Five years ago I got cancer. No big deal really. Stage 1, Laryngeal. My chemo didn’t even make my hair fall out. It was curious as I’d never smoked and was so young. I was 26. Had no family history of the stuff. But whatever. They caught it. I got to make cancer jokes with impunity. All was fine.
Two years later I got it again. Only this time it was in my small intestine. Weird. The cancers appeared unrelated. Again stage 1, again treated with relatively little fanfare and quickly subdued. But I became worried- wtf was going on with my body? About this same time, I got a dog. Loved that sucker. Realized in a way I’d never realized before, that animals were emotionally complex lovable little amaze balls, and that I should probably stop eating them. Puppydood and cancergate coincided and I decided it was probably a good thing to eschew meat and dairy- both for my heart and for my gut. It was a (very) gradual process, but I slowly became (and am) vegan.
And that brings me to today. I’m not sure I am at all healthier than I was a few years ago. I’m a little less morally conflicted. I don’t regret the changes I’ve made to my diet. But I’m the quintessential junkfood vegan. My life revolves around processed food and diet sodas (I average 4-6 20 ounce sodas per day.) And while most people tout veganism for its health and weight loss benefits, between my processed food, my cancer-treatment steroid meds and my recently-diagnosed thyroid issues, I’ve manged to put on a whopping 60 lbs since becoming vegan. 200 lbs of eep-tastic vegan- yep- that’s me.
Oh and about that thyroid. I found out yesterday that it’s not doings its job and is covered in cysts of questionable kind. I don’t really know if they’re cancer. The doctor wants to wait 3 months and see if they grow- she doesn’t seem too concerned overall. Apparently, even if it is cancer- even if it’s stage 2 cancer already- well thyroid cancers are one of those magical, almost always curable kind. So I won the lottery again. If you want to keep entering the cancer lottery and winning is being diagnosed with the least shitty kinds, I’m a champion.
But I don’t want to keep entering the cancer lottery. How often can I keep drawing the Stage 1 straw? And as much as I was relieved at the low thyroid “excuse” for my recent weight gain, I don’t want to keep feeling like an unhealthy, energy-sapped behemoth. And I keep reading things about juicing- about the Gerson therapy and the China Study. There’s the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead movie. There are studies and by various doctors and proselytization by those doctors’ various patients. Unfortunately, statistics for success rates here really aren’t that widely available or scientifically convincing and I honestly remain a little skeptical. I don’t know whether juicing and plant based diets kill cancer 1/10,000th of the time or 1/10 of the time. And there’s almost no reliable information out there regarding its success in preventing illness. But I do know that plant based diets work sometimes. And that if I’m willing to pump my body full of neon green toxic chemicals in chemotherapy, I should also be willing to drink slightly less noxious green juice.
So today it starts. I plan on juicing for as long as it feels safe and I have the energy to continue being a productive little lawyer bee, and to walk my two delightful dogs. I really want to strive to make it at least ten days on only juice, followed by an indeterminate session of plant-based clean eating afterwards. And I’m stocked up with my fruits, vegetables, and my pain-in-the-ass-to-clean Breville juicer. I’m ready to go. And I’ll keep you updated. Promise. Even if I start lacing my juices with Diet Coke.