October 22, 2019

A Woman of Unshakable Faith

Ahava Emunah Lange

Ahava Emunah Lange was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer in 2012. In the years since, she has tried a vast array of treatments, ranging from chemo and radiation therapies to immunotherapies such as Keytruda to taking part in experimental drug testing. By last summer, the cancer had metastasized throughout her body and Lange had come to terms with the fact that she was going to die. 

“I was on the brink of death. I was ready to accept it and didn’t want to drag it out,” she said. 

Then, the faintest sliver of hope came from the most unlikely of places: Turkey. Lange’s father, Dr. Martin Grogin, himself a cancer survivor, discovered Chemothermia, an Istanbul-based clinic that endorses a metabolic approach to treating cancer combining the popular ketogenic diet with hyperthermia, hyperbaric oxygen and low-dosage chemotherapy sessions. 

The results have been nothing short of miraculous. After just two months of treatment, a CT scan showed 70 to 80 percent fewer tumors in Lange’s body. Her doctors and her radiologist were blown away and told her to continue. 

However, the costs are steep. Two weeks out of the month, Lange travels back and forth to Istanbul with her father for treatment. She is then given a 12-day respite before starting the process again. Then there is the physical toll on her body. Lange describes the hyperthermia as “torture.” 

The treatment is also expensive. Each round costs close to $14,000, and that’s before other expenses such as flights and hotels. A crowdfunding campaign was launched and to date, nearly $117,000 has been raised by 1,417 people. Lange puts it bluntly. “The only reason I am alive right now is because of the donations. The unbelievable generosity and love and care of friends and strangers.” 

“I don’t have it in me to hold onto anger and sadness all the time. It’s not going to do me or my family good.”

Lange’s reasons for agreeing to be interviewed date back to 2012 and her crushing diagnosis. For several months, she had been pestering doctors that something wasn’t right. She ate well, exercised regularly and yet she was feeling like her energy was constantly depleted. Even after she voiced her fears that perhaps it was cancer — and noting that her grandmother had died from the disease at a young age — doctors rationalized that, as the mother of five children, it made sense she was feeling tired, and that perhaps she needed a boost of vitamin D. 

The next 6 1/2 years could have turned out very differently if Lange’s concerns had been taken seriously. “That can never happen again,” she said. “If you feel something is wrong, never let a physician blow you off.”

But while she’s hoping to raise awareness among her peers and medical professionals, she doesn’t hold a grudge. “I don’t have it in me to hold onto anger and sadness all the time. It’s not going to do me or my family good.”

Lange is cautiously optimistic about the future. “There’s a certain look of a person who’s dying,” she said. “Before the [current] treatment, I had that look. But now everyone who sees me says, ‘Oh my gosh you’re a different person.’ I look alive.”  

To donate to the campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/ahava-emunah-lange-cancer-treatment.