Seeking alternative care



While Ms. Kaiser’s story is extraordinary, it is by no means unique. She is part of a growing trend among mainstream physicians and cancer researchers to recognize that alternative therapies ranging from acupuncture to herbal remedies can be useful tools in fighting the dreaded disease. For almost two decades, the National Institutes of Health has been conducting research on, and in some cases validating, the efficacy of treatments that lie outside the norms of traditional medicine.

How and why these alternative therapies work is not always known, and researchers are quick to caution patients against ignoring the advice of their physicians. Still, many mainstream researchers concede that non-traditional treatments — such as those pursued by Ms. Kaiser — are worthy of study, consideration and, in some instances, application.

“Cancer patients feel helpless,” David Spiegel, a medical doctor who directs the Stanford University Center for Integrative Medicine, told the AARP Bulletin. “To the extent that we can give them a sense of power, of control, we can improve the quality of life and, I think, perhaps even affect the course of the disease.”

It is this sense of control that Ms. Kaiser sought upon receiving her diagnosis. She did not make her decision lightly, though. A native of Germany (she moved to the United States to work as an au pair in New York when she 21 years old), she had seen her father die an agonizing death from pancreatic cancer years earlier in that country, so she was fully aware of the seriousness of her situation. She carefully considered the pros and the cons of her decision before embarking on her journey of healing.

The physicians who initially treated her were not supportive.

“One doctor, who told me I probably had three months to live, asked me if I was trying to kill myself, to commit suicide,” she says. “I went from doctor to doctor, and they all recommended chemo and radiation, and I said that I simply can’t do that. But I was not ready to give up or surrender. I knew I could find a way to successfully treat this disease.”

South of the border

Ms. Kaiser, who had a highly successful career as a manufacturer and importer and exporter of kitchen utensils, began exhaustively researching alternative treatments and decided to seek help in Mexico, which has evolved into something of a Mecca for American cancer patients who disdain traditional approaches to the disease.

In Mexico, she was exposed to a variety of treatments —everything from ozone therapy to coffee enemas to nutritional approaches to the highly controversial drug Laetrile, which cannot lawfully be used to treat cancer in the United States.

“One of the things I learned, nutritionally, is that you can starve tumors,” she says. “Some foods, especially sugars, feed tumors, actually make them grow. If you deprive tumors of what they need, you can starve them.”

After several weeks in Mexico, she returned to Chicago and made another life-changing decision. She decided to sell her business and her home and move permanently to Naples, where she had a condominium that was used for vacations.

“It was a major change,” she says of the move, “but it was all part of totally restructuring my life. It has been a good move.”

via Eleven years ago, Ursula Kaiser was told she had three months to live. Today she is … CANCER-FREE | | Florida Weekly.

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