Barb Rutner is 77 and her husband Stan is 80. They’ve been together for 59 years and both have hard-fought experiences battling cancer. Stan, a retired dentist with a lucrative mini-storage business was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma 25 years ago, while Barb had successfully battled breast cancer twice.
|Barb(77) and Stan(80) Rutner
I just thought I had a cold, flu, type thing. That was it . . . I wasn’t thinking cancer at all.
After six months of aggressive, standard allopathic, treatment, Stan’s cancer was in remission – that was back in 1989. Meanwhile, Stan had moved on with his life; his bout with cancer faded into the deep dark recesses of his memory. Of course, Stan didn’t expect after all those years of remission he’d be fighting cancer again in 2011 but as mentioned above that’s not uncommon for those who undergo conventional cancer treatment. His initial symptom this time was a persistent cough, otherwise he seemed fine.
He started to become more concerned so he made a doctor’s appointment. The initial diagnosis was early stage pneumonia. The doctor noted that there were some unusual looking spots on his lungs that needed follow-up when the pneumonia had cleared. After several further tests it was revealed that the “spots” were cancerous nodes in the lungs. But there was more to come…
Stan’s final diagnosis: Stage 4 Lung Cancer with Metastasis to the Brain.
Stan recalled how his doctor broke the news, ‘You’re in deep shit.’ Stan explained. “Yeah, he didn’t sugar coat it at all.” But it gets a lot worse. Doctors discovered that the cancer had metastasized to his brain.
Stan’s Quality of life and Health Rapidily Declined
The chemo and radiation, really began to take a heavy toll on Stan. Shortly after treatment began, Stan was riddled with weight loss and chronic nausea, debilitating fatigue and was wasting away.
Barb Rutner recalls: “After that he was wiped out. He was very thin. So we finished radiation to his brain on June 25, and on July 13 he entered the hospital for the first time with radiation pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs due to radiation therapy), so pneumonia. There were three hospital visits during that time, and on the third they kept him for a week and started him on oxygen 24/7. And then he went into palliative care.”
Stan’s doctors gave him just weeks to live and ordered him to take refuge in a hospice, which he entered on August 12, 2011
The Rutners did venture into alternative treatments to ease Stan’s suffering and prevent his somewhat “inevitable” death sentence. He tried Reiki energy treatments and acupuncture. and even attempted creative visualization but found it didn’t really help him. Barb had success with it when she was fighting breast cancer. Stan’s rapid decline continued unabated and time was ticking.
That’s when Corrine, Stan and Barb’s daughter and Corinne’s soon to be husband, John Malanca started researching cannabis as a possible treatment option for Stan.
Corinne and John were becoming interested in medicinal marijuana but we were concerned that Stan was wasting away. He had lost so much weight and so we were anxious to get his appetite improved and help him with the nausea. So Corinne suggested daytime cannabis capsule infused with coconut oil; they’re yellow capsules that he started taking. He started taking those in early November of 2011 and in the beginning, he took about a third of a capsule in the morning, and it was about a week or two later that he was able to give up the extra oxygen that he had had 24/7.
Stan was ready to give it a go and try cannabis – he better than anyone else had realized that he had nothing left to lose and potentially, a lot to gain.
Stan stated: “No hesitation at all. Here I’m dying and getting nothing to change the course of things and so this thing has a pretty good track record in—what do you call it—in a non-medical world, so hey let’s try it. Got nothing to lose.”
Stan’s Incredible Turnaround
In just a couple of weeks of starting cannabis, Stan’s condition improved in all aspects. He started gaining weight, his sleep improved, he was getting stronger. Eventually he ditched his walker, dumped his oxygen and started exercise classes. Barb described his progress as remarkable. After several months of Cannabis Stan decided to get an MRI to check his progress
On January 27, 2013 we received the results of Stan’s brain MRI in an email from his oncologist, stating simply: “IMPRESSION: No evidence of recurrent disease.” The lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain in the summer of 2011 (and nearly taken his life) was GONE! The doctor calls him a miracle man. We are deeply grateful to his “team” of doctors, friends and family, but we’ll always believe that cannabis turned the tide.
Barb and Stan Rutner at their Daughter Corinne’s Wedding Day
“Dad never thought that he would make it to that day but low and behold, he continued on the Cannabis Oil and is STILL in remission!”- Corinne Malanca
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