My Wife and my Naturopath Saved My Life! – Day 371

June 8, 2011 No Comments

365 Days to a Balanced Life Journey – Year 2 – Day 8


“Cancer changes your life, often for the better. You learn what’s important, you learn to prioritize, and you learn not to waste your time. You tell people you love them. My friend Gilda Radner (who died of ovarian cancer in 1989 at age 42) used to say, ‘If it wasn’t for the downside, having cancer would be the best thing and everyone would want it.’ That’s true. If it wasn’t for the downside.”-Excerpted from PEOPLE Weekly’s August 6, 2001 issue. – Joel Siegel, Good Morning America movie critic _________________________________________________________________________

To start off my second year on Balance 365, I asked my good friend J to write his inspiring story. As you will read he was diagnosed with cancer and given a shortened life expectancy but made the decision not to just accept this diagnosis(or rather his wife did) :) I had lunch with him recently and was greatly impressed with how well and vibrant he looks for a young man of 70!!! I asked him to share his story so that others may be inspired to either deal with a serious illness or AVOID a serious illness. Thank you J for taking the time to share your story. You are a very dear friend and I am blessed to have you in my life for an extended time.


In 2003, I discovered quite by accident that I have cancer. I went for a regular physical, which my doctor insisted upon, as I was sixty-two. He considered that I was getting to the stage of aging, a subject that we seriously disagreed upon, and that I should go to be examined once a year.

The physical included the normal things: weight, height, the finger, body mass, age, sex (I remember that!) and some blood tests. Usually all this disappears into oblivion after the exam. But, in 2003 I got a recall to discuss my blood test. The visit contained highly unexpected information. It showed that my white blood cell count was way out of range, amongst some other significant signs. The Doc advised that it was most likely leukemia. I voiced that it was not possible (denial.) The Doc insisted I go to a specialist. I did.

I had Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia. The hematologist advised some rather terrifying news: Chemo and radiation would start when lymph node lumps were apparent; there is no other treatment; I should do all the things that I want to do in the next five years; that the bell curve shows that 50% of my type of leukemia die by year 10, the year that I am in now; that if alive by year ten, then my immune system would be so weak that I will be sick a lot and likely will get other diseases that may end my life… On the positive side, he gave me brochures for Leukemia support groups, the Vancouver Cancer head office, and various bodies to help my wife and I through this traumatic time – to the end.

Interestingly, the two or three years before this blood test that disclosed all, I had been getting very, very sick when even contracting a cold or the flu’. I had not been able to understand those sicknesses as I have always been very healthy all my life until about the year 2000. But, each one took me very close to pneumonia. Now, I had the answer. I was on the road to dying, without much hope other than what Chemo and radiation could do – i.e. postponement maybe.

My wife was not happy with this news! Her slave might disappear. She took me by the ear straight to a naturopathic doctor in West Van. My wife had already been self taught and well orientated to the organic and naturopathic world. Not so for me. I wasn’t a believer. But, I went to appease her. The Doctor (ND) got busy straight away working on my immune system. (The white blood cells.) This appeased my wife even if I did not have confidence in the process myself.

I took many natural supplements prescribed by the (ND). But, for the next three years my white cells kept increasing. Farther along though, the rate of increase seemed to be slowing down defined by subsequent blood tests. My medical doctor and the hematologists were quite amazed. I told them what I was doing and their response was that whatever it was, I should keep doing it.

At about year five from the start of the leukemia and year three of my visits to the ND, the white cells stopped increasing. The huge night sweats were becoming less frequent. The pains were less frequent. The illnesses were less severe. The dramatic sudden losses of energy became less frequent. All of the symptoms were slowing down. The leukemia seemed to be drifting into remission.

All the doctors were hesitant to label this improved condition. With leukemia, the cell counts can wildly whip around. So, this may have just been a breather. But, now I am in year ten and the white cell count is still at the level of year five as are the other blood indicators. The Hematologist has advised me that I am in the only 1% of people who have survived CLL the way I have. She says I can live a normal life.

All the doctors are now believers in the remission of my condition. They constantly monitor my blood every six months to be sure things don’t go awry. Recently, a doctor described my blood as being “disgustingly healthy!”

My ND? She is keeping me coming in and keeping my immune system at peak efficiency. I have hardly been sick in five years. Just two or three very mild colds.

I give full credit for the CLL remission to my lovely wife and the Naturopathic Doctor. These two marvelous ladies have given me life expectation at least as long as the insurance tables’ project. But, I will beat those tables as I am physically active and in better shape than many of my friends.

My message? Naturopathic doctors are worth your life.

J.B. 70 this year and going strong.


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