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Brock battling an aggressive cancer

Road to recovery: Marvin Brock was left partially paralysed after a surgery to remove a tumour from his spine (Photograph supplied)

Marvin Brock’s life was turned upside down this year when he found out he had stage four prostate cancer after a gallbladder surgery.

Mr Brock, who spent years battling to save his son’s life with the help of strangers, was forced to appeal for assistance again to save his own life. He also turned to Chinese medicine to fight the disease, but the cancer had already spread to his spine and he needed emergency surgery after collapsing at his home last month.

Mr Brock is now recovering from his second major operation in six months, which left him partially paralysed and learning to walk again.

He said: “All of this was a double whammy. The first was gallbladder surgery and the discovery of stage four prostate cancer. Now, I’m recovering from spinal surgery as well. The martial artist I’ve always been is disoriented, as you can imagine. Not to be strong and healthy is a new experience for me.”

Mr Brock added: “The prognosis is good, and all the health specialists say I’m progressing better than most and they expect a full recovery.

“It’s early days and I’m not yet able to take a step without the assistance of a walker or someone supporting me.”

The further operation came as a major blow, but Mr Brock also got some good news while he was prepared for surgery.

His Prostate-Specific Antigen test levels had dropped from 96 to 13.1 and Mr Brock said this was “unheard of with my type of cancer”.

He added: “Doctors say that this cancer can only be slowed, not cured. My family doctor and the surgeon are both scratching their heads trying to figure out what this could mean.

“They don’t know Chinese medicine, so can’t really understand how this could happen. However, they have an attitude of, whatever works. I like that and Dr Wu says bringing those numbers down is still his primary focus with treatments.”

Mr Brock’s son, Mihdi Joon Brock, was born with progressive kyphoscoliosis, curvature of the spine, and several other health problems.

Doctors predicted he would live past the age of ten and Mr Brock led a years-long campaign to raise funds for his son’s care and treatment, which included traditional eastern medicine.

Mr Brock, a student of Chinese medicine, started treatment for an aggressive form of prostate cancer with Dr Baolin Wu in Santa Monica, California, two weeks after his gallbladder surgery.

Cancer specialists had given him two years to live without surgery or treatment and “possibly an additional 18 months with therapy”.

Mr Brock said: “The prognosis was from a western medical perspective. This is why I immediately sought Asian medicine and my doctor and teacher, Dr Baolin Wu, who successfully treated my son and helped save his life.

“It is also why I pursue a doctorate in Classical Chinese Medicine. It is effective and has proven to be so, not only with my son but again with my PSA levels.”

It was during a brief break in treatments that he collapsed at home. An MRI scan revealed a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord, which put pressure on the nerves and he was sent to emergency surgery to avoid paralysis.

Doctors had to remove part of his spine to expose the pinched spinal cord. Mr Brock said: “Six-and-a-half hours later, the surgeon informed my family he believed he got all of the tumour. He described it as being a kind of purplish mush. Only later we realised that the tumour tissue was necrotic — dying.”

Mr Brock discovered he was partially paralysed during a follow-up appointment with a pain specialist. He explained: “It affects my digestive system and my ability to stand and walk.”

He is expected to make a full recovery, but progress is slow and Mr Brock said it will be months before he regains full mobility. Mr Brock said: “Recovery can take upwards of a year. In the meantime, it brings walkers and wheelchairs into my life and having to learn how to walk all over again.”