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A Fitness Professional Takes a Road Less Traveled by in Battling Lymphoma


Rita La Rosa Loud shares her personal story of survival

By Marie Fricker

She was fit; she was healthy; she ate right; and she got cancer. Rita La Rosa Loud, director of the Health and Fitness Center at Quincy College, and a regular columnist with South Shore Senior News, was blindsided by a diagnosis of stage 3 Lymphoma in November of 2018. She is thriving today through strict adherence to a holistic program of alternative therapies, including “Trace Element,” energy-balancing device treatments and nutritional protocols, rather than the heavy-duty chemo regimen her doctors had advised.

Rita’s journey began with gastrointestinal problems (diagnosed as IBS) that progressed to flu-like symptoms, dizziness and shortness of breath. She fainted while having a mammogram, passed out in the shower and wound up in the ER with her husband Paul at her side.  An initial blood draw detected anemia, but subsequent testing confirmed lymphoma.

“When I was told I had cancer, I think I was in denial,” said Rita. “But the truth is I was more afraid of the treatment than I was the illness. I don’t tolerate medication well, and I didn’t want to put something into my body that was going to kill the good stuff, as well as the bad.”

Rita’s hematologist at the Dana Farber satellite at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital recommended chemotherapy or a targeted drug regimen as options for treatment. She and Paul went for a second opinion at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where the oncologist wanted to schedule a biopsy that day and begin chemo as soon as possible.

“They mentioned the words “hospice” and “death” a few times at that meeting and I didn’t appreciate that at all,” said Paul Loud, who was at his wife’s side throughout her cancer battle. “I’m not blaming them, but I didn’t want that kind of negativity in my brain.”

Strongly adverse to drugs, Rita decided she to try a holistic approach to healing her body. She returned to her St. Elizabeth’s doctor, who was more interested in her plan and was willing to incorporate it into a targeted drug therapy to combat her disease. He agreed to collaborate with her biochemist, Dr. David Watts, who is the founder of Trace Elements, a nutrition-based program that analyzes hair follicles to examine mineral balance in the body and suggest appropriate foods and supplements to address problems.

“A mineral analysis of a person’s hair or tissue reveals a unique metabolic world of intracellular activity that can’t be seen with traditional tests,” said Rita. “In essence, it provides a blueprint of the biochemistry of the body.”

With each test report from Dr. Watts, Rita was given a list of foods to eat or to avoid and a highly specific listing of nutrients that was designed to balance her body’s biochemistry.

“While waiting for my hair analysis to begin, I suffered debilitating side effects from the targeted drugs I was on,” said Rita. “I was nauseated, got mouth sores, skin eruptions, back pain, and even manic depression. The back spasms were so bad one night that Paul took me to the ER to get pain meds. The next day, I had a relaxing energy balancing treatment that helped immensely in reducing fluid in my ankles. My doctor couldn’t believe it when he saw them.”

Rita required 32 blood transfusions in the course of her illness, but once her Trace Elements program got into gear, they were no longer needed. “Whenever I was offered traditional drug treatments, I would ask if it was really life threatening right now or could it wait until my program kicked in,” she said. “They lowered my dosage of pills at my request and my numbers continued to improve. My blood draws keep getting better.”

But it wasn’t just the nutritional supplements and mineral testing that Rita acknowledges for her successful cancer battle. She attributes it first and foremost to her faith in God and her belief in the power of prayer. “I prayed a lot,” she said. “At my lowest ebb, I would ask for the Lord’s help and he would always answer. One day on my way to the hospital, I was praying and anguishing about how to approach my doctor with my holistic program, and I looked at the license plate on the car in front of me and it said ‘HEALD.’ I took it as a sign, and it gave me strength.”

Rita also saw a healing priest, Father Tom DiLorenzo, who conducts Masses in Winthrop. “My friends took me to see him and I wasn’t expecting anything except a quiet night at church,” she said. “But Fr. Tom told me to hold hands with my friends as he prayed over me. He said, ‘Receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ.’ I felt a sense of exhilaration, and my next blood draw improved exponentially. Since July of 2019, I have not needed a single blood transfusion.”

A positive attitude, a supportive husband, a posse of friends and family, and balanced nutrition and supplementation, “based on science, not guesswork,” gave Rita an arsenal of weapons for the toughest battle of her life.

Her advice to others is simple—“There is hope. You can advocate for yourself,” she said. “I would never tell people not to do what their doctors want them to, but I just couldn’t accept it for myself. As a fitness professional, I believe in exercise, and giving the body the right nutrients and foods, along with the appropriate supplements. I honestly feel that if you allow it to, the body can heal itself. But that’s just my opinion. I only know what worked for me.”

For Paul, watching his wife resume teaching her Quincy fitness classes, even via Zoom, has been an incredible joy. “I was more scared than Rita was when she was diagnosed with cancer,” he said. “I thought I was going to lose my best friend.”

For more information on Dr. David Watts or the Trace Elements program, contact Rita LaRosa Loud at PLoud@msn.com.