Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you Lord

ANDREW AND GRACE WRITE:

This year we decided to spend Thanksgiving alone as a family. We got up early and started the normal routine for the Gerson Therapy, which means cooking oatmeal, juice, and starting lunch. We had family worship and then began preparations for a day at the beach.

We ate lunch and dinner at the beach. What I loved about it was having the day centered around the beach rather than a feast. The kids LOVED splashing in the water and playing in the sand. Around this time last year they had their shovels out playing in the snow with their hats, jackets, and gloves. This year it's sand and shirtless =).

My health is holding up still. I tried to get completely off over the counter pain meds (tylenol) but it made me miserable, so I'm going to still use a little bit to keep the sanity. The pain is centered around my neck and right shoulder. Even though I struggle with some pain, overall I'm doing much better than a month ago. I know that the reason I'm feeling better rather than worse is because God is answering your prayers.

Many of you are wondering what our daily routine is like doing the Gerson Therapy. The day starts around 7AM. Grace simmers an organic oatmeal breakfast, squeezes fresh orange juice, and washes whatever vegetables are needed for the day's juices as well as meals. After breakfast, we juice every hour until 6PM. There are 4 green juices and 5 carrot juices in addition to the fresh orange juice for my particular regimen. The green juices contain an assortment of veggies like escarole, chard, green pepper, red cabbage, red lettuce, and rommaine. The carrot juices are usually just carrots, or sometimes carrot and apple. To each juice, we add a specific regimen of supplements like pancreatin (digestive enzymes), potassium, dessicated liver, CoQ10, and Acidoll. The juicing is probably the hardest part because not only do you have to run the juicer every hour so that the juice is fresh and the enzymes don't die, but you also need to purchase and wash and cut an enormous amount of vegetables, then consume it 10 times per day. In addition, the meals are just as time consuming because most things have to be cooked fresh and then pureed for insertion into my tube.

We've had an extraordinary amount of help so far. Last Tuesday Grace had a cutting party. A group of college students who go to Grace on Campus, our old Bible study, helped wash and cut a week's worth of meals, sprayed the insides of the bags with Vitamin C to keep the veggies as fresh as the moment they were cut, and vacuum bagged them. Then Wed, Friday, and Saturday various people came from VOH, a church my friend pastors, to help in the afternoons to tidy up, help prepare dinner, clean veggies and set up for the following day. Many of these people are people we are meeting for the first time. Its almost like a restaurant the amount of stuff that is going on in the kitchen. It turns out the the kitchen in the house we're staying at in Cerritos is twice as big as our kitchen at home in Minnesota, so it actually makes things run much smoother than it might otherwise.

We know the Lord is causing this therapy to keep happening hour after hour, because so far I have gotten all of my 10 juices and all my fresh meals each day since we left the treatment center, despite how it usually takes two weeks to get settled into the therapy after leaving the center. Despite all kinds of obstacles and all the work required, by God's grace, each juice manages to come like clockwork.

Our plan is to return to the treatment center in Redlands for the month of December. It turns out the wonderful family that runs the treatment center are Christians. They saw how much progress I (and Grace too) was making in my health that they invited us back and offered us a great deal. We've been under so much pressure the past several years, that being at the treatment center is such a relief. They will take care of all the meals and juicing for us, while we relax, focus on healing and spend time with the kids. We're planning on staying in the RV with the kids for part of it, and then staying in the treatment center for the rest of the time. Then in January we're praying that the Lord will provide a place to stay and a car for a few months in the West LA area.

Huntington Beach - the weather forecast said cloudy with chance of showers. Guess they were wrong! Grace was smart enough to remember to bring all of our sand toys from Minnesota!

Lunch

The kids love waves and sand

We also got a catch the sunset

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nourishment

ANDREW AND GRACE WRITE:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." ~Prov 17:22

God has really blessed Grace and I beyond what we could have imagined the past few weeks. Many have been fervently praying for us and fasting every Wednesday to Thursday and God has been answering. To sum up, the past few weeks has been physical and spiritual nourishment. For the past 8 months my body has been in a downward spiral from surgeries, to radiation and chemo, to pain and narcotics, to infections and pneumonia. Grace just kept begging God specifically for relief and that He would relent from the continual onslaught of difficulty, and the Lord has answered in abundance. Since we have been in California God has broken that downward spiral with these nutritional treatments, education, sunshine, laughter, rest and exercise.

Here is a short list of answered prayers:

1) Praise God that my pain has greatly decreased. I thought it would be impossible to get off narcotics just a few months ago, but now I'm off! In addition, I don't need that much over the counter stuff since I now have learned some effective natural ways of dealing with the pain. The only time I really struggle with pain now is when I sleep. It is hard for me to lie down comfortably and rest at night, due to coughing bouts and soreness in my neck and shoulders. Please pray for relief from discomfort at night and restful sleep.
2) Grace and I are encouraged spiritually. We've really seen God do so much around us lately, and we're amazed at His power. He is answering prayer after prayer from providing for all our needs here in CA from accommodations, to babysitting, to help making my labor-intensive special diet, to cleaning, to providing spiritual nourishment when we need it, even though we are away from our church family in MN, to providing exactly the amount of financial support we need to do this.

Because the winter is so hard on my body and I'm prone to pneumonia, we're thinking of actually staying here in Southern California for a few months and wait out the winter, while we continue the therapy on our own. Please pray for wisdom whether we should stay here and that God would provide a private place to sublet and the help we need to continue this labor-intensive cancer therapy.

3) God is providing physical rest and nourishment. Even though I have some pain and tumors that are attacking my body, I feel very refreshed and nourished. In the past I've shared that I struggle to desire to eat through a tube in my stomach, but God is really changing the way I see food and my appetite has increased greatly. I think my food intake has doubled since we've been here at the treatment center.

4) The Gerson Therapy is going really well. We're totally enjoying it and it is definitely helping me feel better. Praise God for providing the wisdom and the means to do this. To be honest, Grace kept doing research and telling me about all these things she was reading about, but I was skeptical because I didn't really understand the science behind these treatments. We are so thankful that the Lord has lead us here.
Grace and I are learning so much here at the treatment center. The man who leads it is a licensed Gerson practicioner and has his PhD in nutrition. He lectures us after breakfast each day so that we can understand the science behind everything we are doing.
The Gerson Therapy was developed by Dr. Max Gerson in the 1940s. Dr. Gerson was an MD who treated and cured many patients from "incurable" diseases, including Nobel prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer and his wife.

Everybody in both the conventional and alternative medical industries agree with Dr. Gerson's basic theory behind treatment of degenerative diseases - use the body's natural immune response to cure disease. Yet, radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery actually destroy the immune system. In fact, cancer surgeries often include removing lymph nodes, essential parts of the body to fighting off infection and disease. Cutting-edge cancer research has begun to realize this downfall of conventional cancer treatment. The newest wave of developments, known as immunotherapy, which is still in clinical trials, tries to enhance the body's immune response to cancer by harvesting proteins and antibodies and reinjecting them into your system. 70 years after Dr. Gerson, conventional medicine has come full circle and now has the same goal as Dr. Gerson, using the body's own immune system to kill off cancer, but uses a different method.

The Gerson method seeks to naturally restore the body to a healthy state so that it can stage its own immune response to the disease the way it is supposed to. The human body is so amazingly powerful and complex, wouldn't it do a better job of creating white blood cells to kill cancer than a laboratory? This has huge benefits for not only long-term cure, but for current quality of life. It uses real nutrients the way God originally designed food, grown off of trees or out of the ground, and uses the food as medicine to flood the body with the nutrients and enzymes it needs to function normally so that the immune system can attack disease the way it was meant to. If these real foods had been nourishing the body all along, the body's systems and immune system would not have been in a compromised state and would have killed the cancer cells off before anyone had ever detected them.

In America we tend to see food as entertainment, rather than nourishment and medicine. Advertising, marketing, and billboards from the food industry tell us that food is supremely to satisfy our pleasures. While eating is one of the great pleasures of life, it can also be good for us rather than toxic to us.
The nutritional statements on food packaging shows us little or no information about the true benefit - or lack thereof - of our food. In America, we emphasize calories, fat, and protein, which can be important but good nutrition surpasses those descriptions. Today's food labeling is a gimmick that oversimplifies the science of nutrition and allows food sellers to market their products as good for us when they truly are not. Most of what we eat in an American diet is not real food at all, but food-like things synthesized, genetically altered, processed, salted and thrown in a box. You could look at the back of a bag of carrots and then pick up a bag of crackers enriched with synthetic vitamins and minerals and leave the store thinking the crackers might be better for you as a snack.
Fresh fruits and vegetables have natural versions of the vitamins and minerals that are inserted into processed foods synthetically. Synthesized vitamins often cannot be absorbed into our bodies the way they can in their natural state in foods. They also do not have the same benefit as vitamins in produce and can even be harmful at times.
More than that, food labeling says nothing of the many enzymes that exist in fruit and vegetables. Enzymes are the key to any metabolic reaction in the human body and can only be found in raw fruits and vegetables. Processing and heating foods kills the all essential enzymes. Without these enzymes, life would cease to exist.
The reason why Americans are so hungry all the time to the point that they often become overweight is because their body is crying out for real nourishment - vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables and live enzymes. Unlike processed foods, you cannot overeat fruit and vegetables, which are really satisfying when eaten in good quantities. In fact, the more you eat, the more nutrition you receive. We're a country that can afford to eat hearty meals, but we're starving just like the rest of the world. Our bodies have plenty of calories, fat, sugars and protein, but we're starving for the real nutrition and live enzymes so essential to our bodies for real nourishment.

"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food" - Hippocrates, c.400 BC

The Gerson Therapy is extremely intense and time consuming but simple and not very expensive. It consists of a combination of fresh carrot and green juices 10 times a day over a 12 hour period and a vegan, low sodium, high potassium breakfast, lunch, and dinner that equals 2,000-3,000 calories a day. In the standard American diet, meat and table salt leach potassium from the body. But potassium is what is needed to break down the cancer cell's outer layer, which disguises it from the immune system. The goal is to aggressively flood the system with nutrient-rich alkaline foods, which will bring your body's pH to optimal levels to allow normal metabolic functions to occur, as well as to consume huge amounts of enzyme-rich, raw vegetable juices to stimulate the immune system and help kill cancer cells.

In addition, the therapy includes a handful of carefully chosen inexpensive supplements and enzymes that the body uses in normal metabolic processes. The supplements are so natural that you couldn't even overdose on them if you tried, just like you couldn't overdose on vegetables. They provide the same things found in the foods we are eating, but because of the dire state a cancerous body is in, the supplements allow us to ramp up even more what we are getting.

The most invasive part of this therapy is a vitamin B-12 shot I give myself every other day. What a big step away from the list of 100 perscription drugs that I was on in March when I was in ICU, not to mention the $500,000 that went into somebody's pocket for all my treatments.

I'm thankful to my doctors for their help and I know that God is sovereign over all those events in my life, but after all of that I don't have much to show for it but a list of pains and disabilities and a poor prognosis.

I'm not saying that if you do something like the Gerson Therapy you'll suddenly be healed of all your ailments (but many many many people have been and case studies prove it), I'm simply saying that perhaps preventative medicine and non-invasive treatments such as the Gerson Therapy should be a normal part of our lives and endorsed by our government rather than the use of toxic drugs, scaples and processed foods. Each year the FDA approves food coloring after food coloring, and artificial flavor A, B, and Z, and new genetically modified foods void of nutrition, and sets the safe levels of lead and arsenic and pesticides that can be in our foods. And who sits on the boards of the FDA and the National Cancer Institute? The advisory committees for these agencies have ties to the most powerful petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and food companies. Check out the FDA website, you'll see that the ONLY two experts in nutrition on the science board are from Coca Cola, Inc. and Mars, Inc.

My hope is that each of us when we do research about health can see past the superficial layer of marketing, propoganda, and skewed statistics that pervades our society, and make informed decisions based on how our unique, individual body actually works. My hope is that others would be able to discover this sooner than we did. We are not a statistic and our individual and family's needs are not the same as our neighbors. There is great information out there, but we tend to not see it unless we're really looking, particularly because culturally we are so accustomed to eating the standard American diet and taking a pill for everything. God is teaching Grace and I more every day. If we pray with faith in God rather than in doctors or ourselves, and beg Him for wisdom, He will answer.

Prayer Requests:

1) That God would continue to nurse me back to health and heal me completely of cancer.

2) For wisdom about treatments. We're taking the Gerson Therapy one month at a time. After each month we're going to reevaluate its effectiveness and whether or not we should add/subtract something, or go in a different direction. The great thing is that as we learn more about our bodies, we can take control of our healthcare and make decisions on our own. Since we've been here, my health has been very stable, and my energy and spirits are way up!

3) For wisdom whether or not to stay in CA for the winter. After having pneumonia practically the entire month of September you can probably imagine that I am hesitant to return to the harsh winter in MN, especially with the amount of sickness my kids bring home. Plus, with the sunshine and the warm weather I can get fresh air and exercise, so essential to good health, everyday outside. Please pray for wisdom about this and that God will provide a place to sublet for a few months if He leads us to stay.

We've made new friends! It is much more enjoyable to share this treatment experience with really cool people. They skipped conventional treatments and are not enduring the pain and stress (which totally obstructs healing) brought on by chemo, radiation, or surgery, so it is a really positive, hopeful atmosphere filled with laughter. We cannot help but see each other as not having that dreadful word, "cancer," but rather people who have something in their bodies that they want to get rid of and get healthy in the process.

The juicing station.

The really nice people running the therapy do all the work, providing me with 20 lbs of enzyme and nutrient-rich vegetables per day. The grind and press method using a Norwalk juicer is the most effective juicing method and provides predigested juice that can be quickly absorbed into my blood stream (by the way, Dr. Norman Walker who invented this juicer lived to be really old, despite originally having gotten into nutrition due to bad health). That juice is incredibly rich in chlorophyll.


My meal.

What you see above are four cups of food blended in a Vita-Mix for insertion into my tube. Usually there is a mixture of potatoes, salad, veggies, Hippocrates soup, raw garlic, flax oil and a handful of supplements. Before I came here, I was only able to get 2 cups into my stomach before feeling nauseous and giving up on eating. When I got here I started at 3 cups. Now I can get at least 4 cups in at each meal plus 10 cups of juice per day! This in itself is a huge praise because my weight is so low.


Salads and raw vegetables are the norm.


A cup of carrot juice. I get a total of 10-11 fresh juices per day.


The ancient Hippocrates soup!

The Lord paints the gospel and His characteristics throughout all creation. What a picture of the gospel real food is that God made. How despite how we don't deserve it, within a matter of less than two years, even the most physically bad off, can still have everything reversed and be to better health than ever. His mercy is over all of His creation!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanks for the memories...Part 1 of 4

ANDREW WRITES:

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday got to visit with many of our old friends from when we used to live in Southern California at UCLA. On Sunday night we had a get together in Fullerton. Even though we planned it last minute, some of our friends and family were able to make it. People came from all over the place to be with us from Seattle, to Northern California, to Maryland.

To say the least, the past several days has been an extremely encouraging time catching up. I was afraid it would feel weird like it was everybody's last chance to see me before I die. But instead it was just like catching up on the past few years. On Sunday night I was having such a great time laughing that I forgot about pain and cancer. During the sharing time Kenny summed up a year or two of memories as "legendary debacles." My old roomate, Mike (a.k.a. Sung), finally admitted that the low point in his life was when he was living with me (see videos)!

I wanted to have the sharing time so that I could video tape it for my kids. I want my kids to hear from my family and friends that if I die, it might be sad but its not an empty tragedy. I want my kids to see that God was faithful to use my life for a purpose, to be there for others. In the same way, God used every single person in that room and countless others to be there for me through the thick and thin, to hold me up when I was weak, to teach me something new each day, and to enrich my life with experiences that molded me into who I am today. I treasure these words because not because they mean that I am great, but that God is great. That He would rescue somebody like me from hell, but also that He would rescue me from squandering my life. Praise God that He would use me to have impact. Even if it is a small impact for just a few years. That is a picture of the gospel.

Unfortunately my parents were not able to come out to California last minute to be there, but they of course have been and still are the most influential people in my life. Thank you all for being who you are and for being in my life. Thanks for the memories.

Video Part 1 (more parts in blogs below. If you can I encourage you to watch them all. You'll catch a glimpse of my history and the Lord's faithfulness in my life. Prayer requests and updates are at the end of Part 4):

video

See Video Part 2 in the blog below...

Thanks for the Memories...Part 2

Video Part 2:

video

Thanks for the Memories...Part 3

Video Part 3:


video

Thanks for the Memories...Part 4

Video Part 4:


video

Prayer Requests:

1) Praise God that things have been going great at the treatment center! We are learning so much about the human body and how to help it fight disease. Pray that the treatments would work and that God would heal me completely. I'm feeling better than I have in a very long time! The children are doing great. The Lord is answering your prayers for us.

2) Praise God that this past week has been rich and filled with blessings through old and new relationships. We are greatly encouraged to see those we love and miss face to face, and to hear how God is working in their lives.

3) Pray that God would provide a way to continue this 12 hour per day, 7 day per week, intense therapy on our own after the first two weeks as the juicing and special foods need to be made fresh daily. This is more work than we would be able to handle.

4) Continue to pray for the kids as they have been spending time with different people each day while I'm in treatment. We get to see them in the morning and at night. Praise God for providing help to watch the kids during the day.

More Pictures:

My cousin Dan and Sarah (Pei Pei) and her husband Todd. We all grew up together in Danville before I moved to NJ. Where'd Gracie go?


Everybody gathered around for a sharing time. People were so kind to give our children some new toys to play with!


Some friends from UCLA. Left to right: Frank, Nik, John, me, Luke, Bo, Chris, Mike (Sung), and Kenny


Matt, Angel, Philip and Jeanna visited us in Cerritos on Saturday. Philip and Jeanna are from the Philippines. Philip is currently at the Master's seminary and plans to return to the Philippines when he finishes.


Our friends from UCLA who now go to Immanuel Bible Church. Its funny how we're almost all married now!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Praise God!

ANDREW WRITES:

Praise God that we made it to California safely. The first two days were rough being in a 9 foot wide box with 5 people, but after a while things smoothed out and we got more used to it. I enjoyed the trip, the kids did great, and God has answered so many prayers. We are now staying at a friend's house in Cerritos that they recently moved out but is still partially furnished. I was taking a walk in the warm sun this morning praying and just thanking the Lord for all that He is doing in and around us.

This Sunday we will be having a get-together at our friend, Joy's, house in Fullerton from 4-8PM. Details are in the blog below.

Update - During the get together at 6 PM on Sunday we will have a time of sharing which I hope to video tape for my kids to keep. If you are planning on coming I hope you can make it to that. Food will be provided. See address in the blog below.
Praises:
1) The Lord granted us an enjoyable trip to CA and brought us here safely.

2) I'm feeling better physically because I've been able to get off narcotics for a week now (and its sunny and warm). My body has finally adjusted to simple over the counter pain meds. Also, though we've been traveling we've been able to maintain my special diet, blend healthy organic foods, and juice for me.

3) The Lord provided a relaxing, private, 3 bedroom house for us to stay in and relax for a few days before I begin treatment. This is such a retreat for us! I'm almost tempted to blow off treatments and just hang out here for 2 weeks!

4) We're feeling spiritually encouraged and refreshed as we have had time to relax and spend in God's word and prayer as a family. The Lord must truly be answering your prayers for us. I feel excited about what God is doing around us. Keep praying big prayers! I feel like God is going to do great things. Maybe Jesus will return soon and usher in the new Kingdom!

Here are some pictures from our trip:

Day 1 - Driving through Iowa.

Day 2 - We relaxed all afternoon at a beautiful park in Oklahoma City. I had no idea what to expect from Oklahoma. This was an absolutely beautiful place on a beautiful afternoon.


Day 3 - We started our morning routine at a park in Amarillo, Tx

Day 4 - We started our morning routine at a park in Flagstaff, Az. We met Ray and Bonita, Hopi Native Americans and had an opportunity to have a great conversation with them.

Day 4 - The Grand Canyon. Wow. I've seen pictures, but seeing it and looking over the edge with no railing really makes you feel small. I was absolutely amazed. This is the one trip I never was able to make while I lived in Los Angeles. I'm glad I was finally able to make it there.

Gracie soaking up the sun in Cerritos, CA. We made it!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A California Get Together on Nov 9th! (updated)

We're currently in Flagstaff, AZ. We should be arriving in Los Angeles in the next day or two.

We've decided to do the Gerson treatment at the treatment center in California on Nov 11 for one or two weeks.

We would love to visit with any or all of you while we are in California. On Nov 9th our friend, Joy Chiu, will be hosting a get-together for us at her house in Fullerton (RSVP at this updated link). Old friends, those we haven't seen in years, and those who only know us through our blog are all welcome alike. We would love to see you or even meet you for the first time. RSVP via the link above.

If you cannot make it Sunday at 4pm, we will be at Immanuel Bible Church (http://www.ibcbible.org/) on Sunday morning and will be able to meet with friends during lunch at the church.

Location:
Joy Chiu's Home
2023 Ladera Vista Drive, Fullerton, CA 92831

Snacks and refreshments are provided. Also, if you so wish, please feel free to bring some food for others to share.

When:
Sunday, November 9, 4:00-8:00PM
Phone: 714-203-4330

Please pray that our time in California would be a refreshing and restful time for our family and an opportunity to enjoy each other without all of the distractions we've faced over the past several months.

Please pray also for our encouragement and that we might encourage all those we encounter.

We are thankful for all of you and all of your words and deeds of encouragement!

P.S. My voice is very soft and raspy and I have difficulty speaking ,so please just bare with me. You might have to ask me to repeat myself.