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Marlene Marcello-McKenna


I am a 23 year terminal cancer survivor, being diagnosed with Stage 4 malignant melanoma in 1986. Between 1983 and 1986, I went through 3 rounds of surgery and visited many medical establishments looking for answers and for "hope".

My younger brother learned about the macrobiotic approach and shared the information with me. He and I went to visit Dr Marc VanCauwenberghe in Boston, MA and
Dr VanCauwenberghe recommended a strict macrobiotic diet.

Hesitant at first and doubtful that anything would help, I embarked on the diet May 1, 1986 and never looked back. My condition began improving within months and I started to regain my strength and my overall health within a year.

I have, over the years, been very vocal and public about my support for a macrobiotic way to health and I was selected to be one of the 6 Best Cases presented to the National Cancer Institute, Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Q: How did you find out about macrobiotics?

Marlene: My younger brother actually went to a psychic in RI to learn what healing method he could use with his son's ear infection. He asked this woman at the end of their meeting what he could do to help me and she very adamantly said "Macrobiotics". He did not know what that was, did his research and brought me Michio Kushi's book, The Cancer Prevention Diet Book.

He took me to a local health food store, we bought many organic vegetables and grains and beans, and started cooking! My brother and I went to have a consultation with Dr Van Cauwenberghe in Brookline and we came back to RI with a program to follow. I found a wonderful group of macrobiotic cooks and we had weekly meals, cooking classes and invited the senior counselors to come to lecture in RI.

Q: How has the macrobiotic approach to healing helped you recover?

Marlene: After three surgeries-one in 1983, one in 1984 and the last one in 1986, I did not have any radiation or chemotherapy. Almost two months after my last surgery I started the macrobiotic diet. I engaged in no other form of therapy or healing modality.

Exercise, yoga, meditation, spirituality and changing my lifestyle were integrated into the macrobiotic way to health. I learned to slow down, and to change my fast-paced, negative thinking lifestyle. I give enormous credit to the diet, the support-both emotional and spiritual-of family and friends.

Q What challenges did you have to go through?

Marlene: I went through many, many challenges. My doctors thought I was crazy to give so much credence to this method of alternative healing. Some of my friends and some family members discouraged me from following this macrobiotic approach.

It was difficult enough to totally change your cooking methods and introduce new foods into your household; but I had the additional burden of defending what I was doing to those around me.

Q: How important is it to have family and community support?

Marlene: It is very important to have the support of family and community! The small but active East-West Center of RI was so central to my staying on course. We had dinners on Friday nights, we had many counselors come to RI to lecture and give consultations. I found the comfort of those who encouraged me to stay on the diet and who believed in my recovery.

Q How did your doctor react to your turnaround in health.?

Marlene: My doctors never really acknowledged the tremendous effect that Macrobiotics had on
my total recovery! They called it spontaneous remission and only after many years, did some of them start looking at holistic medicine and nutrition as a possible resource for those afflicted with cancer.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to new people approaching macrobiotics
for the first time?

Marlene: Stay the course-never give up and believe in the totality of the macrobiotic way to health. Believing in your body's ability to heal itself is key!

- For the past twenty years, Marlene has been very public in promoting Macrobiotics. She has appeared on national radio and TV talk shows; She was featured in articles in national magazines, such as Ladies Home Journal, Your Health, Miracles. She introduced macrobiotics to President Clinton when he was in office-by giving him a copy of Marlene's book to read which you can order at

See Marlene on YouTube below

Also See: The Macrobiotic Guide's Cancer Care Page

Posted: 12th January 2009



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