Surviving Cancer 16 years later–everything new is well forgotten old


My husband is a sixteen-year cancer survivor. When he was diagnosed in 2001 there were no books, no seminars and very few options for Acinic cell cancer. The treatment proposed was very disfiguring with probable facial nerve damage; and the only two people the local surgeon had operated on were dead. Choosing a well known teaching hospital instead, we prepared for surgery number 2—to correct the misplaced surgical drain shooting saliva out of the back of his ear; and to remove the other half of the tumor we were told was left behind from surgery number 1.

I searched the Internet for several sleepless nights looking for answers and options. As a registered nurse I had never heard of alkalinity or pH balance—but it made perfectly logical sense to me. As is the blood, so is the body. No one in my family or circle of friends heard of it either. And my nurse friends seriously thought I had lost my mind. Didn’t I know that cancer always comes back if you don’t follow conventional treatment? Despite the critics and disbelief—I knew it was the answer.

The medical students asked if they could have the tumor from the surgery. My husband was happy to get rid of it so that they could study it. I told them they wouldn’t find any cancer. The surgeon laughed and said, “yeah she has him on some kind of green diet, LOL”. Indeed, for about two weeks prior to the surgery, we alkalized with green juices and supplements. After two hours of probing around his parotid gland, facial nerve, and brain—they found nothing. The surgeon actually got called before the tumor board to ask why he felt the need to operate on a man who clearly had no cancer. Told you! LOL Doc . . .

I knew the science at the cellular level made sense. If the science makes sense, I trust the science and my intuition—not the crowd, not the friends, not the doctors. In the years since then, so much more scientific evidence has come to light to support the natural methods that I personally live by, and that have worked for millennia. But still, many people live and die by the conventional methods of chemo, surgery, and radiation; trusting instead someone outside themselves.

My husband was followed for 10 years after that surgery because acinic cell cancer is slow growing and likes to reappear. In the beginning, he mentioned our alkaline lifestyle and all the positive changes that were occurring. Never once in the 16 years since, did anyone in the medical profession ask my husband what he did, or was doing to remain cancer free. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know how a now 58 year old remains healthy, takes no medications, and remains cancer free? He isn’t one to talk about those days; preferring to leave that diagnosis in the past. But I did! I told anyone with a pulse and went to naturopathy school at age 46 so that our experience could inspire and empower others.

Recently, while listening to an amazing program called Awakening from Alzheimer’s, (link below) I had another “Aha” moment. And I know, despite the doubters and the critics that this information is very empowering and could save your life. The research has been going on for many years with incredible results. While mainstream medicine focuses on genetics—the real exciting news involves metabolism of sugar.

PET Scans were experimental when my husband was diagnosed. Still—the fact that marrying a glucose molecule with a radioactive tracer to illuminate those areas where glucose is being taken up (cancer cells use more glucose for energy than normal ones)—told me that medical doctors knew that cancer must have excessive sugar for energy. Never once did any medical doctor tell us to eliminate sugar. Yet, they must have known that cancer cells must have sugar to rapidly build new cells and connections that become tumors. They could see it on a PET scan.

So it would make sense then, that if you remove or severely limit the availability of sugar in your body, then you are effectively taking your foot off the accelerator of cancer production. And then if you change out the fuel line to a ketone based energy system —which cancer cannot use as fuel, then cancer cells would die of starvation. Cancer cells do not have the flexibility to switch to ketones. And when you get your body in a state of ketosis, it also makes the cells more vulnerable to other therapies like immune therapy. Ketone research is very promising in the field of cancer, but keep in mind there are no long-term studies. And there are critics. In fact, when someone talked to me about ketones—the first thing I said was that I learned in nursing school about diabetics and ketoacidosis. And it wasn’t a good thing! But the research and the science make sense, and there are some amazing cancer survivor stories.  (See resources below)

Medical doctors and oncologists continue to ignore the effect of diet and lifestyle choices in the management of chronic disease. Epigenetic studies show that diet and lifestyle can promote longevity and healthy aging by switching genes on and off. You have to start with diet and lifestyle. If you switch off your cancer genes—then there is no need to cut off, burn off, or poison cancer because you effectively stop it by cutting off the fuel that drives its growth. And that gives you the control switch. And –it gives you the opportunity to shut that gene down for future generations! Imagine the possibilities.

It might be worth researching.



Acinic Cell Carcinoma (Dr. Dominic D’Agostino/ Dr. Angela Poff)



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Thomasina Copenhaver
Thomasina Copenhaver is a naturopathic doctor and registered nurse with over 30 years experience in the healthcare profession. Her passion is writing, researching, and empowering all humans with knowledge of healing at the cellular level; to enable them to make educated and informed choices regarding their health. For more information visit her website: or to buy her book, "Notes from a Naturopath" visit Amazon or Barnes and Noble.