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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You are going to eat that?

*This blog is for Survivors, those who know Survivors and those who want to know how we live.

**Organic - of or pertaining to an organ or the organs of an animal, plant, or fungus

***I am in no way a doctor nor do I advocate you follow any regimen that I put before you. I do what I do after years of research, trial and error and, quite often, hope. What works for me is something I’ve chosen to do for myself alone. It gives me the solace I seek. Thank you for reading.


- 1 six oz glass of part acai, part pomegranate juice – two powerhouse antioxidant fruits

o one multivitamin

o one b-complex (strengthens the heart muscle, and other organs)

o one resveratrol (main ingredient in red wine)

o 500 mg of Vitamin C

§ I don’t have a spleen – a filter for my blood. Vitamin C is to boost my immune system

o 1000 mg fish oil (Omega 3 cancer fighter)

o Other “maintenance” medicines for life


Microwave for 3 minutes on high:

½ cup of organic oatmeal

- lowers blood pressure and cholesterol

3 egg whites

- Omega3 fed hens, cancer preventer

organic skim

- More omega-3, more vitamins than conventional, helps with muscle recovery


Handful of crushed walnuts

- Rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids – cancer preventer

As many wild blueberries as you can stand

- higher antioxidant ratio than regular blue berries

2 tbl raw agave nectar

- low glycemic index that won’t make you hungry in an hour

3 hours later:

5.6 oz Organic Greek Yogurt

- high protein to feel full and build lean muscle, probiotics for digestion

2 hours later:

Organic broccoli/spinach pie made with whole wheat dough

- Broccoli is a known cancer fighter and is being researched as a natural wonder drug, fiber, vitamin C

- Spinach, yes, strengthens muscles, helps eyesight and is a cancer fighter

2 hours later:

8 0z Organic chocolate soy milk

I am a recovering sugarholic…sue me

A raw organic tomato

- Fights free radicals

- Lycopene - a known cancer fighter

This is a typical day.

My mission is to offset the fallout of the medicine that I am subjected to take for life and have been subjected to previously.

A constant rule of thumb question I relentlessly ask myself is:

What is the bang I am getting from what I am about to eat?

It becomes second nature. I ask myself that every time. The Hershey Kiss has less gleam that way. That’s not to say that I live a life of gruel and gloom. Life isn’t worth living if you are going to rob yourself of the various bounties that surround you. I am thankful. I am alive and I will celebrate that.

To that end I will have Celebration Days. I pick my spots and after 12 weeks I’ll eat real ice cream. Months may go by but after a while my soul begs for a Chunky bar. I confess though, many of the riches have lost their sparkle.

I am a pescatarian – a vegetarian who eats fish. It’s a word that bridges the chasm between omnivorous and vegan. Dr. Dean Ornish once proclaimed that the human digestive system was built solely for being a vegetarian. I disagree. We are adaptive. We are built to eat whatever crawls in our way, if we are put in a survival situation. Our ancestors, the apes, prove that. Still, nothing makes a more powerful statement than the societies that simply eat vegetables as a staple.

The battle between vegan and carnivore will last an eternity. I simply submit a peace treaty - the word organic. You may substitute unprocessed, untouched, of this Earth, whatever suits your needs. However you want to describe it, it is a simple term for a simple solution.

Our bodies are the perfect machines. I truly believe that. In our immeasurable universe, the human machine has been copied, modified, maybe bastardized but never surpassed. We are nature’s most adaptive creatures.

At least the design was perfect. The very environment we live in has polluted the actual code - Our biological set of laws scrambled at the most base levels.

When we are born, our basic genes are all the same yet there are chinks in the armor. Our environment seeps into those gaps and disease is born. True, it is nature. Also true, it is the key to defeating our horrid nightmares. Our last recourse is to get our environment back to organic and that starts with our own bodies.

A Survivor is on their last bullet. It is the last right we cling to. If a cat had nine lives, seven or eight of them are swiped in one round of chemo so if our candle is to burn long and bright, we must cling to the pursuit of purity in this last life we lead.

From my perspective, the only criteria I truly control now are how my body and mind are kept. I can cast them in the mud or I can hone them. I can stay indoors waiting for the storm or I can go searching for it. My choice.

I tell people I am in training. The looks I get range from ridicule and sympathy, to interesting and patronizing.

If I were a soccer player or a star in the NFL, no one would question. Those are people whose bodies are meant for self inflicted punishment. Substances both legal and not are poured into them with reckless abandon.

But what about those who never asked for the sentence? The twelve year old who never smoked in his life yet falls to lung cancer. The mother of four who will never get to see her grandchildren.

I don’t judge. I also don’t understand. To smoke or not to smoke. Self abuse or self awareness. Again. Your choice. I can’t let it affect mine.

We are in training. The perfect machine demands the perfect fuel. Untouched, of this Earth. Our ancestors used the mantra for their survival.

We now use it for ours.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cancer Hates Oxygen

*This blog is for Survivors, those who know Survivors and those who want to know how we live. My hope is to give a small glimpse into a world where statistics, charities and pity form a fa├žade to millions who just want to live a normal life. Any future imagery, although possibly disturbing to some, is in no way intended to shock. Rather it is intended to show our not so secret society of survivorship in its true light. Thank you for reading. It was 5 a.m. I could still hear the rain pattering through the screens in the windows. The air was heavy after a night of storms and bad sleep…again. The day after another killer weight session and my body was asking, more like begging, to surrender. Just one more hour of sleep. It will sound funny but I can hear my body talk. Some call it hyper-vigilance. I call it the Inner Voice. Some days it’s a whisper. Some days it is a dissonance of shrills and screeches. Always wanting attention. Feed me. Rest me. Work me. I wanted one more hour of sleep. Maybe it was the mere thought of tossing and turning for sixty minutes that changed my mind. Then it occurred to me. A simple statement I learned not so long ago. Cancer hates oxygen. Time and time again, science has scratched its head over the silly riddle – Why does cancer die in high oxygen environments? My answer to that is more base – who cares. Cancer hates oxygen. I have often thought that the mind is a pure ventriloquist. It uses the heart as a simple dummy, pushing it here and there. Making the heart do its’ bidding. But once your heart sets the course, nothing can change it. My brain reacting like something akin to a hangover as my feet hit the floor. I am dehydrated and hungry as I adjust my sneakers for third time. I am not one of those elite runners. After many blisters, I have invested in a good pair of running shoes. I have all of the wick ware that I need. Still, I am goofy as I stretch in my driveway. At once I start my deep breathing. I try to stretch my ribs as far as they will move so that I can gain a few more molecules of air. I pick a song off my iPod and simply go. As I dart past the darkened windows, the Inner Voice immediately starts yammering. My legs are tired. How far do you think you are going to go today? Cut it short. Is that knee pain I feel? It takes my body longer than most to ‘warm up’. My engine is working on six cylinders not eight - the result of an impromptu bypass at the age of thirty-seven. It was another domino that fell. Part of my cure, what started as a six year old Hodgkin’s patient, turned to be a dance with the devil. Decades later, fallout. Triple bypasses. Liver resections. A life of psychiatrists. Cut open. Dissected. Pain. Drugs. Thoughts of a bleak future. These are the same thoughts that prevail during my runs. The music is the background. The feelings are the road behind me. Today was a tune up. One and a half miles. I do short, hard runs. I try to keep my heart beating. I try to keep breathing. People forget. I try to forget. What I do is often viewed as radical. A borderline mania. I call it a religion. Monday – Weights Tuesday – Running Wednesday – Rest/possible gym at lunch Thursday - Weights Friday – Running Saturday – rest Sunday – running Over and over. In the rain. In the snow. In the heat or cold. Injuries mount up. Knees give way. Overworked muscles want to be left alone. A television remote beckons repeatedly. Sit. Relax. I can’t vegetate but I can be vegetarian. Exotic foods like brewers yeast, cacao nibs, flax seed, nuts, berries, odd grains, sometimes-peculiar vegetables fill me up yet I still would give it all away for a Twinkie. Cancer loves sugar. If I can help it, I won’t give it another chance. I want to be a moving target. In my mind, my cells are executioners. Anything foreign goes. I am a killing machine. I finish my run strong. It was a fast time for me. Fast being a relative term. My heart is slamming through my chest but it quickly dies down. It knows the routine. I listen for a few more moments as I suck in as much air as I can take. The Inner Voice is simply purring. It won’t last. For now, I have quelled my demons. My shoulders always heave as I take in the last of the deep breaths. I gulp one more yawning inhale before heading back in. The rain held off. Just a few flecks on my forehead. The last breath flows out of me, long and slow. I haven’t cheated myself today. I always have to remind myself – keep breathing. Cancer really does hate oxygen.