Mike: My name is Mike Overpeck, and this is my wife, Tara. We're from Goshen, Indiana, and our story begins in April of 2018. I'd gone for a routine physical, and a few days later, the Doctor's office calls and tells me that my PSA is elevated. They say they're going to schedule my appointment to a radiologist for me, and two weeks later, we're in the radiologist office. He explains to me that I am young for my PSA to be high, my prostate feels normal, and there is no evidence in my family of prostate cancer, so I shouldn't be upset but many of you are already know I'm upset, I'm devastated at this point. He suggests we wait two months for another test. Two months later, my PSA comes back even higher. At that point, he suggests we do a biopsy, so we schedule a biopsy, he does the biopsy and each time either a test is taken the biopsy whatever it is there seems to be an extended wait, and as many of you know I'm already anxious. This is hard on me. The biopsy comes back; he calls late one evening that I have aggressive prostate cancer, and we don't know what to do with this; we're scared to death at this point. He says we schedule of CT scan and a bone scan. Two weeks later, we were at his office, hopeful that is not as bad as what we anticipate. But we're wrong he goes to the reports and tells me that I have Stage 4 Prostate Cancer and many say there's no cure for this. Goes through the explanation of treatments that I can receive hormone treatments, chemotherapy, and when those stop working well, then that's the end. He goes to the list of harsh side effects, and now my fear is elevated even higher. I remember driving home looking my wife and saying we need a miracle. We get home, call our adult children, and tell them the bad news show it to a few friends, and we still have no idea what to do. The doctors along the way had warned me, "Don't go on the internet, there are all kinds of scary stories on the internet; just stay away from that. But I thought to myself, I thought I call a friend, I have a friend who lived out of the area, a man of faith and I wanted him to pray for me, so I called Kent and Barb, and I shared with them my story all upset, full of anxiety and Kent Cutson says now just wait a minute he said Mike get a piece of paper and a pencil he says, I'm gonna give you a phone number and when you hangout for me you call this number, and then he says these amazing words, he says Mike they're curing cancer at Mexico and all of the sudden hope begins to restore. I raced downstairs to share the good news to my wife, Tara, and I say, "Tara, we're going to Mexico."
Tara: And I hear Mexico, Mexico your kidding me and I just thought myself to starting to shutdown. I could see his mouth moving but wasn’t hearing his words. And it was a long - until our friends started sending pictures on their phone of this facility and I thought, Okay I’ll look up at you and I was just amazed how modern the facility looked, how clean and bright and I could see nurses and doctors and therapists. I could see medical equipment. And so I started opening my heart to this. And when I could see his hope being restored after I thought I had really lost him. I thought I have got to open my mind to this. So we brought our family together like Mike said and we prayed that if this was the direction that we where to go that he would be accepted into the program, that the bed will be available and that we could come up finances to afford this trip.
Mike: There’s a time difference between were we live in Scottsdale, Arizona and Mexico so we were talking to the patient advocate and she carried about this immediately asks about her story, showed compassion told her what we’ve been through how we had the way with the bad news felt like, and she immediately identify with us shared her story with us and then she began to talk about the treatments that we would receive if we chose New Hope and how they work curing cancer in Mexico and we got all excited. She said the challenge for you will be, I need your paperwork and send it to us. Little that she know that the Doctor hand us the paper before he left his office. We had them at hand, so back home it was evening in Scottsdale, Arizona it was afternoon so we immediately faster paperwork off to Arizona. Later that evening, I tried to make contact with my sister and she didn't answer her phone. I want her to know the good news because I had devastated everybody with the bad news. About 10 o’clock that night our paperworks are already in New Hope. Jack already gives us the explanation of what's going on. My sister texted me and said, sorry I’m so late. I immediately called her and I said wait I have such good news, were going to Mexico for treatment and she paused and she said. Mike, do you remember if they said anything about Dendritic Cell Therapy. And I said. Yeah, they did. Is that good news? And she said. No, Mike, that's great news. Her granddaughter, my great niece is in cancer research in the United States. Two years earlier she’d come for school for a break and she shared with her mom and her grandmother how devastated she was that there was a cure for cancer. But you couldn't get the treatment in the USA. Once she heard that the cure was part of the protocol here in New Hope. She said, my uncle couldn't be in a better place. We- that was tuesday night. Wednesday, we had all our paperwork on Wednesday night we heard back from the doctors; it amaze us we didn't have to wait this time every other time we had the painfully wait for in a kind of response, or any report. Thursday, our paperwork came from Scottsdale but we fell out we’d been accepted are now I needed all these papers fell out and by thursday night we were sending them back the bed was so all open and we run our way to New Hope. We packed Friday. Saturday night a group of family and friends gathered for support; and Sunday morning we boarded an airplane and began our journey to New Hope.
Tara: So our first stop was in Yuma, Arizona. We were to spend the night there before New Hope came and picked us up to take us across the border. As you can imagine, it was a kind of sleepless night, figure of the unknown and we got up the next morning and we were instructed to me Dr. Branyon in the..in the… I don’t (remember)...
Mike: Into the lobby.
Tara: In the lobby at 10 o'clock and we did that and she was there with the head nurse from New Hope. And was not long until I can't just sense the compassion she had for all of us, including the caregivers. She spoke up what we would be experiencing in the 12 days to come and her passion for these treatments became just so evident. And I’m just how much she believed in what she was doing. So the fear started to come down. We loaded in a van and headed towards the border and in my mind that I thought okay. How is this going to go? So because we were in a medical van that had the New Hope name on it. We were allowed to go right to the front of the line and we didn’t have to wait. The official comes to our van, recognizes the van, recognizes the driver, does what she needs to do and with in minutes were on our way. It was no problem at all and that made me feel so much like. Hey, New Hope is legitimate. They recognize them at the border they seem to respect them at the border. No problem. And it was just minutes after that we arrived at the hospital.
Mike: The short trip from the border to the hospital. I was captivated just looking around I didn’t really know what to expect, the patient advocate talked to us about San Luis Rio Colorado the name of this city being one of the safest cities in Mexico. And so, just kept looking around, looking around and all of a sudden make a sharp turn and there is New Hope right in front of me. And to my amazement, the nurses, staff, therapists and doctors were all waiting outside for us. We have never received these kind of welcome before. Now we sat in doctor’s offices on hospitals and people were okay with this being there. But everyone is smiling here we got out of the van and they're hugging as take our luggage to our room and then there peace begin there was no waiting even here they were doing what they needed to do immediately and with each new therapy, someone was there to explain to me exactly why there were doing this and what was going to happen as a result of it. I had listened to all those horrible stories about this side effects back in the United States. And here I was reassured over and over again if there’s a side effects, they are insignificant maybe a headache, maybe a flu-like symptom. But I wasn't going to lose my hair, I wasn't going to be vomiting, I wasn't going to be going through any of the terrible things that were concerning me. We love the staff and the nurses from the very beginning and that only has increased over time with our experience and the treatments, very mild.
Tara: So you’re with the staff for 12 days, and so as you can imagine we have gotten to know them very, very well. Being here with them has really change us. They are so full of care and kindness towards us and always always hope… always hope and positive attitude ,all the staff whether they are cleaning our toilet, making our food, the doctors, the nurses, the therapist, those that are in the administration, the receptionist.. ALL of them. All positive. And not only towards Mike, but towards me as a caregiver. They make my bed, they make my food, they do my laundry. The staff not only cares about Mike’s potty and helping with his healing but they care about our hearts and we feel that every minute that we’re here.
Mike: If you are watching this as a victim of Cancer, you’ll know right away how hard it is to maintain a positive attitude, how hard it is to be hopeful. And I can remember what it was like the first time I got upset here at New Hope, and the staff was here immediately helping, reassuring me that they gonna take care of me. I was gonna get through this, we were gonna beat cancer together. It was amazing. Upon our preparation for departure, Tara and I talked about how we had been transformed. We came here frightened, almost as small children, unaware of what was going to go on. But having a bit of hope, and a little trust now, we were leaving, as Tara said “changed people”. We were now equipped, trained, prepared to change our diet, our lifestyle, whatever needed to be changed on this Cancer journey, to grant us help and hope and a strong future together. New Hope deserves its name because that’s what they did for us. They brought us hope. We travelled home, different people, anticipating being able to show their family what it is like to be cared about in such an amazing world. But the treatment did not end that, New Hope has followed up consistently. And everytime I get upset there’s somebody at the other end of the line to help me understand that they’re still in this with me. They’re not giving up. We’re gonna win this battle together. So I want to say thank you to New Hope.
Tara: Yes, me too. Thank you.