Engaging in daily colon cleanses wouldn't have even dawned on Terry Ames in his pre-cancer days. It's not exactly a "typical guy" thing one would consider, he says. Nor was this whole business of daily juicing and super food smoothies, or yoga for that matter. Besides, life was too chaotic in the seasonal golf industry in which he worked at the time. Time-strapped and feeling stressed from the new software system that was resulting in disgruntled customers and staff, he was lucky to even find a moment to down a hot dog for lunch at 2 p.m. on most days. But if there's something he's learned from his radical remission it's that if one is to survive the odds of beating cancer it needs to be a "team approach" and one that raises the question, "What can I do to build up my body?"
"I really think the approach has to be a team approach, including your oncologist, the health food store, the live blood analyst, the yoga person, your family – every single person has a role to play in that journey because not one of these people has all the answers," Ames, a Greater Sudbury resident explains.
Ames' signs of cancer first appeared in November 2006
"Something wasn't right," Ames recalls. "I had a pain in my neck. I was feeling yucky and had low energy."
He had visited a physician at a local clinic and a chiropractor, who suggested an x-ray, which hadn't revealed anything at the time. In February 2007 he had developed a cough and underwent more x-rays, which again showed nothing. By May 2007 the cough was still lingering so, without a family doctor, he visited a clinic again and more x-rays were ordered. This time the x-ray revealed a mass on his chest, on top of his lungs. Ames, at the age of 34, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer that starts in the cells of the lymphatic system. The pain he was experiencing in his neck was as a result of swollen lymph nodes.Thus began his journey with chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and eventually radiation, none of which worked to eradicate the cancer, despite the fact there was a 75 per cent success rate with chemo, he says. By 2008 he was deemed incurable. The prognosis was six months, at best, to live. Go home and be with family; there was nothing they could do, he was told. "We knew what we were doing wasn't working so my team and I decided to start researching other options," Ames says. "I'm a big supporter of our cancer centre, but they are limited in what's available and what's approved here in Canada.
"My three kids were young and no one was allowing us to give up so we started researching alternative options."
By then he was already following some aspects of natural health solutions for the cancer, particularly since his wife's father had traveled to the Gerson Institute for his cancer years ago, so they had made use of the knowledge gained from that experience.
The Gerson Therapy, developed by Dr. Max Gerson, MD, is based on the premise that chronic diseases, and diseases like cancer, are caused by toxicity and nutritional deficiency. The belief is that foreign invaders of the body have existed since birth. This is where the strength of the immune system is paramount to prevention. It's not until the immune system is overburdened and breaks down that disease takes hold.
"I had notes and books from Gerson, and knew people who'd gone there with success." Ames says. "I wasn't juicing 12 times a day like Gerson's diet or doing several coffee enemas a day, but I did start juicing twice a day and coffee enemas once a day."
"I juiced with lots of carrots, beets, spinach, kale; my wife had experience with doing these therapies with her father. One of the reasons for coffee enemas is to stimulate your liver – it stimulates production of glutathione (a primary antioxidant that exists in every cell)." Coffee enemas help to clear the liver of toxins and cleanse the blood. "Especially if you're doing stuff like chemo you need to get the bad stuff out of your body so your body can cleanse," Ames stresses.
"As soon as we knew things were going bad we started to do things; even when we first began the journey, once diagnosed, we tried to add healthy stuff. We knew it wasn't just all that the oncologists were saying, so I started seeing a naturopath and doing vitamin C therapy. "It was brought to my attention that when doing the PET-CT scan it uses uptake of sugar to find cancer cells so it made sense to avoid sugar," Ames says.
His team would send e-mails that would read "Terry, you should be looking into this." He'd picked up copy of Bill Henderson's book Cancer Free – Your Guide to Gentle, Non-Toxic Healing and began following some of its protocols. He enrolled in a meditation class and started doing yoga. Reflecting back on the year 2006 he says "probably stress was the cause of my cancer." "I did a vegan diet for a year when I was at my worst," Ames says. "You need to give your immune system as much energy as you can so you can fight this cancer. Whatever you do you have to listen to your body. You need to be your own advocate. If something's not right you need to keep going until you find (other solutions)."
He and his wife traveled to Germany to a cancer clinic for treatment – a costly approach, which he says he now realizes most of the therapies offered at the clinic are actually available locally in Sudbury, Toronto and Newmarket. They did three trips to Germany and spent about 70 days there, and "it didn't work."
They ended up traveling to the Bahamas to a back-country clinic where a specific drug that was being manufactured in Canada, but only approved for use in other parts of the world, was being used. The drug was basically a dead bacteria that acts to trick the immune system to help recognize cancer cells, to trigger an immune response.
"The doctor in the Bahamas, a physician from McGill University, talked about the emotional side of the cancer and mentioned emotional freedom technique," Ames remembers. "His reason, he had said was "to figure out what's preventing the cancer from healing." The drug was proving effective. The tumor began to shrink, so they continued with the therapy. With the tumor substantially reduced, Ames returned home to continue his course of natural therapies - nutrition, supplements, juicing, colon cleanses, meditation, affirmations, yoga - all the elements needed to eliminate the cancer.
On July 20, 2011, a PET-CT scan revealed the cancer was gone.
The doctor had handed him a report with the words "Amazing" written on top, and said to him "There is nothing there. There is no active lymphoma."
His health journey did not end there. To this day he maintains healthy habits that are immune-boosting and life supporting, like daily green smoothies, juicing, tons of salad and greens each day, yoga and meditation, avoiding red meat and eating more legumes, no processed foods, occassional colonics and more.
"Something wasn't right that caused the cancer so I ask myself 'How do I keep my immune system strong to keep the cancer away?'" He went on to publish a book - Beating Cancer, My Survival Guide - which provides ideas, inspiration and hope, not just for those with cancer, but to prevent cancer. All proceeds of the book sales go towards the Terry Ames Care Fund, to provide financial support for families going through cancer.
HIPPOCRATES SOUPA Gerson Institute recipe featured in Ames' book.
- 4 stalks of celery
- 2 medium onions
- A bunch of fresh parsley
- Tons of garlic
- 2 leeks
- 1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes
- 1 pound of potatoes
- Add carrots if desired.
- Boil till tender. Do not add salt.