Our journey into a lifestyle of clean food and natural healing. Last fall my husband Phil was diagnosed with NH Lymphoma and suffered greatly up until May, when he went into remission. Our goal is to eat squeaky clean Earth Food to keep the Cancer far, far away...
As Phil has gone into full remission from Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, it is my aim to heal both of us inside and out. I have always loved to cook, bake and learn more and more about nutrition- but recently the research has intensified. I have come to learn that cancer survivors who have undergone chemo and radiation treatments have about a 5 yr long average life expectancy, even after going into full remission. However, that is if the survivor goes back to their original way of life, not changing diet, stressful situation, environment, exercise, supplements and emotional therapy, etc. It really is up to the survivor to reinvent the way they live, and this alone can starve the Cancer from coming back.
Losing Phil is not an option. I am very much burnt out after a year of putting myself on the back-burner to give him every ounce of my soul, every minute of the day. I have become quite sick, for lack of a better word. Emotionally, physically, I am in the worst shape I ever have been. I am turning 30 next May, and I intend to nip all my bad habits in the bud by then. As far as specifics go, I'm gluten intolerant and insulin resistant, which is a precursor to type II diabetes. Kind of a big deal. I have ignored those facts for a long time, not having the emotional strength to give up the spaghetti, baguette and diet Coke. Those are addictions... and sugar is the main issue in the end.
Throughout the year of cancer, finding myself in a care-giver's shoes, many of my needs were not being met simply because Phil was fighting for his life. He was unable to give anything, and I was consumed with the drive to keep him laughing, distracted and filled with thoughts that it would all work out. One of the biggest and proudest things I have accomplished was never letting Phil know just how bad he had gotten. Many times the Drs would tell me, it is unfortunate...but he won't make it. Yet with much prayer and support from family and friends I was able to keep a brave face for Phil. It wasn't until he was out of the hospital, lying in bed with me asking what it was like on my side of things- that he broke down, thanking me over and over for never letting him know how bad it really was. It was all worth it!
With that in mind, my body was in a constant, chronic state of extreme stress and desperation. I "slept" in the hospital chair night after night and ate hospital food. All I wanted to do was be by Phil's side. He was like a little boy, with the inability to leave the bed for any need. There were so many things to take care of. Like, simple things- getting him food and drink, helping him find a show or make calls, and texts asking for visitors, helping him wash, helping him laugh. Then the big things, keeping ontop of the nurses to bring him the pain medication on time (which basically never happened). Almost everytime Phil would need more, it would be a fight between me and the staff. With the length of his procedures and months of being on pain medication, his doses needed to be quite high, and it was like pulling teeth to keep him at least somewhat comfortable.
If I wasn't there, he didn't have the energy to fight and he would lay there in misery. The IV would get air bubbles and beep every half hour or so. He would vomit constantly. We would hear people screaming in pain, or mentally ill patients trying to escape, falling onto the floor. Some people just cried at the top of their lungs. All I could do was help him to laugh about it. That may sound very cold. But believe me, there is no other way to get through it. And it worked. Sometimes we think it was a bad dream, because you can't believe that humans can get through such dark times. But we did.
Here's a pic of Phil with Minou back at home, after the last week of chemo about 3 mths ago
I would turn to food for comfort, or some kind of nostalgic fix reminding me or normal times. I would live on coffee, tea, pop so I could stay away long enough to aid Phil until he was asleep. Food was kind of like an antidepressant. That means that food was basically my drug. That is pretty serious, and I see that now. I'm not saying I could've done it any other way. I honestly was in a fog, a state of surviving but not being alive. All I know is there is a long year, and years of not really getting what good health was, to reverse and heal. And for Phil. I can't really think about what cancer, chemo, radiation, emotional devastation has done to his body. His digestive system is very messed up, but we were working on that. It will take time for him to heal. But he does have youth on his side. He is only 26, and just a few months after his last chemo, he is looking super hot!!
He's back to work, getting muscles, smiling and laughing, being is sarcastic self. Taking me on dates, going on road trips- I mean, we have our lives back. We have come to accept that neither of us are even close to the same person we were before he got sick. Although weird, and hard to grasp - it truly is a fresh start for both of us, and really food is the starting line. Our marriage which was always strong and good, is now made of steel. Not because it just is. Because we keep spiritual thoughts first, and always strive to focus on giving to each other. We have weeded out things from our life that just don't jive with starting fresh. We fight to keep things good. I know for certain that healing with the right foods and gifts from nature will make all of these things easier and easier.
This blog which was once dedicated to my Etsy business ( thewovenwolf on Etsy ), and personal creative journeys- will now be a blog about healing and maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle. There may be creative posts here and there. More importantly though this will be a spot where I can post my recipes to share with you, and also keep track of what and how I am feeling throughout this journey. My hope is that my research, and changes help inspire you to keep up the fight to eat right, or to even make small steps or changes so you can enjoy your life to the fullest. I have no intention of changing the diet that works for you, but rather what works for us. If that maybe intrigues you, feel free to join in :) I respect many of the diets that don't work for us, and will do my best to include vegan, vegetarian, paleo, etc options for everyone when possible.
I also hope that this blog can touch the hearts of individuals who have faced cancer within their own family and friend circles. Once I meet someone who knows cancer, they are like family. I hope to inspire, comfort and encourage in any way I can. Thank you so much for following our journey!
If you wish to learn more about Phil's cancer story, you can check out my other blog, which was updated every few days through the whole ordeal. The Phil Dunne Blog