Retired Nurse Finds Healing at Riordan Clinic After Cancer Diagnosis
By: Melody Spurney
Denise Ober was settling into an active retirement in early 2020 after a nearly 50-year career in nursing, but she felt that something wasn’t quite right.
The 69-year-old Wrentham, Massachusetts, resident found she was having trouble breathing during her regular bike rides. She had a family history of cancer, with both of her parents having died from lung cancer. Her concern proved to be accurate as she was diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery on Oct. 1, 2020, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston. Her diagnosis was a stage 1 lung adenocarcinoma, which fortunately had not spread to her lymph nodes.
While Ober got an “all clear” from her surgeon, she spent her recovery time asking questions. During that time she found a podcast by Dr. Lucas Tims, ND, FABNO, with the Riordan Clinic’s Overland Park clinic.
“I was really looking for a functional medicine doctor or a naturopath. Then I discovered they have naturopathic oncologists,” Ober said. “Something clicked when I listened to Dr. Lucas. I went, ‘Oh my goodness! I have to get in touch with him.’ Something hit me right through the heart. The way he spoke. He was full of hope and cause; it’s not blame and genes.”
Ober made a virtual appointment with him in November 2020. The two agreed on a care plan over the phone, and she arrived for her in-person appointment in April 2021.
“He just listened. He put everything together,” Ober said. “It was the most wonderful, phenomenal experience of my life.”
Despite having a supportive family in the Boston area, Ober decided to make the trip to Overland Park by herself.
“It’s something I needed to do on my own. It’s very empowering when you decide to do this. I was nervous as heck because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Ober said.
She stayed about three days, finalizing her treatment plan and trying to answer her underlying question of why she had gotten cancer in the first place. Her experience didn’t stop with Dr. Lucas. The entire Overland Park staff made a positive impression on her.
“I’ve never had someone listen so intently. This is really real. It resonated not just with him but all his team,” Ober said. “They showed so much compassion, hope, and humor.”
Her treatment at Riordan Clinic included IV vitamin C, ozone, saunas, and nutrition, in addition to lab tests. Her bloodwork showed strong indicators of metals, plastic, and mold. She began a detox regimen, began taking supplements, and connected with Dr. Lucas every few months.
“The healing journey began,” Ober said. “I had a team. I had the Riordan Clinic. It was my team.”
In April 2022 Ober’s scans showed no signs of cancer, and she shared with her traditional oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Clinic that she had also been seeing an integrative oncologist. She said Dr. Lucas was willing to work with both.
“He’s humble. He has a sense of humor. He gives you hope. Cancer isn’t just bad luck,” Ober said.
She said things might have turned out differently had she still been working. She never smoked but grew up near a paper mill, which may have contributed to environmental factors that eventually led to her cancer diagnosis.
“Always listen to your body. If I was still working, I would have assumed it would go away. Something inside me said, no go to the doctor,” Ober said.
Since her treatment at the Riordan Clinic, Ober said she has embraced several lifestyle changes including a gratitude journal, caring for herself, discontinuing the use of plastics, and splurging on a home sauna.
“What I’ve learned, too, in a very selfish way is that it’s okay to take care of yourself,” Ober said, which she added was something Dr. Lucas encouraged.
Her family and friends also got a rather unique Christmas gift.
“I gave air filters out to everyone for Christmas,” Ober said.
Ober was encouraged by her experience at the Riordan Clinic and wants to share the experience with acquaintances.
“I want to go to the mountaintops. I want everyone to know about the Riordan Clinic.”
She said the care she received by the Riordan staff was important and was impressed that they treated each person as an individual, not a disease.
“They listen to you. They gave you hope. It was caring. It was a very big emotional bonus,” Ober said. “We’re all unique. All our cancers are unique. That’s how Dr. Lucas treats us. We are all unique and special human beings.”
Ober has two daughters and three grandsons. She encourages anyone facing a significant diagnosis to be proactive about their health care.
“It’s like no matter when … sooner rather than later. It’s a gift to yourself. It’s the best thing you could ever do. Don’t give up any hope. By being stagnant, nothing is going to happen. Your body’s a gift from God, and you need to do something about it. And don’t be afraid. They are there for you,” Ober said.