Marisa Witte – Breast and Liver cancer survivor
Let me begin by saying I am 57 year’s young, and after working for 33 years for the same employer I am following my passion and starting my first business. A business with a heart. Thanks to Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI), I am fulfilling my destiny to assist others through my own experiences of healing.
Breast cancer in 1998
Having studied and worked as a diplomat abroad for over 15 years, I came back to my home country -the Netherlands- where at the age of 39, I discovered a lump in my left breast. I thought nothing of it but my then husband pleaded with me to go to a doctor. From that moment onwards I entered the carousel of hospital visits, operation and chemotherapy. Total mastectomy of the left breast and total lymph node dissection followed as the cancer was widely spread in that area. My children had different reactions to this new situation: my three-year-old son showed strange bald spots in his hair and the doctor told us it was unconscious copying behaviour. Since I was bald due to chemo, he, in his sleep, kept pulling out bunches of hair. We had to shave his little head so he couldn’t harm himself and we all pretended it was the new fashion. Daughters at the age of 7 want their moms to look like queens, so they can be the princesses and so did my daughter. She would say to me in a strict voice: “You are not going to bring me to school with that silly hat, put on your wig!”. I was happy she reacted like that because it meant she was living in her own cocoon and wasn’t much involved in the real situation.
It wasn’t the first time that I had visited a hospital. At the age of 21, a kidney deficiency was discovered back in Spain where I was studying at the time. I had a direct complete urethral reflux with severe dilatations and scarification of pyelonephritis in both kidneys. An anti-reflux operation on both sides followed and after that, three months of antibiotics. I was left with two contracted kidneys of which one had become very tiny, and until today these poor organs have difficulties detoxifying my body.
A new breast in 2007
It took me almost ten years after the mastectomy of my left breast to decide to undergo a breast reconstruction. First I was in survival modus. Then I decided it wasn’t important in life. Being there for my children was all that counted. Besides, silicon in my body wasn’t an option. When I read about new techniques, making it possible to create a breast with your own body tissue, I changed my mind and went for it. I felt strong at the age of 48, and wanted to leave the chapter of cancer behind me once and for all. The operation went smoothly and my new left breast was beautiful….
Breast cancer again in 2008
Only four months after this reconstruction, I felt something was wrong with my other breast. It turned out that again cancer (pT3N3M0) had spread throughout the whole right breast and for the second time, a total mastectomy with total lymph node dissection, was performed. And although I didn’t want to start with chemo therapy a second time, my family and friends put a lot of pressure on me to do so and I didn’t want to let them down. Therefore I found myself back on the carousel, bald, sick and terribly sorry for the fact that I had undergone a breast reconstruction for really nothing, since again I was left with only one breast.
However, this feeling sorry for myself did not last very long because further check-ups at the hospital revealed the worst was yet to be discovered.
Solitary mass in the liver
A solitary mass in the liver was found, approximately 3 cm in diameter, with a 99 percentage of probability that it was a metastasis from the breast cancer since it was shown as such on the MRI and it decreased in size after every chemotherapy. The hospital wanted to perform a biopsy to get to the 100% but I refused it, since I was afraid the cancer cells would spread around more easily. I was receiving the most aggressive therapy anyhow and there wasn’t any other treatment available so why take the risk? The treatments had some effect on the liver mass because it shrunk some millimetres every time, but after six courses of chemo, it had not reduced enough. The oncologist could only suggest more chemotherapy, not anymore as a cure, but to try to extend my life. In the meantime, my poor contracted kidneys couldn’t cope very well with all the poison. I was severely dehydrated and intoxicated and felt as if I was getting sicker and sicker, not from cancer but due to the treatments.
My oncologist, who I like – I know she did her utmost best for me, within the frames of her knowledge and medical education – responded to my question that in her practice she didn’t know of anybody who had cured from breast cancer with a metastasis in the liver but we could try to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible with palliative treatments. She also wanted to try radio frequency ablation on the liver mass, but since it was located near my right lung, that would be a big risk.
At that very same time, my brother was suffering from a different type of cancer and being treated in another hospital. It was a terribly sad period, especially for my mother who saw her only two children struggling with the same disease at the same time. My brother passed away, whilst receiving palliative treatment, when I was in the middle of my own chemotherapy. So, after an honest talk with my oncologist, I decided it was time to get some time-out from the regular treatments that didn’t bring the relief we looked for.
Hippocrates Health Institute November 2008
That was the moment that I decided to go to Florida where I travelled to only 10 days after my last course of chemotherapy. I felt exhausted and sick, terribly sad for the loss of my brother, but very eager to learn at the Institute and to fight my fight. I wanted to stay alive and be there for my children and to also pick up my work again at Foreign Affairs.
The institute was like paradise for me. The surroundings. The fact that you weren’t called a patient but a guest. The sweet and kind personnel watching over you. The fresh raw food, the sprouts and the wheatgrass juices. I felt reborn and already in the second week I was able to participate in several sport programs. Especially the rebounding and the Chi Gong were very helpful to me. But also, the massages were great to help me calm down as well as my chat with Anthony, the psychologist which was very clarifying, about mental blockages and how to deal with fear in life. I loved the dances with Gurunam as well as the Thai massage from Bhodi who helped me with my back problems.
The classes about food and the lifestyle were important and I participated as much as I could. I bought the whole series of lectures on CD and listen to them in my car back in the Netherlands. There were so many new things to learn and so many new impressions and considering it was in a language which is not my mother tongue it was very good to take all the information home to go over it again and again.
A version of this article appeared in the recent edition of ‘Healing Our World’ Magazine published by Hippocrates Health Institute, USA.
Back in the Netherlands: good results!
Three weeks after leaving Florida, I had an ultrasound at the hospital in Leiden. Conclusion: the lesion in the liver couldn’t be found! I was thrilled. My oncologist was very surprised and told me to keep on doing whatever I was doing.
Four months later: oops…
The second control (ultrasound) was a big disappointment: a spot of ¾ cm was found back in the liver. Somewhere I had gone off the HHI lifestyle track. I had introduced some cooked vegetarian food after returning home and had let go of the mind-spirit part, when I started working again. This gave me a form of stress that wasn’t very good for me at the stage I was. I wrote to Dr. Brian in Florida and he put great effort in keeping me on track and helping me to believe in the system. The most important thing I learned from HHI: don’t be afraid. You will succeed. So, I restarted the lifestyle for 100% and at the next control the metastase had shrunk again.
Up until today, there is still a tiny spot on the liver. However, it has a different aspect. The radiologist told me that if he hadn’t known my medical history and would see the spot today for the first time he wouldn’t identify it as a metastase. To me this means that my body has neutralized the mass. I am not afraid of it anymore and know a body has beautiful healing capacities! The HHI and especially Dr Brian were right: we are very capable as long as you believe in it, and take good care of your body, your mindset and the spiritual part of life. And with a dosis of luck maybe. Now, in 2017, I am very stable. I stick to an 80% raw lifestyle and although tired after a day of work, I feel good and healthy. Every two years I receive an ultrasound check and blood analyses at the hospital in Leiden. The results are always very good.
Second visit to the Hippocrates
Four years after my first visit to HHI, I went back to this amazing place. This time not as a cancer patient but as a healthy person, eager to learn more in the classes, in the Q&A sessions with Dr. Brain and also as a gift to myself, to relax and receive lovely treatments. The three weeks I spent there were wonderful again. I felt great, tried to inspire those who were there for the first time and met so many wonderful people. And I took notes and notes during the lectures, making sure I could continue helping others back in my country with accurate information. Because, since I regained my health and so much energy with the HHI lifestyle, many people who face health challenges find me by word of mouth. I receive many calls of desperate persons who I try to inspire. It feels so good to advise others, or provide information that they can then research themselves. It became a second job to me. A job that I love with whole my heart.
Voluntary work and Himalaya hiking in Nepal
In 2014, during a long summer holiday, I fulfilled my biggest wish and went to Nepal to do voluntary work at a small Tibetan Buddhist Monastery up in the hills above Kathmandu and after that I went hiking in the Himalayas. It was an amazing trip, above all on a personal level. I thought a lot about my destiny. About my experience around food and the healing capacities of our body. About the people that contact me. But I also felt that I didn’t possess enough know-how to professionally help others, apart from inspiring them. And I knew that I needed to gain more knowledge on the human body, our mindset and food. These thoughts took shape and form there and then, on the top of the world.
Back in the Netherlands, I followed a medical basic course and graduated in 2015. After that, I studied Natural Nutrition and graduated in 2016, after one year of studying. I admit it was a little crazy and stressful to have completed these studies in such a short time, after working hours, but I felt passion and the material was so interesting that it was rewarding.
In September 2016 I opened Zon In Je Voeding, ‘Sun in your Food’, a practice for natural nutrition and living food. You can take a look at www.zoninjevoeding.nl. I feel very excited with this new part of my life and to be able to help lots of people in a professional way to regain vitality and strengthen their immune system. I will continue my work at Foreign Affairs as part-time policy officer, since the work is interesting and provides me with formal insights, a qualified attitude and many sparring partners. And that helps me to stay focused and work efficiently as a natural nutritionist.
In the end, I realize that without my health challenges and the insights that HHI gave me, I wouldn’t have found my real passion and energy in life. So, I am grateful for the way my life unfolded itself so far, including all the downsides of it.
By Marisa Witte, The Netherlands
Brian Clement PhD Co-director of Hippocrates Health Institute will be speaking in the Netherlands on 2nd and 3rd of May.