From Nina Santamaria
Thank you for inviting me to tell a bit of my story. I hope this gives others a new perspective in health and choices they make for their bodies. I used to be shy in telling my story because I wanted to keep things totally private, especially being a girl, but after 3 years I am comfortable sharing it when I realised it could give some people hope. So now I’m happy to answer this interview. “
1. What we’re the symptoms that you were experiencing that lead to the check up? What was your doctor’s initial diagnosis of your condition and when was this?
“For several months I was experiencing lower back pain and constant discomfort in my abdominal area. In February 2013, having some difficulty moving or walking already, I went to have myself checked by a doctor and was asked to take some tests. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 ovarian cancer. They found a malignant 19-cm tumor in my ovary and since it seemed to be an aggressive case bordering on Stage 3, I had to undergo surgery to remove it as soon as possible.”
2. What were your initial thoughts and feelings?
“First, I worried about my family especially my mom. She was devastated with the news; she lost her husband (my dad) to cancer 30 years ago. My next thought was, ‘OK so now with this diagnosis…Stage 2 doesn’t sound so bad, that’s got to be better than stage 4. So what is the next step? Let’s get this surgery going… Fortunately the surgery was successful, but all the doctors recommended chemotherapy and radiation for 6 months to clean out remaining cancer cells in my body.”
“A concerned relative told me, “You have to think hard about this. Don’t feel pressured by the doctors, they will prescribe what they have studied, but this is your body; you have the freedom to do what you want with it. Chemo is not the only option. Do your research and ask for time to think”. That struck such a strong chord in me. It was the best advice I ever received. So I asked for time and was given 2 weeks to decide.”
3. What did you do?
“I consulted with experts: I talked to 2 different, well-known oncologists, and to a homeopathic doctor who prescribes natural treatments. The more chemo was explained to me though, the more it didn’t make sense. If cancer was caused by a failure of the immune system, why would you do anything to attack it instead of help it get stronger?”
“I went online to understand what happened to me. What was cancer, what causes it, and why did it happen to certain people? I watched health videos and documentaries. I read up. The website www.healingcancernaturally.com was a big help. I would recommend it to anybody, even those who are perfectly healthy. It would be good to browse through it so you could understand how cancer develops in a healthy body: not only are there physical causes (toxicity, lack of nutrients, etc) but also emotional, spiritual, mental and energetic causes in its development.”
“I talked to people who went through chemo and those who underwent natural, homeopathic treatment. I was determined to understand. I watched health videos and compared chemo to natural treatment.”
What was the treatment that you decided was best for you? And what gave you the confidence to trust this way? What did your family and friends make of your decision at the time?
“After listening to what my body, mind and heart was telling me; I decided to go for the natural, homeopathic treatment. I learned and believed that our bodies were “naturally engineered” to fight disease and as long as you are treating it right and feeding it the right nutrition— clean, natural, organic food that it was designed to consume— you will be able to boost your immune system and aid your body in regaining its health back.”
“The more I understood what caused the disease, the more I was confident in my decision to heal myself naturally, starting from the inside. Literally, from the mind (believing that cancer was not a death sentence, it was curable, and it was something I was to live with for a long time), to the soul (I worked on inner peace, surrendered my ordeal and challenge to God) and to the body, determined to detoxify and to learn how to use food as medicine.”
“Of course, my decision was met with frowns and worry by my family (except my mom who was behind me 200% of the way, she is my biggest cheerleader, nurse, cook, everything) because nobody in my family was familiar with holistic type of healing. I had to take a big leap of faith and just pushed forward with my decision because time was ticking, the cells could be multiplying.”
5. What are some of the major changes that you made to your diet and routine?
“I followed everything my doctor said. To detox means to rid the body of toxins that cancer cells would feed on: SUGAR and ACID, to put simply. I switched to a raw, organic diet (80% raw, 20% cooked) and had to juice specific veggies and fruits everyday. I gave up meat, fish, dairy, sugar, coffee, bread/gluten, and everything preserved, canned, bottled, and frozen. I strictly ate only what was beneficial for me and avoiding what was “poisonous”. I had to eat mindfully, knowing the function of each food I was eating. Since clean, organic food was hard to come by, we had to prepare meals at home and I had to bring it everywhere in a freezer bag in case I got hungry.”
“I had to sleep early, specifically from 9pm to 3am. The body apparently works its magic at night, replenishing and recharging organs, cells, blood, everything. If you keep busy by working, exercising, eating, watching TV or listening to music, your body’s energy is spent on keeping you awake instead of breaking down toxins or managing blood sugar levels.”
6. What other lifestyle changes did you make?
Did you pray or meditate? If so what types of prayer and meditation would you do?
“I did healing meditation in the mornings soon as I woke up. I prayed and reflected on my situation a lot. Being Roman Catholic, I prayed the rosary constantly to keep me focused on what I wanted to achieve. The rosary is a form of meditation for me. The words “Be it done to me according to Thy word”, uttered by Mary, awes and humbles me as it teaches one to trust completely in His plans. I never questioned or felt angry at what happened to me, and I believed that in prayer and faith that I could be healed and continue living.”
Did you find a way to reduce stress? What did you do?
“I worked from home during the first few months, doing yoga 3 x a week and “hilot” massage. (Post operation) I wasn’t allowed to do anything strenuous for 12 months but I travelled a bit. I went to Bali with my friends to watch a surf competition and meet our surf idols; I went to Paris to see a design fair and to visit museums and parks. I went to the beach a lot, swam in the ocean, did stand-up paddle and just hung out with friends. I was grateful for the life I still had. As my doctor advised, I was finding my balance again, because my body was thrown in disharmony after years of stress and toxicity.”
7. What were the results 6 months later, 1 year later and 2 years later?
“The results have never been better, beyond my initial expectations. My cancer immediately fell into remission after the first 3 months, dropping to almost-zero levels.”
Although Nina chose the natural way of healing, it is important to note that she still continued getting CA (cancer antigen) 125 tests every 3 months to monitor her results. A score would be between 0-35 is the healthy range.
“Pre-surgery I rated 795+++ which was indicative of a strong chance of Stage 2 Ovarian CA. After the surgery, I rated 33+ which was within 35 range but still high. After 3 months of detox, I scored around 5. After some more months of detox I scored a 3. It’s been playing around a score of 3 to 6 for the past 3.5 years. I only hit 6 once, (and that was the time I was sleeping late again) and it scared me, so I went back to a stricter diet and was able to bring it down to 4 again. So I’d like to believe just eating and sleeping right actually regulates my health test performance. I take it every 3 months and the last time I took it was June 2016.”
“I’m now on my 42nd month (3.5 years) after diagnosis, and I’ve never felt better. I get checked regularly and my good health remains. I have never even had a fever or a bad cold since then. I surf regularly and work out 2x a week. I still eat mindfully and as organically as possible. I now know when to say no (like working on weekends, staying up late at the office, being around negative people), and when to rest when I think my body needs rest. We never know what our future holds, but we can try to make the present meaningful. If you throw out good energy from within, you’ll get that back too.”
What would you say to anyone who is going through something similar?
“Choosing to take the natural, holistic treatment is no easy path. My body suffered shock and sleepless nights the first few weeks due to the drastic change in lifestyle and the deprivation of all I was used to consuming. I would be anxious sometimes because there would be no conventional ways to measure how I was doing. But in time, you will learn that going back to how nature intended your bodies to eat and recuperate is the only way to go. The modern world has diminished our faith in our bodies’ internal capabilities to heal, but fortunately more and more people are getting to see the logic in doing otherwise.”
“If you are diagnosed with something, one way to remove fear is to accept and understand your predicament. Information is readily available for you to know your treatment options. Just remember that while you are treating your physical body, do not neglect nurturing your mind and spirit as well.”
“Simply put, in my case I just really believed I would get better. I treated it as sort of a science problem: this is the problem, what’s the objective, what was the solution, what was the desired result?”