About the Author

Susan Manion MacDonald

Books by this Author
- BALANCE

- BALANCE

: nature's way to heal your body
edition:Paperback
tagged : cancer
More Info
Excerpt

Susan’s Story begins: In the past I enjoyed eating as most families of moderate means in North America did: home cooked meals; an occasional frozen entree; packaged meals in a box; refined and processed foods; plus a weekly visit to a take-out of choice. Since 1993, I had exercised regularly, including weight resistance training three times a week at the local YMCA, yet was still about forty pounds overweight with an increasing number of health issues. When I looked in the mirror, it reflected what I assumed was a relatively healthy, normal adult of fifty plus, but, in retrospect, I now understand what was happening inside my body, at the cellular level, was very troubling. Symptoms had accumulated over the years, some of which were explained away by medical doctors as a result of genetics, yet other indicators of my poor state of health were more difficult to diagnose or explain away so easily.

On December 4, 2002, after four years of allopathic medicine failing to explain the unusual sets of symptoms I had been experiencing, my perception of a healthy body was shattered! I was diagnosed with terminal cancer: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma1, low indolent follicular, stage 3a. My condition was critical! Furthermore, a mere three weeks later, when all tests had been completed, my condition was downgraded even further - to the most acute diagnosis possible. Since the cancer was now in my bone marrow, it was determined to be 4b, the very last stage ultimately leading to death! Tumors were in my upper diaphragm: neck, shoulders, chest, and underarms, as well as in my lower diaphragm, including my stomach and groin. I was extremely fatigued, unable to sweep or wash the floor, or even carry a handbag. The abundance of tumors in the lymphatic nodes of my neck and shoulders even caused a dislocation of the joints, which only a chiropractic adjustment brought some relief from the unbearable pain in my arms.

Almost every evening, both during and immediately following the evening meal, I would experience symptoms of shock: diarrhea, nausea and vomiting; rapidly followed by alternating bouts of cold chills and hot flashes; as well as deepening anxieties and feelings of overwhelming panic. I subsequently learned, through research and the experience of detoxification, that those were symptoms of toxic attacks - and that the negative reactions were simply attempts by my body to warn me of an impending catastrophe. My liver was overloaded with toxins and, therefore, could not support the digestion of larger meals. In addition, one of the more than 500 functions of the liver is to balance the body’s natural hormone levels, but the overload of toxins prevented this process from occurring effectively. As a result, anger became a part of my ‘new character’ - and it took months of additional searching to discover that this too was the result of a weakened and stressed liver. The loss of independence that this disease created had a profound effect upon me. My husband had not only become the maid, cook and chauffeur, but on many evenings, he often literally had to be my baby-sitter, as I could not be left alone due to the all consuming fear that threatened to overwhelm me.

The oncologist explained that low, indolent cancer meant that it was a slow moving cancer, and, normally, I would have had from five to seven years to live from the onset of this disease. That date was initially pegged as 2000, but I now understand that 1998 would have been a more accurate date, as that was the time my symptoms had become significantly more pronounced. The cancer was quite literally beyond

the point where allopathic medicine could save me. Chemotherapy might be used to clear a blockage, or to relieve pain by reducing the size of a tumor, but this kind of lymphoma had a ‘brain of its own’ and a more virulent cancer would eventually return, sooner than later in another part of my body, most likely in my brain. Yet, I was still offered three choices: a low dose of chemotherapy in pill form; aggressive doses of chemotherapy by injection; or to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. The oncologist believed all three would get me to the same place at the same time - death! He predicted that a more aggressive form of cancer would return following each chemotherapy session, until it eventually killed me. I chose to wait. Conventional medicine was no longer a viable option for me.

During this process, it was easy to understand why someone without any prior knowledge of the dangers of chemotherapy might initially choose to go that route. My initial reaction was: “Get the cancer out of me now! I don’t care how, just do it!” However, as my research continued, I gained more knowledge, and with that knowledge came empowerment. That process changed my initial knee-jerk reaction to one of calm and determination based on understanding. I learned that once the body’s immune system is returned to peak performance, the tumors would completely dissolve. I needed to believe that; it was a real test of faith. In the meantime, detoxification would relieve some of the pressure on my liver, as well as reduce the anxieties and panic attacks that resulted from the accumulation of toxins. A lack of knowledge also created even more apprehension, as there were times when it felt as if the contrasting emotions of fear and courage were fighting a war within the confines of my body.

Looking back to December 2002, I now realize that I was in shock. The trip home was one of silence, accompanied by more than a few tears that escaped as droplets, running in slow motion down my cheeks. My husband, Jim, was rather stoic, but upon our arrival at home, held me in his arms tightly. It seemed as if he never wanted to let go. At the time, I recall asking if he were okay? His response was that it was not about him, but about me. Jim then suggested that he should call our three children. They were aware that I would have received the test results earlier that day and would be anxious to hear from us. Although the words terminal cancer had initially knocked me to my knees, many of my past life experiences had somewhat prepared me for that moment. At first I agreed, but within seconds replaced that initial response with an emphatic no! I reasoned that it was necessary for me to make those calls, as such an important call coming from Jim might have led them to believe I was really going to die of cancer, and I did not want to leave them with that rather bleak prognosis. With that more considered response, I had begun to achieve balance, to adjust my stance towards this disease.

My daughter, Tammy, was at work and called before we had the opportunity to contact her. After hearing the news, she quietly suggested that she would come over immediately with the grandchildren, Benji and Katie. Charlene, my other daughter, was a lot like her Dad; rather stoic, but I knew them both too well. Driving to our home, Charlene recalled thinking that whatever it took, she would be there for me. Our son, Dan, was taking an important test at work and could not be readily contacted, so I called his wife, Stacy. She had just lost her father to colon cancer only a few months earlier, and as a result, left work directly to join the rest of the family who were gathering at our home. When Dan arrived, his primary concern was whether I was suffering any pain. No doubt he was remembering the amount of pain that Junior, Stacy’s father, had endured during the months that preceded his passing. Dan was quite relieved when I assured him that I was not in pain, while the others were buoyed that I was not depressed with the potentially devastating news received earlier that day. Quite the opposite, I was ready for the fight for my life!

In the beginning, writing this chapter was relatively easy from an emotional standpoint, but during the process of editing it became an important life lesson that I would never forget. Normally, I deal with most problems by working diligently, and in attaining knowledge in order to make more informed decisions. As a result, it was normal for me not to take hours or days before committing myself to a course of action. In this particular situation it was literally minutes after the original diagnosis that I began to ask questions - important questions about the possibility of finding other, perhaps more natural, ways of healing my body. Although the process of jumping immediately into a research mode was very beneficial in locating much needed answers, it was not one that encouraged facing life squarely and directly. To achieve fullness, life must be experienced and felt, but I did neither at that time. It took three years, and a progression through several other life-threatening health issues before I finally resolved the past and began to move forward. When I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I had spent mere minutes in tears, then put away the pain and got on with life, things I had routinely learned to do since early childhood. As a consequence, the process of re-reading and editing my personal story developed into a nightmare that had to be faced - and resolved - before this illness annihilated me. It was necessary to let the tears flow, to permit pain and vulnerability to emerge, and allow anger to surface - within myself, with God and with a conventional health care system that I felt had failed me! Unfortunately, modern medicine tends to simply disguise or negate symptoms with medication or surgery, and in doing so often fails to correctly identify and eradicate the root causes of illness. That is what had happened to me! It was also critical to learn how to give permission to others to comfort me, something that had not been easy in the past. Unfortunately, I had learned those early lessons far too well, and had routinely put my feelings aside, as simply as returning a book to its place on a shelf.

On that watershed day in 2002, everyone was willing to join me in my battle. It was essential to locate as much information as possible about non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, especially the variety with which I had been diagnosed. My daughter-in-law was a real trouper. Having lost her father to cancer only a few months previously, she eagerly shared information learned through his illness and subsequent death to help guide me on my own journey. For example, her specific knowledge of an immune builder, Tahitian Noni juice, has been prominent in my recovery as well. Information on the body’s immune functioning, and in my case, an absolute absence of functioning, was a beginning upon which to build - and that knowledge gave me hope.

To improve my immune function I immediately eliminated all refined, chemically altered or synthetic sugars1 from my diet. As a consummate chocolate lover this was not an easy task, but the prospect of living beyond the sentence I had been given was a strong inducement for change. I also made many other nutritional changes within the month: the elimination of red meats, which the liver can have difficulty processing; all hydrogenated oils, which create free radicals; bleached flours with questionable nutritional value, unwanted chemical additives, as well as processed dairy products that could facilitate cellular growth, including cancer cells. As a result, my chocolate cravings soon became a non-issue. Once the initial cravings had passed, life without chocolate became quite tolerable. Today, for special holidays or events, I buy dark, organic Belgian chocolate, containing no dairy, waxes or sugars, to make almond clusters or other healthier chocolate treats for my family.

Changing my diet completely was not an easy task. In the beginning, there were many frustrating days on which I experienced alternating bouts of anger and depression. Fortunately that was only during the period of transition. As the weeks passed, my emotions became more balanced and stable. For those who find change or renewal difficult, remember that many changes can often be cemented into the subconscious if performed diligently for as little as three consecutive weeks. Cravings often become a non-issue and that makes it easier to implement other changes required to reduce or eliminate illness within the body. Within five days I had figured out what I absolutely needed to know to rid my body of cancer. Now I had to set this plan in motion - I must prevent toxins from entering my body in order for it to be able to work on those toxins already present. Then I had to devise a way to rid my body of fifty-plus years of toxins. Most of the frustration in the latter phase of my recovery centered on locating food and personal care products that did not contain toxins. In fact, I asked: “What in hell didn’t?” However, I immediately stopped dyeing my hair, which I discovered was actually more white than grey. Today, the pigments are slowly returning due to a healthier body - the back and top of my head are now a darker color, while the sides and front are beginning to move in that direction as well. It is remarkable what proper nutrition can do.

Within the first month, I also ceased using nail polish, changed my shampoo, soap, toothpaste, laundry detergent, as well as many other household and personal care products. I also introduced rebounding to move my lymphatic fluid; experimented with several detoxification methods such as Epsom salt soaks, dry saunas, and dry brushing, as well as adding green tea to my daily regimen. I also drank four ounces of Noni juice daily, added two tablespoons of flax oil (an essential fatty acid) mixed with one-quarter cup of organic quark. Both had an unpleasant taste at first, but as my taste buds changed, I actually began to enjoy them.

Each day was spent reading yet another book, searching on the Internet, and communicating with others to learn as much as I could about cancer in general, chemotherapy, the body, and what I now have come to call ‘natural medicine’. At the time, it was not an easy task as the daily toxic attacks were still occurring. There were times I would be wrapped in a blanket with a bowl at my side should I not make it to the bathroom in time to vomit. Those frailer moments were hidden from friends and family. Jim and my naturopathic doctor were the only ones who experienced these emotions first-hand, but there were times I was even able to hide them from myself. Dr. Bruce Hayhoe, my naturopath, who eventually became my teacher and mentor, supplied me with my first book: How to Fight Cancer and Win by William Fischer. The information in this publication taught me valuable lessons about protecting cells in the body through the inclusion of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in my diet. Later I learned more about the partnership between EFAs and quark (a German cottage cheese) and their combined role in increasing oxygen in the blood that had been stolen by cancerous cells. Subsequently, I was also able to teach others, including Dr. Hayhoe, with my common sense approach to the diagnosis. The entire world is a university if one utilizes all aspects of the wealth of knowledge that surrounds us, especially if a common sense approach is applied to the synthesis of information. On December 9, 2002, while on a trip to Ottawa to visit my siblings, I gained additional strength. Each member of the family offered to be bone marrow donors, if required, although my brother Bob cajoled that he was so tired all the time it might be better to leave him until last! After that trip, I returned home with a very significant book that gave me even more hope: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide to Cancer by Burton Goldberg. In that publication, thirty-seven physicians had researched and catalogued a wide range of safer, non-toxic, and successful (proven) treatments and practices for reversing cancer through natural, alternative or complementary medicine. I was both astounded and elated to find so many possible treatments in a single publication.

From December 17th to the 21st, I made daily trips to the hospital for what seemed like every x-ray and scan known to man, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. At least it seemed that they were being thorough! On December 23, 2002 it was confirmed that the cancer was in my bone marrow, as well as throughout my body. As a result, it was difficult to focus on Christmas, an important event in our family life, with x-rays as daily reminders that this year might be one of my last. Christmas was always one of my favorite times of the year and it was especially meaningful that year - and has been ever since. It was not only the prospect of having, perhaps, only one or more Christmases together as a family, but my husband suggested another factor - I had given family members permission to spend more time and money that year - on me! On Christmas day, I cried when I saw the card attached to a gift from Jim. It was a digital camera. He knew that I loved photographs; the card read appropriately: “For those treasured moments caught in time”.

The months from January to April 2003 were spent combating daily bouts of depression with an exercise program, while the toxin attacks were reduced with detoxification methods described earlier in this chapter. In 2004, I began using organic coffee enemas for liver detoxification, and by 2005 became more knowledgeable about cellular detoxification methods. Still later in 2005, I purchased an energy balance cellular detoxification machine for my own use, which I now employ in a new health-consulting venture. By that time, I was able to fill in some of the blanks between allopathic medicine and more natural approaches to healing. I was also frequenting health food stores, discussing new products with staff and customers, and contacting manufacturers via the Internet. I continued to read magazines such as Vista, Canadian Health, and Alive. There were many setbacks and the path was not always smooth. For example, my dietary changes created power conflicts with my oncologist. During visits to his clinic, he would upset me with rather off-hand comments such as: “Why would you give up something you enjoy, when you are going to die anyway?” He then referred me to a registered dietician, as he did not believe in my protocols, or in the information I had obtained from a nutritionist. At first, the dietician seemed upset with my decision not to include dairy in my diet. That immediately put me on the defensive, and I had to summon up courage to defend that decision. At the time, I felt I had to convince her that my decision was a considered one, and that I was, in fact, eating properly. To make the visit more positive, I had produced a monthly chart of my food consumption, which made it more difficult for her to respond too negatively. In fact, as a consequence of our conversation, I came to believe that I was actually eating a more nutritionally sound diet than her. As a result, that appointment strengthened my resolve to continue on my chosen path. Subsequently, I have learned that many dieticians generally view standard food guides in relation to the average person’s body according to age and sex, whereas most nutritionists or nutritional consultants take an approach that recognizes each person as unique and works with the person’s symptoms in relation to their specific quality of nutrition required. The former is especially true of many hospital-based dieticians, but today, thankfully, there is a gradual increase in the number of dieticians who have begun to adopt the latter, more individualistic, approach when dealing with clients.

By February 2003, after learning that an acidic pH often creates a vacuum for disease, I was able to return my pH to a normal alkaline state. But in March I ran into a crisis that pushed my pH back to acidic levels. My mother had passed away on the eleventh day of that month. That change, combined with the toxins remaining in my body, caused me to become severely agitated, followed by bouts of anger and depression. When friends and relatives came to the funeral parlor to show their respect, I was physically too weak to stand and greet them. About that same time two new tumors also appeared, one on each side of my neck. I was frightened, devastated! I had learned through research that cancer, as well as other forms of illness and disease could be defeated by natural means, but had not found any specific references to the type of advanced stage lymphoma with which I had been diagnosed. Fortunately, I already knew the factors that influenced pH1 readings, so it did not take long after this incident to do the necessary work to return my urine pH readings to a healthier alkaline level. However, what I did not realize at the time was that urine pH was not sufficient in itself as an indicator for wellness. It was only in 2004 that I discovered more about testing my salivary pH2. At the end of February 2003, it finally hit me - illness and disease in the body could be cured if the body were given the proper tools and conditions to do so. Subsequently, between February and May of that year, I developed a program entitled A Journey to Wellness on B.A.L.A.N.C.E.: nature’s way to heal your body and began to deliver that program through the YMCA only three months later. Helping others to help themselves was gratifying - and that positive attitude benefited me physically as well. However, after working with the program for a while, I realized that four hours were insufficient to bring about change in a life that is filled with illness or disease, although it appeared to be optimum information for preventative health care, as well as a reasonable place from which individuals could begin to reverse disease. That is when, with God’s guidance, I began to collate and organize materials to support the initial program with additional workshops. The latter ultimately led to the development of this book, written with the intent of providing material that would not confuse readers with unnecessary complexities or hidden agendas. What was required was a more direct approach with personal examples included as often as possible. However, during the attacks brought on by an overload of toxins, it was, at times, difficult to concentrate and extract common threads from the material I read. Thankfully, my past experiences, continuing research and problem-solving with others had given me the tools and tenacity to continue, so I soldiered on!

Early in April 2003, I ceased the consumption of all dairy products, except quark. By the middle of April, I began to notice a significant increase in my energy level, and eventually was relieved of anxieties created by toxins and/or allergies that I had accumulated since the early 1980s. I could even drive myself to appointments - the old Susan I used to know was nearly back! My body was exhibiting other signs of improved health: thicker hair, softer skin, and no more plaque on my teeth. Although my body was not where I wanted it to be ultimately, there were many promising signs, and I learned as I progressed.

May was a distressing month as I broke my big toe. To many this may seem a trivial event, but for someone already diagnosed with a major illness, it weighed heavily upon me, adding to the existing burden on my body, both physically and emotionally. When surgery, or in my particular case, a broken bone occurs, the body’s immune system normally kicks in to repair the damage and as a result, it has less time to work on other issues, including the reduction of tumors in the body. Inthis situation I this ended up with a virus, nausea and extreme pain on my right side. Unsure about the larger picture of my health, I was afraid, uncertain how to deal with this event. Still, my faith in conventional medical treatment had been ingrained in me from my past, so my first visit was to my family physician. He was somewhat apprehensive about my decision to use natural health approaches to healing and seemed rather unsure of what to do with me. As a result he recommended that I go to the hospital outpatients’ clinic, where subsequent tests confirmed that I had actually contracted a virus. By that time, my bowels had ceased functioning for over twenty-four hours. A comment by the attending physician that I might eventually require surgery to unblock the bowel scared me. In fact, I was on the verge of panic! Most practitioners of modern medicine do not consider constipation a significant issue unless it persists for four or five days. But, I did not want to wait and took immediate action by obtaining an appointment with my naturopath, who immediately taught me how to massage my colon to relieve this condition. The massage began halfway between the naval and the crest of the ilium (iliac crest or hip pointer), on the right, upward to the rib cage, then from right to left below the ribs, and then down the left side of the body. This procedure moved the intestine away from an enlarged node blocking my intestines. My bowels eliminated in short order. Additional vitamin C, Noni juice, Kyolic garlic and exercise helped relieve the viral symptoms, while the pain in my right side eventually subsided. It also improved my mood, helping me through a rather difficult moment in time.

In July 2003, I was sent to a specialist to aspirate a cyst on my thyroid. It took three separate visits, as they were looking for indications of thyroid cancer, but found none. Again, I refused an anesthetic for this procedure in order to prevent further toxins from entering my body. The process was not painful, and when viewed in combination with an earlier experience during a bone marrow test, it supported my decision to avoid anesthetics and pain medications as much as possible, as many of them may not only have been unnecessary, but in my case would have likely increased the level of toxins in my body. At this point I had drawn an absolute line in the sand with respect to toxins entering my body. I also refused further x-rays1, making a decision to opt for one only if my body experienced pain or impairment from a possible blockage – and only if more natural methods could not be utilized to help that situation. It took two visits to the oncologist before he understood that when I said no, I meant no!

Some readers may wonder why would I seek the services of an oncologist while going through natural healing. When the short-term medical coverage through my employment expired, it was necessary to establish a long-term disability claim in order to obtain the financial means to at least partially cover expenses for a naturopath and nutritionist; to ensure that death benefits were available; and to maintain, to some reasonable extent, our previous standard of living. Even with the modest compensation I received, nothing covered the additional costs of organic food, supplements or traveling considerable distances to seek the assistance of natural health practitioners. But both Jim and I felt these expenses were absolutely necessary for me to heal, as well as for our future together. In addition, if I really wanted to become healthy naturally, I was advised to take time off work to allow the body to heal. That further reduced our income at a time we really needed more, not less. Unfortunately, services provided by naturopathic doctors and nutritionists are not covered by provincial government Health Insurance Plans, and few of their services are covered to any extent by many private medical insurance plans. This is something that must change in the future.

I also applied to the health benefits section of the Canada Pension Plan, a federal government health insurance program. I had been paying premiums through employment insurance (EI) and Canada Pension (CPP) since I was sixteen. But both the Canada Pension Plan benefits program and the disability insurer denied these claims, stating that I was not sick enough according to their standards. Imagine that - after having received a letter from the oncologist who stated unequivocally that I was terminally ill and was going to die. It makes one wonder who is responsible for writing those regulations, and based on what logic?

Then, to obtain long-term disability, the insurers made an appointment for me with a psychiatrist. I was advised to keep that appointment, as they would no longer correspond with me on this subject if I did not. The psychiatrist was quite surprised with the response of the insurance company, but after he filed his letter of support, I was finally able to establish a claim.

I did not reapply for Canada Pension benefits as the entire fiasco was such a negative experience, and to heal naturally requires one to remain positive. That is difficult to do in today’s world. To heal naturally one must visualize being healthy, but to access the funds I had worked so hard to acquire, I was forced to proclaim that I was not only disabled, but was going to die. That certainly was not positive, but rather the complete opposite of what was required for me to become healthy again It was a paradox that had to be overcome.

It is crucial to understand that when someone is informed that (s)he has a terminal disease, that such information is according to one tradition and one tradition only - that of allopathic medicine - and there may well be other alternatives to consider. When the subconscious is given no hope, an individual can move rapidly towards death, quite often without just cause. As stated earlier, the body can heal itself when the proper conditions and tools are available to do so. Finding those conditions with help from others, including medical doctors, naturopaths and nutritionists is crucial. Reducing toxins from all sources (including toxic medications), undergoing detoxification, the inclusion of proper nutrients, immune builders, and hope gives each person the best chance to live. And first on that list are toxins, which must be removed, not added to the body’s burden.

At the beginning of my diagnosis for cancer, had the information gathered for the writing of this book been readily available to me (in a single book or location), without having to research and test each situation as I went along, perhaps what took me almost three years to learn could have occurred over a much shorter period of time, even as little as several months. That is what I hope to give to each reader of this book, much as Judit Rajhathy did with her seminal publication, Free to Fly: a journey toward wellness. Unfortunately, I did not have the advantage of reading Ms. Rajhathy’s book until I was many months into my research and had already begun the detoxification process. While my liver would have required two years to completely regenerate, had I known about this book, as well as other information earlier, the process would certainly have been much less stressful. Although my emotional link to illness was only hinted at slightly in the beginning of this chapter, it was not until much later that I came to realize the critical impact that emotions1 had on my health.

Reversing illness or disease is a unique process, somewhat akin to peeling an onion. Not only does the body heal itself from the top down and then inside out, but it also heals from the most recent illness (in my case, terminal cancer) through past stages in one’s life. As each layer heals, the next one is ready to be worked upon. Each layer is hidden by symptoms from the previous stage and it is not until that layer is repaired, that the next becomes apparent. All illness or disease has an emotional attachment and those issues will often relate back to childhood situations. As such, resolution of an attached emotional issue must occur before moving forward through the next layer. To achieve this resolution I utilized several books, researched the Internet, located a spiritual medium, as well as a program entitled The Way of the HeartTM. I also had help from my naturopath and nutritionist, as well as self-analysis utilizing muscle response testing (MRT). It is also necessary to come to terms with the illness or disease itself. The latter can be completed with the help of a health practitioner who can check one’s subconscious levels through MRT.

Once the cancer was in remission, the next step on my journey was to begin to support a weakened liver and pancreas, which had created a pathway for body wasting, known as cachexia. After that I had to deal with a yeast condition (Candidiasis) that had caused digestive issues and another bout of acidic pH. After that there was adrenal fatigue that affected both the thyroid and parathyroid, which along with arsenic poisoning, eventually helped to create a blocked lymphatic capillary; as well as other health-related issues, including an under-active stomach and parasitic infestations. Re-building my immune system was a vital part in this process, along with the removal of environmental and emotional toxins, from childhood to the present. My journey was rather long, as I had to learn at each step. It was not found in a single place, in plain black and white to read and follow, but required many books and many sources of information from which to glean what was essential for me to heal.

The personal relationship with my husband also changed following the diagnosis for cancer. At first, I felt that he pulled away emotionally from me and became distant. It appeared as if Jim was subconsciously protecting his heart. If I died it would hurt, but if he slowly stepped away now, he may have unconsciously thought it would be less painful. But we were lucky. We had always communicated our feelings to one another, so we talked it out and then worked with the naturopath as a team. However, another aspect of our relationship was less fortunate - our sexual relationship had changed as well. At first Jim was afraid he might hurt me, and, perhaps, at a subconscious level, he also feared that he might ‘catch’ my disease. Then later, we could no longer be spontaneous with one another. The process of stopping long enough to assess the situation made us realize that each time we had intercourse my body received more of Jim’s toxins. Due to the excess levels of toxins already in my body, each time we were intimate my body produced a negative response. Often a virus would appear and I would have to add extra Noni juice and Kyolic garlic to gain control again. At that point, we began to use condoms regularly and Jim began to detoxify his body on a regular basis.

Blood tests, observation of tumor growth and the regular analysis of symptoms became my constant companions, as well as guidelines and directions for the future. However, x-rays were not an option for me as a diagnostic tool. The body tells us what it needs on a daily basis, and cancer, although a very serious disease process, it is just as much a symptom of problems in the body as a headache or stomachache. Cancer is a symptom of a malnourished body due to many of the following: weakened cells, lack of appropriate amounts of pure water, excess protein intake, insufficient carbohydrates, environmental and emotional toxins, improper nutrition, as well as a lack of exercise, fresh air and sunlight.

The body is the first to warn us when something is wrong; it talks to us through the experiences of pain, pleasure, anxiety or even feelings of relaxation. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to take the time to listen to the body, and most people are not well versed in what their body is saying to them. They have not been trained or educated in this very important skill. The position one should adopt is to determine the cause for each symptom, and ascertain whether those causes can be reversed, rather than seeking out medications that may simply postpone or mask those symptoms.

Editor’s Notes on reading and using this book: A detailed chronology of the author’s illness from her first benign tumor in 1976 to allergies and food poisoning in the early eighties, through an entire series of devastating symptoms during the later years of the last two decades, ultimately leading to the diagnosis of terminal cancer in 2002, is detailed in Appendix A. This appendix also chronicles a very real failure on the part of specialized or compartmentalized allopathic medicine, which unfortunately treated each episode or condition as separate incidents or illnesses, while her body gradually broke down, resulting in an inevitable slide into a state of chronic disease with the ultimate diagnosis of 4th stage terminal cancer. This chronology not only describes each episode or stage of the disease process, but also presents a retrospective analysis of the most likely cause or causes of each event or illness.

Although it is fascinating reading, the information in this chronology overlaps much of Susan’s personal story thus far, and is not essential before proceeding through the subsequent chapters of this book. Therefore, it has been placed as Appendix A of this publication, giving readers a choice of turning the page to proceed to Chapter Two (B for body, the first letter in B.A.L.A.N.C.E.) or reading Anatomy of Illness and the Development of Cancer: a Chronology on page 273 before doing so. Many readers may also find the latter chronology a good summary once the entire book has been read. It is a choice each reader gets to make!

The remainder of Susan’s personal story is included, as relevant and appropriate, in each chapter of this publication. These personal anecdotes are intertwined with research on how readers can reverse disease if they are currently ill and live a healthier life in the future by following this advice. Susan’s personal story, which relates to the content of each chapter, have been designated by placing the text between two medieval garlands as follows: Shorter passages were often placed in rectangular boxes within the body of the text to assist readers to maintain the connections and threads of the essential messages of the publication, as well as to explain Susan’s progress, including setbacks, during her journey towards wellness.

The book not only includes one individual’s personal recovery from the very brink of extinction in this mortal world, but also includes extensive research from the allopathic and ‘alternative’ medical literature, as well from the vast world of natural healing. We trust that the substantial amount of information and research contained in this publication has been presented as simply and clearly as possible, although we recognize that the scientific and medical information can be somewhat technical at times. The appendices, footnotes and references to web sites or reference books were included for those who want more detailed research - without interfering with the flow of the main story.

The chapters are inexorably linked to one another as they unfold to tell the story of Susan’s recovery from cancer and triumphant return to wellness through BALANCE. However, each chapter is also a complete concept in itself, and some readers may wish to skip to a section that is particularly relevant to their own personal situations before proceeding to the remaining chapters. That will work as well. The order is less important than eventually reading the entire book to uncover the intricate healing connections that result from knowing one’s body well and giving it the support it requires to heal itself. It is anticipated that this process will provide each reader with the information and tools required to travel from a state of illness to one of wellness, and to remain healthy and happy in the rather complex, but often toxic, world of the 21st Century.

Much of the material is relatively easy reading, albeit some information is rather complex and will require time to distill and incorporate into one’s base of knowledge. That is why this publication has also been indexed: to enable readers to easily locate and/or to return to selected concepts or topics; to use this publication as a reference book on specific health-related issues or concerns; or, indeed, to use it to begin their own research on conditions or illnesses of particular interest to them. Such approaches will not only permit readers to emulate the processes followed by the author on her path to recovery, but should assist them in tailoring that research to their own situations.

So make your choice now.

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