A former colleague of mine, Bruce, came for a visit yesterday. I always look forward to his visits as he is so well informed and interested in so many different things. Bruce was my mentor when I first started teaching at the Barrie Learning Centre (BLC). I had never taught adults before working at the BLC and, therefore, never appreciated the difference in approach that one must take. He showed me the ropes and I learned by example.
Bruce brought me flowers, a beautiful card, and a book. “Don’t look at this until I go.” he advised me.
So, we sat and talked about life. We talked about his life in retirement. He was fit, healthy, and very happy. Bruce always seemed to take a very balanced approach to things and was “reasonable” about solutions he offered to stick-handle tricky situations. A self-professed “environmentalist”, he told me stories of his recent adventure to New York to protest the development of the Tar Sands. “Over 1,000 Americans came over and personally thanked me for supporting their protest.” He was so impressed with the kindness, intelligence, and thoughtfulness of the protesters. I could see the admiration in his eyes – and the excitement of having been a part of something important. “I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that I did something to try to change the direction of global warming.” said Bruce passionately.
We had a great chat and Bruce told me stories about his buddies who had been affected by cancer in so many different ways by so many different forms of cancer. He had learned a lot about this disease and practiced prevention himself. Diet, exercise, and meditation were his three simple lines of defense.
After Bruce left, I toyed around with the book. “It is all based on science and math, Stacey. There are no stories in it at all. Lots of graphs, lots of number, lots of empirical evidence.” Not something I found interesting. But, because it was Bruce, I flipped through the book to get a feeling for it. A couple of chapters seemed to resonate with me – as did the pictures of the foods that inhibit cell cancer growth. There was a picture of a an anticancer plate and images of a “detoxified diet” looked like. I started paying attention. It talked about how much exercise was required to help boost one’s immune system. I payed more attention. It talked about the cost of stress and depression and the benefit of meditation and yoga. I was hooked.
For the first time, I felt that I could take action that would help slow – if not stop – cancer in its tracks. And it made sense to me that a diet that helps promote cancer cell growth is a diet I did not want.
Off to the farmer’s market I went with my husband in tow. Poor guy. He hates shopping. I loved looking at all the organic products and saw more and more of what I felt could be my shield against cancer. Organic powered garlic, organic unbleached brown flour, organic sweet potatoes, were all menu items that would help me to build my arsenal. I began to feel empowered. I bought milk that came from grain-fed cows and beets that were picked that morning. I bought free-range beef whose bones I could simmer to create organic beef stock. Dark chocolate rounded out the grocery shop. And voila – my anti-cancer weapons. “One glass of red wine with dinner is good.” is what I read in the book. Hurrah! I envisioned the tanins from the wine pushing back the front line of the tumor advancement.
“Anti-Cancer”, a new way of life by David Servan-Schreiber may or may not be THE solution to help me, but it sure as hell empowers me to eat better, walk faster, and breathe more deeply. And that cannot be wrong. I feel like I am fighting back to reclaim my life with every bite I take.