Raneeta Curtis shares her natural healing story involving a 30-day juice cleanse.
My journey with an ovarian cyst began about a year before I knew what it was. Twice I experienced pain in my lower left side that stopped me being able to function and led me to tears, but the pain faded within hours and I soon forgot about it. About a year after the first experience, the pain returned while I was shopping with my children, and by the evening it had intensified to the point of trembling and nausea.
Intense pain and diagnosis
I know what it is to experience labour and birth, and this kind of pain was much like that except it came with fear of the unknown. The pain was intensifying, so my husband took me to the emergency department. Mild pain relief did nothing; I was finally given morphine which gave me some relief. A simple ultrasound suggested an ovarian cyst. An official ultrasound a few weeks later confirmed a cyst on my left ovary of 9 x 6.8 x 5.6 cm.
I will forever remember that weekend in November 2016. On the Sunday night the devastating Kaikoura earthquake triggered tsunami sirens in Ruakaka and a community evacuation in the middle of the night. Although the pain was managed by this point, my body was still very tender and sensitive to a midnight mish to higher ground with my family of five.
Options for healing
After the devastating news of the ovarian cyst, I started to research. The specialist gave me two options. I could go on the pill to manage my hormones synthetically, and/or I could have the cyst surgically removed. My specialist assumed surgery would be a good low-risk option since we had no intentions of having more children, but I felt very differently about removing a part of my body in this way.
In 2015 I had begun studying naturopathy and my passion had become natural health and wellness. I had learned about the body’s ability to heal, and that symptoms and imbalance in the body always have a reason. I knew in my heart that if I cut this cyst out of my body without dealing with the root cause, I would potentially just grow another one. After hours of reading my textbooks and researching online, it became apparent that many who opt for surgery do unfortunately have ongoing issues with cysts.
My first course of action involved balancing my hormones by lowering oestrogens and increasing progesterone. I had already eliminated toxins from our home (in things like cleaning and personal care products) a few years prior, and replaced them with eco or homemade products using pure essential oils. We had also reduced the use of plastics, microwaves, meat and dairy and transitioned to eating more organic food by starting a Ceres co-op and shopping at the local growers market.
So I added in a natural progesterone cream (wild yam extract), used essential oils to support hormone balance, took maca powder in my smoothies and continued to eat a plant-based diet.
My first follow-up scan did not bring good news, however. The cyst had grown, and surgery was on the cards again. I was disappointed my choices had not resulted in any positive changes, but I also knew I had been inconsistent with my protocols and my diet was still less than ideal.
The week after hearing these results, I came across three different sources informing me that a ketogenic diet can be beneficial for ovarian cysts. Because I knew I needed to take action, I jumped head-first into a ketogenic diet – cutting out sugar and carbs and eating more healthy fats. As a plant-based eater, this diet was reasonably healthy for me. Cutting out sugar was the hard part and took self-discipline, but overall my body felt good eating this way. I was very strict at first, and after my second follow-up scan, the cyst had shrunk down to 6.8 x 6.3 x 6.1 cm.
This was good news, and because I refused surgery again the hospital discharged me from their system and no more ultrasounds were scheduled. I continued eating ketogenic, however over time I became more relaxed and eventually stopped eating this way because I missed eating great plant-based options like kumara, chickpeas, beans, legumes and so on. And I missed fruit and sugar of course.
The cyst returns
After about four months, I began to notice the cyst had grown again. My abdomen was more rounded again and in the morning when my bladder was full, I could feel this solid round mass. I got niggles of pain from time to time which I managed with essential oils, but I was disappointed I had not healed it.
Fast forward to September 2018, when I was having a wonderful time in the USA. I was doing some additional training to support my naturopathy with conscious language, body language and iridology, and an essential oils retreat with my global essential oil family. The day before I was to leave, I woke up with pain that got worse. My body began to shake and I sought medical help. Thankfully, I had wonderful care at the medical centre and, despite having a very painful and scary experience, I managed to catch my flight with some heavy pain medications to get me home.
30-day juice cleanse
I came home determined to take natural action to heal my body and was advised by my new friend (a detox specialist) that a 30-day juice cleanse would allow my body to experience deep healing and detoxification. He reminded me that cysts are a collection of toxins in our body, and that as my body removes these toxins, there will no longer be a need for the cyst.
My body had whispered in the past that there was an issue here, but this time it SHOUTED and I heard it loud and clear. I could choose surgery to remove the cyst on my ovary, or I could have faith in all I had been learning: the healing power of food, faith, declarations, emotional release and my God-given ability to heal.
On 1 October 2018 I started a 30-day juice cleanse with freshly made vegetable and fruit juices. Juicing was new to me so we bought an Oscar juicer for optimal nutrient preservation – and because it doubled as a fresh fruit ice cream maker for the children! A win–win for the family. I bought massive amounts of fresh produce from our local growers’ market, organic and spray-free where possible, and I was given lemons, limes, oranges and leafy greens from friends and family.
Looking after myself
There were days when I felt great and days when I felt low in energy, but overall I felt wonderful during the juice cleanse. I got to bed early when possible and continued with gentle exercise. It was a challenge cooking for my family during this time but I got used to it and found the juices very nourishing. Dinner time was the toughest time of the day, so I learned to make a savoury juice with tomato and a little salt and pepper which helped satisfy my savoury cravings.
I also continued to incorporate essential oils in my daily life, using a blend of oils topically on my abdomen and I did a few castor-oil packs for detoxification. I used essential oils during meditation and to facilitate emotional release (our ovaries are related to our creativity and the left side related to my feminine creativity).
I used to be able to feel the cyst each day, as it was up to 9 cm and caused my tummy to look bloated, but after two weeks of juicing I could no longer feel it and knew something wonderful was taking place. My skin was glowing, my mind was super clear and by the end of the cleanse I had lost 6 kg.
During November I followed a strict protocol to transition from juicing back to my plant-based diet. This involved two days of prunes while continuing to juice and eat juicy fruits and vegetables, building up to a simple salad on day five of ending the cleanse. In the last week of November 2018, I had a double whammy of wonderful news.
Firstly, I passed my final exam; graduating with a Diploma in Naturopathy (from the Naturopathic College of New Zealand).
Then I had an ultrasound at the hospital to check up on the ovarian cyst.
The cyst has vanished!
And here is my wonderful news: there is NO cyst on my left ovary, not even a trace! The almost 10 cm cyst that caused me a lot of pain is gone.
It was so lovely to see the puzzled look on the face of the ultrasound lady and hear her say she couldn’t see anything. Joy and gratitude began to explode from my heart that my story has a wonderful ending.
There is hope for those suffering with ovarian cysts. There are natural options. Our bodies are designed to heal when we supply them with nutrients and give them an environment to heal. This cyst was there to ‘assist’ me in my learning and introduce me to the powerful role of cleansing and detoxification. A 30-day juice cleanse is not easy or convenient, but it is transformational, powerful and effective, and I am so thankful I was guided down this path instead of removing the cyst through surgery.
The timing of my graduation and scan were perfect. It was like a sign from above that my story was written to help many, and as a naturopath, I am able to guide others towards healing from the inside out.
As a Naturopath, I can support you with dietary advice, beneficial herbs and supplements and a healing protocol to support you in taking ownership of your health and healing the imbalances that have occurred. Click here to find out more about how naturopathy can help you.Raneeta Curtis – Harmonic Health