John Strauss

Metastatic Stage 4 Malignant Melanoma

During the fall of 1991, I was diagnosed and operated on for Metastatic Stage 4 Malignant Melanoma. I was 47 years old. The oncologists at the University of Chicago, who were on the leading edge of conventional treatment, suggested that I might join a group of people involved in studying the ability of Interferon Alpha to increase life spans of malignant melanoma patients, such as myself. There were no know treatments and the mortality chart they showed me suggested that I would not see my 50th birthday. It was suggested that joining this experiment might be of benefit.

Quite frankly, I was scared out of my mind as I tried to figure out what to do. I had classes in statistics and knew that they “DO NOT” apply to specific individuals or to single events. This provided a glimmer of hope because not everyone died! Maybe, just maybe, I could be one of them? I held tightly to this glimmer — it was hope, not unreasonable statistically, and I needed hope desperately! Fortunately, one of my friends who had known of Dr. Keith Block encouraged me to make an appointment, which I gladly did. It was the MOST important appointment I have ever made and I remain forever grateful to my friend for helping save my life.

Like no other doctor before him, Dr. Block — as well as the Block Center team of dedicated experts — sat and calmly talked to me about my situation, my feelings, my fears and my choices. Words cannot describe how important this was. Here was someone, who actually cared about me and offered REAL HOPE that together we could beat this. And, we did!

I never really understood how important hope was until I met Dr. Block and the Block Center team. Today, I am 69 years old and hope to attend many milestones in my grandchildren’s lives.

Making life changes is about motivation. I was so scared of dying that I would have done anything (well, just about anything) to stay alive. And so, the implementation of the Block integrative program was actually quite easy. I started the morning after my first appointment, moved on to lunch, then dinner and I was off and running. It’s interesting that when you finally do the thing that you know you must, you are rewarded with the wonderful sense of empowerment – of utmost relief! What a surprise this was!

During the early 1990’s I met numerous other malignant melanoma sufferers. I told them about Dr. Block but none of them made an appointment. Every one of them died, quickly. I am the sole survivor. I have no one to thank for this other than the treatment received from Dr. Block and the entire Block team. Of course, I had to do the work and follow instructions but when your life is at stake, what choice do we really have?.