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The Trying Member Of The Family
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Category: The Analysis of Disease States: Helping the Body Recover
Source: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor
I have worked with many young women with breast cancer; so many in
fact, that their faces and cases tend to blur. But whenever I think
about them, Kelly inevitably comes to mind because we became such
good friends. Like me, Kelly was an independent-minded back country
Canuck. At the age 26, she received a medical diagnosis of breast
cancer. Kelly had already permitted a lumpectomy and biopsy, but had
studied the statistical outcomes and did not want to treat her
illness with radical mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy because
she knew her odds of long-term survival without radical medical
treatment were equal to or better than allowing the doctors to do
everything possible. Nor did she want to lose even one of her
breasts. She knew how useful her breasts were because she had
already suckled one child, not to mention their contribution to
one's own self-image as a whole person. I admired Kelly's unusual
independent-mindedness because she comes from a country where
universal health coverage is in place; her insurance would have paid
all the costs had she been willing to accept conventional medicine,
but Canadian national health insurance does not cover alternative
Kelly stayed with me for nearly two months as a residential faster,
because she needed to be far from the distractions of a troubled
family life. With financial support from her parents and child-care
from her friends she was able to take time out to give the recovery
of health top priority in her life without worrying about whether
her small son was being well cared for. This peace of mind was also
very important to her recovery.
Analysis with biokinesiology showed a pervasively weak immune
system, including a weak thymus gland, spleen, and an overloaded
lymphatic system. Her liver was weak, but not as weak as it might
have been, because she had become a vegetarian, and had been working
on her health in a haphazard fashion for a few years. Kelly's body
also showed weaknesses in pancreatic and adrenal function as well as
a toxic colon. Most immediately worrisome to her, biokinesiology
testing showed several over-strong testing lumpy areas in the
breasts and over-strong testing lumpy lymph nodes in the armpits.
Cancerous tumors always test overly strong
Kelly's earlier life-style had contributed to her condition in
several ways. She had worked for years in a forestry tree nursery
handling seedling trees treated with highly toxic chemicals. She had
worked as a cook in a logging camp for several seasons, eating too
much meat and greasy food. And she had also spent the usual number
of adolescent and young adult years deeply involved in recreational
drug use and the bad diet that went with it.
Kelly started right in on a rigorous water fast that lasted for one
entire month. She had a colonic every day, plus body work including
reflexology, holding and massage of neurolymphatic and neurovascular
points, and stimulation of acupuncture points related to weak organ
systems and general massage to stimulate overall circulation and
lymphatic drainage. She took protomorphogens to help rebuild her
weakened organs; she took ten grams of vitamin C every day and a
half-dose of life extension vitamin mix in assimilable powdered
form; she drank herbal teas of echinacea and fenugreek seeds and
several ounces of freshly squeezed wheat grass juice every day.
Twice each day she made poultices out of clay and the pulp left over
from making her wheat grass juice, filled an old bra with this
mixture and pressed it to her breast for several hours until the
clay dried. Shortly, I will explain all the measures in some detail.
These physical therapies were accompanied by counseling sessions
dealing with some severe and long-unresolved problems, response
patterns and relationships that triggered her present illness. Her
son's father (Kelly's ex) was suppressive and highly intimidating.
Fearful of him, Kelly seemed unable to successfully extricate
herself from the relationship due to the ongoing contact which
revolved over visitation and care of their son. But Kelly had grit!
While fasting, she confronted these tough issues in her life and
unflinchingly made the necessary decisions. When she returned to
Canada she absolutely decided, without any nagging doubts,
reservations or qualifications, to make any changes necessary to
ensure her survival. Only after having made these hard choices could
I one respect, Kelly was a highly unusual faster. Throughout the
entire month on water, Kelly took daily long walks, frequently
stopping to lie down and rest in the sun on the way. She would climb
to or from the top of a very large and steep hill nearby. She never
missed a day, rain or shine.
At the end of her month on water Kelly's remaining breast lumps had
disappeared, the lymphatic system and immune system tested strong,
as well as the liver, pancreas, adrenals, and large intestine. No
areas tested overly strong.
She broke the fast with the same discipline she had conducted it, on
carrot juice, a cup every two hours. After three days on juice she
began a raw food diet with small servings of greens and sprouts well
chewed, interspersed at two hour intervals with fresh juicy fruits.
After about ten days on "rabbit food," she eased into avocados,
cooked vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and then went home.
As I write this, it is eight years since Kelly's long fast. She
still comes to see me every few years to check out her diet and just
say hello. She has had two more children by a new, and thoroughly
wonderful husband and suckled them both for two years each; her
peaceful rural life centers around this new, happy family and the
big, Organic garden she grows. She religiously takes her life
extension vitamins and keeps her dietary and life-style
indiscretions small and infrequent. She is probably going to live a
I consider Kelly's cluster of organ weaknesses very typical of all
cancers regardless of type or location, as well as being typical of
AIDS and other critical infections by organisms that usually reside
in the human body without causing trouble (called "opportunistic").
All these diseases are varieties of immune system failure. All of
these conditions present a similar pattern of immune system
weaknesses. They all center around what I call the "deadly
triangle," comprised of a weak thymus gland, weak spleen, and a weak
liver. The thymus and spleen form the core of the body's immune
system. The weak liver contributes to a highly toxic system that
further weakens the immune system. To top it off, people with cancer
invariably have a poor ability to digest cooked protein (animal or
vegetable) (usually from a weak pancreas unable to make enough
digestive enzymes) and eat too much of it, giving them a very toxic
colon, and an overloaded lymphatic system.
Whenever I analyze someone with this pattern, especially the entire
deadly triangle, I let the person know that if I had those
particular weaknesses I would consider my survival to be at
immediate risk I'd consider it an emergency situation demanding
vigorous attention. It does not matter if they don't yet have a
tumor, or fibroid, or opportunistic infection; if they don't already
have something of that nature they soon will.
Here's yet another example of why I disapprove of diagnosis. By
giving the condition a name like "lymphoma" or "melanoma", "chronic
fatigue syndrome" "Epstein-Barr syndrome" or "AIDS," "systemic yeast
infection", "hepatitis" or what have, people think the doctor then
understands their disease. But the doctor rarely understands that
all these seemingly different diseases are essentially the same
disease--a toxic body with a dysfunctional immune system. What is
relevant is that a person with the deadly triangle must strengthen
their immune system, and their pancreas, and their liver, and
detoxify their body immediately. If these repairs are accomplished
in time, the condition goes away, whatever its Latin name may have
Now, about some of the adjuncts to Kelly's healing. Let me stress
here that had none of these substances or practices been used, she
probably still would have recovered. Perhaps a bit more slowly.
Perhaps a bit less comfortably. Conversely, had Kelly treated her
cancer with every herb, poultice and vitamin known to man but had
neglected fasting and colonics, she might well have died. It has
been wisely said that intelligence may be defined as the ability to
correctly determine differences, similarities, and importances. I
want my readers to be intelligent about understanding the relative
importances of different hygienic treatment and useful supporting
Echinacea and chaparral leaves, red clover flowers, and fenugreek
seeds are made into medicinal teas that I find very helpful in
detoxification programs, because they all are aggressive blood or
lymph cleansers and boost the immune response. These same teas can
be used to help the body throw off a cold, flu, or other acute
illness but they have a much more powerful effect on a fasting body
than on one that is eating. Echinacea and chaparral are
extraordinarily bitter and may be better accepted if ground up and
encapsulated, or mixed with other teas with pleasant flavors such as
peppermint or lemon grass. These teas should be simmered until they
are at the strongest concentration palatable, drinking three or four
cups of this concentrate a day. If you use echinacea, then chaparral
probably isn't necessary and visa versa. Red clover is another blood
cleanser, perhaps a little less effective but it has a pleasant,
sweet taste and may be better accepted by the squeamish.
If there is lymphatic congestion I always include fenugreek seed tea
brewed at the strength of approximately one tablespoon of seeds to a
quart of water. Expect the tea to be brown, thick and mucilaginous,
with a reasonably pleasant taste reminiscent of maple syrup.
Kelly used poultices of clay and wheat grass pulp on her lumps,
somewhat like the warm castor oil poultices I used on my mother's
arthritic deposits. Poultices not only feel very comforting, but
they have the effect of softening up deposits and tumors so that a
detoxifying, fasting body is more able to re absorb them. Poultices
draw, pulling toxins out through the skin, unburdening the liver.
Clay (freshly-mixed potters clay I purchase from a potters' guild),
mixed with finely chopped or blended young wheat grass (in
emergencies I've even used lawn grasses) makes excellent drawing
poultices. Without clay, I've also used vegetable poultices made of
chopped or blended comfrey leaves, comfrey root, slightly cooked
(barely wilted) cabbage leaves, slightly steamed onion or garlic
(cooked just enough to soften it). These are very effective to
soften tumors, abscesses and ulcers. Aloe poultices are good on
burns. Poultices should be thought of as helpful adjuncts to other,
more powerful healing techniques and not as remedies all by
themselves, except for minor skin problems.
Poultices, to be effective, need to be troweled on half an inch
thick, extending far beyond the effected area, covered with cheese
cloth or rags torn from old cotton sheets so they don't dry out too
fast. Fresh poultices needs to be applied several times daily. They
also need to be left on the body until they do dry. Then poultices
are thrown away, to be followed by another as often as patience will
allow. Do not cover poultices tightly with plastic because if they
don't dry out they won't draw much. The drawing is in the drying.
Sometimes poultices cause a tumor or deposit to be expelled through
the skin rather than being adsorbed, all with rather spectacular pus
and gore. This phenomena is actually beneficial and should be
welcomed because anytime the body can push toxins out through the
skin, the burden on the organs of elimination are lessened.
Wheat grass juice has a powerful anti-tumor effect, is very
perishable, is laborious to make, but is worth the effort because it
contains powerful enzymes and nutrients that help detoxify and heal
when taken internally or applied to the skin. As a last resort with
dying patients who can no longer digest anything taken by mouth I've
implanted wheat grass juice rectally (in a cleansed colon). Some of
them haven't died. You probably can't buy wheat grass juice that
retains much medicinal effect because it needs to be very fresh and
should be drunk within minutes of squeezing. Chilled sharply and
immediately after squeezing it might maintain some potency for an
hour or two. Extracting juice from grass takes a special press that
resembles a meat grinder.
The wheat is grown in transplant or seedling trays in bright light.
I know someone who uses old plastic cafeteria trays for this. The
seed is soaked overnight, spread densely atop a tray, covered
shallowly with fine soil, kept moist but not soggy. When the grass
is about four inches high, begin harvesting by cutting off the
leaves with a scissors and juicing them. If the tray contains
several inches of soil you usually get a second cutting of leaves.
You need to start a new tray every few days; one tray can be cut for
three or four days. (Kulvinskas, 1975)
More wheat grass juice is not better than just enough; three ounces
a day is plenty! It is a very powerful substance! The flavor of
wheat grass juice is so intense that some people have to mix it with
carrot juice to get it down. DO NOT OVERUSE. The energizing effects
of wheat grass can be so powerful that some people make a regular
practice of drinking it. However, I've seen many people who use
wheat grass juice as a tonic become allergic to it much as
antibiotic dependent people do to antibiotics. Better to save wheat
grass for emergencies.
I also have treated my own breast cancers--twice. The first time I
was only 23 years old. One night I noticed that it hurt to sleep the
way I usually did on my left side because there was a hard lump in
my left breast. It was quite large--about the size of a goose egg.
Having just completed RN training two years prior, I had been well
brain washed about my poor prognosis and knew exactly what requisite
actions must taken.
I scheduled a biopsy under anesthetic, so that if the tumor was
malignant they could proceed to full mastectomy without delay. I was
ignorant of any alternative course of action at the time.
I might add that before I grew my first tumor I had been consuming
large amounts of red meat in a mistaken understanding gained in
nursing school that a good diet contained large amounts of animal
protein. In addition to the stress of being a full time psychology
graduate student existing on a very low budget, I was experiencing I
very frustrating relationship with a young man that left me
constantly off center and confused.
A biopsy was promptly performed. The university hospital's SOP
required that three pathologists make an independent decision about
the nature of a tumor before proceeding with radical surgery. Two of
the pathologist agreed that my tumor was malignant, which
represented the required majority vote. But the surgeon removed only
the lump, which he said was well encapsulated and for some reason
did not proceed with a radical mastectomy. These days many surgeons
routinely limit themselves to lumpectomies.
I never did find out why I awakened from general anesthetic with two
breasts, but I have since supposed that due to my tender age the
surgeon was reluctant to disfigure me without at least asking me for
permission, or giving me some time to prepare psychologically. When
I came out of anesthesia he told me that the lump was malignant, and
that he had removed it, and that he needed to do a radical
mastectomy to improve my prognosis over the next few years. He asked
me to think it over, but he signed me up on his surgery list for the
I did think it over and found I was profoundly annoyed at the idea
of being treated like I was just a statistic, so I decided that I
would be unique. I made a firm decision that I would be well and
stay well--and I was for the next fifteen years. The decision healed
When I was 37 I had a recurrence. At the time I had in residence
Ethyl and Marge, the two far-gone breast cancer cases I already told
you about. I also had in residence a young woman with a breast tumor
who had not undergone any medical treatment, not even a lumpectomy.
(I will relate her case in detail shortly.) I was too identified
emotionally with helping these three, overly-empathetic due to my
own history. I found myself taking on their symptoms and their pain.
I went so far into sympathy as to grow back my tumor--just as it had
the first time--a lump mushroomed from nothing to the size of a goose
egg in only three weeks in exactly the same place as the first one.
Just out of curiosity I went in for a needle biopsy. Once again it
was judged to be malignant, and I got the same pressure from the
surgeon for immediate surgery. This time, however, I had an
alternative system of healing that I believed in. So I went home,
continued to care for my very sick residents, and began to work on
The first thing I had to confront about myself was that I was being
a compassionate fool. I needed to learn how to maintain my own
personal boundaries, and clearly delineate what stuff in my mind and
my body was really mine and what was another's. I needed to apply
certain mental techniques of self-protection known to and practiced
by many healers. I knew beyond doubt that I had developed
sympathetic breast cancer because a similar phenomena had happened
to me before. Once, when I had previously been working on a person
with very severe back pain with hands-on techniques, I suddenly had
the pain, and the client was totally free of it. So I protected
myself when working with sick people. I would wash my hands and arms
thoroughly with cold water, or with water and vinegar after contact.
I would shake off their "energy," have a cold shower, walk bare foot
on the grass, and visualize myself well with intact boundaries.
These prophylaxes had been working for me, but I was particularly
vulnerable to people with breast cancer.
I also began detoxification dieting, took more supplements, and used
acupressure and reflexology as my main lines of attack. My healing
diet consisted of raw food exclusively. I allowed myself fruits (not
sweet fruits) and vegetables (including a lot of raw cabbage because
vegetables in the cabbage family such as cauliflower and broccoli
are known to have a healing effect on cancer), raw almonds, raw
apricot kernels, and some sprouted grains and legumes. I drank
diluted carrot juice, and a chlorophyll drink made up of wheat grass
and barley green and aloe vera juice. I took echinaechia, red
clover, and fenugreek seeds. I worked all the acupuncture points on
my body that strengthen the immune system, including the thymus
gland, lymph nodes, and spleen. I also worked the meridians, and
reflex points for the liver, and large intestine. I massaged the
breast along the natural lines of lymphatic drainage from the area.
Last, and of great importance, I knew that the treatment would work,
and that the tumor would quickly disappear. It did vanish totally in
three months. It would have gone away quicker if I had water fasted,
but I was unable to do this because I needed physical strength to
care for my resident patients and family.
Eighteen years have passed since that episode, and I have had no
further reappearance of breast tumors. At age 55 I still have all my
body parts, and have had no surgery except the original lumpectomy.
Many, viewing my muscles and athletic performance, would say my
health is exceptional but I know my own frailties and make sure I do
not aggravate them. I still have exactly the same organ deficiencies
as other cancer patients and must keep a very short leash on my
If for some reason I wanted to make my life very short, all I would
have to do would be to abandon my diet, stop taking supplements, eat
red meat and ice cream every day and be unhappy about something.
Incidentally, I have had many residential clients with breast cancer
since then, and have not taken on their symptoms, so I can assume
that I have safely passed that hurdle.
I've helped dozens of cases of simple breast cancer where my
treatment began before the cancer broadly spread. Kelly's case was
not the easiest of this group, nor the hardest. Sometimes there was
lymphatic involvement that the medical doctors had not yet treated
in any way. All but one of my early-onset breast cancer cases
recovered. I believe those are far better results than achieved by
Before I crow too much, let me stress that every one of these women
was a good candidate for recovery--under 40 years old, ambulatory and
did not feel very sick. And most importantly, every one of them had
received no other debilitating medical treatment except a needle
biopsy or simple lumpectomy. None of these women had old tumors
(known about for more than six months) and none of the tumors were
enormous (nothing larger than a walnut).
Clearly, this group is not representative of the average breast
cancer case. Hygienic therapy for cancer is a radical idea these
days and tends to attract younger people, or older, desperate people
who have already been through the works. In every one of my simple
cases the tumors were reabsorbed by the body during the thirty days
of water fasting and the client left happy.
Except one. I think I should describe this unsuccessful case, this
"dirty case," so my readers get a more balanced idea of how fearsome
cancer really isn't if the sick person can clearly resolve to get
better and has no problem about achieving wellness.
Marie was an artisan and musician from Seattle who grew up back East
in an upper-middle class dysfunctional family. She was in her late
twenties. She had been sexually abused by an older brother, was
highly reactive, and had never been able to communicate honestly
with anyone except her lesbian lover (maybe, about some things).
Three years prior to coming to see me Marie had been medically
diagnosed as having breast cancer and had been advised to have
immediate surgery. She ignored this advice; Marie never told her
friends, said nothing to her family and tried to conceal it from her
lover because she did not want to disrupt their life together.
On her own, she did begin eating a Macrobiotic diet. In spite of
this diet, the tumor grew, but grew very slowly. After two years the
tumor was discovered by her lover, who after a year of exhausting
and upsetting arguments, forced Marie to seek treatment. Since Marie
adamantly refused to go the conventional medical route, she ended up
on my doorstep as a compromise.
By this time the tumor was the size of a fist and had broken through
the skin of the left breast. It was very ugly, very hard.
Biokinesiology showed the usual deadly triangle and other associated
organ weakneses typical of cancer. Marie began fasting on water with
colonics and poultices and bodywork and counseling and supplements.
At the end of the water fast, Marie looked much healthier, with
clear eyes and clear skin and had a sort of shine about her, but the
tumor had only receded enough for the skin to close over it; it was
still large, and very hard. To fully heal, Marie probably needed at
least two more water fasts of equal length interspersed with a few
months on a raw food diet. But she lacked the personal toughness to
confront another fast in the near future. Nor was she emotionally up
to what she regarded as the deprivation of a long-term raw foods
So I advised her to seek other treatment. Still unwilling to accept
standard medical management of her case, Marie chose to go to the
Philippines to have "psychic surgery." She was excited and
optimistic about this; I was interested myself because I was dubious
about this magical procedure; if Marie went I would have a chance to
see the results (if any) on a person I was very familiar with. Marie
had her tickets and was due to leave in days when her lover, against
Marie's directly-stated wishes, called her parents and informed them
of what was happening.
The parents had known nothing of Marie's cancer and were shocked,
upset, outraged! They had not known Marie was a lesbian, much less
that their daughter was flirting with (from their view) obvious
quackery. Their daughter needed immediate saving and her parents and
brother (the one who had abused her) flew to Oregon and surprisingly
appeared the next day in a state of violent rage. They threatened
lawsuits, police, incarceration, they threatened to have their
daughter civilly committed as unable to take care of herself. They
thought everything Marie had done for the last three years was my
fault. I was lucky to stay out of jail. Of course, all of this was
why Marie had not told them in the first place; she had wanted to
avoid this kind of a scene.
Marie did not have enough personal integrity to withstand the
domination of her immediate family. They put her in a hospital,
where Marie had a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
Assured that they had done everything that should have been done,
the self-righteous parents went back home. Marie never recovered
from chemotherapy and radiation. She died in the hospital surrounded
by her lesbian friends who took dedicated, ever-so-sympathetic turns
maintaining an emotional round-the-clock vigil.
Marie's death was partly my fault. She was an early case of mine. At
the time I did not yet understand the total effect of lack of ethics
and irresponsibility on illness. Had Marie really wanted to live in
the first place, she would have sought treatment three years
earlier. In our counseling sessions she always evaded this question
and I had not been wise enough to pin her down with my knee on her
chest and make her answer up. Marie had too many secrets from
everybody and was never fully honest in any of her relationships,
including with me. I think she only came to Great Oaks at her
lover's insistence and to the day she died was trying to pretend
that nothing was wrong.
All Marie really wanted from her life was to be loved and have a lot
of loving attention. In the end, her dramatic death scene gave her
that, which is probably why she manifested cancer and kept it and
eventually, died from it.
The name for this game is "secondary gain." A lot of sick people are
playing it. Their illness lets them win their deepest desire; they
get love, attention, revenge, sympathy, complete service, pampering,
create guilt in others. When sick people receive too much secondary
gain they never get well.
One of the hardest things about being a healer is that one
accumulates an ever-enlarging series of dirty, failed cases like
this one. It is depressing and makes a person want to quit
doctoring. Whenever I get involved with a case I really want them to
get better. My life is put entirely out of joint for several months
dealing with a residential faster. My schedule is disrupted; my
family life suffers; my personal health suffers. No amount of mere
money could pay for this. And then some of these people go and waste
all my help to accomplish some discreditable secret agenda that they
have never really admitted to themselves or others.
Next: Constant Complaints