A Survival Story: Healing Cancer from Within

At the end of my senior year in high school, my Mom was diagnosed with stage-three melanoma. She has since fully recovered by using alternative methods of treatment. Because the conventional medicine was not working effectively (it actually seemed to be doing more harm than good), my Mom sought out other treatment options. She learned about the impact that environmental toxins and nutrition have on cancer, and she completely changed her diet. Her experience was a turning point that caused me to begin changing my diet and lifestyle, which is still evolving as I continue to research and learn. Below, my Mom shares her story. She shares her experience, followed by some advice for anyone who is currently dealing with cancer. The following is in her own words:

grandma, me, and mom


I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma almost 6 years ago when I was 43 and was told that I had a “50% chance of being alive in 5 years, beyond 5 years there were no statistics”.  I was given only two treatment options each carrying a 10% chance of helping.  The first suggestion was to undergo surgery to remove “as many lymph nodes as possible” from the affected area.  This made no sense to me upon investigation…our lymph nodes are a key part of our immune system-why would I want to deal my immune system a lethal blow right when I needed it the most?  And there are usually life long debilitating and painful consequences from large scale lymph node removal.  I declined that option.

The second suggestion was that I take an artificial medication that was “chemically just like a key component of my immune system”…it would be “boosting my body’s ability to fight off the cancer on it’s own”.  The side effects were expected to be severe but only temporary.  I was assured that the medication “would not harm my body, it would just cause severe flu-like symptoms” This made sense to me and I went ahead with the four weeks (5 days a week) of IV treatments to administer the medication and several months of giving myself shots in the stomach twice a week, before I reconsidered.  There was a 10% chance the treatment would work and only if I completed the year long regimen. 
I reacted rather severely to the medication during the first week of IV treatments and my dose was lowered when I almost passed out.  I did not find out until I was coherent enough to ask the nurse a few questions toward the end of my month of IV treatments, that I had been given a tenth of the usual dose the preceding three weeks…so, if I stuck with the severe flu symptoms for another 11 months I had a whopping 1% chance that it would benefit me!…since I had a wonderful insurance plan that had graciously paid $50,000 for the first month’s treatments alone, and I was determined to beat this thing, I pressed on to phase II and learned to inject my stomach with the medication at home.  I was exhausted and in pain several days a week for the next three months and developed some more concerning symptoms… open, bleeding and itchy sores over most of my body that put me at risk for infection, my teeth started chipping, and my finger and toenails started breaking off (I could survive without nails and teeth but were my bones being weakened also?-that could be a problem!).  Continuing eight more months didn’t seem the healthiest approach, I stopped the shots.  
I wanted to identify what might be causing the itchy rash and asked my doctor at the next oncology visit what exactly was in the medication I was receiving.  I knew I was getting Interferon (the synthetic version of a chemical also produced naturally by my immune system) but what were the delivery agents or other ingredients in the medication??  I had confidence in my oncologist because he was THE top melanoma specialist  in my large metropolitan area (Cincinnati) and had national and international ties to numerous melanoma researchers. However, his response caught me off guard… “Hmmm…that’s an excellent question, no one has ever asked that!…I’ll have to track down the drug rep. and find out!”.  I had already called the pharmaceutical company in an attempt to get the information and was transferred from one person to another and was finally told in a suspicious tone that I would have to get that information from my doctor. 
The fact that my doctor had no clue what was actually in the medication I was receiving and hadn’t thought to ask himself that when my rash began intensifying was concerning enough for me to decide to stop the medication right away.  I also decided not to undergo the next round of body scans that had been ordered because of concerns that the radiation exposure might further weaken my system.  When I had an initial MRI with contrast I had been handed a little card AFTERWARD by the technician with some instructions.  This card indicated that I should stay away from public areas and crowds of people for the next 24 hours.  Upon questioning him it was explained to me that I would be a risk to OTHERS for the next day or so because I was radioactive.  Okay, so this definitely wasn’t a risk to my OWN body-right!!??  I had had no idea what I was subjecting myself to.  Sometime later my father called to tell me a story of his friends experience.  They were traveling to Canada for a vacation.  The couple was detained at the border and questioned in separate rooms while their car was inspected.  The couple was informed that the border agents had been following them on a scanner for the past 2 miles as they approached customs because their car was showing up as being radioactive.  When it was disclosed that the woman had had an MRI TWO WEEKS earlier the border agents dismissed their concerns and released the couple!
At my next oncology visit (and my last to date, it has been five years) I informed my doctor that I had cancelled the x-rays and MRI he’d ordered due to concerns about radiation exposure.  He smiled and said “That’s not a problem, ordering them is standard practice but there are actually two schools of thought on the issue and there is no proof that it is even an effective way of monitoring your type of cancer”.  So I had almost subjected myself to another potentially lethal dose of radiation just because it was “standard medical practice”-not because there was any proof that it could actually help me!!??  I can accept that a doctor would follow “standard medical practice” faithfully regardless of his own opinions simply to avoid malpractice lawsuits but how did such a dangerous procedure become standard medical practice for my situation in the first place?  That was a no brainer, I had asked the MRI technician during my first MRI how much the insurance company was going to have to pay for the scan…his response was “With your insurance, probably around a thousand dollars in the end but they will bill it for two or three thousand, but sometimes we charge as much as $10,000 for the scans, it just depends on who is paying for it”.  More evidence for the logic in pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers having a hand in writing med school textbooks!
So nine months after my diagnosis I was on my own to restore myself to good heath.  I had begun reading about alternative treatments for cancer soon after my diagnosis and had consulted with one well  recommended naturopathic doctor, at my own expense, prior to starting the treatments through my oncologist.  I had already begun to change my eating habits, eliminating dairy products and progressing toward a vegan diet.  I had also given consideration to emotional stresses in my life and other factors with a potentially negative impact on my immune system.  To this day I have continued reading and making changes toward the healthiest possible lifestyle.  I am now 49 and feel great.  I am not in any pain, I have more energy than I did in my 30’s and I am not depressed.  Depression was something I had struggled with for most of my life until my diagnosis.  With the exception of the depression I had always been in overall good health prior to my diagnosis.  My weight had always been average, around 140 for my 5′ 5″ frame, my vegan diet has not caused any significant weight loss-I usually weigh about 135 now.  My diet changes have been quite significant however.  Prior to my diagnosis I very rarely ate vegetables and if I did they were well cooked and smothered with sauce, I also rarely ate fruit.  I lived on breads, crackers and dairy products, occasionally meats or beans and a fair amount of sugar.  I typically drank 1/2 a gallon of cow’s milk a day.  From the start the cancer research I read about indicated that my old diet was very supportive of a compromised immune system and the growth of cancer. 

The six points below may be hard to swallow but I have come to know they are true.  I am actually very grateful for my experience with cancer, for giving me these insights.  I am in a much better place myself as a result and in a much better position to help others facing similar challenges.  My family was EXTREMELY supportive through my own challenges so I learned first-hand how it feels to receive help when facing a crisis and I am grateful for opportunities to offer such help to others.

Having been given a cancer diagnosis myself almost 6 years ago,  I have some advice for others who find themselves fighting cancer.   

1.  Everyone has cancer.
  Cancer naturally develops in our bodies when we are exposed to triggers.  If our bodies are nourished properly to support a healthy immune system and we minimize our exposure to possible triggers we will often be able to stop the spread of cancer and destroy existing tumors without the uncomfortable, harmful or even deadly side effects of conventional cancer treatments.

2.  The causes of cancer, or triggers, are numerous and varied. 
 Poor diet is almost always a factor in any cancer diagnosis. Other triggers include the following: environmental toxins (household chemicals, electro-magnetic fields, air pollution, contaminated drinking water, radiation, etc.), emotional stress (troubled personal relationships, depression, chronic anger, lack of forgiveness toward self or others, excessive stress in daily lifestyle, negative attitudes, etc.), physical inactivitypoor sleeping habits, obesitypre-existing medical conditionsmedications, etc.

  Do not passively follow your physician’s lead. Instead research your specific type and stage of cancer and read everything you can find about both conventional and alternative treatments.  You need to clearly understand your options, the side effects, the costs involved and the odds that any given treatment is likely to yield results. However, you must consider your sources carefully.  Don’t allow yourself to accept information from pharmaceutical companies at face value.  Their pamphlets are not objective or completely truthful-they have a product to promote and profits are their bottom line.  Don’t blindly accept information from The American Cancer Society, the FDA, the American Medical Association, or any other mainstream organization involved with treating cancer.  Despite outward appearances, these organizations do not exist to serve and protect us but rather to protect and generate corporate profits.  And, unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry is involved with writing medical school textbooks, so mainstream medical doctors are not necessarily going to give advice that is in your best interest either.

 The typical western diet is causing our bodies to be dysfunctional in every way imaginable.  We must look beyond what is readily available and advertised to find the foods that would best nourish our bodies.  In most cases, eating whole unprocessed food, is far more effective than taking vitamins or supplements.

5. Our “democratic” government has been hijacked by corporate interests to the extent that known toxins and harmful foods and medicines are allowed 
to remain on the market and are actively promoted.  At the same time, some effective and safe natural remedies have been banned by the FDA to protect corporate profits.
6. Food labels can be very deceptive.
  Many harmful ingredients in our foods are not required to be listed on the labels at all or are listed in misleading ways.  For example, MSG can now be listed as “natural flavoring” on food labels!  Vitamin and Supplement manufacturers are not even regulated, their product labels may bear little resemblance to what is actually inside the bottles.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Recommended Readings: Books on Alternative Health | the colorful cucumber

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