I have worked with many young women with breast cancer; so many in fact, that their faces and cases tend to blur. But whenever I think about them, Kelly inevitably comes to mind because we became such good friends. Like me, Kelly was an independent-minded back country Canuck. At the age 26, she received a medical diagnosis of breast cancer. Kelly had already permitted a lumpectomy and biopsy, but had studied the statistical outcomes and did not want to treat her illness with radical mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy because she knew her odds of long-term survival without radical medical treatment were equal to or better than allowing the doctors to do everything possible. Nor did she want to lose even one of her breasts. She knew how useful her breasts were because she had already suckled one child, not to mention their contribution to one's own self-image as a whole person. I admired Kelly's unusual independent-mindedness because she comes from a country where universal health coverage is in place; her insurance would have paid all the costs had she been willing to accept conventional medicine, but Canadian national health insurance does not cover alternative therapy.

Kelly stayed with me for nearly two months as a residential faster, because she needed to be far from the distractions of a troubled family life. With financial support from her parents and child-care from her friends she was able to take time out to give the recovery of health top priority in her life without worrying about whether her small son was being well cared for. This peace of mind was also very important to her recovery.

Analysis with biokinesiology showed a pervasively weak immune system, including a weak thymus gland, spleen, and an overloaded lymphatic system. Her liver was weak, but not as weak as it might have been, because she had become a vegetarian, and had been working on her health in a haphazard fashion for a few years. Kelly's body also showed weaknesses in pancreatic and adrenal function as well as a toxic colon. Most immediately worrisome to her, biokinesiology testing showed several over-strong testing lumpy areas in the breasts and over-strong testing lumpy lymph nodes in the armpits. Cancerous tumors always test overly strong

Kelly's earlier life-style had contributed to her condition in several ways. She had worked for years in a forestry tree nursery handling seedling trees treated with highly toxic chemicals. She had worked as a cook in a logging camp for several seasons, eating too much meat and greasy food. And she had also spent the usual number of adolescent and young adult years deeply involved in recreational drug use and the bad diet that went with it.

Kelly started right in on a rigorous water fast that lasted for one entire month. She had a colonic every day, plus body work including reflexology, holding and massage of neurolymphatic and neurovascular points, and stimulation of acupuncture points related to weak organ systems and general massage to stimulate overall circulation and lymphatic drainage. She took protomorphogens to help rebuild her weakened organs; she took ten grams of vitamin C every day and a half-dose of life extension vitamin mix in assimilable powdered form; she drank herbal teas of echinacea and fenugreek seeds and several ounces of freshly squeezed wheat grass juice every day. Twice each day she made poultices out of clay and the pulp left over from making her wheat grass juice, filled an old bra with this mixture and pressed it to her breast for several hours until the clay dried. Shortly, I will explain all the measures in some detail.

These physical therapies were accompanied by counseling sessions dealing with some severe and long-unresolved problems, response patterns and relationships that triggered her present illness. Her son's father (Kelly's ex) was suppressive and highly intimidating. Fearful of him, Kelly seemed unable to successfully extricate herself from the relationship due to the ongoing contact which revolved over visitation and care of their son. But Kelly had grit! While fasting, she confronted these tough issues in her life and unflinchingly made the necessary decisions. When she returned to Canada she absolutely decided, without any nagging doubts, reservations or qualifications, to make any changes necessary to ensure her survival. Only after having made these hard choices could she heal.

I one respect, Kelly was a highly unusual faster. Throughout the entire month on water, Kelly took daily long walks, frequently stopping to lie down and rest in the sun on the way. She would climb to or from the top of a very large and steep hill nearby. She never missed a day, rain or shine.

At the end of her month on water Kelly's remaining breast lumps had disappeared, the lymphatic system and immune system tested strong, as well as the liver, pancreas, adrenals, and large intestine. No areas tested overly strong.

She broke the fast with the same discipline she had conducted it, on carrot juice, a cup every two hours. After three days on juice she began a raw food diet with small servings of greens and sprouts well chewed, interspersed at two hour intervals with fresh juicy fruits. After about ten days on "rabbit food," she eased into avocados, cooked vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and then went home.

As I write this, it is eight years since Kelly's long fast. She still comes to see me every few years to check out her diet and just say hello. She has had two more children by a new, and thoroughly wonderful husband and suckled them both for two years each; her peaceful rural life centers around this new, happy family and the big, Organic garden she grows. She religiously takes her life extension vitamins and keeps her dietary and life-style indiscretions small and infrequent. She is probably going to live a long, time.

I consider Kelly's cluster of organ weaknesses very typical of all cancers regardless of type or location, as well as being typical of AIDS and other critical infections by organisms that usually reside in the human body without causing trouble (called "opportunistic"). All these diseases are varieties of immune system failure. All of these conditions present a similar pattern of immune system weaknesses. They all center around what I call the "deadly triangle," comprised of a weak thymus gland, weak spleen, and a weak liver. The thymus and spleen form the core of the body's immune system. The weak liver contributes to a highly toxic system that further weakens the immune system. To top it off, people with cancer invariably have a poor ability to digest cooked protein (animal or vegetable) (usually from a weak pancreas unable to make enough digestive enzymes) and eat too much of it, giving them a very toxic colon, and an overloaded lymphatic system.

Whenever I analyze someone with this pattern, especially the entire deadly triangle, I let the person know that if I had those particular weaknesses I would consider my survival to be at immediate risk I'd consider it an emergency situation demanding vigorous attention. It does not matter if they don't yet have a tumor, or fibroid, or opportunistic infection; if they don't already have something of that nature they soon will.

Here's yet another example of why I disapprove of diagnosis. By giving the condition a name like "lymphoma" or "melanoma", "chronic fatigue syndrome" "Epstein-Barr syndrome" or "AIDS," "systemic yeast infection", "hepatitis" or what have, people think the doctor then understands their disease. But the doctor rarely understands that all these seemingly different diseases are essentially the same disease--a toxic body with a dysfunctional immune system. What is relevant is that a person with the deadly triangle must strengthen their immune system, and their pancreas, and their liver, and detoxify their body immediately. If these repairs are accomplished in time, the condition goes away, whatever its Latin name may have been.

Now, about some of the adjuncts to Kelly's healing. Let me stress here that had none of these substances or practices been used, she probably still would have recovered. Perhaps a bit more slowly. Perhaps a bit less comfortably. Conversely, had Kelly treated her cancer with every herb, poultice and vitamin known to man but had neglected fasting and colonics, she might well have died. It has been wisely said that intelligence may be defined as the ability to correctly determine differences, similarities, and importances. I want my readers to be intelligent about understanding the relative importances of different hygienic treatment and useful supporting practices.

Echinacea and chaparral leaves, red clover flowers, and fenugreek seeds are made into medicinal teas that I find very helpful in detoxification programs, because they all are aggressive blood or lymph cleansers and boost the immune response. These same teas can be used to help the body throw off a cold, flu, or other acute illness but they have a much more powerful effect on a fasting body than on one that is eating. Echinacea and chaparral are extraordinarily bitter and may be better accepted if ground up and encapsulated, or mixed with other teas with pleasant flavors such as peppermint or lemon grass. These teas should be simmered until they are at the strongest concentration palatable, drinking three or four cups of this concentrate a day. If you use echinacea, then chaparral probably isn't necessary and visa versa. Red clover is another blood cleanser, perhaps a little less effective but it has a pleasant, sweet taste and may be better accepted by the squeamish.

If there is lymphatic congestion I always include fenugreek seed tea brewed at the strength of approximately one tablespoon of seeds to a quart of water. Expect the tea to be brown, thick and mucilaginous, with a reasonably pleasant taste reminiscent of maple syrup.

Kelly used poultices of clay and wheat grass pulp on her lumps, somewhat like the warm castor oil poultices I used on my mother's arthritic deposits. Poultices not only feel very comforting, but they have the effect of softening up deposits and tumors so that a detoxifying, fasting body is more able to re absorb them. Poultices draw, pulling toxins out through the skin, unburdening the liver. Clay (freshly-mixed potters clay I purchase from a potters' guild), mixed with finely chopped or blended young wheat grass (in emergencies I've even used lawn grasses) makes excellent drawing poultices. Without clay, I've also used vegetable poultices made of chopped or blended comfrey leaves, comfrey root, slightly cooked (barely wilted) cabbage leaves, slightly steamed onion or garlic (cooked just enough to soften it). These are very effective to soften tumors, abscesses and ulcers. Aloe poultices are good on burns. Poultices should be thought of as helpful adjuncts to other, more powerful healing techniques and not as remedies all by themselves, except for minor skin problems.

Poultices, to be effective, need to be troweled on half an inch thick, extending far beyond the effected area, covered with cheese cloth or rags torn from old cotton sheets so they don't dry out too fast. Fresh poultices needs to be applied several times daily. They also need to be left on the body until they do dry. Then poultices are thrown away, to be followed by another as often as patience will allow. Do not cover poultices tightly with plastic because if they don't dry out they won't draw much. The drawing is in the drying.

Sometimes poultices cause a tumor or deposit to be expelled through the skin rather than being adsorbed, all with rather spectacular pus and gore. This phenomena is actually beneficial and should be welcomed because anytime the body can push toxins out through the skin, the burden on the organs of elimination are lessened.

Wheat grass juice has a powerful anti-tumor effect, is very perishable, is laborious to make, but is worth the effort because it contains powerful enzymes and nutrients that help detoxify and heal when taken internally or applied to the skin. As a last resort with dying patients who can no longer digest anything taken by mouth I've implanted wheat grass juice rectally (in a cleansed colon). Some of them haven't died. You probably can't buy wheat grass juice that retains much medicinal effect because it needs to be very fresh and should be drunk within minutes of squeezing. Chilled sharply and immediately after squeezing it might maintain some potency for an hour or two. Extracting juice from grass takes a special press that resembles a meat grinder.

The wheat is grown in transplant or seedling trays in bright light. I know someone who uses old plastic cafeteria trays for this. The seed is soaked overnight, spread densely atop a tray, covered shallowly with fine soil, kept moist but not soggy. When the grass is about four inches high, begin harvesting by cutting off the leaves with a scissors and juicing them. If the tray contains several inches of soil you usually get a second cutting of leaves. You need to start a new tray every few days; one tray can be cut for three or four days. (Kulvinskas, 1975)

More wheat grass juice is not better than just enough; three ounces a day is plenty! It is a very powerful substance! The flavor of wheat grass juice is so intense that some people have to mix it with carrot juice to get it down. DO NOT OVERUSE. The energizing effects of wheat grass can be so powerful that some people make a regular practice of drinking it. However, I've seen many people who use wheat grass juice as a tonic become allergic to it much as antibiotic dependent people do to antibiotics. Better to save wheat grass for emergencies.

I also have treated my own breast cancers--twice. The first time I was only 23 years old. One night I noticed that it hurt to sleep the way I usually did on my left side because there was a hard lump in my left breast. It was quite large--about the size of a goose egg. Having just completed RN training two years prior, I had been well brain washed about my poor prognosis and knew exactly what requisite actions must taken.

I scheduled a biopsy under anesthetic, so that if the tumor was malignant they could proceed to full mastectomy without delay. I was ignorant of any alternative course of action at the time.

I might add that before I grew my first tumor I had been consuming large amounts of red meat in a mistaken understanding gained in nursing school that a good diet contained large amounts of animal protein. In addition to the stress of being a full time psychology graduate student existing on a very low budget, I was experiencing I very frustrating relationship with a young man that left me constantly off center and confused.

A biopsy was promptly performed. The university hospital's SOP required that three pathologists make an independent decision about the nature of a tumor before proceeding with radical surgery. Two of the pathologist agreed that my tumor was malignant, which represented the required majority vote. But the surgeon removed only the lump, which he said was well encapsulated and for some reason did not proceed with a radical mastectomy. These days many surgeons routinely limit themselves to lumpectomies.

I never did find out why I awakened from general anesthetic with two breasts, but I have since supposed that due to my tender age the surgeon was reluctant to disfigure me without at least asking me for permission, or giving me some time to prepare psychologically. When I came out of anesthesia he told me that the lump was malignant, and that he had removed it, and that he needed to do a radical mastectomy to improve my prognosis over the next few years. He asked me to think it over, but he signed me up on his surgery list for the following Monday.

I did think it over and found I was profoundly annoyed at the idea of being treated like I was just a statistic, so I decided that I would be unique. I made a firm decision that I would be well and stay well--and I was for the next fifteen years. The decision healed me.

When I was 37 I had a recurrence. At the time I had in residence Ethyl and Marge, the two far-gone breast cancer cases I already told you about. I also had in residence a young woman with a breast tumor who had not undergone any medical treatment, not even a lumpectomy. (I will relate her case in detail shortly.) I was too identified emotionally with helping these three, overly-empathetic due to my own history. I found myself taking on their symptoms and their pain. I went so far into sympathy as to grow back my tumor--just as it had the first time--a lump mushroomed from nothing to the size of a goose egg in only three weeks in exactly the same place as the first one. Just out of curiosity I went in for a needle biopsy. Once again it was judged to be malignant, and I got the same pressure from the surgeon for immediate surgery. This time, however, I had an alternative system of healing that I believed in. So I went home, continued to care for my very sick residents, and began to work on myself.

The first thing I had to confront about myself was that I was being a compassionate fool. I needed to learn how to maintain my own personal boundaries, and clearly delineate what stuff in my mind and my body was really mine and what was another's. I needed to apply certain mental techniques of self-protection known to and practiced by many healers. I knew beyond doubt that I had developed sympathetic breast cancer because a similar phenomena had happened to me before. Once, when I had previously been working on a person with very severe back pain with hands-on techniques, I suddenly had the pain, and the client was totally free of it. So I protected myself when working with sick people. I would wash my hands and arms thoroughly with cold water, or with water and vinegar after contact. I would shake off their "energy," have a cold shower, walk bare foot on the grass, and visualize myself well with intact boundaries. These prophylaxes had been working for me, but I was particularly vulnerable to people with breast cancer.

I also began detoxification dieting, took more supplements, and used acupressure and reflexology as my main lines of attack. My healing diet consisted of raw food exclusively. I allowed myself fruits (not sweet fruits) and vegetables (including a lot of raw cabbage because vegetables in the cabbage family such as cauliflower and broccoli are known to have a healing effect on cancer), raw almonds, raw apricot kernels, and some sprouted grains and legumes. I drank diluted carrot juice, and a chlorophyll drink made up of wheat grass and barley green and aloe vera juice. I took echinaechia, red clover, and fenugreek seeds. I worked all the acupuncture points on my body that strengthen the immune system, including the thymus gland, lymph nodes, and spleen. I also worked the meridians, and reflex points for the liver, and large intestine. I massaged the breast along the natural lines of lymphatic drainage from the area.

Last, and of great importance, I knew that the treatment would work, and that the tumor would quickly disappear. It did vanish totally in three months. It would have gone away quicker if I had water fasted, but I was unable to do this because I needed physical strength to care for my resident patients and family.

Eighteen years have passed since that episode, and I have had no further reappearance of breast tumors. At age 55 I still have all my body parts, and have had no surgery except the original lumpectomy. Many, viewing my muscles and athletic performance, would say my health is exceptional but I know my own frailties and make sure I do not aggravate them. I still have exactly the same organ deficiencies as other cancer patients and must keep a very short leash on my lifestyle.

If for some reason I wanted to make my life very short, all I would have to do would be to abandon my diet, stop taking supplements, eat red meat and ice cream every day and be unhappy about something. Incidentally, I have had many residential clients with breast cancer since then, and have not taken on their symptoms, so I can assume that I have safely passed that hurdle.

I've helped dozens of cases of simple breast cancer where my treatment began before the cancer broadly spread. Kelly's case was not the easiest of this group, nor the hardest. Sometimes there was lymphatic involvement that the medical doctors had not yet treated in any way. All but one of my early-onset breast cancer cases recovered. I believe those are far better results than achieved by AMA treatment.

Before I crow too much, let me stress that every one of these women was a good candidate for recovery--under 40 years old, ambulatory and did not feel very sick. And most importantly, every one of them had received no other debilitating medical treatment except a needle biopsy or simple lumpectomy. None of these women had old tumors (known about for more than six months) and none of the tumors were enormous (nothing larger than a walnut).

Clearly, this group is not representative of the average breast cancer case. Hygienic therapy for cancer is a radical idea these days and tends to attract younger people, or older, desperate people who have already been through the works. In every one of my simple cases the tumors were reabsorbed by the body during the thirty days of water fasting and the client left happy.

Except one. I think I should describe this unsuccessful case, this "dirty case," so my readers get a more balanced idea of how fearsome cancer really isn't if the sick person can clearly resolve to get better and has no problem about achieving wellness.

Marie was an artisan and musician from Seattle who grew up back East in an upper-middle class dysfunctional family. She was in her late twenties. She had been sexually abused by an older brother, was highly reactive, and had never been able to communicate honestly with anyone except her lesbian lover (maybe, about some things).

Three years prior to coming to see me Marie had been medically diagnosed as having breast cancer and had been advised to have immediate surgery. She ignored this advice; Marie never told her friends, said nothing to her family and tried to conceal it from her lover because she did not want to disrupt their life together.

On her own, she did begin eating a Macrobiotic diet. In spite of this diet, the tumor grew, but grew very slowly. After two years the tumor was discovered by her lover, who after a year of exhausting and upsetting arguments, forced Marie to seek treatment. Since Marie adamantly refused to go the conventional medical route, she ended up on my doorstep as a compromise.

By this time the tumor was the size of a fist and had broken through the skin of the left breast. It was very ugly, very hard. Biokinesiology showed the usual deadly triangle and other associated organ weakneses typical of cancer. Marie began fasting on water with colonics and poultices and bodywork and counseling and supplements. At the end of the water fast, Marie looked much healthier, with clear eyes and clear skin and had a sort of shine about her, but the tumor had only receded enough for the skin to close over it; it was still large, and very hard. To fully heal, Marie probably needed at least two more water fasts of equal length interspersed with a few months on a raw food diet. But she lacked the personal toughness to confront another fast in the near future. Nor was she emotionally up to what she regarded as the deprivation of a long-term raw foods healing diet.

So I advised her to seek other treatment. Still unwilling to accept standard medical management of her case, Marie chose to go to the Philippines to have "psychic surgery." She was excited and optimistic about this; I was interested myself because I was dubious about this magical procedure; if Marie went I would have a chance to see the results (if any) on a person I was very familiar with. Marie had her tickets and was due to leave in days when her lover, against Marie's directly-stated wishes, called her parents and informed them of what was happening.

The parents had known nothing of Marie's cancer and were shocked, upset, outraged! They had not known Marie was a lesbian, much less that their daughter was flirting with (from their view) obvious quackery. Their daughter needed immediate saving and her parents and brother (the one who had abused her) flew to Oregon and surprisingly appeared the next day in a state of violent rage. They threatened lawsuits, police, incarceration, they threatened to have their daughter civilly committed as unable to take care of herself. They thought everything Marie had done for the last three years was my fault. I was lucky to stay out of jail. Of course, all of this was why Marie had not told them in the first place; she had wanted to avoid this kind of a scene.

Marie did not have enough personal integrity to withstand the domination of her immediate family. They put her in a hospital, where Marie had a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Assured that they had done everything that should have been done, the self-righteous parents went back home. Marie never recovered from chemotherapy and radiation. She died in the hospital surrounded by her lesbian friends who took dedicated, ever-so-sympathetic turns maintaining an emotional round-the-clock vigil.

Marie's death was partly my fault. She was an early case of mine. At the time I did not yet understand the total effect of lack of ethics and irresponsibility on illness. Had Marie really wanted to live in the first place, she would have sought treatment three years earlier. In our counseling sessions she always evaded this question and I had not been wise enough to pin her down with my knee on her chest and make her answer up. Marie had too many secrets from everybody and was never fully honest in any of her relationships, including with me. I think she only came to Great Oaks at her lover's insistence and to the day she died was trying to pretend that nothing was wrong.

All Marie really wanted from her life was to be loved and have a lot of loving attention. In the end, her dramatic death scene gave her that, which is probably why she manifested cancer and kept it and eventually, died from it.

The name for this game is "secondary gain." A lot of sick people are playing it. Their illness lets them win their deepest desire; they get love, attention, revenge, sympathy, complete service, pampering, create guilt in others. When sick people receive too much secondary gain they never get well.

One of the hardest things about being a healer is that one accumulates an ever-enlarging series of dirty, failed cases like this one. It is depressing and makes a person want to quit doctoring. Whenever I get involved with a case I really want them to get better. My life is put entirely out of joint for several months dealing with a residential faster. My schedule is disrupted; my family life suffers; my personal health suffers. No amount of mere money could pay for this. And then some of these people go and waste all my help to accomplish some discreditable secret agenda that they have never really admitted to themselves or others.