Travel Stories / Wanderlust

Losing Hope in Brazil

I moved to New York City for medical treatment on March 24th, 2005, Soon after, I was diagnosed with bone cancer that had metastasized to my lungs.

I believe it was a saturday evening. My mother was sound asleep in our tiny Brooklyn apartment. There was nothing interesting on TV, I was switching channels when I stumbled upon Oprah “ coming up next John of god cures cancer.” obviously I stayed tuned, called my aunt (my mother’s sister) and told her to watch it. The whole episode was about this guy named Joao who lives in Abadiania, a city not too far from Brazilia. John Quinones a well known reporter traveled there, interviewing not only Joao but some of the people he had healed. Oprah?! John Quinones from Nightline?! this was definitely not a scam. The guy who was allegedly cured had brain cancer. Before his trip to see Joao, he had an MRI, upon his return to the states a new MRI revealed that the tumors had disappeared. I thought to myself this was a sign. Joao is suppose to be the guy to cure me, I’m going to Brazil.

I didn’t have to convince my mother, after all she was a semi religious woman desperate to see her daughter cancer free. She had two questions “ Do you think it’s going to work? Do you want to go?” I shrugged my shoulders in uncertainty, but it worked for the guy with the brain tumor therefore I was willing to give it a try.

A quick google search pointed her to the right people. I didnt know how much the whole trip cost or the planning that was involved but 2 weeks after watching the show we  were ready for Brazil.

It took a lot to convince my doctor to let me travel. with a very low cell count, my immune system was very vulnerable. My doctor agreed under three conditions. 1. We couldn’t stay for more than two weeks. 2. if I showed any signs of infection I had to come back right away and 3. the day before flying out I was to come in for one final check up.

The day I was set to depart, I went in for one last visit, everything seemed normal until my blood test came back, I had a very low white blood cell and needed blood and platelets transfusion- through all the panic and uncertainties, it is as if the universe was on our side, the only remaining bag of blood was my type.  After a rushed blood transfusion, we successfully made our flight.

We arrived to Abadiania, Brazil and were greeted by the most amazing and friendly people. This little town was filled with foreigners from around the globe all dressed in white (as we were instructed) all here for the same reason- desperately wanting some sort of cure.

We spent our days praying, meditating and doing crystal therapy(an alternative medical technique in which crystals are used to cure ailments.) The day I met Joao, I  was presented with two options; a physical surgery Joao would perform while possessed by some spirit  or a spiritual surgery where patients sat in a room in meditation pose and let the spirits do their work. More cautious then desperate, we opted for a spiritual surgery. After the surgery, I was given some herbal pills and ordered to be on bed rest for two days.

Back in NYC, mother and I were anxious and curious to hear the result of a Post spiritual surgery MRI. The results revealed that there was no change in the tumor and that I should keep following my chemo treatment.

I’ve always remembered Brazil as the place where I lost hope, A place that greatly disappointed. 10 yrs later I think I’m over that feeling and would love to go back to Brazil. I may not have been cured but at least I got a free trip out of it. My mother planned the trip, booked hotels and  even packed my bags, wouldn’t it be nice if we all traveled this way.

-Mama Càx

4 thoughts on “Losing Hope in Brazil

  1. Hello Mama Cax I’ve seen your image on instagram and finally stumbled upon your website. I too had cancer at a young age 25. But with a totally different experience. Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me so many feels and hope. I know for me the diagnosis sucked my creativity/voice out of me. Seeing others being creative gives me hope that one day I can express again. I cannot wait until I have had 10 years since my diagnosis.

    Sorry for the rambling and thank you for sharing


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