My first inspiration came from Mel, a girl I used to live next door to when I was very small and who later became good friends with Hayley (technically H this means Mel is an older friend than you - although yes we have spent MUCH more time together and not been sick on daffodils, perhaps just the odd martini). Our conversations since her brother Paul told us we could eat daffodil stalks so long as we dipped them in sugar (he was wrong, violently wrong) have been via email and through Hayley. Mel's dad also had colorectal cancer and by an awful coincidence, died in the same hospital as me - I was having my "life saving surgery" and he was reacting very badly to chemotherapy. Mel is a nutritionist with an obvious interest in cancer and to her absolute credit has volunteered help to me whenever I've asked for it, despite this being her profession.
For most of the 7 weeks 24/7 chemo and 25 sessions of radiotherapy, plus the 6 week gap between that and surgery I followed a strict eating plan to get myself into the best physical shape I could. I'm not talking rock solid abs here, but by eradicating and compensating for any deficiencies the treatment brought on.
It was hard, I won't deny it. Five years of solid vegatarianism in my late teens/early twenties helped. I already knew how to cook pulses and that protein didn't have to have been anywhere near an animal.
I gave up the following:
I cut down on:
Fruit (due to sugar)
Aubergines (look I like aubergines and mushrooms OK?)
I took unprecedented amounts of supplements, including omega 3, selenium, choline & inositol, vitamin C etc and ate steamed fish twice a week, plus brown rice daily.
Salads and freshly made soups plus veggie dishes with brown rice - really not that hard to deal with is it? I grow my own herbs and love lentils, veg and spices. So at home easy - anywhere else "You can't eat bread/cake/sweets/chocolate?" erm yes of course I can but I don't want to die, so I'd rather not if that's OK?
Actually, given the state of my insides (regular readers may remember the feeling of passing crushed glass every time I was in the bathroom and the accompanying screams and tears) eating chocolate was a bad thing - acted as a laxative, wheat bloats me and sugar feeds cancer so...
In less that two weeks, the ballust of the brown rice (unlike white rice this contains all it's natural minerals and vitamins which are stripped out of white rice, then BY LAW, added back in so white rice at least has SOME nutritional value, albeit totally manufactured) the supplements aiding healing of the damage the radiation and chemo, plus the lack of cancer feeding foods - the pain dramatically reduced. The bleeding stopped quite early on - due to radiation shrinking the main tumour, but the radiation caused more pain - the food was my medicine.
The concepts of this restrictive diet is based on the facts that cancer thrives in an acidic environment. The blood needs to be slightly alkaline at ph 7.4. A diet high in sugars, meats, cooked and processed foods, particularly those with a lot of added chemicals are all acidic. Another cause of excess acidity is stress - when we get stressed we produce cortisol - I'll leave you to look that up on Wikipedia rather than bore you with detail. I'm simplifying HUGELY here because I want you to try and understand what I'm doing here, if possible.
Alkaline foods are things like green veg, they contain chlorophyll - which is molecularly virtually identical to human blood, the only difference being magnesium in the green stuff and iron in the red. You should eat your greens for a reaon - you need all the stuff in them! Certain grains like millet, buckwheat, lemons and limes are metabolised into alkaline - not acidic as most people believe. Even radiologists advise drinking lemon barley water - to keep things alkaline - burning acid wee is not something you want anywhere near radiation burns I can assure you - this includes internal damage like cystitis and external like....well bleeding burnt skin.
Grasses (wheat, straw, barley, dog, kamut etc.)
Watermelon (is neutral)
Other Seafood (apart from occasional oily fish such as salmon)
Fresh vegetable juice
Pure water (distilled or ionised)
Lemon water (pure water + fresh lemon or lime).
Non-sweetened Soy Milk
Condiments (Tomato Sauce, Mayonnaise etc.)
Seeds, Nuts & Grains
Any sprouted seed
Fats & Oils
Margarine (worse than Butter)
Fats & Oils
All fruits aside from those listed in the alkaline column.
Seeds & Nuts
Stick to salads, fresh, alkaline vegetables and healthy nuts and oils. Try to consume plenty of raw foods and at least 2-3 litres of clean, pure water daily (ideally enhanced with pH drops).
Steer clear of fatty meats, dairy, cheese, sweets, chocolates, alcohol and tobacco. Packaged foods are often full of hidden offenders and microwave meals are full of sugars and salts. Over cooking also removes all of the nutrition from a meal!
Breakfast: oats, soy milk, goji berries/blueberries with cinammon
(Wheatgrass juice home grown - makes me want to hurl it's SO saccharine sweet - but super alkaline)
Green drink: fist full of spinach and/or kale, half to whole cucumber, half a lime, stick or two of celery, green apple. If I can't face food I blend the green drink with a mango for some fibre (not required for my reduced digestive system).
Snack: nuts/seeds, a banana, an avocado, brown rice cakes with any nut butter
Lunch: small sweet potato and beans if really lazy
Dinner: soup, some kind of spiced mean containing veg, lentils, chick peas, or a salad. By salad that usually includes carrots, beetroot, peppers, leaves, cucumber, sprouts, seeds, olives, avocado, celery, tomatoes, sea veg, etc. A salad is NOT a leaf of iceberg, two slices of tomato and a slice of cucumber.
I have non wheat/vegan bread and pasta for the times I want to have something "normal". I make vegan pancakes or blinis - and squirt some agave syrup for sweetness, or fill with mashed banana.
So long as at least 80% of what goes in is green/alkaline (my ph saliva strips are green when I'm 7.4 - it's just a whole concept really) I'm happy.
Of course, this is all well and good, but it's only half, if not less than half the battle. What's going on in my head, the nerve centre of the pharmacy I run, is more important. If I eat green all day and am stressed (as I have been too much the last two or three weeks) it's an uphill struggle. By breathing slowly - just for a few minutes, you can also make chemical changes to your body.
Meditation - it's not just hippy mumbo jumbo you know. I'm racking up 10 - 20 mins a day. On the days I've not even felt worthy of my own efforts, I've felt so much worse. A (frequently sharp and overly harsh) reminder to "get into the zone" from my mentor generally does the trick - as soon as I've had my 20 mins everything is a lot calmer. He's not been around as much lately for various reasons and I realised I was relying on him too much and let everything else get on top of me too. It led to a miserable few days, but I think I'm back on track now. A huge element of stress has gone. I just have to face the medics in a few days and listen to what they have to say.
There is really no part of me that wants more chemical intervention. I can almost pinpoint the times when I think the tumours started to grow again. I've always believed the largest cause of my cancer has been my depression. Cancer won't grow where there is a healthy immune system. Depression and a suppressed immune system go hand in hand. There have been three times since the main surgery when I've been rock bottom, the last two I pretty much gave up on my own future. Negativity was my middle name - regardless of any front I've been putting on for people. So, if I allowed things to get that bad and they grew, I can stop them growing any more, what's to say they won't just disappear altogether? Who really knows for sure?
Kris Carr - Crazy Sexy Cancer - if you can watch that documentary (I have a copy but the tracking is off) or read her books, or her Crazy Sexy Life - she's been on this journey for the last 6 years or more. Her rare tumours all over her liver and lungs have stopped growing. Her blood is "clean" now unlike at the time of her diagnosis. My fellow cancer buddy Dean - been out living life, DJing round the UK, Ibiza, having FUN and just getting on with what he wants to do - last two scans, no growth on his lung tumours either. So why am I any different? I may have had a minor set back lately but it's all going to get much better now. I've got gigs/events/trips/visits planned - and am still planning. Yes I'm worn out and I'm doped up on these Fentanyl patches - but I'm pain free now (95%) and I am going to carry on and I'm not going to lie down and take the medicine like a lab rat unless someone can really show me a very good reason why my plan isn't a better one. I just might need a little while longer to make my case - but I'm still the judge and jury on this one.