MENTOR ON THE LAKE, OH (WOIO) - While no one knows when there will be a true cure for cancer, some believe a whole different way of eating could save lives.
Alice Saturri, 47, of Mentor-on-the-Lake, was given a couple of years to live. She believes her only hope is what's called the "macrobiotic diet." On it for only a few months, she goes from a doctor telling her she's dying to medical tests saying, "not so fast."
It means spending a lot more time in the kitchen, cooking her heart out. Butternut squash is a staple as she cuts it down for a couple of dishes she's making, she's all smile as she says, "I believe I'm going to be cancer free. It's my hope."
That new hope came to her shortly after her diagnosis of Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer last spring, told she was terminal, "that really made me sad," she says, "I mean I want to be around for my grandkids and my daughter's wedding."
It's something the mom and wife, dear friend to so many never saw coming. It would hit her even after always getting her mammograms, after losing nearly 90 pounds on a health kick, and becoming an avid runner. For all the research that's being done, all her work advocating
for others to be proactive and get their mammograms, all her work with the Race for the Cure, she couldn't believe what she was facing. She explains the heartbreak, "There was no surgery that could take it away, no chemotherapy, no medicine that could take it away."
She started her research after one doctor mentioned this "macrobiotic diet" others swear saved their lives. She describes it as vegan on steroids -- overwhelmed at first by how different it is as she takes out her wakeme seaweed and burdock root.
"After a while your taste buds must change," she laughs, "And the veggies just taste so fresh and wonderful." It includes only certain vegetables, and beans and grains cooked only certain ways. It's what's said to make the body more alkaline, where cancer can't live.
The true test though comes with her latest CT scans.
"I'm so excited about that," she beams.
The scans show after just a few months sticking to the diet show a decrease in the size of the tumors. It's actually a significant change.
A University Hospitals nutritionist is quick to say, "We normally don't recommend it."
Kim Ortega specializes in caring for cancer patients. In her many years at it, she says she's heard people praise the diet a lot. She has compassion and a great understanding for their hope but says she worries it's too restrictive, too extreme. She goes on to say, "it can get patients into trouble in regards to malnutrition and certain deficiencies in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals."
For patients who plan on going that way Ortega insists they do some compromising with it. She says there have no scientific studies even done on this diet. With that, there's no official findings on what it can or cannot do it. But she does admit the testimonials are quite compelling.
Alice is certainly aware of the skepticism, "There's naysayers who say it doesn't work, I know there are. It is working for me in my head. In my positive thinking, it's working for me and that's all the matters."
With that mindset and her recent medical tests, she can honestly say her days of dark are giving way to days of hope getting ready for her daughter's June wedding that she was so worried she wouldn't see.
"I'm so happy I'll get to be there," she fights back tears, "I feel great. I couldn't imagine her having that day without me."
We met Alice in the fall as she was gearing up for another Race for the Cure and plan to keep on following her story hopefully for many years to come.
For more information: Macrobiotic counselor, Janet Vitt welcomes your call 330-467-6739 or check out: clevelandmacrobiotics.com.
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