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In February of 1994, I had a mammogram. I was surprised when the radiology department of my HMO flew into a panic. Hysterical hospital personnel left "URGENT!" messages for me at work. The calls terrified me, and I knew that if I did have cancer, fear could only make matters worse. The calls also enraged me, as they violated my privacy, so I fired my HMO.

Under a new HMO, I selected a holistically-oriented physician. When the lump on my breast had grown alarmingly two months after the mammogram, he recommended a lump biopsy. It disturbed me that he offered no alternative. But he had all the right credentials and said that the procedure was simple and virtually painless, so I decided to trust his judgment. We selected a surgeon and I made an appointment.

Things did not go well. Six hours after the surgery, I was in tremendous pain. The incision had filled with blood, causing a hematoma. A few days after the biopsy, the surgeon told me over the telephone that the biopsy revealed the presence of cancer. He recommended more surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. He also told me that there was no way to relieve the pain from the hematoma, and guessed correctly that it would last for several months. He was actually surprised that all this bad news upset me, so I fired him.

My physician tentatively recommended more surgery, combined with radiation. This time, I decided not to follow his advice.

I felt as though my nightmares, of which there were many, had overflowed into waking life. My holistic physician, two surgeons, an acupuncturist and herbalist, my friends, casual acquaintances, and my family were unanimous in the opinion that surgery, radiation and chemotherapy were my only options. At one point, I seriously considered a mastectomy. Then in a dream, I saw the dark figure of a human form with little bits and pieces of its flesh lopped away. Awakening from this dream, I realized that if cutting, burning or poisoning my body were the only ways to deal with my predicament, then life just may not be worth living. I was shocked to discover that death was beginning to look appealing, and this discovery woke me up.

Convinced that there must me another way, I arranged to visit a friend of 30 years who now lives in Ukiah, California. After a few hours with her, I felt like ME again, instead of a cancerous breast. She inspired me to hope, laugh, and choose to live. She reminded me that there really are alternative to conventional western medicine.

Soon after that, I told a new friend about my condition and she invited me to a meeting of the Gerson network. There are people follow the Gerson therapy that were diagnosed as "terminal" as much as 30 years ago. Other approaches work, too. One of my business contacts in Napa, California was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 6 months to live. He quit his job, and spent what he thought were to be the last 6 months of his life helping his wife open an antique store. A year later, he was still alive, got a job, and became deeply involved in his work. That was 14 years ago!

After hearing the stories of these wonderful people and realizing that my life may not be over after all, I shared my excitement with my physician. He responded that none of the options I was so excited about really works, so I fired him. Two months later, I dropped my insurance, both because I could no longer afford it, and because it was of no further use to me. Currently, I am treating my condition with a modified Gerson therapy, combined with herbal supplements and mental training.

1) Deal with the Basics

Don't take the chance of adding more chemicals and toxins to your body. Eat only organic foods. If you eat flesh and/or dairy products, make sure they are free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Drink only filtered or distilled water. Store food and water in glass, not plastic. Use only non-toxic household cleansers and pest control products, and cosmetics that are free of chemicals. You can do this, with the help of your local natural foods market.

2) Be Honest, Be Selfish

For every relationship, encounter, TV or radio program, piece of music, situation, thought, and feeling, pose the question, "Is this contributing to my healing?" If the answer is no, let it go.

3) Transform Fear and Think Positive
Max Gerson wrote, "More people die of fear than of cancer." Dr. Bernie Siegel also speaks often and eloquently of the devastating effects of fear. When fears assail you, use whatever method you can to move quickly to a place of peace and confidence. Turn to friends or family for comfort. Trust that God, or Goddess, or the Higher Power, has everything under control. Read, read, read, and listen to inspirational audiotapes. Anything by Louise Hay, Dr. Bernie Siegel and Norman Vincent Peale, and Teach Only Love, by Gerald Jampolsky and Wellness Workbook by Travis and Ryan.

Be aware of your dreams as well. Dream imagery reflects our deepest beliefs, and we tend to get what we deeply believe. If you have negative dream imagery, take the time to change it through writing, artwork or visualization.

4) Establish a Support System
Comparing notes with those who face similar challenges can help you avoid their mistakes and reassure you when your "alarming symptoms" are actually a healing response.

The more honest and open you are with friends and family members, the more they will be able to help you. I knew that I had good friends, but until I shared this challenge with them, I had no idea how good they really were.

Someone wrote, "We are all dying. It's just that some of us are dying faster than others."

I don't know if the treatment program I am following will allow me to live longer or cause me to die sooner. Of course I want to live, but for me, that is not the most important point. That's hard for many of the people who care about me to understand. But more than anything else, I want to deepen my trust in process---the kind of trust that's reflected in a line from Desiderata: Ò"Éand whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

I am only one cell in the body of Gaia, and I don't know how I figure in the overall plan. I do know that the dis-ease in my body has volumes to teach me about believing in myself, claiming my power and authority, looking terror squarely in the face, and relating fully to other people. That doesn't mean that I want to keep this dis-ease around. I intend to get rid of it, by listening closely to what it's telling me about my life--and changing. If I can pull that off, whether I live to be only 51, or reach 85 or 90, won't matter so much. At least I will have lived.

Shop Books & CD's related to Alternative Healing

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Do Alternative Cancer Treatments Really Work?
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Cancer, Diet and Macrobiotics
Detoxification and The Detox Diet: An Important Healing Process

Avoiding Cancer the Natural Way


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