Even today, people with HIV/AIDS suffer from social stigma, but there is also a self-stigma that comes from within. These two are intertwined, but self-stigma is more difficult to recognize and to deal with. In fighting self-stigma, and now a major health problem, the strategies that helped me were the Hippocrates Health Institute and the encouraging support of an interactive self-help program. These have been the major factors in empowering me to become open and take responsibility for healing myself. This is where Hippocrates Health Institute entered into and saved my life.
More than twenty years ago, I had a choice to do what my doctor suggested, which was to take AZT or seek out alternative treatments. Since all of my friends were dying taking AZT, which was the only conventional treatment available at the time, it only made sense to me to go the alternative route. I went to a nutritionist and she recommended Hippocrates Health Institute. There is no question in my mind that this was the right choice.
When I entered Hippocrates, I had no energy and was suffering from shingles on my back. I could barely walk up the small set of stairs, but as I took the first step into the Institute, I knew I was in the right place. After the first week, I was already gaining strength and the shingles were fading away. Between the raw live food and group support, my body quickly turned onto the path of healing.
I took the Hippocrates program home with me and it became my new lifestyle. I built my own greenhouse and grew my own sprouts and wheatgrass. I had all kinds of energy and was back working eight hour days. I did this for 10 years and was healthy as a bull. Then I made the mistake of falling off the wagon. I guess I became fearful and started to listen to my doctor.
This is where things started to go down hill for me. My doctor told me there were new conventional treatments with few side effects. It would slow down the virus and the virus would be undetectable in the blood. I bought it! Well, he was right, the virus did go undetectable, but what else was going on with these drugs in my body? Everything that I had learned at Hippocrates I had put on the back burner. I began to eat whatever I wanted again and got into the recreational drug scene (very bad choice). I was now heading down the path of my old lifestyle.
The health that I was enjoying when I was on the Hippocrates program was now being compromised. My body weight was dropping and I noticed a lump on my neck. I was told by my doctor that I now have Hodgkin’s disease. Yes, the “Big C” word, cancer! Once again, I am faced with disease, but this time with not one disease, but two: HIV and cancer. I was already in the stage of cancer where chemotherapy was my only choice, so I thought. Once again fear won over! I had to make a quick decision and I went with the chemotherapy.
After five months of chemotherapy, there was hardly any flesh left on my six foot frame. I went from 195 lbs. down to 125 lbs. in three months. I had four treatments of chemotherapy to go and not an ounce of energy left. I told my doctors no more. I was told that the cancer might come back if I did not go through with all of the treatments. I told my doctor I would take that chance. I moved back to my home in the Adirondack Mountains and began bringing back into my life what I had learned at Hippocrates.
My cancer has now been in remission for three years, and I am healthy as a bull once again! Thanks to all my experiences and the knowledge learned from the Hippocrates Health Institute. I am back at the gym five days a week and back to 195 lbs. of lean muscle!
I had to become a survivor. I had to be in charge. There is one very important thing I can share – take responsibility for your own health and healing. Listen to what your body is telling you. No one else can do that for you. There are so many pieces to the puzzle in healing yourself and one of the big pieces of the puzzle is Hippocrates Health Institute. I am so grateful to have that piece back in my life again.
Vol 28 Issue 1 page 30