Thursday, June 28, 2007


We saw in the news today that the individual who "drowned" upstream from us yesterday was immediately rescued by his girlfriend who administered CPR and revived him. Incredible.

Also, thanks so much for your comments. Just yesterday I was typing in my blog entry and wondering if it has any purpose at all. I thought I might have just been having a moment of sadness and uncertainty, but I typed my thoughts anyway. However, now I am clear that I was way off base. Good to know!!!

Update /Reflection

Today was a tough day. It was a nice day, but it was tough. It seems someone drown not too far up stream from us this evening. That hit me a little harder than I would have guessed. Maybe I'm just a little more present to my mortality lately. Or maybe it's because drowning victims don't exactly get an opportunity to turn things around. And maybe I have no idea why I was so saddened by it...

Well, after we found out, I went back to dinner. Yeah...dinner. That wasn't easy this evening. The Gerson Therapy includes a very limited choice of foods with two items that are a must with every lunch and dinner: baked potato and a special soup - with every lunch and dinner. And then I have a choice of vegetables, but with my stomach problems, my limited choice of vegetables is even more limited. So, lunch and dinner has been a little difficult lately. And, I remind myself once again that I can have all the pizza I want as long as I'm willing to do traditional therapy - chemo, radiation... Hmmm..more soup please. Okay, maybe not more, but what I got will do.

Until an hour later and I smell Cal's nachos cooking in the toaster oven and the cheese has begun to melt to the point that its starting to get crispy. Oh, what a delicious smell. It was round two without that comfort food and I felt a little beaten. Any comfort was going to come from within or not at all and I wasn't feeling it. Well, I got back on the couch and watched the rest of a Townes Van Zandt documentary I had been watching earlier and fell a little more in love with his lyrical mastery. Then I read a few pages of Lord of the Rings to Cal and off he went to bed. Now it's my turn. Good night.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Jackie Gartenman has arrived and she will be here with us for the next three months as a housemate and more importantly, as a teammate in my daily therapy. She's a wonderful person to have on our team and to share our home with and she and Daniela are a great match. I almost feel spoiled - it's great!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Time!!!

My friend Sue kindly installed a screen door in our front entrance which has created a nice cross breeze in the house. It seems summer has found its way into our backyard again. I love it. Today Daniela, Beau & I went to the swimming hole and I laid down on an air-filled, floating lounge chair and relaxed on the gentle ripples of our gorgeous little creek. The water fall soothed my mind so sweetly and brought me back to last summer when we didn't have a care in the world and my biggest priority was to get home from the office ASAP soDaniela, Cal & i could spend a few hours swimming and relaxing in the sun. Daniela told me to go ahead and close my eyes she would make sure I didn't float down stream. She asked where I went when my eyes were closed. I told her I went right here floating in this creek with you right now. It is such a privilege to be here right now.


I have been feeling better for the past couple days. I have a little more energy today than I've had in the last week or so. Today I feel a lot more like myself than I have since this therapy began and it's been quite odd to not feel myself most of the time. As far as not feeling myself, what has been most consistent is being tired and my legs aching. My legs ache every day at some point or another - it seems to always include my calves and sometimes it's right up to my hips. Amazing. And what's more amazing is these really difficult detox flare-ups are supposed to vanish after I have completed three months of the therapy. Charlotte, however, explained to us that it's not uncommon for Gerson patients to go downhill once the detox flare-ups stop because the patient feels better than ever and decides they no longer need rest. And what's required in Gerson Therapy is REST, REST, REST so the body can heal itself.

REST has become my mantra because it's actually really tough to rest all the time. Daniela needs a hand with Beau, I naturally help out, but not anymore. Cal wants an adult to go to the creek and swim with him, I immediately want to take him and I can't do it because if he needed rescuing from the water, of course I would do it, and it would VERY LIKELY be detrimental to the healing of my tumor and I can guarantee I would be in a boat-load of pain after exerting the energy it simply takes to swim let alone pull even a small child from the water.

So, I sit back and observe all these incredible folks as they manage what ever I need. Thank you to each of you who are making such an extraordinary difference in our lives. Especially you Daniela - you are an incredible woman not to mention without you none of this would be possible. And I never imagined that people coming over to support my healing from something so major could be SUCH a blast. We really are having a great time. The tunes are on, Beau is in his doorway jumper bouncing to the music, we're all laughing and cheering him on, Daniela and Jackie are making juice for all of us, and I feel more like myself than I have in weeks - it's awesome! And even inside of all of that, I am managing to rest. It's a different way of doing things, but we're doing it.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Today I just read in the Ithaca Times that a friend of mine died of cancer last year. I had no idea that she even had cancer and today I'm reading about the one-year anniversary of her passing. It's an odd thing to get older and witness the passing of more and more people. It's always occurred to me that I would be "old" (what ever that means) before I or any of my peers might be diagnosed with cancer or any other degenerative disease for that matter. And with the culture of this country being so stand-off-ish about death, I guess it only makes sense that, even with my mom's honesty about such things, I wouldn't be prepared for the experience that death affords. Then again, who is prepared for such things.

Due to my choice of topic, I feel it necessary to let you know that I am doing great and even better,
I have not felt the tumor all day today.

And what does that mean in my world? Well, a few weeks ago, I began to feel the tumor every day. The feeling is similar to a stiff muscle - not a lot, but the feeling is definitely present. It was so much easier to deal with it when I couldn't feel it. Suddenly feeling it each day had me a bit anxious. Well, now it seems the opposite it happening. It seems that it could just be shrinking.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


The last week has been pretty tough. Folks ask me how I am doing and I tell them the truth - I am doing great. My spirits are high and I am definitely making progress with the therapy. If you ask me how I am feeling, that's another story. The therapy is working so I have been feeling like $!@# lately, especially for the last week. In addition, I have had little appetite yet I know I must eat. So, I do my best to get some food in my body. Fortunately, my appetite has been good the last couple of days.

However, this totally plant based diet has got me nearly back to the same weight I was when I graduated high school and I was pretty skinny when I graduated high school. Or wait a second...I never graduated from high school (or at least not the traditional way). Let's try this - I'm the same weight I was when I earned my diploma. So, if you have only known me for the last ten years or less, then you have not seen the skinny me. But have no fear, I am doing great! I've just been too wiped out to do things like returning e-mails and phone calls - nothing personal.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Yesterday, a neighbor stopped by to tell us that the power was back on. Yet, oddly enough, we all ready knew that...??? Anyway, my friend Michelle answered the door when the neighbor knocked. They greeted one another and then the neighbor asked, "So are you with hospice ? [.....uhmmm.....WHAT?......did you say hospice? No, I'm not here with hospice. I'm actually here to read him his last rights but I've never done it before. Any recommendations??????]

Now that I think of it, maybe the neighbor thought Michelle was with hospice because we were dying laughing after she left. It was even better earlier in the day when she shared about someone close to her who died of rectal cancer [thanks for sharing]. Did you ever notice that some people have no idea that their thoughts actually exit their mouths? Fortunately for her, we got a big kick out of the whole thing and both Michelle and I were clear she had no awareness of what she was saying. And in all honesty, she has been quite a friendly neighbor and she is a very sweet person.

I should also clarify. I am more than happy to talk about cancer if it's relevant in the conversation, and as you can imagine, lately it's been quite relevant. It's also okay to share about someone you know who died of cancer. And my request is that any sharing of that sort be shared with us from an empowering context - with the intention of providing something positive/supportive. What I am not interested in is hearing people's sharing about someone in their life who died of cancer just for the sake of sharing it - like a weather report. So, if you call or email or stop by, you don't need to be worried about saying the word .....................cancer.....................and now that I think about it, I have always been very uncomfortable about saying the word cancer to someone who is dealing with it, until now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Today we had a power outage for a few hours and boy did that put the breaks on everything: the juicer, the water distiller, the pump for the well! A simple loss of power can cause big upset. Only days before I was asking my friend Sue what kind of generator we should buy in case of a power outage. During our conversation she kindly offered the use of her generator. As you can imagine, we were on the phone with Sue this afternoon. Just as the power came on, Sue called to confirm that we still needed the generator. Well, we agreed we didn't need it at the house ASAP and she promised to get it out here sooner than later. And I'll gladly take this short power outage as a sign to have a generator here soon.

As far as my detox flare-ups, today was a tough one. My body ached for most of the day and I have had almost no energy. However, I am feeling a little better now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Correction to my June 17th update: the liver does not expel bile into the stomach. It expels bile into the small intestine, which causes the nausea.


Today I have been experiencing leg pain from the knees down and every once in a while my arms, shoulders and back ache. Definitely a strange experience. My energy was good this morning and then dropped around noon. Oh, and my insides have been gurgling like a cauldron...??? More detox symptoms. And when I am standing my legs hurt less. But I'm not supposed to be standing so, I lay down and apply potassium solution to my legs. The potassium draws out toxins and reduces teh intensity of the leg pain.

It's raining outside right now. And it's strange for me because it actually has almost no impact on me as an individual. It impacts me indirectly if Daniela or Cal or Beau have to deal with it, sure. But it's the first time since I was a kid that it makes absolutely no difference if it's raining. Because, I will not be going out today. I will not be going out tomorrow. I will not be going out the next day. I don't have to drive through the night rain or walk through a storm in order to get something we need. I will be sitting inside watching the world go by. So strange. And, I kinda like it, at least varying moments when I can let go of my need to be "doing something constructive." And I included quotes because I am clear that by resting my mind and body I am doing something constructive. It's just not the kind of constructive I'm used to.

What I am used to is email in the morning, walking the dogs, forgetting to finish my breakfast that I was eating on the way to work and then not noticing I'm hungry until 2 or 3pm - at which point I'm starving -, and then working as late as I can and still getting home for dinner if Daniela and Cal can hold out. And then, once I get home, I walk the dogs, eat dinner and do what ever tasks need to be completed, and then read to Cal and go to bed. It's always been go-go-go-go-go. This is my first time that I am in charge of nothing except healing my body.

And I want to thank all of you who have signed up to assist us with food prep and any other various tasks. Each one of you has made a HUGE difference in our lives - you've made all of this possible.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


It's been brought to my attention that folks are a little curious about what it's like over here at our house. There's also some curiosity about the coffee enema.

Here's how the coffee enema works. Once the coffee is in the large intestine, the caffeine enters the hemorrhoidal veins and travels to the liver. When the caffeine reaches the liver, the liver is stimulated and the bile ducts open up, resulting in an increase in the amount of bile expelled. The bile is expelled into the small intestine and eventually passes through the body. One side effect is nausea due to the increase of bile in the small intestine (this is a good thing - it means the enema was effective). A second side effect is abdominal pain as a result of the bile moving through the small & large intestines. Amazingly, chamomile tea is a very powerful antidote for this type of abdominal pain and I drink it when ever necessary.

And how are things at the house? How is the mood? That's a great question because before I was diagnosed, I was pretty freaked out when ever I heard that someone I cared about was diagnosed with cancer - because not everyone lives through it. Well, we are doing great. Daniela and I look the cancer in the eye and embrace it. This is what there is to do right now, so this is what we are doing. We still laugh all the time and there is enough sarcasm for everybody.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Chris has completed his four-week agreement with us and Daniela is 100% trained and doing an amazing job. Chris you have been boundlessly generous with my family and me and for that we will always be grateful. We love you.


Today I have spent the day going through a heavy detox flare-up. I've been exhausted all day. I have no desire to sleep and I am tired after walking across the house more than once. Now that I'm in week five of my detox, I have to remind myself that I am detoxing - I am not sick. This is definitely no piece of cake and this instead of chemo & radiation is a no brainer.

And, sometimes wonder if the context for doing this therapy is to avoid chemo & radiation. I don't ever want to do something in order to avoid something else. I'd rather do what I'm committed to doing. At first it seems that I am doing to avoid the chemo & radiation, but then I remind myself that I'm not. I'm doing this because the method is designed to heal the immune system so it can remove the cancer cells, so I'll do what ever it is I have to do. But don't think for two seconds that I don't want a cheeseburger smothered with onions and a few crisp pickles dipped in some freshly made blue cheese dressing and a chocolate-chocolate chip milkshake RIGHT NOW. And then maybe some fried New England clams smothered in tartar sauce, which would then lead to a cold Sierra Nevada or possibly a Pilsner Urquell and eventually followed by a large cup of coffee, full of cream, concocted with the sole purpose of washing down a number of freshly fried, right off the coveyor, melt in your mouth, Krispy-Kreme donuts. Yeah, that would definitely do it. And in the mean time, I think I'm due for a karrot juice.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I was surprised by a significant change in my life - I have been put on bed rest for three months. It has become clear that my body will only heal if I am resting and I have begun to accept that rest is not only physical but mental and that is so tough for me. So, I spend my days either on the couch or on the deck on an outdoor lounge chair. I sleep for a couple of hours either every morning or every afternoon - this therapy definitely takes a toll.

Today was one of those days that felt like Groundhog's Day. Every day we do the same thing - the therapy doesn't change. I am glad I am doing the therapy and I will definitely be finding ways to create some variety so it stays interesting!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Good news! We now have a fully functioning Gerson Therapy kitchen in place and a lot of time is spent there. Now that the system is in place, it's even started to become a bit peaceful around here. The different shifts throughout the day are starting to be filled by various volunteers made up of friends, neighbors and a few new friends who heard about us and wanted to help (pretty amazing). We can always use more help. If you are available, please sign up on the Helping Hands calendar Thanks to everyone who has made this possible for us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

As far as my therapy is going, one common occurrence for me (frequent but not all the time) is a couple of hours of nausea following a coffee enema. The nausea, believe it or not, is a good thing. It signifies a very effective enema. This is how it works: when coffee is retained in the large intestine, the caffeine from the coffee enters the blood stream into the hemorrhoidal veins and travels directly to the liver. The caffeine then causes the liver expel an increased amount of bile and with each time the liver gets more and more detoxified. Where does the expelled bile go? That bile is expelled into the stomach and if a lot of bile is expelled into the stomach, nausea is experienced. Once the liver is detoxified, the immune system becomes stronger and can fight the cancer cells effectively. Gerson Therapy is the only form of healing I have ever done where not feeling well is a good sign!!!

Thank you to all of you who have sent cards, emails or posted messages on the blog - we love hearing from you. Please recommend funny movies for me to watch. It's become very easy to laugh lately and I have not laughed this hard in a long time. It feels incredible. I would also love new music if you care to mail me a copy of you favorite CD. Thanks.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


I have been home since Tuesday night - about 11 PM - and I'm just starting to get my bearings. On Wednesday I was exhausted and way out of sorts. Tuesday's all day travel way pretty tough on us - more than normal travel - because it was a pretty emotional departure - going from the clinic to home. As far away from home as we were, the clinic was very comfortable in that it was very simple in nature with rest as the key focus. And leaving those of us so close to us was an additional strain.

On Wednesday morning I woke up with migraine - 9.5 out of 10 - equivalent to someone in workboots standing on my eyeball and of course the immediate areas surrounding that part of my face (I'm sure M. Winn can relate). The only other migraine I've ever had that bad was during my second week at the clinic. Definitely another detox flare-up. Dr. Max Gerson created Gerson Therapy in order to cure his migraines. It was only in doing so that he discovered it was curing people of cancer as well (so I am certain the migraines are on their way out!).

By Friday morning we had a decent system down here at the house - or should I say "they" had a decent system down: Daniela, Chris, Jackie, Michelle & Tess. They kitchen was completely rearranged and the schedule and process was set into place. Amazing to watch and humbling to accept.

It's again, very humbling to accept so much from others. I love the idea of things being done for me, but that idea of mine also includes me paying for those services. It's a whole 'nother ball of wax when it's people doing for me out of the kindess of their hearts. And then once I let it in and appreciate it, up come feelings of guilt, unworthiness, and all that $#!*. When I shared this with Chris, he had a great response: "Bert, if I had a choice between chopping vegetables or having cancer, I would choose vegetables." Hmm...can't argue with that. So, thank you to each of you for making such a profound difference in our lives. We love you.

I'm still getting adjusted to East Coast time again, hence the late hour post. Good night.


No significant changes. However, yesterday I began to feel pain in my right shoulder. This is a shoulder I broke in January 1990. So, the shoulder is currently detoxing. The pain has begun to subside as of this afternoon. Just amazing.

Monday, June 4, 2007


We just got back from the beach. I wanted to see the dolphins one last time. Well guess what...they came to say goodbye. They were surfing the waves in pairs and we could see them underwater as they rode the waves toward the break point. And they were jumping into the air so gracefully and as they dove back into the water we would watch their tails slowly descend into the wave. Before I realized it, I was cheering for them - so filled with joy my cheeks began to ache. What a treat it was.

We're off to dinner now. It's our final meal with our new found friends.


On Friday my brother Kiff visited with three of his friends - Rich, Joy & Ian. What a treat that was and what an incredible brother Kiff is. We spent half the time talking on the pation outside our room and the other half on the beach across the street from the bull ring - occasionally watching mariachi bands walk by! They seem to be all over the streets down by the beach. We didn't see any dolphins that day but Kiff and friends sure got a kick out of how the steel border fence runs right into the sea (at which point it becomes rusty and full of holes). I've watched children on the Mexican side run through the fence and back while playing on the beach.

Having Kiff here made it all that much more real. I felt a bit anxious before he arrived. My stay here has been very secluded from the outside world and having someone come in and visit, even family, occurred for a moment like a threat. I didn't want anything to disrupt the process. Once I became conscious of the concern it disappeared. Kiff's presence would be the furthest thing from a disruption and I was thrilled to have Kiff here. But being here has felt far away from the world not only because I'm in Mexico, but because the mindset of those of us doing Gerson Therapy is "so far from the rest of the world" or so it seems.

Today we are packing because tomorrow morning we leave. I am thrilled to be going home and at the same time, I don't want to leave our community. I will miss them, but email and Skype will make a great difference.

Dr. Cervantes amazes me more and more each day. He's got his strengths and he's got his weaknesses - he's just like you and me. Yet, his commitment is extraordinary. He is here in the trenches every day with us. He has been here long before we arrived and will be long after we are gone. He is a doctor, a listener, a friend, a cheerleader, a joker and a wake-up call now and then. His commitment is to healing people - not to providing the patient with what the patient wants. He listens and he is open minded, however he is clear that being liked is not the priority. Healing is and for that I respect him and value his work.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


This afternoon Lisa & James left.  They arrived here the same day as Chris & me.  As their departure time neared, we all gathered around the van to say our goodbyes.  We made our promises to stay in touch as well as promises to "stay on top of one another" and make sure we have what we need.  It was no surprise to me that I was crying as we said goodbye, but I didn't really know why.  It was just there, so I did.

After talking with Chris and crying a little more (noticing there was definitely something going on for me), I realized what I never could have imagined before I got here.  Each of us here at the clinic, in our own unique way, holds each others hearts in our hands through a bond that I haven't yet found words for.  We know what we're up against and part of being here is being here for each other - complete strangers who each heard our doctor say those few sentences that made a single moment seem like an incredibly bad dream. Do I focus on it? No. It's just there. But today I am so present to why I am here. At this moment I am crying becuase right now I don't want this. I don't want cancer. I don't want Gerson Therapy. I don't wan't to be surrounded by wonderful people who want to help. I just want my simple life back. And believe it or not, inside of this moment of sadness, I know I am exactly where I'm supposed to be.

So, here I am at the Gerson Clinic. And all of here at the clinic are a unique group and our closeness is profound.  We have each chosen the path of healing that speaks to us.  The path makes perfect sense to each one of us and at the same time surprises, confuses, upsets, annoys and in some cases scares the hell out of others.  There is little agreement in the world for a path such as the one we have chosen.  And now that James and Lisa are gone and our little community has become a little smaller, it's apparent how precious our bond really is. I guess the house ain't big enough to bring 'em all home, huh sweetie?

It took cancer and an extraordinary commitment to bring us together and for our humanness to be put aside for what really matters.  At times like this, I recognize how foolish I am as I judge others for what I label as their "short-comings."  At this moment, I am able to see what we are all really here to do on this planet.  Yet, I've been here before, with an experience of immense gratitude for life...until the next person that I find "annoying" states something "stupid" about something close to my heart and off I go again into a world of ego and insecurity all neatly tucked up into my head in a nice little "attractive" costume titled "the truth according to Bert"...and all this beauty disappears.  So...I'll look a little deeper and see if I can find the next piece to let go of in hopes that this beautiful space of gratitude and love for you will stay with me a little bit longer.

So what scares me today, cancer? No. What scares me is typing these thoughts and feelings onto this blog knowing that you're reading it right now and seeing deep inside of my heart.  However, if you care enough to take the time to read this, I will reciprocate with the closest thing I know to the truth.  And hopefully we'll get to know each other a little bit better and let our guard down a little bit more until eventually there's just us and nothing else.  Because as far as I'm concerned, nothing else even runs a close second. Thanks.