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Glenn Holland (Lung Cancer Survivor)

Glenn Holland (Lung Cancer Survivor)

About me

My name is Glenn Holland. I live in the United States in the state of North Carolina. I am going to be 52 years old in July. In February of 2018, I coughed up blood and that was the first indication that I had cancer. That was the start of a journey that is still going on four years later. It never leaves you. It's always in the back of your head. But I truly believe in sharing stories with others to understand that they are not alone and that many people worldwide have this type of disease and are working through it.

Initial symptoms

At that time, I was working for a large agricultural manufacturer and travelled around the world quite often. And about two months before I coughed up blood, I was in Japan on a business trip. When I woke up one morning, I had a heart murmur or a heart flutter that occurred when I woke up, which had never happened to me before. And this was the day that we were supposed to be leaving back for the United States. So I went to a Japanese doctor who gave me some over-the-counter heart palpitation medicine to try and calm that down. And I took that medicine and didn't think anything of it, got back to the United States. Then I went to a heart specialist, and they fitted me with a heart monitor. They monitored my heartbeat for about six weeks. And that episode never happened again.

The next indicator that something was wrong was when I went to Ireland. I felt exhausted. We went to a wedding, and I'm usually a person who dances during weddings. I was not able to physically move. And I attributed this to wintertime and my being a tobacco smoker for many years. I had quit tobacco smoking. So every wintertime, I would have a cold or a mucus problem. And I attributed this to having a sinus. So after that Ireland trip, I took one more business trip to Wisconsin. And again, I felt fatigued. And again, I put it down to being a normal annual sickness. I didn't see a doctor about it. 

Recurring symptoms

The accurate indicator was that I was coughing a lot of green phlegm from my chest. On February 28, I had a very severe coughing episode in the morning before going to work. I coughed up about a three or four-inch piece of bloody spit. Luckily, I looked at it in the garbage can before I shut it. So I was able to get it from the garbage and made an appointment with my doctor. My doctor was off vacation, so I had to see a nurse practitioner. And she sent me to get an X-ray.

They found something inside my lung's lower right lobe. It was about 2.5 CM, about the size of a golf ball. I saw an oncologist who initially asked me to wait six weeks because she thought it was a virus. And being in North Carolina, where there are a lot of hospital systems, I did not leave it at that. I went to see another opinion. I went through four oncologists until I finally got somebody to do a proper biopsy.

And one quick thing about biopsies is once you've heard those three words, nobody wants to listen to them. Once you hear those words, you have cancer, it sends you down a rabbit hole of the Internet. There are just so many different directions that it can take you. And one of them that grabbed me was that biopsies are potentially harmful because if there is a needle or a surgical biopsy, they could dislodge components of your cancer that could spread around the body. So I was very skeptical about getting the biopsy, but I needed to have that done.It turned out that I had stage three, a non-small cell lung cancer adenocarcinoma with one additional trait to it. So that is a relatively common type of lung cancer.

Treatments I underwent

I was lucky enough to contact a friend whose brother worked for the Duke Healthcare Centre in Durham, North Carolina. And they were able to get me in to see an oncologist, who then assessed my condition and said I could be a part of a clinical trial for Keytruda immunotherapy as a first-line defense. But this was a first-line trial in which they took one look at me and said, you are a perfect candidate for this. I can now help other people. I can now be a part of something much bigger.

They gave me Keytruda for two doses before surgery. Then they underwent surgery and cut out the bottom part of my lung. Cancer had died from the Keytruda. I thought that without me participating in that, it may not have shown that this is a viable option for people. So I felt compelled to share this story that I was unfolding on LinkedIn. I had chemotherapy afterwards. And now it's been four years, and I go back once a year for a scan, and I'm clean. And I've never felt better.

Alternate treatments

I took organic lemon zest in ozone-infused water every day. I cut out the dairy, I cut out the red meat, and I exercised. And one other piece that I forgot to mention in there, too, is full extract cannabis oil. I did take full extract cannabis oil as well. So I had a plethora of treatments that I took. I'm not saying that this is for everybody, but it worked for me.

And then, I also did some research on organic lemon zest. And what you would do is you would freeze lemons, and then every morning. Then zest an organic frozen lemon and add that to 40oz of ozone-infused water because cancer doesn't like oxygen. And I worked out, and I became a fitness nut. Plus, I put out my motivational videos on LinkedIn daily while preparing for the immunotherapy treatment. 

My wife is a personal trainer, so she helped me with fitness. And also to become one with yourself and understand that there is universal consciousness. Every morning I did five to ten minutes of meditation and yoga before I did my fitness workout. Then afterwards, we would do stretching. My wife and I did it together.

What kept me motivated

My kids were in their 20s, teenagers. I told myself I still needed to be a part of their lives. I wasn't done helping them be an asset to society. And then beyond that, I said that if I beat this, there's a reason I'm fighting. There's a reason why I'm sharing my journey with people that I don't know. And those days when I wanted to fly and move away, I just said to myself that I was a part of something bigger. And if I give up, then people out there watching me, it's not going to be good for them either.

Maintaining emotional and mental well being

The universal term sharing is caring. I talked a little bit about it on LinkedIn. I felt comfortable sharing my two-minute videos daily. Because when I did that, people commented to thank me. And when I read that, it reinforced the notion that I can make a difference in somebody else's life. And so emotionally, I kept telling myself that I was not helping just one person.

Message to other cancer patients and caregivers

So for cancer patients, everybody is different. Everybody is an individual, and everybody has their residence and frequency inside them. It would help if you found which one works for you and which one resonates with you. No catch-all says this treatment will fix every type of cancer because no person is the same. So what I tell cancer patients who asked me this is to find it yourself and use the tools you have, like listening to me. Take a piece of what I've given. Take a part of what other zen onco people are saying and make your treatment because everybody is an individual. There is no catch-all. 

Don't give up and continue trying to find parts of other people's journeys that you can use for your own. Get your second opinion. Use all the pieces and tools given to you to make your treatment work for you. If a cancer patient is cancer-free or has no evidence of disease, they fear recurrence. So from a cancer caregiver's perspective, you may look at them and say they are cured. A cancer patients life is changed forever after going through it.

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