|Exploring at the beach|
They also lie when they tell you that it is ok for you to eat an entire pint of ice cream, a bunch of meat (even though you can get iron and protein from plants and legumes), ginger ale for nausea, etc. Yes, I was actually told these things, which brings me to the point of today's blog.
The reason I quit chemotherapy was not because the regime was finished and it was my last session. My oncologist told me that I would be receiving chemotherapy until the day I died. That was not ok with me. I have been really confused since last August when my oncologist sent me in to see a surgical oncologist to see if I could have my tumors surgically removed. She ordered a PET scan, looked it over and said that she couldn't remove them because it left me with virtually no liver left and many of them were in places that they couldn't remove. I was still not an option for a donor, living or deceased. So she referred me to a radiological oncologist who reviewed my PET scan and arranged an appointment with me. He had a miracle treatment for people who have cholangiocarcinoma that was very promising. The treatment was called Y-90 (Yttrium-90) and it consisted of injecting radioactive beads the size of a grain of sand directly into the tumors via a catheter inserted into a vein in the groin. It was supposed to have minimal side effects and be pretty painless. I was the perfect candidate, young, no other health problems, otherwise healthy etc. and I was very excited about it. He walked through the door to the exam room, introduced himself and then said that he would love to help me and that he was excited to do the procedure on me but upon review of my PET scan he couldn't. He said the reason that he couldn't do the procedure was because the PET scan showed NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE. He then proceeded to say how honored he felt to meet me, how in the world did I do it!? He said that no one has ever had such extensive CC and in 17 months had a scan that showed no living cancer. He couldn't do the procedure because he could find no living cancer to target.
|Pumpkin and honey moisturizing|
and firming mask makes your
skin feel oh so good!
I was excited to see my oncologist and tell him the news. I thought he would be excited, thinking that he might give himself a pat on the back for prescribing the right treatment for me. He was less than enthused. He said that CC is so slow growing that there are most likely still cancer cells there that the PET scan didn't pick up. The thought of stopping chemotherapy did not even present itself. Even the radiological oncologist thought it would be a good idea for me to do at least one more chemo regime just to make sure. I stuck it out for 6 more treatments. I really feel that chemotherapy was the best choice for my predicament. My cancer was so extensive that I think I made the right choice, knock it back some so that I can let my body do the rest was my plan. Then I got to where I was feeling worse, day by day. I was losing a LOT of weight, at one point down to 111 pounds, which for me is pretty thin. My brain was turning into mush, literally. I was in complete emotional distress (although events that were happening then would not have been easy to deal with regardless of chemo) and had severe mood swings. I couldn't think. I would get lost trying to keep up with a sitcom. I had come to the point that I knew I needed to stop. It was an emotional decision, the uncertainty of making the right choice hung heavy over me. So what does this all mean now?
|Steel cut oats with blueberries|
and almond milk.
What it means is that even though I am not being pumped full of toxins I still have to be vigilant about my choices, especially what I eat.
During the latter part of my chemo treatments, when I was losing all the weight, I abandoned my mostly vegetarian diet and started eating meat and dairy again, things I highly avoided (along with sugar) previously in an attempt to gain weight. When I quit chemo I was still eating meat and dairy and my sugar intake had gone up from the sweet tooth cravings I got when I ate meat. Luckily I caught myself. This realization came when my jeans would not button one morning. I have been super vigilant about what I eat, more like the diet I adopted after I learned I had cancer. I eat a LOT of vegetables and legumes. I make a green juice nearly every day, sometimes two. I eat things high in phytoflavinoids such as blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate juice, strawberries, cherries but I do not eat a lot of other types of fruits as they have a lot of sugar in them which anyone with cancer does not need as it actually excels it's growth hint, hint.....
Being mindful about what we eat is how we can take control of our health. Ironically it is also how we can take control of a lot of problems our world is now facing. It takes so many more resources to produce one pound of meat as it does to produce one pound of produce or grain. On top of all of that our meat is coming from sick animals that have not been fed a proper diet and injected with all kinds of toxins to prevent them from spreading disease. Don't get me wrong. I grew up eating meat. My dad was a butcher for many years and we depended on it for our family's survival. I have always liked a medium rare steak, rib eye was always my favorite. If it didn't make me sick and our world sick and result in the mistreatment of so many animals then I would eat it. It has actually been proven that a diet high in animal protein (20% of your diet is high, this includes dairy) actually highly contributes to the growth of cancer, especially in the liver and that a diet high in plant and legume protein (less than 5% animal protein, this includes dairy) has been proven to halt cancer growth!
So again, what does it mean?
|Shiitakes smell and taste delicious!|
It means that no matter how much you love that steak, ice cream, milk, chicken, fast food, or whatever that is animal derived you are actually willingly, consciously, and intentionally creating an environment in your body where cancer can thrive. Not to mention that your cholesterol will most likely also go up. This applies to organic meats as well. Meat is meat, some have added toxins, but all have the ability to enhance cancer growth. This is why I eat a lot of vegetables. I don't want to die. I assume that neither do you.
It means that I have to be vigilant about my diet, which isn't hard. I walk by the meat case occasionally just to see if anything can tempt me but nothing ever does. It actually kind of grosses me out. Meat didn't look like that when I was a kid. Meat didn't taste like that when I was a kid. I know how it is going to make me feel if I do eat it (bloated, indigestion, lethargic, constipation/diarrhea, all those wonderful things) so that is enough for me. I walk away and find the tempeh instead. I never eat processed foods. Well, ok, I am pretty sure that the almond milk I buy is processed. There are a lot of unneeded ingredients on that label and the box it comes in is neither healthy for me or for the environment. This is why I am going to start making my own almond milk and rice milk (horchata's baby!).
|Honey roasted spaghetti squash with|
green beans, tempeh, and shiitakes
What it means is that now, more than ever, I need to take control over my health using food as my medicine as we all should. Even and especially if you are going through cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy. It is so important to fuel our bodies with nutritious foods rather than empty calories. Use those ovens or purchase a toaster oven (you can find awesome ones at the Goodwill by the way) and take your microwave to haz mat where it belongs. Microwaves literally kill your food sucking every single nutrient right out of them leaving you with a useless meal that you will only be hungry from a short time later, leading to more eating...get the picture? I have not used a microwave in over 3 years and I do not miss it one bit. I am ashamed to say that at first I actually had forgotten how to heat up food on the stove or in the oven, but it quickly came back. It is nice to sit in the living room and smell the aroma of a baking sweet potato knowing that I will soon be eating it. It actually makes the experience better for me and the beauty is that for about an hour I can just read or watch tv or do a load of laundry and I don't have to stand there and cook. Microwaves are the ultimate "instant gratification" machine. We just can't wait, or we are too busy. With just a little planning ahead you can pop your meal into the oven and by the time you have relaxed a bit from your day you will be eating your healthy and delicious meal that you got to enjoy the smell of while it was cooking. What could be better than that?
|Make juice not war|
Please eat more plants.