Egypt: Diaries of a Cancer Patient

“Cancer is a big business and I refuse to be a client! Please see my blog for more info on natural ways to prevent and cure cancer,” wrote Heba Mitkees in her Twitter biography. Heba blogged about her life as a cancer patient, and when I decided to interview her about her experience, I was shocked to find out that it was too late for an interview. The least we could do now is to ask the questions and let her blog answer them on her behalf.

Hi, can you please introduce yourself to us?

Heba Mitkees: I’m 23 years old, turning 24 in July. I’m also a Cancerian. =)
I was born in Montreal, and brought up in the UAE. My mother and I moved back to Egypt in 2002 after my father’s death. I finished my last 2 years of high-school and went to college in Cairo. I studied Broadcasting, specializing in video editing.

What's your story with cancer?

Heba Mitkees: Given that I’m an only child who came after 10 years of marriage, I’ve always held a very special place in my family’s heart. My father was a scientist/inventor. He was an intelligent, kind, loving, and hardworking man, who did everything within and beyond his power to make his family and loved ones happy. My father was diagnosed with lung and bone cancer in 2001. He did 3 chemotherapy sessions and died only 1 month later due to sudden Septicemia.

My father had always been a very strong man. Even at the peak of his illness, he never gave up or showed any sign of worry or fear. He laughed it off, made jokes about it and made us really believe that he was ok. He ALWAYS had a smile on his face. However, that day at the airport was different. It was heartbreaking. Chemotherapy had destroyed him. Even though he tried really hard to pretend he was fine, there was too much to hide underneath that beautiful smile.

The doctors in Egypt said that he was responding to chemo and that he was making significant progress. If that were true, what went wrong? Back then, I was too shocked to question his death. I was also too young. Deep down, I knew something went terribly wrong but I couldn’t pin point the source of this feeling.
For some reason, I completely blocked out the true cause of his death (Septicemia). I chose to believe that it was cancer that killed him. I believed that Septicemia was only a result of his illness. It was easier.
This went on for several years until I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer on the 13th of March.

How did you discover your illness? And how did your mother receive the news given that you are her only child and your father had died of the same illness?

Heba Mitkees: On the 12th of March, I was speaking to a friend on the phone and I told her about my lump. She insisted that she should take me to an oncologist on the same day and so she did …

Heba Mitkees

Heba Mitkees, the weekend before she was diagnosed

Dr. M asked about my age. When I told him I was 23, he looked at me and said “23? You have nothing to worry about! You start worrying about these things when you’re over 30, but let’s get it checked”.

As he was examining the lump, I could tell by the look on his face that there was something wrong … I asked him if there was something suspicious. He couldn’t give me a straight answer, but he asked me to get a breast ultra sound and a mammogram, and return to him no later than the next day.

Only 2 nights before my diagnosis, I was out having fun with my friends and now I’m being faced with a life threatening disease. Too many decisions had to be made. Too many people had to be informed. I kept thinking about my mom. I didn’t know what to tell her. I was too worried that she would break down.

I saw almost 6 doctors altogether. All in one week. They all said the same thing with different approaches. All the oncologists suggested chemo prior to surgery and the surgeons suggested the other way around. A few days later I told my mom and I thank God that it went much better than I expected. She was shocked just like me, but didn’t break down.

From here, I think it's better to let Heba continue telling her story without interrupting her with questions.

Heba Mitkees: I eventually decided to proceed with treatment with Dr. M. My mom and I went to see him at his clinic and he scheduled my first chemo session for the next day (21st of March).

I got dressed when it was time to leave the house. On the way to the hospital with my mom and her friend, I kept thinking about my father. I kept thinking about how weak and helpless he looked during chemo and how painful it was.

Two months later, she decided to go for alternative treatment. She discussed in her blog why she doesn't consider chemotherapy a cure, and believed it kills more than cancer.

Heba Mitkees: Four days before my ‘last’ session, my uncle’s wife from Kuwait called my mom and told her that she knew someone in Egypt who could help. She said he was a Reiki master who’s had experience with similar cases. My mother asked if I was interested and I thought to myself, why not? I have a friend who’s a Reiki practitioner and she’s cured my headaches before.

Reiki is meant to stabilize and balance the energy fields in our body. It helps maintain a healthy energy flow, which is believed to promote healing and clear energy blockages in main energy centers in our body called chakras. It’s based on the idea that an unseen ‘life force energy’ flows through our body. If this energy is low, we are more likely to get sick, and if it is high, we are capable of being healthier.

She then went to describe her first meeting with Dr. Fahmy, the Reiki master.

Heba Mitkees: He totally lost me when he very bluntly and in confidence said that if I solely relied on orthodox treatment, I would most likely have a recurrence within a couple of years. He could tell by the look on my face that I didn’t like the sound of what he was saying.

I told him that I knew people who have been cured and haven’t had any recurrences so far, but then again, my argument was based on the limited number of people I’ve heard of and at the same time, disregarding the other number whom I know have had recurrences.

She continued.

Heba Mitkees: At that stage, I had no intention to stop chemo; the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. I had no information about all the chemotherapy risks and side effects. I hadn’t done any research about cancer and the different treatment options. I trusted my oncologist, and ignored everyone else.
At first, I thought Dr. Fahmy was a Reiki master, but then I realized that the amount and quality of knowledge and information he had about cancer required a person to have some sort of medical background. I was fascinated … He said that Reiki was only a small part of what he does. He explained that over the past 30 years, he has been researching and incorporating different healing methods which promote the curing process of a person … He said that rather than following one treatment technique or protocol, he found it more effective to integrate different techniques, which have been proved to work effectively together … Rather than merely dealing with the physical symptoms of a disease, holistic treatment acknowledges the significant effect of our mental and spiritual state on our body. It’s based on the idea that any physical symptom of a disease is nothing but a sign of imbalance in our system (Mind, body & soul) … It all started making sense. This specifically explains why we have very high recurrence rates in the world of cancer. The way orthodox medicine deals with cancer is by suppressing the tumor through chemo or removing it with surgery (the physical symptom) and disregarding the disease itself.

He then told her a list of do’s and dont’s. She blogged everything as far as she remembered:

  • He told me that the only fabrics I was allowed to wear were cotton and linen since other types are chemically treated and the toxins eventually make their way through our body.
  • He told me that I should only see positive friends and cut out all the negative people from my life in order to avoid any negative frequencies or vibes which could affect my health.
  • Wearing a lot of the color white was highly recommended. Black was a big no.
  • He told me that I should stop going to parties and avoid loud music, which is also believed to weaken the body’s energy level and therefore affect my health.
  • I wasn’t allowed any sugar, caffeine or protein. I had to become vegetarian.
  • I was only allowed to eat alkaline forming foods, which meant that tomatoes and oranges were a big no.
  • I wasn’t allowed white wheat or dairy (except for cottage cheese).

Heba Mitkees: The list goes on forever, really. The whole idea behind his way of treatment was to turn my body alkaline in order to fight off the disease. He said that cancer lives in a highly acidic and de-oxygenated environment;
Along with this nutritional system, he told me that I had to see him around 4 or 5 times a week for energy sessions. I didn’t bother ask what these sessions were like or for.

At the time, she was still having orthodox chemotherapy treatment in parallel. But one day her doctor wasn't pleased with the results of the usual blood test she used to have before here chemotherapy session and the White Blood Cell Count (WBC) there. So, he decided to add an extra day of a drug called Neupogen for her. But then when she had another blood test, the results shocked her.

Heba Mitkees: I made a blood test and when it came out, the results were shocking. My WBC count was 27,700 this time. Closer to Leukemia. She immediately called Dr. M to ask him about the major count fluctuation.

He told her that it was an effect of Neupogen and that it was normal, but it didn’t make sense to her. Neupogen is meant to boost the WBC count, but what if it sustains it at its highest level? What would happen then?

I started researching chemotherapy and what it does to the body. Everything I read was terrifying! Something inside me told me that chemo was going to kill me. I felt so violated after everything I had read. Only then, I understood the true cause of my father’s death.

A book her friend's mother gave her and internet research made her think more about her best treatment options.

Heba Mitkees: ‘Knockout‘, a wonderful book written by Suzanne Somers. In this book, she interviews doctors who are curing cancer. Most of the interviewed doctors do not use any chemotherapy or chemicals. They are curing cancer without chemo! The book also exposes the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and the pharmaceutical industry, which work together to generate billions of dollars a year, especially off ‘the cancer business’.
I also read that, Tamoxifen, one of the drugs used to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer, increases the risk of developing uterine cancer by 30%.

She faced her oncologist with her findings.

Heba Mitkees: I asked Dr. M about this shocking piece of information; he told me that ‘unfortunately’, I had to take it in my next chemo cycle.
No I wasn’t!
He thought it was unfortunate, but why do I HAVE to take it?

She didn't like her Reiki doctor at the beginning, but later on she wrote why she thing she wasn't comfortable. She also described the struggle she at this stage between the two schools of medicine.

Heba Mitkees: Dr. Fahmy opened my eyes to everything I needed to see. Discovering all the scary, negative things about orthodox medicine was very hard to deal with. It was too much for me to comprehend. I blamed him for my own confusion and for my personal struggle.
At some point I was torn between my love and loyalty to Dr. M and the strong belief that chemotherapy was not a cure and that I needed to stop. I didn’t want to upset him.
I was only able to make that decision when I put myself first.
I’ve been off chemo since 18th of April 2011. I can feel my tumors shrinking and I’m still alive! :)
My hair hasn’t started to grow back yet but my eyebrows and eyelashes have!

The last post in her blog was in June, and in it she seemed to be comfortable with her choice.

Heba Mitkees: Even though I have strong faith in my current treatment, I cannot advise people to follow my path. It’s too much of a burden and responsibility on my side to make such a call before I’m 100% cured.
However, this does not mean that I am questioning the effectiveness of alternative medicine. On the contrary, I am positive that I made the right decision and that I will soon make this call.
Such a decision has to be well informed, and this is exactly why I strongly advise people to do their own research and then decide, just like I did.

She didn't publish any more posts into her blog, but she tweeted every now and then, her latest tweet was on the 23rd of November, and she died about a month later.

@MizMitkees: In #Amman… Wish I was in #tahrir right now! #noscaf

Despite the fact that she is not going to post anything on her Twitter account again, after writing this post I decided to follow Heba Mitkees (@MizMitkees) on Twitter.

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