I am a 23 year terminal cancer survivor,
being diagnosed with Stage 4 malignant melanoma in 1986. Between
1983 and 1986, I went through 3 rounds of surgery and visited
many medical establishments looking for answers and for "hope".
My younger brother learned about the macrobiotic approach
and shared the information with me. He and I went to visit
Dr Marc VanCauwenberghe in Boston, MA and
Dr VanCauwenberghe recommended a strict macrobiotic diet.
Hesitant at first and doubtful that anything would help, I
embarked on the diet May 1, 1986 and never looked back. My
condition began improving within months and I started to regain
my strength and my overall health within a year.
I have, over the years, been very vocal and public about my
support for a macrobiotic way to health and I was selected
to be one of the 6 Best Cases presented to the National Cancer
Institute, Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Q: How did you find out about macrobiotics?
Marlene: My younger brother actually went to
a psychic in RI to learn what healing method he could use
with his son's ear infection. He asked this woman at the end
of their meeting what he could do to help me and she very
adamantly said "Macrobiotics". He did not know what
that was, did his research and brought me Michio Kushi's book,
The Cancer Prevention Diet Book.
He took me to a local health food store, we bought many organic
vegetables and grains and beans, and started cooking! My brother
and I went to have a consultation with Dr Van Cauwenberghe
in Brookline and we came back to RI with a program to follow.
I found a wonderful group of macrobiotic cooks and we had
weekly meals, cooking classes and invited the senior counselors
to come to lecture in RI.
Q: How has the macrobiotic approach to
healing helped you recover?
Marlene: After three surgeries-one in 1983,
one in 1984 and the last one in 1986, I did not have any radiation
or chemotherapy. Almost two months after my last surgery I
started the macrobiotic diet. I engaged in no other form of
therapy or healing modality.
Exercise, yoga, meditation, spirituality and changing my lifestyle
were integrated into the macrobiotic way to health. I learned
to slow down, and to change my fast-paced, negative thinking
lifestyle. I give enormous credit to the diet, the support-both
emotional and spiritual-of family and friends.
Q What challenges did you have to go through?
Marlene: I went through many, many challenges.
My doctors thought I was crazy to give so much credence to
this method of alternative healing. Some of my friends and
some family members discouraged me from following this macrobiotic
It was difficult enough to totally change your cooking methods
and introduce new foods into your household; but I had the
additional burden of defending what I was doing to those around
Q: How important is it to have family
and community support?
Marlene: It is very important to have the support
of family and community! The small but active East-West Center
of RI was so central to my staying on course. We had dinners
on Friday nights, we had many counselors come to RI to lecture
and give consultations. I found the comfort of those who encouraged
me to stay on the diet and who believed in my recovery.
Q How did your doctor react to your turnaround
Marlene: My doctors never really acknowledged
the tremendous effect that Macrobiotics had on
my total recovery! They called it spontaneous remission and
only after many years, did some of them start looking at holistic
medicine and nutrition as a possible resource for those afflicted
Q: What one piece of advice would you
give to new people approaching macrobiotics
for the first time?
Marlene: Stay the course-never give up and believe
in the totality of the macrobiotic way to health. Believing
in your body's ability to heal itself is key!
- For the past twenty years, Marlene has been very public
in promoting Macrobiotics. She has appeared on national radio
and TV talk shows; She was featured in articles in national
magazines, such as Ladies Home Journal, Your Health, Miracles.
She introduced macrobiotics to President Clinton when he was
in office-by giving him a copy of Marlene's book to read which
you can order at www.medmacro.com