When my melanoma recurred in the lymph nodes under my arm, I was told by my oncologist that chemotherapy was pretty useless for melanoma, so they'd whip out the affected nodes and we'd hope for the best.
Post-op, I was lying in my hospital bed when two -- quite separate -- friends gave me A Time to Heal by Beata Bishop, the story of her healing her own melanoma almost 30 years ago using the Gerson Therapy. I knew I had to do something and her book convinced me that Gerson was it.
The therapy looked like a bit of a beast to do -- 13 freshly-squeezed organic vegetable and fruit juices per day plus five coffee enemas, every day for at least 18 months to two years. On the diet front everything was organic. There was a thick vegetable soup to be eaten twice daily, and lunch and dinner consisted of a baked potato and vegetables and salad. A little oatmeal was permitted at breakfast. Everything else was forbidden. I couldn't even wear make-up (though a little beetroot juice on the cheeks helped), and any chemical household products were banned. There was also some supplementation, including potassium and Lugol's solution, some pancreatic enzymes, niacin and injectable B12.
The purpose of the therapy, devised by Max Gerson more than 60 years ago, is to massively detoxify the body thus helping the immune system to do the job it is designed to do. Their website describes it as "naturally reactivating your body's magnificent ability to heal itself -- with no damaging side effects."
Despite the program's rigidity, I seemed to be able to surrender to the routine of it. I had help with the juicing. And basically it was my job for those 18 months. The Gerson people counsel rest and even discouraged any exercise back in the mid-90s when I did it. But I liked the juices, I loved the enemas (designed to detoxify the liver) and even the food was doable. I finished my 18 months full-on and six months of a reduced program and, convinced I had put paid to the melanoma for good, I went back to my life.
Unfortunately the melanoma did come back around five years later, and that was the big nasty one when it recurred in my brain, spleen, stomach and lungs.
So why didn't Gerson work for me? And how come I am still a proponent of using natural and alternative methods to heal cancer? Well, I still agree with the principles of the therapy. (The program that subsequently did the trick 10 years ago was based on similar principles, but with way more specific and targeted supplementation). And that, for me, is the key.
Cancer shows up in a toxic body. So to clean up, nourish and encourage it to work properly still seems completely logical to me. My theory -- unproven -- is that over the last 60 years or so our soil has got much more toxic and less fertile -- even the soil that organic produce is grown in. Graham Harvey, author of We Want Real Food, told me that in the UK the supermarkets have encouraged their large scale growers to turn over some of their land to cash in on the demand for organic produce, and this has been done by obeying the minimum rules of organic farming rather than the spirit. Soil fertility is not something quickly achieved.
That, combined with the huge array of chemicals our 21st century bodies have to contend with, makes healing cancer through food alone a harder job and why I believe intense supplementation on top of a really clean organic regime is what worked for me. I would love to hear your experiences.
More info on what is great about organic at http://www.organic-center.org/reportfiles/Yield_Nutrient_Density_Final.pdf.
For more on cancer, click here.
For more by Ginny Fraser, click here.