In the Fall of 1994, Tracy started having pain and had a focal seizure that made the left side of his body tingle. After a few weeks of delaying going to the doctor for these symptoms, a day after Tracy H.’s 32nd birthday, an MRI revealed a tumor in his head the size of a baseball. A pound of tissue was scooped out of his head, only an 80% resection (another source says 90%), and leaving him paralyzed on his left side. He was diagnosed with a mixed-grade (grades 3 and 4) astrocytoma multigliobioma that was currently stable.
Tracy struggled to regain control of his body and was ambulatory by Christmas with the use of a cane, an amazing recovery of ability. (He seems to have been a fit and active person.) Though he had 30 radiation treatments over the next year, the remaining tumor seemed to not respond at all. He was given 6 months to two years. They heard about the Burzynski Clinic through a friend. They were put in contact with the patient group. They were sent information by the clinic. They decided to try it.
According to Tracy’s original Burzynski Patient Group page:
“Our initial visit was very positive. I thought everyone was very professional. I talked to the doc himself, and I felt that he was a compassionate man, not a real big speaker, kind of a shy guy. He seemed really positive about his treatment and therapy. He was up-front about what would and would not happen,” said Tracy.
Tracy went on the antineoplaston treatment, in July of 1995, hooked up to the infuser most of the day. After his first few days of treatment, he was up and on a bicycle. Tracy could not work reliably (though he kept up part-time at the tool and die company), so his wife went to work and his daughters started to attend public school. His wife founded a cookbook company that went like gangbusters from the very beginning. This raised most of the money that they needed to pay Burzynski’s enormous bill over the next two years, some 300,000 copies of the book sold, a remarkable feat and a daring entrepreneurial gamble which saw them mortgage their house. They still had to fundraise, however.
Not only did Tracy fundraise for Burzynski, but he was also among the group of people who lobbied in Washington on Burzynski’s behalf during the federal inquiries into Burzynski’s clinic and he was at Burzynski’s side during the court battle as well.
In 1998, in an interview with The Blade, we hear something about the ongoing treatment:
“Dr. Burzynski is optimistic that the treatments are working,” Mr [H.] said. “The treatment keeps the tumor in check. But God’s in control and I feel very comfortable with that.”
This coincides with a report that the remaining tumor has shrunk 90%. But “keeping the tumor in check” and hopeful assertions from Burzynski are not clearly positive things, especially given my experience researching these patients. Someone like Amelia S. can by dying in front of everyone’s eyes and Burzynski is still optimistic. Because he primarily sells toxic doses of optimism at a high price. At the time the family was interviewed for the Blade article, they were $60,00 behind on their medical bills.
In early 2001, after six years of antineoplaston treatment (by my calculations over a quarter of a million dollars), Tracy was taken off of the hospice waiting list, however, as we shall see, that is almost certainly not the entire story. On May 4, 2001, he passed out while going to a neighbor’s house. He hit his head and died of a brain hemorrhage. Another article attributed the death to “complications from radiation treatment,” which caused bleeding after he hit his head. This is a possible outcome, though as best I can tell most radiation necrosis appears within 3 years. There are a number of reports of long-term necrosis and problems with forming sturdy blood vessels in the brain after radiation. According to yet another account, however:
With the experimental treatments, Tracy’s tumor shrank and he was back on his feet. He was able to return to work part-time and was even bicycling 30 miles a day! But his condition took a turn in 1999. Suddenly I was shaving him, showering him, even rolling him over in bed. In 2000, he ended up in hospice care.
When Tracy began another type of experimental treatment using blood-thinning medication, he rallied so well that they kicked him out of hospice care! He was doing much better – even driving and walking around with a cane. I remember teasing him, “Babe, you’re going to be chasing me around the house soon!”
Another account suggests that Tracy was getting ill and taken off treatment, as the article about his passing reported:
Mr. [H] became ill last year and stopped the experimental treatments, his mother said.
What illness “his condition” is not indicated–whether it is a state of wellbeing or the cancer or…what exactly? It is rather a long time to have been on a single treatment. So, it is difficult to sort out the timeline here. And it’s possible that a blood thinner could have contributed to the brain bleed too. While he may have been declared cancer free, it is impossible to say for which of the multiple modalities contributed to his recovery. He had, after all, had major resection and radiation alongside antineoplastons, and I see no record of his course of treatment, the ups and downs of treatment. And the end sounds a lot like the end of Domenica P’s story, assurances that there is improvement and shrinkage of the tumor, and then the patient collapses and dies in a fall. The brain cancer, in neither case, is cited as the cause of death. Peculiar how that happens.
Tracy was a generous and loving man. He was an organ donor, at least as much as he could be having been a cancer patient. He donated his eyes, skin and bone. (The fact that he was an organ donor does not indicate in itself that he was cancer free.) And he prepared a phenomenal surprise for his wife, which she received when she remarried. A friend delivered a videotape to her which Tracy had given to them in case she remarried. Tracy blessed the marriage and told his family that he loved them one last time.
If Tracy was on a trial, it remains unpublished to this day. For reliable information about clinical trials, visit to clinicaltrials.gov. Please contribute to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, which cares for sick children even if they can’t pay. Unlike Burzynski.