Making Peace With My Dad’s Choice Not to Do the Gerson Therapy

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LizandDad

For almost a decade, I’ve followed a plant-based vegan diet. Throughout my early twenties I encouraged friends and family to change their diets, and many did, after seeing improvements I’d made to my own physical health and positive state of mind.

When I was 24, I volunteered at The Gerson Institute. I knew immediately that it was the place for me. Finally, I was surrounded with people with like minds who didn’t look at me sideways when I expressed my love for veggie juice! It was invigorating to meet people who had healed their health conditions using the Gerson Therapy, and I found comfort in the knowledge that there was an alternative to traditional cancer treatments. When a position opened up to work for the Gerson Institute, I jumped at the chance. It’s hard to believe that five years have come and gone.

So, when my dad was diagnosed with chronic leukemia, I immediately thought of the Gerson Therapy. Even though the type of cancer he has progresses slowly and has a high long-term survival rate with conventional treatment, I felt strongly that the Gerson Therapy would give him the best long-term chance of survival.

He didn’t feel the same way.

I felt strongly that the Gerson Therapy would give him the best long-term chance of survival… He didn’t feel the same way.”But I had connected with so many recovered patients and other Gerson Persons. I had seen how using the Gerson Therapy could transform someone’s health and entire lifestyle. Why was he fighting me on this when obviously – to me – it was the best choice?

So, I began a campaign to convince him to do the Gerson Therapy, and I pushed the subject incessantly, despite his lack of interest. I brought over books and DVDs. I tried to subtly insert discussions of the benefits of juicing, rest, detoxification and supplementation. I read segments of Charlotte Gerson’s book to him, and told him about the Gerson diet and coffee enemas–both of which horrified him.

I invited him over to my house to watch movies. I bought Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, thinking that since this documentary had a humorous touch it would be a good way to get him thinking about the incredible benefits of healthy eating. My dad showed up with a VHS copy of Transformers. It wasn’t an easy night.

As time went on, he grew increasingly resistant. One day when he came over for lunch, I made him a carrot-apple juice and stood over him like a guard while he drank it. He hated it. I felt so helpless, I wanted to cry. My sister, who was with us that day, looked at me like I was crazy. “Why are you forcing this? Let him make his own decision – it’s his life!”

But I couldn’t accept it. I wanted him to have a life, a long life. I wanted him to be happy and healthy – and I was so sure that the Gerson Therapy could do that for him. As I kept pushing, our relationship went from being fun and silly – always joking about something – to tense and frustrating. We weren’t listening to each other, no matter how loudly we spoke.

Only when we sat down and talked about it – REALLY talked about it – did I realize what I was asking.

He had developed what he felt was a friendship with his doctor and trusted him. He was going to do what his doctor said, period. The medication he was taking was mostly covered by his insurance and working with bearable side effects.

He felt he was making the best choice he could for his financial situation and lifestyle. Best of all, he didn’t have to do any additional work besides take pills, and he didn’t have to give up any of the foods or vices that gave him comfort.

When you try to convince someone to do something they don’t want to do – no matter what it is – it’s an uphill battle that often results in resentment for both parties.”He put it simply: the Gerson Therapy wasn’t for him, he made his decision, and for the sake of our relationship I needed to let it go.

So I did. I stopped mentioning it altogether unless he asked, and when he did I tried to keep it light. Now, during visits or family functions my sisters and I make vegan recipes and encourage him try new things. He eats whatever we make, while joking about leaving to get some “real food” at the Burger King down the street. And we are all able to laugh together about it, because what else can you do?

This experience taught me that you can’t force someone to do the Gerson Therapy if they don’t want to.

It’s a full time job in its own right. The Gerson Therapy is labor intensive and requires a great deal of commitment, discipline and dedication. Frankly, if someone is showing a strong resistance to it, it’s unlikely that they’ll want stay on it for the full 2-3 years.

When you try to convince someone to do something they don’t want to do – no matter what it is – it’s an uphill battle that often results in resentment for both parties.

When I let go of the control and accepted that he was going to pursue conventional medicine for the rest of his life, our relationship improved greatly. It stopped being a drag to hang out with each other, and we stopped arguing. At this point, things are more or less back to the way they once were, except we have more conversational topics that are off-limits.

While I have some regret that I spent so long being angry and fighting him, it came along with a new awareness and understanding of where to focus my energy.

While I still believe that it is vital to spread awareness of alternative treatments for cancer and other conditions, I see now that the Gerson Therapy isn’t for everyone. Whatever treatment someone decides for themselves is a very personal choice.

I can’t decide for my father what treatment to pursue, but I can choose to support my father even if his decisions are not ones I would make for myself. More than ever my resolve is strengthened to put my energy where it will do the most good, by helping those who are interested in alternative treatment and who contact the Gerson Institute in search of information and guidance to help themselves and those they love.

OnShoulders
This year for Father’s Day I will honor my dad by letting him be himself. I will take him to see an action movie, and afterward we will go for a walk. After he counts down his top 5 favorite scenes from the movie, I will express my gratitude for everything he has taught me and continues to teach me, whether or not he means to.

I love my Dad. The battle is over, and we’ve declared a truce… but I’m still inviting him to the premier of The Food Cure in November!


LizAbout the Author:
Liz Cook is the Gerson Institute’s Development Associate and also works as a Special Events Chef at the Charlotte Gerson Health Restoration Center. She joined the Institute in 2009 after several years of working at a local health food store and as a chef-for-hire.

When she’s not assisting in fundraising or cooking at the Restoration Center, Liz can be found hosting vegan dinners, crocheting hats and at the farmer’s market buying produce for her juicer.


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  • Danielle

    Great article! It is very hard to see someone you love making choices that you know aren’t good for them, but accepting that is part of loving them. As the only vegan in my family/friend circle, I can assure you you’re definitely not alone!

  • queeniewilson

    Thanks for sharing your story. I think a lot of people who believe in the Gerson Therapy can relate.

  • zalewskimm

    Nice story. The big problem is that people will go with the conventional route simply because it’s covered by insurance. And that’s never a good reason to not do the Gerson method.

  • Kelly

    I know The Gerson Therapy would help my 80 year old mother who has Alzheimers. It’s heart-breaking that she is unable to make the connection between brain health and her lifestyle.

  • Elaine Bartlett

    I feel that it is due to the different generation – my parents think their GP is all knowing and do not do anything health-wise without consultation. I used herbs and the natural way – partially Gerson, partially herbal – to cleanse and cure my horribly sick body 15 years ago.
    I’m now a qualified Kinesiologist and Reiki Master, my kids (now 23 and 21) have been brought up using naturopathic methods and they haven’t needed to visit our GP most of their lives. My parents knew I ‘did something with herbs’ but they were never particularly interested. My Mum was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago and although I tried to persuade her to use herbs and nutrition to reduce and delay her symptoms, it all fell on deaf ears.
    She is still alive but has spent the last 5 in a nursing home: completely content, with advanced dementia caused by the Parkinsons’ – or whatever bacteria/parasite/fungus causes Parkinson’s. With the long recovery time required for natural methods, in hindsight I don’t think she would have been dedicated enough to follow it through.

    In my therapy practice, I found that many people expect the totality of their input to be taking a pill for their dis-ease. Many are not ready to take responsibility for their own body, to follow a healing path, come for more than a couple of treatments,take vitamins, or make changes in their lives to build long term health. All you can do is offer knowledge – eventually those looking for an alternative way to heal will begin to hear the same information over and over.

  • Priscilla

    I salute you Liz, you showed a maturity beyond your years in making what must have been such a hard decision. You recognised and honored the fact that your Dad has the right to make choices about his own life. You gave him the information, but it was his choice as to whether he acted on it or not.

  • Priscilla

    I salute you Liz, you showed a maturity beyond your years in making what must have been such a hard decision. You recognised and honored the fact that your Dad has the right to make choices about his own life. You gave him the information, but it was his choice as to whether he acted on it or not.

  • disqus_GNWKxkqUqs

    I like the article.

    The Gerson Therapy is pretty expensive for most already, its around 2 to 5000 a week ? I hope I’m wrong but I remember reading that somewhere, on top of that, insurance doesn’t cover that at all, so if you’re living paycheck to paycheck….you can’t afford it.

    It wouldn’t hurt to do a drawing of 1 or so people a year, because I’m sure there are a lot that would but just can not afford it.

    I read someone’s response about Alzheimers, Gerson Therapy can reverse this ?

  • Michele

    Liz, this is such a heartwarming story. I would be really upset if my Dad had cancer and I knew the best cure for it ( Gerson ) and he chose not to go that route. I salute you for all you must have gone through and your patience and kindness to let go and let him go on his own path.

  • Kristy

    a big heart felt THANK YOU, My husband has prostate cancer and chooses to live with it….no surgery, no radiation , no hormones ,no seeds… nothing……not even changing any food, I have bought cook books, movies , detoxes, cleanses , supplements , you name it I’ve tried it….and yes I am worn out from trying……I must let go and let him live his life……sosooo very hard. We are still young 55 and 53. Like you my friend I must relax and let him live his life. I will be praying for you and you dad.

  • Ken Patterson

    A wonderful story but it is very true that you can’t force feed your beliefs or passions on to someone else so that they can improve or reverse their health status. Even though new documentaries and information are filtering out to people on a daily basis, the mass media is not bringing out these headlines and unfortunately laws have been established to subdue the truth.
    Everyday we have achieve giant steps on ways for individuals, schools, and communities to come together and bring about better way to live for themselves and their kids though organic gardening. Getting the hands dirty, seeing plants grow, acquiring experience and then sharing with others that plants without the use of toxic pesticides can make delicious meals and improve your health. Awareness is growing but it takes time. How animals and crops are grown today is dramatically different than 30-40 years ago but then again, so is today’s lifestyle.
    Your family doctor has limitations on the true and best approach for living a energetic and natural life due to being trained and sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies and very limited education in nutrition. Today, you have the ability and options to take charge and be responsible for your own life, a direction for a better way to live. You have to do the leg work, doing research, to have a better understanding of yourself, your finances, what you consume, your health.
    It takes time before everyone wants to jump aboard to seeing the truth. People have been conditioned to believe that what was taught and true years ago is the same today. Passion for something that truly the right way instead of the easiest and quickest way reaps so many benefits for so many in the future. Continue on sharing your passion and love with others – the war is not lost – everyday we win so many new battles.

  • Ken Patterson

    A wonderful story but it is very true that you can’t force feed your beliefs or passions on to someone else so that they can improve or reverse their health status. Even though new documentaries and information are filtering out to people on a daily basis, the mass media is not bringing out these headlines and unfortunately laws have been established to subdue the truth.
    Everyday we have achieve giant steps on ways for individuals, schools, and communities to come together and bring about better way to live for themselves and their kids though organic gardening. Getting the hands dirty, seeing plants grow, acquiring experience and then sharing with others that plants without the use of toxic pesticides can make delicious meals and improve your health. Awareness is growing but it takes time. How animals and crops are grown today is dramatically different than 30-40 years ago but then again, so is today’s lifestyle.
    Your family doctor has limitations on the true and best approach for living a energetic and natural life due to being trained and sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies and very limited education in nutrition. Today, you have the ability and options to take charge and be responsible for your own life, a direction for a better way to live. You have to do the leg work, doing research, to have a better understanding of yourself, your finances, what you consume, your health.
    It takes time before everyone wants to jump aboard to seeing the truth. People have been conditioned to believe that what was taught and true years ago is the same today. Passion for something that truly the right way instead of the easiest and quickest way reaps so many benefits for so many in the future. Continue on sharing your passion and love with others – the war is not lost – everyday we win so many new battles.

  • Elaine Barbara Kovacs

    This may be a slightly different perspective for Liz.

    In July 2002 I had a serious health crisis that paralyzed my left side from under my arms to my toes and partially up my right leg. There was other nervous system damage. This launched me into a quest to define what caused my problem and what to do about it. It was fortunate in the beginning that I knew so little otherwise I might have killed myself in trying to correct the problem that was beyond anything I could possibly have imagined then.

    Assuming that I would be healthy if all was clear in my body, I first tried to define my problem by testing for toxins. Then I learned Live and Dried Blood Analysis to monitor my progress. I did research with a couple hundred or so clients to verify my observations and properly interpret my results.

    In the beginning I did the Gerson Plan for people with heavy metal toxicity. I could not even implement the half protocol my heavy metals were so high. I was on the plan for 3 years.

    Then PCB started to come off and I switched to the L. Ron Hubbard Plan without the sauna because my body could not stand the heat. I was on that for 1 year although it is only normally done for 3 weeks.

    During all this I was trying to clear my organs of the course deposits so I was doing the Dr. Hulda Clark organ cleanses. I have done over 80 kidney and liver cleanses. My liver is only just beginning to show a reduction in the amount of asbestos sludge that is leaving.

    I discovered a method for clearing the blood of lead with a 2 day protocol. I have been doing that every 2 months for 7 years. My lead levels have gone from astronomical to very high, so after 11 years the heavy metals are finally showing a decrease in the blood.

    The above is only a small part of everything I have done. In addition to this I have tried many things that have not worked. This has all cost me over $400,000 and wrecked me financially. Although I am now in recovery and feel mostly reasonably comfortable, I am also over 70 years old. I originally thought I would accomplish my recovery much sooner so I could address my finances, but that may not happen. I am still left with my residual disability, though considerably improved nervous system.

    I think proper testing has to be done to determine where a client is on the chronic debility scale before launching them into a program that leaves no room for a life for many years to come. Having said that, I also have to say that this has been a learning experience like nothing I could have received anywhere else and will continue to contribute to my comfort as I age. One should be aware that doing a small amount can be most helpful too and not be discouraged at not being on the whole program. Often it is just safer.

    Our environment is now so polluted that there are few people one can actually consider healthy. I think it would be more progressive to encourage younger people to practice good health and maintenance and speak up against practices that are not in our favor like heavy metals, pesticides, PCB/PBB, fragrances, smoking, radiation etc.

  • MB Becky Weaver

    Thank u sooooo much for articulating so beautifully what I and so many are going through! I felt like I let my friend Kathy down because she reacted the same way your dad did! She was cancer free for 9 yrs, then got bone mets in dec 2013. I did convince her to watch the video – almost got her to let me juice for her. But no way was she going to do a coffee enema, much less 4 / day! (But it’s essential for detoxing!)

    Then our beautiful Kathy (who went downhill fast by April.) went to the hospital on April 29. Her blood ammonia levels were 94… Should be 3. She was nausiated and couldn’t keep even water down. The chemo may have destroyed her liver. By may 3, Kathy was gone! We were told her liver may have been involved but we just don’t know. and she was creamated. The cause of death apparently was unknown.

    I’m still horrified that her doctors let her down, but how do u say this after it’s all lost? I hate cancer so much. U have much wisdom to get it at age 24. I would like to volunteer to help someone who needs a helper.

    Best regards,

    Becky

  • ahchoooo

    We all must bear the consequences of our own action, so must your father too. Similiarly, we all “learn” from our mistakes, so does your father too. The important thing is to take responsibility for our own action, and not try to blame it on someone or something else. This is lesson that we all must learn. As long as your father is taking responsibility for his action, all is not lost. He will learn, someday.

  • Deborah Harris

    Huge hugs for you Kristy, so very very hard for you

  • jodine

    it is so hard when people put their trust solely on their doctor, and don’t take their health into their own hands. i have bought cancer dvds to give to people or share with them and am amazed at how many people won’t even take a look. so sad. hope your father comes around before it is too late. good food is cheaper than doctor visits. hope he knows his Maker and trusts Him! maybe you can get him to take baby steps.

  • K R

    Hi Liz. Really appreciated your story for you and your Dad. Respecting people and whatever path they choose for themselves is a lesson I’m pretty sure we each become challenged with.I know I have been. Acceptance was the answer, I’ve been told more than once in various ways. I know that was a tough time for you and your Pops. So glad you made the way clear again and found the way back to your good relationship with him. Kudos to you and your Dad—for the love being the “winner”. Karen Rodriguez

  • http://www.perfectiongalore.com Marina Yamamoto

    Oh Liz, that is so hard to go through! My dad just asked me to help him with his pre-diabetes, and even though he has good intentions toward the holistic approach and knows that the Gerson therapy is a good option, he still wants to take medication from the doc and is terrified of the coffee enema. If only I lived on the same island as him. I would love to encourage him and help make juices. -Marina

  • Giorfindei Golden

    I’ll be honest, I have experienced this seemingly confounded resistance when I mention I juice or the Gerson therapy to people as well. It’s more than that people are resistant to it but they are almost violently so. It’s just simple, pure organic energy and nutrients delivered to your body in the most expedited way, I mean, it gives your body am actually real fighting chance and people think you are crazy. lol – seems counter-intuitive to me, a pure organic diet can only help! If life for someone is only the food they can eat or not then that’s a pretty sad thing. At what point does killing your body amount to “living”.

  • DeniseMS

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is always important to remember that we must respect everyone’s right to decide for themselves what is best for them.

  • zalewskimm

    It’s great that you try. But at least you husband will live longer by refusing chemo and radiation. I too struggle with “unenlightened” relatives.

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