Learn how one brave woman combined meditation, diet, and medicine to fight an aggressive cancer.
By Dr. Ted Nawalinski
A Holistic Approach to a Diagnosis of Cancer
In November, 2018, my sister-in-law, Maureen, finally got the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. For years she had ignored the chronic pancreatitis that had plagued her digestive system and was already half-expecting the worst when the results of second-opinion tests were read.
A CT scan showed a third-stage, 4 cm, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with close encasement of the confluence of blood vessels at the head of the pancreas. Surgery was out of the question because of the high probability of damaging the major blood vessels.
For some weeks before her treatment started and during chemotherapy, she adhered strictly to a dietary regimen of known anti-cancer foods. Not all of these had statistically significant cure rates from large, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind studies as one would have hoped, but all had better than anectodal and single-case-study credentials. I researched many food-sourced therapies through the US NIH database at PubMed (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) and the best ones were selected to supplement the mainstream Western therapies.
Maureen went through two rounds of a first-order, older drug called gemcitabine. This is a relatively mild agent and is used nowadays in combination with newer drugs, but its side effects are less severe so the oncologist agreed with Maureen’s request for less chemo distress and used this older drug twice, about four weeks apart.
A subsequent CT scan several weeks later showed remarkable shrinkage of the tumor from 4 cm to 2.3 cm, and, most importantly, it had retracted from its close adhesion to the major blood vessels. Surgery had now become possible, and the tumor was removed in late January, 2019, in a ten-hour operation that included replacing 11 units of lost blood.
The surgeons found no evidence of metastasis. This was a rarely-seen progression of events involving a dreaded disease with single-digit survival rates. As of now, five months later, her scans are clear but we cannot say that she is fully clear of danger and she’ll undergo follow-up chemotherapy as is standard procedure to attack any residual populations of cancerous cells.
We’ll never know what in particular was responsible for this fortuitous outcome. Most likely, it was the combination of all of what we could glean from various disciplines of standard and alternative and traditional healing modalities. This integrated medical approach consisted of:
Multi-Disciplinary Medical Approach
- The skill of the three Filipino oncologists and surgeons must be acknowledged. This was Western medicine in its strength. They labored through a very difficult operation and had to pause for hours to stabilize her after massive bleeding put her at serious risk of death;
- Strengthening and enlisting the body’s natural defenses was the first priority and for that she eliminated animal products and sugar to reduce their inflammatory processes;
- Friends with good knowledge of Chinese medicine led me to a cultured probiotic product (“RiceJogurt”) to support the natural immunotherapy of the body’s microbiome. This cultured food had been researched and prepared for us by an oncologist in California (Dr. Qianwei Tan), who had success with it as an adjunct therapy for her own chemo patients;
Energy and Mind Mastery
- I sent a set of guided meditation CDs (1. Five Elements, 2. Yin Yang Harmony, 3. Three Treasures Healing) to the Philippines so Maureen could tap into her innate healing power;
- During the day she meditated to the guided sets on the CD, alternating among the three different sessions.
- Using techniques of external Qi healing, I meditated concurrently with her daily – 6 AM here = 7 PM there – and pictured as vividly as I could the shrinkage of her tumor, bathing it with my arsenal of chemical weapons, talking to it and making it clear that its foul presence was not welcome.
Healthy Food Choices
- Flax seeds for their lignans’ ability to block the inflammatory effects of interleukin-1;
- Oatmeal and Nutritional Yeast beta glucans promote immune activity of Natural Killer Cells;
- Maitake mushroom extract, specifically Mushroom Wisdom Fraction D Pro 4x, for proven anti-cancer therapy;
- (Not used but recommended for consideration are Cordyceps extract and Reishi extract; both are fungi with long traditional use for their anti-cancer properties);
- Fresh mushrooms, especially common white button mushrooms, as daily anticancer additions to her diet;
- Broccoli sprouts, shown by Johns Hopkins researchers to work against cancer in large Chinese trials;
- Between-meal snacks of berries and other deeply-colored fruits with anthocyanins;
- Daily salads of dark leafy greens, the healthiest foods on the planet;
There are, no doubt, other foods that could have been added to this list but there was a danger in overwhelming the debilitated patient with too many choices to fill an appetite shrunk, and tastes altered, by the harsh medications.
Probably the most helpful weapon in this arsenal was Maureen’s attitude, encouraged by her knowing she had support across the globe, with relatives here in the USA and a multitude of friends and family in the Philippines who filled her hospital room daily with gifts of food and laughter.
Modern medicine will continue to work miracles and we should rightly seek it out when the rare acute situation occurs. But its dominant presence in most of our lives shrouds the truth that prevention is the best cure. All of the chronic diseases that plague our 21st Century lives are preventable or curable with a plant-based diet.
Even conservative estimates put the causes of cancer at 75%-90% environmental. We know DNA mutations occur thousands of times daily as our cells divide; enzyme systems catch and repair almost all of these. The few that get by this first line defense are almost all killed by our immune system. So that one-cell-in-some-millions that escapes becomes a cancer cell, which will likely be caught by the antioxidants in that salad you had for lunch or the mushroom sauté in olive oil at dinner.
Cancer has an incubation period of years and decades. We should start now to promote a healthy gut flora and boost energy levels so that, like Maureen, we have an edge before its too late.