Welcome to Simply Living Wellness, where you’ll learn how to LOVE yourself, HEAL yourself and how to nurture your mind, body AND spirit. In this episode of Simply Living Wellness, Donna Abreu interviews guest, Tami McVay, about her insightful and inspiring story on how she healed herself from breast cancer with the Gerson Therapy protocol, with intention, and with seeing the positive and joy in everything, even the most mundane, routine eating program.
Tami McVay is a mother of one daughter and lives in Northern California. She received her health coaching certificate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a certified Gerson Home Setup Trainer, meaning she will go into the homes of new Gerson clients and help them to get setup for the rigorous protocol they are about to embark.
Tami is a living and breathing advocate for mindfulness and whole-body wellness and alternative healthcare. She practices what she teaches! Despite Tami’s wholistic and natural lifestyle, however, she was diagnosed in August of 2012 with breast cancer after receiving a mammogram where they found three tumors in her right breast. She elected to get a mastectomy and a series of radiation, a decision that Tami did not take lightly, yet refused the chemotherapy.
How Tami happened to discover Gerson Therapy…
Earlier in the year of Tami’s diagnosis, in 2012, she was attending a two-day, “I can do it” Hay House conference in the Bay Area in California when she heard Kris Carr, the author of Crazy Sexy Cancer, speak. The energy of Kris’ talk hit Tami hard, yet she dismissed it. After the second day, Kris spoke again as the closing presenter, and once again, the words seemed to physically effect Tami, giving her sweaty hands, so she took that as a sign and started to follow Kris online.
In February 2013, seven days prior to Tami’s first scheduled chemotherapy appointment, she read one of Khris Carr’s blog posts which was an interview with Jessica Ainscough about Gerson Therapy . This interview resonated so much to Tami that she started researching Gerson Therapy , and her intuition told her loud and clear that this would be her next step on her journey. She found a trained Gerson practitioner on the West coast. Two weeks later on her birthday, February 14th, she hopped in her car and drove to Medford, Oregon, to meet this Gerson practitioner.
After Tami discovered Gerson Therapy and knew this would be her next step, she had to make the big phone call to the oncologist to tell her she wouldn’t be coming to the chemo appointment scheduled for the following week.
Learn about the rarely-known breast cancer test that Tami received by chance that showed alarming results…
Discover the unknown text that Tami was offered by chance that showed an increased chance of recurrence for breast cancer if proceeding with the chemotherapy. These results came to the oncologist’s surprise as well, who immediately revoked the order for chemotherapy that Tami was already scheduled to receive a few days later.
When Tami refused the chemotherapy, her doctor told her, “Because you are over 50 they normally don’t offer it, but because you are refusing chemotherapy, there is another test you can do to see if chemotherapy will decrease your odds of a recurrence, called MammaPrint.” Well… the test shows an increase of recurrance!
The MammaPrint test shows the statistics of recurrence for the specific chemotherapy Tami was going to have the following Monday and for Tami’s specific the type of cancer. The doctor also told her the test was very expensive ($5,000) and that insurance doesn’t usually pay for it.
The results were alarming. Tami had a 10% chance of recurrence without the chemotherapy, and with the chemotherapy, the chance of recurrence increased to 27%, not to mention the harmful effects of putting a very toxic substance into her body. And… Tami only ended up paying $400 for the test.
Why Tami refused chemotherapy, yet proceeded with surgery and radiation…
Listen to Tami as she talks about why she went ahead with surgery and radiation, after repeated phone calls from her oncologist. “Are you ready to do the radiation? You don’t want that shit getting up into your neck.” The radiation decision was a difficult one. After the mastectomy, there was talk of three tumors and “something else”, meaning “other cancer cells that had escaped during surgery”, according to the doctor. There was also the tumor found in her arm pit… by chance.
Why we must be our own advocate for our own health…
Regardless if we are going traditional or alternative, we have to be an advocate of our own health. Don’t be afraid to question procedures, treatments, or comments. Do your own research and expand your search for practitioners. In Tami’s case, she interviewed five breast surgeons before settling on her chosen one. One surgeon she interviewed and asked, “How many breast cancer surgeries have you performed?”, gave her the answer, “I’ve done a ton”. That answer didn’t feel very good to Tami. “What is a ton?”, she replied? “A ton doesn’t mean anything to me.”
The fifth surgeon she visited gave Tami a specific number. Breast cancer surgeries is what she does, it’s her specialty. This doctor was also the only surgeon that suggested a check of her lymph nodes in her arm pits. As it turned out, there was a tumor in Tami’s arm pit which contributed to her decision to do the radiation.
Tami chose to combine traditional with alternative methods.
Tami decided to do radiation and Gerson Therapy . Had she known more about Gerson Therapy at the time, she might have elected to pursue only Gerson Therapy . She could justify radiation over chemotherapy, because radiation is naturally occurring in nature. So, she resonated more with the radiation. Her plan was to use the radiation to clean up the mess, then use Gerson Therapy to heal from the effects of radiation as well as from any remaining cancer that might be left in her body.
Tami pursued 30 days of radiation, then after waiting six weeks, she began Gerson Therapy , exactly one day after her daughter finished school for the summer.
Discover the Gerson Therapy protocol.
Gerson Therapy is not for everyone, but in Tami’s case it fit her lifestyle and desire perfectly. To recap, Tami discovered Gerson Therapy seven days before her first scheduled chemotherapy appointment, which she then canceled (and as we learned above, the doctor also revoked the order after seeing the results of the MammaPrint test). One week later, Tami visited the Gerson practitioner in Oregon, and as we learned, her decision was to continue with the radiation for 30 days with a six-week recovery period which led her to begin Gerson Therapy on June 11, the day after her daughter finished school for the summer. As you will learn, the Gerson Therapy program is quite rigorous. Tami wanted to be able to focus 100% on the protocol.
Gerson Therapy is primarily metabolic. Tami was juicing 10 to 15 times per day, drinking the juice immediately for optimal freshness and nutrition. She was restricted to certain detoxifying foods, took a slew of daily supplements, and performed five coffee enemas per day to remove the gathered toxins.
Tami ate the same bowl of oatmeal every day for breakfast and consumed a baked potato and large salad for both lunch and dinner.
Tami followed this eating protocol for two entire years.
Yet Tami was committed, and she created many other creative habits for bringing joy and pleasure into her life despite the tedious and mundane program (which you will read further on, or better yet, listen to Tami talk about it herself on the podcast archive above).
All the foods Tami ate were cooked very slow and at low temperatures to maintain the most amount of enzymes and also to minimize the amount of energy needed by the body to digest the food so that the energy could be reserved for the healing. Chinese medicine also favors this style of cooking for the same reasons. The juices were raw, however. But since homemade juices contain no fiber, they are easy to digest, and our bodies can activate the nutrients in seconds. The juices are also tremendously detoxifying, so much that Tami had to do five coffee enemas throughout the day to pull the toxins from the colon brought up by the juices. Without the enemas, many of the toxins would just recycle back into the body.
Tami recommends working with a trained Gerson practitioner, because of the experience and training they bring to the picture, and because they can customize the protocol throughout the period based on the monthly lab results. Tami had 14 different protocols over the two-year period. She met with her Gerson practitioner on video conference, monthly, to review the latest lab results and tweak the protocol. There is a book on Gerson Therapy that many people choose to follow on their own, however, a Gerson practitioner will bring much added value as in Tami’s experience.
Tami was taking daily supplements as well as vitamin B and crude liver extract injections every other day. Tami’s local naturopath was willing to work with her. She gave her the injections, and would order the monthly lab work, and send the results to Oregon for the Gerson practitioner.
Tami used 70 lbs of carrots per week for her carrot juices! And the Gerson green juices contained:
- Green apple
- Red leaf
- Green leaf
- Red cabbage
- Green pepper
So much more to healing than the doctor ordered
After having followed Kris Carr for several months already, Tami understood the benefits of juicing and immediately increased her juicing after her diagnosis. She also went to see her local naturopath who got her on a program of special supplements and diet changes which ended up dramatically helping her heal from the surgery and radiation. The practitioners were pleasantly surprised at her rapid recoveries. From the radiation, she got red and sore, but she didn’t experience the typical tiredness nor get the typical blistering.
Tami attributes her healing to many factors which she describes in the interview:
- Diet changes which included juicing
- Specialty supplements ordered by her naturopath
- Early appointments
- Vision boards
- A vibrant colorful handmade gown
- Listening to calming music and meditations of a successful surgery and recovery, even during her surgery
At her first radiation appointment, Tami was told to put on a blue gown. When she walked into the waiting room every single person wore the same blue gown. She said to an older sweet gentleman sitting next to her, “Well, no girl likes to walk into the dance to find that everyone is wearing her same dress including the men!”
Tami decided she would not wear the blue gown and just be “the next patient”. She wanted them to notice her for who she is as a unique individual, and to therefore be more present, pay more attention and to be focused on Tami’s treatment. She went home that night and made herself a new gown with the most vibrant colors she could find. She also made her appointments for early mornings so the staff were fresh and rested, and the first thing they would see is their first patient, Tami McVay, in a bright, colorful gown.
Tami solicited energy from her medical team that they didn’t even realize they were giving.
Tami brought a vision board into the recovery room with her which was nearly the only thing in the room. The vision board contained happy, joyful, heart-based and healthy images and words. She could see the nurses and doctors who came in to check on her literally change when they walked into the room and spotted the vision board. She could see their expression change, and felt them ground and drop into themselves and drop into their hearts.
Tami talks about this practice of soliciting healing energy from her surroundings during the initial surgery, and during radiation treatments, but really throughout the entire 2-year Gerson healing journey.
Tami had to spend the majority of her time indoors preparing and consuming the Gerson foods. She was up at 5:30 AM washing vegetables, juicing, and doing enemas. Rather than resenting the fact and glooming over it, Tami managed very well to keep an amazingly positive attitude. She made sure of it by surrounding herself with reminders of seeing this journey with gratitude rather than boredom and resentment.
Listen to Tami share 7 wildly creative tips she used to keep an amazing positive attitude of love, gratitude and joy…
- Tami put post-its ALL over her house with positive quotes and healing thoughts such as “I am in perfect health”
- Tami used the same vision board from her surgery in her house as well as created a second one
- She hung bird feeders outside her eating area windows, and learned more about birds and their seasonal habits in those two years than she could ever imagine
- She used gorgeous, handmade placemats, cloth napkins, dishes and cutlery
- She ate her morning oatmeal from a beautiful handmade ceramic bowl
She had to look at life from a different point of view. Rather than letting her taste buds dictate what would be yucky and no fun, she found other ways to be grateful and joyful. The thought of her food and juices as medicine rather than dull and repetitive. She had to think outside of the box. The food became a healing element, rather than a pleasure element.
“I didn’t want to drink resentful juice.”
The energy you put into things goes right back into your body. If she held negative thoughts about the food, she would be putting that energy right back into her body. Ayurveda teaches the same principal, to put love into your cooking. If you are rushed and stressed while you are cooking, that energy goes into the food which you then feed to yourself and your family!
Tami wanted to show respect and gratitude for her breasts before removal.
Tami used a pregnancy body casting mold to make a mold of her right side the night before her surgery. She wanted to honor her breasts. They had served their purpose for her, in breast feeding her daughter for example, and she didn’t didn’t want any ill feeling directed towards them. Instead, she honored them and expressed gratitude towards them with this ritual.
I believe that all of these self-love rituals filled with intention and gratitude attributed to Tami’s healing.
This entire experience also served as a tremendous self-growth opportunity. Tami became more mindful, present, and a stronger person. She chooses to see the experience as a blessing. “It certainly takes your blinders off and makes you appreciate life a whole lot more”, she adds.
Amazing, perfect results after two years of Gerson then again another five years later!
Tami was considered complete with the Gerson protocol once her practitioner was happy with the lab results and a CT scan at the two-year mark. She did not do an MRI, and she did not want a PET scan.
An ambassador for alternative healing.
During her two-year Gerson healing journey, Tami continued to see her traditional doctors. She would bring her lab results to every appointment, because she knew the doctors could relate to test results. They were astonished at her improvements and when they asked, “What are you doing? Keep doing what you are doing”, she got to be an educator to all of them. She would show them a printed copy of her Gerson protocol which also included all the supplements she took.
In January of this year, 2018, Tami had her five-year checkup with lab work, and her oncologist, happily reported, “Perfect results. Couldn’t be more perfect, actually.”
Here is the timeline if you are interested in the details:
Nov 2012: Mastectomy
Feb 7, 2013: Discovered Gerson Therapy 7 days prior to first chemo appt.
Feb 14, 2013: Initial consult with Gerson practitioner in Medford, OR
March to April 2013: Radiation treatments
June 11, 2013: Officially started Gerson Therapy
Jan 2015: CT scan – all clear diagnosis!
Jan 2018: 5-year check up with Oncologist, blood work came back perfect!
How can you get help?
You may contact Tami directly by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tami received her health coaching certificate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a certified Gerson Home Setup Trainer, meaning she will go into the homes of new Gerson clients and help them to get setup for the rigorous protocol they are about to embark.