Brain Cancer and Cell Phones
June 9th, 2011
When Herman Lowe heard the news a couple of weeks ago that the World Health Organization (WHO) had issued a warning that cell phones could be carcinogenic and cause brain cancer, it was no surprise to him. Lowe, a semi-retired clinical psychologist, felt vindicated as he had been preaching this message to anyone he met – friends, family and doctors. Why? Because on June 2nd 2009, he was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma, the most deadly form of brain cancer, and was given 14 months to live by doctors. The more Lowe read about the dangers of cell phones, the more he became convinced that this had played a significant role in his contracting brain cancer. He knew, as WHO pointed out in their warning, that the level of scientific evidence needed to establish a causal link between cell phones and cancer is not there at present. However he is convinced that if we wait long enough, like the links between cigarettes and smoking, that one day the evidence will be there.
In the meantime, Lowe preaches ‘better be safe than sorry’. After his diagnosis with brain cancer, he set about reducing his own exposure to cell phone radiation by simply stopping using one, and encouraging others to use them more responsibly. His wife, Mercia Tapping, CEO/President of AllergyBuyersClub.com, was also convinced, based on her own experience with products in the environmental health field, that she could provide for her husband with a home environment which just might prolong his life. On June 2nd 2011 the couple celebrated that Lowe had survived 2 years since his diagnosis which puts him in the 20% of patients who survive that long. Only 5% reach the 3 year mark. As Lowe puts it, I felt I had to help myself beyond the excellent conventional treatment I have been receiving at Dana Farber Hospital in Boston.
Herman Lowe knows that no one can fully understand why so far he has been lucky enough to beat the odds. But he felt he should write a book about his journey and what he has done, just in case someone wants to follow in his footsteps to take the same self help measures that he has taken.
Lowe hopes that the people who read it will make a donation to the Herman Lowe Fund at Dana Farber.
An excerpt from the book is shown next:
BOOK EXCERPT from Brain Cancer: Beating the Odds. A Personal Account of a Psychologist’s Battle with Glioblastoma
Post Script – May 2011
The Spouse’s Perspective
By Herman’s Wife Mercia Tapping
As anybody knows who faces a terminal disease in their family, it changes your perspective on life overnight. The shock and the pain in the early days after Herman’s diagnosis were sometimes overwhelming, but over time, you learn quiet acceptance that our future, my future will never be how you had previously envisaged.
But the real importance of Herman’s writings is far beyond his diligent healthcare regimen and his personal vendetta against cell phones. While those healthcare practices are important, one never knows whether they have really made any difference. But what HAS made a difference is Herman’s attitude towards his illness. He has brought the wisdom of his forty plus years of practice as a clinical psychologist into his fight to save his own life. He does not want to die any more than the next man and he has a lot to lose- a loving wife, family and friends. What is truly distinctive about Herman’s journey is this is a man who has refused to feel sorry for himself and has been determined to try and help other people by sharing his own fight against the deadliest of all brain cancers, Glioblastoma. He has turned into a role model for many in our community, how to live life to its fullest and not turn the damage that was done to his brain into an excuse for depression.
Ours is a second marriage and we have been together since 1995 and at the time of writing it is May 2011. I have always said he has given me the happiest days of my life which is why it is so hard to think of being a widow and losing him. But in typical Herman fashion when I have expressed fears of being alone, he says the nicest thing that a man could ever say to his wife. He tells me that I am a beautiful woman and a wonderful person, and any man would be lucky to end up with me. He also tells me that when I am gone to find someone else and we will meet up again in heaven. It has always been a gift to have been so loved by him.
Therefore, I have tried to make sure that in every day of Herman’s life that he is doing at least one pleasurable activity, whether it be seeing friends and family, going on a trip not too far from home, or participating in one his sports activities. He even manages to do a couple hours of work each week. Herman is not the man he used to be and our life has not been without its challenges; even going on a trip when my husband no longer drives or can pick up heavy luggage is an adjustment. And I need, as do his other caretakers, to be ever constantly vigilant. We had a scare recently when his balance suddenly deteriorated when we were at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He can never be left alone because of the threat of another seizure after the second seizure in January 2011. Because of the need for constant supervision, a friend of ours, Sarah, has moved in with us, so there is someone in the house at all times. He also has a part-time driver to take him places when I am at work. Yes, I do still work, but far less hours than before his illness. Herman would prefer it if I did not work but it helps me keep life in balance, and will give me something to do when he is gone. But even when I am at work, I can rest easy knowing, that he is doing something he enjoys.
We have some wonderful friends in our community who will take him golfing when I am not available and caddy for him. Put the right club in Herman’s hand, point him in the right direction and his muscle memory kicks in and he can still hit a decent golf ball. He still plays cribbage with the boys every Monday night, and despite he has to concentrate very hard on anything involving numbers, he has still won a few dollars off them! After some remedial tennis lessons after his brain operation, he has been back on the tennis court playing doubles. So what if it is not the game he had before his diagnosis? The point is, he is out there with friends with a tennis racquet in his hand. He works at keeping fit with either a forty minute elliptical cycle session in winter, or walks in summer. He does not walk fast, but he keeps walking where many men would have give up and been a couch potato. He was even skiing up till this last winter when the second seizure slowed him down temporarily. He does not ski down any double black diamonds, but with the help of a ski guide on the bunny slopes he still enjoys the glorious outdoors in winter.
At the time of writing, Herman shows no sign of aggressive tumor growth and while his oncologist, predicts that the tumor reoccurrence will happen from two to twenty months from now and likely sooner rather than later, we continue to hope for later. He has been an inspirational role model for so many people in our community, because of his refusal to just lie down and die. He has always been a larger than life kind of personality and he will continue to enjoy life to its fullest in whatever capacity he still can, till God decides that his time is up.
Herman Lowe and his wife, Mercia Tapping