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Chapter 6, First Letters to and from L.

27 September 2008

Dear L. and D.,

Hi! God bless you! How are you? Thanks for your reply to my email with the photos of my grandkids. I wanted to reply then, but that was shortly before I began my testing and I just didn’t get to it. You’re some of the few people I know who have some first-hand knowledge of this kind of challenge and the only one I know personally who recovered so fully from “hopeless case” status.

I’m sending you the (slightly edited) messages I sent to my folks about my news. I don’t want to overload you, but it seems like a convenient way to explain as I’ve already written it all once. Actually, I have many questions that a nutritionist could answer, but I haven’t been able to find one here. Can you recommend a nutritionist who would be willing to communicate via email or a website that might offer an opportunity for getting some feedback? Either way, I’d love to hear from you when you have the time.

Lots of love, Me

So, here are my email messages to my family: #1, #2,#3

(See Chapter 5, Sharing the News)

Reply from L.: Oct 1, 2008

Dear ______,

I have been away from my computer for several days and just now read your e-mail.

I’m sure you are feeling a terrible shock from your recent diagnosis; what always makes matters worse is that now you have to gather together all the information and decide on a course of action. We felt that our anxiety lessened once we decided how we were going to proceed and we could throw ourselves into our active pursuit of getting well.

I spent many months reading endless books on cancer and alternative treatments. D’s tumor (and almost half a lung were removed) and then he had chemo and radiation. I can understand your reluctance to consider the poison/burn routine and your use of herbal remedies to strengthen your liver. I hope you have someone who can give you good advice on these choices.

“The Cancer Battle Plan” gave us so much hope and also gave us the feeling that we could influence the outcome of this struggle. It seemed to pull together much of the information I found in many books and articles on alternative approaches to cancer and we just decided to plunge into its recommendations, even though it was extremely difficult.

We never found a nutritionist in our city who had any clue about this approach, so we decided to just craft our own diet. I am so sorry I do not have a nutritionist to recommend, but I would be very happy to try to answer any questions you might have, based on our own construction of the diet.

I am going to try to give you the broad outlines of what we did:

1. In the first two or three months, after chemo, radiation and surgery, D. drank about three glasses of freshly made juices each day. It is imperative to have a juicer or blender of some sort. The juices were primarily carrot, celery and broccoli, with a major emphasis on carrot.

I remember I was buying 25 pounds of carrots a week for those first few months. This was not a juice fast, however; he did eat other foods but not huge quantities of them.

2. He only drank distilled water (for the first three years)—no coffee, tea, soft drinks, or alcohol.

3. He only ate fruit when he got up in the morning, and not much of that initially. Cancer thrives on sugar or all kinds. He remembers eating a banana in the mornings, or occasionally an apple, but he waited several hours after eating the fruit before eating anything else. (It is the “Fit for Life” diet mentioned in “The Cancer Battle Plan.”)

4. I made lots of soups with vegetables (onions, cabbage,carrots, celery, ginger, bok choy, lemon juice) and usually added tofu to them for protein. He did not eat any animal protein for at least three years, and then added fish only. I am not sure you should eat tofu. It will be necessary to learn if your tumor is estrogen-sensitive. If it is, do not eat tofu or any soy products. You will have to get your protein from beans, seeds and nuts. He ate lots of salads with seeds and nuts. He did not eat many carbs (rice, potatoes, etc.)–just small amounts each day. He lost a lot of weight!

5. He had no sugar, no dairy, no oils but olive oil and flax seed oil.

We did not eat in restaurants for a very long time…

6. He took huge quantities of vitamins and supplements each day. I think it may be very difficult for you to find some of these things in Vietnam (like pancreatic enzymes). I remember he took about 18 grams of Vitamin C per day and I can’t remember all the others, but the “Cancer Battle Plan” lists them all and gives some recommended doses. He did not take shark cartilege, which I think is suggested in that book.

Coordinating this in Vietnam will be difficult, I think.

7. He did coffee enemas every day, I think, for many years. This is very time-consuming (about an hour and a half a day) and during that time, I think he read books for fun (on baseball!). Even now he continues to do enemas, but with distilled water, not tap water.

It has been fourteen years since his diagnosis, and of course, we can’t know what cured him, but I think this approach, though difficult, had a very big role to play.

Please write to me again and let me know how you are doing and what your course of action will be. I’d be so happy to think through the diet with you.

Love and good wishes,

L.

October 4, 2008

Dear L,

Thank you so much for your very helpful response to my news. Since I’ve continued with my usual schedule, what time I have left I often use for research and study. Because of my strong faith in Jesus, I don’t worry about the outcome, but have focused on doing all I can to get my body up to optimum health, so it can destroy this invader. So far, through trial and error and stumbling around a whole lot, I’m nearing the point of settling into a regimen I’m comfortable with–for now, anyway.

We’ve had a good juicer for a year and a half–since J’s first juice fast in years, last February. We often have carrot juice, but were mainly intent then on getting all the antioxidants we could, not knowing anything about food combining and my cancer. We’d heard about not eating fruit after meals, but hadn’t strictly adhered to the principle.

We have, however, been trying to get off most meat except fish for many months, but the lack of variety makes meal planning a bit difficult. Now, with the added incentive, no other meat enters our house. We have fresh fish or free-range chicken eggs (& I’m dropping both this week–starting today.) We’ve started buying more beans, but they might be causing us gas problems. We aren’t sure. We’ve bought seeds and nuts for me and I regularly blend flaxseed and mix it with my 2 meals daily. We can’t find flaxseed oil here, but we found flaxseed, so we’re using that. The article following my letter has some research at the end about using only flaxseed. (Will be posted soon.)

October 5, 2008

The above was written yesterday and now I’m sleepy and can’t remember most of the questions I wanted to ask you, except one or two. I should have written them down! Anyway, the first one is, do you know of anyone who followed this “Cancer Battle Plan” to success, who didn’t have surgery, radiation or chemotherapy? Or do you know anyone who went some other natural route from diagnosis of cancer to being cleared of it?

My second question is, did D. fast at all or did he only semi-fast for 2-3 months? What other foods did he eat at that time? Was that when he ate lots of soups and salads or was that later? How did he manage to take all the supplements, especially so much vitamin C? I open the capsules and dump the vit. C powder in my food so as not to ingest the colored gelatin capsules, but it’s so sour. Is that necessary? I have only found spirulina here, but will look again next week for the other supplements.

Oh yeah, my third question: was D. working at that time or had he just finished chemo and was very weak and sickly or what? I have no symptoms other than the lump. I’m healthy and strong, so I’m continuing with my life as before (or nearly.) I’ve tried to free my mornings from most everything as I may need to do the fast and the enemas. I still have plenty of other work to do in the mornings, but it seems like my schedule has to make room for this new development. It just seems odd to be so well!

OH great! I remembered another question: How do you know when there’s no more cancer? In my case, they did a biopsy to find it. Isn’t there a blood test or something to tell if there’s any cancer left in the body? Or do I have to have another biopsy done?

Sorry, I need to stop rather abruptly. I can hardly keep my eyes open. I’ll send this and if I think of more, I’ll write later. Thanks for your help and patience with me–I do have lots of questions and am so thankful that you talked about D’s cure and the book last summer. Otherwise I wouldn’t have heard about it!

OK. I’m off to bed.

Lots of love,

Me

Reply from L.: October 7, 2008

Dear  _____,

I was so very glad to hear from you again, as I was afraid that what I said in my previous e-mail might have been too overwhelming.

I think you have a wonderful attitude and it sounds like you are on your way to beginning this new diet and lifestyle.

To try to answer some of your questions: (1) Yes, I think beans can cause some gas problems. I think it helps if you soak the beans for 24 hours before you cook them. Also, I think your body gradually gets used to it. You can experiment with different beans as they may have different effects on you. I think lentils may be the easiest to digest. (Great lentil soup recipe: brown onions in a little oil; add lentils and vegetable broth; cook until tender. Add some diced cooked potatoes, spinach, and lemon juice and cook until blended.) It is indeed difficult to get much variety in this diet. That just about drove us nuts, but we began to look on food and meals in general as therapy and medicine, and that got us through it.

(2) We have told many people about the Cancer Battle Plan but most people have found it too difficult to follow, so I do not have too many success stories to report. I do not know anyone who just did the plan without surgery, chemo and radiation. I do know that a friend of my mother’s (who had ovarian cancer in a very advanced stage) did surgery and chemo and then tried the Cancer Battle Plan, and lived for about 10 years. My mother, who also had very advanced ovarian cancer, did surgery and chemo and did not do the Plan, and lived four years. My mother knew about the Cancer Battle Plan but found it too difficult.D. firmly believes that one must do all that medicine has to offer first and then do all the alternative therapies. At the very least, he believes that one must use surgery to get rid of the tumor. Without surgery and a determination of the type and stage of one’s tumor, it is very difficult to settle on a medical plan. It might be that chemo and radiation would not be necessary or very helpful. It is difficult to determine if all the cancer is gone if the original tumor is not removed. In D’s case, he had several C-T scans for several years following surgery (and chemo and radiation and diet) and now has chest x-rays every 4 years or so. There are some blood tests, but I think they just monitor liver function. If you still have the tumor in place, I don’t know how they could determine if you had cancer or not in the future; I would imagine you would need biopsies and maybe C-T scans. I think you need to discuss this with a doctor.

(3) D. never actually did just a juice fast. After his surgery in May, 1994 until the beginning of chemo in July, he drank freshly made juices, three or more times a day, and ate pasta and vegetables, maybe a few beans, and lost a lot of weight. His skin turned yellow/orange from the carrot juice. Once chemo began, he stopped the juices and just ate what he could tolerate (mostly pasta, vegetables and some salads). He did radiation at the same time (chemo once a week, radiation every day, for seven weeks). At the end of that time he was very weak, but all during that time, he went to work every day. There were some reasonable drugs that controlled nausea but he wasn’t very hungry. I think it really helped him to have work to do each day. After chemo and radiation were over, he just tried to get his strength slowly back–again eating rice, pasta, vegetables, soups and easy to digest stuff. When he began to feel better (6 or 8 weeks?), he once again began the juices (at least once a day–carrots, broccoli, kale primarily), fruit only in the morning in small quantities, lots of vegetables, soups, pasta, brown rice, beans–but with the main emphasis on vegetables. The main vegetables were broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onions, carrots, tomatoes, garlic. It was about this time that he started the coffee enemas.

(4) It was very difficult to take all the supplements. All four of us would gather around the table once a month and make piles of all the vitamins and supplements and put them in small plastic bags, so he would know what to take for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is able to swallow all that stuff but I think I would have had trouble. He did not open up any of the capsules–he just took them as they were.

(5) We learned about the Budwig plan after we were well into our therapy. We did add flax seed oil to our salad dressings, but did not mix it with cottage cheese as she suggested as we had read a lot about the mucus that dairy products produce and how some people think cancer thrives on mucus. I think I would want to try that plan now, however, since I know more about it. The main problem with flax seed oil is that it very rapidly becomes rancid and may actually damage your health. One needs a good source and good refrigeration.I think you might be better off doing what you are doing–grinding your flax seeds and mixing them with your food. If you don’t grind the flax seeds, you get the great laxative value of them but not the great oil value. I think the rest of the Budwig diet is very similar to the Cancer Battle Plan diet.

A friend of mine just told me about a new book today. It is by David Servan-Schreiber, a doctor who used to be the head of the Center for Alternative Medicine in Pittsburgh. He was a former student of D’s when D. was at CMU.Servan-Schreiber was diagnosed with a brain tumor and this book is evidently his story about his own cancer plan. I know he did all the medical things first and then experimented with many other options which were not available to us when D. had his cancer. I am going to try to get this book, read it and send information to you about it.

A final note. I decided that not everyone in our household had to eat D’s diet, even though it would have been easier not to be fixing four different meals every night for dinner. However, that is what I did initially. I ate as much of his diet as I could (not so many juices, more carbs, and fish and chicken on occasion). B. embraced his diet from the beginning, gave up all animal proteins, but had to eat more carbs than he did because she was playing lots of sports. E. was appalled that we all gave up meat loaf (one of her favorites) and even wrote a college essay about the farewell to meatloaf meal we celebrated one night. She continued to eat chicken, pork, fish, milk, cheese, cookies–I went a bit crazy trying to plan all this, but I just had to focus on keeping D. alive and not turning two young girls into rebellious, angry teens who had food fights with an over-weening mother.

Calm breathing…So, I guess I am just saying that J. does not have lose his mind over this diet. If it is too boring for him, he can eat other stuff. On the other hand, I guess what I really believe is that we all have cancer in us all the time, and it is simply prudent to eat in such a way that makes a hostile environment for the cancer. I think this diet does this, but I am not sure that diet alone will be enough to fell the intruder.

Please continue to let me know how you are doing, and I will try to find more information for you.

Lots of love,

L.

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