20+ Year Squamous Cell Carcinoma Survivor

by Gary Harmon
(Nashville, TN)

Taken in 2010

Taken in 2010

The year was 1990. I was 47 and recently married to my beautiful wife to this day and we had just had a new baby girl enter our world.

I was the kind of guy that had learned a lot about healthy eating and lifestyle when I was much younger and as life happened, my healthy eating lifestyle went by the wayside.

I did however work out at the gym about 5 or 6 mornings a week before going to work. I also was taking a lot of supplements. My diet consisted of a lot of junk! I kind of figured that as long as I'm getting all this exercise and taking all these supplements, my health was probably doing pretty good.

I was wrong!

One morning on the way home from the gym I just happened to rub my hand across my neck and felt a small lump that I had never noticed before. I showed my wife and we were both concerned enough to make a doctors appointment and check it out.

The doctor was a general practitioner. He looked at it, did a blood test, called me a few days later and said, "There's no sign of cancer in your blood. Don't worry about it, watch it and if it changes come back." I felt relieved!

About 4-5 weeks later, I noticed it was growing and it was also under my skin. The general practitioner referred me to another doctor who wanted to do a biopsy and perform an endoscopy. I was very hesitant but allowed them to hospitalize me on a Friday and the endoscopy was scheduled for Monday morning.

Earlier in life, my healthy eating experience was with a whole foods diet called the macrobiotic diet. (Great life diet!) I remember reading and learning how some people had even healed themselves from cancer with this lifestyle.

I asked my wife to go to the health food store and pick me up a macrobiotic book. When she returned to the hospital I scanned through the book and read enough to encourage me to ask the doctor to let me go home for the weekend and then return on Monday AM for the endoscopy. He did.

I called my doctor over the weekend, canceled the Monday procedure and a few weeks later went in for the biopsy.

It was squamous cell carcinoma and it was also inside my mouth at this point and beginning to form tumors on the other side of my neck.

I had already begun to eat healthy to the best of what I had learned but now decided that I need some real professional help with macrobiotics. So I contacted the Kushi Institute in Beckett, MA and attended a 2 week program to learn more about macrobiotics. I also received several consultations to determine specifically the foods I should be eating.

I made the sudden, drastic change. It was hard for the first few weeks but after that I really started feeling full of energy and quite good. My counselor told me that the cancer could grow more before it gets better.

It did and that's when I really got scared. I saw it in my throat and I was afraid I was not going to be able to eat anymore and what if it cuts off my airway.

I saw my medical doctors again and reluctantly submitted to all the conventional treatments they recommended. ALL OF THEM - chemotherapy, surgery and finally radiation. It took all three to totally destroy all the cancer.

I continued on the macrobiotic diet during all the treatments and several times when I mentioned something about it to a doctor I got no response or a negative response.

They did get rid of the cancer but because of all the treatments they told my wife that I had about 10 years left. I'd be lucky to make it past that.

That did nothing to me but made me become very vigilant about my diet and lifestyle.
I continued to adhere to it for about 8 years and at every follow up appointment with a doctor I was cancer free and in pretty good health. I say "pretty good health"? Some side effects of the chemo, surgery and radiation are with me for life.

Today I have some doctors tell me, I'm the miracle guy.

After the 8 years of a strict diet, I expanded out into just plain really healthy eating.

I think sometimes it takes a very strict regimen of diet until the condition is reversed or restored. After that a person should be able to broaden their diet to maintain that health.

One thing worth noting is that with modern agricultural techniques used throughout the world; we can't depend on your food providing what it is supposed to. We really do need some good supplements.

I'm now 68 years old and still cancer free. That newborn baby girl is now in her third year of college and I have two beautiful grandsons from my stepson and his wife. Just their existence contributes to my health!

And, of course, I still have my great wife and she still has me.

Conclusion: Don't wait until you're stricken with a disease to start thinking about prevention and healthy eating. Start before that happens and if it does happen, still, START! You'll have a much better quality of life and lessen chances of any recurrence.

And allow me to say, if you're a parent, teach your children and be an example.

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