Saturday, June 11, 2011

21 Months And Counting

I have just completed 21 months in therapy and today marks my first day of the 22nd month. There are still a lot of challenges ahead and the road to recovery is long and winding. I have narrowed down my current problems and it seems to point to iron deficiency and Sabah Snake Grass (SSG) reactions.

So for a start, I have stopped taking SSG for a week to see what symptoms would disappear beginning yesterday. It did not make me sleep better. My body feels very warm like as if you have sun bathed for a few hours when night comes. I have taken cold showers in the middle of the night to reduce body temperature but it only helped for 15 minutes or so. But as soon as I stopped taking SSG, the body warmness also started to drop to normal levels. Another improvement I found is that my restless legs is now not so restless.

I had to try to improve my insomnia problem because I have not been sleeping since Thursday. It was more than 36 hours as of last night and despite taking things easy, listening to soothing music, I was still not able to sleep last night. I was feeling so tired and exhausted yesterday.

So far, this past month has been the most difficult period of my therapy for the past 21 months. I was trying too hard to understand why. My mind is weak which is why I am unable to jump past this stage. I am going to get some professional help.

Iron Deficiency
I think my iron deficiency is becoming worst. Two forms of dietary iron are available- haem iron and non-haem iron. Haem iron is effectively animal haemoglobin and is found abundantly in meat and animal products, especially kidney and liver, and is very well absorbed by the body. Non-haem iron is the mineral form of iron and is found in plants. Non-haem iron is poorly absorbed. This could explain my current problems as I found that many of them fit the symptoms of iron deficiency. I have all the symptoms listed below.

Symptoms of Iron deficiency
- Anaemia
- Tiredness
- Pale skin
- Sleep problems
- "Restless legs"
- Breathlessness
- Poor body temperature regulation

Iron is vital to life. Every cell in the human body contains iron. Oxygenation of tissues and cells is accomplished by iron contained in red blood cells which carry oxygenated blood throughout the body and pick up carbon dioxide to be excreted. The human body uses iron to enhance immune system functioning, produce energy and increase oxygen distribution throughout the organ systems. Iron in the body is very unlike other minerals. Unless a person bleeds, iron stays in the system and is reused. Because I have kidney cancer, a small amount of blood is lost everyday in my urine.

The experts recommend using a plant-based mineral source, such as liquid trace minerals that come from a plant source. In order to avoid anemia, vegans need to take daily care to find edible sources of iron, Vitamin C, and copper. Vitamin C can increase the iron absorption from foods by two times. An adequate copper level in the blood is critical to the transport of iron throughout the body. Plant based food options for increasing daily iron intake include string beans, turnip and mustard greens, shiitake mushrooms, romaine lettuce, tofu and blackstrap molasses. Not quite as high in iron but still beneficial are asparagus, broccoli, chick leas, leeks, lentils, brussel sprouts and sea vegetables such as kelp. It's best to eat raw.

According to a clinical nutritionist, calcium from food and supplements can interfere with "heme" iron which is the form of iron we get from animal products (meat, poultry, fish). Other foods that interfere with iron absorption in general include green tea; coffee; red wine; phytate (associated with dietary fiber from plant based foods, also found in supplements); soy protein and to some degree eggs. Some foods can enhance iron absorption including meat, poultry and fish; some soy containing foods (seems contradictory!) and to some degree vitamin C. If the body can't seem to stores up, then pay especially close attention to the foods that may inhibit or enhance iron absorption. But for me, I will need to take plant-based iron supplements now as that is the fastest way to improve my iron deficiency. For maintenance, I will then follow the plant-based food option.


  1. Hi CT,
    About the body heat. Just want to ask when you had had your last fever. Ive read somewher that fever can actually help your body heal. I also had my first accupuncture 2 weeks ago, due to frozen shoulder. I told the accupuncturist that I was diagnosed with fatty liver. He put 1 needle in each of the inside of my arms (the part that bends in), after 30 minutes, I felt some heat on the part of my abdomen where the liver is... it took about an hour. It was quite a pleasant heat. I have never had a fever in the last 3 years, and my basal temperature is always low. So, I welcomed that heatiness for a while. Now the pain in my right abdomen is gone (doctor said it could be a liver/gall bladder issue)-- but its gone now-- I hope for good.. what am trying to say is.. the elevated temperature is probably part of your healing. Have you consulted with a Gerson practitioner on some of this healing reactions? you are close to the end of the 2.5 year Gerson protocol.. keep at it. Sabah Snake Grass could be doing you good too..

  2. Dear Nanay,

    I have my fever more than 1+ year ago. Although the Gerson therapy does cause the body to be a little warmer than normal, this is definitely not fever. Literally, if you take a piece of ice cube and place on the skin, you can see it melting away. When I take a cold shower, I can feel the water turning warm!

    The SSG reactions are not well documented and so far most of the reactions have been adverse to me. SSG is a cooling herb and it caused me to cough non stop and spit out lots of whitish phlegm throughout the day, becoming more active during the nights. To balance it out I drink ginger tea which is warm. Despite SSG being cooling, the body "burns" at nights! I can take Indian snake grass (very cooling herb) to counteract the warmness but then I would be coughing non-stop. What I am trying to say is that at the moment, my body is out of balance and it's not easy to re-balance it from TCM point of view.

    What has been keeping me alive till now is that whatever I take, it must do me no harm, even with Gerson therapy as your will discover later. While SSG may have been good for me, but if I cannot manage the reactions, then it's also doing me harm. Not able to sleep is very damaging for me because not only my body is unable to repair itself during the night, I feel very tired and exhausted during the daytime. As you know, I am doing Gerson therapy on my own, I have lots of things to do during the daytime, buying vegetables, juicing, coffee enema, cooking, etc.

    I am checking with my TCM teachers to see if there is a way to manage the warmness before deciding the next course of action.