Some say I'm a lucky person. I say it's who I am.
Being a healthy person happened organically for me. I grew up in a home where my dad took supplements, my mom cooked from scratch, shunned white bread and had raw milk and bottled water delivered to our door. Knowing my health resulted from what I put in my body and the environment I lived in made perfect sense to me.
As an adult, I embraced the healthy lifestyle played out in my home by continuing my own research to educate myself (before the Internet, I might add). Unhealthy foods and chemicals had no part in my life.
I was a true believer from the start — had my son at home, made all his first foods and decided not to have him vaccinated. Oh, the horrors! Instead he got exposed to the natural environment to receive immunization. Ever wonder why kids eat dirt?
Today my son is 34 and healthy. And I was healthy, happy and enjoying life.Fast forward to the fall of 2008 at my first colonoscopy. Twenty six polyps were removed — 25 precancerous and one with cancer. Genetic testing revealed I had a recently discovered gene for colon cancer (MYH-associated polyposis) inherited from my parents. The doctors recommended I have my colon removed to which I replied, “No! That’s barbaric!”
The experience sent me into a time of grieving and research — I mourned the loss of my health (so I thought) and buried myself in learning all I could about the condition. Meanwhile, I continued to have colonoscopies every three months. Fifteen more precancerous polyps were removed in December 2008. Another eight just three months later. It rocked my world.
My gastroenterologist urged me again to have my colon removed. I would not. I was even denied health insurance because I made a choice against my doctor.In spring 2009, about the time of my third colonoscopy, I launched a full attack against the gene defect. I changed my diet to vegan and cut out every food known to cause, contribute to or feed cancer. The list of banned items included alcohol, meat, anything artificial, pesticide grown foods, chocolate and sugar. Vegetables (lots of greens) became my mainstay food either as juice, smoothie or cut-up and dressed with apple cider vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.
After a month as a vegan, I felt my body needed tweaking to the diet. I added wild-caught fish, organic eggs and occasional small amounts of goat or sheep cheese. Ahhh! Better. That is my diet to this day.
At my fifth colonoscopy after one year on my new diet, I heard the words, “You’re clear!” from the gastroenterologist. He handed my husband pictures of my colon showing healthy clear tissue. One showed the tattooed spot where the cancerous polyp was removed at my first screening some 18 months earlier.
Despite the fog of anesthesia, I grasped what that meant. I had beaten a genetic curse with a clean, plant-based diet. My only disappointment? The doctor had nothing to say nor expressed any interest in what I had done to accomplish this.
One thing I’ve come to realize: Had I not maintained a healthy lifestyle in my earlier years, I may not have made it to my first colonoscopy.
Did my story encourage you? Or perhaps bring up questions? Your comments and questions are welcomed.
I hope you’ll return to read future posts. You’ll find motivation and support for a different approach to cancer.