When I learned in 1972 that I had cancer of the breast, groin, stomach, pancreas, and liver, I immediately started to research the physical causes of the disease. But—since I maintain that most illnesses stem from psychological sources—the emotional causes concerned me even more.
I also knew that the effects of nutrition on cancer would be of prime importance to me since I had—20 years earlier—used nutrition therapy as a self-cure for an extreme case of hemorrhaging and edema.
In fact, I've never believed in the treatment of symptoms instead of causes, and I had decided years before that—if I ever had cancer—I would not submit to the brutal surgical, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments I had watched a close friend endure.
My friend had first gone through a complete mastectomy, then had both of her healthy ovaries removed to prevent the production of female hormones. She suffered through a long series of cobalt treatments and became horribly ill from the side effects of chemotherapy, only to eventually die of lung cancer. If at all possible, I wanted a natural cancer cure.
The Cancer Personality
When I had to face my own illness, I finally
acknowledged that I fell into a category known as "the
cancer personality." I had first heard of this "type" of
person through Dr. O. Carl Simonton, a young radiologist
from Fort Worth, Texas.
Dr. Simonton wanted to help cancer patients with something more than radiation, and he developed a biofeedback system that employs the power of the mind to change the body's processes. (Biofeedback works. It is widely used in many applications today.) But, when the doctor taught this technique to his patients, he discovered that it also put them in direct contact with feelings that had been repressed for years, and that the cancer victims who faced and worked out these negative emotions were the ones who eventually recovered. With that knowledge, the radiologist began to prescribe private and group psychotherapy for his patients.
There are (according to Dr. Simonton) three main attributes of the cancer personality: First, the person has a poor self-image—his or her identity is bound up in seeking the approval of others. Second, the typical cancer victim—even before the onset of disease—feels sorry for him-or herself, because that person is apt to be living in latent despair. And, finally, the "cancer type" is unable to forgive and forget, and is, therefore, unlikely to have long-term successful relationships.
The theory is that there's a core of helplessness and hopelessness at the center of every cancer personality. And all of these subconscious, negative feelings have to be discovered, dissipated, and reprogrammed into positive feelings of self-worth, into the ability to laugh at oneself and one's predicaments, and into learning to love—despite weaknesses and mistakes—both oneself and others.
Experts in the field—including the late Dr. Gotthard Booth, a New York City psychiatrist—believe that "overcoming cancer is overcoming despair." Dr. Booth's research showed that a cancer-prone person often experiences this latent anguish because of a childhood devoid of a nurturing relationship with one or both parents. The person never learned to trust, and—consequently—developed a personality that felt secure only when in control of life's situations. When such a man or woman loses control of a main goal (whether that goal involves spouse, child, or career), all the buried despair and helplessness rise to the surface and the cancer process begins.
Helplessness to Self-Confidence
The more I studied the cancer personality, the more I identified with it. And, within six weeks of the discovery of my illness, I finally tapped the core of my personal problem and was completely inundated by waves of overwhelming helplessness. I realized then that I had felt this way all of my life, but that—like many other cancer personalities—I'd covered these emotions with a great show of self-sufficiency. If I hadn't repressed such feelings, I probably wouldn't have been able to get out of bed in the morning much less cope with life.
It took a lot of hard work to reprogram my emotions. I spent 10 to 15 minutes three times a day telling myself that I was no longer a child at the mercy of sick, neurotic parents, that I was an adult now and capable of taking care of myself. I even made a cassette tape, on which I said things like: "You can do anything you want to do, you are strong, you are intelligent" etc, and listened to it every day.
The therapy which enabled me to uncover the blocked emotions is called "Psychosynthesis." The treatment has many techniques not only to put patients in touch with their repressed feelings, but also to reprogram those feelings and restructure and integrate the personality. And, from the time I made my "breakthrough," I've progressed rapidly in emotional health.
I also used biofeedback for almost a year as a means to reactivate my immune mechanism. Space doesn't permit a detailed discussion of that technique except to describe what I did three times every day:
First, I would picture—with my creative imagination—a light in the form of white, bullet-like radiation going to the cancer sites and killing the cancer cells. Then, I would "see" the white corpuscles rush over, pick up the dead cancer cells, and carry them out of the body through the waste system—just the way the immune mechanism is supposed to work (but doesn't) in the cancer patient.
Detoxification With Diet
Meanwhile, for my physical treatment, I was led to a book by Dr. William D. Kelley called One Answer to Cancer (available for $3.25 postpaid from the International Association of Cancer Victims). This volume taught me that the first thing I had to do was detoxify my body in order to get rid of the poisons that had accumulated for years while I ate the wrong foods. (In addition, the cancer itself throws a lot of toxins into the bloodstream.) I eliminated these poisons with juices, fasting, coffee enemas, saunas, deep breathing, massage, and exercise.
I became a vegetarian and swore off meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products with the exception of yogurt. In addition, I stopped eating all processed and refined foods, and I also cut out caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, soft drinks, white sugar, white flour, and any products made with the last two items.
Since cooking destroys the enzymes which we need so badly, I ate mostly raw food, and drank gallons of fruit and vegetable juices. I ate apricot kernels, too, because they contain B-17 (also known as laetrile or amygdalin), which has been shown to help cancer patients.
A typical day's physical regimen went like this.
Early morning : one teaspoon of chia seeds which had been soaked overnight in fresh grape juice. (These seeds were a staple of the Aztecs and are still popular in Mexico and the American Southwest.)
Breakfast (30 minutes later): raw cereal made of a combination of wheat berries, buckwheat, rye, barley, oat groats, millet, sesame, brown rice, flax, corn, alfalfa, lentils, mung beans, and almonds (I would grind three or four tablespoons of this mixture, soak it in water overnight, and add raisins or date sugar for flavor, but no milk). My breakfast also included 16 apricot kernels, 16 almonds, and one tablespoon of acidophilus.
After breakfast : coffee enema.
Mid-morning : the juice of two oranges, one grapefruit, and one lemon in an equal amount of water.
Before lunch : swim at the club, sauna twice weekly, sunbathe when possible.
Lunch : fruit salad and yogurt with ground sesame seeds and more almonds.
Afternoon : one quart of carrot juice and one pint of celery juice.
Dinner : green salad with sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds, and whole grain toast spread with sesame-seed butter.
My food supplements—which were the same for all three
meals—included two hydrochloric acid tablets, two
capsules of chelated minerals, two potassium tablets, three
kelp tablets, and 400 units of vitamin E before each meal.
Then after each meal I'd take 1,000 mg. of vitamin C,
20,000 mg. of vitamin A, 800 mg. of vitamin D, one
high-potency vitamin B capsule, six predigested protein
tablets, two pancreatin (pancreatic enzymes) tablets, and
six dessicated liver tablets. (I became quite expert at
swallowing up to 10 pills at a gulp!) I also took two
comfrey-pepsin tablets between meals—an herb mixture
which Dr. Kelley says clears the mucus out of the small
intestine—and extra pancreatin tablets in
midafternoon and between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. so they
could attack the cancer when there was no protein to be
I purchased a vegetable juicer, so I could have my nectar fresh, and—in between juices—I drank herb teas such as chaparral and red clover.
As you can see, my diet was almost totally raw. For some ideas and inspiration I bought Raw Vegetable Juices by N.W. Walker (O'Sullivan, Woodside & Co.) and John H. Tobe's "No-Cook" Book (The Provoker Press), plus a couple other vegetarian cookbooks.
After the first 30 days on my diet, I cut the daily coffee enemas down to twice weekly, and—after nine months—I felt so good that I eliminated most of the food supplements. Now, I only take vitamins C, E, B, A, and D.
When I had been on this regimen for several months and most of my symptoms had disappeared, I went to see a nutrition doctor and had some tests run. They showed that—even though my blood was still in a toxic condition—I was completely free of any malignancy.
That didn't really surprise me, for I had learned in my research that—if you have 50"% use of your vital organs—you can recover from cancer. And, according to Dr. Max Gerson and other cancer experts, it's a fairly simple matter to get rid of a malignancy. However, it takes time, hard work, and lots of discipline to build the body back to health and to reactivate the immune system.
The Lessons of Cancer
I'm actually grateful that I had this deadly disease, because of the tremendous changes it made in my life.
First of all, I feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally than I have ever felt before. When I got rid of that core of helplessness, I found it possible (at age 55) to launch a career in writing, lecturing, teaching, and private counseling in Psychenutrition, a wholistic approach that combines therapy for the body, mind, and spirit. And I now feel so physically vibrant that I go to the beach every day, jog a mile, and then swim in the ocean—summer and winter.
I've also discovered that many folks have healed their cancer and other killer diseases through nutrition and various unorthodox methods. And, that there are dedicated, courageous doctors, professionals, and laymen who work hard to get this information to the public.
There are also organizations that aid people with cancer, and these groups led me to the books that helped me. The International Association of Cancer Victims, for example, has been working with cancer patients for 14 years and has a tremendous bibliography of information. The Association also provides referrals to doctors who treat cancer by natural methods . . . instead of the "usual" surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
And, finally, the main thing that I've learned is that I'm responsible for my health. (Good health is so simple really, if you take the responsibility and do a little research.)
Today, I put nothing but pure and nutritious food into my body and mind, because—to add a little of my own to the famous quotation—"As a man thinks and eats ...so is he".