For several years I studied with Darko Prce, a brilliant nutrition teacher in Toronto. I completed several courses in nutrition from The Holistic School of Nutrition in Toronto. I have a diploma in herbology. I took an online nutrition course from the Edison School of Nutrition, completing about 60% of the course before moving on. Then, I studied with Dr. Donn Gaudin, MD & Ph.D., in Toronto for several years. He had been doing natural & functional medicine for over 30 years with remarkable results. I then studied Functional Diagnostic Nutrition & have my certification in this. Using this knowledge, I have managed to beat my own cancer which was thought to be incurable.
At 53 years old, I had been working as a Family Medicine doctor for 28 years. I loved it so much for the challenges and triumphs that I went through with my patients. No two days were ever the same. In addition to family medicine, I did psychotherapy, counseling, and minor surgical procedures. I even delivered babies, made house calls, did rounds on my hospital patients seven days a week, assisted at surgery, saw my office patients 5 days/week, and was on 24 hour call on a regular rotation. Did I mention I loved being a medical doctor and a beacon of hope for my community?
Then on April 20, 2007, everything changed…
I had just finished seeing my last patient on Thursday evening and was feeling tired from my 12 hour day. The previous week, I had done a blood test to check my PSA, a screening test for prostate cancer. I felt a bit negligent as I had routinely advised & arranged a PSA on my own patients starting at age 50. I thought I ate healthy, did more exercise than most including hockey & running, and so I didn’t really give it much thought but was curious to know my numbers.
I logged into my online chart and almost fell off my stool. My PSA was 49! Normal is less than 4! Only once had I ever seen a PSA this high. It had to be a mistake!
It wasn’t a mistake…
Where did things go wrong?
What could I have done differently?
What will I tell my wife and children?
What will I tell my patients?
My mind and heart were racing to find answers…
I had several biopsies & scans done. All biopsies were positive for cancer. My Gleeson score was 9 or 10 out of 10 on 8 of my 10 biopsies (10 is the most incurable).
I saw 2 urologists, including 1 at Princess Margaret in Toronto, a well respected cancer treatment hospital. I was put on 3 drugs to block all of my testosterone and was booked for radical prostatectomy in June, after which I would be permanently impotent. I was offered an experimental drug. I researched like crazy what I could do to get out of this mess! I contacted our Family Medicine librarian to send me all the articles she could find on treating my situation. They came in a huge folder in the mail and I read them all.
There was no hope! I told my wife & 4 children that I was going to die from this cancer. It couldn’t be cured. I apologized to my wife for not taking better care of myself by ordering a PSA several years before.
It was a very, very dark time.
THEN, THE EXTRAORDINARY BEGAN TO HAPPEN. It was as though the universe provided the answer, and now I was ready to listen.
I ordered books on treating prostate cancer. There was a mixup and 2 of the 3 books didn’t get ordered. The one that did arrive didn’t give much hope either. However, a few days after I read it, I remembered that the introduction was written by a doctor. I looked in the book again & found his name, Michael Datolli. I googled him and found his clinic in Florida that treats nothing but prostate cancer and had been doing so for about 10-15 years. I phoned and had a free consultation. His partner, Dr. Sorace, convinced me that my best chance was to go to their clinic in Sarasota, Florida and have radiation treatment which consisted of surgically implanting radioactive pellets in my prostate and using a beam of radiation directed at my prostate.
I discussed it with my wife, who at first was skeptical. How could Dr. Datolli know better than the two expert urologists I had just seen, who both agreed I should have a radical prostatectomy! We discussed it at length, and she agreed that my best chance was radiation at the Datolli Cancer Center. I would have to pay for this myself, and it ended up costing me about $100,000. It was my best chance at a normal life.
Concurrently, I had arranged an appointment with a world class holistic nutritionist, Darko Prce. He was teaching my daughter nutrition at that time, and she believed he could help. When I left Darko’s office, I knew I could survive. I really knew it, in my heart and soul. He explained why I got the cancer and how I could eradicate it using lifestyle and nutrition.
I quit my job as a Family Practice doctor and accepted a job in our Walk In Clinic, so that I would have more time to study, read, and do various treatments. I had 3 trips to Sarasota, Florida, to the Datolli Cancer Center. I continued to see Darko regularly. I began to study nutrition online, enrolled in several of Darko’s courses in Toronto, as well as some Herbology classes. I read voraciously. I had my mercury fillings replaced and my dentist introduced me to Dr. Donn Gaudin, MD & Ph.D, who had been treating cancer alternatively with success for about 35 years. I volunteered to work in his office once/week for several years where I learned so much more. I received IV & other treatments there myself almost every visit, and I interviewed and arranged testing and treatment for most of their patients.
If I did what they wanted me to do at Princess Margaret Hospital, Dr. Sorace, who is a world expert on prostate cancer, said I would have had less than a 5% chance of survival. I would have been impotent and died a slow cancer death. Instead, I am now incredibly healthy (and not impotent), with no signs of death in the near future.
My treatment from the 2 urologists that I consulted, and from Dr. Datolli, included 3 medicines that totally blocked my testosterone production. I had played a high level of hockey, and had never missed a season since I was 4 years old. I went from being one of the top 5 players in our league, to one of the weakest 5 players in about 6 months. I went from being a high level athlete to a weak tired couch potato who kept trying to exercise but had no success with returning to my athletic status. About 2 years ago, I began bioidentical hormones, and now I am back to my athletic fit status, and it feels amazing!
Looking back, I now see that my prostate cancer actually turned my life in a beautiful new direction, and I am so much healthier and vibrant due to my new path. As a consequence, I am enthusiastic to help others find their unique path back to optimal health as I have done. I am grateful for every day I am alive now. I continue to study and read about natural approaches to health.
Getting cancer was one of the best things that ever happened for me and my patients. It has given me a new perspective on the importance of self-care, nutrition, and lifestyle. I remain in awe of the body’s healing capabilities and humbled by the marvels of modern medicine. With this new vantage point, I am able to better serve my community and be a shining example of what we are capable of when we take personal responsibility of our own health and destiny.
While I never wish for anyone to go through what my family and I did, I remain certain that with the right attitude, self love, and a holistic approach…anything is possible.
Tom Johnson, MD, FDN-P