Archive for January, 2014


Are you Vegan?

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I was out with my new beaux who happens to be vegan and we ran into a friend of his who is also vegan. One of the first questions he asked me was if I was one too. It took me a moment to stammer through an awkward explanation that I was eating a mostly organic plant-based diet. A few days later I realized I really need to be able to define my eating habits now that I’m not strictly adhering to The Gerson Therapy and I’m coming in contact with people who understand and live by the strict definition of veganism.

I never mentioned this on here but I stopped Gerson pretty much the day I went in for surgery. It wasn’t really my choice. The support just wasn’t there for me to continue through with it. I had been preparing my own meals, juices and enemas when I had two arms to work with. Surgery left me with a useless arm and completely depleted of energy for almost 2 months after so there was just no way I’d be able to do it on my own and there wasn’t a person in my life that was capable of making that commitment to assistance with my diet plan.

It was at this point that I realized I was going to have to rely on what I could find prepared and pre-packaged that was as healthy as possible. Many Amy’s frozen meals and soups got me through the next few months. I started craving fresh vegetables after I got a little better so I looked into the possibility of a personal chef. This turned out to be something way out of my budget but what I did find in my research was a semi local restaurant that provided a weekly food delivery service for low sodium, 100% plant based (vegan) diets called Veggytopia in Kyle, TX.

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Finding Veggytopia lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. No, not everything is certified organic but their goal is to use mostly organic or locally grown so I felt this was my best option. At $135/week for 7 days of lunch and dinner options (including dessert) I couldn’t beat it! At first I thought I’d be disappointed with their food because of the lack of sodium but I must give the chef props because I’ve only gotten 1 dish I absolutely didn’t like and I’ve been using the service now since the beginning of November 2013. Oh, and I certainly can’t forget to mention that they just started nationwide delivery service which I know will be a godsend to anyone wanting to eat healthy that doesn’t have time or, like me, just cannot prepare meals for themselves. Btw if you decide to sign up through my referral please don’t forget to mention me so I can get a discount. These guys truly are amazing, affordable and you will not be disappointed.

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The desserts are a nice touch but I have to admit the recently opened Capital City Bakery has them beat on vegan treats hands down, no contest! So if you’ve got a sweet tooth for baked goods, even if you’re not vegan, I highly recommend Capital City Bakery in Austin, TX. I’m pretty sure they also deliver nationwide. There’s no incentive for me to promote them so you know it has to be delicious.

Back to the subject at hand, even though I find myself grazing on vegan options by the luck of the draw I still don’t consider myself vegan. I still use honey in my tea and will satisfy a craving for eggs here and there as long as they are farm raised. Plus, I don’t mind wearing leather so I can’t say I’m committed to the fringe lifestyle choice by any means. I’ve also continued to juice and do periodic coffee breaks as a detox method so I feel I’ve combined the best of a few dietary and lifestyle choices that boils down to a recipe for my personal optimum health. I wish there was a name for what I’m doing. Who knows, maybe I’ll coin a term at some point. Opti-vore has a nice sound to it. Then again if I stated I was a detoxing vegan-ish juicer I think I’d get just as many blank stares from people thinking I was trying to kick a strange drug habit.

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I really can’t understand why the phrase “Ignorance is Bliss” has circulated as long as it has when my experiences are more accurately supporting the phrase “Ignorance is Death”. In my previous post I stated that I was leaning toward a yes answer to this ever reoccurring question in my journey back to health and boy what a difference a few moments of reviewing information and research has on this decision!

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I spent a whole day finding optimistic things to say and feel about taking chemo, but the next morning my reservations got the best of me and I started wondering how I could get my hands on some definitive research. Luckily for me, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has this amaze balls cornucopia of knowledge readily available to its patients called The Learning Center. I’ve spent the better part of a year putting in heavy leg work researchwise online to find information that legitimately supported my past decisions before I was admitted as an M.D. Anderson patient November 2013. Now, I call the number where someone picks up on the first ring and tell them what I’m looking for. They then send me this information with an eagerness to send more if wanted all through the convenience and immediacy of email! I’m just blown away by the ease of it all.

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More importantly, I was blown away by what was sent. I’m still waiting on snail mail to read my pathology report of final diagnosis to be absolutely sure but all of the research sent basically supports the decisions I’ve made. One document even flat out stated that there is “no evidence that supports the benefits of using chemotherapy” and “patients have been known to survive without reoccurring incidence through treatment by surgery alone”.

I want to point out that I had hit a wall on researching what I have online. Because my cancer is that rare, there was absolutely nothing I could find on it so I’m in awe that the information I was sent from M.D. Anderson’s learning center shows research going against chemotherapy’s use. It’s not my doctor’s fault though. The same reports state that chemo is M.D. Anderson’s approach to recommended treatment so I can’t be upset that she’s doing what she’s been taught. I think she’s going to be a little disappointed when I tell her the news since I semi committed to taking the therapy over the phone. Oh well. I’d rather the doctor be disappointed than my body be scarred for life so I find it to be more than a fair trade.

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I just got through watching a commercial advertising a weight loss meal plan showing before and after pictures invariably showing the same person weighing at least 50 pounds less than their previous state. The first thought that popped in my head was that my first doctor told me that diet doesn’t have anything to do with your health. It’s curious this type of commercial will air frequently on television and even pop up at you online yet people believe what the doctor says regardless of what they’ve seen repeatedly in pictures just through advertisements.

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Does this say more about the ineffectiveness of marketing or the gullibility and lack of basic recall ability in the minds of a scarily high percentage of the masses? I lean more toward the latter excuse because from what I’ve seen, we are easily led into buying highly marketed items like the latest Apple iPad.

Unfortunately, I’m being faced with the decision to do chemo again due to another tweak in my diagnosis and this time I’m leaning towards saying yes. I know that diet is an important factor. I also know that chemo is my best shot at surviving for a longer period of time than 3 years (2 if you factor in the past year I’ve spent dealing with my diagnosis). I’m guesstimating chemo as my best chance based on the limited research information I can find on the tweaked diagnosis update…go figure.

I’m just glad that I did wait because right now I’m as prepared as I can be to receive a seriously dangerous chemical into my body. I’ve been living organically, detoxing and treating my body right for a full year to prepare for the now 4 rounds of recommended treatment from a doctor I trust. This is a far cry from the originally recommended 12-16 rounds plus the pounds of flesh equal to one arm.

I need to spend a bit of time on finding research…again (hopefully I’ll be able to tap into those M.D. Anderson files since I’m tapped out in online resources). But, if chemo is what’s required I hope to defy some of those recurrence odds that are associated with the side effects of taking these recommended poisonous carcinogens by continuing my healthy lifestyle afterward. I certainly think it’s possible and am completely optimistic since there are so many things working in my favor at this time as opposed to last year when faced with the same decision.