I digested my cancer and learned to live
The objective of this site is to let you know how I was cured from cancer of the bladder by dieting and fasting. Ten years later, a second patient, after reading the manuscript of one of my conferences, was cured from an identical cancer by the same method. I digested my cancer and learned to live Gaining confidence in our self-healing capacities Here is the manuscript of a conference given in Tours, France, around ten years ago. I have added some recent comments (2002) in italics. The terrain is everything, said Pasteur on his death-bed. I believe that though we are surrounded by milliards of microbes, viruses and other harmful elements, they are powerless against an organism that knows how to defend itself. Like everyone else, I went to the doctor when I was ill. To me, illness was like dirt on a beautifully presented plate of food. I, then, was the culinary creation, the illness was the dirt that didn't belong there. This dirt had to be treated by a dish-washing specialist with a remedy such as Fairy Liquid that would remove all traces of it. I took my body to the doctor like I'd take my car to the garage. This was until I became convinced that "THE BODY KNOWS BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE HOW TO DEFEND ITSELF". In this sense, I've been lucky to have two serious illnesses as they forced me to reconsider my previous attitude. In 1980, I started having difficulties passing water, and consulted a urologist. He told me there was a small polyps in my bladder. One year later the polyps had grown and I was due for a rude awakening. I was out hiking in the countryside when my urine suddenly turned red, and REALITY IMPOSED ITSELF. I was urinating blood and nothing but blood. Back at the doctor's I was about to have my vocabulary enriched by words like hematuria and resect, all new words to me that I had to look up in a dictionary. Resect, I discovered, means cutting out an unhealthy part of an organ to assure the healthy functioning of that organ. The idea behind the Inquisition suddenly became clearer. By removing or mutilating parts of the living body of the patient, his unhealthy being could be assured of a healthy soul. Dear Listener, when you remove a small damaged piece from a pear, you do the same thing without knowing it. In October, 1981, my surgeon resects by electro coagulating a huge tumour which, he told me, was bursting. I've never quite understood in which way. He also took the opportunity to send a sample to the Origet laboratory for analysis. The laboratory concluded that I had a malign tumour called "carcinoma", in medical Latin "carcinoma vesical" ( meaning of the bladder) with "transitional cells of a papillary type grade 2". Afterwards, I have understood that the adjective transitional is what differentiates the cells of a benign tumour from those of a cancerous one. I considered all these statements much later. At the time I didn't worry much about it, just saw it as a bit of bad luck, and didn't feel the need to look anything up in a dictionary. If I had, I would have had a small shock as "carcinoma" refers to a cancerous tumour. But I became rather more concerned some time later. Before my operation they sent me for radiation treatment at Bretonneau (one of the hospitals in Tours). So that "there would be no dissemination", I was told. The average Frenchman, among who's ranks I have the honour to belong, knows that when they give you radiation treatment it's because there is a cancer. My urologist, Doctor Besancenez, had talked to me about an enormous polyps. This turned me neither hot nor cold. Who hasn't got his polyps these days? I have learnt since that when the tumour fills the bladder and above all when the bladder itself becomes infiltrated by cancerous cells, it is too late. You have to have the whole bladder taken out or the metastasis are no longer controllable. A few years later, I would arrive at this critical stage, and it would take more than what I'd believed to be an inoffensive polyps to have me remove my bladder! In the meantime, I had my first experience of medical specialization. After the operation it was very painful to urinate (I was pissing razorblades as the uncouth would say). I asked my urologist for help and he sent me to my family doctor. Pain, I assume, cannot be cut out. This reminds me of a comedian who noted that a good specialist has an enormous knowledge of a very narrow subject matter. Taking this to the extreme, the best specialist then knows everything about nothing. My surgeon was an excellent surgeon (not a professor in his field, as he had not wanted me referred to a professor of his field), but he was very busy. He didn't even have the time to read a manuscript where I described my recovery, which is normal, I suppose, as he occupies himself with the ill, and not with the healthy. In résumé, WHEN YOU HAVE A CANCER OR WHEN YOUR PARTNER DECEIVES YOU, you are usually the last one to find out. Also, if you read the Latin of a medical dossier, consult a good dictionary or a professor in Latin. The abrakadabra often hides doubtful truths. But maybe you'd prefer to remain blissfully ignorant, something which is more common than you might think. Then there really shouldn't be a problem, you just have to let yourself be sent to sleep by the Greek Latin jargon delivered with one or two neologisms used by the initiated. One month later, my "resector" told me that a part of the tumour was still there. It had either been missed out during the operation, given the size of the enormous tumour, or had grown afterwards. This was also removed, but shortly after (one or two months) another tumour appeared! The surgeon calmly explained to me that he would have to take away part of the bladder. Now, I started to react. Like an obedient little dog, I had accepted whatever medical treatments and Greek Latin words that were thrown at me, but this was about separating me for good from a part of my precious body. It might only be a fraction of a square inch of bladder, but I suddenly became conservative. But what luck! My wife's brother is a urologist (in Marseille) and thanks to him I could get an appointment with one of the two greatest urologists in France, namely his previous professor, Professor Kuss at the Hospital de la Pitié Salpêtrière in Paris. Instead of cutting, Professor Kuss would "glitter" this bit of remaining tumour. In the rest of the country they electrocoagule, but in Paris they "glitter" which is exactly the same thing but with more panache. Paris will always be Paris… I told myself that glittered by a glittering professor the tumour would disappear, evaporated by the prestigious professor himself if nothing else! Two months later, not at all intimidated by the Parisian prestige, the tumour had grown back. The Professor, instead of examining it with his instrument (a kind of magnifying-glass which was inserted to reach the location), asked me politely to urinate in a glass, studied the beautiful colour of what I had produced and congratulated me by charging 400 francs. Having seen no trace of red in the urine, I suppose, he deduced that nothing had grown back, that there were no residue, as they say among urologists! I returned to Tours, alighted and content, but not for long. I soon got a fever and had to return to Paris in an ambulance. The glitter had miss-fired! Professor Kuss' conclusion was the same as that of Doctor Besancenez in Tours; the place where the tumour kept growing back, and back, and back, had to be removed. To wait would cost me half of my left kidney. When I returned to Paris, this left kidney was completely blocked by the tumour that obstructed the urinary tract that joins the kidney and the bladder. So, not only would they take away a few fractions of a square a inch, but I would lose half a kidney through not having had confidence in Doctor Besancenez (who I had never seen verifying by a glance at glass the existence of any possible recidivism) in the first place. These periods in the Paris hospital proved very instructive. You are first patient by definition, then by necessity, the only thing left is to be patient by choice which is the beginning of Wisdom. You are surrounded by white coats. Under these coats there are junior doctors, real doctors, up to the highest level, and finally Professor Kuss himself in a very starched coat. The number of phrases that comes out of the top of a coat are inversely proportional to hierarchical position of that coat. Still, there were some coats that were very efficient; nurses are in general very sympathetic. Having returned to Tours, I am back to Dr Besancenez and he plans to do what he intended to from the start, remove the small part of bladder where the tumour has firmly taken root. A job which he will do fabulously, and, then, he will reattach the urinary tract as the piece of bladder to be removed is located exactly where the urinary canal meets the bladder. But having myself cut into little pieces, even by a confirmed specialist, does not appeal to me and I TAKE THE DECISION TO KEEP MY BLADDER (at least what is left of it) what ever happens. There is a persistent rumour that we will all die one day and I might as well do it in one piece. I had arrived at a moral stage of "blown it anyway". It's a beneficial stage, because finally being there, I decide to act. My natural tendency, as is that of most people, is to run with the herd, no matter if it's heading straight for the edge of the cliff and everyone will fall into the sea far below. The most important thing is to not be left behind, not be the last one. Because, what if there would be no place left for me!? What if I would be left out?! The thought is terrifying and all you can think about is how to get there the fastest possible way. It's the only way to be sure you won't miss out. Hurry up, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is not enough for everyone, the advertisers tell us. Get in quickly and buy quickly. Come on, hurry up! Faster! Faster! When I had my first operation, the surgeon had warned my wife that my carcinoma, given the malign nature of the tumour, would lead to the removal of the whole bladder within a maximum of ten years. My surgeon does not believe in rushing things, he speaks with his twenty-five years of experience of tumours, as he tells me later. He announces a precise judgement, scientific, and statistical, which my wife did not tell me until much later. Since I had ten years of bladder ahead of me, why worry me in advance? At least, I was fortunate enough to be a part in the process of reducing my bladder to nothing. At this point, I was ready to consider any and all kinds of alternative medicine to get better. As it turned out, I tried the macrobiotic diet. I had previously helped out at conference in Tours held by Madame Rivière, high priestess of this diet. I will not subject you to a course in macrobiotics, there are people more qualified than I to do that. Briefly, this lady recommended me a diet of various, mainly Japanese, ingredients in vague but rather small quantities (especially as I am a big eater), and prescribed a minimum of liquid intake. I stuck to the diet for three days! At the end of the three days I was literally on my knees, and had difficulties just to get up a flight of stairs… So, I stopped, telling myself that if a diet could heal a cancer everyone would have known about it. My brother-in-law, the urologist, now a wizard in his field, had never heard of a diet like this during the whole of his career. Neither, I suspect, have you who are here tonight. Which, by the way, is the reason I am holding this conference. Two months later I meet Mr Fujisaki (my son's yoga teacher at the time). It was he who had brought Madame Rivière to Tours to hold her conference on macrobiotics. I explained to him why I'd only managed three days of the diet called Number 7 (for people who are very ill). But, he exclaimed, this is how people are healed, and gave me a written testimony by an American doctor, Doctor Satilaro. The book was called Brought Back to Life. This book convinced me and I put an end to my life as a carnivore at a memorable feast to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of one of my colleagues. From then on, it was to be whole-grain rice, millet, oats and gruau (French for a particular type of fine wheat flower which is, in fact, my surname) for us. I say "us" because my wife, as an act of solidarity, was to follow the same diet as myself. After three days I was on my knees once again, but not my wife. This was a significant sign since I'm normally much more resistant than her (for example I can do 300 km on a bicycle in one day while she gets tired after about 100 km). When it came to macrobiotics she proved to be the stronger one. I continued diet Number 7. I began to melt away like ice in the sun. Within a month my weight was reduced from around seventy-eight to eighty kilos to approximately sixty kilos. And what about the tumour? In October 1987, I still had one, but it had stopped growing. Before the diet there had been several that kept growing back after every operation. During nearly a year, this tumour stayed with me. In the beginning my urologist examined me every two months, in October and December 1987, and in February 1988. There was still only one tumour. In the end I stopped seeing him as where an urologist is concerned; every identified tumour should be removed. But I no longer wanted to be put to sleep, electro coagulated or submitted to of any kind surgery. I just wanted to awaken every single one of my body's defence systems. This year, 1987-1988, would prove to be very pleasant. I was officially on a diet, but in reality I gorged myself on large amounts of cereals, cereals that I had learnt to cook and to appreciate. I no longer ate butter, milk, sugar, nor fruit (which was the most difficult one). Nor did I eat any meat or cheese. This might seem like a large sacrifice, but really it wasn't. You get used to it very quickly. Or at least I was lucky enough to get used to it quickly. Though I might have seemed to be suffering the restraints of a severe diet, I experienced no inconveniences as I was eating plentifully of what pleased me. I remember a buckwheat meal with some tamari that I enjoyed as if had been a roast of lamb (in terms of pleasure only as there is not the least resemblance). My first success proved to be completely unexpected. As I told you before, I had two illnesses. In addition to the carcinoma, I had a haemorrhaging recto colitis, a condition which manifests itself by the bowels emptying themselves in a horrifying blood-mixed mess. Only high doses of cortisone in the form of Betnesol helped against this. Medical science does not currently know why this illness occurs. Anyway, I had suffered from this for over twenty years. In the beginning, there were only minor daily amounts of blood which would in a few years develop to more and more frequent heavy bouts once or twice a year. I had just had the beginnings of such a bout when I started my macrobiotic diet, but only took very little Betnesol and then stopped all together. Since five years (in year 2002 that makes 15 years) I no longer suffer from this condition. This was completely unexpected. I had even had a talk with a professor in gastro-enterology at CHR in Tours who had advised me not to go ahead with the diet. I had told him that it was out of the question for me to take 6 tablets of Salazoprine per day (special remedy for this condition) as my diet recommended that I drank as little as possible and took a minimum of medicaments. I did not want to spend my day rinsing down capsules. This ailment being cured had nothing to do with the fast I undertook later. The success was entirely due to macrobiotics. I will mention in passing that my wife had had an eczema for twenty years which disappeared after three months of macrobiotics. Another complete surprise as Christine did only follow the diet to accompany me, and not to heal herself from anything whatsoever! I can also tell you that my wife who has suffered from winter colds since the year dot doesn't get them anymore. These are all little things that does, after all, improve the quality of life… Consequently, I was totally ecstatic at the time. To remind you, after one year of dieting; the carcinoma is certainly still there, but has the good taste not to spread; I no longer suffer from recto colitis; and my wife has had several unexpected improvements to her health. The only real sacrifice was giving up the desserts since, if you ask me, the right to have desserts should be included in the Human Rights Charter. I quickly got used to this tumour, however. Like the people who live next to Etna, the possibility of a volcanic eruption does not stop them from sleeping at night. But, in November 1988, Etna woke up. My urine turned red again and that was only the beginning. Enormous clots of blood appeared, so big that seven months later one of them got stuck and obstructed the "plumbing". I felt that my "erection nerve" was just holding on by a thread (this famous nerve often disappears when the bladder is removed, which I think is a considerable reason to keep the bladder). In macrobiotics they say that quantity kills the quality. I was now ready to follow this advice to the letter. First, I started with a fast which would last for one week between the 19th and 26th November 1988. This was my first medical fast and, what a surprise, it went well! I continued to take my bicycle to college, though later on I'd catch a lift with my colleagues, but more from fear of weakness than any actual weakness. To break the fast I asked Madame Rivière for advice. She specified five teaspoons of various ingredients, one pinch of gomasio, two cups of liquid, and 120 grams of cereals per day. I felt like asking, before or after the meal? Breaking the fast proved to be hard, above all the thirst. But when I see blood coming out of my body, I am strongly inclined to drink as little as possible as it's as if, in my body gone mad, the liquids I drink, drain me of blood. To find out what The Faculty thinks of my bladder, I decide to have an echograph. But which doctor ?, asks the secretary at the centre where they do the echographs. For Doctor X, I tell her (X is a letter being used all day long in my job as a maths teacher). The secretary wrote very ornately in the box for prescribing doctor: "Doctor X". Now, I am very pleased with Doctor X, because Dr X that's me. Or, perhaps more so, Christine, as we are medical partners. I would like to make a few points here. Firstly, the 17th of January, exactly two months after the hematuria returned (hematuria being the occurrence of blood in the urine), the hematuria suddenly disappears. I am once again in the fraternity of the clear and yellows. I cry victory to every member of my family. My brother-in-law informs me that it means nothing, huge tumours do not necessarily cause blood in the urine and vice versa. Unquestionably, Doctor X understands this, but for the time being the tumour is not bleeding. But the blood comes back a few weeks later. Still, it is hard. No vegetable, little to drink, I am dehydrating myself, but less blood is coming out of my body. I drink six to seven hundred grams of liquids instead of the daily litter and a half advocated by The Faculty. I am terribly exhausted. I think twice before walking up a flight of stairs and taking a spoon from a drawer demands an amazing amount of energy. My blood pressure is eighty over forty, the nurse at my college tells me. The infirmary has become my headquarter and the days I work both mornings and afternoons I rest there between noon and two o'clock. I weigh 55 kilos, and I'm beginning to feel really tired. Mr Fujisaki, Shokou to those who know him, gives me shiatsu twice a week. This consists of pressing on different pressure points located along what the Orientals call meridians. One of these meridians is named the Bladder Meridian and, believe me, I am very familiar with this one. Mr Fujisaki solicits this meridian by a kind of pricking in the nose, when he is finishes, I am completely drained. The second point turned out to be much more remarkable. As Doctor X, I had prescribed myself three echographs, one in December, one in February and one in April. The comparison between the first two was catastrophic. The tumour appeared larger on the second echograph and disheartened I felt ready to give it all up. I even allowed myself some diversions from the diet. The 11th of April 1988, I studied the echographs again, and saw that I had been mistaken. Instead of reading the statements of the two radiologists I should have read what was written on the echographic pictures themselves. My heart thumping I hurried to my usual radiologist. He looked at the pictures and said: But Mr Gruau, it's worse than ever! (Implying, see what happens when you try to treat yourself.) What a joy this "worse than ever" was! Look at the dates, I told him and he looked at them with great surprise. He soon started to retreat on his previous verdict! He too had thought for an instant that the worst looking echograph was the most recent. It was obvious that his subconscious could not have envisaged the opposite! The incredible was how quickly he modified his verdict. Well, the two echographs aren't really that different, he told me and I am sure he said it in good faith. From that moment on, my faith in macrobiotics and fasting was unshakable. My starvation diet had reduced the carcinoma which had then slightly grown with the diversions from the diet. This sign of hope meant a lot, because April and May proved to be very hard. Blood streamed out of me when I urinated. The 1st of June I had no more than 1,9 million red blood cells. Sometimes, just speaking in a loud voice was difficult. Blood transfusions became necessary. I had a long telephone conversation with René Levy at the Centre of Food and Health to ask for his advice. Either he would receive me at his place or I would be operated on again. He told me it would be necessary to face up to things and stop the loss of blood. Filled with dread, I made an appointment with my urologist. I started eating chocolate and cakes, it was the beginning of a period alimentary madness! The 21st of June another blood-transfusion. My red blood cells went up to 2,24 million (the normal number is around 5 million). The 26th of June, I hit rock bottom, I can no longer urinate. A blood clot has blocked the passageway completely. (On the 25th I'd been to Maguy Lebrun, I will explain about her later.) I was taken to hospital in emergency, where instead of clearing the blockage I am given a sedative (my urologist hasn't there)! I had a fourth transfusion of three bottles of blood to get me in shape for another operation, and then, from one day to the next, there isn't a single drop of blood in my urine. My urologist is seriously pushing me into having my bladder taken out. In surgical jargon it is called "exeres". What a joy this language is! My brother-in-law writes me a pitiful letter to appeal to me to do as the urologist says. You will end up on your knees begging for this ablation, he wrote. But I had reached a turning point. Thanks to books by Shelton on fasting, by Monique Coudere, who writes about how she successfully treated a cancer in her uterus with twenty-one-day fast, and by Satilaro who was cured from advanced cancer through macrobiotics, I know that I can get well. Through my urologist and my brother-in-law, I also know something must be done and that there is no time to lose. I decide to play my last card: the fast. But I don't know whether I will last for long as serious illnesses sometimes require thirty to forty days of fasting, and I only have experience of fasting for short periods. I had fasted for a week once, and then a second time with the intention of doing it for ten days, but only managing three! My wife and I leave for Corsica to stay at a convent where my wife's sister is practicing religion. I have decided to begin fasting, it will last for as long as it lasts. The secret of a fast is to take it one day at a time. I know that the first three days are often the most difficult and I am not mistaken. The head hurts, and you really feel under the weather. This is the price you pay. You are more or less certain that you will stop the following day. The morning after, when waking up, things are not so bad and you continue with yet another day. The afternoon of the second day was rather bad, but come the ninth day I feel better than the second! It was astonishing, but after the third day I was in orbit. I wasn't hungry. Many people think that fasting for a long period requires a will of iron. This is not true, but you do have to be very motivated the first few days. I had every reason to be motivated, such as the possibility of an ablation that could have serious consequences for my sexual life, but also my own personal certainty of the efficiency of a fast. Certainty? You are never completely sure of anything, especially when it comes to medical matters. I believe in testimonies made in good faith, in testimonies that appear sound, and I hope that this tale appears sound. Monique Coudere had given such a testimony, and so had Satilaro. Shelton, who throughout his life had treated various illnesses by the sole means of fasting, didn't at any point claim that fasting cured cancer, but he reported that there were only three cases in a thousand of suspected growths in the chest area that resisted a week of fasting. Many say that macrobiotics is humbug, and fasting too. So why do you think that there are people who will vouch for their efficiency? So that they can sell their books, is the answer I've received to this question. When you start to look at things through the wrong end of a set of binoculars everything starts to look suspect. But when it is about you and your future, you may well think that it's at least worth a try. At least you would think so, but, alas, no! I have met several people who have never tried anything whatsoever and did not even want to read the tale where I describe my recovery. From fear to be destabilised, said one of those people! But let's take a look at the effects the fast had on me. At the end of a week, I certainly felt weak and I had a blood test done to find out about my blood count. As you might remember, I'd been having a few problems with this. My family doctor had even warned my wife that I at that point had even more to fear from anaemia than anything else. I told Dr X (my wife) that if my red blood cells did not reach over three million, I would immediately stop my fast. What an amazing surprise! I had 4,16 million red blood cells, a figure they had never reached despite the blood transfusions! My first reaction was to question the local laboratories on Corsica, and I decided to have another laboratory analyse my blood the following week. But the following week my blood count had increased even further! As had all the other values except that of glucose, and this by drinking nothing but warm water! The level of cholesterol had risen, something which happens to big meat-eaters. But before the fast my diet had been more or less vegetarian (macrobiotics is even more strict a diet than vegetarianism) and I now had a normal cholesterol level which they say is pretty rare in France. I was, in fact, feeding off myself. This, to sum it up, is the theory of Shelton; when nutrition intake is limited to a shortage, the organism will digest all tissue and other matter which is not vital for survival. Even when an individual dies from famine, the brain has not lost any weight. I should have read Shelton's book more closely, then I wouldn't have been surprised to see my blood count rise and my pulse go down from sixty to forty beats per minute. The body is resting itself, and manages it's nutritional needs by transforming the cancerous cells to good red blood cells! At least this is how it appears. My body is consuming everything that doesn't serve any purpose and my sight improves! Shelton says that some of the impurities in the crystalline lens are cleansed by this process. It's an extraordinary sensation, like when it has rained in summer after weeks of hot grimy days, the light is clearer. This sensation lasts throughout the fast and some two weeks after it ended. Naturally, my physical forces are not on the rise, but I manage, at least once a day, the twenty-six steps to the pigeon-hole where we have our quarters at the Erbalunga convent. And I even allow myself the luxury to weed the place in front of the monastery's church once or twice a week. It is also I who prepare the meals for Dr X and myself. The fourteenth day of the fast I cook for the eleven sisters at the convent, as I wish them to try the macrobiotic cuisine. I begin to think that my fast may actually last for a month and I decide I want to return to the mainland as I fear that it may become impossible to do it later. Also, the sisters have no desire to watch me expire at their convent as they are convinced (like anyone who has never attempted sustained fasting) that I will die from weakness at any moment. At the advice of the Corsican doctor (the one of the convent) I will take two teaspoons of honey for the journey. It was this doctor that wrote the prescriptions to have my blood analysed. He fears that I will die from hypoglycaemia (lack of blood sugar) on the airplane. But the return journey goes well. An ambulance takes me to the airport in Bastia, another awaits me at Orly. Five and a half hours after leaving the Erbalunga convent, I am back home in Tours. I feel a little awkward as, had it been necessary, I could have walked four or five kilometres on foot, but I've been wheel-chaired through the airports! I feel as much of a hypocrite as someone pretending to be ill, but this was how the administration wanted it. All I needed was a taxi to take me from the airport to the station, but oh no! The part of the journey which is not made by airplane has to be made by ambulance! Back home, I install myself on the ground floor, though in hindsight I can say that this was more from fear of weakness than any real weakness. I feel like I'm on vacation, and I live the life of a lazy king while watching squirrels inspecting the trees in my garden. Very Walt Disney! Days go by and I still am not hungry (18th day). I feel a healthy tiredness, as you would after a long walk. I go to bed and the following morning the tiredness is gone. It's true that at times I feel an acute weakness, it seems virtually impossible to lift my leg and I have just enough energy to speak in a low voice. I think sometimes of the beggar who pleads to by-passers: "I haven't eaten for three days." If he would have said, "Please, I haven't eaten for eighteen days", he would have been laughed at. The low blood count I had at the time was the real reason for this fatigue, but when blood samples where taken at my home, they showed that at least my red blood cells were still steadily on the increase. The days pass quickly. I start to feel cold and Dr X has to give me three hot-water bottles even though it's the middle of August. My digestive system is under going a hard time as I begin to frequently feel nauseas, as if I had eaten too much! The nauseas are mentioned by Shelton, he describes a patient who starts to vomit on the fiftieth day of a sixty-day fast. Breaking the fast. So, do I last for thirty days? No, the 23rd of August 1989, I stop fasting after exactly twenty-eight and a half days during which I have, with the exception of two teaspoons of honey, only drunk water (I took one teaspoon of honey on the airplane and another when I thought I would pass out after bringing back an empty bin). There are a number of signs to stop a fast. The first one is to feel hungry again, but I was never hungry at all. Anyone who has felt nauseas will easily understand why. I have since read other writers than Shelton who say that often hunger will not manifest itself. I undertook another fast last year (and many others since this conference) without ever getting to the point where I started to feel hungry. The second sign is the tongue turning red again. My tongue did go red again. It had been covered in white, so much so that I had to scrape it off with a spoon once or twice a day. Thirdly, any alarming change, for example the lowering of the amount of red blood cells in your blood which was just what happened to me. The red blood cells had doubtlessly run out of cancerous cells to feed of, so their number started to fall. Another example (but I have never experienced this) is that the eyes go weak and the person fasting can no longer stand the light. Then you have to stop immediately. Isolated extreme cases are mentioned such as Marthe Robin (who fasted involuntarily as she couldn't eat anything) who lived in total darkness. It is said that she did not feed herself for very long periods of time. The most difficult part, for me at least, is to break a fast. I keep saying that during the fast there is no hunger, but when I begin to eat again, I'm transformed into a starving beast, ready to eat absolutely anything. For this first breaking of a long fast, I had delegated all responsibility to Doctor X. René Levy who is consulted by telephone, suggests 150 grams of rice cooked over-night and eaten in Chinese fashion with a little tekka or tamari (spices which Doctor X refuse). I can think of nothing but my hunger and five o'clock in the morning, I want Dr X to make me a meal right away, and I am ready to kill for it. Unless, you are superhuman, you must not be on your own to break a long fast (nor for that matter be on your own to undertake a long fast as there is a possibility of falling into a coma from lack of sugar). At the end of the fast, I weighed fifty-two kilos and five hundred grams. Three days later, thanks to my wife, I had maintained that weight. The danger, for anyone, is to start eating again to quickly and to much. I could feel that my body is still cleansing itself. The time had come to confront my urologist. I recall you, the last time I saw him my urinary tract was blocked by a large blood clot. Before the cystoscopic examination (to take an inside look at the bladder) Dr Besancenez had warned me that "if you don't follow my orders I will not occupy myself with you". It is August and I recall you that he wanted to take the bladder out. He added a phrase like: "I have twenty-five years of experience of tumours". My brother-in-law had told me once that Dr Besancenez had more titles than he. I tell Dr Besancenez he can't have had many patients doing a twenty-eight day fast. He says nothing and takes his instrument and looks through it at length without saying a word. Finally, he declares, "There is no reason to have the bladder taken out at the moment". At the time I had ridiculous reaction. I said to my wife: "I knew the doctor was an honest man". I meant intellectual honesty, not financial honesty. You have to be a great man to admit that a prognosis you've made was wrong. I suppose he couldn't believe his eyes. He made a biopsy (taking cells from the bladder to send to the laboratory). The verdict from the laboratory is plain: "absence of identifiable cancerous cells". This time the eyes at the laboratory had made the conclusion. Good bye to the grade 2 tumour. The tumour had lost it's grade like an officer that commits treason against his country! And the examination which was made two years later, a few weeks ago (14th of April 1992) confirmed that I have nothing, absolutely nothing, observable. "Healthy people are ill people who don't yet know it", said Doctor Knock. I believe the contrary, the ill are healthy people who don't yet know it. The ill person is an unobserved healthy person. This time it is victory. (Ten years after this conference in 2002, I still haven't had anything, more exactly nothing observable has been observed.) In résumé, one year of macrobiotics, badly done as I ate in too large quantities, managed to stabilise the tumour in some way, then the illness went away completely by a twenty-eight day fast. My urologist has not found anything abnormal since then, when it comes to the gastro-enterologist, I no longer need to see him since the macrobiotics, even if badly followed, was enough to make my problems in that area disappear. Imagine, for twenty years, every single time I went to the toilet to empty my bowels there had been blood and that this has stopped since nearly five years! These days I am an observably healthy person. My wife follows the macrobiotics much more strictly than I. She did it the first time by solidarity, and perhaps also to help me through the difficult phases, then a second time for herself. Remember the spectacular disappearance of the eczema she had suffered from for more than twenty years, I repeat twenty years (it first appeared she'd given birth), and which had disappeared after three months of macrobiotics even though she wasn't expecting it. It was not a result of placebo as her only reason for the macrobiotics back then was solidarity! We still continue with the macrobiotic diet for two reasons. The first one is simply that you feel better, the second one is that we like what we eat! It might seem strict to eat no butter, no meat, no milk, and even more strict to have to eat all these cereals. I can tell you that these cereals are delicious, but since the question of taste is not an absolute one, let's say that they appear delicious. The taste develops and when the body has a real need for a certain type of food, this food tastes delicious. The reciprocal is false, because it's easy to create artificial needs, like that of tobacco or alcohol. Macrobiotic food is not just medication to be taken, but allows for real gastronomic joys. I am convinced that macrobiotics can heal a lot of diseases and I am going to tell you a few words about Saint Gaudens. At Saint Gaudens there is a Centre of Food and Health held by René Levy, there they teach you how to cook macrobiotic food. This way of eating, based on a theory of Yin and Yang, which distinguishes the nature of the forces of dispersion (Yin) and concentration (Yang), establishes a balance between two opposites. That these theories are hazy is quite possible, but I have seen the results of them. Briach had a brain tumour, and this young man was not an ectoplasm. His parents had a phone number, and my wife used this phone number to call them to find out how they prepared his food, because he is now cured. Perhaps you know the story of Sapper Camembert. It happened about a century ago and this nice brave sapper was ill and went to see the doctor. The doctor told him to follow his "ordonance" (French word for prescription). Camembert was illiterate and further did not know what an "ordonance" was in the sense the good doctor meant it. "Ordonance" in French also refers a domestic help and at the time officers, and in particular military doctors, had in their service a domestic aid named this way. As the doctor's domestic aid was on horse-back, the sapper had to run to follow him around. Consequently, Camembert got very hot, sweated a lot and was cured in this way. At first, when I saw how cancer (prime example of a Yin illness) could be efficiently cured, I was ready to obey completely, and foolishly, in the name of efficiency. Later, I realised it was silly of me to believe in the necessity to religiously follow rules, even if it was macrobiotics. Because in macrobiotics, you learn to make your prescription yourself by selecting what you decide to put on your plate. There was an article in Le Monde called "Killed by Prescription", that reported a study made on patients who had unfortunately died by following a prescription. I have to say that, should that happen to me, I'd find it preferable that the prescription was my own. I'm going to tell you a little about the ambiance at Saint Gaudens compared to the ambiance in hospitals. In the Parisian hospitals as well as the ones in Tours (I have spent time in both of them) there is a "dead leaf ambiance". By that I mean that the decisive powers are taken away from the patient. All authority is relinquished, not only to the doctors, but to the clinic. The patient has as much authority as a dead leaf floating on the water. The patient is reduced to the level of a child, and is told when to go to bed, when to get up, when to walk, and when to eat and drink. You do get a television, which is a sure thing to send you to sleep. The patient is being patient; he awaits the high point of the day when the meteorite doctor shoots past, white coated, surrounded by several other coats keeping a respectful distance, and with a nurse attached who takes down every word uttered by this Jupiter. The patient waits, his/her only act of his/her own will is to check into the hospital. It's like running the car through the car wash, all you have to do is wait while the big brushes spin and the water spurts in order to come out clean and regenerated. Your only desire is to get out of there, because the time spent there is just a parenthesis in your life. The conversations between patients in a hospital focuses mainly on what is wrong. At Saint Gaudens it's the complete opposite, the conversation centres on what is getting better. For sure there are some passive types there too, who are soon perturbed when there is no anaesthetic to be had, now that they are finally ready to be anaesthetised, taken care of and fussed over. But these people either change their attitude (and in one way we all do) or leave. The ambiance is the cure. Everyone admires their own progress as well as the progress of others. I met a man from Switzerland who had cancer in the rectum and he told me: "I have the will, I am going to eat buckwheat and I am going to get well. He was touching, you sensed that he had turned his whole self towards getting well, you sensed that he had taken control of his situation. To conclude the strictly medical topic, I don't want to give the impression of having a derogatory attitude towards medicine and the doctors. I have been happy to consult them, and my urologist still "follows" me, even if it's just to verify that I am truly cured! You just have to know that there are other possibilities. Often, the body knows better than anybody else what is wrong, the survival instinct in us adapts immediately without us even being aware of it. It transforms what we drink, eat and breath to what we are. This instinct can set the clock back to the moment when things went wrong. The fast is an efficient way of awakening this survival instinct, because it brings you into the right spirit. The power of the fast goes hand in hand with the spiritual readiness, perhaps it would be better to simply say the power of the spirit. Are there any risks? Of course. It is obvious that if my urologist wants me to follow his orders and have the bladder taken out, it's because in his experience the conditions for doing this are optimal and neglecting to do so would be the end of me. And I respect this man for believing his own eyes rather than his experience. Of course, you can always wonder if you are doing the wrong thing not to do as he says and that can be debated in eternity. Meanwhile, my bladder is still there. Yours is, but what about someone else, argued the pharmacist when she tried to decide whether to put my poster for this conference in her window. I would be a charlatan to say yes! I can only tell you about my own experience. But the fact that I followed through with this way of curing myself, is due to the stories of Monique Coudere and Satilaro. There is nothing that says that it would work for you too! If I tell you "do as I did" I am practising medicine, but I am not a doctor! I am responsible for myself, not you, it is you who are responsible for yourselves! But if I didn't make my story known, I would not feel comfortable. I will not feel comfortable until my story helps someone else help themselves, as it is thanks to other people's stories that I managed to help myself. (One person has since cured himself from cancer of the bladder, and this is the subject of my second conference) The situation is a little like this: if instead of travelling five kilometres to reach a place, I have found a way that gets you there by climbing up a cliff, would it not be wrong of me not to tell anyone? That does not mean that everyone else can take this way up the cliff! It's for each individual to decide, having seen the route I've taken, and it's for you to know if that is a possible way for you. Finally, there are other things even more important that I discovered when fasting. I suddenly discovered the beauty of a flower, a tree or a cloud. This sounds a bit soft, but it's a really strong feeling. I had the impression to rediscover my garden, to experience nature in an almost physical way. A tree branch seen from the window at the Corsican monastery filled me with wonder, when normally it would required a sun-set or a fantastic landscape to move me like that. A friend (who is a very important person in Tours) that I told about my various fasts, did one for six days. At the end of it he was writing poems, something which he hadn't done since his youth! It's this wonder of youth when we have such enthusiasm, that returns naturally, as if the body, freed from food, resumes it's role as receptor of the universe. I, too, sit down to write poems. I will only read you one which is called "Happy are those who are hungry". Being hungry Hungry for food Hungry for air Hungry for God It's the sign of conscious life Stuffed with oxygen you don't know you breath Stuffed with food you use a thousand spices And a thousand artifices to know that you eat Stuffed with pleasure you don't know that God is there No longer know that you live You don't even know you are stuffed During my two twenty-eight day fasts, I have written long letters every day, as opposed to normally, when, like most people, I start scratching my head to manage five lines. I feel full of things to say, like a youngster in love who has no trouble finding ideas, he just has to put down on paper what is in his heart. The difference is that I am in love with life. I also want to talk about the effect of the diet on what is called spirituality. I know certain people can fast for a very long time without improving their health and feel nothing on the religious level. For someone who is ill the preoccupation with God may well be no bigger than that person's preoccupation with a tiny faraway little star. Still, it might preoccupy him at least a little bit and fasting transforms this distant light into a shining sun. I feel pulled up high by it, to the point where it becomes secondary whether my illnesses heal or not. Instead of knowing intellectually that reality does not consist of satisfying desires and materialistic joys, I feel, quasi-physically, without involvement of the brain, that it suffices to abandon oneself to the Joy that surrounds us. I sense that life should be contemplated, adored, and the Joy penetrates me like the warmth of the sun, without hidden motives and future expectancies. I would like to raise a small logical point. The results of the fasting method are not statistically proven (even though Shelton has reported twelve thousand cases of using fasting against illness there is no mention of twelve thousand recoveries). In any event, statistics concerns a group, not the individual. Life-expectancy, for example, is a very reliable number where insurance companies are concerned. It allows them to calculate the monthly payments for men who are fifty-seven and has a life-expectancy of twenty years. This number does not interest me, however. It concerns a group of people who have the same age as me. With this age I may still die tomorrow or in thirty years. Doctor Besancenez, who with his twenty-five years of experience of tumours, had never seen, at this stage of the illness, a tumour being cured by anything but medical remedies, and hence declared that he would no longer deal with me (if I didn't follow his advice), did his job by putting the psychological pressure at a maximum. He would have been dishonest if he had done anything else, because fasting and macrobiotics is "folklore" to him. Myself, I've had several experiences of "folklore". Among others, a healer who smelled of tobacco and wine, but sometimes was successful, and another healer, more smartly presented, but who never managed to get my blood pressure down (I have a very high one). I would be a coward not to tell you about a curious experience thanks to Maguy Lebrun, even if we are approaching pure magic here… Maguy Lebrun believes in the power of the spirit, in the power of love. She has started groups in different towns, Tours for instance, where people get together in a circle and hold hands, while the ill person who wants help sits in the middle and the sympathisers try to concentrate on healing the ill. I am not ashamed to say that I have been to these reunions both as the ill person and as a sympathiser. Thinking that Love is a force is doubtlessly stupid, but appears to me to be a sound hypothesis to verify. I often quote the fable of La Fontaine, where two frogs fall into a bucket of milk and certain death awaits them both. One frog says to the other that he prefers to die straight away rather than struggle in vain. Statistically, an animal that has fallen into a bucket with straight edges and filled with liquid should have zero chance of getting out without help. The other frog, who refuses to believe in statistics, fights his destiny kicking and screaming, the milk turns to butter and he jumps out of the bucket. This frog believed in his instinct of preservation. By an unexpected process, he survived. I have listened to my preservation instinct, and, above all, believed in the stories that I was lucky enough to come across. It is obviously stupid to reject medicine, but absolutely ridiculous to refuse examining other methods. The right and the left eyes gives you two distinct views that are contradictory to the real one. To suppress this contradiction, you can put a patch on one eye or open both eyes. The person with a patch sees a universe which is flat with no contradiction, the other one discovers the universe in relief. Because fasting and macrobiotic diet has given a strong relief to my life, my health problems became a lesser worry. Upset, maybe to see that I did not worry about it anymore, my health came back.