Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Health Update

Since I wrote about my prostate cancer last March, I have been warmly embraced by so many folks asking how I am doing. It has always been my intention to report back on my condition once I had something to report.

After my urologist gave us the news that I had prostate cancer, confirmed by a biopsy, Isaura and I spent the next six weeks researching all the alternatives we might want to follow. We did not like any of the medical options, so we turned to holistic medicine coupled with a life-change to our food consumption. Since the first of April I have been eating almost entirely organic foods. This presents its own set of problems, but the benefits have been more than worth it. The biggest challenge to eating organically is the fact that organic foods are not centralized in one store. Where we live in the Central Valley of California there are no stores that are fully stocked with organic foods. It’s my understanding that a chain of grocery stores called Whole Foods, has a full stock of organic foods, but the nearest store is seventy miles away. Certainly not convenient!

The biggest benefit in changing to organic foods is the significant weight loss I have enjoyed. As of last week I have dropped fifty pounds, all while eating more food than I did previously. The difference being that the organic foods are much easier for the body to process. Isaura is a wonder in the kitchen, using great creativity in preparing tasty dishes, and not the type of “rabbit food” so often associated with such a strict diet regimen. It is true that 75% of my daily intake is raw fruits and vegetables, but I have been pleasantly surprised to get my sense of taste back! The processed foods had spoiled my ability to enjoy the various nuances of taste. Now I eat organic oatmeal most every morning, sweetened with fresh fruit, my favorite being raspberries! Yum!

Starting out on this change I cut out all dairy, processed sugar, and red meat. Cancer seems to be particularly fond of red meat and processed sugar, so I’m simply denying it of these food items. Obviously while traveling it is much more difficult to stay on such a specific diet, so when eating in a restaurant I will order salads, or if they have it on the menu, I will order a vegetarian meal, or sometimes an organic dish (not available in many restaurants). While visiting friends and family everyone has been more than accommodating, and in the case of my brother in Virginia, he even offered to purchase a juicer should I want to juice some carrots during our two weeks with them. It was a gracious offer, but while traveling, Isaura and I buy bottles of carrot juice from the store.

During the past five months I have been under the care of Dr. Lisa Hunt, D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy). First thing she did when I had my initial visit was point at my belly and say, “That’s a heart attack.” I didn’t know quite how to react, mostly because I had always thought I was in pretty good shape for being 62. But she was right, and now I’m much leaner and working out seriously every morning with sit ups on my Roman Chair, and multiple barbell and dumbbell exercises. Last weekend I purchased a weight bench and rack along with 260 pounds of weight plates for some serious lifting – something I’ve always enjoyed doing.

Last week I had my first blood workup since I began this journey in holistic health. This test was to check my PSA count (prostate-specific antigen). Earlier this year my reading was 7.5 which got my urologist’s attention. So much so that he scheduled me for a biopsy – a procedure I hope to never experience again. Six months later my PSA count is 5.5 which is definitely moving in the right direction, but not quite in the “comfort zone” of 4.0 or less. From my research about PSA tests, I am unsure as to their accuracy, therefore, I am not allowing myself to get too worked up either way. I will continue down this path of holistic living until we’ve beaten this cancer back.

Either way, I know the Lord is in control. I like what the Scripture says in Romans, “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Amen!

This sort of reminds me of the little boy sitting in church one Sunday listening to the preacher extol the wonders of heaven and how glorious it all will be. At the climax of the message the pastor shouted, “Everyone that wants to go to heaven, stand up!” The whole congregation stood to their feet, except for the little boy. The preacher, thinking the lad must not have understood, shouted again, “Everyone that wants to go to heaven, stand up!” Well, everyone was already standing, and the little boy remained seated. The preacher looked at the youngster and said, “Son, don’t you want to go to heaven?” To which the boy replied, “Yes sir! I just thought you were getting a load to go now!”

I’m like the little boy – I’m ready to go to heaven – I’m not that anxious to leave just yet!

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