Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Man Who Turned Down Chemotherapy and Outlived His Doctors




By Dave Mihalovic

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

You could say that Stamatis Moraitis forgot to die. The Greek war veteran was diagnosed by 9 different American doctors with lung cancer in 1976. He was given 6 months to live and was encouraged to pursue aggressive cancer treatment. He declined and instead moved back to his native land of Ikaria. Then something incredible happened.

At first, he spent his days in bed, as his mother and wife tended to him. 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.

In the ensuing months, he started to feel stronger. One day, feeling ambitious, he planted some vegetables in the garden. He didn’t expect to live to harvest them, but he enjoyed being in the sunshine, breathing the ocean air. Others could enjoy the fresh vegetables after he was gone.

Six months came and went. Moraitis didn’t die. Instead, he reaped his garden and, feeling emboldened, cleaned up the family vineyard as well. Easing himself into the island routine, he woke up when he felt like it, worked in the vineyards until mid afternoon, made himself lunch and then took a long nap. In the evenings, he often walked to the local tavern, where he played dominoes past midnight.

The years passed. His health continued to improve. He added a couple of rooms to his parents’ home so his children could visit. He built up the vineyard until it produced 400 gallons of wine a year. Three and a half decades later, he was 97 years old and cancer-free. He never went through chemotherapy, took drugs or sought therapy of any sort. All he did was move home to Ikaria.

“It just went away”, said Moraitis. “I actually went back to America about 25 years after moving here to see if the doctors could explain it to me… My doctors were all dead.”

Moraitis passed away at 102 years of age.