(This is the first of two articles about the 2018 Annie Appleseed cancer conference in West Palm Beach, Florida.)
Perhaps the highlight of each Annie Appleseed conference is the Patient Panel, featuring three cancer patients who tell their stories. The moderator, Julie Chiappetta, summarized her own story of finding an answer to cancer 18 years ago. She doesn’t like saying she’s “in remission,” because that suggests the cancer might sneak back.
Back in 2000, when Julie was first diagnosed with breast cancer, little information about alternatives was available until she discovered Ann Fonfa, the founder of the Annie Appleseed Project.
Julie did understand, however, that she needed to throw out every single toxic item in her house: all of her makeup, cleaning supplies, microwave oven, and all of the food in her cupboards. She started from scratch, quit the standard American diet cold turkey, and went vegan with a raw food eating plan. She detoxed and juiced.
Julie said it was tough because practically every doctor told her she was going to die unless she had a double mastectomy followed by chemo and radiation. But fortunately, she found two good doctors to guide her through the maze of alternative treatments.
She also did a lot of her own research. She prayed about it and received a peace about it from God. Instead of radical double mastectomy, she chose a lumpectomy – removal of only the cancer tissue and its immediate surrounding — and followed this procedure with a natural protocol. She never looked back.
Julie had a vision that she would get well. She told the audience, “It was exciting to be part of my own protocol and make my own choices and get well. I gave no power to anything negative. I got to meet myself where my disease was and get well.”
Like most cancer patients, Julie had to deal with doctors who tried to rush her into the treatments they were pushing. But she told the audience, “It took many years for your cancer to develop. You don’t have to rush. You do have time. Take time. You can breathe, and you can find your balance. We are our own best doctors!”
Journey from cancer to the Ironman triathlon
The first panelist to tell her story was Terrie Hoops. Terrie was shocked to find out in August of 2012 that she had breast cancer. She was an athlete and thought she was healthy.
What’s more, she did everything right — or so she thought. She decided on a double mastectomy and radiation. But she opted against chemo and told her doctor she wanted another option. His advice was that a hysterectomy would reduce the risk of recurrence. At the age of 44, she considered a hysterectomy no big deal and opted for it.
During her recovery from cancer, she put her athletic activities on hold and stopped running marathons. But when she was awaiting the results of a CAT scan, she told her husband, “If that doctor walks in here and says the CAT scan is clear, I’m going to sign up for the Ironman triathlon.”
As you probably know, an Ironman triathlon is a grueling endurance race that has three consecutive segments: a 2.4 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride, and a 26.2 mile marathon!
Terrie’s doctor entered the room and told her, “Everything is clear.” Her husband told her, “Now you’re committed!”
Believe it or not, exactly three years after her diagnosis, Terrie completed an Ironman triathlon in exactly 12 hours, 21 minutes, and 12 seconds — an astounding athletic achievement! Terrie rejects the notion that cancer is a death sentence. She says, “Anything is possible.”
Avoid negative doctors!
The second panelist was a 38-year-old mother of two, Lisa Engelke. She describes herself not as a “survivor” of breast cancer but a “thriver!”
She now understands how she got cancer: she liked fast food, lived in moldy environments, endured a toxic relationship, gave in to overeating, and became a closet sugar addict.
She always had unexplainable illnesses and was inflamed and sensitive. Antibiotics were a mainstay of her life, but after 30 years of unexplainable illnesses she hit a brick wall with conventional medicine.
When she found a lump and was finally diagnosed with cancer, a doctor said, “You could do a lumpectomy, a single mastectomy, or a double mastectomy.” She was aghast that the doctor spoke to her as if he thought she was picking out a pair of shoes!
Doctors told Lisa that surgery, chemo, and radiation were “mandatory.” They told her that she’d “do great” because “you’re young.” They assured her that they had “good drugs.” And they remarked that she had “good odds: 50-50.”
But that’s not what she was seeing, having witnessed so many people around her die of cancer. She had little confidence in the doctors’ statistics or treatments — especially chemo and radiation — though she did ultimately conclude that she needed a single mastectomy.
Doctors kept on harassing Lisa to take chemo and radiation, and she kept on putting off her decision about those treatments by repeatedly asking questions about them — because they didn’t feel right for her. She thought, “If the chemo doesn’t work, then my immune system is killed, and my organs will be toast, and my immune system already sucks! Then, how will I recover?”
Doctors warned her, “If you don’t do anything, you’ll die.” She said the doctors “made fun of my green smoothies and also where I put my coffee every day. They asked if I used Folger’s.” The audience laughed, knowing that she was talking about coffee enemas, an effective way to detoxify the liver. Her doctors were unsupportive and considered her a pest and a hypochondriac.
Finally, Lisa realized she was wasting too much energy fighting with those doctors, so she took a radically different approach. She stopped fighting, got rid of toxic influences, slowed down, learned to get outside and enjoy nature, and embarked on a spiritual quest. She also made an effort to find things that could make her laugh.
Lisa did find a good doctor in Baltimore, Dr. Peter Hinderberger, M.D., who gave her mistletoe injections, a natural treatment for killing cancer cells and boosting the immune system. Mistletoe is a standard treatment in Germany’s best cancer clinics, but most doctors in the United States are unfamiliar with it. She also became a long-distance patient of the Namaste Center in Durango, Colorado.
Three cancer books Lisa swears by
Lisa said her cancer struggle would’ve been a lot easier if only she’d had these three books in her hands: The Metabolic Approach to Cancer by Nasha Winters, Hope Never Dies: How 20 Late-Stage and Terminal Cancer Patients Beat the Odds by Rick Shapiro, and Honest Medicine: My Dream for the Future, by Julia Schopick.
The decision that Lisa said really “paid off big” was to “make a pest of myself” as a “pain in the *** patient.” She made this key point to the cancer patients in the audience: “You have major power and influence as a patient. All you have to say is ‘no’ or ‘just wait.’ Listen to your gut, but first detox the candida and parasites because they’ll just tell you to eat more sugar!”
The third patient panelist was Lindsay Hahn McDonnell. She’d hardly ever seen a doctor before she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. She told the audience, “I was very sick.” One tumor was the size of an egg, and there was cancer all over her chest wall. She had a double mastectomy followed by radiation and chemo.
But one morning Lindsay woke up with a strange feeling. Her chin was numb. She was shocked to find out that she had a pancake-size tumor in the dura behind her eye. In fact, that tumor wasn’t her only problem. She had cancer “everywhere.” The treatments weren’t working, so she made the radical decision to go to Vienna to be treated by Dr. Ralf Kleef, M.D., one of the top cancer doctors in Europe.
Dr. Kleef gave her a variety of hyperthermia treatments (local hyperthermia, whole-body hyperthermia, and “fever-week therapy”), low-dose chemo, and other therapies. Because her case was severe, she was treated at Dr. Kleef’s clinic for three months. The results were worth it. When she arrived in Vienna, she was in a wheelchair. She left Vienna back on her feet. She’s in complete remission!
I personally toured Dr. Kleef’s remarkable clinic and interviewed him for over an hour in 2015. For more details about his clinic, I recommend that you read the chapter about it in the third edition of my book German Cancer Breakthrough. Click here to learn more.
The life-changing benefits of raw food
Another speaker, former food addict Carla DeRosa, described her journey from constant sickness to health. Even as a baby, she said she was colicky. The culprit was candida, which caused gas, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.
Throughout most of her life she said she was feeding her “passengers” (parasites). Her digestion was a disaster, and she slept 20 hours per day. But doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.
In desperation, she went to a raw food school and decided to change her eating plan. She got more inspiration from the famous Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico, a place that’s similar to the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, but less expensive.
Now she drinks non-sweet smoothies and enjoys healthy meals and snacks instead of sugary junk food. When her raw eating plan kicked in, she said the symptoms of 40 years went away, and she even lost 60 pounds.
“With raw food, toxins go down, and nutrition goes up,” she declared. One of her favorite raw foods is the sweet potato, which is high in enzymes and other key nutrients.
If you’d like to experiment with some raw food meals but aren’t sure where to begin, Ms. DeRosa has you covered. She wrote a book described as “life-changing” that’s titled Rawx Your Life: 21 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes. This book is available for $19.97 on her website: RawxIt.com.
Don’t just “survive,” but thrive!
Author Heidi Bright, who wrote the highly rated book Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey, spoke on “Subduing the Cancer Dragon: The ABCs of Creating Conditions for Healing.”
Ms. Bright attributes much of her success against endometrial sarcoma to cultivating the right attitude when healing from cancer. Like so many other cancer patients, doctors told her to get her affairs in order and sent her home to die.
But as a mother with an 11-year-old child to care for, she had a strong reason for living! She gained confidence through visualizations, affirmations, constructive behaviors and choices, spiritual practices, and finding the right attitude.
While nobody would say a negative attitude is helpful for healing, Ms. Bright said that mere “positive thinking” isn’t helpful either — perhaps because positive thinking could be just a façade that conceals inner turmoil, dark emotions, and a sense of doom.
She said, “You want equanimity, not positive thinking.” Finding a way to face facts while living on an even keel is far more helpful than pretending everything is fine when it’s not.
Heidi Bright’s book, which gets 4.9 stars out of 5 on Amazon, also gives cancer patients a plan for “how to get your nutritional level up and your inflammation level down.” It’s well known that chronic inflammation is a culprit not only in cancer but in all degenerative diseases – heart disease, dementia, arthritis, and more.
Chronic stress is often another culprit, and Ms. Bright stressed that cancer patients must leave a high stress situation and stay away from unhealthy relationships. She encouraged the cancer patients in the audience to “increase your life force energy,” and she said that she found a Tai Chi master who taught her a healing meditation she found particularly helpful.
Cancer patients need “vitamin H”
Because the right attitude is so important in healing from cancer, one speaker devoted his entire talk to the importance of getting enough vitamin H (humor). Verne Varona spoke about being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2001. Doctors told him he had ten months to live and should get his affairs in order.
With nothing to lose except his cancer, he decided to take heavy doses of vitamin H. He firmly believes that every cancer patient should seek reasons to laugh, increase their humor every day, and keep a humor diary. Laughter makes every cell in your body light up like a Christmas tree. Generous doses of laughter dissolve stress and boost the immune system.
Is it difficult to cope with cancer? Yes. Absolutely. But Mr. Verona pointed out that “humor is an emotional coping mechanism” that’s available to every cancer patient. He recommended Googling “humor and cancer.”
Mr. Verona’s journey back to health was probably inspired by the well-known story of author Norman Cousins, who was told that he had a one-in-500 chance of beating his disease. Mr. Cousins relied largely on humor to beat those daunting odds – plus large intravenous doses of vitamin C. He published a book about his recovery in 1979.
He said, “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep.” To generate an endless supply of belly laughs, he relied on reruns of “Candid Camera” – a television show from the 1960s — and comedy classics like Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy.
Genuine laughter can only make things better!