Kalima* (pseudonym) is a Radical Remission survivor of stage 3 breast cancer. Diagnosed at age 57, she made the personal decision not to use conventional medicine, but rather first to try healing her cancer using other methods. Today, she currently has no evidence of cancer.
Here is her story, in her own words:
“I had mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsy, MRI, and later, a PET scan. The mammograms showed nothing, apparently. They called me back because of the architectural distortion (physical distortions of my breast, and I had been pretty certain for months that I must have breast cancer) and I then had a “suspicious” ultrasound that resulted in a an in-office needle biopsy with further ultrasounds, that showed the “darkness” that corresponded with the original lumpy area, including lymph nodes under my left arm. Mammograms were not at all helpful, though the cancer was fairly large at that point. I refused all medical treatments ultimately, though I had initially planned to have the total mastectomy with lymph node removal recommended. In the end, I was fairly certain that the surgery would just spread my cancer, and refused that also.
After my biopsy, I went to my library and took out books. (I continue to read about cancer, especially hopeful books like Radical Remission.) My diet changes mean I balance omega-6 and omega-3 oils (I take high-grade fish oil and avoid all vegetable oils except olive oil), I avoid gluten 100%, keep all sugar intake as low as I can stand it (no corn syrup sources), and avoid latex proteins in foods (you’ll have to look it up). I eat all organic at home, and no GMOs! I try to get an hour walk in everyday or do yoga, I meditate, take occasional energy work, take Inositol & IP-6 and much more.
Perhaps anger had something to do with my choice to avoid all medical treatment, and even though I was to have a total mastectomy with lymph nodes removed, the fact that the cancer was already spreading in my lymph system made me think the surgery would only spread the cancer cells throughout my body. Given the extent of the surgery, I would then be in an inflamed state as I healed for a long period of time, and that gives the cancer plenty of time to take root and grow, as it loves an inflamed state.
I think my attitude helped me, and I had to be tough because a couple of my family members fell apart for awhile, so I never cried, and instead dug in my heels, felt as if this was another problem to solve, another battle to fight, the way you might approach any difficult situation. I studied books, I was already connected to my food co-op (a good place to connect with others who are investigating ways to handle health issues through diet), and I found a doctor who was famous for keeping people alive even in 4th stage cancer who was willing to treat me even though he didn’t like my avoidance of AMA medicine. He uses blood work to measure inflammation markers (and other things, such as whether or not you’re getting gluten inadvertently) and adjusts the supplement regimen — Dr. Glen Aukerman.
I realized stress was a big big factor, and I was lucky that my husband was able to support the family as I tried to get regular exercise and meditation into my life. I joined a sangha and meditation group that was led by one of my church friends (you can be a Buddhist in my church). I would never be able to keep up the meditation without a regular group, and these people are becoming my community now. I was very lucky also in my husband, who supported all of my decisions absolutely, although he was frightened. My daughter was in high school and also supportive. My son was terrified: we had to stop homeschooling him (he had asked to be homeschooled when the local school was punitive toward his ADD issues), and at first he wouldn’t even let me talk to him. He literally ran away whenever I tried to explain about the cancer. (He was 12.) I tried to make it sound hopeful.
I had to make my recovery the primary focus of every day, and I wasn’t always successful. I just keep resetting priorities as I can. Now that I’m six years out, people take it for granted that I’m “cured,” but the cancer has come and gone according to how well I do all the things that help me. The diet is hard: the sugar is my biggest nemesis. I’m not supposed to eat so many foods, that I fall off the wagon quite a lot lately. (I get my advice from two different practitioners, but that sugar is my nemesis is a consensus in the “alternate” cancer community, and that means all breads, even the nongluten ones, potatoes — all high glycemic foods.)
When I told my surgeon (who didn’t do surgery) of my decision, I asked her to follow my progress, and she kindly agreed for awhile, though she was angry later. She learned that I attend a weekly cancer support group and make no secret of my treatment choices. (“What do you want me to do? Make up a chemotherapy story?” “No,” she replied. “Why do you go to that group at all?” “Because I have cancer?” I replied, I admit with some sarcasm as she had kind of attacked me the minute I came in the room. (She sees several of the people in the group, and one of them told her of how I’m truthful about avoiding AMA treatment.) She then yelled at me that I was going to get people killed. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to tell her that I thought she was: she herself eats very close to the way I do, and has said that inflammation is the root of perhaps all autoimmune disease. I also know when she is asked if she knows anyone pursuing all-natural treatments, she says no. At six years out, I think I’m worth mentioning. I am told she could lose her license if she were to say this. But enough about standard medical care. You can tell I think it is extremely wrong-headed to ignore those of us who have taken a different path successfully. I find doctors to be deliberately blind about the alternative world, resentful rather than wanting to learn anything.
The walks I take in the woods are important: that’s where I feel the best. I love to cook, so luckily I have total control over what I eat, though I cheat and eat out sometimes now that I’m better. Within three months, my cancer was palpably much reduced: my “surgeon” said, ” I am amazed. I did not know just diet and supplements could do this.” I tried to say it was much more than that — stress had been a big factor. At this visit, I had my husband with me, and they chatted amicably as he is somewhat well-known in certain circles. I wish I had taken him with me on the day of the blow-up. But anyway, she wanted me to see an oncologist, very well-thought of locally. So I did, and that doctor implied mightily that I would be dead in a year, and tried to convince me of the error of my ways. I did get the PET scan she wanted me to: it came out clean, but I understood that that meant only that my cancer was quiescent. I knew it was not gone. Her office called me a few times: I sat there and listened to them leave a message. I’d knew I’d never go back: I considered her attitude toward the absurdity of my choices to be toxic. I’m so surprised none of the doctors want to ask me in detail what I’m doing. I’m especially shocked to know that they want me to keep my mouth shut.
You can tell I haven’t conquered my anger demons, but I keep working on it. I credit the books and practices of Thich Nhat Hanh (a good start is The Miracle of Mindfullness) with helping me in the attempt, as well as many others: Jack Kornfield, Sylvia Boorstein, and many more.) I took on a high stress job for a couple of years in management of a business I really loved, but had to leave it when the stress was clearly bringing my cancer back.
I take a lot of supplements. Our food is a lot less nutritious than it used to be, and some things I take, I take because of the anti-cancer effects, like Inositol and IP-6. I take enzymes (Wobenzym) with that on an empty stomach, and my routine includes 7 Keto-DHEA, B vitamins, magnesium and calcium, green tea extract, curcumin with piperine, cinnamon when I eat, silymarin, and many more. I worry about frightening people off with my regimen. I know folks think I’m a nut when they realize how much I take. It comes from my reading, like my Natural Cures for Cancer book, which lists the supplements that have actually been studied for their beneficial effects either here or in other countries.
Enough. You can see I’m always working on it. I’ll never be an enlightened person — I can only keep working on it, being a better human being. I just keep trying, and a lot of days I backslide. I just get up and do it again. In the end, that is a much more worthy goal than just trying to keep myself alive.
[Regarding what may cause cancer], I think the reason America has such a high cancer rate is our disconnection with nature, stress levels, and our diet: prepared foods (anything you are not cooking from scratch, but particularly foods that can sit on a shelf, like chips, crackers, donuts) are high in foods that make the body inflamed, and almost all diseases, especially the autoimmune ones like cancer, are caused by and grow in the cell-by-cell inflammation you don’t feel, but is pretty constant in Americans. I believe everyone should avoid GMOs, and since the big companies have been successful in preventing laws that would label these, you must eat organic food as much as you can to avoid them, because they can’t be in foods labeled organic.
For me, I believe my stress levels were the ultimate trigger: I had a job that I thought I would love, working in my church that has a great community of people. I’d attended for years, but when I began working there for a new minister and a new treasurer, things went badly pretty quickly. They were both very controlling people: one combined a warm personality with anger issues, and the other, my real boss, actually yelled at me and treated me with much disrespect. I held my tongue, puzzled, and thought it was nervousness at being new, perhaps. Mistake! The kinder I tried to be, the worse she got. I’m intelligent, hard-working, and highly educated, and it wasn’t my job performance. After some months, I stopped sleeping much, and realized I was walking around the church with my fists clenched. I’d taken years of martial arts, and realized I was in a fight-or-flight mode. I kept the job far too long because I’m stubborn, and kept thinking if I just did my job well things would work out, and I needed it, but finally the hostility led the minister to cut my hours and was moving my office to the opposite end of the building. So I quit. By then the “architectural distortion” was obvious. I could then no longer attend the church that had been my community for years — I left the battlefield. I think grief and stress caused my cancer, along with the toxic way most of us eat.”
Find Kalima’s Healing Profile HERE!
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