Leaving my Religion Behind

Autumn Foerderer
5 min readJun 14, 2021
Age 32 before I knew I had a brain tumor. Age 45, with 60 cancer fighting pills filling my belly

I came out in 2015 as a “free-thinker” or “non-theist.” This decision had nothing to do with resenting god/s because of my cancer. My search and questioning started years before I was diagnosed. I try to accept all people who are kind regardless of their religious or political beliefs, and honor who you are, and desire the same in return. When I was a Christian I was as devout as I could be. I loved Jesus — heart and soul. I just don’t believe it anymore. I’ve read too much. Experienced too much of the world. I am willing to believe in a god if I find something that shows me the validity. I will never believe in the Biblical god though. I just don’t like him. “Look anywhere you like for the warrant for slavery, the subjection of women as chattel, for the burning and flogging of homosexuals, for ethnic cleansing, for anti-Semitism — you look no further than a famous book that’s on every pulpit, in every synagogue, and in every mosque.” (Christopher Hitchens) What I do believe in is love, kindness, honesty, goodness, hard-work, fairness, equality, all those traits that make life here on earth a bit more heavenly — it is the only reality I know that we have for certain, and it’s going fast.

Sam with a wild bunny she named “Sweet Alex” while living in Illinois
Makaela with sweet Theo in Brazil: the pictures are for levity, and don’t pertain to the post (too much)

I do believe in energy: maybe this is physics? There seems to be an energy that connects us all on various levels. There are too many “coincidences” in my humble opinion for there not to be something going on. I don’t know if it is orchestrated by some cosmic hand or just simply a scientific reality. To me life is a mystery. And, I am okay with that. We humans crave certainty. We can’t help ourselves. I believe that that is our draw to our boxed in beliefs we like to call religion.

Sweet Samantha with my high school baby doll

I am not afraid to die. Do I want to? Absolutely not. Life is way too much fun. And, I really do not want to break my girls’ or Andrew’s heart by leaving them, so I have decided not to. The doctors say that they cannot help me, so I am helping myself. I am my own experiment.

Peek-a-boo all the way from South America!

My girls were my experiment too. I raised them “my way.” For my “experiment,” I imagined what it would be like to grow up in the “Garden of Eden” (remember I was a Christian). I tried to emulate the carefree, natural environment I imagined Eden to be like. I nursed them until they reached for solid food, prepared all their baby food from scratch — picked it right off the trees (not really). We slept with them and rubbed their backs at the start of their sleep until they were about twelve. There was no need to rush through childhood. Life does not go on forever. Why do we act like it does? They didn’t go to “outdoor school” as I named it until they were ready (or maybe until I was ready?). We played barefoot in the mud, swam in creeks, ate foods that would be found in a garden, read as much as they wanted, had an abundance of live, plush, and plastic animals, no sitting in classrooms wasting their sweet, short childhoods. This freedom also allowed us to scoot around the world with ease as I packed up their curriculums and art supplies. Was it a perfect childhood? No. But, I tried really hard to make it perfect. I may have tried too hard. Moms and dads: make yourself a priority too.

Makaela painting a Snoopy while living in India

I am doing the same with my health. I know that the doctors do not have the cure for cancer — especially brain cancer. So, daily I read medical journals, take supplements and off-label drugs, and do things like meditate, eat a low-inflammatory diet, exercise, etc… All of these strategies have been shown to kill cancer. It is a full-time job staying alive. I am fortunate to have the luxury to be able to take the much needed time required. I am experimenting on my own body as I truly have nothing to lose. I use the licensed doctors for their testing tools and meds, but I only include three of my physicians in my full protocol. None of them know enough about brain cancer to lead me personally, so, I am leading my own charge. It is working so far. The Cleveland Clinic gave me 5–7 years in 2009 when I had stage II cancer. It has upgraded, and it is my fault. I take full responsibility for fueling the aggressive stage IV growth with high dosages of the wrong supplements at the wrong time. This is the mistake I made, and it proved to have deadly results. But, as a wise man once said, “To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often,” (Winston Churchill). So, Winston, I’m planning on changing as often as I can. Please bear with me as I morph and change directions–frequently.

Samantha and Joseph’s graduation: University of Minnesota, May 2021

If you have cancer and want to know the safer side of healing (how to block cancer metabolically and kill cancer stem cells) please go to Jane McLelland’s site: https://www.howtostarvecancer.com/. I did have two resections, but due to my type of brain cancer I have learned that chemo and radiation will have more harmful effects than beneficial. I have found Jane’s site to be the biggest help — more than Mayo Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic, or any oncologist I’ve met with. All my love and appreciation to Jane. I owe her my life.

Yesterday at a beach in Indiana with my 20 year-old baby



Autumn Foerderer

Ramblings from a broken brain: stage IV brain cancer: giving up the life I planned, greeting the one waiting for me: thoughts, anxieties, hopes, dreams: LIFE.