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Since the day I crawled out of that hospital, I have led my own healing. I started out wanting everyone to do it for me, I was scared and just wanted to stay alive. But what those doctors did felt toxic, and didn’t promise a good survival rate. I knew there had to be a better way. And living a macrobiotic lifestyle was a great transition for me. But it wasn’t enough. Because the diet was so strict, I was still a little underweight and my color wasn’t the best. I knew it was time to leave the Kushi Institute, and go a new direction on my healing path.
I headed out West to Breckenridge, Colorado, where I had a house I needed to fix up and sell. I walked in the mountains nearly every day, up to 20 miles some days. It was like a vision quest, I was searching for direction. I spent a lot of time by myself. The only people I knew in town were the health food store owner (because I went there almost daily) and the real estate agent. I had to go a few hours away to Boulder each week, so I could get the food I needed. The isolation wasn’t good for me though, so when the house sold I moved back to the East coast. It felt like I had unfinished business there.
I moved to New Jersey, to live with and work as a macrobiotic cook for a friend who owned a few health food stores. I had owned convenience stores in the past and wanted to learn the health food store business. After I had been there a few months, my friend started talking to me about a nutritionist he was seeing. He was driving several hours away, to the Berkshires, just to see her. He talked about how interesting and cutting edge she was. She had just written her first book and he brought it home and shared it with me. He was so passionate about what he was learning, he even paid my way to a seminar she was giving, about intestinal parasites and detoxification.
Ann Louise Gittleman was a dynamic speaker who drew a big crowd. She was interesting and very informative. I hadn’t considered the possibility of parasites before. But as she talked I realized I could’ve had exposure. I’d made trips to Mexico, had plenty of pets, raised farm animals, had my hands in the dirt, drank questionable water in the mountains, and ate a lot of raw foods like salads. I introduced myself to her afterward and complemented her on the lecture, and shared some of my cancer story. I asked her if it was possible I had parasites, and she told me it was not only a possibility but a probability. By the look on my face, she thought she had offended me, but it was such a revelation to me I was just in shock. She recommended I see a world renowned Parasitologist from Colombia who lived in New York, and offered to come with me.
I’m careful to research everything I do, and if it feels right in my gut, then I go ahead and do it. I didn’t want to just try several different things to see if they work, I looked for knowledgeable, experienced sources to guide me to the next step. So Ann Louise and I travelled to New York.
Dr. Hermann Bueno was one of the world’s most experienced Parasitologists from the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in London. I asked him what I had asked Ann Louise, and he said he’d never met a cancer patient who didn’t have parasites. He also said all animal lovers have parasites, and there was a strong relationship between the severe food poisoning I had and the Stage IV Melanoma cancer I was diagnosed with shortly afterward. He did a tissue swab, and had a teaching microscope, so we could both look at the same time. He identified giardia lamblia, entamoeba histolytica, ascaris lumbricoides, and more. Amoebas and worms! I started squirming in my seat, and felt like everything was crawling around in my body.
He gave me a full protocol with antiparasitic herbs, because in his experience the medications only offered short-term relief. I felt terrible on these herbs. I was nauseous, tired, and felt like someone was hitting me in the head with a ball peen hammer every few minutes. Dr. Bueno reduced the dose, but I still had the same symptoms. Ann Louise helped me transition to a gentler herbal program. I felt so much better, more balanced. I started reading and studying and added raw pumpkin seeds and mugwort tea. I knew I was having results because of what I was seeing in the bathroom. And sure enough, 3 months later when I went back to Dr. Bueno, he found no more parasites.
I spent a year in New Jersey, living only 2.5 miles from a nuclear facility. I didn’t feel as well living there, often flu-like and achy. I went on weekend hikes in the mountains with the Appalachian Trail group, and felt so much better up in the Catskills. But the symptoms would come back after a couple of days in New Jersey. My friend and his significant other decided it was time to leave New Jersey and leased a large house in the Berkshires. He offered me room and board and a small salary to move with them and be their cook. So I moved with them to Stockbridge, MA.
It wasn’t long before we had a new roommate. Ann Louise needed a short term rental, and she moved in right across the hall from me. We went walking together, talked while I cooked, and got to know each other as friends. And there was never a dull moment. I found her fascinating, she was unlike anyone I had ever met. I believed in her. And as it turns out, the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach. Our friendship grew deeper and we soon became an inseparable couple.
I’ve been honored to share my life with Ann Louise for the past 26 years. And the knowledge she gave me at that point in my life helped ignite a fire in me to help others with what I had learned. We knew it was time for change again, and we moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico to start the next chapter of our lives – together.