Whole Life Magazine

October/November 2012

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overly aggressive treatments and perhaps do more harm than good in the long run. If we are going to live with this cancer for many years, we need to consider which is worse: tumors sitting idly or growing at a snail's pace, toxic side effects from chemotherapy, or a different and more aggressive form of cancer possibly developing from too much exposure to radiation during scans. the problem with the ubiquitous fear of the word "cancer" is that we might rush into ...i'm an active participant in my battle with cancer— using my fork and my bike as weapons. Battling with cancer is like a chess game to me. I don't just focus on one move—I try to look years ahead and consider the long-term consequences from my treatment options. when I was first diagnosed I devised a strategic plan for my fight against cancer: First I bined with holistic devices is ideal for combating both indolent and aggressive cancers. he says that he's "seen a real change in this country where we're putting our funding not only into standard therapies, but also investing resources in complementary programs." the American cancer society, for example, supports research into natural products a sharper focus on overall health. I'm one of them. when I faced my mortality at age 36 I made an abrupt shift toward taking better care of my body through a whole-foods, plant-based diet, loads of exercise and reduced stress. rather than strictly banking on western medicine to keep me alive, I'm an active participant in my battle with cancer—using my fork and my bike as weapons. Dr. presant says that a comprehensive approach of standard medical treatments com- society california Division Board of Directors, says that a lot of people with lingering cancers do live a normal lifespan. "this is really where lifestyle comes in," she says. katzin teaches her patients about foods that can help prevent and fight chronic diseases such as cancer. Interestingly, katzin points out that many people with a cancer diagnosis have and healthy as possible so that my immune system can fight the disease on its own while the medical community develops newer and more effective treatments. the genetic properties of a variety of cancers so that they can customize treatments to attack rogue cells with fewer side effects. two years ago a patient would have spent $100,000 for such a study, but today the price is less than $20,000 and continues to drop. the good news for me is that time is on my side. my goal is to keep my body as fit such as curcumin—a substance found in turmeric—that have anti-cancer properties. vari- ous fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs have been found to contain antioxidants to protect DnA from damage or to be used as anti-imflammatories and anti-carcinogens. Just as exciting as this research is the cancer genome project. scientists are mapping out would employ the finest services western medicine could provide—which turned out to be surgery to remove the primary tumor, half of my pancreas and my spleen—and then, once the initial crisis was over I would turn to complementary therapies to build my body into a cancer-fighting fortress. carolyn katzin, renowned nutritionist and chair of the American cancer available that could slow down my cancer even further, should my immune system need an assist. In addition, researchers at Johns hopkins have mapped the genetic makeup of neuroen- docrine cancer. such progress gives me strength in knowing that my strategy is working. In the meantime, through the marvels of advanced screening since my diagnosis, a number of new therapies have become techniques, my doctors and I are watching and waiting—re- ferred to in the medical world as "active surveillance." I was initially uncomfortable with the idea of just sitting back and watching the tumors inside me grow or not, but I've come to appreciate the approach. "It's not that you disregard cancer," explains presant. "It's that you watch it." while we do, I'll continue to fill my body with as much nutrient-dense food as my stomach can hold and ride my bike up steeper and longer hills to flood my cells with oxygen. "you can live with cancer," presant reassures me. I do. And amazingly, I've never felt better. n tracy krulik's book, I have cancer. And I've never Felt Bet- ter!, is available on Amazon (kindle). October/November 2012 29

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