How to Beat the Odds Against A Devastating Diagnosis

May 1, 2019

Did you know that people who overcome devastating diagnoses like terminal cancer have traits they all share in common?

I’m sure you’ve heard that my life partner and the founder of UNI KEY Health, James Templeton, released his memoir, I Used to Have Cancer, last week, and I’m thrilled that it’s already climbing to the top of the Amazon rankings. More than thirty years ago, James beat terminal Stage IV Melanoma cancer – after his doctors had given up on him. I was fortunate to meet him only a few years into his victory over this tenacious disease and I’m honored to be part of this amazing man’s life.

James, like so many other survivors of devastating diagnoses, has a thirst for knowledge and a passion for seeking out the root causes of diseases that don’t have easy answers. This fire in him was the driving force behind his vision for UNI KEY Health – he lives to teach and provide resources for everyone to heal. It’s also the reason he wrote this book for you. You see, one of the traits that people who overcome terminal cancer is they live with a purpose, and even after he lost everything to cancer – his wife and baby daughter, his businesses, and his health – he found a new purpose for his life and found his reason to fight.

James is not alone in his radical recovery. The Institute of Noetic Sciences created the Spontaneous Remission Project, which is a collection of over 3,500 medically documented case studies of people who experienced spontaneous remissions from diseases they had deemed incurable. Clinicians and researchers like Bernie Siegel, MD and Kelly A. Turner, PhD have delved deeper into this subject to answer the questions: “Why? What do all of these people have in common that make them survivors?”

I was thrilled to discover that the traits I’ve seen in James over the years that give him such a fighting spirit are the very same characteristics that shape and define the people who have radical, spontaneous, remissions from these so-called incurable diseases. Today, I’d like to share with you 5 reasons James found he can proudly say, “I Used to Have Cancer.”

1. Find Your Why and Commit to Yourself

What makes life worth living for you? Healing is hard work, and good health is a pursuit that lasts your entire lifetime. You have to live your life with a purpose and realize that you alone are worth the battle. What started out as James wanting to see himself vibrantly healthy, spread to him wanting to share that knowledge with others. He and I share that purpose and it’s what makes us such a strong couple.

Once you find your why, you need to fully commit to doing whatever it takes to heal. You need to completely believe that the path you take is the right one and stay with it for the long haul. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s always going to be worth it.

2. Take Control and Rewrite Your Own Story

When James was diagnosed with cancer, all he knew to do was to be a good patient, go to a doctor and quietly do whatever they say. And honestly, he wanted it to be that easy and he wanted the cancer to just go away. But, for many of us, it’s not that simple, and he found that out the hard way. He had to work through physical limitations after the surgery and took experimental chemotherapy that left him feeling close to death. And, after all of that, they told him he wasn’t responding to the treatments and there was nothing left they could do for him.

A lot of us, at that point, would just give up, not knowing there was another option. But through fate, James found hope and was given a second chance at life. He learned, like so many others with radical remissions, that you have to take control of your own healing and rewrite your story. You have to ask a lot of questions, get second opinions, do your own research, and listen to your own intuition to guide you on your unique healing path.

3. Clean Up Your Diet

Everyone, including James, who has gone into spontaneous remission made radical changes to their diet. There are many dietary approaches for cancer prevention and healing, and you need to research and choose the one that works the best for your specific situation. For James, he researched the macrobiotic diet and had confidence it was the diet that would work for him.

When he first started on the diet, he was too weak to travel very far to get the specialized ingredients or do all of the prep work, so his stepmother came to his aid. Together, they learned how to cook what he needed and it wasn’t long before he felt stronger and had more energy. He was soon able to take over the cooking on his own and became quite a talented macrobiotic cook.

4. Find Your People

You are not alone, even though you may feel like it. Right now, someone somewhere in the world is struggling and fighting like you are and they wish they had you in their corner. And the research shows that people who have spontaneous remissions heal with strong social support, often in a community of like-minded people.

James found his community through food. He discovered others who were local to him that were on the macrobiotic diet, and he shared his cooking talents with them. Lifelong friendships were formed at the dinner table, and he made connections that led to him find others with cancer who were on the same path he was.

You can’t go back to the lifestyle you were living when you got sick if you want to stay healthy. When you are with the people still living that lifestyle, it’s easy to feel tempted to slide back into your old habits. This is where your healing community can help you the most. Their support can keep you focused on your goals even when everything around you makes you want to give up.

5. Stay Positive and Keep Your Eye on the Prize

You can’t let worry, doubt, or depression take hold. People who feel helpless and hopeless tend to sit back and wait for a miracle to happen, and that’s not what led people with spontaneous remissions to their success. Just taking action is healing. Once James decided on the new path he was taking, he literally crawled out of his hospital bed at two o’clock in the morning, stumbled out to his Jeep, and drove off – never to return.

He made his mind up on the healing path he was taking, and nothing could change his mind. Even when he couldn’t do much more than rest in bed and help his stepmother prepare an occasional meal, he stayed positive. He would lie in bed and visualize his healing and how he wanted to live his life. He researched and read inspiring stories from people who healed using the same techniques he was to keep his spirits up.

Even today, more that thirty years later, James still has his eye on that prize – finding the root causes of the so-called “incurable” diseases, teaching others, and providing resources for healing.

I would love for you to read more about James’ inspiring story, especially if you or a loved one are facing an “incurable” diagnosis. I Used to Have Cancer is a book that can help put the wind back in your sails and give you hope that a spontaneous, radical remission is possible, with the right tools and the right attitude.

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Gwen

    What an inspiration! I’m going to order the book. My husband has CLL and needs encouragement and hope.

  2. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Dear Gwen: I hope your hubby will find all the hope and inspiration he needs from I Used to Have Cancer!

  3. Carolyn

    Thank you both for all your good work and caring.
    My 65 year old husband had an MRI on his prostate and they discovered a nodule. We do not know if it is cancerous or not but have decided to streamline our life in the direction of healing and health.
    I shall buy the book!

  4. Ching Cherie

    Thank you, Louise!!
    Your “take” on James’
    Breaking thru the trance of the illness
    Bursting OUT of the bungee corded cage
    Of helplessness beliefs is
    The story I will refer my
    Friends to
    Thank you for YOUR
    Validation of his success.


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