Cancer – between facts and fiction

There isn’t any one of us who hasn’t had an encounter with cancer. Either by our own experience, or through some of our loved ones, we all suffered losses and pain due to cancer. This is the disease of the 21st Century, and all the experiences my family and friends had regarding cancer were part of my inspiration for my second novel, A French Kiss in London. In this novel I entwined facts with fiction, and I hope the readers who have a special interest in cancer found some very useful information.

My hero, Doctor Gerard Leon, has developed a treatment made from snake venom – that is fiction, at least partly. I don’t know if indeed there has been such a treatment developed in the medical world.

Gerard goes to Transylvania to his friend, Doctor Jean-Paul Battiste, who wants to share with him another innovative discovery. Here, the facts are as real as they get, and so is the story of Dumitru Calina, one of the most valuable researchers in the domain of cancer.

Here is an excerpt from A French Kiss in London, where Jean-Paul tells Gerard how Dumitru Calina has discovered and tested on himself the treatment against cancer using hellebore. I hope the information and research I’ve done to write this book will come in handy for readers all over the world, because this is much more than a romance story. It can be someone’s salvation.


“You just might be a genius, boy,” Jean-Paul told Gerard as he lighted yet another cigarette, studying the notes and reports in front of him.

Together, they had made the visits and routine check-ups of all patients, exchanging impressions and suggestions. Now, seated into Jean’s smoky office, they finally got down to discussing the reason that had brought the young couple to Romania.

“If you succeed in obtaining more positive results and document them, with this treatment you will revolutionize the entire medical world,” Jean went on, watching his friend from over the top of his eyeglasses. “It could be something fantastic!”

“I could say the same about your hellebore treatment,” replied Gerard, who sat on the other side of the desk, carefully reading the data from Jean’s file. “From what I see here, you’ve obtained more results than I, and not only regarding a single type of cancer. Do you realize how many people we could save with these papers, Jean?” he asked, his eyes sparkling with the passion and altruism that guided him during his whole life. “Thousands, maybe millions! Not to mention that your treatment is considerably less expensive than mine. You could grow huge plantations of hellebore. The Mojave rattlesnake’s venom isn’t that easy to get. So who’s the genius?” he exclaimed, elated for the first time in a long while, feeling the vital importance of their discoveries.

Jean-Paul took off his glasses and looked at him seriously.

“Gerard, don’t get too enthusiastic yet. I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but I’m not the one who invented or discovered this plant’s healing properties. Here, in Romania, there’s an old history about this. There was a famous case, of a Romanian lawyer. His name was Dumitru Calina. I’ve read his story in a magazine a few years back.”

Jean shifted in his chair, making himself more comfortable, then went on with his story.

“He had developed throat cancer from an untreated pharyngitis, and his entire skull had been infested with pus. No doctor gave him a chance. In the hospital, he met an old woman who told him he could try a treatment with hellebore, if he dared. Obviously, the man didn’t find anything more dangerous than death, which was imminent anyway, so he looked everywhere for this plant and for a formula on how to prepare it. Due to its high level of toxicity, hellebore can’t be found in drugstores. Eventually, he encountered some old people who told him where to find this root and how to prepare it properly. They warned him that they used this brew only for animals, in case of serious diseases. They didn’t know what effect it had on humans. So Dumitru Calina used himself as a guinea pig.”

Gerard rubbed his hand over his mouth, thinking about the length of that man’s despair. He didn’t know if he’d have the courage to do the same as Dumitru Calina, and he hoped never to find out.

He returned his attention to Jean, who continued his story.

“After countless experiments on his own body, he was declared healed, to the amazement of the entire medical world. Something that might have helped him more were the cobalt radiations. During the procedure he noticed that, because of his taking hellebore, his hair hadn’t fallen off like the other patients’.”

Gerard was listening carefully, completely fascinated by this impressive story of a man whose name he’d never heard before.

Jean took another drag from the almost forgotten cigarette, then resumed his story.

“Following this miracle, Dumitru Calina opened a practice in Iasi and developed a treatment with which he cured hundreds of cancer patients. But the Romanian government made things so difficult for him that he was forced to close his practice. The Americans, however, were smarter. They picked him up immediately. Now he’s at a private center of study from Louisiana, where they research this plant, with amazing results.”

“Well, why wasn’t this incredible treatment put into practice here in Romania?” asked Gerard intrigued, after a moment of silence.

Jean looked at him meaningfully, then extinguished the cigarette-butt with his long, tobacco-stained fingers.

“Why else? From the same reason the genius Burzynski met with such impediments after discovering antineoplastons. Worldwide conspiracy, mon cher. No human in this world has managed to defeat it. Pharmaceutical and food industries—the financial empires paved with so many dead bodies. Be careful, my friend. Know what you’ll have to face. There’s a huge price you’ll pay for your discovery and for the comfort you want to offer.”

Gerard curled his fists involuntarily, knowing how much truth there was in his friends’ words. He shook his head sadly.

“Jean, our oath as physicians will stand anywhere, anytime. No matter what happens, I won’t stop my research. There has to be a way for us to do our jobs peacefully, to save lives, to do our duty. And you,” he pointed his index finger to the other man, “I hope you haven’t resigned to this small clinic, to curing only a few patients, when there are millions of people out there who need these!” he said, lifting his hand and the papers he held.

The older man smiled wistfully and lighted another cigarette, then let out a long gust of breath, along with a cloud of smoke.

“I’m old now, my friend,” he said, simply. “I do what I can, and I will continue doing it until I die. Still, I don’t have the strength, nor the energy I had back in my youth. But you have the warrior spirit, the honor and motivation necessary to win such a battle. That’s why I called you here. Take it,” he said, indicating the file, which contained his life’s work. “I know you’ll make sure it won’t fall into dirty hands.”




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