There are just a handful of times in one’s life when a few words can turn your entire world upside-down. In 2017, three words changed Ralph Zabala’s life forever: “You have cancer.”
For some time, Ralph, a native of Mansfield, MO, had been noticing an odd sensation: “It felt like I was sitting on a knot (whenever I sat down),” he says. The discomfort was under his left buttock and thigh.
It was merely an annoyance at first. But when the sensation just wouldn’t go away, he visited the doctor.
That’s when Ralph and his wife and caregiver, Nicole, were given devastating news. The oncologist told them Ralph had soft tissue sarcoma: a form of cancer.
The tumor measured an alarming 15 centimeters (nearly 6 inches). “I was given six months to live,” Ralph reveals.
In shock, Ralph agreed to radiation. But he objected to the next course of treatment: “They wanted to amputate half of my left pelvis, hip, and leg,” the 72-year-old automotive repair business retiree says.
By this time, Ralph could no longer walk. But he wasn’t ready to give up. He and Nicole traveled and found a doctor in California who was willing to remove the tumor without amputation. A caveat was that five weeks of radiation would follow. The Zabalas moved there, close to their two daughters.
But another devastating setback followed. While Ralph agreed to all of this, the new surgeon discovered the tumor had grown from 15 to 23 centimeters, making him no longer eligible for the surgery. He was then advised to begin chemotherapy.
This was when the Zabalas said, “No way!” and turned to something they had a background in: practicing natural health. But due to circumstances, the Zabalas kicked things up a notch. The couple was acquainted with AJ, a knowledgeable staff member of a Nevada health food store. Ralph turned to her for help.
Recommending a diet of raw fruit to amp the Zabalas' efforts, which included bitter apricot pits, Essiac tea, and protein powders, AJ became a valuable resource and a good friend.
Slowly, Ralph began to feel better. By February 2018, he was certain the tumor was shrinking. Encouraged, Ralph added Liquid Light minerals and vitamins to his regimen rather than the Ensure protein drink the doctor had insisted upon. “AJ said no way (to the Ensure),” Ralph notes.
He also gave up animal products, coffee, and sugar in order to reduce the acid in his body.
“It was an easier journey from there,” Ralph says. In fact, Ralph’s health was better than the Zabalas had dreamed. “The sarcoma, like a tree root pushing up concrete, had pushed my left hip out of place,” Ralph notes, “but now, the tumor was rapidly shrinking. The hip went back into place on its own, and the tumor has kept receding.”
To encourage continued healing, Ralph was advised by his new “coaches,” AJ and Ken (another staff member of the health food store) to add Lymph Drainage drops to his protocol. Today, while Ralph has refused a follow-up MRI or radiation, he can feel that the tumor is much smaller than it was.
Ralph no longer has pain and has gone from being bed-ridden to walking with the aid of a walker and cane.
What does his doctor have to say about all this? “My oncologist said to keep doing what I’m doing,” Ralph says with a smile.
If there’s just one thing he can tell the world, it’s this: “Don’t EVER give up. And do try the natural treatment route.” He adds, “I had to act fast, so I agreed initially to radiation. But I’d advise that you explore all routes rather than simply agreeing to treatments you’re not sure about.”
The Zabalas continue to live a vegan lifestyle. “It’s for life,” Ralph says.
We can’t help but agree.