“Twenty-five years ago, my doctors had no cure for my cancer. So I went on a quest to find my own treatment.” Glenn Sabin
In the fall of 1991, Glenn Sabin had some routine blood tests that revealed he had Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. CLL is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphocytes of the bone marrow and extends into the blood and has the potential to spread to the lymph nodes and other organs such as the liver and spleen. It develops when too many abnormal lymphocytes crowd out the normal blood cells. Although it is a slower growing cancer, it is also considered harder to treat than the other forms of leukemia. Standard treatments would include chemotherapy and stem cell transplants.
Glenn says he was shocked by the diagnosis as he had always considered himself to be a relatively healthy person who ate well and exercised regularly. At the time of the diagnosis, his spleen was very swollen and there was fear of it rupturing. A normal spleen weighs about 2 pounds but Glenn’s weighed 7. Doctors surgically removed the spleen and wanted to follow that up with a bone marrow transplant, but Glenn said that the odds of a bone marrow transplant being successful were not in his favor and so he decided against it. Glenn was told there were other treatments that might help to alleviate his symptoms and possibly extend his life but there would be no cure for the disease, and so his doctor suggested watchful waiting.
Glenn was determined to find a more proactive approach towards healing. He began by changing his diet to eating mostly organic vegetables and fruits (he ate organic in order to avoid any pesticide and herbicide contamination). He began to take a few supplements and also developed a daily exercise program. In 1998, Glenn went to an alternative pharmacy in Bethesda, Maryland called The Apothecary to meet with Dr Irv Rosenberg, who was a pharmacist/nutritionist who worked with patients to find natural agents that would complement their conventional therapies. Dr Rosenberg developed a supplemental protocol that was based on Glenn’s specific nutritional needs.
The supplement recommendations for Glenn included:
- Calcium ascorbate- this is a buffered form of vitamin C
- A supplement that contained carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin
- Natural Vitamin E
- AHCC, Fermented Mushroom Complex
- Genistein (soy isoflavones)
- Inosital hexaphosphate (IP 6)
- He drank lots of filtered water every day.
Glenn continued to have regular blood work and bone marrow biopsies every year or two. He says that he felt fine for awhile, but in 2003 he developed flu-like symptoms and it was determined that the leukemia was getting worse. His doctor recommended chemotherapy but Glenn wanted a second opinion. He traveled to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where it was discovered that his red blood cell counts were also dangerously low. The doctors recommended prednisone, which is an immune suppressor, and if they managed to stabilize the hemolysis, that would be followed with several chemotherapeutic agents to attack the leukemia. Once again, the protocols being offered were not curative and Glenn realized that he had to make another choice… he needed to become his own healer.
Glenn had blood work twice per week to keep an eye on the severe anemia and then went back onto his diet, supplements, and exercise protocols. The exercises included swimming, walking and stretching, and he says that he could feel that his strength was returning. By the third week, Glenn says that his blood counts began to show improvements, and after a few more weeks, his fever and night sweats had subsided and his blood counts had normalized. His doctor was impressed with the quick turnaround and suggested that Glenn have a Flow Cytometry Test that would specifically look for leukemic cells in his blood. The results came back a few days later which confirmed there were no leukemic cells in his blood, but a subsequent bone marrow biopsy revealed that he still had leukemic cells hiding in his bone marrow.
In the fall of 2010, Glenn began researching Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (green tea extract), which has been shown to kill cancerous cells in various studies. He began taking the supplement, but shortly thereafter it was discovered that the leukemia was returning. Glenn was under the guidance of integrative medical advocate Dr Keith Block at the time, who suggested that Glenn increase the dosage of EGCG. Glenn did this, and by 2011 his white blood cell count began dropping steadily. Testing in March of 2011 measured the WBC count at 30,000 and by May it was down to 19,000. By July it was 9,400 and by November his white blood cell counts were well within the normal range. Glenn once again agreed to have a bone marrow biopsy which confirmed the good news~ there were no leukemic cells anywhere in his body! Subsequent testing in 2012 and 2016 confirmed that he is cancer free.
Glenn wrote a book that documented his recovery entitled N of 1: One Man’s Harvard-Documented Remission of Incurable Cancer Using Only Natural Methods where he recounts his decision to take matters into his own hands and become his own health advocate. Glenn does not attribute any one activity or supplement for being responsible for his healing but suggests that it was due to the synergy of his overall program. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife Linda, sons Miles and Jared, and mini schnauzer Leo. He is founder of FON Consulting, a business development firm dedicated to advancing integrative medicine as the new standard of care, he also writes and speaks about integrative medicine and cancer prevention.