Jaime Andrews

I’m not so afraid anymore. I’ve learned to trust and listen to my caregivers.

Her soul sparkles. The ever ebullient Jaime Andrews is gifted with an alluring personality and zest for life that blesses so many.

By the time Jaime Andrews’ stepsister drove her to the emergency room of WellStar Kennestone Hospital in late August 2012, the Stage 4 HER2-positive breast cancer had invaded almost every organ in her body. An immediate blood transfusion was needed to help spare her life.   Jaime recalls Dr. Carmen Klass’ words the helped moved her from denial to reality:  “I can treat this.”  With that declaration, Dr. Klass began to annihilate the tumors at full dose using the medicine she was desperately trying to avoid.

Rewind to January 2012.  Jaime, a trained naturopath, decided to heal naturally using alternative medicine after a thermography (heated picture) showed malignancies in both breasts.   Jaime underwent a low-dose targeted chemotherapy treatment known as insulin potentiation therapy[1] at an alternative healing center to try and rid her body of the tumors.  Instead of fighting for her, the treatment dropped her blood sugar and fueled the cancer that had brought her to the brink of death.

Eight months later, weak and riddled with pain, Jaime waved the white flag.  By the time she arrived at the ER, she couldn’t walk on her own and also had come to the realization she couldn’t heal on her own without the care and treatment of a trained oncologist and clinical team.

“I was resistant to traditional medicine, but the expert care and treatment received at Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers was my saving grace.  Dr. Klass is my guardian angel and the infusion room nurses are all beauty and brains,” said Jaime, humbled and grateful to be brought from near death to a renewed quality of life.

“God has sense of humor, because now I’m a walking pharmacy.  My experience taught me to go with the flow; to not be so resistant.  The very things I pushed so hard against saved my life.  I wouldn’t go as far to say cancer is as blessing, but it’s certainly been a reawakening for me.  I’ve refocused my life on love.”

With her husband, Daniel, and two young children, Jaime had three obvious reasons to live along with unrealized life experiences.  Together, they drafted a “Big, Beautiful Bucket List” that continues to dwindle from swimming with dolphins and travelling to all 50 states to getting a tattoo and learning to sew.   A valued and cherished event is her son’s participation in Camp Kesem, a camp that gives kids affected by a parent’s cancer the opportunity to be a kid and to share their stories.  Crossing off their list not only provides focus, but fun as Jaime shares her contagious spirit with all who intersect her life.

Two years of treatment and no evidence of active disease, Jaime’s on a mission to change the look of cancer.  She’d rather forego the pink ribbons.  “I don’t feel like a fighter or a contender in the ring.  To me, having cancer is more like a dance.  I’m just dancing, checking things off our bucket list and celebrating every Christmas and birthday like it could be my last.”

The wake-up call has led Jaime to more intentional living. “I want to leave behind a legacy that’s remembered, especially by my kids Cameron and Chloe.  ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ has become my mantra.”

In retrospect, Jaime’s fear stood in the way of her getting the help she desperately needed after her attempt to heal naturally had failed. “But I’m not so afraid anymore.  I’ve learned to trust and listen to my caregivers.  Even though cancer has a bad rap as a ‘death sentence,’ I’ve lived more in the last two years than in the previous 34.”

Jaime eagerly awaits the day when her family can scream “We’re debt free!” on Dave Ramsey’s syndicated radio talk show (number 18 on her bucket list).   What follows the debt free screams is an audio clip from the movie Braveheart of William Wallace shouting “Freedom!”

It’s exactly how Jaime would describe her journey and all the adventures yet to come.   “It’s been freeing” not living in fear anymore.   To Jaime, life is a dance.

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[1] According to the American Cancer Society, relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding or delaying standard medical care for cancer, may have serious health consequences as Jaime experienced.  When chemotherapy drugs are tested in clinical trials, their effects are carefully monitored to learn which dose will best balance the need to kill cancer cells with the goal of keeping side effects at a tolerable level. There is no evidence that chemotherapy at a fraction of the recommended and tested dose can produce the same effect as the full dose if used with insulin.