By Dubravka Kolumbic-Cortese | Correspondent
Paula Beiger had been having symptoms for several months before finally seeing a doctor in November 2011. Just two weeks before Christmas, she received the diagnosis – stage III colon cancer.
Beiger, 61, of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, followed her doctor’s recommendation and completed six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation.
“Those six weeks gave me time to lose some of the fear, think for myself and do some research,” she recalled.
So when she was told the treatments did not work and that a colectomy, which would result in a permanent colostomy bag, was her best option, Beiger decided to take a non-traditional approach.
“Everything in me, my intuition, my inner voice, the Holy Spirit … was telling me not to have that operation,” she said. With the full support of her husband of 23 years, Jack, Beiger began seeing an integrative alternative/complementary practitioner in Manahawkin.
“Life got easier for me once I gave the fear, confusion and doubt over to God,” she said, adding that she recalled telling God, “If this is your will, I’m ready to come to you.”
Soon after, Beiger began to feel the hand of God guiding her on a journey of healing that would ultimately result in her beating the cancer.
“I’m so glad that I listened to my inner voice that was given to me by God,” she said. “I think it was him telling me, ‘Listen to yourself, Paula.’”
Beiger and her physician, Dr. Mark James Bartiss, worked on a multi-level treatment plan that included working with a nutritionist on a strict, organic diet and ozone ultraviolet fusion treatments, which oxygenates blood.
Negativity at Bay
Beiger has been a parishioner of St. Gregory the Great Parish for the past 48 years, and her daughter, Katie, 32, graduated from the parish school.
“I surrounded myself with people who had the same belief that my body was able to heal itself,” Beiger said.
She immersed herself in natural and spiritual healing practices, such as drinking water from the Lourdes grotto, praying novenas and daily rosaries, and praying to St. Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer patients.
“Praying is very effective in keeping negative thoughts at bay,” Beiger said, “and the beads passing through my fingers are very relaxing.”
She also incorporated acupuncture, essential oils, healing Masses and self-help courses.
“I learned how to let go,” Beiger said. “I practiced gratitude, forgiveness and last, but not least, self-love. After a body detoxification, the rest of the healing was spiritual, emotional and psychological. I give all the glory to God, and I thank him every day that I listened to my intuition.”
It took 20 months of treatments, but Beiger has been cancer-free since Oct. 21, 2013. Soon after, she began writing about her experience and found the exercise cathartic.
“Writing the book helped with the healing,” she said. She dedicated her book, “Guided Cure,” to her 3-year-old grandniece and fellow cancer survivor, Rhoda Jane, and to her mother, Eileen Rhoda, who passed away from lung cancer at age 73.
Happiness in Healing
Since the book came out six months ago, Beiger, who said she was never comfortable with writing or public speaking, has nonetheless found herself busy sharing her story at public speaking engagements.
“I talk for free, because I just want to get the word out,” she said. She also enthusiastically shares the role her faith played in that journey.
“I always end my talks with Ezekiel, chapter 47, verse 12, because I do believe that all the answers to our questions about life, healing and happiness can be found in the Bible,” Beiger said, pointing out that there are more than 50 quotes in the Bible about healing.
“I didn’t realize how much my faith was a part of it,” Beiger said. She recalled never being angry with God. “In fact, I turned to him more, instead of blamed him.”
She also surrounds herself with positive verses, such as, “Everything the enemy has stolen, God is going to restore: the joy, the peace, the health, the dreams.”
“Once you know the truth about cancer, there’s no going back,” Beiger said.
She still sees Dr. Bartiss once a month and receives regular tests to ensure the cancer has not returned.
“Cancer has really opened me to so many things I just took for granted before,” Beiger said. “I take nothing for granted anymore. I just love everything about life now, because it’s so precious to me now, because I thought it was going to be taken away from me.
“I do believe that there was divine intervention somewhere,” she added. “I do believe that He wants me to spread this word, and then let people make choices of their own.”
Another message Beiger wants to spread is that it’s never too late to turn to God.
“God doesn’t care when you finally turn and come to him,” she said. “Wherever you are in your relationship with God when you turn to him, he’s going to be there for you.”