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: nature's way to heal your body
tagged : cancer
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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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- Free to Fly

- Free to Fly

a journey toward wellness
consultant editor R. Frederick Daugherty; Peter Ackerman & Helen Lofgren
prepared for publication by francis Mitchell
by Judit Rajhathy
edited by Michelle Paon
cover design or artwork by Gizelle Erdei
photographs by Florian Kuchurean
tagged : nutrition
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- Huskies, In Pursuit of Excellence

- Huskies, In Pursuit of Excellence

A Celebration of Saint Mary's University Varsity Athletic programs: 1951-2012
assisted by Walt Tanner
cover design or artwork by Virginia Houston
photographs by francis Mitchell; Joe Chrvala & Mona Ghiz
from an idea by Paul Puma
drawings by Barbara Dorey
by Frank Mitchell
tagged :
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THE STUDENT_ATHLETE Moulding the Student-Athlete: A Personal Memoir of Four Decades at Saint Mary’s by Colin Howell

Forty years ago, in the fall of 1970, I arrived at Saint Mary’s to take up a teaching position in the Department of History. Just twenty-six years old, still wet-behind-the-years and thinking I knew far more than I did, I shared the optimism of those children of the sixties who trusted no-one over thirty and were determined to remake the world. A graduate of Dalhousie, where I had once captained what Bob Hayes enjoyed calling the “soot and yellow” rugby team, I left Halifax in 1967 to do doctoral work at the University of Cincinnati. To say that this was a tumultuous time in the United States would be an understatement. Campuses resonated with the language of civil rights, protests against the war in Vietnam, the tragic assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the shooting of students at Kent State. In this environment, the place of sport on campus was controversial. Wasn’t sport with its emphasis on competition rather than cooperation simply a tool of the establishment? Wasn’t too much money spent on sport rather than on the university’s educational priorities? Wasn’t frisbee in the park more democratic, participatory and healthy than having a handful of football players perform for 30,000 passive spectators? And wasn’t it true, as feminists suggested, that sport was a male-dominated activity which reinforced masculine power in the society at large? If universities were to fulfill a socially transformative mission, some asked, didn’t sport just get in the way?

In those days prospects for change seemed to be everywhere: Dylan crooned that the answers to many of these questions were simply “blowing in the wind”. In 1970 the winds of change also blew briskly down Robie Street. Three years earlier when I left for the States, Saint Mary’s was an all-male university, still controlled by the Jesuits, with a little more than 600 students. When I returned to teach there it was operating under a new University Act, becoming increasingly co-educational, and enrollment had grown to over 2,000 students. At the same time the University began out of necessity to increase its faculty complement. Given that tenure-track academic jobs were in short supply across the continent, Saint Mary’s was able to recruit an especially talented group of young academics who brought with them a vision of a university that would compete nationally for research dollars and scholarly recognition. In working toward that end, however, conflicts over funding were inevitable. It is hardly surprising that the faculty was one of the first in Canada to unionize. Nor is it surprising that in the struggle for scarce resources many of the same questions being raised in the United States about the place of sport in the university would also emerge here. I remember at the time not always being sure where I stood on the issue. I had grown up in a family that loved sport, spent my summers as a teenager playing baseball in Kentville from sunup till sundown, attended every game the Halifax Junior Canadians played at the old Forum, played rugby for the Halifax Rugby Club and Dalhousie and, as my daughter grew up, coached her soccer club for a dozen years. I loved watching the Huskies whether on the football field, the basketball court or at the drafty old rink and undersized ice surface that even then needed to be replaced. Yet I could appreciate the arguments of those who worried about the negative effects that sport could exert in a university setting, and heard the arguments from aggrieved students that athletes had a kind of “special status” on campus. Whether these concerns were legitimate or exaggerated, one image remains in my mind to this day. I used to teach American history to a class of over 100 students in old Theatre B in the Burke Building. One day as I looked up through the elevated rows of seats, a football player named Mike Riley (who later went on to play for a few years in the CFL) was occupying the entire center section of the theatre, legs over the seats in front of him and arms spread across the adjacent ones. No one else was within fifteen feet of him as he spread himself over about eight seats at once. Since then social theorists have often written about the male sense of entitlement to space and the way in which women occupy as little space as they can, knees demurely locked together and giving appropriate attention to good posture. Given that women’s athletics at Saint Mary’s had yet to develop its own space - as was true everywhere before Title IX in the United States altered the university sporting landscape - and given that debates continued about how resources should be distributed in the university as a whole, young Riley had made the point with dramatic effect. I don’t think I ever mentioned it to him, but wish I had been able to take a picture of him that day.

Teaching both American and Canadian history at a time when a course in history was required for graduation, my classes were filled with athletes. I enjoyed the feelings of camaraderie with football recruits from Bishop Kendrick High School in Philadelphia like Ralph Panzullo, with high-profile athletes like Mickey Fox, Bob Warner, Lee Thomas, Kenny Clark, Angelo Santucci, Mike Curry, Chuck LeCain, Keith Hotchkiss, Brian O’Byrne, Dennis Reardon, Rick Plato and Hec Pothier. When they went on to win national championships, signed on to play at the professional level, or eventually fashioned successful careers in the community, I was gratified by their success and proud to have helped contribute to their education. Some of them such as Rick Plato, who went on to a successful career as a teacher and basketball coach, epitomized the ideal of the “scholar athlete”, and clearly demonstrated that the divide between sport and academic excellence was far from unbridgeable. So too with Chuck LeCain, Dennis Reardon, Bryan O’Byrne, Hec Pothier, Syd Moore and a number of other student-athletes such as Academic All-Canadian volleyball player Christena MacRae, whom I have come into contact with over the years. At the 2009 Saint Mary’s Sports Hall of Fame induction of the 1978-9 men’s basketball team, I had a chance to talk to Donald “Taps” Gallagher who came here from south of the border to play varsity basketball. After a year playing with the Huskies, the CIAU placed a limit of three Americans on university rosters, “Taps” found himself relegated to spectator status. Rather than challenging the ruling, or leaving the University, he dedicated himself to making the best of his degree. He worked on his courses with the same discipline that he had taken to the basketball court, never missed a class, and went on to a successful career as a lawyer in Chicago. By that time the University had gone through a period of maturation and it had become clear to me that the athletic and academic missions of the school were more complementary than divisive. Building on the vision of the legendary Bob Hayes, and the coaching excellence of Al Keith, Brian Heaney, Larry Uteck and Bob Boucher, as well as the leadership of Kathy Mullane in women’s athletics, Saint Mary’s built a tradition of sporting excellence uncommon in a school that had no supporting kinesiology or physical education department. Elizabeth Chard, who chaired the History Department when I first came to Saint Mary’s and later took over as Registrar, was a powerful voice for the importance of both the academic and athletic enterprise, and another influential figure in the development of the University as an institution of national prominence. Elizabeth was a tour de force, flinty, tough and dedicated to the University, and in becoming the first female president of the CIAU, demonstrated a willingness to take on the male-dominated bureaucracy of university sport. What all those coaches and builders shared - as did the father figure of Saint Mary’s sport, Father John J. Hennessey - was a passion for the University. This enthusiasm carried over to the student-athletes. I still recall the day when a young soccer player, Rocco Cianfaglione, stood up in a crowded Theatre B to lecture Premier Gerald Regan on the necessity for more funding for its academic programs so that the University could realize its goals of both athletic and academic excellence. Later I was invited to Rocco’s wedding, a gala event notable for its celebration of both his own family and the family of Santamarians that were there as well. Rather than focusing on the old mind/body divide – the idea that because sports were of the body and academics of the mind that somehow they were in conflict -- I came to think of them more holistically. As our world changes through the development of modern industrial, scientific and medical technologies, personal computers, and the internet, sport remains a profound social technology, an implement for social change and improvement. Saint Mary’s in fact exemplifies the blending of three grand social technologies, (sport, education and religion), that are dedicated to improving lives and building stronger communities. None of these operate without imperfections, but in touching the lives of so many students, alumni, faculty, administrators and others at the university, they have given Saint Mary’s its unique character. For me personally, a love of education, of history and of sport and a realization of how they contribute to social responsibility, has shaped my academic career and brought me deep personal satisfaction and affection for the University. I hear this from others all the time, often from student-athletes who came to Saint Mary’s through athletics and got an education that allowed them to live successful lives and contribute to the community at large. It is a story often told at the induction ceremonies by our best athletes, our Paul Pumas, Chuck Goddards, Bob Ruotolos and countless others.

The more I thought of sport as a technology, the more I wanted to bring this into my own teaching and writing about Canadian history. For many years the traditional narrative of Canada was written into often dry textbooks that told the story of politics, war, and diplomacy, and focused on the accomplishments of great men. While this was an important story to tell, it left so much out, silencing the voices of women, saying little about the history of the Maritimes, and rendering sport to the realm of the merely frivolous. Through the 1970s and into the 80s I had concentrated on writing the neglected history of Atlantic Canada into the national narrative, and just as the energy and camaraderie generated by Huskie teams, there was a great team of scholars throughout the region that took this on as their mission. At Saint Mary’s a group of faculty members that included Ken MacKinnon, Cyril Byrne, Don Higgins, John Reid, Gene Barrett, Martha Macdonald, Anders Sandberg, Madine VanderPlaat and others were part of a team that helped develop the Atlantic Canada Studies program and the Gorsebrook Research Institute. Just like national champions in sport, this team fought for the region and a recognition of its importance to the nation. By the mid-80s, moreover, the turning away from the exclusive preoccupation with past politics and military history, and the new emphasis on social history, provided me with the opportunity to remake myself as a sport historian.

As I focused my research increasingly on sport, began attending conferences on sport studies and wrote books and articles on the subject, I was able to develop courses in sport history and supervise graduate students who were excited to write about sport. I point this out because while when we think of sport at Saint Mary’s we often only focus on formal sport activity, and remain largely unaware that there is an academic tradition of research and writing about sport that is being built here as well. This extends beyond the research being done by the Saint Mary’s Sport Hall of Fame and heritage center, by people such as Heather Harris, who along with Brian O’Byrne and Dennis Reardon were graduate students in history during my first year of teaching at Saint Mary’s. Other grad students, including Jim Myers, Mac Ross, Daryl Leeworthy, Dan Macdonald, Beverly Williams, Michael Smith, and Cindy Kiley, have written wonderful theses on baseball and rugby in Cape Breton, sport in industrial communities and in rural areas, boxing in the Maritimes, women’s sport, and leisure time in Halifax. Then there are the graduates of Saint Mary’s who took their interest in sport (whether it be athletic or academic) to other universities. In addition to Rhodes Scholars such as former Huskie quarterback David Sykes, other Saint Mary’s grads are continuing their studies elsewhere. Erik Lyman, who played on the national champion football Huskies, is presently completing a doctoral program at the University of Edinburgh working on sport in the Scottish military; former history honours student Leah Grandy has recently completed a doctorate at the University of New Brunswick with a study of harness racing in the Maritimes and New England; Daryl Leeworthy is working on sporting space in working class districts of Wales at the University of Swansea; and Mac Ross is doing a doctorate at the University of Western Ontario looking at the history of hockey in Nova Scotia.

Given the absence of a kinesiology or physical education program which would provide a formal linkage between the athletic and academic programs at Saint Mary’s, I took the initiative a few years ago to establish the Center for the Study of Sport and Health (CSSH) which has now moved into the new Homburg Center for Health and Wellness, which was opened in April, 2012. The Center is committed to bringing world class researchers in sports studies to the campus, developing curriculum in the area of sports studies, and establishing a solid academic counterpart to Saint Mary’s tradition of sporting excellence. It also will build upon its experience in hosting important sporting conferences. As part of the run up to the 2001 World Junior Hockey Championships and 2004 Women’s Worlds in Halifax, for example, we hosted two major international Putting it on Ice conferences that are generally acknowledged to have begun a renaissance of hockey scholarship in Canada. Putting it on Ice III took place in July, 2012, just prior to the publication of this book. In the first two conferences our organizing committees included Elizabeth Chard, Nick Murray, Bobby Warner, Bob Boucher, Trevor Stienberg, Paul Boutilier and Bryan O”Byrne and were supported by the staff at the Gorsebrook Research Institute. Here was a textbook example of the academic and athletic side of the University working closely together. Jean Beliveau, Ken Dryden, Danielle Sauvigeau, John Paris Jr., Stacey Wilson served as conference co-captains. At a special convocation which bestowed an honorary degree upon him, Dr. Dryden emphasized how sport and university learning worked together to provide a culture of civility and responsibility. “There is an important connection between sports and learning and educational institutions,” he emphasized, “one increasingly forgotten, one that needs to be reinforced.”

Over the years the University has taken great pride in preparing its students for the challenges of the future. Sport, religion and education have been at the heart of that mission, providing Saint Mary’s students with a well-rounded preparation for living lives of purpose and social responsibility. Sport and education at Saint Mary’s work hand in hand. As we celebrate the accomplishments of Saint Mary’s athletics in this volume, therefore, we should not forget the tradition of academic excellence that we struggle to build. Nor should academics in their pursuit of that end dismiss the important role that sport, both at the varsity and the intra-mural level, has played in the educational process. Often the priorities of the university are evident in the buildings we construct to house them. Around us the new Atrium facility and improvements to the McNally building are a testament to the academic environment we offer our students, and the new Homburg Center for Health and Wellness recognizes the connections between individual and social health and well-being.

Now if only we had that new rink!

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- Quarantine, What is Old is New

- Quarantine, What is Old is New

Halifax and the Lawlor's Island Quarantine Station: 1866-1938
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Preface Quarantine, What is Old is New begins as a highly descriptive, detailed and definitive history of contagious disease and quarantine practices covering some eighty years in Halifax in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But it is much more than that!

Readers, in addition to gaining an insight into the medical practices and dread diseases of the day, will also encounter a fascinating history of maritime commerce and transportation from the heyday of wooden ships sailing reluctantly into the age of steel and steam. Halifax, then as now, was a focal point for global trade, and this book tells the tale of ships that plied the world’s oceans and seaports, transporting goods and human cargo, along with some of the most devastating and debilitating diseases known to mankind. Lawlor’s Island, and the men and women who worked there, were the first line of defense for Canada.

Quarantine will also provide readers with rather poignant glimpses into the immigrant resettlement history of Canada as seen through eyes of those connected with the historic port of Halifax and Pier 21, the latter Canada’s primary immigration gateway until 1971. As an example, the story of the Doukhobors arrival in Canada at the close of the 19th Century is an account of the interplay between two of the most fascinating characters in the book, Count Sergey Tolstoy and Dr. Frederick Montizambert. Additionally, the historical characters described in the unfolding story of Lawlor’s read much like a list of “who’s who” of Anglo-Celtic heritage in old Halifax, including familiar family names such as Almon, Chisholm, Cameron, Graham, Hayes, Jones, Keith, MacKay, Morrow, Quinn, Stairs, Tupper, Wickwire, and many more. For those interested in conducting further research on this topic or simply wishing to refer to an issue or fact discussed in the book, this publication has been extensively indexed according to a number of parameters, including historical figures connected with Halifax and Lawlor’s Island; medical personnel associated with the Quarantine Service; marine transportation and ships; global seaports; immigration; as well as medical and scientific terminology related to what were known as major and minor diseases subject to quarantine at that time. The latter was and is a moving target as medical science searches and finds answers for current diseases, only to have them replaced by newer ones.1

It is also hoped that this book will provide readers with some important lessons from the past that will inform their future with respect to yet undiscovered forms of disease such as the much anticipated and feared pandemic 2. Should such events come to pass, the concept of quarantine may well be revisited some time in the future. Lastly, Lawlor’s is perhaps the lesser known of the islands in Halifax Harbour, and after the end of the Second World War, the island’s buildings and facilities were no longer required as a quarantine station or as a venereal disease hospital. Within a decade many of the buildings were razed by their federal government owners, precipitating a half-century of decline that continues today. However, there is hope as the a few levels of government and academic researchers have seen value in acknowledging the importance of this place in the history of Canada, Nova Scotia and Halifax. As such the first preliminary archeological survey has recently been completed since the publication of this book and more work is planned. And just perhaps, the old graveyard (see front cover) could then be restored with some dignity and the last unmarked resting place for so many souls appropriately recognized. Hopefully this book has initiated that discussion.3


1, 2. For a detailed account in scientific, but understandable, terms for laymen of the newer viral diseases, including West Nile fever, H5N1 (bird flu), Ebola, SARS, Hendra and other zoonotic diseases transmitted between humans and animals, as well as information on pandemics, read Deadly Contact: How humans and animals exchange disease by David Quammen, National Geographic, October, 2007 pp. 78-105

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- Scapegoat

- Scapegoat

the extraordinary legal proceedings following the 1917 Halifax Explosion
edited by Joel Zemel
managing editor francis Mitchell
consultant editor Jeanne Howell
designed by SVP productions
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- Scapegoat, 100th Anniversary Edition

- Scapegoat, 100th Anniversary Edition

the extraordinary legal proceedings following the 1917 Halifax Explosion
edited by Joel Zemel
managing editor francis Mitchell
consultant editor Jeanne Howell
designed by SVP productions
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- Three Centuries of Public ART

- Three Centuries of Public ART

Historic Halifax Regional Municiplity
photographs by Barbara DeLory; Gary Castle & Andrea Johnson
edited by francis Mitchell
illustrated by Janet Soley
guest editor Virginia Houston
foreword by Sandra Alfoldy
tagged : canadian
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Three Centuries of Public ART Then look across the square to St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the oldest public building in Halifax (andoldest Protestant church in Canada), founded in 1750, although the steeple was added in 1812 and the side wings in 1868; the Fallen Peace Officer’s Memorial, dedicated in 2010 and described in greater detail inthis essay; the massive flagpole standing in front of City Hall for over 60 years. It was a gift of the CPR to his worship, Mayor ‘Gee’ Ahern, in September, 1947; it is used on many ceremonial occasions, but always flies the red maple leaf of Canada; and finally the ‘electrical box’ paintings, two of which are found here (The Poetry Box and Downtown Dusk Walk ) and described near the end of this chapter on Halifax Centre.It also contains many benches on which to sit or picnic in this serene setting just beyond the bustle of Barrington Street at noon.

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African Chronicles - a memoir

40. Pax Mugabe: The Gukurahundi Campaign

Hitler the brain-mole looks out of my eyes. Leonard Cohen 70

O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! Shakespeare, Macbeth71

Mugabe had come to power on a wave of great expectations at home and abroad. During his first decade in office the country realized a number of significant social and economic achievements. Agricultural production expanded; school enrollment for African children increased substantially; infant mortality and child malnutrition decreased by about 40 percent and life expectancy increased from 56 to 64 years. For this progress, how much do we credit Mugabe; how much do we credit the fundamentally sound economy that he had inherited?

But from the beginning of Mugabe’s ascension to power, there was something raw and malignant, like an open wound, festering in his imagination. How else can you describe his gratuitous cruelty in those early days of power except as a sickness of the mind? In the 1980 election, although he had the support of nearly two-thirds of the African electorate across the whole country, the residents of Matabeleland – especially the Ndebele tribe – had rebuffed him en masse and voted along tribal lines for the “home boy” Joshua Nkomo. But Matabeleland held only 20 percent of the black electorate. This voting bloc was not a threat to Mugabe’s hold on power, so long as he maintained the support of the majority Shona tribe – which he had no reason for doubting. Yet it seemed to rankle him deeply that there was any opposition from a segment of the black population, or that he might be called to account by a rival African party in the Parliament. The need to explain his policies and be accountable to any segment of the black population was not for him. Nor was the give and take of parliamentary democracy.He set out to crush all opposition – for all time. The first to feel his wrath were Nkomo’s people in Matabeleland - most of them peasant farmers, primarily livestock herders.

Within six months of taking power, Mugabe signed a deal with President Kim Il-sung to have more than 100 North Korean military officers train a special force of 5,000 Zimbabwean troops, to be known as 5 Brigade. “It seems quite possible,” wrote Judith Todd, “that 5 Brigade was planned even before independence.”72 This unit would report personally to Mugabe himself, not to the official line commanders of the Zimbabwean armed forces (who commanded the other four brigades) and certainly not to Parliament. They were called an elite force, but “elite” suggests a standard of professionalism that they never exhibited. Call them instead “privileged” and “licensed”. Privileged, as in better paid, better armed and better uniformed than their peers; pampered and protected from on high; accountable to no one but Mugabe himself. Licensed, as in licensed to kill.

In 1983 Mugabe began deploying 5 Brigade with murderous effect in Matabeleland.

Mugabe’s Matabeleland campaign was a brutal occupation of a part of Zimbabwe that did not support his goal of establishing a one party state – perhaps the only feature of communism that Comrade Mugabe seriously tried to implement. The campaign had the code name Gukurahundi, a Shona agricultural term that in this context meant “washing away the garbage.” The people of Matabeleland, by and large, were not armed. The few armed “dissidents” among them were mainly a rag-tag lot of former ZAPU fighters, war veterans, numbering perhaps two or three hundred, who had retained their weapons for self-defense – or, as many of them had little education and few employable skills, for conducting armed robberies in their own region. They were no threat to the central government, but their existence provided Mugabe with whatever excuse he needed to have his way with Matabeleland. And so he did.

Estimates vary widely from 7,000 to 20,000, depending on the source, but the consensus is that 5 Brigade murdered thousands of Africans in Matabeleland during the 1980s. Tens of thousands of other residents of the region suffered from hunger and unknown numbers died of starvation as a consequence of the government’s systematic use of food as an instrument of repression during these years. Maize was the staple diet of almost all black Zimbabweans, especially in rural areas, but maize and other food crops did not grow well in the dry infertile soil of Matabeleland. The region was better suited for raising livestock. When Mugabe imposed an embargo on the export of food into Matabeleland (as if it were a foreign country), hunger spread quickly. According to published reports of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, “The embargo on food was total: stores were closed, drought relief food deliveries were stopped, houses were searched and any food found was destroyed. The missions kept records of this deplorable situation and tried to feed people when they could, but this was difficult for them”73 – and dangerous, lethally dangerous.

41. Tegwani Mission: “Purgation” and Heartbreak

We cannot blame colonialism and imperialism for this tragedy. We who fought against these things now practice them. Why? Why? Why? Joshua Nkomo74

It was the Big Man’s way. He chose his time. V. S. Naipaul75

Once again, ever so briefly, Tegwani Mission was in the world news. The Times of London reported that on November 25, 1985 at about 9:00 PM a band of armed men “believed to be guerrillas” descended upon Tegwani Secondary School from the surrounding bush and shot dead “at point blank range” the headmaster and his wife. The Chicago Tribune referred to the killers in a tiny article as “unidentified gunmen”. A police spokesman in Plumtree identified the invaders only as “armed men”, but implied that they may have come across the border from Botswana. A staff member at the school referred to them as “trigger happy bandits”, but it wasn’t clear that they had stolen anything – except human lives. Whoever they were, the Plumtree police detachment was not keen to confront them. They found reasons to hang around the station for several hours before finally driving to the school to investigate.

Amnesty International, which conducted its own investigation, eventually reported that the killers wore the uniform of the Zimbabwean army. This led initially to speculation in some quarters that the gunmen were subversives sent by South Africa’s apartheid regime and disguised as Zimbabwean soldiers as part of an ongoing strategy to discredit the Mugabe government and destabilize the country – for, it was argued (naively) that, if Mugabe wanted someone killed, he would not have had it done by uniformed men of the national military.

In fact, the killers were members of 5 Brigade. They did not walk out of the bush and then disappear into it afterwards. They arrived at the school and left – after forty-five minutes of terror – in the easily recognized Chinese-made military vehicles that had been assigned to them alone. They wore their uniforms, including their red berets, to the slaughter; they shot their guns in the air and screamed with terrifying impact, as they had been trained to do by their North Korean mentors. They wanted everyone to know that they had come to wash away the garbage, that the Gukurahundi campaign was now purging Tegwani Secondary School. Staff and students of Tegwani and (from a safe distance) the Plumtree policemen recognized immediately the perpetrators of this night of terror. No one dared say it publicly at the time. For 5 Brigade were experts in shock and awe; they operated with impunity; they had license to kill; and they could return anytime.

The invaders were about twenty-five in number. They spread across the whole campus, incessantly screaming and firing their weapons in the air. An 18 year-old Irish volunteer teacher, Joss Douthwaite, was supervising lights-out in the boys’ dormitory when the gunmen burst in. He was hit with a round of fire, stumbled outside and fell to the ground, where he was shot twice more and left for dead. He had bullet wounds to the chest and legs. The students were too terrified to venture out to assist him. Douthwaite dragged himself to the school chaplain’s home where colleagues managed to staunch the bleeding. His colleagues waited until well after the invaders had departed and drove him to the small hospital in Plumtree, where medical staff confirmed that his vital organs had not been hit.

The primary targets of the assassins’ dreadful mission were not so fortunate.

Luke Khumalo’s commitment to humanist values – and to his job and his students – overpowered discretion and personal safety at several critical moments in his life. As the headmaster of a large secondary school in a remote and vulnerable corner of the Rhodesian landscape during the protracted civil war, his courage had been read around the world more than once in the 1970s, as was his death that November evening in 1985, by which he paid the ultimate price for all that he stood for – dragged from his house and executed on the spot by uniformed assassins on the grounds of the school to which he had dedicated his life.

Why Luke? Why Tegwani? Surely these questions were on everyone’s lips. Almost everyone’s. Not everyone needed to ask. If we look for motives, any combination of the following would have been sufficient for Mugabe’s 5 Brigade: Luke was Ndebele; he refused to allow ZANU, or indeed any other party, to hold political rallies on school grounds; he was well known in the region as a man of courage and integrity, and thus to destroy him was to frighten many; he was known or thought to be a supporter of ZAPU; and, as Shakespeare’s Macbeth said of Banquo, he was “assailable”.

The most credible motive for this atrocity was that Luke was maintaining a supply of food in the school. Of course, it was a boarding school and as headmaster he had to provide for the students’ daily meals, but despite the prohibition and despite the risk, it was in Luke’s character to assist, as best he could, hungry families from the nearby communities.

Luke did not die alone. His wife Jean was at his side. Surely this gave him no comfort, for the men in uniform shot her dead too. She died quickly. He remained conscious for some time. The assassins left Luke groaning in pain and bleeding to death, while they forced some residents who came upon the scene to step over the Khumalos’ bodies and into a storage room, which they shut and locked.

Luke was 58; Jean was 54. They were buried side-by-side on the school compound. Marking the site are two identical tombstones with the inscription – “always remembered [by their] heartbroken son David.”

Methodist mission headquarters in Zimbabwe instructed Tegwani’s remaining expatriate teachers and their families, all Britons, to return to Bulawayo for repatriation. “The government made it crystal clear that they were glad to see us go,” wrote one of those deported. The indigenous staff members, frightened, traumatized and demoralized, were somehow able to keep the school going. It continues to this day, but it has never been the same.

Perhaps an institution too can have its heart broken.


Many years later I made contact with a former teacher who had helped save the life of Joss Douthwaite that terrible night. He wrote that the year he and his wife and their three children spent at Tegwani was “firmly imprinted” on their minds:

With hindsight it seems remarkable that [Luke and Jean] were not killed earlier. It was the year after the first election after independence, and we were made constantly aware of the presence of the 5th Brigade stationed at Nata . . . We believe that Luke and Jean should be celebrated as martyrs who died because of their insistence on the principles of Christian education and charity. This was their faith expressed in real life. Without parading themselves or speaking much about it, it was abundantly clear that they stood firm against all political intimidation, and that they would not stand back from doing the right thing for the education of the children and young people in their care, and for the local community. They would have no truck with the emerging politics of institutional terror, and Mugabe’s political elite simply could not tolerate having people of such standing holding their heads high in Matabeleland, let alone educating young people.76


As with virtually all of the killings in Matabeleland during the Mugabe era, the national media in Zimbabwe were not allowed to investigate or report properly on the Tegwani incident and the international media were not really interested. Even Judy Todd, who kept herself well informed on events within the country, knew little of the Tegwani killings. In her memoir of the Mugabe years, aptly entitled Through the Darkness, she observed that the official government announcement stated that the Khumalos had been “killed by dissidents”. There was no follow up on this story in any media. It was a 24-hour sensation. Had one of the Tegwani victims not been a British woman, the attack might not have made the news anywhere. Even the British government showed little interest in taking up the murder of one of its own citizens and the near murder of a second.

Until Mugabe’s war veterans began invading white-owned farms several years later, foreign governments and the international media had little interest in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe, however horrendous.

42. How Mugabe Came to Be

In moments of crisis, people are willing to hand over a great deal of power to anyone who claims to have a magic cure. Naomi Klein, 200777

In retrospect, one can see that Mugabe’s personal leadership qualities were minimal, and his qualifications for heading a government and managing an economy were almost non-existent. As a secondary school student he had been a loner, had few friends and spent most of his time in the school library. He did not participate in sports, never learned teamwork, nor experienced the give and take of discussion and debate with his peers in which ideas are challenged and either proven or revised. Throughout his school years, he was mentored and financially sponsored by one man about whom we know little – a Jesuit priest who was the school principal.

Mugabe accumulated seven university degrees, six of them through correspondence courses during his eleven years in prison. These studies in prison did not relieve, but rather accentuated his isolation and left his reputed intellectualism untested.

Apart from being secretary and eventually leader of ZANU, Mugabe’s only paid employment had been as a teacher. He taught in Ghana, where he met his first wife Sally, a Ghanaian – and at two schools in Rhodesia, the Empandeni Mission School near Plumtree and Garfield Todd’s Dadaya Mission School in Shabani. There is no evidence that he was a popular or respected teacher with a good rapport with his students. Unlike other revolutionary African leaders, like Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Kwame Nkumah of Ghana, who had also been teachers, when he came to power he showed no enthusiasm or skill for educating his people about governance and development. He displayed a penchant for repetitive rhetoric and bravado, delivering words and phrases like hammer-blows. He cultivated his own reputation as a charismatic leader. Yet his credentials as a revolutionary wartime leader (a bush warrior) are unproven. He never risked his life in battle, like the genuinely charismatic Fidel Castro or Che Guevara, or like other magnetic African leaders of independence movements, such as Samora Machel, Augustino Neto or Amil Cabral.

With few leadership qualities and being almost completely lacking in ordinary “people skills,” how then did Robert Mugabe rise to power in Zimbabwe? And where had the brutality come from – the need within for wanton violence when he already had the country in his hands, when his power had no credible challengers? “Let me be a Hitler tenfold,” he once boasted in the parliament – incredible words to come from the mouth of an intelligent, articulate, educated man, a student of history and philosophy, whose life in so many fundamental ways parallels that of the great South African statesman Nelson Mandela. This story has not been told. So we are left to speculate. One wonders whether the roots of his perversity, which have grown monstrous, not mellow, with age, are to be found in the hidden recesses of his lonely, fatherless – vulnerable – childhood.

Whatever the case, it seems that in the 1970s Mugabe found a route to the top that did not require great leadership ability or physical courage, but writing – and rhetorical – skills and the pretense of loyalty to whoever was his current leader, first to Joshua Nkomo of ZAPU, then to Reverend Sithole of ZANU. At opportune moments, he betrayed each of them. He quit ZAPU and Nkomo to join ZANU and Sithole; then he blind-sided Sithole and took control of ZANU. In the eventual showdown for national leadership, Mugabe, a Shona, played the tribal card ruthlessly against his erstwhile colleague and leader Joshua Nkomo, an Ndebele. The Shona outnumbered the Ndebele by four to one. It was almost too easy.


Some sectors of the white population, as well as Africans living in eastern and central Zimbabwe, could afford to retain a positive opinion of Robert Mugabe because the repression of human rights and the murder of thousands of Africans in Matabeleland throughout the 1980s did not directly impact on them. They did not feel the force of Mugabe’s wrath and tyranny until a decade later. Some lines of Martin Niemoller’s famous poem about the Nazi era come to mind: They came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. . . .78

Even as late as 1992 the writer Doris Lessing – a former Rhodesian and an acute observer of human behaviour – recorded that many whites were holding to a romanticized view of Robert Mugabe, blaming the problems of the economy and years of civil strife and bloodshed, not on Mugabe himself, but on outside interference (e.g. South African sabotage) or on bad advisors and corrupt underlings: “Mugabe, they say, will resign . . . ‘Poor Robert’s heart has been broken. . .’”79

On one occasion in 1992, while “playing a game of Epitaphs” with some well-to-do white farmers, Lessing noted their consensus that Robert Mugabe’s epitaph should read: “A good man fallen among thieves.” Among the other epitaphs they considered were: “God will reward him for trying” and “Here lies a tragic hero . . .”80

However, by 1990 the country was troubled with increasing unemployment, rising inflation and a balance of payments crisis. Men in suits duly arrived from the World Bank and persuaded Mugabe to initiate a dreaded structural adjustment program involving cuts to government spending on education, health care, infrastructure and the civil service – with devastating results on the quality of life of ordinary people. Mugabe, his cabinet ministers and top party officials continued their high-spending lifestyles, but most Zimbabweans became poorer as unemployment worsened and education and health care diminished.

Looking for a scapegoat or a political distraction, Mugabe pounced on the white farmers – the backbone of the country’s mainly agricultural economy – and announced an ill-considered and confusing land reform scheme by which white-owned farmland would be confiscated without compensation and given to needy black farmers. The program was rampant with violence, corruption and scandal: cabinet ministers and top party officials suddenly qualified as needy black farmers and grabbed most of the best land for themselves. Middle and low level party hacks seized much of the rest, often killing or driving off resistant white farmers. Together the World Bank’s failed structural adjustment strategy and Mugabe’s chaotic land reform program destroyed the country’s increasingly fragile economy. Farm production plummeted, the country became a net importer of food, and hunger became a way of life in the countryside – and, when it seemed that things could not get worse, the HIV/AIDS pandemic began its macabre sweep across all of southern Africa, including Zimbabwe. All of the remarkable gains of the 1980s were lost within a few years, and the whole economy went into a downward spiral that continued unabated – or with acceleration – almost to the present day. By 2008 life expectancy in Zimbabwe had decreased to 37 years for men and 34 for women; morbidity, as well as hunger, had become a way of life; inflation had risen to 100,000 percent by April of that year, and to a percentage so high by December as to be incomprehensible.

And still Mugabe could not be dislodged, supported as he was by brutal national security forces that he had personally developed and corrupted.


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