Choices

In past years, if you told me I was as likely as anyone else to develop cancer, I wouldn’t have believed it. Certainly if you told me that I could improve my chances of NOT getting cancer by: cutting back on the amount of alcohol I drank; increasing my physical activity; eating less meat and foods that raised my blood sugar; consuming specific vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices, and teas; and buying organic — I simply would not have cared. I was enjoying the amazing variety of craft beers and small batch bourbons available now. I was devoting lots of time to cooking extravagant, rich foods. And I was having a good time

Although I never gave it much thought, I suspect I felt that I just wasn’t going to get cancer, no matter what I did. I have avoided soft drinks and fast food for the most part for years and gave up smoking years ago because these seemed like healthy enough choices.

And now I have cancer (a pretty darn mean one, too). I’m not saying it’s attributable to drinking, meat-eating, partying, cell phone usage, paint fumes, pesticides on my non-organic vegetables, working at a computer every day, or breathing exhaust fumes riding my motorcycle.

BUT…

I’ve just watched a documentary that was very compelling to me. It is called Anti Cancer with Dr. David Servan-Schreiber. It’s filmed more like an infomercial, but don’t let that put you off. I am recommending that my friends and family, everyone really, watch it. We found it at the library.

While there is a lot of information that is immediately relevant to cancer patients such as the impact of nutrition, activity and social support on recovery, it shows how cancer rates have increased since the 1940s and provides reasons why. The studies presented in the film are very interesting. We’re all susceptible to cancer and these days even more so. But there are behaviors that everyone can change to proactively improve the odds of avoiding cancer.

I get the impression that western medical doctors aren’t really onboard with giving much credence to food having a profound affect on cancer. They are focused more on drugs and procedures. Corporations and the government don’t seem to put much stock in it either.

All I know is that it sucks to think that you could have a lot shorter time to live than you once thought. Right now, I feel great. I’m having a hard time believing that anything is really wrong with me because I feel so good. In fact, I’m ready for a nice 18-year single malt and a long ride on my Electra Glide (maybe not in that order). But they tell me that this cancer is so malignant that it’s coming back to kill me — soonish — so we will be starting radiation and chemo soon. I expect the effects of that treatment to make it sink in that I’m not 100%. And since I look forward to many, many, many years of good times ahead of me, I’m really embracing everything I can do regarding nutrition, exercise, attitude, friends, peer support, acupuncture, yoga, meditation and anything else that can help me beat cancer.

I think watching this film is the first time I got kind of emotional during this whole ordeal because it occurred to me that lots of the people who are showing me love right now are people that I love in return. I hate to think that cancer can (and likely will) affect someone else I love. Cancer killed my father. It has affected several other people close to me. But it wasn’t until it WAS me that it really hit home. So I guess I’m suggesting to my friends (in fact, everyone), consider that maybe some life changes are worth considering. Why not postpone dealing with your own mortality till you’re… old.

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One response to “Choices”

  1. Pam says :

    I’ve always thought of you as an artist, but it turns out you are a pretty good writer as well. I was riveted while reading your blog and will seek out the file you mentioned. Paul has been on the bandwagon for years about more healthy eating, but I haven’t wanted to hear it (as I sit here sipping my second cup of coffee).

    I hate that you and Tina are going through this. But, I am grateful for your openness in sharing your journey with us.

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