Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Evolution Of My Brain Tumor Diet

I have to clear things's going to be a little bit of a tangent, but hang with me.

From the beginning of this diagnosis I have been searching, step by step, to overcome each obstacle. Once I realized, through research, that diet was linked to cancer (duh, how did I not see that), I started changing my eating habits. I reviewed the nutritional information on all of the packages in my life and started kicking out high fructose corn syrup. I stopped drinking diet pop, all energy drinks, and things with obvious chemicals.

Then, I found the articles about the Restricted Keto Cal diet slowing the growth of brain tumors and I learned about the restriction of carbohydrates (all types simple and complex). But the truth is that I can't sustain an extremely low carb diet. When I tried, I found myself clipping right along carbohydrate free, then I would attend a big party with friends and I'd be the girl taking a bite of all of the cupcakes. Every single one. You laugh, but that honestly happened. In my defense, everyone had eaten at least one (I think).

So, between my April MRI and my seizure (which occurred just before my scheduled June 19 MRI) I had quit on my diet. I gave the diet about 50% of my effort. I've never been one to eat fast food, I don't like chips very much, I love vegetables and healthy food, but I also adore artisan bread and glorious handcrafted cheeses. I cherish homemade sweets, honestly, I love them all, lemony, chewy, chocolaty, nutty, I'll take one of each if someone's offering. I took the time between MRIs to celebrate a freedom from my knowledge of food. I ran as much as I wanted, I ate as much as I needed to run successfully, at one point accomplishing over a 10 mile run with an 8ish minute mile. It was beautiful and I felt safe in my choices. I ate ice cream and didn't feel bad. I drank delicious local red wine, I laughed with friends, and felt like a completely normal 30 year old woman.

That all changed when we received the MRI scans at the radiation oncologist's office. I sincerely believed I wouldn't have tumor growth for years. I had decided that I would probably have at least 3-4 years before we would see that lousy white mass growing. I don't know how I picked those numbers, I guess I was just feeling so great. I was drunk with power over my future.

When I saw the MRI scans it was literally a stinging slap to my face. I can still feel it, the pain is continuously palpable. I won't let it defeat me, but it sure as hell makes it easier to be healthy. From the moment of the MRI I went on a logic kick. My body tells me that it wants whole foods. It wants veggies, lots of them, all colors all sizes, the weirder the better. My body wants fun fruits like deep purple berries and apples, it wants watermelon and cantaloupe, tropical fruits too but that's not Wenatchee's thing. My crazy little body wants salmon and chicken and sometimes steak. I'm not eating bread, but my body has definitely mentioned an IPA. Weird. As a treat at a friend's house, instead of biting off all the cupcakes (one more point, they were all organic ingredient cupcakes made from scratch...ok, I'm rationalizing), my goal is to eat some cheese or have a glass or two of wine. I'm too scared to do the measly 50%, I have to do at least 90%. This transition is still hard, even though I've had the fear slapped into me. In fact, I can not have anything off my diet in the house. I can't say 'no' to myself. Zero self control. It helps that I can't drive and I've cut my social engagements by at least 75%. As an odd note, I've already lost 8lbs and I'm eating more than ever. I hadn't seen 146 in awhile.

Thanks to everyone around me. It's nice to have people that are passionate to help me succeed. My family and friends help provide fantastic foods when I get the chance to visit. If I can slow this tumor down by eating specific foods, I would love to sass my family and friends for decades to come! I'm sure I'll botch my diet a few times before the next MRI, but my goal is to surprise the doctors and have them looking in awe at a shrinking tumor. I've heard crazy stories about such things, but I also know that if there was a cure all that would shrink brain tumors, all of us patients would mortgage everything in reach to get it. As far as I've seen, there is no easy answer. It's food, it's exercise, it's genes and it's crazy stuff like cell phones (?), and not in that particular order. Who knows. For now, I'll listen to my body and see what happens. Cheers to sassing you all for decades to come!


  1. Jess!
    I think your diet and advice and attitude are wonderful! I miss seeing you, so I guess maybe I will need to come kidnap you and/or visit sometime soon. I'm so sorry that you had a seizure and that it is another thing to worry about. But, I do know how strong and positive you are, and I'm sure you will find a way to jump this obstacle as well.
    I miss you friend, and as always pray for you!
    Sarah & Joey B

  2. Beautifully written by a beautiful woman.

  3. Just wanted to let you know that you are on my mind. Thank you for sharing what you are going through. You are a beautifull strong woman and I pray for miracles and an amazing future ahead. You are amazing, I wrote and deleted at least three comments to you.

  4. Okay, I am committing to join you on this journey the first week of every month. I am really looking forward to it my dear. I know it will be difficult but I am up for the challenge.

    Ps. I already failed this am :/ BUT I am back on the horse and headed to whole foods for a wholesome lunch!


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