‘I used fruit therapy to save a cancer patient’ | Dailytrust

‘I used fruit therapy to save a cancer patient’

Mrs Chioma Esther Okonkwo is a naturopathic medicine practitioner and a practising nurse
Mrs Chioma Esther Okonkwo is a naturopathic medicine practitioner and a practising nurse

Mrs Chioma Esther Okonkwo is a naturopathic medicine practitioner and a practising nurse. Nicknamed ‘the fruit nurse’, the 28-year-old Enugu State-born speaks on her journey and how fruit therapy gave a cancer patient, who had been handed a ‘death sentence’ by doctors, another chance at life. The CEO of Sparkles Health Style is also an author and founder of Charity Sings Foundation.

Family

I come from  a family of 6 – my parents, my three siblings and myself. I’m married with a son.

Education

I attended Tufe Samuel Primary School Ojo; Awori Senior College Ojo; University College Hospital School of Nursing Ibadan and Naturopathic School of Medicine United Kingdom.

Growing up

Growing up for me was a bit harsh. It was mixed with a bit of discipline and religion. It was also filled with a lot of hard work because by the time I knew my right from my left, all I knew was business. At the age of seven, I started helping my mum to sell things. Then, I would always go to church to sing because I was a member of the Children’s choir and at other times, I would read my books. That was my growing up routine.

Fruit nursing career

I fell in love with the Fruit Nursing career in 2015 and since then, I have been reading and researching more about it. I got to know about the healing properties of fruits and herbs in 2013. At that time, I shared my story on how I was able to help one of my patients who had cancer. She was told then that she had just two months to live but she lived for another 9 years before she passed on.

Fruit nursing!

Fruit nursing is about caring, nursing and healing with fruits. It involves using fruit therapy for healing and caring of patients. Nursing generally, is about using scientific methods to help patients get better. Fruit nursing, on the contrary, goes beyond just caring. It is a healing process whereby a nurse can also help a patient using assessments beyond the hospital setting. It is more of healing naturally, we see fruits as medicine and we combine it with our nursing skills, giving care to patients emotionally and psychologically.

Before I took up fruit nursing, I was practicing general nursing. I started with home nursing, though I had always wanted to be a medical doctor. I had always wanted something tasking, more challenging – to be in charge where I can tell a patient to take this or do this without anybody challenging it. I was doing home nursing while preparing for the journey ahead.

What inspired the fruit nursing career?

A lot of things inspired it. As I said earlier, my journey started in 2012/2013 when I met a patient with cancer and she was told that she had just two months to live. At that point, I had gotten too attached to this patient because I was using her for my Care Study in 100 Level nursing school. This geared me to develop that interest in sourcing for alternative methods to cancer therapy asides the orthodox medicine.

Another thing that inspired me was because I couldn’t get Medicine as a course of study for 10 years. I didn’t want to give up. Imagine you applying almost every year for 10 years and not getting the admission. I didn’t want to lose; I didn’t want to feel defeated so I needed to do something more but within the nursing line. This meant that if I couldn’t get medicine, I could actually create something different from nursing. So, these two factors inspired the fruit nursing career.

What have you gained from your work experience so far?

I have gained so much; I have gained confidence. Imagine you being in a place and somebody mentions ‘Fruit Nurse’ and everybody is trying to know, who is this person? Who is this person doing this wonderful thing? The popularity is there, the respect is there, the experience is there. I have seen beyond life, I have been able to help people overcome things that they fear, things that the orthodox medicine cannot cure. I have been able to teach people. In fact, the most important thing I gained is more knowledge and experience.

Mentors

I have people who have been into this business before me and people who are not into this fruit nursing line. Late Dr Sebi was one of my mentors, my teachers, and Dr Michael from South Africa. I look up to them because of the great works they have done and are still doing.

Who are the people you look up to in your career at the moment?

I still look up to some of my lecturers and some of the people who I know are really doing great in this field of naturopath, most of them are not in Nigeria. Dr Mike from South Africa, he was my first teacher in Naturopath, then Dr Ola King is another person I look up to. He is one of my teachers here in Nigeria.

What is your greatest achievement so far?

My greatest achievement so far is helping some of my patients cure breast cancer. It is so amazing because these people come with fear, uncertainty, damages gotten from orthodox treatment like chemotherapy and then they keep asking if they would be fine and, in a year, or two, you’d see these people that looked like they had no life in them looking healthier than even those of us who claim to be healthy. So, being able to help people living with cancer and giving them hope is my greatest achievement. I think I really want to specialize in that cancer field because it is actually beyond the treatment, the fear is there. People have lost hope so they are pessimistic about living. My greatest achievement so far is helping people overcome cancer because cancer is not a death sentence.

Challenges

Because what I do is not so popular yet, people doubt you a lot, including my colleagues in the health sector. They ask questions like ‘how can a fruit be doing this’?

Another challenge I have is trying to put myself out there for people to know that something like this exists. For people to be able to know me, I don’t know how to position myself. I’m still learning but I know I will get to that place very soon. In all, I like my growth. It is very slow but steady.

With your experience so far, will you tag yourself as successful and why?

Yes, I would tag myself as successful. Why? Because I make people happy. People come to me with pain and they go back better. Everybody has their own definition of success; I haven’t arrived yet but I am not where I used to be. So, I would say I am successful because if you have a patient and you are able to help that person get back to good health of 80-90%, then you are very successful because the most important thing and the aim is actually trying to help humanity, trying to help people get better.

How do you blend your career and family?

I thank God for my supportive husband because the truth is behind every successful woman, there is a good man. I wouldn’t have gotten to this stage without my family. My family has been supportive: my mum, my dad, my sibling also. My husband especially, he is the reason for me being able to blend my career and my family. Sometimes I get so busy that I might not be able to do some things for him and he’d say ‘don’t worry, I understand.’ It makes things easier and gives me peace of mind because if you are into health, you need peace of mind to help people who are suffering.

Do you have your own health clinic?

For now, I only do an online health clinic though we have plans of establishing a fruit clinic very soon.

Difference between holistic journey and the drugs and injections people take on a regular basis

I tell people that when it comes to health, there are different approaches. I’m a nurse and I still give people injections. There are cases where you have to take drugs or injection to make the patient stable before you go into the holistic journey. The holistic journey is going deeper into the root, trying to figure out what the problem is. The drugs and injections are just to make the symptoms better, they don’t address the root cause. Imagine if a patient comes to the clinic and faints as a result of high blood pressure, you cannot start giving the patient juice. You’d have to get injections, drips to restore the person before you then find out what the cause of the high blood pressure is. If you notice that it is a diet, then you can tell the patient that he cannot be placed on drugs alone, because it is the diet that’s causing the problem.

In orthodox medicine, they might not get to the root of the problem, they just want to address the signs and symptoms so they would keep it at a check. The difference is that orthodox medicine mostly addresses the symptoms and the signs while the holistic journey addresses the root cause of the problem. This doesn’t mean that as a holistic practitioner, you should rule out the orthodox medical practices, you just have to know where to stop and where to begin the holistic journey.

Apart from being a fruit nurse, do you have any other business?

I do not have any other business for now but I intend to go into real estate or farming. Even under fruit nursing, I have an academy where I train people, I sell health products like Juicers and blenders. I also intend starting a fruit pharmacy where we can shop online, get healthy products to enhance living.

What is your perception of the Nigerian health care system?

It is extremely bad. One of the reasons I left hospitals is because they do not have equipment, the care they give to patients is very poor because they don’t get good pay. How will a health practitioner bring out all his/her mind to care for a patient when he/she is not being cared for. However, we can get better.

What are your hobbies?

Singing, dancing and caring for people. When I am down, I just look for people to help. Truth is, when you put smiles on people’s faces, it automatically comes back to you.

How do you relax?

I love to swim. Other times, I go to a very quiet place with nature all around me to think and write.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I see myself all over the world, speaking to people about fruit therapy. I also see myself having a fruit clinic in about five or six countries. I see myself having a very big academy, training people. I see myself doing things that God wants me to do, with many children too (chuckles). I would love to give birth to three more and adopt as many as possible because I love children and I wouldn’t want to care for only those who are related to me.

Favourite colour

My favourite colour is White because it represents peace. It also signifies what I do, neatness and healing.

Favourite food

I love Vegetable soup with Pounded Yam

Best Asset

Health

Favourite holiday destination

I haven’t been there yet but I wish to go to Mauritius because of the blue sea. They have many natural environments there that can help me think better.

Charity Foundation

I run a Charity organization, called ‘Charity Sings Foundation’. Charity Sings is a group of musically inclined people and health practitioners. As a lover of music and someone who is passionate about health, what we do at Charity Sings Foundation is to visit people in sick wards, sing for them, pray with them and donate towards their health. We have had several successful visits like, in 2018 we visited Igbogbi Specialist Hospital Yaba. In 2019 we visited Modupe Cole Home of Special Kids Akoka. I have not gone into it full time yet but it is something I know I want to do in the future. While I focus on my fruit clinic, the little profit I get, I divide it into two and send some to Charity.

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