James Templeton And Ashley James
Cancer survivor (33+ years and counting!) James Templeton tells the story of how he beat the dreaded disease with macrobiotic diet and vitamin C. Part 1 of an inspiring and instructive 2-part interview replete with true health gems.
[00:00:03] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 348.
I am so excited for today’s guest. We have with us an amazing man. James Templeton has beaten the odds. Not only did he survive cancer; he beat it. He thrives, and he has gone on to dedicate his life to teaching people how they can live a cancer-free and healthy life using natural medicine and supporting the body’s ability to heal itself. He has a wonderful book coming out. I’m really excited. James, welcome to the show.
[00:00:45] James Templeton: Ashley, it’s such a pleasure to be with you today. It’s great to talk to you and share my story with you.
[00:00:52] Ashley James: Absolutely. I know all of our listeners want to hear how you were able to beat cancer. Not only that, in the mainstream terminology, you beat cancer when you don’t have it for five years, but if you get cancer again in six years, they still consider that a success. So you are a success time and time again because you have beat it for 30 years now. Is that correct?
[00:01:21] James Templeton: That’s correct. It’s been about 33 years and a little change. It’s been since 1985. It’s something that you deal with. It’s a little harder at the beginning, and then as you get older and things are going good, you can’t ever let up. You just keep one foot on the path all the time. You widen out, you do different things, and you learn along the way, but in my case, it’s been quite a journey. Now, I’m able to help others, so it’s very exciting to share my story, and I’m looking forward for people to read my book.
[00:02:06] Ashley James: Absolutely. You have statistics on your website, Iusedtohavecancer.com. One out of two people will get cancer in their lifetime. This is a statistic we’ve talked about on the show before. I believe it’s one in two men and one in three women, or is it one in three men and one in two women? I always get the two mixed up. Either way, that’s a shocking statistic. If there are two people in a room, one is likely to get cancer. That’s kind of ridiculous.
[00:02:34] James Templeton: It really is. I think it’s one out of two men and one out of three women, but it’s getting to be to where it’s almost one out of two of us, and we’re going to get cancer. I guess it depends on what stage it is when you find it, whether it’s an early stage or later stage. Sometimes we’re not as lucky to find it in the early stage, but it is a scary thing. I see people out there, and they’re walking around. They don’t seem like they’re too concerned the way they eat and the way they live. I guess you could say a lot of people are walking time bombs. It’s scary because we all know someone that’s had cancer or died of cancer.
It scares me all the time. Cancer is a scary word because it’s nothing more than a man-made word, dripping in fear. When someone says the word ‘cancer,’ something has been made up, and probably one of their biggest fears in life, whether they admit it or not, is the ‘cancer’ word or the cancer diagnosis. I think heart disease beats cancer out maybe just by a thread, but the thing is from age 0 to 65, cancer wins out. And then over 65, if you count everyone up over 65, then heart disease is in the lead. But we don’t worry about that as much until we drop over or we have problems, or we end up going to the doctor and getting bypass surgery or whatever.
I find it remarkable when I go out to eat, or I go somewhere, even on a flight somewhere, and if I’m lucky enough to be in first class, nobody in the first class section even cares about what’s in the food—90% of them anyway, probably 99%. They think that’s the way it is, and they don’t worry about things. Maybe that’s the best attitude, but in my case, I worry a little bit more.
[00:04:56] Ashley James: I bet. We definitely want to hear your story. I am interested, however, if you could dive in a little bit. Before we get into your story, if you could explain what you meant by ‘cancer’ is this man-made dripped in fear? My mom passed away from cancer, and my dad died of heart disease that was also brought on from obesity. I watched both my parents die in my twenties of things that now, having spent almost eight years dedicating my life to studying holistic medicine, I see they were preventable, reversible, and diseases of lifestyle.
But at that time, my mom was the healthiest person I knew, so for her to have a cancer diagnosis shocked me. And then there’s so much fear around it. I saw her wither away and die from the fear of it. And so I understand what you mean about the fear. Can you explain what you mean that it’s a manmade diagnosis? We can see the cancer on the scans, so why is it man-made?
[00:06:08] James Templeton: It’s man-made because it’s the persona of it. It’s people in a laboratory or researchers, and they have come up with this word. Everything has a word, whether it’s a bladder infection or cancer, and it’s basically put together. Instead of saying that your body is out of balance and you’ve got an extreme imbalance in your system in your body, and your immune system is not able todeal with it. They come up with the word that everyone puts death hanging around it, and then it becomes very fearful because there’s this fear that, “If I get cancer, I’ll probably die,” or “If I get cancer, I’ll have to do all of these and my life will be miserable, and if I do survive, it will be a miracle. I’m going down to the guy in the white jacket, the doctor, and do what the doctor says because I don’t know what else to do.” And that’s my biggest fear.
But I think it’s, the way I look at it, it’s really an imbalance. If they said your body has the extreme imbalance, and you can turn it around, you got out of balance, now you can get it back to balance, and these are the things you need to do. I don’t really feel that there’s a real cure to cancer. If there is, it’s not going to be a magic bullet because even if they did find a magic bullet, which would be an herb or some drug or something that you took and all of a sudden it turned off all the cancer cells to where they couldn’t spread any longer, couldn’t multiply. That would be great.
But then people would continue to get it constantly because of their lifestyle, because of what they eat, because they’re the toxicity levels, and because of their lowered immune system and all that goes along with it. That’s kind of what I meant by it. It’s just a word that’s created. Instead of saying, “My friend, you’re just out of balance, and we need to get you back to balance before it’s too late.” This is kind of a last warning here.
[00:08:45] Ashley James: That could be said about all the chronic illnesses out there. As you’re talking, I was thinking about everything else that is prevalent. Diabetes—I’m thinking type 2 diabetes—is 100% reversible. But if you go to an allopathic physician, they will put you on metformin, or they’ll give you insulin, and they won’t give you a way out. They’ll just say this is how it is for the rest of your life. They might give you American Diabetes Association approved diet that’s still has a fair share of carbohydrates and allows for foods that are not healing for the body and not nourishing. They look to maintain the diabetes and manage the blood sugar within the ranges that they say are healthy but for a diabetic, meaning for a healthy person, incredibly unhealthy. They say that it is fine.
And then if you go to a holistic practitioner, they’re like, “Let’s get you filled up with nutrition and balance your blood sugar with a diet that’s healing, and let’s detoxify the body. Let’s look at your lifestyle and your emotional health, your mental health.” And then all of a sudden, a few months later, you don’t have diabetes anymore.
What is diabetes? The second we get this diagnosis, people buy into “This is my life—on drugs and managing bad blood sugar” versus doing a complete overhaul of their life, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, energetically, and healing what got them sick in the first place.
You’re saying that cancer is like, if we give into this idea that there’s a big bad thing called cancer, then it has power over us and we’re powerless. But if we get that it’s a symptom of a body out of balance–was that your message?
[00:10:47] James Templeton: It is—exactly. Good job. If the body is out of balance, and when the fear sets in from this overall knock over the head that’s dripping in fear hit you, then your immune systems are already lowered because you have cancer in the first place. Now you’re under this stress, fear, and anxiety, and now your immune system is even lowered that much more, and the cancer is already ahead of everything. Now it’s got a real big lead running out in front of you, and it’s very hard to catch it.
So you have done to understand that hey, it’ll be not normal at all to be not fearful because I’m fearful of it. I’ve conquered it and survived for 33 plus years, but I’m still fearful of it. But I know what I need to do and I know what causes most of it, and now—what’s the saying? The truth shall set you free. There’s a lot more freedom there, a deep feeling of freedom and a deep feeling of “I can do this, and I know what I have to do” than before.
[00:12:03] Ashley James: I’d love to hear your story. You’ve got me so curious. Can you take us back 33 years ago to your cancer diagnosis? How did you heal it and survive it? Did you give in to the chemo, radiation, and surgery? I would love you to take us back and share with us your journey.
[00:12:27] James Templeton: It was in 1985; I was 32 years old. You might can tell I’m from Texas. I don’t live in Texas all the time now, but I’m from there originally. I’m a fifth-generation Texan, and I’ve always been very proud of that. My grandfathers were fighters, and they were some of the first settlers in Texas. They fought for Texas’s independence, and they were a big part of that. So I was always proud of being a Texan and living here. I grew up in Texas, and I thought back in those days that I had the world by the tail because I was a young man that was successful. I had several businesses, and I had a little baby girl that was less than two years old, had a beautiful wife. Everything was going great for me. I just thought it couldn’t get much better at that time when this all broke open.
I was running a lot. I was in a tremendous shape. I worked out a lot, and people would see me running around town. And they would say, “My gosh, this guy runs all the time. Everywhere you go, you see this guy running.” I’d run out to the country. I’d run up hills. I would push myself. I worked out in the gym two or three days a week at least, and I did everything. I worked hard. I had cows and animals—I had dogs, cats, and hogs. I had a little farm I lived on. It was wonderful. It was like a wonderful setting. I had a little fish pond behind the house. What else could you want when you’re 32 years old and had very successful businesses?
And I did all this exercise and everything that I was doing because my father died at the age of 46, and he had a massive heart attack. His father died at the age of 36. They say it was heart problems or heart trouble that he had. And so I thought, I better do something so that I don’t have this thing. Besides that, my mother when I was less than two years old, and then I had a little brother that died at the age of 8, so I had all this death around me. Besides that your grandparents that you love dearly, they die, and you remember all that, and you start to think that all these people died at an awfully young age.
I better do something. So I started all this exercise. Once when I was in college, I didn’t even really care at that point. My father died when I was in high school and when I went to college, I think the only reason I went was because my stepmother that raised me said, “Your father would want you to go to college.” I was very depressed after he died. I thought I’d never make it to 30.
I decided to go out and have a good time and party. I went to college. I was there. I don’t think I went, but I was there, and I had a good time while I was there. But I wanted to have fun because I honestly thought deep inside of myself that I’m only going to live till 30. So I had this attitude, and that’s not a good attitude to have, but I think I was pretty much depressed and having this attitude.
But as I got out of school, I dropped out of school because I thought that I could do something better, and I wasn’t really into this college. After my third year, I decided to call it quits. I met a young lady, and we got serious. I got married, and now I started to think that maybe I needed to take care of myself a little bit more. She was a runner. She got me into running, and we started to run together a little bit. Then I started running a lot as I was talking about earlier. Then we had a little girl, and everything was wonderful. My whole outlook started to change, and I thought that maybe I wouldn’t have to be like my father or my grandfather, and I would have a chance at a long life. So that’s why I did this.
But there was a guy back then that was a big deal in the running movement. Some people that will hear this might remember this guy, especially if you’re my age. His name was Jim Fixx.
[00:17:42] Ashley James: Oh, yeah.
[00:17:44] James Templeton: You remember that name?
[00:17:45] Ashley James: Yes, I do because he died of a heart attack while running.
[00:17:50] James Templeton: Yes. So Jim Fixx was this guru in the health and fitness arena back then. Jim was a guy that I heard and read about. He talked about running, how his father had died of a heart attack, and running was going to save his life. He could just about eat anything he wanted and do anything he wanted. He was in tremendous shape and all this.
I thought this was the ticket for me, so I started all this running based really on my past and also the advice of Jim Fixx. One early morning I went into the office, and I had several businesses—I had these convenience store type businesses with gas and convenience store groceries—I was there one morning early. I did my early morning duties, and I went into my office, I put my feet up, and I said, “Life is great, everything’s going good. I’d had my morning run already.” I was looking back at everything, and here comes the delivery service that delivered newspapers to the store, I looked at the newspaper, and I started thumbing through there. I got into the sports page, and it said, “Jim Fixx Dies of Heart Attack.” I could not believe it. I was just like, “Wait a minute, is this for real?” Jim Fixx, of all people, die and this is the guy that I’ve been thinking as a big deal. How did he die of a heart attack? I started reading through that, and I got nervous after this. I thought I was doing the right thing, and then maybe I’m not doing the right thing after all. I better go and get checked out. I’ve got to get my heart checked out because I’ve been enjoying life and eating pretty much what I want to eat. I figured I better go and find me a doctor that can do this stress test.
So I went to an internal medicine doctor there in town. A lot of times that’s the kind of doctor you go to get these kinds of things done—either that or a cardiologist, but I went to this internal medicine doctor. I went in there, I got an appointment, and he said to me, “Take your shirt off, and we’ll get you on the treadmill.”
They got me on this treadmill, hooked me up with all these wires and everything like they do for an electrocardiogram. What they do for the stress test—I’m not sure if they do them the same way anymore, but there was a treadmill, and you’re on that treadmill, and they get that thing going slow, then they build it up and before long, it’s going really fast, and you’re running on there. They looked at my heart and everything, and then they said, “Okay, that’s great. You can go in and put your shirt on, and I’ll be in there in a few minutes to talk with you.” So I go in, and the doctor says, “I want to tell you something, you’re in tremendous shape. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody in this kind of shape.” He said, “You set the record. We see all these people, and no one has been able to surpass you on this device.” And he said, “You are in unbelievable shape. Your heart is in excellent shape.”
So I felt really good then, like, “Oh, my god, thank God. I’m really feeling good. Maybe I’m going to keep on living, and things are going to be wonderful.” He looked at me like when you’re getting an exam and everything, and then he says, “Well, there’s only one thing I found during my examination. There’s a mole on the right side of your back. That mole looks a little suspicious to me. It looks different. It doesn’t look like a mole that is like the other moles. It’s probably nothing to it. When you get a chance, why don’t you go down to the dermatologist? He’s actually in this building, and you go down there and get it checked out. I’m sure it’s nothing, but it just looks a little different.”
I didn’t think much about it other than I remembered at that time when my stepmother had told me that sometimes these moles could have cancer in them and it can kill you. All of a sudden, I took a gulp, and I said to myself, “Well, I better get checked out because this might be probably nothing to worry about, but I’ll get an appointment and get it checked out.”
So a couple of weeks later I went into the dermatologist office and like before they said, “Go take your shirt off, and the doctor will be there in a minute. Sit up on the table.” I went in there, and I sat on a table, and here comes this doctor. He goes, “What seems to be the problem?” I said, “I went and had a stress test done over at Dr. so-and-so’s, and he said that I should come in and have this mole I have on my back checked out because it looked a little different. He didn’t think it was anything, but he said to get an appointment over here with you, and that’s what I’m doing, coming in here to have it checked out.”
He turns around, looks at me, and he goes, “Oh, my gosh. Oh, my goodness.” The guy got all excited all of a sudden. He started acting like he had won the lottery or something. I’d never seen anything. It scared me to death when the guy was jumping around. He goes, “I think you have melanoma.” And I said, “Melanoma?” It was a scary-sounding word. I heard this word, and all of a sudden, I probably turned as white as a ghost. He just said, “You got melanoma. I’m sure of it.” He didn’t know for sure, but that’s what he was saying.
He says, “We might have to remove a large portion of your back with surgery.” He was excited. I don’t know if he had never seen one before. I can’t imagine that, but he acted like he was so excited. It scared me. He said, “Let’s schedule for surgery,” and all this kind of stuff. I said, “I’m going to have to think about this.” I got up and left that office, and I tell you, I never went back to that guy.
[00:25:14] Ashley James: You know why he was so excited?
[00:25:16] James Templeton: Why is that?
[00:25:16] Ashley James: Because he realized that you were going to be his boat payment.
[00:25:20] James Templeton: Oh, yeah, probably. I mean, this guy had zero bedside manner. It wasn’t like, “It looks suspicious. Let’s get it checked out. I think it’ll be all right. And if it is anything, there probably won’t be a lot to it.” It makes you feel like at least they could do that. How much is that to ask for a doctor to be sensitive?
We’ve all been to doctors that are nice, and we all had been to them that are semi this way. But to this day, I have never seen one like this guy. He was either money hungry or cancer happy or something, but I never went back to him. I tell you, I left that place, and I was shaking and had chills running up and down my body. I’m surprised I even made it home because it was about a 10-mile drive to where I lived.
I got home, my wife was there, and I said to her, “I went to the doctor, and he said a good chance I have melanoma, and he was jumping up and down. He scared me to death. I don’t know what to do.” She suggested that I go and get a second opinion. She said, “You remember that doctor you went to see.”
Several years ago when I had a basal cell, which is a skin cancer, on the back of my head, upon the crown of my head, which was a very young age to have something like this—when I was 24 or 25. I had skin cancer, and I went to this doctor in downtown Houston. He was a really nice man. He took it out, and he told me, “You’re going to have to be careful because this skin cancer is probably going to show up again sometime in your life. We want to keep an eye on things.”
So I remembered that, and I went down to see him. I got an appointment, I went in, and he said, “It looks very suspicious to me also. I think that if it is anything, it’s probably in early stage.” He went on to say, “My wife had melanoma, and it was stage 1. We removed that, and we’ve never seen it again. She’s never had another problem. That’s probably what it is.”
But he said, “For now, I’d like you to get an appointment with this world-renowned doctor that I know in a medical center down in Houston. We’ll get you in to see him. He’s a friend of mine, and he’s renowned. If anybody has to go to somebody, this is the guy to go to.”
So I thought, “I’m lucky.” I felt a lot luckier than this small town guy that was going to do me in. Before he even knew, he was going to take half of my back off and remove all this stuff he thought he was going to have to remove and, who knows, tens of thousands of dollars.
So I got an appointment, and I went to see this other doctor, and he was an oncologist, a big-time cancer doctor. I thought to myself that I was lucky to be there at the time. He had good bedside manners, a nice fellow, so I appreciated that. He came across as a good old boy as we’d say down in Texas.
And he said to me, “It looks a little suspicious to me, but the only way we’re going to really know is to get in there and take it out and just see what it is.” He says, “If you’d like, I can do that right here in the office.” I thought, “I might as well get it done and see what it is.”
So he took a big plug—it was probably a 2-inch square plug out of my back and real deep. He took a deep plug, and he sewed it all up and everything. He told me, “I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks, but we’ll try to do it a little sooner. I think we can get it done a little quicker because that’s a long time.”
He said, “There’s nothing you can do. Just go home. Don’t worry. Chances are you’ll be fine, and there won’t be much to it. Maybe it won’t even be anything.” So I went home, you know, and I felt a little bit better because the guy had such a good way about him and everything. I went back and, of course, I didn’t stop worrying because it’s hard for someone not to worry when they’ve told that there’s a chance they have cancer. That’s sometimes the worst part of it all is at the beginning when you’re told that there’s either a chance, or you’re getting a biopsy, or you’re getting something like this done.
But anyway, I was not fun to be around, I’ll tell you, after that. I didn’t want to do much. I was kind of depressed. I was walking on the floor pretty much. Didn’t sleep very well, either. It was probably almost two weeks before I got a phone call from this doctor. It seemed like a year. It was forever. I don’t know why it takes them so long. That’s the thing I don’t understand. I guess there’s a lot of people getting all these biopsies, and it takes a long time, but it drives a person nuts when you have to wait so long to get anything done.
But he called me up on the phone, and he says, “I got some good news, and I got some bad news.” And I’m like, “Oh, boy. That doesn’t sound good. He goes, “The good news is that it’s melanoma, and we got it all.” I’m thinking, “It’s melanoma, and it’s good news? How could this be good news? I’ve never heard anything.”
He says, “But the bad news is that it’s very deep. That concerns me. We’re going to have to watch it real close because when it’s this deep, that means it’s stage 4.” I’d heard stage 4, but I didn’t know much about cancer back in those days. It didn’t sound good to me. He says, “It’s more likely to spread. It’s more likely to metastasize. It’s more likely to end up in other organs or other parts of the body, so we’re going to have to keep a really good close eye on it.”
And he said, “There’s nothing you can really do. You shouldn’t worry. The only thing we have to do is have you come in every three months and get checked out. You come in every three months, and we’ll look at everything. For now, go live your life and don’t worry. We’ll hope for the best, and maybe we’ll get lucky, and chances are we’ll never see it again.”
I thought to myself, “Boy, how could this be happening to me?” I’m lying there, sitting there, standing or whatever I was doing, this guy tells me all this stuff on the phone while I was just in shock, and now I knew I had stage 4 cancer, and that I didn’t want to do anything now.
Before all this, I was very ambitious. I worked all the time. I ran. I couldn’t wait to try to figure out ways to do more business. I wanted to make something out of myself. I was at the point in my life to where now I was, “Maybe I’m not going to get the heart disease, but who knows after Jim Fixx,” and now get I this diagnosis. This was all in a very short time here.
I had noticed though that I was feeling tired, and when I looked back, I was feeling tired a lot. I was getting colds and flus a lot. I was starting to feel tired. Here I was barely over 30, and I’m feeling like that. I thought, “I guess I’m getting older.” I thought that was the deal on it, but when I looked back, my body was trying to tell me that my immune system was suffering and wasn’t able to do its job the way it’s supposed to.
I became very, very depressed. I didn’t want to do anything. I wasn’t fun to be around. Before that, I’d been the life of the party. I had friends. I like to go out. I like to have a good time. I was easygoing most of the time. I’m sure it was very hard on my wife for her to have to listen to this and put up with all this. Here it comes out of the blue, and I had this little girl and everything. It started to affect my relationship. I could feel the energy was changing in our relationship. Besides, who wants to be with somebody who could be dying of cancer?
I started to read, and I started to try to search for as much information as I could. Back then, there wasn’t the internet. The internet wasn’t the way it is now, so you couldn’t just go on there and Google something, and so I found out through friends of mine. My wife had a doctor friend that we met skiing one year. He said, “With stage 4, he’ll be lucky to live three years.” And I was like, “Oh, my god. You got to be kidding me. Here I am, a young guy—three years?”
That’s what you hear, so I became very difficult. Before I knew it, it was time to go back and get checked out again. I went back three months later, and the doctor says, “Everything looks okay. Everything is going okay. I think we keep doing the same thing. Don’t worry; just go home.”
Well, I was worrying all the time and, my relationship, my marriage became a little bit more and more stressed out. It just wasn’t the same. I guess I can’t blame her because I wasn’t easy to be around. I didn’t have any ambition anymore. I’d even decided that I wanted to start living out some of my bucket lists. I always loved Colorado and skiing, and we had a little ski house up in Colorado. I decided that I wanted to get out of the businesses and moved to Colorado and do something up there. I felt like I better do it now, or I’m not going to be able to do it possibly in my lifetime.
So I started to be a little selfish, I guess, and think of myself. I wanted to start to look at the possibilities of not being around much longer. Before I knew it, my marriage ended. My wife moved into town and took my daughter. After this happened, I didn’t care what happened after that. I lost my whole desire really to care anymore. It really affected me. I didn’t have that support anymore, so I started hanging out and running around with old buddies, drinking buddies, and started going out drinking and having a good time when I should have been taking care of myself.
The doctor said, “Don’t worry, there’s nothing else you can do,” so that’s what I did. I went out and did that. I wasn’t a happy camper, I’ll tell you. A friend of mine, one of my best friends, one of my old running buddies, we ran together almost every day. He was involved in the business, and he suggested that I go with him and his partners and help run a business up in the Dallas area, which was about three hours north of where I was living. I’ll go up there and run a business for them, and it would be perfect for me because I had a business background, and it would get me away from where I was living in this small town in Texas—Huntsville, Texas was the town. It would get me out of there and get me away from all the stress, and it would be good for me to get my mind off things.
I took him up on it. Right then, I thought, “Well, I’m doing okay. The cancer hasn’t raised its head again, so I’ll go up there and do this.” So I went up there, and things started happening. We had this business; it was very successful. I was running things, and we were busy. I was busy. I was inspecting houses. Back in the 1980s, around ‘85, right in there was when it was, there was a lot of foreclosed homes on the market because there was an oil boom, and when the whole bottom fell out of that oil business. I went up there to Dallas and started helping these mortgage companies refurbish these homes that they were taking back as foreclosures.
So we were going in, and we were fixing these houses up and spending a few weeks on each house, getting them back into sell shape. Along with these other guys, we put together a business up there that would refurbish these foreclosed homes, and things were going well. I thought life was not so bad again, but here it came, it was time to get my checkup again.
I’d already been through about three successful checkups, and everything looked fine, and I thought, “Maybe the doctor is right, I’ll never see it again.” So I went in to see the doctor. I flew down to Houston. I went in to see the doctor, and he says, “You got a little lump on your groin here. It’s like a little, tiny marble.”
He says, “It’s probably nothing. Just don’t worry about it.” Well, I kind of worried about it, and I said, “You sure we don’t need to worry about what you found?” He goes, “No. Come back in three months.”
[00:41:45] Ashley James: Oh, my gosh. Come back when it grows big enough for me to cut it out of you.
[00:41:50] James Templeton: Yeah, right. So I go back to Dallas, and I noticed things getting bigger. It started to get bigger and bigger pretty quick. I called the doctor up, this was probably a couple of months later, and I said, “Doctor, this thing is growing.” I was not too happy about it. I was pretty nervous about it. But I said this thing is growing. He says, “Well, we better go in and see what it is. Come on down here, and let me look at it. We’ll put you in the hospital and see exactly what it is. We will take it out.” And then I went down there, and he says, “Meet me in the hospital in the morning” and all that.
So I go in, and he takes it out, and he says—well, before that he told me there’s probably nothing to it, and it’s just a little something going on. Maybe it’s a lymph node that’s swollen or infected or whatever, but we’ll find out. I went in. He did the surgery. When I woke up, I knew I was in trouble because I had this huge bandage that’s on my lower groin area. I knew I wasn’t in good shape because, of course, I was out of it from the surgery. I never had surgery before. I’ve never been in a hospital before. He came in and shortly after I come to, he says, “I got some bad news. It was the news I was hoping we wouldn’t have to deal with. You got cancer in your groin now, and the melanoma had spread to your lymph nodes. That’s not good. That means that it’s pretty advanced, and we’re going to have to really, really, keep after it now.”
He says, “I want you to do 80 chemotherapy treatments–experimental chemotherapy treatments.” This is not regular chemo. This is experimental chemotherapy where they use a hypothermia type treatment. “We’re going to elevate your temperature,” and this is all experimental back in those days.
He says, “We don’t know of anything else that works well with this at all, and this sometimes doesn’t even work that well, but it’s all we know to do. We’ll do 80. We’ll do five each time. Now you’ll have to come into the hospital for every five treatments for a week, and then two months later, we’ll do another five because it takes you two months to recover.” And I thought, “Oh, my gosh. What’s going on here?”
He said, “It’s going to take you about two to three weeks to get over the surgery, and after that, we’re going to do these treatments. So we’ll keep you in the hospital and get you to recover some from the surgery,” which I was gutted there and it was like really painful. I was lying there in the hospital, and I was miserable from the surgery. More than anything now, I knew I had this terrible cancer that had spread, and it was all over in my lymphatic system. Who knows where it was going to go? I was in terrible pain.
I remember the nurse would come in and say, “Don’t you want some painkillers?” I’d say, “No, I’m not going to take any painkillers. I’m going to tough it out.” It didn’t take me more than a day or two to realize that I needed something because of the pain. They started giving me morphine just like they do with anybody for a painkiller, like shots. That puts you at ease real quick. After that you don’t really care what happens because when you’re on morphine, you’re sort of like, “Life is not so bad after all. Turn up the music. I don’t feel anything.”
That’s kind of how you felt. But I knew that it wasn’t good, and when the stuff would wear off, I would be miserable, and I started to worry. The doctor comes in, and I said, “Doctor, what are my chances? What do you think my chances are?” He didn’t want to tell me anything. He just sat there, and he would say, “All right, I’ll tell you what I think. You’ve got a 20% chance of survival if you can get through these 80 chemotherapy treatments. That is if you can survive these treatments, I’ll give you a 20% chance of surviving three to five years. Even with these treatments, I don’t think you’ll live more than three to five years.”
So he tells me that, and I knew I was a blown up duck when he said that. I knew I was in really bad shape, and I didn’t know what to do. I was getting desperate. It’s been a week or so or after the surgery, and I was very, very upset. I just felt that was the end of my life, and it was going to happen sooner than later. Here I was 32 years old, my wife had left me, and I had nothing to live for anymore. I was just a miserable young man. I felt like nothing was going my way.
I got a phone call, and this is when things started to turn around. I got a phone call, and it was from a preacher. It was a minister of a church that I went to sometimes. I wasn’t a really overly religious guy or anything. We went to church, but I was a guy that probably didn’t have the time, who was busy all the time. But anyway, I knew the fellow, and he was a nice man. I ran with him a few times. He was older than me, and he’d been a professional baseball player, and I looked up to him. I thought he was always kind of funny and had a good side to him.
He calls me on the phone, and he says to me, “I heard you were in this hospital. I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you. God loves you, and I know that you can beat this cancer. You’ve just got to get down and dirty and beat it.” He said to me, “You have to beat this son of a bitch of a cancer.” That’s the exact words he said to me. He says, “If anybody can do it, you can.” He told me this, and I was shocked because I’d never heard him talk like that. I felt like I was in a locker room, at a football team or some sports team, and we’re losing, and the coach is trying to get some energy going and getting down on us a little bit. He just laid it on me, and he told me that.
That was the last time I ever talked to him, but it got me to thinking—it got me to thinking, and it lit a spark under me, and it made me start to pray. And I tell you what, I never was a big prayer. I didn’t pray a lot or anything. And then I’ll tell you what I prayed that day—I prayed so hard to God, to the higher power, whatever you want to call it. I prayed, and I said, “God, I need your help. I never had this kind of thing happened to me. I’m desperate. I need help. I really, really, really need your help.”
I felt like every cell in my body was praying. I never had that kind of feeling. It just was the strangest feeling. I’ve said a prayer, the kind of prayer where you’d go to church, and someone says a prayer. It is fancy sounding, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but it just didn’t seem to have a lot of deep meaning to it.
But I’m telling you that day, between me and the higher power, I had a prayer. I felt things that I can’t imagine. I can’t even explain it to anybody, but I did. I didn’t know what else to do, and it was getting that bad. I tell you, probably about 20 minutes later that prayer—I’m always trying to figure out by how long it was, but I think it’s probably about that time. It wasn’t any longer than that. I heard a knock on the hospital door, and this friend of mine comes through the door.
I said, “Come in.” My friend comes through the door whom I hadn’t seen in seven years from college. He worked at the gas station with me when I was in college. I worked at a gas station, and he worked there, and we became friends then. You know in college you have a bunch of buddies and friends, and he was one of them. This fella comes through the door, and he’s waving this piece of paper in his hand, and he’s saying, “I hear that you were in the hospital through one of our old friends, and I felt terrible, and I wanted to figure out something I could do to help you. I was talking to a friend of mine at the office, and he had another friend that he was talking to at lunch one day.”
This guy is somebody they knew had cancer or something. This guy brought him an article about cancer and about a guy that cured himself of cancer. He said to this guy, “I have a friend who’s got a friend. I know this is going to help him. I think this is a thing he probably would appreciate. Can I give this to him or take this to him?”
The guy brought it to me, and it’s about a guy that cured himself of cancer. I didn’t know what it was when he’s walking in the door, waving his arms. I said, “What do you have in your hand?” He said, “I got an article about a guy that cured himself of cancer using the natural diet.”
Well, I never heard anything like that. Where I come from, you go to the doctor just like I’d done. You get sick, and you go to the doctor. But I said, “Hmm, let me see that thing.” And I saw it, I looked at it, and I immediately knew this was what I was going to do. I knew that this was the ticket for me to heal. Something inside of me says, “This is it. This is what you’re going to do.” I told my friend, “I’m going to do this.” He says, “You haven’t even read this yet.” I said, “I’m going to read it.” I haven’t, but I know this is what I’m going to do.
I got very excited. I started to look at it a little bit. It was about a guy, and his name was Dirk Benedict. Dirk Benedict was an actor. He had been in movies, he had been on a TV show, and he had cured himself of what he thought was prostate cancer. I think he was a renegade. He was told that he had prostate cancer by someone, and he went out and got on this diet and got well. He had terrible prostate problems—bleeding and all this stuff—and he was a young man.
I read this, and I said, “I’m going to do exactly what he did.” Dirk Benedict was a guy who was on a show, and the show was the A-Team. Back at that time, there was a show on TV, and a lot of people will know that also. His name on the show was Templeton Peck, and they called him Face in the show. He was a good-looking guy. It wasn’t because he had a nice face. That wasn’t the reason, but they called him Face, and he was the guy, and I knew who the guy was. He talked about how he was from Montana, and I being from Texas, and he grew up on a ranch, and I had had cows, and he had a farm out in Texas. I kind of related to the guy. I felt like I was kind of a cowboy almost.
He talked about being a cowboy, and I thought, “Well, I can relate to this guy.”
Anyway, I got very excited. The diet that he was on was called a macrobiotic diet. I’ve never heard of anything like that. I asked my friend, “Have you ever heard of macrobiotics?” He goes, “Nah, I’ve never heard of that.” And I said, “This guy claims this cured his cancer and saved his life. You got to go out and get this book for me because this was just a little book review article. It was just for two or three pages. It’s about this guy, and it was a book review article. I said to my friend, “I got to get this book—his book. Will you go out and get this book for me?” And he said, “Sure, I’ll go out and get it.”
So he went out, got that book, and brought it back to me. I started reading that book, and I was excited. I felt like if this guy can do it, I can do it. It just felt right inside of me, like somebody, something somewhere was trying to get me to do this. I didn’t know anything about it, but I was open to anything at this point.
So I got this book, my friend went out and got it, and I’ll tell you, I never saw my friend again. I hadn’t seen him to this day. It’s funny, but I’m sure he’s alive still. I need to get ahold of the guy, but it’s an interesting way that he brought this to me. I read this book from Dirk Benedict, and it was called Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy. It was an excellent book. He’s an interesting character. I really could relate to a lot of the things he did. So I was very excited, and now all of a sudden this depression I had was starting to leave my body, and I started to have some hope. This hope was what I needed desperately.
Anyway, I went to bed that night, to sleep that night, and I felt like I had hope now, and that my prayers were starting to be answered. I tell you, the next day I got another knock on the door, and it was my stepmother. My stepmother came up there to visit me, and she brought me a book. It was a yellow book. I remember that it was a book by Linus Pauling, and Linus Pauling, as you’re probably familiar with, was a researcher and was a brilliant researcher. He did a lot of work on vitamin C and different types of things with vitamin C from cancer to heart disease. He’s done a lot of studies on vitamin C, but this was vitamin C and Cancer—the book. I’m trying to remember the name of it offhand. It’s in my book. It’s listed in there, but I can’t think of the name. I think it’s Vitamin C and Cancer. But it was by Linus Pauling.
I read this book and it talked about people that took high amounts of vitamin C, even terminally ill people that had cancer, survive for much longer periods of time as long as they took this high amounts of vitamin C, and that when they stopped taking the vitamin C, a lot of them would die. I got very excited about this vitamin C thing, and I felt that, hey, I got the new diet, the macrobiotic diet that I was going to learn about real quick, and now I’ve got the vitamin C. I thought to myself, “I’m going to do both of them. I’ll do the vitamin C and the macrobiotic diet, and I’ll probably do the chemotherapy. Why not? If a little is good, a lot’s better.
So I got excited. I was really excited now, and I felt like I got enough ammunition now, that my prayer was answered. I was excited and—I don’t know—it just all happened all at once. The next day I got another knock on the door, and it was the strangest thing. I got a knock on the door. There was a fellow that came through the door, and he says, “I’m your psychotherapist for the hospital, the cancer ward.” He said to me, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been depressed. I hear that your outlook is not real good. I would love to talk to you. Do you have time to talk to me tomorrow?” And I said, “Sure, come on in tomorrow, and I’ll talk to you.”
The next day he comes in. By then I’d been reading up on the macrobiotic diet, and I’d had another friend go out and get me some more macrobiotic books. I was excited. I was reading drugged up and all. The next day this the psychotherapist comes through the door, and I said to him, “I want to ask you a question before we get started here. Have you ever heard of the macrobiotic diet?” He looks at me, and he says, “Hold on a second.” He goes over to the hospital door in my room; I was in a room by myself. He shuts the door.
[01:01:14] Ashley James: [laughs] I’m liking this tale already.
[01:01:17] James Templeton: He comes in, and he says, “I’m going to tell you what I know about it, but I’m going to have to get you to promise me right now that we never had this conversation. You never talked to me.” He says, “If you tell anybody that I talked to you about this, I’ll lose my job, my bench, my retirement, everything. I don’t want to lose all that. I’ve been down here working here 25 years. I don’t want to lose that. So you have to promise me.” By then, I was about ready to drag him into the bed with me and tell me everything he knew. I knew I was on to something now if he’s acting like that. When he went in there, and he shut that door, and came back and told me all that, I said, “I’ll do anything you want, just give me the information.”
He started telling me, “Look, this is a great diet for some people. This diet has saved a lot of people’s lives. It’s very difficult though. It takes a lot of time and energy. You had to put a lot of your energy into it. You got to do a lot of cooking. You got to do certain exercises. It’s a whole way of life.” And he said to me, “I don’t know if you could do it, but you seem like your energy is not as depressed as I thought it was. What I’ve heard, you seem like you’re excited about something. You don’t seem like a sick person that I thought I was going to end up talking to.”
And he says, “You know, I tried this diet. It just didn’t work for me because I couldn’t stick with it. It takes a lot of self-discipline. I don’t have it. I just couldn’t do it. I just wanted to do it because I thought it sounded like a good idea to be healthier.” But he says, “You and your condition, I think you should do it. And I think you could do it because you seem like you have the right attitude.” And he told me, “There’s one thing—you got to do it right though. There’s a right way to do it and a wrong way. I’m just going to tell you that right now. If you’re going to do it, go all out. If you’re not going to go all out, don’t do it. I think this could help you.”
This guy got me so excited; I wanted to hug him. It was just like, “My god. This guy is telling me something here. There’s something really to this.” So I got really excited. He left, and now I had all this ammunition, and I was a different person. It was like I discovered the key to the universe or something, and I was very, very excited.
But I had to still do this chemo. I thought to myself, “I’ll do the vitamin C, the macrobiotic diet, and I’m going to do too with the idea that if it doesn’t work for me, it won’t work for anyone. I’m going to take
this guy’s advice, and I’m going to give it 150%. I’m not cutting any corners. I’m going to be the model for doing things right with this macrobiotic diet and lifestyle. I will do it, and I will do the chemo.” Because at that point I thought, “Well, I’m doing everything I can. I’m going to kill the cancer one way or the other.”
So I went through the five treatments, the chemotherapy treatments, and it was just flat terrible stuff. It made me sick. They’d raise your temperature. They throw these heavy blankets over you—weighted blankets. You know what I’m talking about, these big weighted down blankets, and that was because they elevate my temperature with the hypothermia treatment with the typhoid serum. They elevate my temperature as high as they could without it killing me basically. They’d raise it to 104-105. When it’s that high, you’re shaking in your boots. You’re freezing to death because you’re hot, but your body is fighting, and everything has kicked in, and you are just shivering all over. They put these blankets so that you can lie still enough in the bed without jumping around like a jumping bean.
I did this chemo for five days, and I was sick. It makes you throw up. It was awful. It was about eight to ten hours a day each treatment.
[01:05:49] Ashley James: Oh, my gosh.
[01:05:50] James Templeton: It was done with an ivy drip about an hour or so for the typhoid serum to drip in. And then once your temperature is up, then they hit you with the heavy duty chemo. They put this ice cap on my head to keep my hair from falling out. That was the idea anyway, but I think half of it fell out, but it was freezing. I was just like a guinea pig lying on that bed. I lied there, and I took that chemo, and I gritted my teeth, and I made it through it. You’re just sick.
I remember leaving, and I didn’t have a wife anymore, so I went to my mother’s house to recover for a few days after I got out of the hospital. I’d been in the hospital for over three weeks. After I got to my mother’s house, I was determined to start eating the macrobiotic food. You’re not going to get it in the hospital, that’s for sure.
I got to my mother’s, started to do the best we could. We’re just learning, and we did pretty well. After a week or so, I had to go back to Dallas. I have still work up there, and I had people counting on me. So I had to go back, and I started working there, and I felt really lousy. I’d put my head down on my desk a lot of days, and I just felt like I had the flu. It just makes you feel like the worst flu you’ve ever had—that chemo did. I could never imagine having any flu like that. If somebody would have given me a hammer, I would have knock myself in the head with it or anything because it was terrible.
I got back there in Dallas, and little by little though, I started getting into the macrobiotic diet really heavy duty. Little by little, I started to feel better. One of the things I had to do from the surgery that I haven’t even talked about was after the surgery, I had to do this lymphatic drainage pump on my leg where they removed all these lymph nodes.
One of the things I’d had to do in the hospital was elevate my leg and put this lymphatic sock. It’s like a sock, and it would sit there and pump. I had to do that while I was in the hospital. Now I had to do that also because the doctor told me if I didn’t do it, I could lose my leg. He said, “You don’t want that. You don’t want too much lymph fluid getting in there.” My leg was twice the size of the other leg, and it was awful. They had tried to drain it the best they could and all that, but it was awful, and I had this pump.
I was trying to work too because I still had to make a living. I would sleep with that thing on at night. I realized if I slept with that sock on my leg, this electrical pump on it, that would pump and release, and anybody that’s had lymphatic surgery, they know what I’m talking about. I did that every night, and then I would make it through the day, instead of doing it throughout the day. It just took too much of my time, but I would do that, and then I would go to work.
Some days I’d have to drive 300 miles during the work inspecting houses, and it was a lot of work. We were very busy. But I was determined, and little by little life is getting better and better with my macrobiotic diet. I didn’t want to cut any corners, so I was reading everything I could get a hold of when I wasn’t working and in between. I’d get up at 4:30 in the morning and cook my breakfast. I would cook a macrobiotic breakfast, and I’ll get into macrobiotics later if you want to.
[01:09:51] Ashley James: Absolutely.
[01:09:52] James Templeton: I’d cook that breakfast, my miso soup and my soft brown rice porridge in the morning. I would have greens and a little bit of vegetable usually with it. I’d get up in the morning, and I couldn’t walk very well, but I was trying to walk. I was limping around because my leg, after surgery and all that stuff, I was barely able to walk without crutches.
So I started to try to hobble down the street. I’d hobble as far as I could and turn around and come back. And then I got to where I could walk a little further every day because, in the mornings, I was determined to keep moving, keep the exercise. And then little by little I started to do stretching as much as I could because after the surgery is set me back so much. I started feeling better and better, and two months later, after all this and all the work I had been putting into everything, I had to go back and do more chemo. After two months, I had to go back to Houston, check in the hospital, and do another week of chemotherapy treatments.
I go down to Houston. I go into the hospital. I remember checking in, and the day I checked there were two or three people who are checking in, and they were all excited about getting checked in and getting their chemotherapy treatments. They were really looking forward to getting it done, so they can go out and live their life again. I remember talking to this one really nice lady, and she says, “Well, I’ve had my chemo treatment, so I can go home and get back to normal.” They weren’t doing what I was doing. It was a different type.
By this time, I felt a lot better from the surgery. I still had issues. I still had to use the leg pump and all that stuff, but I was doing better. After two months, I was doing better. I got there, and I started these treatments. They must have doubled the treatment because I never felt so bad in my life. This stuff was terrible. It was worse than the first time. When I told, “If a little is good, a lot’s better,” they must have decided to grant my wish.
So they did, and I’m telling you what, I was sick. I was really sick. I couldn’t eat hardly anything that whole week. I was throwing up. I couldn’t keep anything inside of my stomach. I felt like I had the worst case of flu I never ever had and then some many times over. That’s how bad I felt. My whole body was just dying inside. I had gotten really thin after the surgery and after everything. I guess the cancer probably was going to town on me, and I was getting thin and weak.
I remember every night I’d been in that hospital bed, and I’d hear people moaning and groaning down the hall. It sounded like a torture chamber or something. People were just like making all kinds of noises. And then there was always this commotion in the hallways at night. I asked one of the nuns—it was a Catholic supported hospital. They had nuns that would come around at night and visit some of the patients, most probably all the patients.
I remember these nuns would come in. There was one that came in, and she always had this white habit on. She almost looked like an angel or something. She would come in, and she was very peaceful. I said to her, “What’s all this commotion out in the hallway?” And she’d say, “Well, so and so passed away tonight.” And I went, “They passed away?” She said, “Yeah, they had cancer, and they passed away.” I’m like, “Oh, my god. They died?” And then she told me this woman that I thought was so nice, she died, and I could not believe it. The woman a few days earlier seemed to be fine. I found out that she had died of pneumonia. So they got pneumonia in there with their body and their immune system so depleted and so down, that it doesn’t take much to trigger pneumonia. That’s what gets a lot of these people. It’s not the cancer. It’s the treatments or pneumonia.
Anyway, I just said, “I got to get out of this place. They’re going to kill me in this place. I’m going to be the next one they’ll roll down the hall at night.” I remember one day I was getting the chemo, and here was this nurse coming in, and I was just totally almost unconscious. I remember that I couldn’t even open my eyes, and I was lying there, and I had no life. It felt like I had no life in my body.
I remember this sound, this voice saying to another nurse, “What in the world is going on in here? Who’s taking care of this patient? His temperature is way over the limit. He could die in here. You’ve got to get his temperature down now.” So I remember them coming in and mopping me with all these freezing ice cold towels and everything to try to get my temperature down after that. I was just like lying there. I had no energy at all. I just felt terrible.
So anyway, I couldn’t eat or anything. The doctor comes in, I don’t remember if it was that day or the next day, and I said to the doctor, “Doctor, they’re going to kill me in this place.” I told him what had happened and he didn’t say anything. I said, “They’re going to kill me in this place. Ain’t there something else I can do?” And he says, “Well, there’s nothing else we know to do.” And I said, “Well, what would you do if it was your son or your daughter?” Because I could have been almost his son or daughter, age wise. I said, “What would you do if it was them? Would you do the same thing?” And he said, “Yep, I’d do the same thing.”
I said, “Even though it’s not working.” He goes, “Yep, that’s all we know to do.” And I said, ”What about a diet? What about nutrition? What about vitamin C?” He goes, “Oh, that stuff doesn’t work. That’s a waste of time.” And I said, “Well, I’m going to die and here. This stuff is going to kill me.” He goes, “Well, we’re all gonna die someday.” That’s what he told me.
[01:17:02] Ashley James: Oh, my gosh.
[01:17:03] James Templeton: Well, you know what I did? I was weak, and I had no energy, and I was sick as a puppy dog. And I raised in that bed, that hospital bed, and I looked at that guy, he was standing there next to my bed. I looked at him, and he was the top doctor. And I said to him, “You listen here, you son of a bitch. If I could get out of this bad, I’d tear you apart. That guy turned, he looked at me, turned as white as a ghost, and he turned around and ran out the door.
I never saw that guy again because two nights later, I decided to sneak out of the hospital at two in the morning. I had made my plan for escape. I said, “They’re going to kill me, and I don’t want nothing to do with this anymore. They have nothing else to offer me. What am I doing in here?”
And so I had made a plan, and at two in the morning, I was so weak that I barely get my clothes on. I remember sneaking down the side of the hall on one side of the wall where nobody could see me, and I snuck down some stairs. I was crawling, and I was so weak from this. I threw up like I can’t tell you how many times and it was awful. I snuck down those stairs, and I went out into my car, which had been sitting out there in the parking lot. I got in that car, and I drove out of that place. I never looked back, and I’d made up my mind at that point, I was not going to do anymore that medical stuff like that anymore. I was going to go all out, and I was going to do the macrobiotic diet lifestyle, vitamin C, and I was going to keep an open mind going forward.
[01:18:51] Ashley James: That wraps up Part 1 of our interview with James Templeton. I hope you’re enjoying his awesome story. It gets even better in Part 2. Join us next episode, will be released very soon. And it will be the completion of our interview with James Templeton.
He gets into some really awesome stuff, and one thing I love is that he talks about this website of resources that he’s created 100% for free. It’s him giving back to the world, and it’s a website filled with testimonials and stories and interviews with other cancer survivors. So if you want to be inspired and learn from dozens and dozens of people who have used more than just the conventional way to heal their body and to support their body’s ability to thrive after cancer and live a long and healthy life, then you will love learning more from James Templeton in the next interview in the next episode.
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