Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Question is - are you eating well?

I am not a doctor and not a researcher, but I have been following the progress of a few Multiple Myeloma patients who have opted for Stem Cell Transplants (STC). Some have had success with an auto SCT (using their own cells) and some have had success with an allogenic (using cells from a close match) transplant.

Some months ago I was the cheer-up-leader for a photographer in the UK, Sean Tiernan, who was recovering from his allo STC - using his brother's cells - but he succumbed to pneumonia, something that is a horrible risk for those people with brand-new immune systems. (If you click the link you can read his blog.) This does not mean that I am a supporter one way or the other for STCs, only that going through that process is often a lonely one and I try to offer hope and encouragement in my postings.

Corn tortilla and sausage for the first course, with scrambled eggs and
perhaps hugo (juice) mora (blackberry) or naranja (orange) to follow.
One of my MM pals is a non-secretor, so he is not eligible for an STC and instead has been managing with a chemical combo that he acknowledges has sustained him beyond his 'shelf life' but has not really stopped the progression of the disease. He is also a writer who doesn't delude himself about the outcome, or about how the doctors sometimes make decisions for one patient based on the data for the disease either disregarding individual conditions or overlooking it to get to a quick result. For him, and you can read about it on Deludia, it was nearly an early end.

David Emerson had chemo and the STC and has undergone other therapies. (Click on the page called GALEN and read his history and the choices he made.) A recent article about alternative therapies said that conventional medicine gets recognition for cancer cures and the alternative field gets labeled as criminals when their patient(s) die and we never hear about those who are living many years after a cancer diagnosis. One blog I am following is written by a woman who is following the Gonzalez protocol based on nutrition and pancreatic enzymes. Here is her story.

Dr. James Berenson, a nationally recognized researcher of MM, has stated he does not encourage his patients to go the STC route. But the medical team led by Dr. BB at the University of Alabama takes the position that being aggressive with tandem STCs gives the greatest chance for a complete remission (CR) and there are more than a few MMer's who are in CR now from Dr. BB's regimen. You can read Nick Van Dyke's blog here.

It is too bad there is no comprehensive data on MM routes toward the cure... like there is for say, buying a car. You can find out which cars have a history of problems, which cars can go over 200,000 miles and not break the bank, and you can evaluate one car against another (or several others) to make your choice. I'd like to see something like this for the STC route, so patients have more information when making that choice. But for now, there is some collaboration going on in Boston, MA with Dana Farber Cancer Institute to develop a more personalized treatment plan - very interesting report here.
Chicken salad with celery bits and mayonnnaise on a bed of lettuce,
with toasted almonds and half a sliced apple covers all the bases.
Making homemade mayonnaise is really easy, by the way.

Another of the MM blogs I follow is that of 'Minnesota Don' who has incorporated nutrition changes into his lifestyle and who demonstrates with his national running campaign (Don is only a few states shy of having run a marathon in all 50!) how his food works for him.

Sadly, another well-informed MM blogger, Lonnie Nesseler,, recently died after 14 years with the disease, probably from the damages caused by his treatments. Lonnie posted in December of 2011 that after a second 'fill-up' of donor cells and going through another hellish hospital experience, he was in Complete Remission at long last. Awhile after that he posted on the MM FaceBook group a link to this report on the abuse of vitamin supplements.

Unlike other blood cancers that are more responsive to a 'standard of care' regimen, it seems to me, as a person/caregiver standing on the sidelines, that MM is more like an individualized disease and thus is harder to treat with the menu options of STCs, chemotherapy and other drugs. It's like going to a restaurant and asking the chef to please feed you, but in order for you to survive, he will have to make an educated guess as to what food combinations are best for you.

In that line of thinking, I have been listening to a book called "Healthy Eating, Healthy World," by J. Morris Hicks and J. Stanfield Hicks which discusses the interconnectivity of nature and mankind and how we are failing our own potential by how we eat. We are eating out of our natural range, causing serious health issues for the human population and damaging our environment because of the demand to provide more beef and dairy cows, chickens and the huge chemically-covered corn and wheat fields. Not to mention that the structure of wheat has changed over the past half century, so we aren't getting the nutrition from that grain that we used to. Read this about wheat and Dr. William Davis' book on it.

Bananas are still one of nature's most amazing fruits.
Sadly the chemicals used to preserve them for market
are affecting the workers who harvest them.
The Hicks' theory is the threat of becoming a 'vegetable' through a stroke is best overcome by eating raw vegetables. I am not sure I totally agree with that premise, but eating more healthy vegetables - and not those from GMO! -  certainly brings benefits.

Currently the bloggers Dom and Nan are doing quite a bit of research and reporting on the GMO issue and stem cell findings (especially as it relates to MM) and you can follow them here.

The peasants in South America (where I live for part of the year) can best afford the local fresh fruits and vegetables with a little chicken, goat and beef once in awhile. They walk a lot, work hard and live by the sun, starting their work when it comes up at 6 and stopping before it goes down at 6. Obesity never used to be a problem here, but as the camposinos strive to be 'richer,' they eat more sugar, consume more empty calorie foods with the result that both diabetes and heart disease are on the rise and if they acquire a motorcycle, they seldom walk when they can ride.

Getting exercise daily is also part of keeping the system operational. Even taking a short walk, if that's all you have energy for right now, is healthful.

The toxins in our systems caused by chemicals used in materials to build our cars, decorate our homes, provide aid when we hurt, and so on, are helping to make it possible for previously limited cancers to invade bodies of all ages. So I feel strongly there is some logic (and benefit) to having a hair sample test done to determine the status of the body along with the other testing that is done to determine the level of MM at diagnosis.

I am not blaming anyone for their diseases, but encouraging all those who are wanting better health to start looking at what you are eating. (You might find my postings about flouride and aspartame interesting.) Particularly look at how many hidden sugars are in the things you buy to prepare quickly. The best thing I have done for my own health has been to live in a third-world country where I am almost 'forced' to eat fresher everything. And so far, South America has one of the the lowest incidence of MM, but as South Americans start eating like North Americans, this may change. Now that I'm living in the NW, I am focusing on eating foods as fresh and healthy as I can find them. TIP: When in the bigger supermarkets, shop the outside lanes and avoid the middle ones where all the preserved foods are.

How can I have good strong cells if I don't give them the nutrition they need? Most of the time when I return to the U.S. I have gained weight and I know it's because I have access to the very tasty, not-necessarily-good-for-me, treats that are so readily available there. I offer up these links to help you make better choices for better health and hope they are helpful.

Hippocrates knew that food was the key: "Your food will be your medicine and your medicine will be your food."


  1. The more that I read, the more we're becoming "freaked out", Sandy. The Myeloma Beacon must have decided to quit posting my entries.... however, I feel that it's important, and will not hold back. Monsanto Kills. Plain and Simple. Love ya, kiddo!

    1. And I will keep reading your reports... anytime you want to reach my readership, let me know... I am totally against GMO and thus Monsanto.

  2. dear sandy,

    what a very interesting and informative post. i like that you zero in on how vital it is to be informed "consumers". no matter where/how MM is treated, healthy nutrition education should be an integral part of care. but, as you have shown, it behooves us all to be our own best advocates, and to do that, we have to sometimes dig deep to discover not only which foods are healthy but also the origins and the ethics behind the production of food that comes to table. and i also appreciate all the people you highlighted in your post for their committments to helping others and sharing their observations, findings, and in some instances, some pretty darn good recipes. thanks all, and thanks sandy for this enlighting and inspiring post.


    karen, TC

    1. Thanks, Karen, and FYI - Trader Joe's does not accept any GMO foods to sell. And Canada has outlawed both sale and production of GMO... If I hear of any other stores that are non-GMO, I will post them here.

  3. dear sandy,

    good to know about trader joe's policy - we shop there frequently. and yes, i am sure we would all appreciate knowing about other stores that have a non-GMO policy.

    have a great week-end, dear friend.

    love, xoxo

    karen, TC

  4. ADDENDUM: This just in from Dom & Nan about meat producers in the U.S. and Canada is another one of the 'blacklisted' countries... sad, indeed.