Case Histories

2020 - Present Day

Gregory Klein – Brain


NAME: Gregory H. Klein – born November 3, 1946, Buffalo, NY, aged 46 years at diagnosis.

DIAGNOSIS: July 1, 1993, inoperable grade 4 brain tumour, Glioblastoma multiforme with cerebellum involvement on site of a bullet wound sustained during active service in Vietnam, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Radio Telegraph Operator, Delta Company, May 12, 1967, Operation Union.


Greg remained generally in good health post honourable discharge from the Marine Corps. He was both physically and mentally very strong, integrating the vision impairment and occasional headache as a result of the primary bullet wound into a meaningful life, while managing back pain as a result of a second bullet wound sustained during the airlift from the field.

February 1993: first symptoms as increased breathing rate + noticeably prominent vein in the middle of his forehead while resting, returning to normal as soon as he got up. No other symptoms.

May 16, 1993:  first symptoms of intercranial pressure as occasional, momentary flash pains in his head on rising.

June 16, 1993: feeling spacey, mild impairment of distance judgement and balance.

June 25, 1993: acute head pain, first visit to the VA hospital in Hampton VA the following day, June 26, followed by second visit, June 28, and a third, June 30. Admitted to the Veteran’s Administration Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center, Richmond, VA, June 30.

SURGICAL PROCEDURE: Craniotomy, July 7, 1993, biopsy, followed by ventriculoperitoneal shunt fitted, July 12; discharged July 23 on high dose Dexamethasone (steroid, 44mgs daily + Ranitidine) and Dilantin for control of seizures.

Radiotherapy: 6000 rads in 30 fractions, whole brain, five sessions weekly over six-week period during which time the daily steroid dose was gradually reduced to 16mgs. Consequent MRI scan showed minor shrinkage while the overall tumour mass remained significant within the cerebellum.

Commentary, Mali:

‘Right from the start it was important to Greg and I that we do the brain tumour on our own terms. We accepted it as a consequence of war but in no way was it going to destroy a moment of the time we had left. We were informed patients, aware of our rights to choose and refuse, and we were nomads. Freedom was important to us. We still had a life and we would live it. So what if a wheelchair and a big bag of cancer drugs were hitching a place on the ride? If Greg and Mali Klein were going to be dealing with death, we would do it armed and back to back on the field of our choosing, no one else’s. For us, going down the hospice route was not an option.

The VA served us well and we had been truly blessed with our doctors. We returned to Europe, October 7, to investigate a new, oral chemotherapy treatment being pioneered at a research unit in England. Sadly, the drug was withdrawn a week before Greg was due to start treatment, leaving us no other option save the promise of palliative care as his situation worsened.  We got the news, November 4, the day after his 47th birthday.

Our Buddhist meditation practice had sustained us through the hell that had been the summer. Even so, by the following morning we were looking into the big, black void that had opened up at our feet when two envelopes dropped through the letter box, both containing identical copies of the Gary Glum/Elizabeth Robinson article about Essiac. Greg agreed to try it more to please me than anything else, but finding the herbs wasn’t easy in 1993, particularly the Sheep sorrel herb. It didn’t occur to us that it could be growing as a weed outside the back door in my mother’s garden. Finally, a friend located a supply in California which would be with us by early December.

Meanwhile we agreed to try a single dose of intravenous chemotherapy normally given to breast cancer patients. Greg threw up all night and we cancelled further treatment. The steroid dose was still holding at 16mgs and he had no pain, but his energy levels were clearly failing. To all intents and purposes the tumour was following its predicted course, except that in my view his dying on me at Christmas was antisocial and I was not prepared to give it space on my birthday. Essiac was the only option left on the table.

I made up the first batch of the classic, four-herb formula, December 7, 1993. Greg had been unable to read for any length of time since the operation in the summer due to the pupils of his eyes being unevenly matched in size. Within a week of starting on the tea, his eyes had normalised, he was reading whole books again and his energy levels were picking up fast. He was able and willing to take daily walks again and more than happy to book tickets to Iceland for New Year. We celebrated my birthday swimming with our Viking family in the Blue Lagoon.

We took the tea, the wheelchair and the drug bag to a friend’s house in Provence in the South of France for a wonderful winter, walking, playing, meditating, enjoying each other in our peace and space. When we decided not to increase the steroid dose beyond 60mgs and turn to face the guns, death happened twelve days later exactly as Rene Caisse testified at the Subcommittee Hearing, 2, Caisse, Rene Testimony. Essiac was the last thing Greg was able to swallow on the morning of May 11, 1994, before he passed on peacefully that same evening, at home with no need for invasive tubes and morphine pumps and only fully comatose for the final few hours of his life. He breathed his last in my arms at 22.03hrs French time, 05.03hrs, May 12 Vietnam time, exactly 27 years since he was wounded on the battlefield in the Que Son valley.’

Gregory Klein
Gregory Klein Case History

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