d go broke.

    Like with any publicly held company, they have to make a profit for their shareholders. So, instead of complaining about greedy pharmaceutical companies, simply recognize their strengths & weaknesses. They do a lot of good, but they are not designed to do everything.   

    6th LESSON LEARNED about cancer:

    There are a lot of natural substances out there in addition to standard chemo and radiation, that attack cancer from a number of different angles.

    Some are cancer inhibitors.

    Some are cancer killers, called cytotoxins.

    Some are found in traditional medicine;

    some are found in non-traditional medicine.

    Here is one of the first non-traditional things I did.

    There is a lab in Greece. You send them a sample of your blood.  Then they extract the cancerous T-cells. In the next 24 hours they replicate a billion of those T-cells. Then they begin to test various substances on the T-cells. They test both traditional forms of chemo, as well as non-traditional substances.

    They evaluate and categorize based on 2 criteria:

    1) substances that INHIBIT the growth of the cancer T-cells.

    2) substances that KILL the cancer T-cells.

    And they give a percentage rate for each substance based on how effectively it either inhibits or kills YOUR SPECIFIC cancer T-cells. The huge downside is it is very expensive and insurance does not cover it.

    Let me share with you one of the things the lab in Greece discovered about my specific cancer.

    High dose, intravenous Vitamin C and Curcumin are just as effective against my cancer as any traditional form of chemotherapy. I didn’t see that coming. But it has opened up additional options for me to pursue.

    The lab also listed other substances I had never heard of that also attack my specific cancer.

    If you would like more specifics, go to my website  where I have posted more details about some of the non-traditional alternatives that seem to be actually working for me.

    Let me be very clear. I am not a doctor. I’m a person just like you looking for answers.  BTW, do you know what I was doing during the eight months when the cancer virtually disappeared in my lymph nodes?

    Exactly. I was taking high doses of Vitamin C, Curcumin, and a few other natural substances.

    Does that prove these substances made the difference? No. Is it likely that they made a difference? Yes.

    There has to be some explanation for why the cancer in my lymph nodes virtually evaporated over those 8 months.

    I don’t believe in luck.

    7th LESSON LEARNED about cancer

    Cancer loves sugar! Well, that’s not exactly true. Sugar causes inflammation. Cancer loves inflammation! Stay away from sugar!!

    I have made 2 major changes to my diet.

    First, I eat almost exclusively organic now. It’s more expensive. But if that helps keep my immune system strong so, my body can more effectively fight the cancer then it is worth the additional cost. It costs a lot less than most cancer treatments.

    Second, I drastically cut, sugar and simple carbs which turn into sugar, like potatoes and rice.

    It’s not easy. I love potatoes. I love white rice. I love chocolate. I love ice cream.

    But do you know WHY I did it? Cancer loves sugar.

    BTW, do you know what else I was doing during the 8 months when the cancer virtually disappeared in my lymph nodes? 

    You guessed right. No sugar—or at least almost no sugar.

    Does that prove that cutting all forms of sugar to close to zero will starve and shrink cancer? No, it doesn’t.

    But folks, something happened to beat back the cancer. And I don’t believe in luck. If I can beat or significantly slow down terminal cancer without chemo, that would be HUGE!

    8th LESSON LEARNED about cancer: 

    If your doctor puts you on a Testosterone Suppressant Regimen, DO WEIGHT TRAINING. It will keep you stronger. It will help strengthen your heart. It will help reduce the overwhelming brain fog. I cannot emphasize this enough.

    As I mentioned earlier, I am on a Testosterone Suppressant Regimen. It is SOP for treating prostate cancer.

    Here are the symptoms of the drugs:

    I have to sleep 10 hours every night in order to function the other 14 hours. My physical strength has declined significantly.

    My blood pressure has spiked dramatically to the point that I am now on medication for it. The doctor actually said I was more likely to die of a heart attack than cancer.

    But the worst part is: I experience daily brain fog — intense brain fog. It has gotten progressively worse with each month that went by.

    I HATE it.

    Initially the doctor had said that I should lift weights to help maintain my physical strength. I should have taken his words more seriously. Combined with cardio, it probably would have helped strengthen my heart as well. But that was not the worst of it.

    He forgot to mention that weight training would help minimize brain fog. That was a HUGE omission! Had I known that, I would have started weight training in the first couple months. Have I mentioned that I HATE brain fog? I think I might even put that on a T-shirt.

    Again, even the best doctors can make mistakes, just like the rest of us. They are human.

    But here is what I want you to hear:  LIFT WEIGHTS DAILY.

    9th Lesson learned about cancer:

    Listen carefully to your wife or someone close to you. They WILL see things you don’t.

    The symptoms of my cancer treatment kept gradually getting worse through last Fall. It was a slow, incremental decline so I didn’t realize how bad off I really was. Important things started falling off my plate at an accelerating pace. I wasn’t returning calls or texts — even to lifelong friends.

    I could feel the spark inside of me going dark. I love cracking jokes; it’s just who I am. It routinely gets me in trouble. Unlike Jesus, I can’t walk on water, but I have mastered the skill of walking on thin ice. But no humor even trickled from my lips.

    And yet it wasn’t really registering in my brain. That’s how bad the brain fog was. 

    It wasn’t until last November when we visited dear friends in Dallas that I realized just how much my mental faculties had declined.

    My wife, Kathy, had been noticing the issues but she wasn’t sure what to do. She had mentioned a few times what she was seeing. I could see the concern in her eyes and hear it in her voice. But being an optimist (with a foggy brain), I wasn’t listening very well. I am now.

    10th LESSON LEARNED about cancer:

    If at all possible, bring someone you trust into the process with you from day one. Have them come to every appointment with you if possible.  Again, they can see things you cannot. They will hear things you do not. And they can act as your advocate with your doctors.

    3 weeks ago, we met with my cancer doctor. He looked over my test results. We chatted about the results for a few minutes. He said I looked like I was doing pretty well and we should continue the current treatment since it seemed everything was working according to plan.

    However, what he didn’t realize is that I was having a rare, good day, and that being an extrovert, I was naturally energized by being with people — even cancer doctors.

    But my wife knew better.  She knew something wasn’t right. She began telling the doctor what was really going on — especially the intense brain fog. She felt like she had lost her husband.

    Fortunately, the doctor paid close attention. That’s when he told us that lifting weights would help clear my head.

    After talking further with him, I (we) decided to go off the suppressant therapy for the next 3-6 months since my priority is to stay in the saddle, not to just to keep my body alive as long as possible.  If I can keep PSA numbers down with alternative medicines, I’ll go even longer than that.

    BTW, I’ve been lifting weights daily. I haven’t missed a day! After 3 weeks, I already feel a lot stronger. But most importantly, my head has been completely clear for the past two weeks. I haven’t felt this good in over a year.

    I’m glad my wife was there to let the doctor know the rest of the story.


    Why am I being so honest about my prostate cancer?  Because, there are some of you out there who are just starting this journey with prostate cancer.

    Most of you will be fine. It won’t be fun for a few months, but if they get it all in time —you’ll probably be good to go. Usually, they do. Hopefully, my experience will help motivate you to get checked annually. 

    However, some of you are going to hear the words, “You have stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. We can’t cure you.” That’s exactly what the doctor told me 16 months ago.  

    If that is you, LISTEN carefully to your doctor.

    READ everything you can so, you know the right questions to ask. Your doctor has a lot of information in his head, but sometimes he might forget to mention a key piece of information.

    Be willing to EXPLORE NON-TRADITIONAL alternatives. There are a lot of promising therapies out there which the pharmaceuticals will never test because there is no money in it.

    And, if at all possible, make sure that a FAMILY MEMBER WALKS through every step of the journey with you. You will be very glad you did.

    Throughout my cancer journey — the ups and the downs, I have been at rest inside.

    Because, I KNOW God is in control. He is faithful. He never says, “Oops!”  

    As my heavenly Father, he loves me deeply. But as my coach, he gives me tough things like prostate cancer,

    so that I can become everything he intended me to become from the day he created me.  As my shepherd, he walks through the dark valleys with me. So, I will fear no evil.

    Folks, God loves you just as much as he loves me. But unless you embrace his Son, he will not be your heavenly Father. Unless you ask Him to be your shepherd, he will not walk through the dark valleys with you.

    Jesus said, “My yoke is easy. My burden is light.” When you follow Jesus, you get to transfer:

    •           your anxiety,
    •           your pain,
    •           and your frustration from debilitating brain fog, onto Him.

    Emotionally, that makes a world of difference.

    FINAL LESSON LEARNED from prostate cancer:

    Lean heavily into God. He loves you.  And he will walk with you through the dark valley — if you ask Him with an open heart.

    God is the issue, in every issue — especially in the curve balls that life will throw at you.

    This is Brad Bright. Thanks for joining me today. If you found this podcast helpful, please like, subscribe or share.

    God Bless

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