A 14-Day Healing Journey at the Gerson Clinic in Tijuana: Week Two

Healing Foods at the Gerson Clinic

A 14-Day Healing Journey at the Gerson Clinic in Tijuana: Week Two

You are invited to follow the journey of my family at the Gerson Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico over the next two weeks. We have come here to assist my brother in healing his life-long, chronic migraines. This disease has affected my father and myself as well, as you may have read about in My Story. I will be posting a recap of each day here – the first week from my mother’s perspective while she was my brother’s “companion” & the second week from my perspective, while I was his “companion.”

You can read about my brother’s first week at the Gerson Clinic here.

A brief explanation of what led us to the Gerson Clinic …

Jake started getting headaches when he was four years old for reasons which were not apparent to any of us then. He was repeatedly exposed to various physiological as well as psychological testing in 1991,1992, 1995, 1996,1997, 1998, 2003, 2004 to the present from uncountable different medical groups and MDs. He was born into a family with a history of migraines where myself, our father, grandmother and great-grandmother had migraines. This has been a devastating disease for Jake as well as his family for a very long time. He has been on the brink of being completely disabled due to the severity of his chronic migraines. He has expressed willingness to try the Gerson Therapy as a final attempt to heal.

The premise of the Gerson Therapy is that degenerative diseases, such as cancer, migraines, diabetes, tuberculosis, and fibromylagia overburden and wear down the body’s immune, mineral, enzyme, and hormonal systems. Concurrently, the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system – become toxic and unable to properly filter and eliminate toxins and waste. This leads to chronic illness fueled by toxicity and malnourishment. GT is centered on an organic vegetarian diet, supplemented with up to 13 fresh juices. Meals are simple, such as oatmeal and fruit, a variety of raw, stewed, and roasted vegetables and fruits, and “Hippocrates soup”. Meat is eliminated, as well as added salt. The diet is rich in potassium and strictly organic. The therapy also involves the use of coffee enemas, which aid the body in detoxifying. A non-toxic lifestyle is paramount, with a focus not only on physical healing, but also emotional healing. This therapy was developed by Dr. Max Gerson in the 1920s to cure his own debilitating migraines. Since then, the Gerson Therapy has been used to cure many diseases that the mainstream medical establishment considers “incurable”.

To learn more about the Gerson therapy, please visit the Gerson Institute. I also recommend the Gerson Basics books, which will give you all the details on doing the therapy at home.

Day 8. Saturday, April 9th

Jake was in poor spirits again this morning. He was awakened at 6:15AM to take the castor oil with sweetened coffee by mouth for his castor oil enema (COE) later today. He is unfailingly nice to everyone here even when he is miserable. 

He is still having a very hard time dealing with the constant interruptions and the unique noises of Tijuana. I assured him he was in control of this situation. If it proved too difficult to stay, we would back him up. I went into the tv room while he did his 7AM coffee enema (CE) – had a nice talk with Claude – I so enjoy his company. Jake came in feeling not a lot better, looked at the oatmeal, which was a bit soupy and went back to the room. 

Kitchen staff with roses from our garden

I went in to the table and at 8:30AM, felt a tap on my shoulder – Richard and Jo had arrived! An hour early! They brought roses from the yard. Lovely. Breakfast was bittersweet as one couple would be leaving with us – we gave them a ride across the border to the parking lot where they had left their vehicle. Everyone hugged and there were tears. These people have bonds that are deep.

Dining table at the clinic
Dining table at the clinic

Jake is still pretty low. We both assured him we would stand by him should he feel he can’t stay the full second week, though we told him if he could manage a few more days to have the first COEs while at the clinic, it would be good. 

Hard to leave these extraordinary people I have had the honor to spend time with. This has been an experience I will never forget and will treasure. 

We left TJ at 10-ish and made it across the border in about an hour.  Had a medical pass, which allowed us to go around most of the border traffic.

We arrived home around 2PM. Roses are blooming like crazy. It’s gray and chilly and supposed to rain tonight. I made Hippocrates soup, potatoes, and salad – cleaned the house and did laundry. Ready for bed!

Roses in our garden at home
Roses in our garden at home

This posting brings to a close my mother’s week-long journey as Jake’s companion at the clinic. Now the story moving forward is told from my perspective while I accompanied him during his 2nd week.

Day 8. Saturday, April 9th

Dad picked me up from San Diego around 7:30AM, it was great to see him. He looks so healthy. He brought fresh hand-cut roses from their garden to leave in Jake’s room and the dining room at the clinic.

I arrived at the clinic around 9AM to find Jake feeling very discouraged about staying here another week. It was time for mom to go home and I would take over as his companion. He had understandable issues and concerns, things that are problematic for a migraineur, like the change of his sleep schedule, being interrupted during his enemas by the cleaning ladies, dumpster/trash pick up at 2AM, car alarms, etc. These are little things that add up, especially coupled with the detox reactions.

View of Tijuana
View of Tijuana

The emotional energy was high at the clinic this morning, we arrived during breakfast and I was overwhelmed by the tenderness in the air. Mom was leaving and 2 others were leaving with them as well, there were tears and hugs and well wishes.

We had a conversation before my folks left to make it clear to Jake that we are all here to support him, not to make him feel imprisoned and hopeless. They made it clear that Jake has the option to leave should he choose and recommended that he just wait it out another few days to get supervision through the castor oil enemas (COEs) and make sure he handles the detox response okay. I think this is wise and I’m grateful Jake was able to understand this. You can tell he wants to stick it out and he voices how grateful he is for the opportunity, but there’s just a part of him that needs his comforts. The part that we all struggle with as humans. We are creatures of comfort and that reality is especially apparent when embarking on a restricted lifestyle and dietary protocol such as GT. Nonetheless, it is worth it.

My husband’s & my view at our home in Idaho

As my husband and I discussed a few days ago during a walk in the woods, we kept finding ourselves looking down at the ground so we wouldn’t twist our ankle on the uneven earth beneath our feet. We were outside in perfect spring weather, walking in some of the most beautiful land in America, yet our perspective was focused on the dirt and mud, instead of the birds, trees, wind, and best of all, the spring flowers that were blossoming around us. We kept laughing and reminding each other to pick our heads up, straighten our posture, and look forward instead of down. This is an analogy to our perspectives about life. Jake’s head was stuck in the mud this morning. I often find mine there too, especially when I’m having a detox response.

He took a shower after mom and dad left and his attitude lifted. We had a good chat about my experience with GT (I’ve been on it for one month now), as well as other changes I’ve made and how they’ve affected me. He mentioned how he thinks our family should start a migraine clinic in the states that offers this kind of therapy and education to others. I told him we should do it.

We went for a walk around 10:30AM to the beach. It was windy and slightly warm; I enjoyed the fresh air. We discussed how odd it is… The Mexico/US border. Our view from the beach… You could see so much of San Diego’s coast.

IMG_0059 (2)

We got back to the clinic and he took me on a tour of the grounds. He started saying positive things about it, how it’s actually pretty nice here, just a few things that drive him crazy. Many positive things coming from him now, even saying this is a good learning experience and agreeing with my comment that if we were to open a migraine clinic, that this place is such a good example of what we could do similarly.

Felix told us that they would have the room next door to us cleaned and ready for us to move into it by this afternoon… More space, larger bathroom. Jake is feeling good about the room change. Kind of like a fresh start to the week, with a fresh support person as well. I know he can handle this another week, but I also understand the importance of him being in a less stressful and more comfortable living situation that may lower his sensitivity a bit. It’s a juggle act trying to determine what’s best.

Nurses came in to help Jake administer his castor oil enema around 11:30AM – I’m down in the tv room now while he does that. Dr. Cervantes will be doing a supplement and clay pack lecture at noon, so I’m looking forward to that.

See my video and blog post about using Clay Packs for treating migraines and other detox reactions.

Noon – lecture and demonstration on supplement, injections, and clay and castor oil packs. This was my first time meeting Dr. Cervantes, the treating doctor at the clinic. He seems very friendly.

A few things I learned from the lecture:

  • Vitamin D & K are liposoluble oils that are better absorbed when taken with oil (flax seed oil on GT).
  • Vitamin C is very important for absorption of iron. That’s one reason why fruit is important in diet. Adding a little lemon to vegetables will help with absorption of iron.
  • Castor Oil enemas are difficult for patients who are extremely sick, especially with digestive issues. Should be used slowly and cautiously at first.
  • When administering liver/B12 injections, bend the leg to help relax muscles and ease process
  • The clay pack is very helpful with detox reactions, migraines, headaches, neck aches, fever, inflammation, arthritis, digestive problems, and much more
  • Castor oil packs can be used 10 minutes before an enema to help release bile and lymph circulation; helps enema efficacy – apply over right side of abdomen, around the liver – in a C shape.
  • A nurse with the clay that is used for clay packs.
    A nurse with the clay that is used for clay packs.
Lunch with Hippocrates soup and my supplements (I’m on GT too)

Lunch was at 1PM, what a spread! Delicious salad, shredded beets and carrots, bell peppers, roasted potatoes, roasted butternut squash, and roasted cabbage. Fresh homemade salsa, tasted like it was made from blended carrots, apples, tomato, lemon and cilantro. Also, Hippocrates soup, and a tomato/jicama/radish salad. Organic, fresh, and delicious. Jake and I discussed how this plain, simple food has flavors and a richness we had never picked up on before. Removing salt and all the extra stuff allows your taste buds to sense the food’s true flavors.

Lawrence, Jake, & Claude

We enjoyed talking to Lawrence during lunch about his 2 weeks here, which are wrapping up soon. He’s headed back home and said this has been such a tremendous experience. You look into his eyes and sense he is a genuine man with a very big heart. His eyes have a softness to them, an honest vulnerability. Everyone is so friendly and supportive and encouraging here, the staff, the patients, and their companions.

After lunch, we found out that the room was ready for us to change over to has been a nice upgrade.

5PM – Had a nice chat with Claude and Daniel in the tv room while our companions did their coffee breaks.

Claude has property on the big island in Hawaii. He retired young and built an off-the-grid home on the wet side, Hilo, of the island. He explained that there was a dry side – Kona and a wet side – Hilo. Since he gathers his water from the roof runoff, it made sense to live on the wet side of the island. “Water is life” he told me multiple times.

Daniel & his mother, from Monterrey, Mexico
Daniel & his mother, from Monterrey, Mexico

Daniel is here with his mother and he owns a Middle Eastern restaurant on the beach near Monterrey, Mexico. He told us the story of how they heard about the Gerson Clinic from his mother’s friend. Her friend had a 20lb tumor that had metastasized and she had tried chemo and radiation, just continued to get more and more sick and was told she would die soon. She decided to fly to the Gerson Clinic and it has been 6 years since she healed and has continued to stay cancer-free. What an inspirational story!

We were interrupted by Lawrence – dinner call… We enjoyed another healthy spread of medicinal food and are now back in the room relaxing. Jake is in excellent spirits, his COE went well and he even listened to my recommendation to eat the soup, even if he doesn’t like it, because it is important medicine in the protocol. I told him to take as much as me, just a small scoop, which will be better than nothing. I explained to him how it helps his kidneys and detox and he mentioned he had kidney pain lately, so that was another incentive for him to have some soup. He got a small bowl of soup for himself.

Day 9. Sunday, April 10th

Jake said his headache from yesterday continued through the night and he awoke with it as well. His head felt better after the first morning CE. He seems in good spirits, the weather is sunny with a cool breeze. We had breakfast – Jake had two servings of the oatmeal.

Oatmeal, fresh applesauce, raisins, and cantaloupe.
Oatmeal, fresh applesauce, raisins, and cantaloupe.

Claude, Lawrence, Jake and I went for a walk after breakfast to see if we could find The Dali Hotel. Lawrence is planning on returning to TJ and is looking for a nice place to stay where he can continue his Gerson protocol. We walked around looking for the hotel and eventually stumbled upon it after a meandering, scenic walk through the neighborhood. The hotel was immaculate as well as peaceful, serene, and beautifully landscaped.

The Dali Hotel
The Dali Hotel
The Dali Hotel

The fellow who helped us at the Dali Hotel walked in with a greasy Carl’s Jr bag of food and Claude just about started to drool. Claude got directions to the fast food joint and we headed in that direction. The Carl’s Jr was the nicest one I’d ever seen – modern, spacious, clean… We all remarked how nice it was, especially for a fast food joint. Lawrence, Jake, and I reminisced about french fries and comfort food and I tried to encourage and share with them my experience with Gerson cooking. We can still have fries, they are just baked without oil… And I told them about the different techniques for making crispy potato puffs versus fries or other foods. There is hope to enjoy healthier versions of comfort food, even while on the Gerson protocol. One just has to start experimenting.

Juices are served with your room number or name ... and sometimes a smiley face.
Juices are served with your room number or name … and sometimes a smiley face.

Jake and I continue to feel hungry in between meals here. I’m feeling headachy from it. Gerson companions receive 3 juices per day while at the clinic. This has ended up being 2 juices because I cannot drink the orange juice they serve me in the morning. I have requested a different juice and am waiting to find out if that will be possible. The Gerson protocol I was doing before I came to accompany my brother was 6 juices per day. I have found these juices really help supplement my meals and keep my blood sugar stable. Going down to 2-3 juices per day with minimal or no snacking in between is difficult for me. No snacking for Jake is difficult too, especially while transitioning to Gerson eating. They have a bowl of fruit available all the time, but I think more options should be available. Jake is doing 10 juices a day and after seeing the amount he eats per meal, I feel it is very important for him to be getting more food in him.

Don’t get me wrong, the food here is delicious and makes you feel great. Lunch was mixed green salad, tomato salad, veggie noodle salad, baked potatoes, baked spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, steamed broccoli, and Hippocrates soup. I think because I’ve been cooking Gerson for a little bit, I have experienced the variety that comes with using spices such as garlic, Rosemary, dill, lemon sage … Balsamic vinegar … Apple oatmeal bake … 

Jake didn’t get his 12PM juice, so I attempted to ask the cooks about it. It is difficult to communicate here if you do not speak Spanish. Even had some miscommunications with the doctor about the juice. After some hand gestures and broken Spanish, I think I understood that Jake’s schedule changed today and he is no longer on 10 juices a day. It would have been good to notify him of the schedule change.

3PM – Jake and I went down to the beach and walked along the boardwalk. Lots of cute dogs and vendors selling chili mango fruit bowls, fresh coconut drinks, churros, and candy. Families and kids everywhere. We came to a crowded outdoor venue with a children’s dance contest being hosted by clowns. Little girls and boys, probably 3-5 years old danced awkwardly to Mexican dance tunes. We watched and laughed for a bit and then continued on down the boardwalk. 

Vendors on the beach boardwalk
Vendors on the beach boardwalk
Outdoor venue on boardwalk
Outdoor venue on boardwalk

Enjoyed seeing all the graffiti and public art all over the place. Took many pics of it. Smelled stinky most of the walk, we were discussing whether we were walking above raw sewage…. Right next to the beach. After stopping at the border fence, we decided to return to the clinic on the street just above and parallel to the beach. 

The street was lined with restaurants and bars, many displaying fresh mussels and clams. Jake and I walked past one place in particular that just about made us crack, the idea of a carne asada or fish taco was so tempting, but not worth it. 

Colorful & toxic temptations on the street
Colorful & toxic temptations on the street

At one point during our return walk, we peered over a tall concrete wall to find a sewage treatment plant that still had visible raw sewage floating around, although it looked long forgotten and out of commission… right next to the beach.

It was a nice walk and I feel a little worn out and headachy now. I snacked on the watermelon fruit salad and a potato/broccoli dish I had stashed in our hot room from lunch… Both only seemed to make me hungrier. Looking forward to eating soon!

6PM – Jake came down for dinner from his CE saying that his stomach was really hurting, looked like upper GI pain from where he was rubbing. Thinking it may be from the CE, possibly because the mixture was too strong and that he was starving. He still managed to drink his juice and eat a good serving of potatoes, carrots, and salad. He passed up the other veggie dishes. I served myself a giant plate of food and afterward felt sleepy and full. Am still wishing I had some apple bake to top it all off.

Told Jake we should talk to the doc if the pain gets any worse. He is still down in the dining room chatting with Lawrence and Claude. I’m in bed in a food coma. Jake just came back to the room and said his stomach is a little better. We are going to watch Kung Fu Hustle.

Shop on the boardwalk
Shop on the boardwalk

8PM – Jake posted on the Gerson Therapy Support Facebook group: “I’m on day 8 of Gerson protocol and I’ve finally had a migraine free day in 26 years, without the aid of pharmaceuticals. I feel like a different person, truly hope this continues.”

Street art
Street art
More colorful art on the beach boardwalk
More colorful art on the beach boardwalk
Art & bench
Art & bench

Day 10. Monday, April 11th

A view of Dr. Cervantes' desk
A view of Dr. Cervantes’ desk

Trash came in the middle of the night and it was the first time I had been exposed to such noise while here at the clinic. I guess last time it happened, one of the patients here, a Navy veteran, thought they were under some sort of attack because the noise was so alarming and loud. It certainly is disruptive of any peaceful sleep for the night. Everyone who came to breakfast today seemed to be tired from the disrupted sleep and noise.

We woke up to a 6AM phone call from the nurses station – they asked Jake to come down for his vitals, second lab work, and to get his castor oil/coffee drink. Today is a COE day for him. He was understandably frustrated at the early wake up call – they seem to be getting earlier and earlier each day. I left the room so he could have some space to wake up and get settled in to doing his morning routine.

Jake came down feeling extremely nauseated from drinking the sweet coffee/castor oil and looked like he was trying to not throw up. We returned to his room with peppermint tee. He ate breakfast in the room and it was visible how sick he was feeling. He is so kind and soft-hearted even when he feels so terrible. I encouraged him to keep drinking the peppermint tea and that the nausea will pass.

Lawrence, Orlando, Claude, myself, & Jake
Lawrence, Orlando, Claude, myself, & Jake

8:30AM – Lawrence and Claude leave today after being here for 2 weeks. What terrific guys, and what a wonderful friend Claude is to come support Lawrence while he was a patient here. I enjoyed talking to Claude about his property in the Hawaiiwan “bush” of Hilo. He showed me photos and I was particularly interested in all the off-the-grid specifications. It makes so much sense to live modestly, within your means, and utilize natural resources and energy. We had a nice conversation about traveling and the peace and health that comes from living in a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We will miss their company and friendship.

9AM – Class on supplements, injections, and castor oil/ coffee enemas. Dr. Cervantes came in early and he asked about Jake. I told him he was feeling pretty lousy due to the coffee/castor oil. Doctor said this is actually good, that the sweetened coffee/castor oil is doing it’s job removing a lot of the toxins. He said Jake should probably feel better by 11AM and that he can do a normal CE instead of a COE at 11:30 to help with the detox. I went and let Jake know. He said he’s just having really bad stomach pains.

Class on supplements was great, I tried to film it last minute and the storage on my camera ran out half way. Disappointing, as this would be an excellent video to share with others.

10AM – Jake seems to be feeling a little better, he’s hanging out in the room drawing and resting until his next CE. Hoping he will feel up to going for a walk later, as getting some fresh air will do him good. The weather is beautiful today – sunny and 65 degrees.

I asked Felix today about getting me a juice that wasn’t orange juice (a migraine trigger for me) and he wasn’t able to make any changes for me. I understand they have protocol with all this and that their priority is the patient, not me. I didn’t take the time to explain I went down from 6 juices on my own GT protocol to 2 now that I’m at the clinic, with the removal of the OJ.

Kitchen staff
Kitchen staff

The kitchen staff is full of joy and positive energy – they sing while they cook and you can always smell delicious food coming from the kitchen. Dr. Cervantes is one of the most caring, thoughtful, and humble doctors I’ve ever encountered. He mentioned how much he enjoys learning from his patients and that we all have an opportunity to learn from one another while we are here at the clinic.

1PM – Lunch was great – the usual spread of green salad, vegetable salad, potatoes, carrots, corn, asparagus, and for dessert a delicious and fragrant baked pear and guava casserole. Jake was visibly distraught at lunch and he left after his meal. I found him sitting in the courtyard with his pill case in his lap. So many emotions flowing through him – feelings of always being hungry, frustration with cultural differences of other patients, irritability due to feeling out of control. His stomach has been hurting all morning due to the COE as well. He did say he woke up with a headache today and it went away after his noon CE, so that’s good.

1:30PM – Jake continues to be starving before, during, and after meals. He’s lost 5 lbs so far. He’s burnt out today and feels like if he were at home, he could cook within the protocol parameters but just use things he likes to eat and snack on. Honestly, at this point… I agree. I encouraged him that the foods are prepared here in a specific way to make them more digestible and preserve their nutrients.  He has learned how to do the CEs and COEs and has experienced the food here. I will continue to encourage him about staying, but also let him know that he is in control.

2:45PM – I went to the doctor’s office to discuss early withdrawal for Jake and also had a conversation with Felix about it. We need to sort out the supplements, final protocol, and lab tests. I also asked Felix what we could do about him always being starving in between meals and he suggested we have the cooks make him five small meals a day instead of three large ones. This will be closer to how Jake eats at home (and me too!) I’m relieved they can do this, but slightly frustrated that it wasn’t addressed on day two or three instead of day 10.

Been checking on Jake every hour or so – he says he’s feeling lazy and content resting in the room. He said he’s been cold all day, whereas I’ve been really quite warm. May be related to his detox or some imbalance in his biochemistry.

Stumbled upon a pianist in the courtyard during “music hour” at the clinic. I sat down with a few others and enjoyed the sounds of jazz. It was lovely music, quite peaceful and enjoyable. You can see a video of the pianist below.

Jake came down for dinner after his 5:30 CE and seemed like he was feeling better. He got seconds on food and was happy about the beets they served just to him, per my request for a snack for him in between meals. He was chatty and had a completely different demeanor. Daniel and Ricky joined us and we discussed Daniel’s Mediterranean restaurant located in Playa Escondido, Mexico. Jake perked up upon hearing where the restaurant was located… near a popular surf spot that has been on his travel list. 

One of the companions mentioned earlier that his wife was struggling recently with the CEs and feeling like giving up and giving in to dying. He said she was having intense cramping after the CEs that caused her too much distress. She came down to dinner and was visibly quite ill. Her husband is such a strong, positive influence; it breaks my heart seeing both of them consumed with the reality of being very sick. Everyone here is so friendly to us, you really start to feel like family.

7:15PM – Jake and I are back in the room having a chat. He said he is grateful to have come to the clinic and has learned a lot. He enthusiastically mentioned he’s been thinking about different foods he can cook while on the GT… we talked about layered caramelized apple oatmeal bake as well as ways to prep food ahead of time and reheat in toaster oven as needed. He mentioned this is the longest he has gone in years in not taking an Imitrex injection. He thinks it’s been 3-4 days. This realization and progress is worth celebrating! 

Jake has been having really vivid, strange dreams over the last few days. I remember the same thing happened to me during GT. Part of the detox. We have been laughing for days about one particular dream he described to me about rollerblading on the freeway and fighting ninjas. Sounded pretty cool to me. As Dr. Cervantes explained to us, “Many things can happen in the detox, all related to your past, including strange dreams, emotions, memories, etc.”

One of Jake's pieces of art
One of Jake’s pieces of art

Jake had a tough day from the very minute the nurse called him down bright and early for his vitals and COE drink. He handled it well and impressed me with how he recovered. Everyone here was asking about him throughout the day – we will be leaving here with new friends from all around the world.

Day 11. Tuesday, April 12th

We woke up to a knock on the door at 6:40AM – nurse had brought Jake his gruel, which he is not very fond of. It’s really not all that bad and such a great substance for someone who is very sick. I came downstairs to grab the thermoses of coffee, hot water, and tea and greeted the guard who sits next to the entrance throughout the night.

Jake said he didn’t have a headache but within 5 minutes, realized he had a small morning headache. It went away after his morning CE.

We went to breakfast and he had a huge bowl of oatmeal with bananas and honey and his apple juice. He was brought a special smoothie of organic yogurt and fruit. He entertained all of us at the table with videos of near shark-attacks. I told him we would all have nightmares now. His attitude was chipper and positive and he seemed to be feeling well physically. One of the patients walked into the dining room with a giant smile on her face and she was radiating warm energy. Jake and I both noticed how much better she seemed to be feeling from yesterday.

Jake had his follow-up appointment with the doc around 10AM. We sat down in his office and he pulled out a folder with photos and showed us his time working as the on-call doctor for the filming of the movie Titanic. He had an autographed photo of Leonardo DiCaprio and spoke fondly of the experience.

Jake with Dr. Cervantes
Jake with Dr. Cervantes

Doc asked how Jake was doing, how he’s eating, how the Ces and COEs are going, etc. Dr. Cervantes is an exceptional doctor with a welcoming heart and warm demeanor. He is enthusiastic – he took a long time to help us understand and compare Jake’s 1st and 2nd lab results (they were in Spanish) and help us understand the significance of each.

He told Jake to stop the COEs for now, as it will help his appetite return and the castor oil could be affecting his absorption of nutrients.

We discussed the issues Jake has been having with being hungry often and the doc recommended a bowl of oatmeal with fruit in between breakfast and lunch and some fruit in the afternoon in between lunch and dinner. He asked if Jake likes the Hippocrates soup and Jake said, “not really, trying to get used to it.” I am hit and miss with the soup as well, but it definitely grows on you as time goes on. The doc said it takes time to get used to it – that he loves it now and uses it as gravy on all his vegetables. He ordered extra vegetables with Jake’s meals while at the clinic – steamed spinach with lunch and steamed broccoli with dinner.

He asked Jake about his migraines/headaches and Jake told him he’s been having them first thing in the morning, that the CE usually takes them away. Asked Jake if he was having headaches at night and told him to do a CE in the middle of the night if he wakes up with one.

He asked Jake if he was feeling weak due to the weight loss and lower food intake (he’s a self-proclaimed picky eater, with migraine-related psychological ties to food) and told him that low blood sugar and low salt could contribute to this, as well as less protein intake. Recommended to add cooked celery to diet for sodium and to snack on as much fruit as he wants throughout the day. Doc also said to add a lentil/vegetable soup in at lunch to help with protein and strength.

A chart the doc shared showing the relationship between teeth and organs in the body
A Chinese medicine meridian chart the doc shared showing the relationship between teeth and organs in the body

One thing I found interesting is that Dr. Cervantes is a realist. He is sincerely empathetic and wants to find the best solution unique to each patient. He explained to Jake that his protocol is a “modified-modified therapy” because he is young and has specific dietary needs for his health and migraines. He said Jake could have a small amount of animal protein sparingly during the week – 1-2x. This could be organic plain yogurt, fish, or organic chicken.

Back to the labs results – most everything looked normal, with some positive changes. His kidneys are working much better and now filtering like never before, according to the doc. He said Jake may see “UFOs” from his CEs or COEs – Unidentified Floating Objects, such as intestinal filaments and parasites. It’s part of “cleaning house” he said.

Jake’s liver function is good, as are his red and white blood cells. His thyroid function is good, so he doesn’t need Lugols iodine or dessicated thyroid. His PH is still slightly acidic but is becoming more basic. The doc said acidic PH is part of detoxing and will continue to level out on GT, especially with the diet.

Sodium is not the problem, doc said, it’s the added salt in everyone’s diet. We get plenty of sodium through whole foods. The body starts to accumulate salt in the organs and skin, causing damaged tissue syndrome. Too much salt can paralyze taste buds, Dr. Cervantes explained. With GT, you remove added salt and the taste buds wake up to how foods taste naturally. I have noticed this myself, that there are complex and satisfying flavors within foods that I had never picked up on.

His urine still has mucous and is cloudy, a sign of significant detoxification and a healing reaction, according to Dr. Cervantes. Overall, the doc said Jake is detoxing really well and making excellent progress. I believe it’s been 3 days since Jake has had a migraine and been free of taking pharmaceuticals!

Two publications the doctor recommended: Nutrition Action Magazine & Medicinal Herbs book
Two publications the doctor recommended: Nutrition Action Magazine & Medicinal Herbs book

Doc let me borrow his book Guide to Medicinal Herbs by Dr. Weil and explained to me how much he loves herbs and Chinese medicine. He photocopied a herbal remedy for migraines that he recommended for me.

We had a busy day today! After the appointment with the doc, we went to a dentist to have a consult about Jake’s teeth. He had one mercury filling and a handful of cavities. It was a Biological Dentist, someone that is trained in safe ways to remove toxic materials, such as mercury and other heavy metals. You can read about the importance of dental health and heavy metal toxicity here. The dentist the clinic sent Jake to was top-notch, with excellent service and prices about half of what you’d pay in the states.

The dentist's office we went to
The dentist’s office we went to

Dr. Cervantes told us to always use a Biological Dentist for this kind of dental work and to make sure they follow safety protocol, such as using a dental dam, proper air filtration, and providing an injection of Vitamin C if necessary to help chelate heavy metals.

1PM – Lunch was delicious – they served cabbage rolls with fresh tomato sauce, beets, salad, potatoes, and other vegetable salads.

Cabbage rolls
Cabbage rolls

After lunch, we went for a walk to the beach, it was a bit windy and overcast, but I enjoyed the cool weather. Jake was chilly. This time we walked down the steps next to the lifeguard station and to the right on the rocks. The ocean backs up to a sandy cliff, which has been carved with a large figure of Jesus, Aztec art, hearts, and other designs. It was quite fascinating. We both took a lot of photos. We continued along the boardwalk and it felt great to get some exercise.

The supplements guy was waiting for us when we returned from our walk and he helped Jake order his supplements.

3 months of supplements
3 months of supplements
3 months of supplements plus chamomile tea
3 months of supplements plus chamomile tea

6PM – Joined everyone for dinner and Jake ate more food than I’ve seen him eat since he’s been here. The cooks brought him a few special vegetable items and he had seconds. A few people at the table commented on how he must be feeling better with how much he was eating. I definitely wish I was bilingual at this point, we are in the minority as English speakers. Even the European couple here can speak Spanish.

After dinner, Daniel brought up a card for us to sign for one of the patients who is leaving in two days. Daniel and his mother are so thoughtful, I continually notice them bringing juice to someone, encouraging another patient who is feeling low, opening the door for me when my hands are full, and setting napkins and silverware on the table for others. Their selfless and servant attitude is humbling and encouraging.

Day 12. Wednesday, April 13th

Jake and I both didn’t sleep well. I had a hard time falling asleep. I woke up at 6:30AM and brought him his coffee, chamomile tea, and water for the CE. I chatted with my husband on Skype down in the TV room while Jake did his CE.

We had breakfast and then went back to the room. Jake’s in good spirits today, he is migraine-free and medication-free yet again. We rested in the room and I did some work – catching up on emails. It’s another beautiful day outside, sunny and a bit warm. Very nice in the shade.

Yoga by the pool
Yoga by the pool

I attended a yoga class at noon and tried to keep up with the Spanish instructions. The class was held outside since it was such a nice day – it felt good to stretch. After yoga was lunch and it was another colorful spread of fruits and veggies. I laughed as we sat down because our plates were overflowing with an array of nutritious food, more than I’ve ever been known to eat. Jake’s and my favorite was the roasted caramelized plantains. So rich and delicious, a wonderful dessert.

Roasted sweet plantains
Roasted sweet plantains

I’ve discovered being a new vegetarian on GT that I must eat a lot of food if I’m able to. Jake and I were both raised on a Texan diet heavy on meats – and were both eating “Paleo” before this change to GT. My metabolism has revved up thanks to GT and that means I’m hungry more often.

Here’s a video of lunch at the clinic.

Dr. Cervantes stopped in to Jake’s room to see how he’s doing and just for a casual chat. I find his kind and gentle demeanor so refreshing.

After lunch we went back to the dentist for remaining dental work. Jake was in and out within 45 minutes – he greeted me in the waiting room with a layer of sweat on his forehead. Going to a dentist makes him anxious. He seemed very relieved that the appointment was over and happy with how well everything went.

We decided to walk back to the clinic instead of get a lift. We passed a nice looking restaurant called El Yogurt Place Comida Natural and I had to check out their menu. Sounded yummy. We continued toward the beach and followed the border fence pathway that led to the ocean. It was a good walk, although a bit warm and sunny for my liking. Here’s some photos of our walk along the border fence back to the clinic.

Day 13. Thursday, April 14th

A message to patients & companions on their departure day
A message to patients & companions on their departure day

We both slept well, thank goodness. I awoke with a headache and so did Jake. Probably due to detoxing and being hungry from being hungry. Jake did his am CE and said his head was better.

Breakfast left both of us hungry again and my headache seemed to be slowly growing. I knew I needed to do a CE – I’ve gone down from my 6 juices and 2 CEs per day to no CEs and 2 juices a day while a companion at the clinic (3 juices is typical for companions but I couldn’t drink the OJ and was disappointed that they could not accommodate my juice allergy).

We went to the dentist a third time for a few final things; each experience has been great. I would definitely come back to him – Jake commented that he’s the best dentist he has ever been to.

Bouquet of roses
Bouquet of roses

10AM – Parents arrived to pick us up. Dad brought a lovely bouquet of fresh roses. They each had a unique fragrance and seemed to bring joy to the patients at the clinic. He also brought his favorite rose bush to plant at the clinic, a red long-stemmed rose called Mr. Lincoln, as a memento to this life-changing experience for Jake. Our friends at the clinic prayed for everyone leaving (6 people left today), and then we all hugged and bid each other farewell.

Mr. Lincoln, a memento left from our family
Mr. Lincoln, a memento left from our family

Dr. Cervantes walked with us to our vehicle and chatted with us while we loaded up. We told him about our desire to start a family migraine foundation to help educate others and guide them to heal – he said he would help us however he could. His support and expertise will be such a blessing.

Myself, Jake, & Dr. Cervantes
Myself, Jake, & Dr. Cervantes

11AM – Felix gave us a medical pass for the border crossing. The kitchen staff sent Jake with all his juices and a large bag of snacks and meals for the day. We also received documents for the border for Jake’s three-month supply of supplements and the food. Typically, you cannot bring any produce across the border, so we had a document from Felix explaining the medical need for the food. Thanks to the medical pass, we made it across the border within about 20 minutes. Crossing over on the weekend can lead to a 1-3 hour wait.

Border traffic
Border traffic
And more border traffic
And more border traffic

1PM – We made it to Jake’s house and helped him get settled in. He was tired, hungry, and a bit stressed upon arriving home. We whipped up a batch of coffee concentrate, hot water, and chamomile tea for his CEs and left him to settle in. The emotions were a bit tense at his place and it affected all of us. 


Day 14. Friday, April 15th

The beach near my parent's home in CA
The beach near my parent’s home in CA

Today has been a good day. Everyone is getting settled into the new routine with helping Jake learn about doing his protocol without the help of the clinic.

Currently Jake, my father, and I are on GT. My mother is doing 3 juices and 1 CE a day as well. Since I’m in town still, my juicing protocol has been blended with theirs. My parents have a “system” for juicing and my mother is quite insistent on doing all of it for us. This means she is making 29 juices a day. 10 for Jake, 10 for dad, 6 for me and 3 for her. Whew!

Salad at home
Salad at home

I keep trying to help with clean up and anything else – cooking, delivery of food and juices to Jake at his home, etc. But I am worried that she will burn out quickly. I leave in two days, so that relieves some of the burden. The goal is to teach Jake over the next week, depending on how he’s feeling, to do the juices and cooking. My parents will continue to help. But the reality is that this is not sustainable for mom. She’s a warrior and will do anything it takes to heal our family.

My dad is five months into his GT and experiencing very intense detox reactions. He’s felt like he has had the flu off and on and says the most challenging aspect is the cognitive fog. I found him this afternoon sitting at the computer trying to work and I could tell he was just kind of dingy and unable to juggle the myriad of tasks he needed to do. He took me up on my offer of bringing him a pain triad and then allowed me to massage his head on the couch. My intention was to help his headache and also force him to rest. He needs rest. Him and mom have been pushing through the detox flare ups and healing reactions to get Jake to and from the clinic as well as remodel, clean, and prepare Jake’s kitchen. It’s been a whirlwind and I can imagine they must both be exhausted. Yet the continue to push through this. I worry about the weight of all this on them.

Jake's art
Jake’s art
More art by Jake
More art by Jake

I visited with Jake today and he seemed in good spirits. He looked exceptionally healthy and glowing. When I stopped by his house, he gave me a fun art lesson on using dyes and resin. He’s very talented. I asked him if he ended up with a migraine yesterday, as he was showing his typical migraine irritability and frustration, as well as an emotional outburst upon arriving home… he told me he didn’t get a migraine at all. This is yet another sign of great progress! Typically, all of the stress and other triggers would have been a guarantee of a migraine for him on a day like that. AMAZING!

This brings us to the end of Jake’s 14-day healing journey, with 12 of those days being at the Gerson Clinic in Las Playas de Tijuana and two days following his return home. I will keep you updated on his progress as time goes on!


Jake doing an art demo
Jake doing an art demo


Here is an excerpt from a post my father shared on the Gerson Support Group:

“Picked Jake and his sister up from the clinic yesterday. 12 days at the clinic. 1 abortive injection on day 2 and for the remaining 10 days no migraines. Jake tells me he split an Imitrex tablet in two and took the halves at different times but after day 2 migraines diminished and ceased and minor headaches were controlled with CEs.

26 years of migraines just ceases in a few days on non-mal GT, although with liver enzymes injections as well as vitamin b injections. I will leave it to you to decide if Gerson Therapy cures migraines but Jake has embraced the protocol Dr. Cervantes has prescribed. Dr. C. calls it modified-modified GT to allow flexibility for an active lifestyle.

Dr. Cervantes is a breath of fresh air. Undoubtedly a doctor living in multiple worlds but as much philosopher and explorer.

We mainly know GT as a cancer therapy, but it is much more. If you have migraines explore Dr. Gerson’s ideas and his books.  Pharmaceuticals will get migrainers nowhere expect to a miserable minimal expensive existence. Jake was the poster child for the failure of a pharmaceutical approach to dealing with migraines. Every intervention known had been tried and tried multiple times. He had been poked and prodded, told it was in his head, he could control them, he could start or stop them. He had tried all the drugs developed for other diseases which by the way did something for migraines sometimes for someone. For 26 years. They are gone in days on GT. GT works. The future is whole food plant based nutrition. Dr. Gerson figured this all out a long time ago.”

Thanks for reading! Have you done Gerson Therapy? What has the experience been like for you?

*Photos & names have been used with permission from patients and companions*

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4 thoughts on “A 14-Day Healing Journey at the Gerson Clinic in Tijuana: Week Two

  1. Sue says:

    Yes, I encourage Jake to take as much soup as they let him for his kidneys. I have a quart a day. It has cut my high kidney numbers down to low normal and i am so pleased.

  2. Thanks for including all of us on your brother’s journey to wellness. Very impressed how your family has embraced and remained committed to the Gerson Therapy. What a team….Bravo!

  3. Great job Team Herdell! Jojo, you are such a blessing to everyone suffering from migraines, doing all you can to openly share your insight and expertice gained from decades of relentless self experimentation, study, & struggle. Thanks for being such a servant to others. You haven’t just defeated migraine, you’ve shared that victory with the world. You’re an angel.

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