DIET and EXERCISE
Just took a look at my blog posts, and life is good. So good, in fact, that I am not posting to the blog! I see that I have 135 total posts (not counting this one) and only FOUR of them have been in 2012. Not expecting the end of the world or studying Mayan history, but really just living life like a person that does not have cancer. It's really weird. I am still doing the dietary thing, avoiding potential carcinogens like pork and shellfish altogether, and limiting other things (stuff with preservatives, etc.) to one day a week. The diet is now intended more for weight loss and health building than cancer avoidance. I posted earlier that I lost 40 pounds or so in 2011. Not so much for 2012 - no loss at all on the balance - a few pounds gained, a few pounds lost, but stable around 220 pounds. Does this mean the Slow-Carb diet is a failure? I don't think so. For one, I have not gained the weight from last year back. And perhaps the most important factor is the TOTAL absence of the much-hated exercise. Not because it is hated, but because a chronic lower-back injury resurfaced in April and has been really exacerbated by the minimalist Slow-Carb Fat-Loss exercises and stretches. It used to be that a chiropractic adjustment would fix it for a month or three, but this progressed to the point where it would not "fix" at all, or last less than 24 hours. A friend of mine, Frank R., has been bugging me for years to abandon chiropractic and go to his Physical Therapist. I was finally desperate enough to do it. Unlike others I have experienced, this guy did not prescribe meds, bend joints, or cause other painful effects. Rather he showed exactly what was wrong, how to "fix" it myself, and trained me to do a bunch of exercises to strengthen the back and core muscles to hold the correct position in place. This process took almost three months of training and follow-up visits. Bottom line - I feel better than I have in years, can recognize when things are even slightly off, fix the problem instantly, and continue to work the back and core muscles. The PT even told me I can resume all the Slow-Carb Fat-Loss exercises as I wish about 4 weeks ago. But work travel, vacation travel, upcoming cysto (on 9/11 - good day for a judgment day), and BCG will mess up the schedule, so I have resolved to work hard on the PT exercises and add in the Fat-Loss stuff after my October ordeal with BCG is complete - just in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday season!
An interesting side note, reshuffling of buildings and offices at work has left me with a suboptimal place to work, so my boss authorized me to begin working from home full time. This change necessitated some new expenses for better home office furniture and connectivity, but the end result is really nice. I would think my productivity is nearly doubled during busy times! When I do go into the office for occasional meetings (not really mandatory, but good to let people not forget about me), everyone says how much better and happier I look. They all say that the working from home must really agree with me. It does, but I think the real reason for my improved posture and attitude is the result of the PT exercises and the absence of dull, nagging lower-back pain. I had learned to tune it out unless it got really sharp and severe, but with even the dull pain now gone, life really looks much better again!
In addition to all of that, several of you have contacted me in the past months with updates and new information. The best news is that our little BC "fraternity" continues to have clean cystoscopy reports and maintains a cancer-free state! The list includes Steven S. in Tennessee, Sebastian in Argentina, Julie T. from Illinois, John M. from Ohio, David F. in England, Ben F. in Louisiana, Roy B. in Alabama, and a few others who prefer to remain nameless. At least three of this list had "false alarms" of things that looked unusual but turned out not to be cancer recurrence. This is really an IMPRESSIVE list. All of them have made some degree of dietary change, but probably the most fascinating story belongs to John M. in Ohio. I had a couple of lengthy phone calls with him - he prefers that mode to email.
JOHN M.'s AMAZING STORY!
He was diagnosed with three tumors in Fall of 2011, and had TURBT and BCG, then had 4 new ones only a few months later in December, removed for Christmas via another TURBT. Both sets of tumors were analyzed and found to be very aggressive and high grade cancer. Per the US standard of care his oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic advised him to have a full Radical Cystectomy. I suspect most of you reading this have considered this possibility and, like me, consider this to be a dire, last-resort only - to be avoided at all costs. John took this feeling to a whole new level. He did a lot of research (including this blog), and began testing his urine for microscopic blood using laboratory test strips at home. He began noticing correlation between certain food consumption and trace, microscopic blood in the urine. He also began to note a correlation between foods and the acidity/alkalinity (pH) of his urine - conveniently measured with the same test strips. Further self-research and experimentation also showed a strong correlation between stress levels and acidic pH and presence of microscopic blood. This knowledge plus the threat of RC in his future propelled John into high gear. He immediately stopped eating ALL animal protein (including fish and eggs) and ALL sources of sugar. He went to an organic vegetarian diet and added alkalizing agents (e.g. baking soda and lemon juice). He also took steps to reduce stress in his life - removing factors he could control (e.g. driving), and gradually letting go of other things. I asked him specifically how he accomplished the latter. A devout Catholic, he prayed for relief and yielded his burdens to a Higher Power. He monitored his urine for pH and blood every time he urinated, taking corrective action on stress or diet any time the indicators indicated blood or acidity.
Four months later, in April, 2012, John went in for another cystoscopy. No new cancer, but one scar and three red spots, perhaps residual from TURBT and BCG, or perhaps new. The oncologist wanted to do biopsies, but John declined. He did agree to a follow-up cysto in August, 2012. That cysto showed ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No spots, no scar - nothing at all. John's bladder returned to it's original, pristine state. From his experience and research, John has concluded several things:
1) Maintaining an alkaline pH in the urine (above 7.0) will allow the body to effectively kill off existing cancer
2) Diet is the key to maintaining alkaline pH, supplemented by baking soda or lemon juice as needed
3) Once the cancer is gone, one can safely consume sugar and other things, in limited quantities
4) Food coloring, artificial additives, and preservatives should be avoided at all times
He still monitors his urine blood and pH levels daily, but no longer every time. He also indulges himself in high-acid foods from time to time (citrus, tomatoes, meat, etc.) He likens the situation to a canker sore in the mouth - it will heal quickly without exposure to acids. When healed, one can consume the acidic foods without too much concern - unless another episode occurs. His strict, organic, green-vegetable diet (including juicing) was only needed until the cancer was gone. He is now more careful about diet, but not obsessive about it. Eliminating stress is still a good practice - stress is very acidic to one's biochemistry and negative to both physical and mental health.
Read about John's story in his own words in his fairly brief blog here:
Unlike me, John did not keep meticulous records of his research and test results. So that door is open for me. I have ordered 200 test strips and will begin some experimentation on myself for correlations to foods and stress. I note that these strips test both pH and blood, but also have 8 other indicators. So I plan to do some research on some of the other tests to see if they may provide useful data. Stay tuned for a few months as I collect the data. If any of you would like to join me in this experimentation, send me your data and I will post it on the blog for all to see and share.
These SG-10 urine test strips are made by Siemens, Bayer, and Roche, and may be found from multiple sources on Amazon, and generally less expensive sources on eBay.
ANOTHER TEST TO TRY
I was contacted recently by a drug company representative. They are marketing a urine test for a specific protein (NMP22) that is an indicator (sometimes) for bladder tumors. These test modules are more complex than the test strips above (which test for total protein, not specific ones), and require 30-50 min to analyze the sample drops of urine. They are pretty reasonably priced at $15 each, sold in packs of 10, and are available by prescription only in the US. I asked him about availability in other countries, but he did not answer that question. Because they are prescription only, the routine is to learn about them and "ask your doctor," just like the other cheesy drug commercials on TV. I may well ask my doctor about them, as I will be going to annual cystos after this next one. If any of you are interested, the patient information (including a pre-filled out prescription for your doctor to sign) may be found at:
Let me know if you try them and what results you experience!