A patient graduated from her chemotherapy treatment yesterday. She was excited, as she certainly should be and told me she was happy she was getting hydration, along with her usual cocktail because she was going out later and celebrating. She planned to drink some alcohol. I don’t know how much and I didn’t ask.
I do know that sometimes when we celebrate something and alcohol is involved, we can overdo it. I have mixed feelings about drinking alcohol, especially after getting cancer and surviving it.
First of all — alcohol is highly acidic. And let’s be honest — the reason many of us indulge is because we like the high.
Second — the immune system is still fragile and will remain so from not only the cancer but the chemo drugs — no matter how you slice it — chemo is a poison meant to kill cancer cells, and along with killing cancer, healthy cells get stomped too.
I am not allowed to talk to people about their diet and life choices when I visit with them in the hospital and frankly I really do not want to. My goal is to inspire, not lecture, but I do give them the name of this blog, which I believe has information that will help them make healthier choices.
I believe in science, but I also believe in alternative healing. I believe science is catching up and finding out that food and lifestyle are important to good health. Hospitals still serve foods that contain unhealthy additives — like genetically modified ingredients. I know that they shop for the best deals and the best deals are not always the healthiest. There are some doctors who tell their patients to stop eating dairy and sugar while getting treatment and this makes me hopeful.
So back to this person wanting to go out and celebrate — what I am trying to convey is that cancer did not appear out of nowhere — it had to have an environment to flourish. Eating foods that are bad for us and drinking alcohol — don’t get me started about smoking — all create toxic environments. What cancer taught me was to stop and look at what I was doing. What foods was I eating? I didn’t smoke or drink alcohol, so my list of possible causes was shorter.
I know many people who tell me that they are genetically prone to cancer, heart disease, diabetes…pick one, but I don’t believe that. I come from short fat people who are obese. Heart disease and diabetes run rampant in my family history. I chose to eat a healthier diet and exercise. Yes, I still got cancer but that was not my fault. I didn’t know the foods I was eating were not really food anymore and were instead chemically changed.
As soon as I figured out what happened, I changed my diet immediately, along with my life style. What I wonder but I cannot ask them (the patients), especially the ones who continue to order the bacon cheeseburgers — is, “don’t you wonder how you got sick? and are you willing to make a change to make sure cancer does not come back?” Do they just figure it’s bad luck, bad genes or don’t they give it any thought?
It’s sort of like dieting. People say diets don’t work because as soon as the person loses the weight they eat the same foods that got them fat in the first place. I think it’s the same with cancer. I think we have the best chance of never getting cancer again by figuring out what happened and changing our eating habits and lifestyle.