- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - After Michael Horstkamp was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer about a year ago, he sought treatment to supplement his chemotherapy.

His journey lead from a hospital near his home in Maryland to Namaste Health Center in Durango, where he receives mistletoe extract infusions, among other treatments to boost his immune system. So far, he said he hasn’t experienced any of the common chemotherapy side effects such as nausea, reported The Durango Herald (https://bit.ly/2gdGyhh).

“I attribute it to the supplements that were tailored to me specifically,” he said.

His naturopathic doctor, Stacy Mulkey, got her start as a nuclear medicine technologist doing medical imaging, such as bone scans, and she had planned a career in conventional medicine. But in her pre-med classes she was drawn to the naturopathic philosophy of treating the whole person, not just the disease. This includes making sure the digestive, hormonal and adrenal systems, among others, are healthy.

“When you support the foundation of the body, a lot of symptoms get better,” she said.

Her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year after she graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, and that was when she starting looking into treatment that would work with conventional cancer therapy.

About half of her patients have cancer and she gives them complementary treatments that work with chemotherapy, radiation and other conventional treatments that their oncologists oversee.

“It’s all about optimizing the conventional treatments,” she said.

This can include mistletoe extract, high-dose vitamin C and nutrient infusions and ozone therapy, as well as acupuncture and other treatments from other Namaste staff members.

“My expertise is how to blend all of it,” Mulkey said.

The therapy is individually based on each patient’s type of cancer, chemotherapy, blood work and biochemistry, Mulkey said.

The mistletoe extract boosts white blood cells that kill bacteria, viruses and cancer cells, Mulkey said. The high-doses of vitamin C infusions create an oxidative reaction that can damage or destroy cancer cells, while the ozone therapy creates a free radical in the body that can kill viruses, bacteria and cancer cells, she said.

The staff at Namaste Health Center was sending patients to Germany for the mistletoe therapy; that’s where about 70 percent of cancer patients receive the treatment, she said. Eight years ago the health center brought the treatment to Durango.

Since then, patients have come from all over the country for it.

The mistletoe treatments also have helped patients with autoimmune disease and bacterial infections that weren’t responding to other treatment, she said.

In September, she presented on these treatments at a conference in Germany.

In addition to treatment, Mulkey focuses on disease prevention with her patients. Treatments can include reducing chronic stress, treating blood sugar imbalances, and improving diet.

For example, having healthy blood sugar can help prevent problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

“Sugar is an underlying factor for every chronic disease,” she said.

As for Horstkamp, his tumors responded well to chemotherapy - one is gone and the others are small and stable.

The goal is always to shrink the tumors, but patients can live a long time with stable tumors, Mulkey said.

After his chemotherapy, he felt well enough to start running.

“I hope many people can benefit from what I’m benefiting from,” he said, of the mistletoe and other naturopathic treatments.

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Information from: Durango Herald, https://www.durangoherald.com

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