Carolyn Wakumoto is a modern day miracle. Two years ago, Carolyn was diagnosed with Stage IV Gall Bladder Cancer, a rare form of cancer that has no proven treatment and only a six month survival rate after diagnosis. But this wife, mother of four, and grandmother of 15 refused to let the cancer win. She became her own best advocate by seeking out information on-line, obtaining treatment at the City of Hope in Duarte, California, and never giving up. While she went ahead with the standard, routine treatment utilizing chemotherapy (“poison” according to Carolyn), she also actively sought out less conventional methods to supplement the chemo. On the Internet, Carolyn came across two valuable resources. The first was the Budwig Diet, an “approach that teaches how to destroy as many cancer cells as possible in the shortest time possible.” The second, and perhaps most valuable, was the book, Cancer Free- Your Guide to Gentle, Non-Toxic Healing by Bill Henderson.
Both of these resources involved a new venture of incorporating healthy food principles which Carolyn attributes to saving her life and changing her eating habits forever.
Describe Your Venture: Taking upon myself the responsibility to help treat and put in remission my gall bladder cancer. I achieved this through the traditional treatment of doses of chemotherapy over a six month period and by following an intense, strict 8 week diet regimen that I began after the chemo treatments. The diet included vitamins, herbs, daily “cancer smoothies,” and the 5 No’s: No Sugar, No Processed Food, No Animal Protein, No Dairy, and No Gluten.
What set you on your path to your venture? Being diagnosed with Stage IV Gall Bladder Cancer. Even though I was given a grim diagnosis, deep down inside I knew that I could and would survive.
What skills/talents do you have that compliment your venture? Courage, a hopeful attitude, strong faith, liking to read, and the ability to search for information on the Internet.
What fears did you have in getting started? Dying in six months like the doctors predicted. Not knowing if I was doing everything possible to save myself.
What was involved in getting started? Developing a positive attitude was a big key. Around the time I was diagnosed, Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett had both recently died from cancer. To top it off, Michael Jackson also died the same day as Farah Fawcett. I had recently read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. All of these things combined brought home to me the fact that dying was a real possibility and took away my hope. Not too long after, I watched a television program that featured a cancer doctor from the Todd Institute in Long Beach talking about how he was curing Stage IV cancers. One of his patients was also on the program and she talked about her cancer survival journey. This along with receiving a blessing and hearing other success stories gave me the needed courage to be hopeful. I figured, if they could survive so could I. I began doing my research and found that I couldn’t rely on chemotherapy alone. Most of the research pointed to a strict, healthy diet in order to be successful. So I decided to commit everything I had inside of me to following the recommended diet exclusively.
What was your start up costs? What are your ongoing costs? Cancer is expensive. Most of my chemo treatment was covered by health insurance but there still was some out of pocket expenses. I spent approximately $20 on purchasing the book, Cancer Free, Your Guide to Gentle, Non-Toxic Healing.” The book totally explains what you need to eat and where to find some of the more unusual items for the diet. It costs about $155 a month to buy the particular foods and another $100 a month for the special herbs you need to take. In addition to the diet, I also saw a holistic doctor specializing in neuromodulation techniques which work on the immune system. He charges $50 per visit. For the first six weeks of my regime, I saw the doctor three times a day, one day each week. Now, I just see him once a month.
How do you get the word out about your venture? Obviously, family and friends found out right after my diagnosis and were very supportive. I put together a handout that summarizes the diet I followed. At first, I just gave the outline to my family so that they would be aware of my food limitations when we had family gatherings. But now, when people outside my family hear my story and see how healthy I am today, they are naturally curious about my treatment and they have been requesting my diet summary. The diet is really plain common sense for a healthy, balanced life. Anyone can benefit from it no matter their circumstances.
How much time a week do you spend on your venture? Every day, every meal. While I am not as strict about my diet like I was during the first 8 weeks, I am on a maintenance version now.
What have you learned along the way? The power of positive thinking and the benefits of healthy eating. Also, the importance of being your own best advocate.
What do you like best about your venture? Since going through this experience and implementing better eating habits, I have more energy, I lost a lot of weight, and I feel the best I have ever felt in my life.
What do you see for you and your venture in the future? Since I am now in remission, I want to stay that way forever. While Mr. Henderson’s diet is recommended for only five years, I will stay on some form of it for the rest of my life to maintain my good health. I want to live a very long life.
You can reach Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org