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‘I am learning to live with the tumour in peace’

‘What is the number one thing you would recommend?’ is something Mum has been asked many times since her diagnosis.

‘Is it high dose Vitamin C?’ ‘Should I invest in a juicer?’ ‘What about Mistletoe?’ friends and fellow cancer-travellers ask, desperate to be told there is one simple answer to staying cancer free. Unfortunately, there is not.

Cancer is a multifactorial condition, requiring a whole-body approach to getting well.  In the year and half since Mum’s diagnosis she has tried many different treatments, supplements and emotional healing techniques to shore up her immune system and put her body back in recovery mode.

Some things – like Haelan, infrared saunas and coffee enemas – she has stuck with, after listening to her body and realising they made her feel so much better. Other therapies, like Laetrile, didn’t sit well with her – but that’s not to say they haven’t saved countless other lives.

While there is no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ cancer recovery plan, there is, nonetheless, wisdom to be gained from every patient who has walked the path to wellness.

And with that…. I give you Lee Gefen: fellow blogger, green-juice lover and alternative cancer explorer. Here is her inspiring story, in her own words:

‘In February 2011 I was diagnosed with a large and rare tumour inside my spinal cord, at the base of the brain (Astrocytoma C1-C3).

I was 32 years young, health conscious (or so I thought I was) but for a number of years I was letting the routine and busyness of life stop me from pursuing my lifelong interest in spirituality and self-development.

I had no idea at the time what a profound transformation and healing this tumour would bring into my life.

When I started having symptoms a few weeks prior, I had a feeling that something wasn’t right so following my intuition I went and had an MRI in a private clinic.

One hour and a few hundred dollars later, I got the phone call with the dreaded news.

Interestingly, in the weeks before I was diagnosed, I decided to make big changes to my diet, going from a vegetarian diet of 16 years to a vegan plant based and mainly raw diet.

I was also introduced then to the pH Miracle book by Dr. Robert Young, a book that I now refer to as my ‘alkaline bible’

His approach challenged everything I thought I knew about nutrition and health and I started transitioning into the pH Miracle program as soon as I was diagnosed.

It made sense to me that any dis-ease in the body is an indicator of an internal imbalance caused by an over acidic, oxygen depleted environment. It also made sense that the tumour was formed in a desperate attempt to encapsulate these acids in order to protect vital organs.

I learned for the first time that the tumour is not the problem; it is a symptom indicating a need for a change in diet, lifestyle, thinking, spiritual and emotional health.

My first consultation with a Neurosurgeon was pretty gloomy- an urgent surgery was required, however there was no knowing if I would be able to walk or how much function I would have after surgery.

I felt like I was caught between a rock and a hard place.

It was on that day that I came across another wonderful book –You Can Conquer Cancer, by Ian Gawler. Back in the 70’s Ian was diagnosed with an incurable bone cancer, yet he managed to heal using a holistic integrative approach, implementing lifestyle and dietary changes.

His book gave me a real sense of hope and resonated with me so much that the next day I packed a bag, said a teary goodbye to my partner, Dave, and was on my way to a 10-day residential retreat run by the Gawler Foundation for people diagnosed with cancer.

I can’t speak highly enough about the support and all the skills I have gained there to assist in my healing, including meditation, emotional healing, positive thinking, nutrition and guided imagery.

Being the ‘difficult patient’ that I was (highly recommended for anyone diagnosed with a chronic illness!), I then had consultations with other Neurosurgeons and all confirmed the urgency of the situation.

So I made a difficult decision to go overseas to have surgery with the most expert neurosurgeon in this field. This decision couldn’t have been actualised without the incredible support of my partner, family, friends and whole communities, making this option viable through donations, assistance and care.

Surgery was a big ordeal and rehabilitation took months.

The bad news was that none of the tumour could be removed in surgery without causing me quadriplegia so the tumour remained untouched.

The good news was that surgery did alleviate the pressure in my spine, which means the sense of urgency is gone for now, as long as the tumour doesn’t grow.

The medical view is that my tumour will grow. How long it will take it to grow is unknown. I hope I can ‘prove’ otherwise.

I am now living with chronic neuropathic pain and loss of some function in my left arm and neck BUT I am grateful to be alive and walking and to have the time to focus on healing!

In a way, having an inoperable tumour, made it easier for me to embrace an alternative route of healing.

I have a strong sense that the body has a huge capacity to heal itself, if given the right environment.

I have embarked on my own healing journey working on all areas, which in my opinion are all interconnected and have tremendous importance- body, mind, emotions and spirit.

I am meditating daily, doing yoga, walking, reflecting, using guided imagery, spending time in nature, writing and generally ‘stepping out of the way’ and letting my body do what it knows best.

Laughing and having fun along the way are key!

Diet is still a big focus for me.  I am following the pH Miracle program and I have never felt or looked so healthy in my life!

I no longer feel like the tumour is threatening me, or invading me or that I have to fight it. I am learning to live with it in peace, whilst doing everything I can to treat what caused it in the first place.

It has been the most incredible life-changing journey for me and I think any illness carries with it the potential for transformation and growth.’

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