Last month I got the results of my latest Minimal Residual Disease test. I take this test annually as a way of monitoring microscopic changes in my circulating cancer stem cell count. And I really do mean microscopic. Until now my results have consistently shown 3.8 cancer cells per 7.5ml of blood. Think about how many red blood cells there are in 7.5ml (around 35 billion I believe) and you will understand that we're talking about tiny numbers of cells. However, when that count starts to increase, or rises above 5, then there are changes happening within the body which need to be addressed.
My last count came in slightly elevated, and I have to be honest; it floored me. My doctor isn't concerned about these changes because certain markers within the cancer cells which predict metastasis are still switched 'off'. However, I'm a proactive kind of a girl (I think this also means impatient!) and watching and waiting are not my strong points. I decided to re-evaluate. What have I changed over the past year? Where have I become lazy? Where am I cheating.
The positives are that I've removed my amalgam fillings (more on this in another post), I've introduced a daily, good quality vegan protein and I've increased my green smoothie and juice intake. So far so good.
However, the negatives, when I really think about them, are shocking. I've been very stressed over the past year with the trials of moving house. The kind of low lying, rolling-wave stress, which over time becomes 'normal', increasing adrenal fatigue and depleting the immune system. Because of the stress and subsequent tiredness I made some lazy food choices. Certain foods crept in, and became 'OK" simply by regularity; gluten free, shop bought bread and 'foodie' sugar in the form of maple syrup, coconut sugar, date syrup and fruit leather. Whereas once I wouldn't even have licked the spoon when making cakes for the kids, I found that I was eating the occasional (who am I kidding) gluten free, 'sugar free' cupcake. I suspect that cancer cells are pretty indiscriminate - they love this high fructose diet. And finally, I'd gone from being a full vegan, to eating butter and eggs, and occasionally having yoghurt and goats cheese when I was craving a quick protein fix. All of these foods were feeding my frenzied lifestyle. Too much convenience, too little time devoted to food preparation. And how quickly the palette becomes accustomed to, and demands more fat, sugar and salt. This was why early on I vowed to give these foods up only once.
I mentally stacked this Not Healthy food onto my kitchen table. It piled up into quite the shocking cancer treat.
So it's back to being more Aware. The first step was to totally eliminate sugar in all its forms. And no more bread, cheese or yoghurt.
I revisited my functional doctor. My blood shows signs of leaky gut syndrome. We're working on this, and in 6 weeks when I'm more stable I intend to have a full allergy test to see which foods I'm intolerant to. I'll also re-take the Nutreval test which is a comprehensive nutritional evaluation test, checking on (amongst other things) levels of vitamins, enzymes, hormones and heavy metal toxicity.
For now I'm back on a high dose vitamin C protocol, combined with Alpha Lipoic Acid (which re-circulates the vitamin C rather than allowing it to be eliminated via the kidneys).
Cheating is only cheating yourself, but there is something else to learn from this. I'm hard on myself, I take responsibility for my actions, but as my functional doctor says, this beating myself up is 'an old way of thinking'. I'm dedicated to getting that cancer stem cell number back down, but I'm also devoted to being less tough on myself when I make mistakes.