Back to Basics

Healthy Food & Lifestyletomatoes

I wanted to share the story of how Ken initially came to write the blog. We rented the movie Anticancer by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber from the library and it tells the amazing story of how he lived with brain cancer for almost 20 years (he was diagnosed by accident when his friends gave him an MRI).

His personal story, Anticancer tells us:

◊ Why the traditional Western diet creates the conditions for disease and how to develop a science-based anticancer diet
◊ How and why sugar and stress feed cancer and ways to achieve life balance and good nutrition to combat it
◊ Why the effects of helplessness and unhealed wounds affect our ability to restore health
◊ How to reap the benefits of exercise, yoga, and meditation
◊ How to minimize environmental toxins
◊ How to find the right blend of traditional and alternative health care

We watched the movie late at night and Ken cried afterward (Ken does not cry often) saying “I want all my friends and family to know about this because they can maybe avoid cancer by watching this movie.” He proceeded to stay up late crafting what would be this blog to help others and share what he learned –

I think it’s important to bring the focus back to food because it is so important to our health and well being and also lifestyle. We DO have a choice in our everyday decisions that impact our health. For those afflicted with GBM seeking out the Ketogenic Diet could greatly improve survival time and help to control seizures.


I also read an interesting article on a breakthrough brain cancer treatment that Dr. Charles Cobbs in Seattle has been using which shows great promise. He found that cytomegalovirus, a common virus that infects 50 to 80 percent of adults by age 40, can cause brain infections in newborns and patients with a compromised immune system.

Cobbs’ hunch was verified in 2002 when he started testing cancerous tumor samples from patients and found every one tested positive for cytomegalovirus.

“It was jaw dropping at the time,” he said. “These were the dark years. No one believed a virus could cause brain cancer.”

Many, in fact, did not believe Cobbs claims until years later after his findings were confirmed by researchers at Duke University, MD Anderson Cancer Center and UCLA.

A treatment plan

Working under the assumption that brain tumors were somehow associated with cytomegalovirus, Cobbs considered whether the antiviral drug valganciclovir (Valcyte) –  typically used to treat the virus in AIDS patients – could help brain cancer patients survive.

While the median survival rate for glioblastoma is typically just 15 months and only 15 to 20 percent of patients live for two years, 90 percent of Soderberg-Naucler’s patients on Valcyte lived for at least two years. Even more exciting for Cobbs and Soderberg-Naucler, the median survival rate of these patients was 56 months, or just over four and a half years (link to article

Death and the Art of Dying by Bokar Rinpoche
I recently visited my family in Seattle and read this wonderful book on the plane. I wish I had read it before Ken’s passing because it has useful information on what happens from a Buddhist point of view and what you can do as a caregiver to help. Buddhism asserts that all beings live beyond the various fluctuations of life and that death is a passage to rebirth in another realm such as the human world, a pure land or the flowering of the ultimate nature of the mind. The book explains and guides through the experience of death and beyond.
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Post Caregiving: Family, yoga, walking, and being in nature
While in Snohomish, where my family lives, I found a lovely yoga studio, Yoga Circle Studio, practiced there daily. They offered a workshop on Wisdom and Wellness with Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey who are founders of Wisdom at Work and The International Center for Corporate Culture and Organizational Health at InnerWork Technologies, Inc., a Seattle-based firm dedicated to developing and renewing organizational cultures and communities in which extra-ordinary levels of inspired leadership, cooperation, synergy, collective intelligence, and change resilience can thrive. The Leveys work with organizations and communities around the globe to inspire people to deepen the wisdom, wonder, compassion, resilience, and creativity they bring to life, work, and relationships amidst the myriad changes, challenges, and opportunities of these turbulent and rapidly shifting times.

• As advisors to business leaders and teams in over 200 leading organizations around the globe, their clients include: NASA, World Bank, Google, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Intuit, Miraval, NOAA, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army Special Forces, West Point Military Academy, Stanford Research Institute International, The Clinton Global Initiative, U.S. Surgeon Generals Office, U.S. Federal Court, and MIT.

Their unique approach to Wisdom and Wellness is based on the vital integration of three dimensions: Coherence of Mind; Integration of Brain; and Attunement in the Field of Social Relationships. Health of the body is supported by yoga.

I also did a lot of walking, camping, and spent a night on a farm in Orcas Island. Being close to nature has a healing aspect and can remind us how small we are when surrounded with beauty. I also came home with grapes and pears from the farm where I stayed with my sister, Once in a Blue Moon Farm, and carrots, zucchini, tomatoes and apples from my Mother and Father’s garden –
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I cannot begin to stress how important family is period! When you are caregiving, not caregiving, whatever – family is ALL that matters! Not work, what you own or drive. Things can be taken away from us so quickly even loved ones but family is always there. Please stay connected with not only your immediate family but others if you can. Taking the time to renew and/or strengthen bonds helps to heal.

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7 responses to “Back to Basics”

  1. Marc E. says :

    I like your comment about family. Its perfectly written. Simple… and into the core of life.

    Intellectual materialism is pounded into our heads everyday. The marketing in society today has been more effective successful at delivering information than any education I have ever experienced. Buy, buy, buy… Spend, spend, spend…. This or that will make you feel better, or look better.

    Cancel the cable, spend time with your family, live minute by minute, enjoy the moments with friends and family. We know, as caregivers, how quick life changes.

    I thank you for your time and courage. I miss Kens posts too. This forum must go on… Thousands of devastated family will continue to benefit from your story.

    Chin up, carry on!

  2. Nedra says :

    Tina – So glad to see and hear glimmerings of healing for you. Our ‘Kens’ died in the same week, so I’m trudging right along with you. And yes – our relationships with those around us are so critical. I’m convinced that if it were not for all the ‘prayer warriors’ in my life, I would not be speaking in whole sentences right now. What a tough journey! Praying for you warmth and sunshine in every day – even when mixed in with tears. Nedra

  3. Marcus says :

    Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Gill says :

    i have just lost my wonderful husband to the same cruel disease. i get great comfort reading your posts as there are so many similarities

  5. Anonymous says :

    Thank you for sharing your journey. My husband was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in June of 2012. It helps me a great deal to read your posts.

  6. Jon says :

    I’ve been thinking about you, being ten weeks into this “post-journey” myself. I hope you’re doing, if not okay, at least making it day to day. That’s where I am at this point.

    • Tina says :

      Thanks Jon, been thinking of you too. I’m doing well trying to be present in my yoga practice and walking. May turn blog into a book soon.

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