‘South of the border down Mexico way’……I can still hear the joyful refrain now as the old melody plays in my head.
I was excited yes, but pulling it all together to make such a journey took monumental strength as always – and TRUST – yet again! That’s the one positive thing about facing a life-threatening illness – one has to be brave – and well, I have learnt a lot about bravery these past 14 years. Perhaps that is why I truly felt that it was a calling, a familiar calling that I could not refuse that call to the Oasis… I was on a mission. To save my life, YES…….but more….much more than I can even begin to explain in this posting. I would not fully grasp the truth of the mission unless I was willing to throw caution to the wind, and ACCEPT. The time was now and so I did. And as always I thank God!
It had been 23 years ago that I first encountered OASIS OF HOPE. I had taken the ‘Mexican cancer clinic’ tour bus, run by the CANCER CONTROL SOCIETY in California. Tom, my partner at the time had been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer, which would finally take his life. I had insisted we look at alternative solutions since the annual Cancer Control Convention was practically in our back yard. Even though I was born in England, I was a Californian girl at heart having spent 25 years in America….I enjoyed healthy living. Tom on the other hand, God bless him, was life and soul of the party, and had focussed on drinking more than eating, so it was never going to be easy, but nevertheless I dragged him there for a look see. All aboard the cancer bus one very early morning and we were off to Tijuana. This is where we could find brave doctors who were thinking outside the ‘pharmaceutical box’. Laetrile was the big buzz-word then, it was illegal in the USA. Medicinal cannabis had not yet surfaced although I had been growing it unaware just how important it was to become in the scheme of things. Viva la revolucion! I say.
And so after touring a hand full of clinics with their varying approaches I was most impressed by The Oasis of Hope, specifically by the father and son team, Dr. Ernesto Contreras Sr; and Dr. Francisco Contreras. Their compassion and love for their patients was undeniable and I begged Tom to consider a three-week stay. It was an expensive proposition but we would find a way. In the end it was Tom’s choice and he put his faith in the orthodox treatment that his insurance would cover. I grew sunflowers, wheatgrass and brewed essaic tea, researching all I could to supplement the immune system as he underwent the brutality of the treatment. I like to think it all helped to extend his life by a few years, but alas it could not save him. I wrote a book during this time; it was my way of dealing with things. Since it all coincided with me working with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood on the movie The Bridges of Madison County, I called it Bridges, A Memoir of Love.
And so………fast forward to 2001 and my breast cancer diagnosis. I never ever thought cancer would visit me, but who does? The seeds could have been sown during the heartbreak of losing Tom, and all my Hollywood dreams…..I write extensively about that in my second book ‘And So We Heal’, published in 2009, when I believed I had beaten the worst of the cancer, and managed to avoid chemo, radiotherapy, and even surgery opting instead for an alternative galvanic approach called ECT in Spain. Again, it’s all been documented.
If I had had the resources to check in to the Oasis in 2001, I would have believe me, but it was not meant to be. As fate would have it, the year before I had been re-united with my old Spanish love Javier. He was scheduled for triple -heart-by-pass surgery, and perhaps thinking he was not going to make it, found me again to say goodbye. I prayed so hard for my dear old friend and well- there was no goodbye – he did make it through, and I moved back to Europe. My dear mother had just had a stroke so I was happy to be back home. When my life in America was basically disintegrating before my eyes, I do remember her saying, “You should have more”. I know she was talking in terms of security, but it frustrated me all the same. I had lived a year on top of a mountain in Japan, praying for the world, returning to Hollywood I practiced the art of JYOREI helping to heal the spirit, growing spiritually rich, but not financially. Perhaps there was a reason that God had spared me the clutches of the Hollywood. My values had changed since those star-struck, starlet days where I was perhaps caught up in the illusion of Hollywood. She and my father had raised five children and lost one at age three, so of course material wealth was a necessity. There were no credit cards, but we always had enough. She worked hard though, my mother, as soon as the kids were at school she got a job as a dinner lady, chocolate factory worker, and volunteer charity worker…all to help ends meet. She passed away two years ago now and I am forever grateful for her sacrifices, and indeed the small inheritance she left for us her children. It is through my mother’s love and ‘putting a little by every week’…..God knows how, that I can even contemplate this trip.
And so…..the day comes and there at the San Diego arrivals terminal is Alex the trusty driver sent to pick me up. He is carrying an enormous placard with OASIS OF HOPE which I subtly have him lower on my approach. I had felt enough embarrassment at having to request assistance in the layover at Philadelphia. It was my first ever time to do so, but boy was it appreciated after such a long flight. My addiction to packing the kitchen sink in my back pack was something I was trying to avoid but the nice lady (not) at Manchester airport felt obligated to make me remove the 3 extra kilos from my check in luggage and haul it on my back…..no matter that I had said that I had asked for mercy owing to ‘breast cancer’ – no breaks there then!
California is a home away from home for me, so no culture shock. We passed easily through the Mexican border, so there were obviously no warrants out for me, one never knows these days…..I had after all recently been having treatments with GcMaf before the lab was closed (see the previous blog). I jest of course, but what with the latest news about Dr. Jeff Bradstreet’s untimely demise followed on the heels by Dr. Nicolas Gonzales’s death, both with connections to GcMaf, and the latter a supporter of the late Dr. Kelly, and laetrile, need I say more. The terrain changes drastically once across the border. We go from the ‘haves’ to the ‘have not’s, and the enormous fence that divides the two is foreboding indeed. It may seem to onlookers now that I am one of the ‘haves’. Certainly I have more than most in terms of opportunity, and really that is what can improve life – opportunity, and equal at that…… ‘Thank you God’, for this opportunity I hear my heart say and with that we have arrived. It’s only taken me 23 years to get back here…. I am welcomed with open arms by smiling faces and HOPE.
English is spoken. impeccably by the doctors and administration and much of the nursing staff, but it felt good to be able to slip into Spanish whenever called for. Spanish has become my second language, and I feel a warm kinship with Hispanic people. Even my birth name is Spanish.
My room was not one of the biggest but it was fine, light and airy, and really welcome. My treatment was to begin early the next morning, so after a delicious evening meal served buffet style, with a chance to meet my fellow patients, all friendly, warm and welcoming, from all over the globe by the sounds of things. Laughter seemed to be everyone’s delight so I knew I would fit in. Then it was off to bed to try and turn my internal clock around. Having been up for almost 24 hours by this point I needed a good night sleep and I got one. The next morning after a coffee enema at 7am, and a delicious breakfast of fresh green juice and ample choices in gluten free fayre, it was time to get a catheter in to begin the first 3 hour mineral replacement drip. Now I have very thin veins and inevitably cringe whenever drawing blood is attempted but the nurses doing this have perfected it to a fine art. Since this would be the first of many I was immediately impressed.
The next days would bring vitamin infusions, ozonated and irradiated blood treatments, hyperthermia, with plenty of time in between to rest or go for walks. I walked to the ocean each morning – just five minutes away. Most people attend with a companion so outside ventures are encouraged. I was happy to be unaccompanied really otherwise I think I may have focussed on making sure they were comfortable. I had invited Javier my partner of course but since he is facing his own health challenge, I understood and accepted him doing what he needed to, and with telephone and wifi available we were in touch. This time was for me!
Doctor Contreras has a team of excellent doctors working with him. He had been in London when I arrived so it would be a few days before I would meet with him. Well wouldn’t you know it, on the second night there I had the most extraordinary dream. Since I very rarely dream these days I took it as a powerful omen. In it, we were all told that Dr. Contreras was on his way and we went outside to greet him. From off in the distance comes a majestic horse ridden by the doctor. As he came into view we could see a small coloured bird perched on his shoulder as he reached down to grasp a green plant growing by the wayside….All this happening with him still riding. He takes a huge bite from the plant and continues on his way as our eyes follow him riding off in the distance. Well, the most amazing thing happens next as the small bird gradually grows bigger and bigger with a giant wingspan, and us realizing that the doctor had somehow turned into this enormous bird, and the colours became red white and blue. WOW – what an entrance! Who was this man that I had been called to meet?
A few days later the ‘winged’ doctor arrived, without the horse, I may add, but still as charismatic as when I first met him all those years ago. He was amused by my dream and his first comments to me were, that I certainly looked better in person than I did on paper. He was of course referring to the ultra sound scan results and photos I had sent from my consultation with the doctor from Switzerland re: GcMAF. I took that as a compliment and we continued going over the treatment plan he had first suggested when I had contacted the Oasis. This initial consultation is free, and he certainly had done his homework on reviewing my case. “The type of cancer you have is aggressive, but treatable. You are only 63 years old in general good condition and all efforts should be made to provide you with the most effective therapy possible”. What a difference to hear such hope instead of the other side of the coin wherein I was told to expect shortness of breath as the cancer proceeded to invade the lungs. In all fairness my oncologist had been trying to get me on hormone blockers for years, with letrozole top of the list, but my instinct would always decline. One of the other doctor’s in the team here at Oasis was surprised that I had not tried those. I tried to explain that I had found enough cases of women talking about the side effects to put me off, good or bad it had been my decision.
Sitting across the desk from Dr. Contreras and feeling the obvious compassion he has for his patients, it was easy to trust that I was in good hands. His oxidative CMIT integrative approach made sense and was having great results. I was willing then to accept that even though the treatment plan was going to contain some pharmaceuticals, that I had thus far refused, they were at a very low dose and part of a home care programme that conditioned the body nutritionally. Our consultation ended with a heartfelt prayer between patient and doctor, and just as the banner promised – I was indeed cocooned in an Oasis of Hope.
I knew that the three weeks would pass all too quickly if I let it so I made every effort to slow down time and soak in the wonderful light that embraces one. Just to be able to have time to rest, and not be continually juicing, chopping, sprouting, boiling coffee for enemas, researching, and so much more…..I felt blessed. There are numerous lectures on nutrition and addressing emotional issues of having cancer. Being of Christian faith background I appreciated the evangelistic singing and constant blessings between patients and staff alike. of course the Oasis is open to all spiritual traditions. I have always maintained an Interfaith philosophy which has greatly enriched my spiritual life, and have for thirty three years practiced Jyorei since first praying to God one day to ‘get me out of Hollywood’. Within an hour there was a knock from a stranger at my door offering to pray for me. The stranger was to become my very good friend, and Shumei, the fellowship that practices it has blossomed into quite a force that includes ‘natural agriculture’ and an appreciation for the arts. Within a year I was fast-tracked to a faraway mountain in Japan – (another story for another time). But somehow I was feeling a mystical connection at play.
During the last week the Dendritic Cell vaccine DCV is administered, which is quite painless, and preparations made to make sure that enough supplements are ordered for the home protocol. The initial fee at the hospital does not include the follow up so one needs to keep that in mind – it is not cheap – but where there’s a will, there’s a way! I was already baring down on the metal strip of my credit card but I managed by the grace of God to make it. I would figure the rest out in the upcoming weeks. I cannot even begin to describe my beautiful ‘soulful’ experiences on this journey…the amazing people I met, and the wonders I beheld….I took lots of photos and a little video so hopefully I can add to the blog in part two after I begin the home protocol.
But like all great adventures, the day finally came when after saying goodbye to the many people passing through the oasis, it was finally my turn to take a bow and say goodbye. I was being dropped off in San Diego where I had planned to rent a car to get me to Los Angeles…..I had so many friends to see and the next adventure was to continue……
And so…..a brief telling of the story so far…..I shall keep you posted on my progress.
be well and be blessed