“No thanks,” was my brother Barrie’s response to all food. Post esophageal surgery recovery included a feeding port for daily food intake. After nearly a year, doctors required the feeding port to be removed due to the risk of infection. “If they take the port out, I won’t eat,” he insisted. “Everything tastes like chemicals,”
May 2016. I arrived in Campbell River, Vancouver Island for a family reunion and my nephew’s wedding. The one and one half hour boat trip to Sonora Island celebrated a sunshine return to magnificent British Columbia islands, ocean, sky, and pristine nature brimming with wildlife. I settled into a beautiful room at the world-class Sonora Eco Resort, then enjoyed a walk and afternoon tea before a swim and steam at the spa.
When the family gathered for dinner, I took my brother by the hand and pulled him toward the end of the table so we could enjoy catching up. The chef arrived to advise me he would curate all my vegan meals from the resort gardens, and as drinks and food were served, my brother’s discomfort increased. He refused every offer of food, and any sips or tastes were accompanied with a grimace.
Gentle questions slowly encouraged his sharing of symptoms, diagnosis, the weekly trips to Victoria for oncology treatments, and home care gradually emerged. When I asked about the operation, he mourned, “If I had known what I would have to go through, especially the after effects, this terrible taste in my mouth, and the port feeding, I would never have done it.”
As a young man, my brother had bought and cleared a remote island property. He built their family home and boat dock with the trees he cut and milled into lumber. As a hunter, fisher, guide, logger, gardener, and builder, he thrived in nature and lived adventure. We had shared many childhood adventures, and I was determined to assist his recovery with a healing adventure.
Guests arrived throughout the day. In the afternoon, we enjoyed nature walks and hung out in the lounge where the health-minded resort owner and his wife joined us. They encouraged my brother, suggesting, “You should listen to your sister. This is good information. It’s worth a try.”
The afternoon we dedicated to viewing the art collection in the magnificent totem retreat house reserved for the wedding ceremony, and a visit to my brother’s property next to the Resort. Then it was time to enjoy a swim, steam, and bodywork session before the evening dinner.
On the wedding day, the loving ceremony stimulated joyous celebrations that continued throughout the day. When the wedding cake was served after the evening dinner, the chef appeared with a special vegan cake with one glowing candle. My nephew surprised me by leading the birthday song. They had remembered my birthday! Festivities continued into the night with live music and dancing.
It was clear to everyone that my brother was awakening to the possibility of recovery. His wife feared something could go wrong but she also knew this might be the only way to get him to remove the feeding tube. New ideas are hard to trust, so I patiently explained how the five flavors restored the tongue and balanced the gastrointestinal tract. Then I knew what I had to do. Early on departure morning, I changed my flights and booked a local Campbell River hotel.
As the boat pulled up to the dock for the return journey to Campbell River, I announced to the family that I was staying an extra week to teach them how to make healing foods. My brother was surprised but willing. Even though his wife was anxious, I knew it was time to create a healing adventure.
Back in Campbell River, my brother phoned his home care supervisor and asked her to come over to talk with us. I wanted to explain my ideas and ask for her support. I also hoped she would be impressed by witnessing his recovery and advise future clients with diet protocols.
She welcomed my proposal, listened with full attention, asked questions, and approved our healing diet experiment. My brother took me into his garden and proudly showed me spring greens and vegetables and also packs of berries they had gathered in their freezer. After lunch, my sister-in-law took me to the local health food store for other ingredients. She was still cautious, but my brother had said yes, so we went ahead.
My brother, my childhood best friend, was three years older. When the sun shone, we were in our happy childhood heaven. During the summer holidays, we set off early in the morning and returned before dark. Dressed in swimsuits and carrying a towel, we walked carefree to the beach from our Crescent Beach or White Rock home. We fished for shiners, caught crabs, and sold them to families on the beach. We picked up pop bottles and traded them in for fries and cokes.
Often we walked the railroad tracks to the Blaine golf course in the States, searched for golf balls in the woods, and sold them to the golfers. Then we walked the tracks to arrive in time for the Saturday treat movies. We explored Indian shell mounds and discovered mortars, pestles, arrowheads, and other artifacts that my brother later donated to the Vancouver Museum.
Winters inspired card games and chess. We listened to radio programs, The Lone Ranger ad Superman and I read books. Every week. we swam in swimming pools and skated in the local rinks. In our teens, he learned to ski and I chose dance and acrobatics.
When we lived in northern Kitimat, small icebergs floated into the bay in early spring. We ran from our house into ice-cold water, climbed on an iceberg, and jumped off again and again until we were nearly frozen before we returned to the warmth of our home and my mother’s hot chocolate.
My brother and I also collated, stapled, sold, and delivered the weekly newspaper to the construction workers, and at the tender age of nine years, I had a bank account and purchased clothes from a catalog. I still remember a red skirt and a turquoise blouse I loved to wear.
I always trusted my brother and now it was time for my brother to trust me. From the very first drink, apple cider vinegar, and honey, he smiled and said it tasted ok. From then on, his taste improved quicker than I imagined. He drank slowly, swishing drinks around in his mouth as instructed, making sure his saliva was mixed with the food. He finished every variation of smoothie and soup I made for him.
Throughout the week, my sister-in-law picked me up at the hotel every morning. We shopped, picked greens from the garden, made healing drinks from unfrozen berries, and experimented with variations of ingredients. As we blended smoothies and soups, the family anxiety calmed down as they observed healing take place.
At the end of the week, I flew home and less than a month later, I received an email saying the feeding port was removed and he had returned to a normal diet. Four years later as I write this, he is well during Corona 2020, still going strong in his 80s. Living proof of truth teachings blessed my family.
Request a copy of the Five Flavors Taste and Smell Recovery Program with a request on the https://www.purehealth.com/contact.
Feb 9, 2020