My name is Sofía, I am 36 years old (January 2017) and I live in Madrid. In June of 2010, at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with a highly aggressive B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and with a tumour in my right lung which the doctors described as, “enormous - the size of an orange”.
Right from the start they told me the situation was very serious. “You’re in a bad way, go straight from here to the hospital, don’t even go home, we’ve already alerted your doctor,” were their exact words when they x-rayed my lungs at the clinic, even before they knew exactly what was wrong with me. They had advised my family, who were already waiting at the hospital, to be prepared for every eventuality. I was admitted on 10th June and they had been warned that I might not live to the end of the month.
They started me on a chemotherapy course which was apparently a very good one - the best and latest chemo treatment for my type of lymphoma - called CHOP-R. We would have to wait to see how my body reacted to the chemo. If it worked, I was told the chances of making a recovery were high.
My symptoms were the following: persistent cough for six months (I had a cold at Christmas which I thought would never end), intense night sweats (one night I even had to completely change the sheets three times, but it didn’t happen every night and I didn’t link it to my cough), loss of appetite and weight, the sensation of muscle spasm in my shoulder blade as if a dagger were constantly stuck in my back. Once I tried to do some stretching exercises on the floor but it caused such a sharp sudden pain that I had to stop the exercise immediately. I thought about going to the Emergency Department that same day, but I was in so much pain I couldn’t move. That night I hardly got a wink of sleep but at some point the next day, the pain lessened and wasn’t as sharp. I only went to see the doctor once, after I was walking up a narrow road near where I live and could hear my chest wheezing as I breathed. On that occasion the doctor talked about running some tests but we arranged for me to go back a few days later as I had a short trip planned at the time. I was going to make the appointments when I got back. In the meantime, the doctor prescribed me some asthma inhalers. I started using them… a few days later I went back to my GP because I had been spitting out blood for three days (each day a little more) when I brushed my teeth. I kept checking my mouth and gums for signs of injury but there were none. That’s when I went to the clinic and the young woman in the x-ray room told me I was in a bad way…
During almost six months (the idea was to give me the most aggressive type of treatment: chemo every 2 weeks, but sometimes my defences were so low that it had to be postponed), I received the máximum 8 rounds of that type of chemotherapy. I also went regularly to a centre where I was given Reiki. A group of people who I didn’t know were also giving me remote Reiki, and a therapist friend of mine began to give me treatments he had studied – kinesiology, polarity therapy… he told me about reishi or shittake mushrooms, which I began to take and once he sent me to an iridologist-homoeopath who prescribed me some stuff which I think I ended up buying but never took.
With the first chemo treatment I received, the lymphoma reacted and began to get smaller, at first in such a spectacular fashion that I was told that maybe 6 rounds of chemo would be enough. But then it stared to decrease more slowly, and in the end they gave me the full 8 rounds, after which the PET scan still showed signs of activity. But they couldn’t be sure if the activity was due to scar tissue or the disease itself. They told me that I had received the best chemotherapy available, but they couldn’t give me any more as they said it would kill me. And so I was informed that we would wait to see what transpired, and that they would run tests on a regular basis.
The first and second rounds of tests showed good results. The disease had stabilised. In my reports, they began to talk of possible remission. But in April of 2011, four months after completing my chemo, one of the PET scans showed a negative result - a high index in SUV values, the maximum of 12.5 (the previous PET had showed 2.7), in an area affecting my lung and mediastinum. The report indicated a high probability of it being malignant. But the real story I want to tell you begins here…
They carried out a broncoscopy, but the results were inconclusive. They told me my lesion was in a very difficult area, and hard to get at. My case was being handled by a medical team, which included amongst others, my haematologist and a couple of pulmonologists. The haematologist wanted my right lung to be removed and for laboratory tests to confirm the malignant state of the lesion. Once confirmed, I would receive a bone marrow transplant and they would try to treat me with more chemotherapy. She told me that the other chemo treatments were statistically not as effective but who could say in my case – maybe they would work. The pulmonologists were of the opinion that the operation was not advisable. It was a risky operation – surgery is not effective against lymphomas. My tumour and lesion were affecting my lung, my mediastinum, and my phrenic nerve – which they had paralised, so the lesion would not be able to be removed by surgery. Given the risks involved, it was far more advisable to go straight for more chemotherapy without further ado.
Four months after completing the initial chemotherapy, I was already noticing the side effects of the treatment in my body. Amongst other things I had been diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease which can cause inflammation in any part of the body and prove fatal. The doctors themselves admitted that that could happen after receiving treatment. Also you have to deal with the shock, the panic and the anxiety which you experience when you’re told that they want to remove your lung and that you will live the rest of your life without it. I couldn’t bring myself to have those procedures. Either they were going to kill me or I would die of a heart attack from the worry of thinking about it all. I tried to get my haematologist to explain why I now needed an operation, when they had told me from the start that lymphomas were inoperable. I wanted to avoid such an operation at all costs. But she didn’t have the patience to give me an explanation. Your life is on the line, in the hands of those people – you and your family are losing sleep worrying about results… and those doctors don’t even have a minute to talk to you properly. I refused to have the operation. I asked for more time, I told her I was going to try other things and I would see what the results were in a few days. The doctor called me crazy. I left her office warning her I was going to request a different doctor and that I was going to report her, which I did. And so, at that crucial time I found myself without a doctor and with no explanation… I didn’t know the risks I was taking because nobody told me. The pulmonologists, who had disagreed with the idea of an operation, finally complied with my haematologist’s imposition. She refused to give my any further chemotherapy if I didn’t have the operation. I had the feeling they didn’t know who would end up passing the buck with my dead body.
I left the clinic not knowing what I was going to do. The doctors had decided that I needed to have an operation, get the lab results, perform the transplant and start me on the new chemotherapy. The pulmonologists were certain that the operation would show malignancy but they recommended I shouldn’t have the surgery. They gave me 15 to 20 days before they would carry out new tests, and told me I would be assigned a new doctor. I went home in a state of shock, drained and alarmed, not knowing what to do, gripped with fear and yet believing there was another way, another option, an alternative solution that I had to find. I trusted in medicinal plants, but didn’t know which one to take – I would have to investigate. I had already seen how plants could be more effective in treating ailments and were gentler than pharmaceutical drugs. And deep down I knew there were certain aspects related to my disease – emotions, the mind, life-force, energy, relationships, environmental pollution and the toxicity of all those emotions we feel and many times don’t know how to cope with. I decided to calm myself, to breathe deeply and to distance myself from the latest bout of family arguments which had really upset me, and decided to let the Universe know I knew it was trying to tell me something, that I understood its message, that I had let myself slip back into those arguments, into that frame of mind. I asked the Universe with all my heart to give me another chance, I promised I would do things differently. And that I would accept whatever was coming my way. And if my time was up – it comes to us all in the end – it would be sad, but I would accept it gracefully. I decided to look on the Internet to search for a plant I could take to reinforce this great healing understanding of things.
I tried an aloe vera preparation. I liquidised the ingredients, drank it and put it in the fridge. But when I went to drink it again the mixture had turned black. I didn’t know if it had gone off, was spolied or if that was normal. It was a horrible colour and I was afraid to drink any more of it. On the Internet (again) I discovered that in A Coruña we have one of the best team of lung surgeons in the world who perform surgeries with minimum invasive techniques. I made an appointment, they saw me over two days and they told me that I was in a very complicated situation, and that my lesion was difficult to remove. They advised me to start chemo straight away and if my haematologist refused, they would be prepared to do the operation themselves. They couldn’t guarantee minimum invasive surgery - they could try, but they might have to open me up during the operation. I had lived in A Coruña when I was a child. I went to see the sea, it has always had a healing effect on me. That same sea reminded me of my granfather who had been a sailor there. I decided that if I were to have the operation there, it was a good place to do it – by the sea, that wild ocean. And if I didn’t make it, it would be a good place to die as well. Even so, I still didn’t want the operation, but having that option brought me some peace.
When I returned to Madrid, I began to see a therapist who had been recommened to me. She had gone through a very aggressive cancer some years before. We talked and talked… she did Reiki on me, gave me flower remedies, worked with a pendulum and with Tibetan bowls, and she helped me to resolve one of my great life conflicts. She worked with me for days trying to get me to accept what the doctors were saying, convinced that in the end I would have to have the operation…
And then one day, my miracle happened. I was at a friend’s house with some other people. My friend asked me how I was, how it was going with the cancer. I told her what the doctors wanted to do but that I had asked for more time because I wanted to try with plants, but I still didn’t know which one I could take. Her Cuban boyfriend, who had overheard us, said, “Years ago they found prostate cancer in my father and they told him he needed an operation. But he told the doctor he wouldn’t be having surgery as he knew about the prickly custard apple tree (Guanábana); in fact, he had such a tree in his back yard and he knew it could be used to cure cancer. He began to take teas made with the leaves of the Guanábana tree and when he went back to the doctor, the cancer had disappeared.”
I couldn’t believe it. Here was a first-hand testimony from someone I knew. Not some declaration from a stranger on the Internet, where you don’t even know where to begin looking for proof. I had about a week to ten days left before the next round of tests. I found the plant extract in a wholefood shop and immediately began to take 6 (500mg) capsules of Graviola (Guanábana) daily, plus 3 capsules of Cat’s Claw (anti-tumoral, regulates immune system), and some vials containing various liquid minerals and vitamins as well as other active components. The idea was to reinforce and strenghten my immune system. Our bodies can do more than chemotherapies are capable of – those chemicals kill eveything in their path.
I went back to the doctor to get my test results, after the time they had given me and after taking the plants for about seven to ten days. With my heart in my mouth I went to see my new oncologist, whose eyes visibly widened when he saw me. “I didn’t expect to see you around here,” he said, and that’s when I realised they had given me up for dead two weeks previously.
We looked at my PET scan results. For 7-10 days I had been taking the plants, I had been having Reiki and my chats with the Universe. I had taken the time to become aware again of the importance of breathing deeply, emotional tranquility, and most of all TAKING MYSELF SERIOUSLY – because in all that was the essence of LIFE. At that point, not only was I still alive, amid great surprise, but the PET scan showed a 50% reduction. My oncologist said, “I don’t know what you’re taking, but keep taking it.” I tried to tell him I had been taking Guanábana and Cat’s Claw, but he didn’t even look at me, he didn’t even write down the names of those plants. I kept on taking them until the recommended 30 days were up. My disease completely disappeared. No lung surgery, no transplant, no chemo.
I have no doubt that if I had had the surgery, they would have found some cancerous cells which would have justified all the torture I had previously undergone. Neither the PET report nor the pulmonologists could confirm it. Six years have passed since all that, since May 2011 when I was told that my disease had gone into spontaneous remission. I haven’t set foot in a doctor’s office for years and I don’t go for check-ups. I have no doubt that there are thousands of more effective and less harmful ways of dealing with cancer; far better than undergoing those highly aggressive treatments Western medicine proposes which attack our entire organism. (The strange thing is that the people who carry out the studies in laboratories are aware of this too. When you start to look at articles published in PubMed you begin to realise how study after study confirms the same thing – that in many cases plants (when they take the time to study them), are more effective than any given pharmaceutical drug).
It’s unnerving to suddenly realise that you can no longer depend on the people with whom you entrusted your health, who you relied on to take care of you if something went wrong. You can’t trust that system any longer, it’s all down to you – you have to rely on yourself and trust in Nature and its incredible gift of providing us with all that we need. Fortunately, help is available – support, testimonies, people risking everything to get the information out there. Perhaps the hardest thing is to believe in ourselves, to not be afraid, to assume the responsibility of making our own decisions. But I am clear about the path I am on. Now I know which emotions and toxic circumstances I must not subject myself to. They were clearly linked to the manifestation of my disease. I know which foods and plants I can take when I need to. I don’t allow myself to be in toxic relationships. Cancer came to me with a wake-up call, with a message: “Love yourself, love life, every second of it, appreciate the present - it’s all there is, the now, the sky, the sun, don’t be a victim or harbour destructive emotions which only end up harming you, let yourself go, let go of everything which causes you pain, don’t get stuck, live your life, take control, you have the right, express yourself, be, feel connected to everything, because we are all one, don’t let your mind torment you, let your heart guide you and silence those thoughts that so often cause you harm - those voices in your head that aren’t yours and which are destroying you, the vocies of those people who hurt you with their words.” We can learn so many things from cancer. This is how I now basically maintain my health. At times if I get symptoms (swollen lymph nodes, etc.), I take the plants again, it’s the only thing I do. That… and knowing that if my emotional life is at peace, then without doubt my body will be as well.
Trust in the Universe. Feel. Love yourselves. Love life. All is well.