MIDDLEBURY, Ind. — Every year, thousands of US citizens travel to Mexico for cancer treatment, because clinics there offer non-toxic therapies and the cost is much less expensive, says TMD Unlimited, a medical tourism corporation. When Tom Teeter was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), he went to three different Mexican clinics, and had good experiences and bad. In telling their story, the Teeters hope to help other cancer patients taking this journey.
Tom Teeter was diagnosed with CLL in 2007. Tom had retired from the military after serving in Desert Storm and Viet Nam, and then worked for years for the Mishawaka, Indiana utility company. He was due to retire again in just one month. Tom's doctors told him he did not need treatment, but they recommended CT and PET scans every 3 months.
Tom's fiance, Jacquie, went to his next doctor appointment to ask questions and understand his illness. She asked the doctor why he was ordering so many scans as her research told her that scans can cause leukemia. In some countries, scans are forbidden for children because of this risk. When she asked about Tom's enlarged spleen and lymph nodes, the doctor told her not to worry, he did not need treatment and would live another 30 years. So they went on with their lives, and got married.
"Tom is such a great dad to Sarah and Spencer," Jacquie says. Sarah is 12, a girly-girl who loves animals and is active in 4-H. She loves birds and she adopted an abused cat and loved him back to health. She loves cooking, arts and crafts, and she wants to be a veterinarian.
Fifteen year old Spencer has Asperger's, an autism spectrum disorder. According to Jacquie, he needs physical therapy and counseling to help him cope with being "different." Spencer likes motorcycles and roller coasters, Legos and video games. "When Tom came into our lives, Spencer blossomed. With Tom's patience and encouragement, Spencer’s development has improved so much his doctors and therapists are amazed."
The Teeters home school their children, which made it easy for them to travel as a family to find help for Tom.
While camping in February 2008, Tom became ill, and Jacquie took him to a nearby hospital. He was jaundiced, and needed a transfusion. An MRI showed his spleen was twice the normal size. Tom had one round of chemo and immediately became violently ill. Another specialist in Indianapolis told Tom one should never have chemo with his type of CLL.
Frustrated because the doctors could not agree on treatment and because Tom was getting weaker, the family traveled to meet with an herbalist in Florida who sold them expensive supplements and claimed he could cure Tom’s cancer. As Tom's condition deteriorated, Jacquie called the herbalist, who just recommended even higher doses of his supplements. Tom’s white count began to climb to dangerous levels.
Disenchanted with conventional medicine and knowing Tom needed more than vitamins and herbs, they began researching Mexican cancer clinics. Even though their families were against seeking alternative treatments, they packed their children into a van and drove to a clinic in Hermosillo, in Sonora, Mexico, hoping for a miracle. When they reached the clinic, they found none of the treatments promised were even available. This clinic did biofeedback testing, used a Rife light and sold Miracle Minerals, all available in the United States. The clinic had arranged a rental apartment for the Teeters that was a 40 minute drive from the clinic. Exhausted, they took the key and directions and set out to find the lodging.
On the way they stopped at a Wal-Mart for groceries. As they left the store, they heard the parking attendant blow his whistle and a small white truck pulled out of the parking space next to their van and sped away. When they reached their vehicle, they discovered they had been robbed. Their computer, passports, children's games, credit cards and check books, cell phones and traveler's checks were gone. They had lost everything, including the money to pay for Tom’s treatment.
It took almost half an hour before they could get anyone to call the police. The store manager insisted the parking attendant was not employed by Wal-Mart; he just showed up every day in uniform to work for tips. Finally the manager offered his phone so the couple could call the clinic.