“I have witnessed an extraordinary patient who achieved a clinical response through non-conventional treatment approaches.”
~ Lee M. Nadler, MD, Harvard Medical School
He defied the odds and stunned his doctors. They’d been telling him for two decades that this couldn’t happen.
Skeptics might think his story is too good to be true. Even his co-author thought so at first.
In 1991, Glenn Sabin, then a 28-year-old newlywed and weight-lifting fanatic, received a diagnosis that shattered his life – chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Doctors called the disease “uniformly fatal.” Sooner or later, they said, it would kill him.
Two decades later, he had successfully overcome leukemia’s physical and psychological challenges. Now his mission is to help others overcome cancer as well. You need to know his story. . .
Glenn Sabin’s battle against cancer spans 20 years from initial diagnosis to complete remission, and his victories and disappointments provide important lessons for us all.
This summary is based on his provocative book “N of 1: One Man’s Harvard-Documented Remission of Incurable Cancer Using Only Natural Methods.”1
Following a positive bone marrow biopsy, his doctor advised immediate surgery to remove his triple-sized spleen. His wife insisted they not rush, so they interviewed three surgeons before choosing one.
All went well following surgery – for seven months. Then a major setback hit: A complication from surgery, followed by a second surgery, then a dreadful infection that almost killed him. He was thankful to be alive, but disillusioned by the fact that modern medicine apparently had little to offer him.
Years later, he learned that seven out of ten patients without a spleen who develop a severe infection die.2 He was one of the lucky three.
World-class doctors offered few options
Mr. Sabin met and worked with many world-class oncologists during his 20-year cancer journey. But when they advised “watchful waiting” after the surgery, he didn’t buy it. He was a man of action and was determined to figure out how to stay alive. He felt well, yet was told he was dying.
Since he was determined to do something, his “watchful waiting” became a time of intense research and revolutionary lifestyle changes… eating whole organic foods (largely vegetables), drinking filtered water, and engaging in restorative sleep and physical activity.
When morbid thoughts plagued him, he took his dog for walks in the park or exercised to help calm his anxiety.
He read incessantly and reached out to authors for additional guidance.
He found a knowledgeable nutritionist who forged an exhaustive customized supplement regimen that he followed for years – even to the tune of 70 pills a day. Yet his blood work remained abnormal. He continued working with his oncologists, despite feeling energetic and alive most of the time.
Two major setbacks
During his twenty-year struggle with cancer, Sabin suffered two major setbacks following his post-surgery hospitalization.
The first occurred twelve years in, when he had a months-long battle with fevers and headaches… classic symptoms of his type of leukemia.
His immune system had been hijacked. His bone marrow was working furiously to replace missing red blood cells, but he knew it might not be enough.
By this time he had two children, and with them came new motivation to fight the disease.
During this time period, his doctors recommended chemotherapy. After much consideration, he declined. Instead, he proposed a “research partnership” with his doctors. He’d reinforce his home-cobbled program and go in twice a week for blood work, giving them cold, hard data about his non-conventional cancer-fighting strategies.
The experiment was on. It was an N of 1 study (where the entire study consists of a single person) – hence the title of his book, N of 1.
Months later, Sabin’s fevers finally disappeared and his blood counts normalized…
Until about seven years later, when his cancer showed new signs of aggression. He added an integrative doctor to his treatment team.
This doctor changed his supplement protocol and added green tea compounds. Yet his blood tests still ran amuck for months. Finally, after many months, his white blood cell count normalized to 5,600 (low end of normal) – down from 50,000! A bone marrow biopsy showed no signs of leukemia.
His doctors were astonished – especially the ones he had started his journey with twenty years earlier.
In all Dr. Nadler’s decades of caring for CLL patients, not once had he seen a patient overcome leukemia solely through lifestyle adjustments. He even called it a “cure” – a word that oncologists rarely use.
Key takeaways from Glenn Sabin’s story
Unfortunately, cancer is complicated, and results aren’t guaranteed no matter what you do.
But Glenn Sabin demonstrated that there are always some factors you can control. And it’s likely you won’t know their impact until you try them consistently over a long period of time.
So what are some key takeaways from Glenn’s story?
- He found the best medical team he could, and worked closely with them.
- He never gave up, always expecting that he would sooner or later find his road to healing. His twenty years of persistence paid off.
- He took the initiative, asked questions, didn’t rely solely on his doctors, and studied and researched relentlessly. Research was his middle name.
- He claimed the “healer within,” imagining his leukemia cells dying and the forthcoming celebration of his healing with family and friends.
- As soon as his research convinced him a treatment plan was valid, he pursued it wholeheartedly without delay.
- He willingly made massive lifestyle changes.
- He accepted help from others – nutritionists, family members, etc. As one example, his wife and mother-in-law diligently counted out his supplements months in advance, into multiple daily portions he could just grab.
- He found responses to his stress and morbid thoughts – particularly exercise and appreciating nature.
- He consciously practiced gratitude and a keen awareness of how precious life is.
Scientists now know that changing your lifestyle alters the expression of your genes. It can turn on genes that help keep you healthy and turn off genes that promote disease.
Your genes may be your predisposition. But they are not necessarily your fate.
I hope his success attracts the attention of conventional doctors.
- Sabin, Glenn and Lemanne, MD, MPH. N of 1: One man’s Harvard-documented remission of incurable cancer using only natural methods. 2016.
- D J Waghorn. Overwhelming infection in asplenic patients: current best practice preventive measures are not being followed. J Clin Pathol2001;54:214-218 doi:10.1136/jcp.54.3.214