Monday, May 18, 2015

Interview with Kevin Benkowski—Prostate Cancer Survivor

When I attended the Integrated Health Conference—Cure to Cancer Summit this past March, I had the opportunity to meet many folks who dealt with their cancer using diet and alternative treatments. It's very encouraging to see many sought alternative treatments instead of the conventional procedures. They saw, usually first-hand, that conventional therapies often left the cancer patient weak and sick with a seriously compromised immune system—later face a recurrence of cancer and then die.

I met Kevin at lunch. We were both seeking the organic vegan lunch choice offered to conference attendees. Vegan tomato soup. Delicious!

Kevin came to the conference to learn what more he could do to continue enjoying his cancer-free life. Here is Kevin's story.

How did you learn you had cancer?
I began to experience urinary issues a few years ago and just considered it somewhat normal as I was over 50 and understood that the prostate enlarges in most men my age. Though my PSA numbers were in the normal range they were still on the high side, but about a year ago it creeped up to just above 4, which is the threshold for “normal.”

Upon my primary physician’s advice, I decided to see a urologist. When I did, an MRI was prescribed which showed a small dark spot on the anterior side of the prostate, but this was not definitive…and so I somewhat reluctantly agreed to a biopsy. The procedure confirmed that there was cancer present in 2 of the 14 biopsies. This was in September of 2014. 

What did you think and do following your diagnosis?
I wasn’t shocked, as my father and brother both had prostate cancer. But I was surprised that the urologist immediately advised me that my best option at that point was a radical prostatectomy—to be performed by him using his DaVinci four-armed robot. I left the office with my wife quite confused. My only option, according to this urologist, was to have a surgical procedure with a 30% risk of both incontinence and impotency, not to mention having a bag attached to my leg with a catheter inserted for 6 months so I could urinate. I wasn’t thrilled with those odds, even though my brother had the surgery done successfully ten years previously.

Did you follow any conventional doctor prescribed treatments, if so what were they?
The urologist did not prescribe any treatment, conventional or otherwise [except the surgery]. He only advised me that because my Gleason score was a 7 (3+4) out of 10, I really couldn’t wait too long as the cancer had progressed beyond the “watch and wait” stage. I had to decide within a matter of months. My decision was made about a week later, when it was decided that I would find natural treatments to boost my immune system and fight it on my own. I was certain I could do it.

What alternative treatments did you incorporate into your healing journey? Did you visit a particular alternative or integrated health clinic for treatment?
I knew of a few people in the alternative healing world who offered some advice, mostly suggestions on websites to look at…which I did for weeks on end (and still do)! A friend of my wife’s offered me his “Quest for the Cures” library in November of last year and I watched it beginning to end, fascinated by everything I didn’t know about cancer, the science and the business. What this video series made me realize was that there ARE cures out there for cancer…but big medicine simply doesn’t want you to know about them!

Are there books or websites you found particularly helpful that you can list for us?

These are just a few! There are also links on these sites to many others, including ones on social media.

Did your cancer heal? What do you attribute your healing to (diet, herbs, alternative therapies, attitude, exercise, sleep)?
Well, after making major discoveries on how to detox and boost my immune system through diet and supplements, I embarked on a massive shift in my attitude towards food, while taking bits and pieces of numerous therapies, treatments, and protocols that resonated with me. There are definitely some contradictory opinions out there. After a month of detoxing and 3 months of eating an organic diet (and eliminating meat, dairy, coffee, alcohol and sugar), I took a Red Drop blood test which indicated no detectable signs of cancer.

Looking back what would you do differently?
I would have declined the biopsy as I found out subsequently it is not a safe procedure, at least not in the case of the prostate.

Do you have thoughts on why you had cancer?
I’m quite certain it was due to high stress levels during the bad economic times several years ago, during which I divorced, filed for bankruptcy, and lost my home. My diet at the time was also less than ideal…I was taking pharmaceuticals and drinking alcohol and coffee daily. I was an emotional train wreck.

Are there things you continue to do? What are they?
Today I look at this ordeal as a blessing…and a wakeup call. I have a new attitude on food and life in general. It’s definitely helped me spiritually…I’ve learned to meditate and to be at peace with myself and those around me. I will continue to eat clean organic food (in the process I lost 35 lbs!), and I will also continue to take immunity building supplements, as I have truly never felt better than I do now, at 60.

What words of comfort or wisdom do you have for those facing a cancer diagnosis?
Listen, but be skeptical of what the doctors tell you. You would like to think they have your best interest in mind, but I have concluded otherwise. Doctors are trained, not educated. They know one way, and that is to treat the symptom, not the cause. They need our business. Assuming there was a cure that was endorsed by big medicine, and they couldn’t then treat (or manage) cancer, they’d be out of work! My advice is to look at cancer as an opportunity to grow, heal, and change your life for the better, all the time knowing that your body has all the tools it needs to heal, while mother earth provides us with all of the “medicine” we need!

Well said, Kevin.


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