by Farmer Jay
ImagIne you are 32 years old, with a great job making great money; you’re newly married with plans to start a family and then you hear the words, “You have cancer.” Not only do you just have cancer, but you have stage four colon, liver and lymph node cancer. Joseph Chammas and his wife Tawna were given this grim diagnosis that Joseph only had 15 months to live. The diagnosis: Not only did you only have 15 months to live, but you probably will not be able to have children, or sex and you may have to poop in a bag taped to your stomach. This was their reality.
“…that is when they were told that a previously diagnosed
stage three colon cancer was now a stage four and had spread
to his liver and lymph nodes.”
When Joseph and Tawna met, he was a valet and a “free spirit,” as Tawna puts it, and they instantly fell in love. Joseph got a job in business, got to travel the world and became very successful. This success came at a higher price than Joseph or Tawna could have ever imagined though. Through his travels, Joseph often ate poorly and underwent enormous amounts of stress. Later when Joseph met with a therapist to discover emotional issues, he realized that when he was upset, he imploded by keeping his problems inside instead of exploding. During this time of success, Tawna looks back and says, “He changed when he started making money.”
In October 2008, Joseph had started to have problems using the bathroom, more specifically: number two. He started to see blood in his stool so Joseph went to the doctor who said it was hemorrhoids. The doctor gave him prescription and sent him on his way. Another doctor gave similar diagnosis and sent him away with more meds. It wasn’t until he got to the third doctor that they found a polyp in his rectum. He told Joseph that it looked pretty serious and that he was very concerned. The doctor sent a piece out for biopsy to positively identify what he already speculated.
Joseph’s father, two uncles and grandfather are all physicians. His mother is more for healthy, alternative medicines and practices yoga and meditation. Joseph got connected to an colon surgeon through his uncle’s connections, and that is when they were told that a previously diagnosed stage three colon cancer was now stage four and had spread to his liver and lymph nodes. Joseph said, “When the oncologist told me the news, I was shocked and I felt sorry for myself for about twenty minutes.” Joseph remembers the cold demeanor of the doctor and he dismisses this behavior to the fact that most of his patients die and he probably doesn’t want to get close to them. Tawna was at work and could not be with him when he got the news, but she remembered getting the call from Joseph and simply saying, “Oh, ok,” due to a loss of words.
Once the diagnosis was confirmed the couple took off on a getaway weekend in the Florida Keys with some friends. When they got back, the doctor aggressively got started on treatment. The doctor started with oral chemo five days per week, radiation five days a week, and heavier doses of chemo, through a port they installed on his chest, two days a week. He tells me the chemo they pump into the port is so strong that it would burn his veins if normally injected. During this time Joseph’s condition only got worse.
The radiation caused severe problems like, his butt became charred (literally) and so painful he could not sit or lie on his backside.
In addition, the radiation made Joseph constipated. This caused excruciating pain when he tried to go to the bathroom. Tawna tells me that Joseph was literally screaming in the bathroom and he would not let her in, so she would sit outside of the door crying and begging to help as he was screaming and alone on the other side. The doctor immediately scheduled an Ileostomy. This surgery would cut Joseph’s entire belly open and sew a piece of his small intestine outside his body. Then the surgeons would cut a slit into the intestine so bile can flow out and would not have to pass through his rectum. Joseph says this procedure was bittersweet because of the enormous amounts of pain he felt when using the bathroom. Now he would finally get to use bathroom without screaming.
Joseph and Tawna laugh thinking back at some of the experiences they had with this poop bag. It made fart-like noises after he ate and the food passed through. He had no control of it and Tawna would cough loudly when it would start if they were in public. Joseph remembers one time they were out at a restaurant and he had to change his bag. It made a huge mess because once the bag is full you have to change it and there is no pinching off to stop flow when you remove the bag. So, he started to splatter bile all over the bathroom. He cleaned what he could and then grabbed Tawna and said, “We need to go now!”
One of the biggest killers in this type of cancer is infection. Joseph tells me he almost died twice. One time was an infection from the Ileostomy surgery. He said he was doubled over in so much pain and couldn’t walk or do anything; he was popping Percocets like candy. He went in to the doctor and they put him through a CAT scan and found an infection. The doctor had to get it out immediately or Joseph would die. So while he was awake and crammed in the scanner, the doctor stuck what seemed to be a 12” needle into his butt cheek which reached into his pelvic region. The doctor used the scope on the machine to see where the needle was and where the infection was to suck it out. The doctor got right on it and pulled the syringe sucking out the infection. Joseph said he immediately began to shake uncontrollably as the infection came out. Later the doctor told him that was normal. Joseph expressed gratitude toward the doctor, saying, “He saved my life that day.”
Joseph tells me that the Chemo treatments made him so sick; he says the only thing that helped was smoking pot. He says, “Pot literally saved me, smoking pot got rid of nausea, allowed me to eat, and it kept my mind off the fact that I was pooping in a bag.” The Chemo hit him so hard that they gave him two weeks be- tween treatments and it took 1.5 weeks for him to recover. So just about the time he started feeling better, the doctors hit him with another round of chemo. He says he would smoke a big joint as he was pulling in to valet his car at the hospital, and he knew the valet guys had to be laughing at the smell and smoke coming out of his car as they parked it. This did not bother him though, because he knew how bad he was about to feel and this was the only thing that helped him get through the miserable treatment.
Joseph went through nine months of this excruciating treatment. During this time Joseph searched for and found three other patients in his same age bracket with the same cancer. He followed them and their treatment along the way. He was shocked to find out that they all died in less than a year. The strongest, an Iron- man Triathlete, was the first to go. Joseph was still alive and the doctors were ready to remove the bag from his side and give him a PET scan to see how the treatment had worked. When they scanned him, the pelvic area where he had the cancer lit up again. Joseph’s colon surgeon was not convinced that this was cancer. However, the oncologist wanted to perform biopsies and continue treatment. Against the oncologist’s recommendations Joseph said to remove the port in his chest and reconnect his intestine from the bag. He was not going to go through the treatment again; he did not feel his body could take another run of the same treatment.
During all of his chemo and radiation Joseph’s mother was instructing him to eat healthy and cleansing food. He found out about a wellness and detox center in West Palm Beach called Hippocrates Health Institute. At this facility they detox you with raw, vegan food, green juices, wheat grass and they remove all sugars, meats, breads and dairy from your diet. Joseph checked in to the center and learned not only how to detox, but also how to incorporate what they teach at the center, at home.
Joseph was on his way with her new outlook on treatment. He transformed his house into a mini farm to produce all the stuff he needed to heal. His backyard became full of raised bed gardens from corner to corner, and he transformed a room in his house to grow sunflower sprouts, pea shoots and wheat grass. He ate completely raw vegan foods and didn’t eat anything outside of his strict diet; he could not even eat tomatoes. Dr. Brian Clement from Hippocrates teaches that cancer breeds in sugars and they must be taken out of your diet to heal. Joseph followed everything closely and began to feel better.
A big part of the healing process was emotional treatment. Joseph met with a psychotherapist and discovered that he had some things he had to let go of to completely heal. Joseph did just that, but it was not an easy task. Tawna tells me that he went through a great depression at this time due to emotion- al detox and she said, at times he was difficult to be around. She missed the free-spirited man she fell in love with. It took some time, but Joseph’s mental state improved and he got back to his old self.
Not only was Joseph feeling better, but now his head was right, he was ready for a colonoscopy and scan to see where he was with the cancer. Joseph went to the hospital six months later and went through the process of getting a colonoscopy and the doctor found nothing! Joseph was so proud that he actually video recorded the doctor telling him he could not find anything and he shared this video with me. It was truly amazing that just after changing his diet lifestyle and working on his emotional stress his body healed itself. Not even the strongest poisons could kill this cancer, but with the right food and mental state his body knew right what to do to get rid of this cancer and prevent it from coming back.
Looking back even after all this, Joseph’s doctors still believed that the success of his treatment was due to the torturous chemo and radiation, but I think we can all see the true reason Joseph is alive today.