This is a story about a man called Stamatis Moraitis, who came to U.S. in 1943. He was a Greek war veteran from Ikaria, Greece who came to U.S. because of a combat-related injury to his arm. In his stay in the country he met a lovely Greek-American woman whom he married and got three lovely children. Then, he purchased his own Leave it to Beaver three-bedroom house, and had his 1951 Chevrolet parked in the driveway.
So, Stamatis was having his American Dream. He had his perfect life till 1976, when he started to feel shortness of breath upon exertion, for instance, when he was climbing the stairs or when working. Therefore, he visited his doctor who diagnosed him with terminal lung cancer and gave him only nine months to live. According to the doctor, chemotherapy was a must for him.
However, Stamatis still needed further reassurance and because of that he consulted other nine doctors. They all confirmed the same diagnoses; he had lung cancer and approximately nine months to live. They all strongly recommended an aggressive chemotherapy immediately. Stamatis visited 10 doctors who all told him he was going to die if does not start chemo as soon as possible.
Yet, he still declined chemotherapy. He figured out if he was going to die then it would be better to return to his native Ikaria, Greece, and there die peacefully. Moreover, funeral costs were lower in Ikaria than the ones in the states. Ultimately, he would spend his final days with his family and old friends. Now, his story starts to become intriguing.
Even though Stamatis arrived to his birthplace, and initially was very happy to reunite with his family and long forgotten friends, he started to feel depressed regarding his medical condition. Feeling hopeless he slept most of the time and his immediate family, his wife and mother took great care of him. Fortunately, his hopelessness passed away very soon and he retrieved his strong desire to live. He again started to spend his valuable time with his loved ones and friends.
Namely, “he reconnected with his faith. On Sunday mornings, he hobbled up the hill to a tiny Greek Orthodox chapel where his grandfather once served as a priest. When his childhood friends discovered that he had moved back, they started showing up every afternoon. They’d talk for hours, an activity that invariably involved a bottle or two of locally produced wine. I might as well die happy, he thought.”
Suddenly, something amazing happened, Stamatis began to feel much better as if he was not ill at all. He restored his strength and stamina and decided to plant a garden of its own. Even though he knew that he wouldn’t be able to enjoy the fruits of it as he believed that he won’t be still alive when the time for reaping will come.
The gardening turned out to be very therapeutic as he was in constant contact with nature, exposed to sun, fresh air and sea breeze. His garden project gave him a new purpose for life. Every morning he got up early so that he can work in his garden, and most of the time he spend gardening. His wife and mother used the fresh plants and herbs of the garden and prepared his everyday meals. After six months he was still alive and feeling great.
Years have passed, and he was still alive and feeling fine. He even added a couple of rooms to his parents’ home so his children could visit. Then, he built up a vineyard and produced 400 gallons of wine per year.
With years Stamatis’ health improved, and thirty years after his initial diagnosis he gathered that he wasn’t going to die from cancer after all. When he turned 97 years old, he went to do a medical examination to see what happened to the cancer, and finally to receive a doctor’s confirmation that he was free of this deadly disease.
The doctors thoroughly examined him and reviewed and scrutinized his medical results. At last, they confirmed him that he has been completely free of cancer, and moreover, all ten doctors who predicted that his life would last only for nine months if he did not receive chemo were all dead. Stamatis continued his life and reached the age of 102 when he passed away, but for sure it wasn’t from cancer.
This story leads us to a conclusion: wholesome, seasonal food prepared with love by your loved ones is a powerful medicine, then spending your time strongly connected with nature is a potent life force which will give you good reason to live your life without any worry. Having strong reason and purpose to continue living is crucial for the healing process, and lastly spending quality time with your family and friends when experiencing such difficult disease will give you strong will to leave depression behind you and strive for more time in this secular life. As a matter of fact, the real healing is the soul’s domain.
First something about Ikaria: “Ikaria is named after Ikaros, who according to Greek mythology was the son of master craftsman Daedalus, and who was escaping imprisonment from King Minos in Crete by flying with wings his father had made. But ignoring his father’s advice, Ikarus flew too close to the sun and landed to his death on the island.”
Ikaria is a Greek island with a well-known reputation as a Mecca for longevity. The island is famous for its rich locally grown food, which is always prepared according to season. Furthermore, this island is known for its pristine beauty, tranquility, and above all for its longevity, as most of the inhabitants are healthy centenarians. In fact, Ikarians rarely are victims of the dangerous diseases like cancer and heart disease.
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