Personally Recommended Med-Pros

Surgical Oncologist:

Lise Walker, M.D.
Ste 130, 2525 West Greenway Road
Phoenix, AZ 85023-4233
(602) 942-8000 ‎

Why she is on the list:  I interviewed 1/2 dozen surgeons; and researched at least two dozen before choosing Lise Walker. All things being equal with the parred down 1/2 dozen, Lise was the only surgeon who had a dog-eared copy of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer. 

Lise Walker directed me to Bryan Gawley. Since he handles the aesthetic completion of things she follows his incision road-map to-the-tea to ensure a better result.

Post-Script (Sept 3, 2011): Lise Walker, has earned a black mark. With my recent diagnosis of metastases in my lymph node, she was adamant about the urgency of doing surgery as soon as possible. She wanted a bilateral breast MRI, however, to make sure there was nothing reactive going on with the right breast. After our "round #2" consultation, I asked when I should make my next appointment. She instructed me that she will call me once she had reviewed the MRI. The MRI results landed on her fax machine two weeks ago this past Friday. I have yet to hear from her. And, despite calls...I have not heard from her still...(Sept 19, 2011). I am going to give Lise the benefit of the doubt - she was not thrilled by any measure of having to do the "standard of care" recommended full axillary nodal dissection, and she acknowledged the lack of any true benefit to the surgery. As I shared with my medical oncologist, Lise Walker is very transparent. Her silence, therefore, I will attribute as passive/aggressive -- rude and cowardly --- but passive/aggressive.

Reconstructive Surgeon:  

Bryan Gawley, M.D.
8913 E. Bell Road
Suite 101B
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Tel: (480) 860-2173

Why he is on the list:  Bryan Gawley not only had the "credentials" and the recommendations, he always spent time with me - never made me feel like he needed to rush off. And, he enjoyed my interrogations and laughed at my under-appreciated humor. He even cracked up when I blurted out on our first meeting..."gawd, what are you, 12 years old? I am putting my ladies in the hands of Doogie Howzer???"

Medical Oncologist:  

Robin Obenchain
1875 West Frye Road
Chandler, AZ 85224-6184
(480) 855-5886 ‎

Why she is on my list:  Robin Obenchain is my third "official" onc. She is also the 7th that I had interviewed. She was the only one who genuinely, and without subterfuge or attempts at bullying, respects my decision to "do nothing" but monitor. She does not even raise chemo or radiation with me. Nor any form of synthetic drugs.

Post Script (Sept. 19, 2011): Did a sit-down with Robin on September 16. She totally blew me away with her support, knowledge...and dare I venture...enthusiasm over my choice of treatment over the next six months. "I like this plan." Her words. She was not the "agent of the grim reaper" as was the radiation oncologist - who, as founder, head and grande dame of Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists (ABCS), appeared. Major kuddos to Robin!

Naturopathic Cancer Physician (ALT):   

John Williamson, ND and Susan Williamson, ND
W. Clinic of Integrative Medicine
2034 E. Southern Avenue, Suite U
Tempe, AZ 85282
Phone: 480-525-3701

They are currently on TC-probation (brother/sister team): Dr. John reminds me a little of my Kato from Summer 2009, but looks at cancer and its proliferation as an environmental crisis. I like that. During my first intense vitamin C IV push -- which took 2 hours, he stayed with me throughout. Quietly, but attentive, to monitor my tolerance to a 75mg dose. Huge brownie points.

My bro/sis team are huge on being considerate. They are always exploring ways to help me through the nausea and shaking associated with the speed and level of dosage of the intense IV C therapy. They have started stocking Coconut Water and Mango lollipops.

Dr. Susan is very open -- led a "real" life before becoming an ND. Very knowledgeable without being pedantic and works collaboratively with her brother. During the aforementioned IV session, she sat with me when Dr. John was out of the room, and made sure he came back when she had to leave.

Dr. Susan and Dr. John have introduced Ozone Therapy into my protocol. Cool.

Dr. John even ate Lil Debbies before he became "informed."

Successfully completed probation - 2012: In 2011 I wrote the above regarding my new team of NDs. I am pleased to announce that Drs. John and Susan have passed the audition.

If I had gone forward with the uber-aggressive protocol that was being pressed upon me by traditional medical providers, I firmly believe that I would not be here now...3 years later.  Not only am I here, I have a quality of life that would have been the price tag of pursuing traditional medical protocol. So many of my fellow breast cancer sisters who did, have sacrificed their quality of life for the nebulous promise of a "cure." 

Two years later whe I was restaged with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. The medical team  who diagnosed my progression gave me little to no hope. They were putting me on the short-list.

My search for medical integrity and honesty was fulfilled when I found Dr. John Williamson and Dr. Susan Williamson.  I have no doubt that they have saved my life.  This is not hyperbole. Their combined knowledge, research acumen, and sincerity and commitment to their patients is undisputed. Through their alternative approaches, they have also fed my spirit during the process.  Drs. John and Susan had a base of knowledge that is well informed.  Even more importantly, if there was an issue or question that they had not confronted previously, they admitted that it could be an issue and thoroughly researched the problem - I have found this to be a rare quality in the medical field.  After three months under Drs. John and Susan's personalized care the metastic tumors disappeared. Traditional medical oncologists were speechless.  Drs. John and Susan designed a personal and effective program of care that has kept me cancer free and has never diminished my quality of life.  I cannot recommend them highly enough. 

The Breast Cancer Consultation Service

Michael D. Lagios, M.D. • (415) 789-0965
Why he is DEFINITELY on my list:  Lagios was singularly the voice of reason among the cacophony of breast cancer specialists. An excerpt of his CV below makes him sound medically "mainstream" (I use this adjective through gritting teeth) but he is not a slice, slash and burn specialist. He takes a measured approach, giving due consideration to the reality of the disease and the inadequacies that plague our treatment options. After consulting with three oncologists, compiling the results of my Oncotype DX tests, breast MRIs, biopsies, SNB results and pathology slides I sent them all to him. He reviewed and considered, and we consulted about the treatment options. Lagios nicely distilled, and bridged...if you will forgive the pun, the plethora of information I was juggling.

Lagios does in-person consults; as well as telephonic for those of us who could not afford the trip to the bay area.

...Dr. Michael D. Lagios, a nationally recognized breast pathologist and medical director of The Breast Cancer Consultation Service, provides the service and personally discusses the findings with you. He has directed this and similar services in San Francisco since 1980. He is an internationally recognized expert on duct carcinoma in situ and has written or co-authored much of the pertinent literature in this area over the last twenty years. He has been recognized by "Best Doctors in America" (1992-1993, 1994-1995), "Best Doctors, Pacific Region" (1995-1996), Best Doctors in America 1996 - present (, is an editor for Seminars in Breast Disease, and the Breast Journal, co-editor for Breast Diseases, a Yearbook Quarterly and reviews for Cancer, Breast Cancer Research Treatment, American Journal of Surgical Oncology, Human Pathology and others. He was president of the American Society for Breast Disease from 1998 to 1999 and was on their board of directors from 2000 to 2004. He is an associate clinical professor of pathology at Stanford Medical School.

Dr. Lagios is a San Francisco native and graduated from UCSF in 1965 and has been in private practice in that city since 1972.