The Letter

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I wrote this blog last September.
It took time for me to be ready to share.
Now I am ready to post.
You will know why it took time for me to be ready after you read.

 

Before I announced that I was diagnosed with Primary Liver Non-Hodgkin of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) I was concerned what other people would think of me.

When I was really sick from ovarian cancer 25 years ago and started macrobiotic and holistic approaches and nobody really wanted to talk to me about how I was trying to get better.

At that time macrobiotics and holistic healing were not so well known to most people, so my decision to not to have chemotherapy and follow only the holistic way was frightening to many people around me.

But after a year or so when I started to heal myself and look healthier, people started to ask me how I did it. I did not realize how much I was able to help other people with my story and I learned a lot about sharing it too. I did not plan to be a macrobiotic counselor, cooking teacher or educator, but it just came to me as I shared my story. Of course, I decided to go to school to learn more macrobiotic, natural healing and alternative medicine and went on to receive certificates and to practice everyday and it became my life.
Through practicing macrobiotics and living a natural life, it became my career naturally.

My first cooking class was at Erewhon natural foods market in 1995.
I was so happy to share what I had learned through ovarian cancer through my first teacher Cecile Levin and then Michio and Aveline Kushi. I realized that being a macrobiotic teacher required knowledge and commitment, and more importantly teaching by example. I continued to share my story and macrobiotic life with my husband and furry family.

I realized that there was a reputation connected to being a macrobiotic teacher.
I felt that reputation matched my good health and happy lifestyle with my family (Eric, dogs, and cats).

I received a letter from a macrobiotic acquaintance who has been active in the community for a long time. It was painful to read her judgments and misunderstandings about my condition.
She questioned my relationship with macrobiotics and clearly hadn’t read the details on my blog.

I understand her position; whenever a macrobiotic teacher experiences illness, it can send a wave of fear through the community.
It is human to experience that fear (of death, or of one’s own potential suffering), but it’s equally human to not want to feel it, so we throw it back on the person who is sick.
Judgment and projections fly.
Of course, most people don’t respond like this, and I have been met with an extraordinary amount of compassion on this recent journey, but being faced with judgment and a questioning my practice was one of my biggest fears when revealing my condition to the healing community.

For the record, I have never veered from my macrobiotic practice.
If I had, ovarian cancer would not have stayed in remission for 24 years.
I am not strict like I had to be to recover the first time, but I also don’t “play” widely. Eric and I cook almost every single one of the meals that we eat.
We even cook for our dogs!

So it’s not about macrobiotics or forgetting to practice the principles
It’s about life.

I contracted Hepatitis C sixteen years ago from a blood transfusion I needed in order to survive a catastrophic car accident.
I was powerless over that–I received the transfusion while I was in a coma.
We can’t control everything.
Hepatitis C can flip into large B-cell lymphoma in the liver.
The lymphoma in the liver was growing so fast, and the diet and other holistic approaches were not saving my life fast enough.
Receiving the diagnosis to live only weeks.
Stuff happens.

I am grateful to be alive, even to receive difficult letters.
And the lovely food I have the privilege of eating—the whole grains, the vegetables, the beans—give me the energy to send love to my macrobiotic acquaintance.
I wish her well.

The person who wrote me might have disapproved and been disappointed that I did not just do macrobiotics.
But I am living for me, not for this person.
I also know a quite few macrobiotic people and teachers who actually lost their lives because they did not seek and/or believe in western medicine.

As I wrote on my blog “My First Chemotherapy

I had a conversation with the chemo medicine “I know you can help me, but I am feeling very heavy and dark right now since I do not know you yet. Please help me to heal, but do not destroy my good cells. I know you can do it.”

I learned to believe chemo medicine is there to help me and I wanted to make sure the chemo medicine could hear me so I had to communicate with it.

I know chemotherapy could destroy my healthy tissue and organs, but I am a macrobiotic person so I will not let chemo destroy me and if my healthy tissue and organs get weak or damaged in order for cancer to leave my body I will heal my tissue and organs and overcome it no matter what!

I was upset first when I read this person’s letter, but you know what…
it actually has helped me to thrive and motivated me to move forward to prove that the macrobiotics I have been practicing will work for me and will help many many more people in the future in the way that’s best, and everybody’s best is different.

I have been judgmental too, in the past, but I am learning to let go of it.
By going through the chemo, and all the feelings it kicks up, and having to be dependent on the kindness of others, my judgment has lessened and my compassion has grown. And so has my gratitude.

I am ready to go to the third cycle of chemotherapy to save my life.

Thank you,

Love,
Sanae 💖

 

P.S. After this letter, I found out some of my students don’t want to talk to me because I took chemotherapy to heal myself.
I was sad…

I have been teaching macrobiotics and holistic modality since 1995 and offering my macrobiotic nutrition counseling, but I never told anyone to not get conventional treatments, including chemotherapy.
Macrobiotics and holistic approach work usually for chronic conditions, not for acute conditions, and I believe meeting in the middle to use both benefits, if necessary.

What did I do?
I have learned when I started to live in the U.S. “What other people think of me is none of my business” so I Prayed for them.

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1 comment

  1. 1

    my husband received chemo and radiation when he was 60yo for non hodgkins lymphoma. Probably from having sprayed termite repellent on a property we owned. He lived to be 93yo with no problems. He was not on a macrobiotic diet so it doesn’t relate to that but just wanted to say that using the tools of modern medicine is sometimes necessary.

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