“My Fight With Rectal Cancer”

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I follow a blog called My Fight With Rectal Cancer. The blogger (Dan) is just like me, except he’s a ‘he’… and he is 25 years younger than me … ok, we aren’t exactly the same, but we both got colostomy bags as our ‘parting gift’. And his story is really not that different from mine, when it comes to his fears and concerns. I am over the age of… well, let’s just say I am a few years older than Dan. I am at the age where a colonoscopy is usually prescribed, but Dan is too young to be dealing with this crap!

Who knows why Dan had to go through what he did and all that doesn’t really matter now anyway. What does matter is his positive attitude and how he came to terms with it. He is an inspiration to others especially to those in his age group. If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.

There is a vast amount of statistics and bad news floating around the Internet and its refreshing to see someone take the time to share their very intimate and personal story like he does, especially coming from a male perspective. The media likes to portray males as “unable to express their fears.” Dan blows that dumb theory out-of-the-water.

We hear a lot about breast cancer but not much about butts. Having rectal cancer increased my sense of humor and I am betting it was the same with Dan.

Did I mention he is a new member of the Survivors of Cancer club? That is a BIG DEAL.

Dan wrote a letter to cancer that I want to share with you (with his permission) that, in my opinion expresses my sentiments exactly.

Dear cancer,
You have came into my life and brought me down and even picked me up. You’ve brought out the worst of me and found the best in me. You are like an evil girlfriend that no one wants. So why you may think you could take over my life I proved otherwise. I overcame everything you threw at me. You tried to make me weaker but I became stronger. You tried to make take my confidence away but it came back stronger than ever. I’d write you more but I don’t think you deserve it.
-Dan-

If you or someone you know is fighting cancer  — make a copy of his words and tape it to a place that you will see often to keep you inspired to  kick cancer’s ass.

Peace and Strength!

Inge

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When Did Parents Stop Acting Like Parents?

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I volunteer at a local hospital once a week and eat my lunch in the staff lunchroom. I like to think of myself as a “fly on the wall,” while I’m there because the nurses and support staff talk amongst themselves and I like to stay quiet and just listen. I think of it as part of my Buddhist training which teaches — it’s better to listen than talk (I am paraphrasing here).

Yesterday’s conversation was especially interesting to me. One of the staff said that her nine-year old refuses to eat anything but chicken nuggets and Mac and Cheese (I noticed the mom in question was eating a large salad for her lunch though). She went on-and-on about what a picky eater this little girl is and how she couldn’t do anything about it, except give this girl what she wanted because for God sakes — she might starve!

It’s really hard for me to keep my big, opinionated mouth shut, but I managed — I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said though. Her attitude was that she did not have a say in the matter. She believed she was powerless. I wonder what the other staff were thinking? They didn’t say much. Was I the only one bothered by what I heard? I am glad I stayed quiet — but I had to write about it here. By the way, this is not the first time I heard a parent complain that their kid would not eat what was served at the family meal.

The best complaint I heard and this is the God’s honest truth,”Bobby wouldn’t eat the pizza we bought for him because it wasn’t ’round’!!!

My first question is this. When did parents stop acting like parents? When I was a kid in the 60s, my mom and dad told me what to do. I was not given a vote and I certainly could not dictate what I was willing to eat. If I didn’t eat what was on my plate, I went hungry until the next meal. My mom was the worst cook on the planet! She was the Queen of canned or boxed foods. She would heat stuff up and throw it on a plate. Our mashed potatoes even came from a box!

She did cook up liver though and I remember soaking each piece in ketchup to cover the taste. I will admit I did stuff some pieces in my pants and flush them down the toilet later– BUT to tell her I would only eat certain foods?! Never! She would have knocked me into the middle of next week!

Coincidently, that same day I was talking to someone else who works in a high school cafeteria and she told me that schools are now required to put at least 50% fresh vegetables and fruit on school lunch plates. I told her that was a positive change but she told me that the students won’t eat them and throw them away. The kids end up still being hungry and the parents basically threw away five dollars (the cost of a school lunch these days) — which dovetails nicely with the hospital employee story. I am betting the high school kids eat pretty much what they want at home, so why would they want to eat a healthy lunch at school?

Processed foods taste good if you eat a steady diet of them. They are made that way on purpose. If a kid eats these foods at home, no wonder they turn up their noses to healthier choices at school.

We have a health crisis on our hands in the United States and a big part of the problem are the foods we eat. I know the parents are eating the same processed, junk foods as their kids and we are getting sicker as a nation because of it.

I would think the employee at the hospital would know better. She sees what cancer does to patients on a daily basis. We don’t have kids getting treatment at the hospital I am at; they go to a children’s hospital down the street.

There are plenty of studies showing that kids today are getting diseases caused by poor nutrition.

Exactly how much nutrition is the kid getting who eats nothing but chicken nuggets and Mac and cheese? How about zero! It’s not the kid’s fault. She is being a kid. It’s up to the parent to give her better foods. If that kid missed a few meals, you better believe she will eat what’s on her plate next time.

It’s up to each of us to choose better foods. There is enough information out there to make an informed decision. The food manufacturers exist to make money and don’t care if you get sick…or at least make sure you are not be able to link your disease to their particular product.

Parents need to teach their kids good eating habits right from the start — before the child decides to dictate what he/she is willing to eat. Healthy foods do taste better when the person is finally weaned off processed foods. The child or adult will feel the difference quickly just by how much more energy they have. Eating fresh foods help the person stay full longer.

Parents need to be parents. If your kids don’t hate you some of the time, you aren’t doing your job. Parents are not their kid’s friends. Children need parents to guide them to become responsible adults and that includes taking responsibility for the food choices they make. Parents are the ultimate role models, not Miley Cyrus.

Kids bodies are still growing and are especially sensitive to the chemicals in processed foods. Their immune systems must be as strong as possible to combat the plethora of environmental toxins they are exposed to on a daily basis. Eating a diet of fresh (preferably organic) fruits and vegetables is a way to make sure they grow up healthy.

Peace and Good Health!

Inge

Medical Marijuana – You Got Questions? I Will Find Answers

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I received a few emails from readers who have more questions about medical marijuana and it’s use to treat cancer — namely where can they find a healthcare professional to get a consultation.

You need to look for doctors specializing in integrative medicine. Integrative medicine combines alternative treatments with conventional. Doctors treat the patient as a whole entity — body/mind/spirit. Conventional medicine focuses on a small part of the body. For example, my colorectal doctor is terrific but when I tell him about the neuropathy in my feet and legs, his eyes glaze over. He specializes in butts and the plumbing that goes along with it — not feet. If I want to discuss my foot problem, that’s a whole other doctor and doctor visit.

A doctor who specializes in integrative medicine will probably see the connection. In my case, the connection is — neuropathy is a side effect from chemotherapy. It’s been way over two years since my last treatment but the side effects remain and may never go away.

There is a doctor in San Francisco who specializes in integrative medicine and uses cannabis for his patients.

Donald Abrams, M.D. is a cancer and integrative medicine specialist at the UCSF using alternative therapies, including medical use of marijuana and traditional Chinese medicine herbal therapies.  His office is located on 1545 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115. (415) 353-7700.

I wrote about Dr. Abrams in my earlier post about medical marijuana and just ran across an interview done by Andrew Weil M.D. with Dr. Abrams, where they discuss the benefits of cannabis. You can read it here.

My guess is there are more out there but don’t openly advertise as such. I suggest Googling integrative medicine doctors in your area and go down the list, call each one and ask them.

* Please note: Integrative means the physician uses alternative and complementary but not necessarily cannabis as part of the treatment.

I would also ask the doctor who writes the medical cannabis recommendation. He/she should know someone in your area.

I found this article in the SF Weekly you many find interesting, “Miracle” Cannabis Oil: May Treat Cancer, But Money and the Law Stand in the Way of Finding Out. It came out last spring and gives some real insight about the obstacles cannabis researchers face.

Please keep your questions coming. We are all learning together what choices are out there when it comes to getting well and staying that way.

Peace and Good Health!

Inge