When it all began…
For many years, I have been struggling to what the medical world defines as “chronic fatigue” induced by autoimmune diseases – Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism, to which I’ve added an adventurous lifestyle: trekking, cycling, walking the most remote parts of the world, running a business from my phone/laptop, being a single mum, and building schools in Africa, in my spare time. You think I was busy? It got a lot busier…
Some nine years ago, I told myself that I no longer wanted to live with these chronic diseases. Someone somewhere must have known how to fix me. I have read in many places (books, online blogs) that Hashimoto’s disease and Hypothyroidism were incurable autoimmune diseases and that there was nothing anybody could do. However, I have never given up on the hope that someone somewhere must have known how to reverse these diseases.
While searching on what to do to dimmish the debilitating “chronic fatigue” syndrome, I came across many bright people this Earth is holding, one of them being Brian Clement, at the Hippocrates Wellness of health in Florida. I subscribed to the YouTube channel “The Real Truth About Health”, and I’ve run into many sleepless nights listening to the many people talking on that stage. I then bought and read books written by some of these people. Becoming Vegan was the first one. China Study was the second one. Early on, in my research, I concluded that diseases were induced by environmental pollutants, imbalances in nutrients, stress and trauma, all coupled up with a week genome. I highly recommend the movie called “The wisdom of trauma”, staring Dr Gabor Mate.
I have made the decision to change my lifestyle 180 degrees overnight. I stopped eating animal by-products, and all the products made from the modern grains and their flours. I have also researched on the cleanest plant-based skin products and house cleaning products that I could find at that time. I even went back to gardening. I grew up, on a farm, in Eastern Europe, during the Communist Era, with no access to packed food (we grew all our food), and I moved to the Western world, 21 years ago, in pursue of happiness and greatness, running away from my family and my newlywed husband.
Having been born with a liver challenge, my mum told me not to eat food made by other people, so I was never interested in packed food or restaurant food. I have even taken my blender with me, across the world, in all my travels, over the past nine years. I rarely spend time in a hotel. I prefer to hire an apartment that has a kitchen so that I can prepare my own meals, juices, and smoothies.
Despite all my efforts to live a clean life, the quality of my life was not improving much. I decided to take a step back from running my business and spend time with myself and my son. I continued to read as much as I could, trying to fix myself, in a world where everyone around me was telling me that it was impossible to fix myself. I semi-retired, in my late-thirties, and I continued to travel the world, for leisure. I spent all the school holidays, together with my son, mainly traveling abroad.
In pursuit of happiness and greatness…
I only understood happiness and greatness when I travelled through Africa. At the end of the old tracks of the Dakar Rally, I finally found happiness, on the finishing line, just outside Banjul – the capital of The Gambia. What I loved the most was seeing the happy faces of Africa, with no worries in the world. There were children in the streets with no shoes and half-dressed and yet they were smiling, and they were happy. I stopped the car and attempted to have a conversation with them. Without thinking much, I asked them what made them so happy. They didn’t have an answer for me. It was part of their normal life to be happy. So, I continued the conversation, and asked them more questions until, out of nowhere, I said “If I was to have a magic wand and if I could wave it here in front of you and if my magic could make you happier, what should the magic wand reveal, right here, in front of us?”. The answer was, unanimously, “We want to go to a beautiful school”, and they began drawing in the sand how their beautiful school would look like. I told them to go to sleep that night and imagine that soon my magic would work, and they will have the beautiful school, and that they needed to keep in touch with me to tell me how the school needs to look like. I auctioned the car, at the end of the Dakar Rally, and I flew back to London, only thinking about going back to build the school. I always keep my promise, and I couldn’t have misled the children. And that is exactly what I did that year. I did everything I could to build the school for those children. When I went to open the school I was overwhelmed with joy. Something that I have never experienced before or after that event. The gratitude of the children, their families, and the entire community overwhelmed me. My legs were shaking as I was walking the sandy road towards the building, hugged by all the children around me. That day I understood what happiness and greatness looked like. Giving freely to others brought me enormous happiness, in return. So, I kept going, and built more schools, and water wells, and new communities.
My health continued to deteriorate further, despite the changes in my diet, my outlook on life, and despite finding this abundance of joy and happiness. I did one more car rally, across Europe, that year, and then I went back to various medical establishments asking questions about my poor health. I told them that I was semi-retired, that I had changed my lifestyle, and that I was incredibly happy, but that physically I was dying. I felt as if there was something inside me eating me alive. I experienced an extended abdomen for a few times, and I was reassured that it was a pre-menopausal symptom. It didn’t feel that way to me. I kept going to the next doctor and to the next doctor, and to the next doctor. All of them reassured me that there was nothing wrong with me, or that it was all made up in my head. In the end, I walked into a private hospital and demanded an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, on the spot, and requested to stay awake during the procedure, to see with my own eyes what was eating me out.
The moment my heart missed a few beats…
As I was laying on the couch looking at the massive screen on the wall in the procedure room, the scope could no longer be pushed further. I could see a ball made up from tissues that was blocking my large intestine. The procedure stopped and I was taken to the recovery room. The next words I’ve heard were “You have a massive tumour inside your rectum. We have got in touch with a great surgeon, and we will discuss surgery, soon”. Cancer? How did I make cancer? I asked how bad it was. They answered: “Very bad”. Further scans showed a large cauliflower shape tumour in my abdomen. The tumour left the rectum and invaded all the nearby organs. The tumour was too large, and spread across too many organs to attempt surgery, without putting my life in danger. I was told that if nothing worked, life expectancy looked grim. “What do you mean if nothing works”, I asked. “You are not sure about how to save my life?”. “Well, this is cancer. There are no guarantees with this disease”, I was told.
The last fight…
I went back home that night, diving online, yet again, to learn about how to save my life, from cancer. There was no way I would allow my life to drift away, at the hands of these people who had no idea about what to do to save my life. This needed to be my fight. My last fight, the greatest fight, after fighting to recover my strength for the past three years. One more push, I told myself. When you are diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and you are told that there is a probability that you may die in six months’ time, there is a matter of urgency that gives you shivers down the spine. There is not much time to hang about. I figured out that I had at least six months to find my cure or at least to find a way to buy more time, until I find my cure.
My life was changed forever that day. The reading and the research have never stopped since my cancer diagnosis, five years ago. I stopped working on the road, and dove into massive research, all the hours that I could stay awake. I scrolled over the PubMed database, I read 100s of cancer survivors stories online and on paper, and I made my own survival plan.
One particular true story stroked a chord on me:
“The number one cause of death throughout most of the 19th century was tuberculosis. Galen Clark went to Yosemite Valley to die of end stage tuberculosis at age 42 in the fall of 1856. His doctor told him that coughing up chunks of his lungs meant he had up to 2-6 months to live. There was no cure for this disease. Clark reasoned that “If I’m going to die soon, then I’m going to die in the Yosemite, the prettiest place I’ve ever seen.” He got happy. Scientist now say that happiness brings on the flow of endorphins, which supercharge our immune system and may slow down cancer.
Next, Galen Clark carved his own tombstone, thus accepting his mortality, a ritual that would give us a better appreciation of our finite time on earth. He then started eating what was available in Yosemite in those days; clean and lean wild game, mountain trout, nuts, berries, vegetables, and lots of clean water. No sugar and no dairy. He then began doing what he wanted to do, hiking, and creating trails, in the place he treasured the most, Yosemite Valley. He didn’t die 6 months later, but rather 54 years later, just shy of his 96th birthday. He bolstered his “non-specific host defence mechanisms” with good thoughts and good nutrition.” (Beating Cancer with Nutrition, by Dr Patrick Quillin, 2005 edition, p.18)
If Galen Clark succeeded in surviving end stage tuberculosis, over 100 years ago, then, surely, I would survive cancer, in the 21st century. I have changed my diet further. I began to consume organic produce only, I started juicing green vegetables, I decided to eat mainly raw foods, and I did detox therapies, daily. I have also consumed sprouts and wheatgrass juice. I didn’t grow them to start with. Now, I do.
The Oncology therapies were short lived, due to their toxicity. I couldn’t even do the full course of chemotherapy, as I ran into respiratory arrest after just a few sessions. That was scary. It was also my first encounter with death. I wasn’t scared of death. I was overwhelmed with sadness that I won’t see my son again. Thankfully, by the power of the Universe, I have recovered enough to carry on a few more tests and to run another scan that confirmed a shrinkage of the tumour by 80% which gave me access to surgery. Any further chemotherapy and radiotherapy were cancelled indefinitely. And so, after one more encounter with death, post-surgery, I left the hospital to go home, to recover. How do you do that? Nobody tells you how. It took a few months, before I could walk again. I kept in touch with a few cancer patients I’ve met during my stay in hospital. I lost the first one a few months later. He had the same type of cancer like me. He was diagnosed with a lower stage. We both had surgery the same week, we both did chemotherapy (he did double the number of sessions that I did), and we both were given the “all clear” on the same week. How come he was now dying? It was then when I learnt that cancer was not just a tumour but that it was a disease of the whole body.
Back to the drawing board…
I continued with my research into what causes cancer and how we can heal the body. I have also implemented everything I’ve learnt into my daily routine. During this research, I found a clinic in Germany that was specialized in reversing autoimmune diseases and environmental diseases. I made an appointment to meet the scientist in the clinic, and I asked him why I developed cancer. I thought that if I knew how I made cancer I could stop continuing making cancer. The veil was lifted, and little by little, with each test and with each conversation, we got to the bottom of it. I was excited to learn about how I developed cancer but overwhelmed at the thought that there was no quick fix, or that there might not be “a fix” on the Horizon. The Oncology team in the UK completely abandoned me for a while. Through a few more pushes, and a few complaints, I was referred to do a scan that confirmed recurrences. I was sent to see another surgeon, but I refused surgery after I was told of their grand plan: removal of the bottom part of the spine, removal of part of the sacrum bone, and the removal of the large intestine. “What for?”, I asked. Cancer is not just a tumour. “What are you going to do about the circulating tumour cells that are going to create new tumours, after you chopped half of my body?”, I asked. I received no answers.
Two more years have passed. I continued my journey with my new lifestyle, to the best of my knowledge, and I continued with the integrative therapies I learnt about from my research.
Oncology is the medical term for the science and the study of cancer care treatment. It is an art as well as a science and there are many styles of practice available to you. If it happens to be diagnosed with cancer, I highly recommend building a survival team around you. Apart from an expert in Oncology, employ experts in integrative and functional medicine, and even a specialist in Naturopathic Oncology. These people are concerned about the person with cancer, and they will approach body healing and even a cure from different angles.
The best chance of increasing the survival rates for today’s cancer epidemic is to put together all the current healing arts and knowledge about natural remedies, drugs, foods, emotions, spirituality, relationships into an integrated plan that will take the cancer patient onto a journey of healing the whole body.
Alternative therapies are not either/or therapies but integrative therapies that will support the body along the healing journey. We cannot heal from taking drugs alone, or from undergoing Radiotherapy, or from undergoing surgery. They might remove a symptom – a tumour. They won’t heal the body.
The body has an innate gift of healing itself. We need to support this process, by nourishing our body, our mind, and our spirit.
I decided to study lifestyle medicine with the Hippocrates Wellness of Health (HHI), in Florida, to learn more about how to heal my body but also to learn about how to pass on my knowledge to other people.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the HHI lifestyle together with my curious mind and my go - get - action – follow through attitude have allowed my body to heal from all corners. While physically I am not strong enough, just yet, after undergoing the debilitating Oncology therapies, mentally I am at peace, spiritually I am much more aware of everything is going on around me, and I am more in touch with myself.
I have reversed my autoimmune diseases.
Now, I get to witness how my life transformation journey has impacted the people around me, family, friends, and social media followers. I get goose bumps, every time someone sends me pictures with sprouts or their health journey progress, with the message “I followed your instructions and I made these” or “because of you, I reversed my diabetes”, and so on.
Going from a life and death situation to thriving and living life to the full has been quite a journey. I am grateful for this journey. It taught me how to go back to nature and how to live with nature. We come from nature. There is no better place to being alive and well than in the middle of nature.
After mentoring a few chronically ill patients and friends, on their journey to health, I am now ready to share my knowledge with the world.
This year, I am in the process of publishing my first book with the title “How to live an extraordinary life with cancer”, because my focus is on living, and not on cancer. I am not stressed about having the tumours. We can definitely live the happily ever after a cancer diagnosis, with or without the tumours.
I run my own social media blog, to inspire people on how to live a healthy life: https://www.facebook.com/ElenaEdwardsHowToLiveAnExtraordinaryLifeWithCancer
My son has approached me to start a live food sprouting business, together, so that we can share our live foods with our local community.
I am also in the process of setting up my very own holistic cancer coaching practice from an extension part to my home, where people can come to visit me, and we can share knowledge and fears in a holistic environment, and even experience some of the holistic therapies that I am using.
We are currently running ourselves to our graves, young. We are eating ourselves alive. Most of us don’t even realize this.
I am here to show the world that there is another way. I want to make the world aware of what is out there, potentially, and that there is more than one answer to any health challenge, and that the answer may not always come from medical science, as we know it, the so-called Modern Medicine.
Awareness is the first step.
I am not the specialist. The body is already the specialist. The body is our healer. If we eat right, if we drink right, if we think right, if we exercise right, if we remove the stress out of our life, we can prevent diseases and we can even put life-challenging diseases into remission.
This message needs to be passed on.
The time is NOW!