In March of 2013, my mom was diagnosed with Mesothelioma (an environmental lung cancer caused from asbestos exposure). From the start, we were told that "there is no cure" and that "we will do our best to buy time". The only options mom was given were textbook treatment plans of surgery and radiation and chemotherapy protocols determined by "Big Pharma", the FDA and a healthcare delivery system dictated by those entities. She was just another case to be pushed through the rigid assembly line of cancer care. One we knew all too well as she was a breast cancer survivor 14 years prior.
After several rounds of chemotherapy, we saw some brief and hopeful results followed by a sharp downturn of unresponsive treatments. It was then that mom was more open to something less conventional. We overhauled her diet plans with our friends at Revive Chiropractic and Maximized Living and we enrolled her into an alternative healing institution called Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida.
When she started with Hippocrates, mom had a grapefruit sized tumor sticking out from her right scapula causing difficulty breathing, walking, and sleeping. Their protocol was focused on unleashing the power of her body to heal from within and utilized the benefits of wheatgrass and a raw food diet. From the time she arrived she was never treated like a sick and dying cancer patient; she was like any person going through a healing process. We were met with hopefulness and encouragement for the first time.
Mom stayed for three weeks, and I joined her for a week as her "aide". I spent that time learning and studying their philosophy and helping mom with whatever she needed. There was a wheatgrass poultice treatment that the institute encouraged me to perform on her tumor site. I would take the wheatgrass, run it through a juicer, give her a shot of the juice and use the dampened pulp to place over her tumor and bandage. In one week, mom's tumor had shrunk down to the size of a tennis ball and she was able to sleep through the night and on her back without pain for the first time in months. She also gained enough strength to join me for a couple of work-outs without oxygen. We were seeing progress.
After the stay at Hippocrates, mom had to come back home to Ohio. It was the middle of winter and she stayed cooped up in the house. No activity, no sunshine, no vitality. She soon found herself back in the hospital with troubles breathing.
More rounds of X-rays landed her in the James Cancer Center at The Ohio State University. While we were all hopeful, the doctors dismissed her case as "there's nothing more we can do". She laid confined to her hospital bed and their plan of attack was to "keep her out of pain". Not treat her, not attempt a clinical trial, nothing. After 2 weeks in the hospital, she was sent home with a couple days to live, despite having been living vibrantly just two months prior.
Mom passed away less than 2 weeks after she was sent home from James Cancer Center. She was surrounded by her husband and four daughters as she recoiled to take her last breath at 12:07 am as the sounds of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" played over her Pandora. The moment is just as vivid now as in the instant we lost her.
There is a book-worth of stories I wish I could share about my mom and what we learned together. But, that's not the intent of this message. Cancer and chronic health diseases are epidemics. We are less likely to peacefully part with our loved ones from natural causes. Instead, families suffer helplessly relying on a flawed system to fix a problem that ultimately lends fiscal stability to the industry. I refuse to let my mom's death be another statistic.
The mission behind balm skincare is simple: create a better marketplace for those considering or pursuing a healthy and alternative lifestyle. The journey, however, isn't as easy. The food and health industries are saturated, consumerism demands speed and convenience, mass market is still highly conventional and big company marketing has taken liberties with terms like "organic" or "natural". So, what's left are a bunch of busy, over-stimulated consumers that have a desire to lead healthier lives, but have trouble accessing genuinely healthy products.
This is where I think I can help. Studying herbalism combined with my background in laboratory work and physical and chemical sciences, I've been developing my own products since my mom passed. Some failures, and others with amazing results. I'm bringing you the latter. And while this is simply a skincare solution, it's a start to a bigger and broader conversation. And THAT is the ultimate goal.