If you were told you "Have cancer and without chemotherapy and surgery you will be dead in 6 months," what would you do?
These are frightening words for patients faced with cancer. However, I have learned that cancer does not have to be a death sentence and there are less harsh, non-invasive interventions that are very effective and may offer a greater probability of long-term survival than chemotherapy and surgery. I have also learned that six months to live is not a medical diagnosis but a God diagnosis because only God knows when we will die.
My cancer journey, as discussed in You Can Beat Lung Cancer: Using Alternative/Integrative
Interventions, began 39 years ago when I had a dream telling me to go for a chest x-ray. I had learned to pay attention to my dreams and believe this is one way that God speaks with us, if we listen. So I went to my primary physician and asked for a referral for an x-ray required by insurance at that time.
The x-ray showed a spot on my lungs that had not been there previously and a follow up biopsy confirmed that it was lung cancer. When my doctor and surgeon told me they were planning chemotherapy and surgery I told them their responsibility was to tell me the pros and cons of surgery and chemotherapy and mine was to make the decision about the type of care I would use, and I would go home and pray about it and make a rational decision. They reemphasized several times that I would be dead in 6 months.
After returning home, my friend Ursula and I decided to pray for guidance and watch our dreams, and Ursula also suggested a psychic reading. All results suggested a natural approach to treatment. Ursula knew a physician who had successfully used natural interventions. So I went on an appointment, where he confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed a regime of physical interventions.
Prescribed care included laetrile (vitamin B17, amygdaline) 2,000 mg and 25 or 30 apricot kernels (one of the greatest sources of laetrile) daily. The theory for its use is that cancer may be a result of a deficiency of laetrile in the body. Some may be afraid to use laetrile because contemporary medical literature says it ‘contains cyanide and can kill you or send you to the emergency unit.’
However, enzymes are needed to activate the cyanide in laetrile, and cancer cells have those enzymes but normal cells do not, so it is specific for destruction of cancer cells while normal cells are unaffected. Over the two years I took laetrile and apricot kernels I had no side effects.
Supplements prescribed included pancreatic enzymes such as Wobe Mogus from Germany, to assist in killing the cancer cells and also to improve digestion, because many people on the standard American diet are depleted of this important enzyme. In addition, vitamins were prescribed such as therapeutic doses of vitamin A (between 300,000 i.u. and 50,000 i.u daily) to help prevent normal cells from converting to cancer cells, vitamin E 800 i.u. to help prevent toxicity from the vitamin A, vitamin B15, B5, and Vitamin C.
Minerals and herbs included calcium, magnesium, zinc, comfrey pepsin (a digestive aid), yeast tablets, bromaline, and lecithin. In addition, A/G Pro, a protein supplement, was taken daily.
The prescribed diet was similar to a current vegan diet and consisted of 75% raw fruit and vegetables (to increase enzymes in the body), with additional cooked fruit and vegetables. In addition, grains and nuts, except peanuts (a high source of protein) were allowed.
No protein such as meat, chicken or dairy was allowed for the first few months and no simple carbohydrates such as cakes, pies, candy, or ice cream. Exercise and smoking cessation were also part of the care plan.
As a nurse who believes in holism I added mental, spiritual, relationship, environmental, and political activities to the prescribed physical activities. Mental and spiritual activities included daily prayer, meditation, visualization, affirmations, relaxation exercises, serving others, strengthening patience, faith, and forgiveness, and remaining positive and optimistic.
Environmental activities included maintaining a smoke free environment, evaluating the house for radon and asbestos, airing the house daily, if possible, and removing all pesticides, mold and other chemical contaminants.
Relationship aspects included maintaining friendships with students, colleagues, and friends, and giving and receiving emotional support.
Political aspects included being active in lecturing and publishing about complementary, holistic treatment for cancer, participating in the political process to bring about change in cancer care and financing, and being active in professional organizations to help bring about change in health care cancer policies and accessibility of care.
Over the following two years I saw my primary physician periodically for x-rays to measure progress. After two years the spot was gone, and I was cancer free.
For the next 37 years I followed a slightly modified version of my cancer care plan and remained cancer free and healthy. Now at age 81, I have no known chronic diseases nor use prescribed medications.
I walk on the beach for an hour each morning and live in a 3-story house so I am up and down stairs often. I am mentally active writing books, hosting a radio show, marketing my recent book on radio, television and in magazines/ newspapers, and providing free cancer education and resources to many patients monthly.
To my cancer diet I added chicken, fish and some dairy and eat primarily organic or locally grown fruit and vegetables. I have also found natural solutions for occasional health concern that arised over time, such as an enlarged prostate, diverticulitis, seasonal allergies, and cataracts. I almost never take drugs for any reason. Other aspects of the care plan were continued.
The book You Can Beat Lung Cancer: Using Alternative/Integrative Interventions, also includes a chapter by Dr. Bernie Siegel, Dr. Francisco Contreras, Dr. James Forsythe, Dr. Kim Dalzell, and Tanya Harter Pierce, on additional alternative medical, and nutritional interventions for lung cancer used in clinics and at home.
This book marks 39-years since my diagnosis, making me the longest living lung cancer survivor known. •
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Dr. Carl O. Helvie is a registered nurse with two masters and a doctorate in public health and wellness. He has 60 years experience as a nurse practitioner, educator, author and researcher and is the recipient of numerous awards. He also has eight published books and has published or presented internationally over 100 papers and articles. He developed and published a nursing theory now used worldwide and has established a nursing centre that provides primary care for homeless and low-income individuals and families.