Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Super Tools for Cancer-Free Living and Healing

While superheroes have super tools—Thor has his hammer and Wonder Woman has her golden lasso—they also have weaknesses. Thor’s evil brother, Loki, is a constant nemesis and Wonder Woman’s powers disappear when her bracelets are bound together. Although we mortals don’t have super powers and some of our weaknesses are far less exotic—a poor diet of processed foods that contain questionable, but invisible chemicals and a sedentary lifestyle—we do have super tools—prevention and wellness.

Lifestyle changes that incorporate a prevention and wellness factor into daily routines can help to boost the immune system, the true super power for staving off chronic and serious diseases such as cancer. These tools don’t make local residents Ursula Kaiser, a health coach and author of My Journey to Wellness: How I Beat Cancer Naturally, and Dee Harris, registered dietician-nutritionist and owner of D-signed Nutrition, in Bonita Springs, invincible. Nevertheless, since their recovery from cancer, the women find a sense of empowerment and comfort in prevention and wellness tools that put them in charge of their health. These simple choices not only benefit Kaiser and Harris, but also the wellness seekers that they counsel.

Decision Point

After having several lymph nodes and both ovaries removed and Ursula Kaiserbiopsied in 1999, Kaiser’s physician informed her, “You have cancer and should immediately have a complete hysterectomy, as well as radiation and chemotherapy.” Within the following 10 days, Kaiser consulted experts at top Chicago hospitals for two more opinions, received conflicting diagnoses regarding ovarian cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and agreed to surgery.

“I refused radiation and chemotherapy after hearing the long list side effects. This simple act of making my own decision and taking charge of my healing process helped me regain my personal power. My doctors aggressively urged me to change my mind, informing me that I was irresponsible and had signed my own death sentence. I conceded only to taking the cancer drug Tamoxifen, but quit after a week. I was then informed by certified mail that I was on my own. Using only the results of my research (before the Internet), piles of books that I read and my instincts to guide me, I set out on my healing journey,” explains Kaiser.

A Path Less Traveled

Kaiser’s first stop was a cancer clinic in Mexico, where she learned about the benefits of daily coffee enemas, as well as a diet that excluded wine, fruit, sugar, starches and yeast. A second stay at a different Mexican clinic is where she was enlightened about the benefits of live blood cell analysis, detoxing, vitamin infusions,and apricot pits (which contain vitamin B17, also known as laetrile). More books and more research turned up information on juicing, breath work, supplements, enzymes, emotional healing, Flor-Essence Tea, the healing power of music and energy/frequency machines, in addition to qigong exercises. Kaiser used all of them.

Slower But Effective Results

“Different methods work for different people. It’s essential to learn as much as you can and see what works for you. Keep in mind that alternative Dee Harrismethods of healing don’t produce immediate results. They take time,” says Kaiser, who counsels clients via her nonprofit Beyond Wellness Club, which is presently located at Holistic Solutions, in Naples. She also refers clients to Harris for specific nutritional guidance and blood work.

Harris and Kaiser met in 2004 at a Naples fitness club, where they continue their regular physical activities as a preventive measure and for enjoyment. Kaiser shared her cancer recovery story with Harris, who took steps to learn more about the role that nutrition played in health through Beth Ellen DiLuglio, creator of Nutrition Mission and Nutrition is Your Best Health Insurance. DiLuglio’s educational programs piqued Harris’s interest, coaxing her out of a totally conventional medicine paradigm. The shift set her on a path that led her to the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), where she became an IFM-certified practitioner.   

When Harris decided to use a DNA test and urinary metabolite testing that she learned about through her IFM training, the results indicated that she was in trouble. “My estrogen metabolism was horrendous. I’d had a history in my 40s with ovarian cysts, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts, which are all related to hormonal issues. I’d been on bioidentical hormones for years, but stopped them immediately. Shortly thereafter, I discovered a lump in my breast and immediately began a major detox diet program and a ketogenic diet, which is a very low-carb, high-healthy fat diet where the body produces ketones to use for energy, rather than using glucose,” she explains.  The goal is to starve a tumor, which feeds off of glucose.

Do Whatever It Takes

Harris used everything she’d learned to shrink the tumor and keep it from spreading before her lumpectomy. Although she had already cleaned up her living environment of obvious toxins, she reviewed the recommendations of the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) for reducing the toxic load in her personal care and home cleaning products. She applied frankincense oil and used coMra therapy, a medical infrared laser that provides an energetic frequency stimulus for healing, as well as acupuncture. Additionally, she used some of the services at a local energy spa, juiced green vegetables to raise her body’s alkaline level, consumed high doses of supplements such as resveratrol, green tea extract, flax seed and vitamin D, and took diindolylmethane (DIM) complex. Found in cruciferous vegetables, DIM balances estrogen hormone metabolism.

Beyond a Lump in the Road

“I refer to the breast cancer scare as my “lump in the road” because it was a distraction for a short time. Even though I was not following the orders for radiation and medication that I’d received from the oncologist and radiologist, I never had any doubt that I was going to get better. I recognized that my standard of care wasn’t the same as theirs when my oncologist, one of the best in the U.S., told me that nutrition had nothing to do with my healing and recovery. I felt empowered and confident because I was doing everything that I could and still do. I continue to modulate my lifestyle to lower my risk of reoccurrence. I’m not as strict as I initially was, but I don’t take my eye off the ball,” she says.

Believe in the Chosen Path

Today, Harris’ personal prevention plan includes a full body thermogram once a year and thermal breast imagining, as well as breast ultrasound every six months. “I often wonder why people like Ursula and I make the choices that we do. I know that neither of us wanted to go the conventional route with all the ugly side effects. Nor did we want to suffer the long-term effects or a reoccurrence. One sure thing we both know is that whatever path someone chooses, whether it’s conventional or holistic, they have to believe in it,” advises Harris, who after her cancer scare, chose to educate others in a cancer group that she started.

Nutrition Underlies Healing

“I wanted to get the word out to people in treatment, as well as those in recovery, about alternatives. I taught classes on detox, supplements, environmental hazards and other subjects. I continue to counsel and personalize patients’ health and nutrition plan, no matter what stage of treatment they are in. The key is prevention, so we identify risk factors early and support nutrition, detox and hormones naturally. Don’t let anyone tell you nutrition has nothing to do with healing. Every cell in the body depends on nutrients,” remarks Harris.

Kaiser and Harris are shining examples of women who reached for their super tools of prevention, wellness, confidence in their chosen path and trust in inner guidance.

Local Resources

Beyond Wellness, 4947 Tamiami Tr., Ste. 204, Naples. 239-223-0800. UrsulaKaiser.com.

D-Signed Nutrition, 3531 Bonita Bay Blvd., Ste. 300, Bonita Springs. 239-676-5249. D-SignedNutrition.com.

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