This is the story of how Ginny Fraser beat cancer using the Gerson Therapy - a Living proof - her cancer story about overcoming melanoma:
Melanoma - The Facts | Read Ginny´s update
Beating Melanoma With Determination and A Tough Regime
Ginny Fraser, 45, lives in London and works as a personal development facilitator, running courses round the world in places as diverse as Siberia, Israel and Brazil. She recently wrote her first book on healing the emotional side of infertility and childlessness.
Her work has been disrupted recently by a tough regime to beat cancer but she remains upbeat and positive as she tells her story.
"I was sweeping the leaves in the beautiful Findhorn gardens when I was overcome with fatigue and simply couldn´t continue. It was the third day running I had found my chores just too exhausting. I knew something was wrong - I could no longer wear my contact lenses and one eye was almost closing. The doctors had diagnosed an autoimmune disorder (myasthenia gravis), but that didn´t account for why I was feeling so exhausted.
The tiredness was really interfering with my plans. I had just rented out my house in London, given up my city life as a facilitator and coach and headed for Findhorn, a well-established community in the north of Scotland, where I wanted to experiment with communal living away from the smoke and hassle of the city.
After three weeks, I´d had enough. I just wasn´t myself. I was perpetually tired, my vision was decidedly squiffy, and emotionally I was anxious and withdrawn. I reclaimed my house and began trying to find out what was wrong. The myasthenia gravis medication just wasn´t working and my symptoms were getting worse.
One thing that had always been vaguely at the back of my mind was the possibility of cancer. I had had two bouts of melanoma: the primary was a mole on my arm back in 1993, which I briskly had excised (along with a chunk of my arm) and then got on with my life without really any introspection about why I had got cancer and what I could do to make sure it didn´t come back. Then three years later a tumour was found in the lymph nodes under my right arm. I had surgery to remove the affected nodes, and realised I couldn´t just ignore it like I did last time. The approach I chose was the Gerson Therapy, which I did intensively for two years to make sure I was really clear.
I had tumours in my brain, lungs, spleen and stomach - I was expected to live around six
So when I went back to the Marsden five years later (just to cover all bases), neither my doctors nor I were really expecting any melanoma to be showing up to account for my symptoms. I was CT scanned, and went back a few days later to get my results. I went alone, totally unprepared for the news I received.
I had tumours in my brain, lungs, spleen and stomach. I was expected to live around six months.
I reeled out of the doctor´s office, stumbled into a cab home, in a mixture of mute fear and hysterical mobile calls to friends. My life had changed dramatically in that rather abrupt meeting. It had been simplified down to one simple question: would I live or would I die?
I was pretty quickly put onto 16mg per day of dexamethasone (steroids), and went away for Christmas to contemplate my next steps. My spiritual beliefs have always played a big role in my life, and the Christmas break included a spiritual retreat on the gorgeous Monterey coast, which provided a great opportunity to muster my inner resources and develop the self-belief and determination to do all I could to get better.
While I was away the steroids began to kick in. They were, for me, a horrific experience. I couldn´t sleep. I was ´speedy´. But worst of all (for a vain creature like me!) I started to bloat. First of all you have a ravenous appetite and will eat anything. Secondly, everything swells up. I got a huge ´moon´ face and felt very self-conscious.
The quest for the best treatment began shortly after my Christmas break. I enrolled friends in researching the Internet for melanoma treatments (there is SO much out there, and a lot of it is quite upsetting to read, so it´s a great task to delegate). I ended up with a shortlist -the Gerson Therapy again; the Kelley-Gonzales enzymes approach and an American naturopathic clinic.
At the same time I was researching radiotherapy (the only possible allopathic treatment for brain tumours) and fighting with the doctors to try and get stereotactic radiotherapy (a finely focused beam onto the tumour) or submit to their suggestion of whole-brain radiotherapy. I was loath to have WBT because of fears of early Alzheimer´s and brain damage that can result from it.
I opted for naturopathic treatment with a London based
The hospital insisted I should have the whole-brain treatment.
As I prepared for the radiotherapy I kept getting setback after setback. First the Gerson people in Mexico told me that their therapy doesn´t work very well with melanoma metastases to the brain. Then Gonzales also said they were unable to treat me. As you can imagine all of these were gut-wrenching disappointments. My determination to do everything I could to fight the disease was really tested.
In the end I opted for pretty much the only remaining option - naturopathic treatment with a London based doctor - Etienne Callebout. With hindsight and 14 months on, I know him to be quite an extraordinary man, and clearly a perfect choice. Back in February 2002 he seemed like the short straw.
In February I embarked on a course of radiotherapy to my brain, daily for two weeks with weekends off. It was easy, painless and took just a few minutes to be ´zapped´. Its side effects were not so pleasant. I could only walk like an old lady - very slowly. I felt sick. And my hair fell out. I was totally exhausted, would sleep in the day and evening then wake at 2am, ravenous. On a few occasions I was ´bonkers´, which was really scary. I slept a lot in the day at that point, and if I awoke in the evening, I would talk complete gibberish to Stacey (my dear friend and live in helper) for ten minutes or so, get furious with her because she didn´t understand me, and gradually come back to being rational. That was a very frightening experience, for both of us.
A few weeks after the treatment finished I got the results - they were not
Apart from the radiotherapy, the Marsden could offer me no treatment for the body tumours that had any decent chance of success. There were some chemotherapy agents, but with such low effectiveness that even my doctor told me not to bother. So everything at this point rested on the success of the radiotherapy. A few weeks after the treatment finished I got the results. They were not good. According to the scans, the tumours had not responded.
That was a tough meeting. You always know when it´s bad news by the look on the doctor´s face the minute they come in the room. The good ones deliver bad news with compassion and empathy. The bad ones either overdo the phoney caring or don´t even try.
I had a good doctor for this bit, luckily. Hugo Ford - a genuinely compassionate man. I had two close friends with me, Stacey and Bindy. When we got the news we all had the reaction of hysterical laughter. It was quite extraordinary. I´d heard of this as a response to bad news, but to experience it was quite bizarre. We laughed like drains all the way home.
Which, I suppose, gave my system time to take the news in and adjust to the likelihood that I would die, seeing as the only treatment had in fact failed.
Emotionally this whole time was very different to anything I would have imagined. I felt very strong. I felt incredibly supported. Friends wrote, visited, including four friends who separately travelled from the US to spend time with me. People gave me money. And Stacey, my friend and lodger, chose to spend the time taking care of me. I felt very spiritually connected and supported. I was brought up a Christian and felt a very intimate source of support from Jesus. My mother wrote to dozens of contemplative Anglican orders and asked the nuns to pray for me. The esoteric church I belong to also provided huge energetic assistance. I really felt Grace was extended to me in a big way. I had a new sense of serenity. It was as though all the areas I normally obsess about - money, men, work, was I good enough, was I pretty enough, was I clever enough - they all seemed to wither away in the face of this huge challenge - will I live or will I die? I actually felt very happy, despite the physical difficulties I was undergoing.
Regardless of the bad radiotherapy result, I knew I couldn´t give up, and I began Dr Callebout´s regime a month or so after radiotherapy ended. He is a qualified medical doctor, homeopath and specialist in alternative treatments for cancer. He admitted he hadn´t treated anyone with my level of cancer before but said he would give it a go. I signed up for the whole shebang.
My regime consisted of a combination of diet, juices, coffee enemas and a high level of supplementation. The diet is based on as much organic produce as possible, and excludes anything processed, sugar, dairy and wheat, tea, coffee and alcohol. I was allowed protein in the form of organic chicken or fish, but it could only be consumed at lunchtime and no later in the day. I consume six 8oz juices a day (I do them in three lots of doubles), and these are either carrot and apple or a mixture of lettuce, watercress, parsley, green pepper, chard, red cabbage and apple.
The most difficult thing is the timing. I have 122 pills a day which all have to be taken at specific times. Timing it all is a real task and luckily my friend and helper, Stacey, is very organised and methodical.
I have 122 pills a day which all have to be taken at specific times
Going out at all is difficult to manage but do-able. During the last year I haven´t been able to work so was able to devote myself full time to the regime. Now, as a freelancer, I am doing some small bits of work, and adapting the regime to fit in.
I haven´t found the programme too difficult, to be honest, which is strange considering my natural inclination to choose chocolate over carrot whenever possible.
But because the stakes were so high, I was prepared to do whatever was necessary, including odd physical treatments like Epsom salt baths, castor oil rubs, footbaths of mustard and cayenne pepper with ice packs and hot water bottles on various parts of my body. It sounds so wacky but each thing has a valid and understandable function, so I did it all. And the coffee enemas are great - total privacy three times a day, perfect for reading and just escaping!
As for the tablets it is not a regime to be copied as everything was specially selected by my doctor for my particular cancer and symptoms. His philosophy for me was one of detoxification of the system, excellent nutrition and supplementation to boost immune response, plus the metabolic therapy of B-17 (Iaetrile) and enzymes which break down the turn ours.
It was a tough regime, but it felt great to be the one responsible for my own well being. The sense of empowerment far outweighed the hassle of what was physically involved. But best of all, it worked.
I had a CT scan around four months later which showed that all the tumours had either reduced significantly or disappeared altogether.
The hospital took credit for the brain tumours (radiotherapy effects often take a while to kick in and they claim the previous scan was done too early to show a true result), but they were flabbergasted by the reduction in the other areas where I had had NO conventional treatment. They were surprised, but did not ask me in any detail exactly how this had been achieved. The term ´spontaneous remission" was used - which I have since learned is a commonly heard blanket term frequently used by doctors for any improvement not caused by conventional medical treatment!
I continued working on my spontaneous remission´ for a further seven months, and my last scan, in November 2002 showed that everything had gone, bar a small abnormality in my spleen. As I write in March 2003, I still have some cancer cells in my system, and I am working to be rid of every single cell. I am continuing on my rigorous regime, but am slowly edging back into the world. I take powders to mix with bottled apple juice when I go out, and sometimes I miss an enema here or there.
And I do have the odd bit of ´forbidden´ food. I think I would go crazy otherwise. I am still overweight from the steroids and a year on the sofa, my hair is definitely on the thin side in places, and my old life which involved facilitating with groups all over the world, now seems highly daunting.
But I am here. And I am grateful."