As I waited for my doctor in the recovery room, I wondered what the lumpectomy would reveal. He entered the room to tell my husband and me the bad news. Cancer had been discovered. My mind raced back to 1986, when I was first introduced to macrobiotics by a friend of mine who had given me a book on the subject. After reading that book I knew that one day I would become macrobiotic. It wasn’t, however, until the summer of 1998, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I made the commitment to finally give up the decadent eating lifestyle that I had become accustomed to and turn my life, literally, over to macrobiotics.
The doctor recommended chemo, radiation and a double mastectomy because of my family history, “just to be on the safe side.” He didn’t take into consideration that the tumor was only 1.2 centimeters, a Stage 1 tumor, with positive estrogen receptors, and my lymph nodes were negative. When I heard all of this, I knew it was time to take things into my own hands. I went to see two more doctors to get other opinions. I still wasn’t comfortable considering the size of my tumor and the condition of my breast. I went back to my original surgeon and announced that I was going to go up to the Kushi Way To Health class and I would be changing my diet. He looked at me as if I had three heads. He told me very precisely and very slowly … “Don’t Be Stupid.” I assured him I would not. We had a stare down for a moment and he finally told me that it would be OK as long as he was able to monitor me every three months. I told him he had a deal and off I went onto my new lifestyle.
I went up to the Kushi Institute’s Way To Health week and devoured every piece of information I could get my hands on. I had a consultation with Wendy Esko. She informed me that I still had cancer cells in my body and I needed to be on a healing diet until I was completely cancer-free. She also told me that my right ovary was blocked. I was 42 years old and had never been pregnant and my husband and I never really used any birth control, so that made sense to me. She told me that this blockage related to my breast cancer. After one week at KI, I came home to begin my healing. No more dairy, sugar or caffeine. The biggest contributing factors to breast cancer.
My first step was to clean out my kitchen cabinets. I basically threw out every food item I had in the house. I also exchanged my beautiful aluminum-coated Calphalon cookware for a stainless steel set of All-Clad pots and pans. I converted my electric stove over to a gas one. I went to my local Whole Foods and loaded up my cabinets and refrigerator shelves. I was on my way. I was on a very narrow diet and I began to feel great and lose a lot of weight. Within two months I had lost about 20 pounds which put my 5’7” frame at 108 pounds. I looked really scary. I called Wendy and asked for help. Even though I felt great, I didn’t look so healthy. I had to flush my system before building it back up. She began to add foods to my diet. We added pastas and some oil and some fish and I began to gain weight. When I went back to my doctor for my blood tests to monitor my tumor markers, he was impressed. He told me he had never seen such low numbers on these tests before. My cholesterol was at 101, my blood pressure was 90 over 60 and my blood sugar was in the 80’s. He was satisfied that I was doing something right.
In February of 2001, I participated in a group consultation with Michio Kushi and asked him if I could get pregnant and he told me that I would have a baby between the ages of 42-49. I didn’t know it, but I was pregnant at that time. I gave birth to a very healthy baby girl when I was 45 1/2 years old. I am very proud to say that I had her naturally with no drugs at all and I am still nursing her at 18 months old with the two breasts that my doctor wanted to cut off “just to be on the safe side.”
The gifts that I have received because of my macrobiotic lifestyle have reached far beyond my expectations. I no longer get the violent headaches that I had become used to or the severe stomach pains after eating. I would get such severe cramps that I would be doubled over for hours and then I couldn’t function after that because I would be so drained. My menstrual cramps are nonexistent as well after 30 years of crippling pain.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that diet plays a huge part on the disease and pains that our body encounters throughout our lives. I am a living example, as are many others, that if we live a clean life without eating or drinking chemicals, toxins, additives or preservatives that we can eradicate most of what ails our society. Many diseases would not exist if we did not overeat and eat the wrong types of items that our society chooses to call food.
Oh, and that friend of mine, who introduced me to macrobiotics, who ultimately saved my life, is now the father of our beautiful baby and my very supportive and wonderful husband.