I've been a primary caregiver for several of my favorite people after their cancer diagnosis. I've sat in support through meetings with genius oncologists, witnessing the ravages of chemo and radiation while friends and family disintegrated painfully in my arms. Nurses explain how important it is to not eat antioxidants while taking chemo treatments since the abrasive chemical is designed to kill both good and bad cells throughout the process. The oncology nutritionist always suggests a diet of white rice, mashed potatoes, cream of wheat and a short list of other "white foods" suggested to keep the patient's pendulum of nausea at bay. I had hoped cancer was finished with my family after dad's lengthy battles but cancer is, after all, the master of the "sucker punch".
Pacing the orchard with my morning coffee and garden basket full, I've got my sister on the phone...and she asks me if I'm sitting down. I look up to the swirls of fog dancing a farewell hula through the property and into every curve afar off at the base of the mountain. Now everything's in slow motion and I feel my knees liquify under the weight of the words "I have cancer and I start chemo in a month".
Visions of paradise are abandoned as you walk the long hospital corridors in search of the next appointment. It's a dichotomy in a haze of well meaning and heroic medical professionals yet, with a gnawing feeling that something is missing from the puzzle...a hidden door to an ancient wisdom. When you arrive at your appointment, the door opens to a waiting room full of desperate faces. Each time I sit here I am overwhelmed by this crazy surreal powerlessness.
To "resist the inevitable" I started researching alternative and integrative healing protocols, starting with nutrition. I discovered that the Gerson Institute was hosting a conference in San Diego. I took the train from the Mission and soaked up the science of nutritional healing for several days with hundreds of other hopeful caregivers, all family and friends. Along the coast and homeward I felt charged with a new energy of possibilities. I felt released or liberated by some limitless knowledge, all light and information, empowering us all to create something new. By Valerie Adair www.culinaryorigins.com