By Marlene Barrera
For several months, I had felt the desire to have my breasts checked for possible cysts or tumors, but not wanting to expose myself to radiation, I was reluctant to undergo a standard mammogram. In January 1995, after returning from a spiritually oriented trip to India, my intuition continued to tell me that I needed a medical checkup.
On this occasion, a local naturopath offered me the opportunity of undergoing a thermogram, a heat sensing technique which detects densities within the body such as tumors and cysts. This process is regarded by many clinicians as superior to the mammogram due to its capacity for detecting growths at very early stages.
The thermogram indicated a cyst in my left breast and two others forming in my right breast. The naturopath who performed the process was particularly concerned with the growth on the left breast, which appeared to be a serious health problem. I am in my late-30s and like most women my age worried about cancer. Although he recommended a treatment based on herbal supplements, I decided to investigate other forms of healing. A close friend suggested a local doctor of Oriental medicine who had success treating cancer patients. His confidence and gentleness with me during a telephone interview assured me that he was the right person to help me heal.
On my initial visit to Dr. Takamatsu, he mentioned that I needed to remove all dairy products from my diet. He stood quietly and looked at me squarely in the eyes as if to see if I could or would reconcile this change in my lifestyle. Since I became a vegetarian, most of my protein was derived from dairy products. I was particularly fond of yogurt and cheese. My desire was to heal, and without hesitation I replied, Yes. Then almost in the same breath, I asked, What about sugar? Dont ask me what possessed me to ask that question, especially since at this point I had no notion of macrobiotics. No, sugar, he replied. On the treatment sheet he provided an explanation of the macrobiotic diet and a strong encouragement to follow this regime in order to hasten the healing process.
Nature seemed to take me under her wing, for within a few days I discovered The Cancer Prevention Diet by Michio Kushi and a local macrobiotic restaurant. Several weeks later, I met Edward Esko, a teacher and counselor at the Kushi Institute in Becket, Mass., who was giving a lecture at this same restaurant and I arranged with him for a private consultation.
There are many factors involved in healing. I decided to approach my healing process holistically, and thus actively involve mind, body, and spirit in the recovery process. Already I had an established background in practicing contemplation and meditation. For several months, I had learned and practiced pranayamas, or yogic breathing exercises, which oxygenate and detoxify the cells in the body. My experience with massage therapy (Im a certified massage therapist) had exposed me to both physical de-stressing techniques, as well as various energy techniques such as Network Chiropractic, Reiki, and Cranio-Sacral. I continued acupuncture treatments with Dr. Takamatsu. My weak spots were my past diet and lack of exercise, so I began yoga classes and strictly followed Edward Eskos macrobiotic recommendations.
Although I initially lost a great deal of weight, my energy did not appear to suffer. Not once since starting a macrobiotic diet have I been ill with a cold or flu, or any other ailment. Despite my apparent good health, I felt the need to be reassured about the development of the cysts. Four and a half months after seeking alternatives and beginning to eat macrobiotic, I had a mammogram done (as the thermogram machine was not available). The mammogram revealed fibrocystic tissue, but showed no signs of cysts on either breast.
Actually I am very grateful for my cysts because the experience has exposed me to a healthier way of eating and living. The situation impacted me to the core and has resulted in transformations much greater than are visible in a mammogram. I know of no device yet that can measure the progress of the soul. And yet I can tell you confidently, this form of balanced eating has become an integral part of my souls evolutionary process.
Marlene Barrera lives in Plano, Texas, and directs a Spanish ministry program at a local church. This article originally appeared in the One Peaceful World Journal, Winter 1996. © One Peaceful World, all rights reserved.