James Talks: Surviving Cancer, Part 3
Read the Introduction here.
Read Part 2 here.
Healing In Community
I felt alive again, better than I had in my whole life. Macrobiotics really turned things around for me and set me on the path of natural healing. But I was lonely, and I wanted to be around others living a lifestyle like mine.
I read a book written by Anthony J. Sattilaro, MD. He was a doctor from Philadelphia, CEO of a hospital, who wrote about his healing from an extremely aggressive form of prostate cancer. His story started with driving down the road and picking up 2 hippie hitchhikers on an impulse, just because he wanted someone to talk with. He told them he was dying of cancer. These hitchhikers told him about macrobiotics and a local center, and convinced him to go there. To make a long story short, he went there, followed the lifestyle and diet advice, and got well. I decided to sign up for a week long residential seminar at the Kushi Institute in western Massachusetts, which was founded by Michio Kushi, who is considered the father of macrobiotics in America.
Felt Like Home
It was the best week of my life. There were about 20 people attending that seminar, many with cancer. The attitude there was so positive, not one bit fearful of cancer. It gave me hope, and I was excited to be a part of it. The week was filled with a lot of classes about macrobiotics and cooking. We all spent a lot of time together, and it felt good to not be alone.
I went home and decided I didn’t want to live my lonely lifestyle anymore. I found out a man named Alex Jack, who was one of the main writers about macrobiotics at the time, lived in the same city I did. I met him, and his wife, and instantly felt a connection. It wasn’t long before we became very close, like family, and even shared meals daily.
Changes came to the Kushi Institute, and Alex accepted a position as General Manager there. He encouraged me to come up there, too. After some deep thought, and even though I had a job and a good life where I was in Dallas, I decided the best way to take care of myself was to go where I had gotten the most support. I accepted a work internship at the Kushi Institute in Becket, Massachusetts, and my lifestyle changed dramatically.
Jumping In With Both Feet
Washing dishes, hauling firewood, providing transportation for guests, I did whatever it took to earn my room and board. Do you remember the beginning of my story, where I mentioned owning a few businesses and being well on my way to earning my first million? Well, this new lifestyle was about as far from that as you can get. And I was having the time of my life!
I was excited to be there and jumped in with both feet, helping out as much as I could. By then I felt strong and had returned to a healthier weight. I became Operations Manager for this 600 acre facility. Walking helped my leg, so when I wasn’t working, I took long walks in any weather – even barefoot in the snow. I practiced intense kundalini yoga at 5:30 in the morning, hiked the Appalachian Trail, and skied both downhill and cross country. I either slept on a futon on the floor or on the earth in a tent. I continued to eat very healthy, chewed each mouthful of food 180 times, and kept on the high dose Vitamin C.
My motto was “If it doesn’t work for me, it won’t work for anybody.” I became stronger and stronger as time went on. It truly felt like a miracle. I shared my story to inspire others at the Institute whenever I got the chance.
I saw a local doctor who practiced anthroposophical medicine, which combines mainstream Western medicine with homeopathy, herbs and spiritual insight. I did mistletoe injections (Iscador) into my spleen area for a year. He did blood tests and confirmed my health was good. I had confidence in him and the testing he did, and chose not to return to the oncologist, because I had felt so much negativity there.
This doctor said the reason I got sick was because my body and spirit separated. I worked on my emotional, psychological and spiritual body. I focused on meditation and visualization techniques to open up spiritually. And I felt whole, and knew this was healed as well.
The Next Chapter
It’s so important to reconnect with ourselves physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Coming together with a healing community on the same path, even if it’s just a few folks, is another key to healing from this devastating illness.
I spent several years at the Kushi Institute, until a deep feeling inside told me it was time to leave. My journey was changing for me to grow spiritually and financially out on my own. And I would soon meet the woman who has been the love of my life for the past 26 years – Ann Louise Gittleman.