Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eating Away Cancer

I'm back on quarterly PET scans with one coming up later this week. I'll also be hearing about old drugs, new drugs, new trials and other melanoma-related updates. I will listen to see if there is anything that I haven't already read about. While many doctors are frustrated that patients do their own research (my husband's internist has a sign in his office that says,"I don't care what Dr. Oz says"), my doctors are receptive to my showing up armed with new questions about what I've heard or read.

My frustration is, and has always been, that oncologists are not taking the initiative in promoting good nutrition and eliminating the things in our lives that weaken our immune systems.  I'm not asking them to promise that good nutrition can cure cancer; but, neither can they promise that traditional cancer treatments will cure us. Statistics are clear on the re-occurrence of cancer after traditional treatments when no changes in lifestyle are present.

This will bore the cancer-free readers out there; but 41% of Americans will get cancer and 21% of then will die from it.  You or someone you love may be in that statistic. Early in my diagnosis, I realized that the main-stream treatments recommended by my oncologists were not going to get the job done, especially for melanoma. I would have to take an active part in my healing. These three books have given me a wealth of information on increasing my odds of winning this cancer battle:

They all have a nutrition cancer-fighting component, as well as, great tips for more healthful living. For example, did you know you can soak your fruit and vegetables in water and cheap vinegar if you don't have access to organic? Trust me, you can benefit from these books. SOMETHING is wrong in this country that is making so many people sick, and our immune systems aren't equipped to fight it. Here's help for our wonderfully-made bodies!

Two great blogs have been added to my daily reading. My dermatologist niece referred me to a blog by 36-year-old Chris Wark.

Faced with stomach cancer and a dismal prognosis at age 26, he took things into his own hands. The onion and garlic findings are stinky, but amazing.

The other blog is much lighter and truly beautiful. I am inspired by Sarah Britton's blog to conjure up lovely, healthful offerings.

I needed to make dinner last night, and I wanted to prepare this sprouted wild rice salad. Thankfully, I read the recipe completely (hah! I've written about that before) and realized it takes three days to sprout that rice.  SO, I used things I already had in my kitchen and came up with this:

The fresh peaches, tomatoes, and okra came home with us from our beach trip. We always stop at a great produce shed in Loxley, Alabama, going and coming.  I couldn't even stand to smell beets BC (before cancer). Think dirt! I discovered that if you roast them, they have a wonderful sweet, roasted flavor. And, who doesn't love fried okra. That's comfort food to Southerners. But, I take a more healthful approach these days without smelling up my house and clogging up my arteries. The okra is lightly coated with olive oil (instead of buttermilk and egg!) and I dusted it with organic polenta, then baked it at 350 degrees until it was brown and crispy. Later in the evening, my husband said, "Thank you for that great salad you made tonight. It was delicious AND healthful." (He's not sold on my organic rice cakes with almond butter for breakfast! One step at a time.)

My disclaimer: I'm not a doctor; but, I learned many years ago when dealing with ailing parents that you have to be your own healthcare advocate. You have the greatest stake in the outcome. I regret that I didn't come to the nutritionally superior table before -- lots of beets to eat to catch up.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's About the Journey

"Are we there, yet?" The question asked of parents ten minutes into the eight-hour (or more) drive prevents many a trip from ever happening.  Then, there's the potty stop requested two minutes after the gasoline stop where the "do you need to go" question was repeated several times.  And, don't forget the convenience of hopping on an airplane and being there in a snap (pre-9/11, that is).  All contributing to the decline of a good automobile road trip.  My husband tells of a trip that his family of five made from native Arkansas to Mexico in an un-airconditioned sedan.  His assigned place was lying on the back dash behind the back seat. Hello! Safety, sun-burn -- how did we all survive before the government agencies told us how to live? I must say it was very convenient to lay down the back seats of the Suburban, throw in some sleeping bags, dose the kids with benedryl, and motor! Ah, the good old days.

Fast-forward to children all grown-up, the complications of air travel, and a desire to travel more  leisurely. Combine that with melanoma, which impresses on you the need to take time to see what you might have missed or ignored before, and you have -- voila! more road trips. I am so blessed to have a husband who is willing to stop on a dime for a sudden antique shop spotting or a local restaurant that looks intriguing or to get off the interstate because little towns are more interesting.

There are just so many things what you'll miss if you don't sign up for the road trip.  I feel more enlightened because of our most recent trip.  See for yourself.

Four-year-old Hudson has an obsession with White Fang.  I think I saw him on I-70. Beautiful dog.

Gotta love a girl this talented.  (note foot on the side mirror)


Come on, now.  You know you still honk your horn in a tunnel.

Never had the luxury of stopping when an antique shop or flea market beckoned (think teens in the car moaning and groaning).

My daughter  - Blue Eyed Bride - always said she wanted her wedding at this little church in Point Clear, Alabama, just down the road from the Grand Hotel. That didn't work out, but we still enjoy taking the scenic bypass to see it.

"Out of the river all ugly and green, Came the biggest old alligator that I've ever seen!" - Grateful Dead (how he got on the ceiling, we'll never know)

So, my friends, I implore you to add an extra day or two onto your trip, when time permits.  The great philosopher Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

However, when this awaits you at the end of your road trip, you don't want to tarry too long. 

Here's to a week on the Gulf beach and the journey to get here!

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Psalm 24:1