Uterine Cancer Recovery
by Gladys Abeashie

At the end of March, 1989, after several months of noticeable decreasing strength and loss of weight, I was diagnosed by my doctor in Ghana as having uterine tumors around the cervical and fallopian areas. I had suffered menstrual difficulties and infections and was terrified by this abnormal situation. I told the gynecologist that I was psychologically upset and emotionally unstable. "Whatever you find, I want you to tell me," I insisted. He agreed and recognized that I am the kind of person who must know the score to feel in control, or at least understand the situation. He kept his word.

In view of how the tumor was beginning to block the entrance from the vulva, I was in danger of starving. The doctors hoped to remove the tumor surgically, but this was not possible because it was associated with major vital organs. The surgeon/gynecologist and pathologist rerouted the abdominal and lower G.I. tract around the tumors to allow me to absorb food. He emphasized that this was not a cure. He indicated softly and gently that I would not survive and also informed my husband that I had only had a few weeks or months to live.

The only Savior was God. The average survival time after diagnosis of uterine cancer is four to six months. So when I came home it was to die.

Then one day my husband and Dr. Ofei brought home a newsletter called One Peaceful World dedicated to "Macrobiotics for Personal and Planetary Health." There was much information and inspiration on how to recover from any form of disease--how to maintain hope and use food as medicine. Dr. Ofei told me much about the macrobiotic diet and how he uses it to help his former clients overcome lots of life failures. My husband and I went to his home office- the Macrobiotic Center of Legon -where he counseled us. There were so many people there including young ones and breast-feeding mothers. We were initially disbelieving, but a similar close associate had been helped in a case of profuse bleeding. Our attitude was that it would be better to do something than nothing.

Dr. Ofei recommended a restricted diet tailored to my needs and later, after a couple of months, increased the number of foods I could eat. The diet suited me very well, particularly in giving me strength through brown rice and greens. I found the cereal I had every morning for breakfast sustaining. Eventually eleven months after the operation, I was able once again to rejoin my group and do more exercises.

My physicians and other paramedical were amazed that I have survived now for five years and am in good health. This is not what the medical textbooks indicate. They say that the survival rate for all forms of undetected uterine cancer is 0.8 percent.

I am very much indebted and grateful to Michio Kushi, Alex Jack, and Dr. Ofei and think that because of the macrobiotic diet, my general health has been so good that my own system has managed to prevent any secondary appearing in the bowels.

Sometimes members of the village communities in my country ask me how I would eat if I were totally healed tomorrow. My only answer is that Father God works through One Peaceful World, Michio Kushi, Alex Jack, and Dr. Ofei. I tell them I will continue to eat macrobiotically because, having learned to cook in this way, I find it delicious as well as health-giving.

At the time of writing this report to you, our members have gone to a camp meeting and all greet you from my church at Jasmen.
This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/
Breast Cyst Recovery
by Marlene Barrera

For several months, I had felt the desire to have my breasts checked for possible cysts or tumors, but not wanting to expose myself to radiation, I was reluctant to undergo a standard mammogram. In January 1995, after returning from a spiritually oriented trip to India, my intuition continued to tell me that I needed a medical checkup.

On this occasion, a local naturopath offered me the opportunity of undergoing a thermogram, a heat sensing technique which detects densities within the body such as tumors and cysts. This process is regarded by many clinicians as superior to the mammogram due to its capacity for detecting growths at very early stages.

The thermogram indicated a cyst in my left breast and two others forming in my right breast. The naturopath who performed the process was particularly concerned with the growth on the left breast, which appeared to be a serious health problem. I am in my late-30s and like most women my age worried about cancer. Although he recommended a treatment based on herbal supplements, I decided to investigate other forms of healing. A close friend suggested a local doctor of Oriental medicine who had success treating cancer patients. His confidence and gentleness with me during a telephone interview assured me that he was the right person to help me heal.

On my initial visit to Dr. Takamatsu, he mentioned that I needed to remove all dairy products from my diet. He stood quietly and looked at me squarely in the eyes as if to see if I could or would reconcile this change in my lifestyle. Since I became a vegetarian, most of my protein was derived from dairy products. I was particularly fond of yogurt and cheese. My desire was to heal, and without hesitation I replied, "Yes." Then almost in the same breath, I asked, "What about sugar?" Don't ask me what possessed me to ask that question, especially since at this point I had no notion of macrobiotics. "No, sugar," he replied. On the treatment sheet he provided an explanation of the macrobiotic diet and a strong encouragement to follow this regime in order to hasten the healing process.

Nature seemed to take me under her wing, for within a few days I discovered The Cancer Prevention Diet by Michio Kushi and a local macrobiotic restaurant. Several weeks later, I met Edward Esko, a teacher and counselor at the Kushi Institute in Becket, Mass., who was giving a lecture at this same restaurant and I arranged with him for a private consultation.

There are many factors involved in healing. I decided to approach my healing process holistically, and thus actively involve mind, body, and spirit in the recovery process. Already I had an established background in practicing contemplation and meditation. For several months, I had learned and practiced pranayamas, or yogic breathing exercises, which oxygenate and detoxify the cells in the body. My experience with massage therapy (I'm a certified massage therapist) had exposed me to both physical de-stressing techniques, as well as various energy techniques such as Network Chiropractic, Reiki, and Cranio-Sacral. I continued acupuncture treatments with Dr. Takamatsu. My weak spots were my past diet and lack of exercise, so I began yoga classes and strictly followed Edward Esko's macrobiotic recommendations.

Although I initially lost a great deal of weight, my energy did not appear to suffer. Not once since starting a macrobiotic diet have I been ill with a cold or flu, or any other ailment. Despite my apparent good health, I felt the need to be reassured about the development of the cysts. Four and a half months after seeking alternatives and beginning to eat macrobiotic, I had a mammogram done (as the thermogram machine was not available). The mammogram revealed fibrocystic tissue, but showed no signs of cysts on either breast.

Actually I am very grateful for my cysts because the experience has exposed me to a healthier way of eating and living. The situation impacted me to the core and has resulted in transformations much greater than are visible in a mammogram. I know of no device yet that can measure the progress of the soul. And yet I can tell you confidently, this form of balanced eating has become an integral part of my soul's evolutionary process.

Marlene Barrera lives in Plano, Texas, and directs a Spanish ministry program at a local church. She may be contacted at 2105 Brugge Court, Plano, TX 75025.

This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/

Leukemia Recovery

The Doug Blampied Story

The summer of 1982 was a typical one for Doug Blampied, an insurance executive from Concord, N.H. There was only a slight hint of being a bit more tired and run down than usual. Doug's end of summer plans were capped off with a sailing trip around Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard with his wife, Nancy. The trip was enjoyable, and Doug felt rested and refreshed. When he returned home, however, he couldn't quite get his energy level back. Coming down with what he thought was a flu or virus, he went on with work as usual. But his fever wouldn't go down, so he finally decided to see a doctor. After a routine checkup, he got dressed and returned home to bed.

Six hours later the phone rang. It was the doctor's office, and the message was urgent - get to the hospital immediately! With questions and fears racing through their minds, Doug and Nancy quickly packed and headed for the hospital, where a battery of tests was performed, including a painful bone marrow extraction.

The tests showed that Doug had acute myologenous leukemia. Cancer of the spinal fluid was also discovered. Soon afterward, he started chemotherapy. A Hickman catheter was implanted into his chest. It consisted of a plastic tube that was inserted into a vein leading to the heart. It allowed the chemotherapy to be administered and blood to be withdrawn without repeated injections.

The chemotherapy caused a variety of side effects. Doug would wake up in the morning nauseated. When he tried to eat, he would usually vomit, sometimes as much as five times a day. He forced himself out of bed to bathe and use the toilet, only to fall back to bed sick and exhausted. He lost his hair, became very thin, and was listless and weak. He was unable to do much for himself except eat, sleep, and get out of bed once a day with assistance.

Although his chances for recovery were slight, Doug never lost the will to live. Several times his condition became so tenuous that the doctors told Nancy to make preparations for his death. Doug recalls, "Even though I felt unbelievably horrible, I didn't succumb to the idea of quitting. I had too much to do and wasn't finished with living yet. I would look at my wife and children and know I hadn't done all the things with them I wanted to do. I made up my mind to overcome this whatever it took."

After a month and a half in the hospital, he began to show some improvement and was sent home. Over the next eight months, he received chemotherapy at home and continued to experience severe reactions, including high fevers. He returned to work early in 1983, and monthly checkups showed his cancer was in remission.

In April, 1983, Doug underwent a bone marrow harvest. At that time only a few hospitals in the U.S. performed the procedure. The first step in this painful process was the extraction of bone marrow from the spine. A hole was drilled into the bone and the marrow was extracted with a special instrument. The marrow was then treated with antibodies, frozen, and stored. A team of doctors arrived from Johns Hopkins University to perform the procedure and to train the doctors at the hospital in Hanover.

At the time of Doug's illness, it was rare for a patient to survive a second remission for longer than six months. In June, a checkup revealed that Doug's cancer count was rising again. Doug and Nancy were devastated. The doctor suggested going ahead with the bone marrow transplant and advised against further chemotherapy since Doug was already in a weakened condition. He told Doug that even with chemotherapy, he would probably live only six months.

The bone marrow transplant also offered little hope. Doug and Nancy researched the success rate and found that out of the 50 or so patients treated with the procedure at a leading medical center, only a handful were still alive. With little hope from either treatment, Doug and Nancy agonized over their decision. After much deliberation, they decided to forego the transplant.

At a support group meeting, Doug was introduced to a copy of Recalled by Life. Encouraged by the possibility that macrobiotics might improve Doug's condition, the Blampieds journeyed to Brookline where they met with a macrobiotic counselor and heard Michio Kushi speak. Upon returning home, the Blampieds made some radical changes in their diet and lifestyle. "We decided to go for it," Nancy recalls. "We got rid of the electric stove, replaced it with a gas one; cleaned out the cupboards of the foods that weren't good for Doug; and supplied ourselves with a complete macrobiotic kitchen." A short while later they attended the Kushi Institute's Macrobiotic Way of Life Seminar and studied macrobiotic cooking with a teacher in New Hampshire.

Maintaining a macrobiotic way of life has been fairly easy for Doug, since he saw immediate results from changing his diet. "My cancer count dropped almost immediately, and stayed down. That was a pretty good incentive to learn to like the food."

With his cancer in remission, Doug feels that he is in better health than he has ever been. Now, eight years after being diagnosed with leukemia, Doug believes that getting sick actually changed his life in many positive ways. "I am a stronger, better person now. I see myself as more sensitive and understanding, and less directed at unimportant things. I spend more time with my children. I hug them regularly, and let them know that I love them and how much they mean to me."

This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/
Overcoming Chronic Fatigue with Diet

by Lucy Burdo

Growing up I was always healthy, and my teenage years were filled with soccer, cross country ski racing, dance, gymnastics, and outdoor exercise. When after starting college six years ago, I could barely make it through my daily dance classes without exhaustion, I knew my health had seriously deteriorated. Even with my will to push my body as hard as I could, it took a supreme effort to keep myself from fainting or collapsing on the floor from weakness, dizziness, and a chronic fever and sore throat.

These symptoms had been slowly emerging. While still in high school, I developed swollen lymph glands in my neck which didn't recede no matter how much vitamin C I took. And my bouts of sore throats, fever, and general low energy had been increasing. I had visited a homeopath and a chiropractor with some degree of improvement, but still was steadily declining. But nothing could have prepared me for the total loss of health I experienced in January, 1990.

After a week at college for a new semester, I physically couldn't get up in the morning. I had to drop out of school immediately. I had severe night sweats and a chronic fever. When I was able to get up around 11:00 A.M., I was barely able to cook for myself. I visited my physician who suggested that there was nothing physically wrong with me, as I wasn't in a wheelchair. I should accept that I had no energy to function. The only treatment he could suggest was to remove my swollen lymph glands. However, in a later conversation, he suggested that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and might benefit from alternative medicine.

One of the alternative health care providers I consulted performed "live blood cell analysis" on a drop of fresh blood extracted from my finger. Apparently this is a popular test in Japan and is useful in getting a complete picture of the functioning of the blood and overall health. As we saw the cells come into focus on the video monitor hooked up the microscope, the practitioner turned to me and exclaimed, "I don't know how you're sitting here. You're going on will power alone." My white blood cell count was low, and the cells were poorly formed and were dying almost as soon as they were born. They were so overloaded trying to escort toxins out of the immune system that they would break and spill their load right back into the blood sample we were watching.

Next we examined the red blood cells. They were small and poorly formed also. Furthermore, there were huge clumps of candidias yeast drifting through them. My blood wasn't able to do its job, and my immune system was incredibly weak.

I left with images of my weakened T-cells and poorly shaped red blood cells fresh in my mind and armed to the gills with all sorts of symptomatic remedies to boost my immune system and strengthen my blood cells. These included Chinese herbs, shark liver oil, and homeopathic remedies for radiation and environmental toxins. This was to be my inspiration and gave me the visual imagery I needed to heal.

Fortunately, about two weeks earlier, my boyfriend's mother had given us a Christmas/Hanukah gift of a consultation with a macrobiotic counselor. This proved to be the catalyst toward health and my saving grace. As we drove to Massachusetts, my intuition told me this was my chance to get a piece of the big picture. I also knew that if this didn't hold the key, I might never know how to regain my health. Symptomatic cures were no longer effective; I needed to go to the heart of my illness, the roots and causes and address them.

The counselor patiently answered "no" as I asked him if all my favorite foods were included in the daily macrobiotic diet. I learned that no tomato sauce, soy cheese, brewer's yeast, chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, or grilled cheese sandwiches were included. As we were going out the door, I felt my energy fading rapidly and accepted a simple looking fresh rice ball as a snack. Although desperate, I wouldn't usually have settled for a plain snack. A chocolate bar or cookies were what my hands reached for, even as my intuition lodged a quiet protest. Imagine my surprise when I felt my energy come slowly, steadily, and evenly back.

I arrived home filled with curiosity about this new diet and cooked my first macro meal of chickpeas, short grain brown rice with umeboshi paste as a condiment, and boiled broccoli. As I was eating, I felt some energy clear around my head, as if coming out of a dense fog. I wouldn't have paid attention, except that my boyfriend said, "Lucy, this may sound weird, but I just felt all this energy clear around my head as if a fog lifted."

Hello umeboshi! Well, the experience of this meal spoke to something deep inside me, and I realized then and there from the inner recesses of my soul that I was going to be macrobiotic the rest of my life. Since I had the rest of my life, I decided to allow myself to transition slowly and gently. For breakfast and lunch, I enjoyed eating very plain, very boiled macro meals, while for dinner I pulled out all the stops. I was working evenings in a four-star restaurant where I ate widely, including sugary fruit tarts, mocha butter cream cakes, rabbit in cream sauce, and macaroni and cheeses. When I completely crashed three weeks later, I had already begun to transition onto a path and diet which were to be my lifeline, sustaining my body and thus my soul.

I took the approach that healing from this debilitating illness was the most important thing in my life and had to be my total focus. Now that I knew what to do to make myself feel better and regain my health, I would do whatever I had to heal. I didn't have anyone to pay my rent, so practically speaking, my decision was one of necessity. I quit sugar (one of the hardest things I've ever done, but that's a whole other discussion!) and ate boiled rice, tofu, vegetables, and beans for three months. In the beginning, after I'd quit sugar and was experiencing daily the benefits of more energy, I would have intense cravings for cookies, ice cream, or a blueberry muffin. I would make a conscious choice to not eat the sugar, as I so clearly connected the fact that if I did, I wouldn't be able to get out of bed or function the next day. And I treasured having this new energy to get up. Sometimes I would stand there and cry, as I had not yet learned how to cook healthier sweets for myself at home.

After about two months, I remember feeling 20 minutes of real wellness and health coursing through my body and mind! I was out cross-country skiing with two friends, trying to be a good sport as I dragged myself along, unsure if I could go another 20 feet. All of a sudden, a wave of well being hit me, emanating from deep within. I stopped in exclamation and shared my experience, relishing each moment of exhilaration. After all the depression, despair, and monotony of helpless, hopeless feelings engendered by not being able to function physically, this feeling surprised and totally inspired me. I imagined feeling that way all the time! And today I do.

It was an arduous road at first, and the key was macrobiotics. As I got tired of boiled rice, boiled broccoli, and boiled tofu, I took cooking classes and bought cookbooks. The food became new, exciting, and creative. My health improved slowly with many dips and curves along the way.

Since I took the complete approach of including my mental, emotional, and spiritual health, I also visited my chiropractor, therapist, and energetic bodyworker regularly for support. I took responsibility for myself on all these levels and found they all complemented and enhanced the other levels. But the foundation of my new attitude and lifestyle was macrobiotics.

Today I see macrobiotics as a lifestyle which includes all the energy I take in from the environment, not just food. I'm deeply grateful and happy to have been able to create dynamic health in my life through macrobiotics.

Lucy Burdo studied at the Kushi Institute and is now writing a cookbook in Putney, Ver. where she lives.

This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/

Arthritis Recovery

by Charles Duvall

In October 1994, when I awoke in the morning my right hand was "asleep", and I could not "wake" it up. This was the beginning of a very painful year. Within one week, both hands were numb, and becoming increasingly painful. By Christmas, the pain was so bad at night that I had to get up every hour and soak my hands in ice water to stop the pain. By then, both hands were stiff, and I could no longer make a grip with my fists. In March 1995, my ankles began to stiffen, and I began to experience pain when walking. This stiffness quickly progressed to my feet, knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders and by summer, I could not get out of bed without help. My knees would not straighten. I relied on hot showers to "wake-up" my body, but I became very weak, and unable to work more than several hours in the morning.

In early July, I met with a client from London, and went to dinner at a fancy local seaside restaurant to discuss a project in Mexico City. I ordered stuffed eggplant with riccotta and mozzarella, with a cream sauce, new potatoes, a glass of red wine. I followed this with a flaming dessert of caramelized bananas with chocolate sauce. We talked for several hours at our table. After the bill was paid, I pushed my chair back and quickly realized that my legs would not support my weight. I told everyone that my legs had "fallen asleep", and to walk on ahead of me. It took ten minutes before I could stand and walk slowly to the parking lot. I attributed my problem to sitting for such a long period.

Two weeks later, again I went out to dinner. This time I ordered a pizza with onions, eggplant, and garlic with double cheese, a bottle of beer, followed by a large slice of chocolate cake. After dinner, again my legs would not support me. This second experience was enough for me to finally make the connection between the food and my condition.

On August 1, I decided to eliminate sugar, dairy, and nightshade vegetables from my diet. I had been a vegetarian for five years, and frequently ate nightshades two or three times a day. Immediately, I began to lose weight, and did not have any more shocking after dinner experiences, although I continued to lose flexibility.

Finally, in September 1995, I gave in to taking the recommended drugs, as I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis by a rheumatologist. I was prescribed one of about two hundred possible types of NSAIDS. If these were not strong enough, there were various stronger levels of drugs ranging from sulfa sulfates to cortisone, and even radiation therapy which could eventually be available to me should I need more relief in the future. My control over my condition was to become my choice of how many pills I required to relieve my condition.

The NSAIDS relieved the pain in my ankles, and I could walk more easily, but I still continued to loose my overall flexibility, and strength. I could work about four hours before collapsing on the sofa for the rest of the day and evening. I got a boost at 6pm when I popped the second pill. The rheumatologist had explained that the drugs would relieve the pain, but not prevent my condition from deteriorating further. I was skeptical about taking drugs in the first place, and suspicious about the connection of food because of my direct experiences. The literature of the Arthritis Foundation states that there is no scientific evidence of a connection between diet and arthritis, although some people have noticed effects from eating certain foods.
I decided to take a short vacation at Nags Head before leaving for a two-week project in Mexico City in the end of September. I made a business phone call to Maine, and an old friend picked up the phone. She mentioned the Kushi Institute after hearing that I was experimenting with my diet. I immediately called and signed up for the Kushi Institute's Way to Health program on October 15, even though I was basically unfamiliar with macrobiotics. I had to explore a food-related solution out of intuition and desperation.

On October 11, I had an appointment with my rheumatologist. She prescribed the next level of drugs, sulfa sulfates. I should take seven pills every day. I could eventually experiment with the dosage based on my needs. I somehow knew I would never fill the subscription.
One week later, at the Kushi Institute, I quickly realized that I was in the right healing place. The teachers immediately confirmed my suspicion that my condition was related to my diet. The teachers emphasized the relationship of lifestyle as a big factor as well. After several days, I already felt the energy of the delicious balanced macrobiotic meals. I stopped taking the NSAIDS. I tried to absorb as much knowledge as possible in this concentrated week of study, cooking, exercise, and healing. Sharing experiences with other students and faculty was also a vital part of the week. I realized that I was beginning a new way of thinking and living, but I never grasped how powerful and uplifting the process would become, and how it would begin to transform my daily life.

Slowly, my arthritis began to change. My joints started making cracking sounds, and became gradually more flexible. I utilized frequent ginger compresses on my ankles and knees. The swelling eventually subsided almost completely. Initially, doing hot towel rubs in the morning and evening was physically difficult, but after three months became easier to perform, and has been very effective in increasing my vitality and circulation, as well as increasing flexibility and eliminating pain and stiffness in my shoulders and knees. Daily Do-In exercises have also added strength and flexibility, as well as weekly Tai-chi classes. After three months of a macrobiotic diet, the exercises became more effective than in the beginning.
Recently, I discovered that chewing the food has a direct relationship to the stiffness in my joints, so I am now more focused on chewing every mouthful. Learning itself is a process, and takes patience. It was not possible to prepare every meal perfectly in the beginning, but gradually I overcame obstacles. Now I am pretty proficient at getting breakfast prepared well, with rice, greens, and miso. It took effort and time to establish a consistent yet flexible process for preparing breakfast. Now, I am trying to improve my preparation of dinner.

In February, I turned forty years old. I have been practicing macrobiotics for four months. I still have good and bad days, but I am moving rapidly towards healing and balance. Once the arthritis is behind me, I can move on to a continuous and ongoing process of healing, transformation, and changes in my diet and lifestyle, and in my relationship to other people and the world, and with myself. I look forward to returning to the Kushi Institute in Becket to continue to educate myself about macrobiotics and receive the support of others committed to health and healing.

Charles Duvall currently lives at: 2 Mechanic St., Camden, Maine 04843. You may contact him via email at: duvall@acadia.net

This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/


Brain Tumor Recovery

by Melissa Hatch

"Why don't you give it a name?" my friend suggested. Of course, I thought, this tumor has come to me as a teacher and we'll get along better as partners than as adversaries. From that day on, the tumor in my brain became Maud.

Maud caught my attention through blind spots in my vision. At its worst, the entire right side of my sight was gone. I was passed along from my optometrist to an ophthalmologist to a radiologist and finally a neurosurgeon who ordered an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan. The MRI is a non-invasive procedure that highlights the soft tissue with pictures similar to an x ray.

The results showed the tumor clearly resting on the optic track deep in the left lobe of my brain. My doctor labeled her an astrocytoma and his only solution was radiation. But I clearly felt that attack only leads to stronger defenses, and this tumor was not something to battle with or wage war against. I had no desire for my brain and body to be under siege.

I chose the different, less traveled path, and my world expanded as I turned the singular focus from my tumor to the broader view of my life. I saw illness not as a punishment or sinister plot against me, but simply as an attention getter. Illness is a voice calling out "Stop, something is out of sync and changes need to be made." I had ignored earlier hints and nudges to take stock of my life, but now my attention was riveted, and I thought it prudent to listen carefully.

Yes, I was scared and confused. With supportive family and friends I cried and screamed, punched pillows, and asked "Why me?" I let my fears run wild with gruesome scenarios. I knew these feelings had to be expressed and released. The flood of energy and calm that followed these "sessions" was magnificently soothing. With these emotions more or less out of the way, Maud's guiding voice became stronger, and I learned to trust it.

The next step was to reclaim my power and take responsibility for my own healing. I had grown up on the coast of Maine, the youngest of a hard working family that placed emphasis on accomplishment and putting others first. To avoid confrontation or conflict, either within the family or workplace, I accommodated as necessary to keep things smooth. The idea of standing up for myself or saying "No" or "I'll do it my way" was an alien concept. Also, our society has cultivated a dependency upon authority figures. We look for someone else to take care of us and to fix us right now so we won't be late for our next appointment. To say "No, I don't want radiation and I want to pursue alternative methods," to my doctor was a difficult but key step. When I hung up the phone, my body was shaking, but a new strength was surging through.

My job was next. Realizing that I was not indispensable, nor responsible for the make or break of the entire organization, I quit a stressful and emotionally draining job. Healing became my full time occupation, and now macrobiotics took the stage.

I had a better than average dietary rearing with awareness of "healthy" foods with homemade whole grain bread and lots of fresh vegetables from our garden, but the consciousness still revolved around meat and dairy with a hefty sweet tooth to top it off. After leaving my parents' home, I evolved easily toward a vegetarian diet, but the amount of cheese, butter, eggs and yogurt I consumed was astounding. My roommate once remarked that I was a bovine delight. I used to tease with a friend that we could cook up anything with butter and love. We had half of the equation right!

I had known of macrobiotics for several years and now the time was ripe. Here was a very tangible arena for me to work in-and I loved it! The idea of letting my body heal itself by getting out of my own way appealed to me immensely. I had always loved to cook, and now the concept of food and healing fascinated me. I had an interview with a macrobiotic counselor and with a direction to go in, I easily spent 75 percent of my time dealing with food-planning, preparing, and chewing.

It became easier for me to chew (once my jaw muscles got in shape) when I acknowledged that once I sat down at the table I knew I would be there for the next hour. It became part of my routine and released me from a sense of urgency and impatience that eating was taking so long. I really enjoyed just settling in and chewing.

The other aspect that made a tremendous difference was attending a weekly cooking class. The support, information, and inspiration received from human contact was so much more valuable than trying to memorize from a book. My Wednesday nights became sacred-and still are!

For the first three months on the healing diet I was exhausted, often constipated and lost 20 pounds, looking emaciated and frightening to my family and friends who bravely continued to support me.

Prior to understanding the all encompassing effect of food in my life I watched my emotions shift with confusion. I had very little patience, became easily frustrated and intolerant of others. With tears of frustration I complained, "I don't know what's happening to me." My husband gently said, "I think it's your diet." Wow, the notion of food effecting my feelings was staggering. I had become "tight!"

Yoga was an important aspect of my life, and I found that the movement and meditation was very soothing and relaxing to my body and wound-up emotions.

As I learned more and felt comfortable working with the food, to stop and really think about what activities made me happy was new. I had spent my entire life focusing on others. Another key to healing and health became clear. I needed to stop taking care of the rest of the world and neglecting myself. I had to figure out how to take care of myself, and I had to allow others to take care of me. This last aspect continues to be the hardest as it flies in the face of all my "It's OK. I can do it myself" upbringing which is terribly isolating and not very helpful.

The autumn progressed, and my stamina slowly returned and then surpassed previous levels. I was still painfully thin (literally taking a pillow everywhere I went to sit on), but I felt great!

I wanted to give myself time before I had another (my fourth) MRI scan for feedback. My counselor had said that I could possibly go through a period of tumor enlargement as it attracted all the toxins my body was releasing. But in December 1990, six months after starting my healing macrobiotic diet, my doctor, my husband, and I were pouring over the picture of my brain taken that morning, and no one said a word. I finally broke the silence, "I don't see anything." After a pause and with sincere confusion my doctor said, "I don't either. Just where had the tumor been?" Maud was gone.

Now, two years later, I know that the essence of Maud has never left me. Her voice continues to guide me to doors that keep opening deeper into the worlds of macrobiotics, of yoga, and of self-reflection. Trusting this inner voice is the greatest gift Maud has given me and I am eternally grateful.

This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/

Hepatitis Recovery

by Yuko Horio

In August, 1987, when I was thirty-four, I was traveling through South India with my partner, Toru, for two weeks just after the monsoon season. The temperature in daytime was around 99 to 100 F. (37-38 C.). It was hot and hard to travel. In Tokyo the temperature was normally around 86 F. (30 C.), even in midsummer.

I already had practiced macrobiotics for seven years, but not strictly. I had eaten some dairy food and refined bread for breakfast and occasionally ordinary food outside because there were few macrobiotic restaurants in Tokyo. Nevertheless, I had confidence in my health, as this was our fourth trip to India, and we often took umeboshi plums during the journey.

Under the red-hot sun, we turned to tropical fruits, chai (hot tea with milk and sugar), and sugar cane juice with ice, which was made by vendors who put sugar cane through a wringer. It tasted like nectar. Needless to say, many flies swarmed around us, but I didn't care, as I believed I would never get sick.

After several days passed, I began to feel quite tired. I lost my appetite and experienced some diarrhea. I craved liquid, and whenever I found a vendor of sugar cane juice, I bought some. I could barely follow Toru on the rest of the trip. I went from 115 pounds to 110.

Even after returning home, I had no appetite, preferred to drink juice, and felt disoriented. This went on for a month. At the end of September, the weather cooled drastically and I got a slight fever. I thought it was a cold.

On October 3, I felt very sick and had no energy. Even looking at food made me nauseated. I vomited milk tea at noon which I had drunk in the morning. The condition persisted. At the hospital, doctors took tests and gave me an I.V. I took medicine for three days to be able to eat brown rice again. I ate rice carefully, chewing 100 times and sangoso powder, or glaswort, which grows by the seaside and is high in minerals. My body seemed to be recovering, but jaundice set in. In a medical book, I read that Hepatitis Type A is contracted by ingestive infection through food or drinks. I thought about my trip to South Asia. I realized I had Hepatitis A and resigned myself to be hospitalized.

As I awaited my test results, Tastunori Murakoshi, a macrobiotic friend, called. I told him my story and he reminded me, "There isn't any illness that cannot be relieved by food." I decided to follow his advice.

My blood tests indicated liver imbalance. It was acute hepatitis. Naturally, the doctor wanted to hospitalize me immediately. When I tried to leave, saying I would discuss it with my family, he said there was no time. When I persisted, he became irritated, ordered a nurse to bring a medical book, and showed me the section that said if my condition changed to Fulminate Hepatitis I would probably be dead within a week. Also a nurse told me she had never seen such high liver-function levels before. My GOT was 4190 (normal is 8 to 35), and my GPT was 3130 (normal 3 to 30). She had never seen anyone's over 2000. The doctor told me that he would treat me with steroids.

Finally, I managed to leave, and at home started to practice a strict macrobiotic diet. I ate brown rice, gomashio, miso soup with seaweed, cooked konnyaku (dried gourd), some other simple dishes, sangoso powder and chewed my food more than 100 times. At that time, my urine's color was coffee-like. Kan Tomoi, another macrobiotic friend, came to see me and told me I had to eat humbly and exercise well to improve my metabolism.

Even though my jaundice progressed and my weight decreased, I started to feel better day by day. In the process, I missed my period and experienced painful stomach convulsions for the first time in my life. With Toru's help, I treated them with loquat leaf and boiled konnyaku. I was able to go to the library but didn't go to work.

On Oct. 20, I returned to the hospital. A different doctor greeted me, but his face turned grim when he saw my chart and heard the explanation of my own therapy. "I won't perform your blood test today," he said. "Such an unnutritious diet doesn't work." Finally, he agreed to give me a blood test. The results were: GOT 82; GPT 84; and ALP 1040 (normal is 100 to 280).

The urine had returned to a natural color. By the end of October, I returned to work. In the middle of November, I was examined again and the results were almost normal. Later I had a blood test at my company's health checkup, and I tested negative for Hepatitis B antigens. This suggested I had Type A as I thought.

Incidentally, though one doctor couldn't believe my subsequent blood test levels, I have some evidence, as a kind of sequelae, which shows that my story of dietary recovery is true. My ZTT and TTT, also liver-function tests, are a bit higher than normal range even now. The figure, however, is decreasing gradually each time. When I first received the results that showed my liver function was abnormal, I was shocked. But now I find that they are very precious in helping me stay with the macrobiotic way of life.

This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/

Lung Cancer Recovery - Elizabeth Masters Story

by Gale Jack

Kim Bright, the cook at Mother Nature's Restaurant in Fairfield, Connecticut, took one look at the curly-haired woman behind the counter and knew she was ill. Offering to help, she suggested she come back for a macrobiotic consultation the next day.

Elizabeth Masters was so sick that she could no longer work or walk. During the last six months, she had undergone many x-rays, blood tests, and other medical procedures. She was diagnosed with hypoglycemia, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and allergies. The doctors gave her drugs, but she did not get better. She found that red meat made her feel sick so she quit eating it and started going to a local vegetarian restaurant.

Elizabeth had an appointment with her doctor at noon, but she decided to see Kim earlier in the day at 9 am. She had been praying for a miracle. As she later looked back, perhaps it was no coincidence that Kim, the founder of MECCA, the Macrobiotic Education Committee of Connecticut Association, happened to be cooking that night.

Kim told her that she appeared to have cancer of the female organs and a large tumor in her right lung. She outlined a healing diet emphasizing whole grains. "I felt relieved to know that I had been properly diagnosed," Elizabeth recalls. "I intuitively knew from my green color that I had cancer. The diet made sense to me, so I was anxious to start."

Later that day, however, at the doctor's office she received another shock. When further tests and probing showed nothing, Elizabeth and her husband got upset and mentioned that they had seen another "doctor" who suspected cancer. "They scurried around, looked at the tests and x-rays again, and discovered their error," Elizabeth recounts. "Their diagnosis was cancer of the female organs, intestines, and a large tumor in the lower lobe of the right lung. They told me I had only two weeks to live."

But rather than staying in New Haven and having radical surgery and medical treatment at Yale University hospital, Elizabeth decided to return home to Maine. "Over their objections, I decided to give the diet a try. I could see food had created my illness, so I wanted to give my body a chance to heal itself with the proper way of eating. I went home to live or die."

In her forty plus years, Elizabeth had experienced many difficulties. Born in Missouri to parents who were unable to care for her, she grew up at her grandmother's. As a child, she suffered from swollen adenoids and tonsils, and a local physician removed them by holding a rusty tin can filled with cotton over her nose and giving her ether. When she awoke, she was offered ice cream but chose hot dogs and sauerkraut instead. She had come to like the fresh meats, eggs, and dairy food of the countryside.

Growing up in an atmosphere of abuse and neglect, Elizabeth was thrown out of the house at age 15 by her mother and found a friend to live with. In high school an appendix ruptured and ovarian cysts were removed. After that her menstrual cycle was very difficult - often coming only every other month, and with the passing of heavy clots. Elizabeth married at 20 and gave birth to her first child at 21. He was allergic to sugary Karo syrup which was part of the infant formula recommended at that time. He also had a hernia which put added stress on the already shaky relationship with her husband.

This marriage lasted five years. Elizabeth didn't really know what was wrong - just felt she had to get out and went to work and began fitting in with the coffee-and-doughnut-for-breakfast, hamburger-for-lunch, and ice cream-for- supper crowd.

At 25 she married again and had her second child. She worked at a very stressful job in the aircraft industry, ran a cattle ranch, and continued to eat a diet high in animal food. This marriage lasted 15 years though her health problems continued - losing weight, gaining weight, extended stomach, emotional outburst, an enlarged pancreas - for which she took various medical drugs including Librium, Valium, antibodies, and allergy shots. When this marriage failed, she took a job which required a lot of traveling.

Elizabeth noticed changes in herself which she didn't like to see - low self-esteem (which showed itself in poor personal grooming, excessive weight, compulsive overeating, and excessive alcohol consumption). She lived life in the fast lane. She would eat excessively, then miss three days of work - sleeping all the time - to let her body recover. Again, excessive menstruation, along with diarrhea, low energy and extreme pain caught up with her. This was when she sought medical help and became more vegetarian.

After two weeks eating macrobiotically, Elizabeth was still alive. During this time, she had an out-of-body experience in which she saw her soul leave the body. "I received a very clear message from the universe that I was here for a purpose and was now on the right track." Able to get out of bed and walk for the first time, she returned to work. But after a few months, it became apparent that she was not really getting better, and she went to see Michio Kushi. Michio asked if she could quit work and cook for herself. She wasn't sure she'd have the courage to quit, but when she returned to work, her boss came in and told her the company had lost the contract it was working on and could no longer keep her as an employee. With the decision made for her, she began to take macrobiotic cooking classes and concentrate solely on her recovery.

That was seven years ago. Today, Elizabeth is in good health and lives with her husband in Maine. She has completed Level II of the Kushi Institute, opened a macrobiotic bed and breakfast in Maine, and started M.A.I.N.E., the Macrobiotic Association In New England. She is a living testament to the power of food, faith in the universe, and the body and mind's amazing ability to heal itself.

This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/

Crohn's Disease and Takayasu Arthritis

by Virginia Harper

"Among the many diseases considered incurable by modern science are Crohn's disease and Takayasu arthritis. In this moving case history, Virginia Harper, a wife and mother from Tennessee describes how she overcame these two, often fatal, afflictions with macrobiotics." -Ed.

"You can turn this around. You can change this," are the words I'll never forget. After eight years of living with Takayasu arthritis and Crohn's disease and seeing only a dim future ahead, these words filled me with hope.

At age 14 I started having strong symptoms of discomfort and pain on the right side of my abdomen. At 15 they removed my appendix but discovered it was normal. From 15 to 23, I was in and out of hospitals at least twice a year with the symptoms getting more severe. I had not only the increasing abdominal problems but I started to develop fainting spells, dizziness, weakness in my right shoulder and arm down to my hand. At age 19 I discovered a lump on my neck. I was away at college in Tennessee and the school doctor decided it was a benign cyst and could be easily removed during the Thanksgiving holidays.

While undergoing an arteriogram at home in Connecticut, I suffered a stroke. When I awoke, I was temporarily paralyzed on my right side and had lost my ability to speak. The test showed a blockage on my rights carotid artery. In April of that next year, I was sent to Mass General Hospital in Boston to undergo bypass surgery and a biopsy and it was determined that I had a very rare blood condition. Takayasu arthritis is an autoimmune deficiency where the blood passing through the arteries causes them to act as if they are damaged so they start repairing themselves and this creates blockages. Takayasu has no known cause and no known cure. The main arteries were so dramatically affected that my blood flow was distressed. I was told to stop all my sports activities and "to take it easy." But the real devastating news was that I should not plan on having children.

I was put on an anti-inflammatory drug called prednisone, a steroid, and an aspirin a day to help with my blood flow. The next few years I learned to live within the confines of Takayasu and I suffered from the side effects from the drug more than the disease itself. I would awaken ravished with headaches, swollen aching joints, ringing in my ears, upset stomach, low energy and feeling depressed. And, when I was on high doses, I would be so hyper I would work to exhaustion and still only need three or four hours of sleep before I was ready to go again.

On top of all this, my abdominal symptoms began to get worse as the years went by. The pain became paralyzing, along with constant headaches, bloody diarrhea, constipation and weight loss. At times I would lose so much blood that I would go to the emergency room completely debilitated. The X-rays showed nothing. Eight years of different doctors, specialists, tests, and drugs, yet the cause and cure were still a mystery.

Finally, when I was 22, I had a severe attack which landed me back in the emergency room. But this time, the technicians were finally able to detect something on the X-rays. The doctors diagnosed Crohn's disease. I was so relieved to have a name for what I had gone through all those years. Crohn's disease has no known cause and no known cure. It causes a slow deterioration of the intestinal wall, the lining become inflamed and irritated, and loses its elasticity resulting in impaired digestion and absorption. Crohn's can manifest anywhere in the digestive tract.

Anti-inflammatory drugs and/or surgery were the only recourse. Surgery can remove the affected area; however, Crohn's usually spreads again in three years or less and you will face more surgery. It didn't take me long to realize that if I lived to be 30, I would not have any intestines left.

The "good news" was that I was already taking the anti-inflammatory drug used to treat it. When I inquired how I could develop something so severe when I was already on the drug that supposedly helped it, I got no response. And so, I learned to live within the confines of Crohn's and Prednisone.

To complicate matters, that same year I became pregnant while using the IUD. Instead of this being a happy time for my husband and me, it was quite traumatic. The doctors thought I would lose the baby when they removed the IUD. However, the pregnancy continued and went smoothly while the doctors watched me very closely and I stayed in bed most of the time. Being as determined as I am, our beautiful daughter was born.

Nine months later, the Takayasu and the Crohn's both flared up again and so did my trips back to the hospital and doctors for more tests and different drugs, except this time nothing seemed to work for very long. My parents and I, being open to alternative methods, started searching for real cures. I tried megavitamin therapy, reflexology, herbs, and hospital-based nutritional approaches. It was during this search that my father heard about macrobiotics. He cried as he told me what would work this time and shared what little he knew. He flew me to Connecticut to see a macrobiotic teacher. I was ready to deal with this doctor, too. I took all my X-rays, filed, and paperwork to show him, but the experience was totally different.

He wanted to know specific details of my symptoms and my lifestyle. There was no prodding, poking, sticking, undressing, or cold intrusive instruments to deal with. He used Oriental diagnosis to evaluate my condition by observing my eyes, tongue, hands, and feet. Finally, he told me what I had longed to hear, "You can turn this around."

The macrobiotic teacher proceeded to explain that there were certain foods that weakened my body and it was struggling to get rid of excess. All my body needed were the correct tools to naturally heal itself. The main foods that aggravated my condition were dairy food and sugars. For maximum health, he explained the importance of keeping the body alkaline by eating neutral or balanced foods. These include whole grains, beans, land and sea vegetables, and some fruit, seeds, and nuts.

I grew up with my grandmother and she strongly believed that God's abundance provides everything one needs to naturally heal. All I heard finally was making sense. I did not recognize half of the foods he mentioned because after all, I was a fast-food, junk-food, pre-prepared, vegetable-come-in-a-can baby-boomer.

I had answers and most of all, for the first time, I had hope. My teacher told me that one day I would appreciate and be thankful for my illness. I thought, "This guy has been eating too much seaweed ? he just doesn't realize all I've been through!"

Now, 15 years later, I continue to live a symptom-free, drug-free, pain-free, doctor-free life. Full of energy, I anticipate a health-filled future with my two children and family. I truly understand those prophetic words. I do appreciate my illness and all I went through. My experience led me to macrobiotics and that led me to the path of healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And that quality of healing you can never get from a pill.
This account is provided by The Kushi Institute, www.kushiinstitute.org/