We'll do anything for our best friend...
As well as being a cancer blogger, Laura Yeager is a religious essayist and a mental health blogger. A graduate of The Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, she teaches writing at Kent State University and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Laura survived cancer twice.
I’ve had cancer twice, once in 2011 and again last year. During my first bout of cancer (breast cancer), my best friend, Trish, kept her mouth shut and sat by while I was treated in a “mainstream” fashion; I received chemotherapy, radiation treatments and had a mastectomy.
I was cancer-free for five years, and then, a second cancer, an angiosarcoma, appeared on my right breast. It was determined that the angiosarcoma was a result of the radiation treatments I had received. As you can guess, this was a huge blow.
My radiologist told me that only one in a million people develop cancer from radiation therapy. I was that one in a million.
Treatment for this cancer was another operation to cut out the bright-red spot on my breast.
At this point, my friend could keep her mouth shut no longer. Trish was a big believer in alternative cancer treatments
. Specifically, she believed that people with cancer should consume B17, also known as amygdalin or laetrile. B17 occurred naturally in the seeds of apricots, peaches and almonds. The only problem with this was that B17 was banned in the US and contained cyanide.
Believers in B17 also believed in a conspiracy theory that the United States was keeping the substance from the American public so that its wide-spread use wouldn’t bring down the trillion-dollar cancer industry.
So every day, I had to listen to Trish lecture me about how I should be taking B17 and somehow buying it on the black market.
This was extremely upsetting to me. I didn’t believe that the substance would help me. In fact, I thought it might kill me.
Trish went with me to my oncologist appointment, where she asked my doctor about the controversial
“The efficacy of B17 was disproved in the 70s,” Dr. Bennet said.
“Well, you should watch some of these YouTube videos,” Trish argued.
“I don’t get my cancer knowledge from television,” Dr. Bennett sneered.
Trish didn’t let up.
At least watch this movie with me,” she said, referring to “A World Without Cancer,” written and directed by G. Edward Griffin. This movie told the B17 story.
Trish got it up on YouTube, and we watched a bit of it. It discussed how animals that ate foods with B17 in them did not get cancer. The movie was making a good point, and I conceded that it was well-written, but I grew tired of it. I guess I was just a mainstream girl. I had never bought into alternative medicine. I told her to turn the video off.
“Well,” Trish said, “there are foods that contain trace amounts of B17, and I guess trace amounts would be better than nothing. And these foods are legal.”
“It’s an ancient, gluten-free grain. You can buy millet bread in health food stores.”
Tired of Trish badgering me about B17, I said, “OK. Go buy me some millet bread.”
To my surprise, Trish immediately got in her car and drove to the health food store, where she purchased a loaf of millet bread, retailing at $5.99.
Needless to say, I’ve been consuming a slice of millet bread almost every day. It’s delicious with butter.
I’m not sure if this “wonder food” is keeping the cancer away, but I am sure that it’s keeping Trish out of my hair.