Readers of this blog may know that I am a leukemia survivor and have participated in a few triathlons and other endurance events. By joining with Team in Training, I have an opportunity to use these events to raise awareness and money to fund crucial research to find cures for various blood cancers through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). In just 25 years, Team in Training has raised 875 million dollars for leukemia and lymphoma research. (See the purple box to the right for details about my fundraising.)
On July 12, 2006, I was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. At the time, I was a Christian school teacher earning about a third of what a public school teacher makes during a year. In other words, not very much. And since I couldn’t teach for the first few months of the school year, the school could not afford to pay me. We had virtually no income for several months other than some donations from generous individuals. And while insurance took care of the vast majority of our medical expenses, it would not cover the cost of some supplies I needed once I was released from the hospital. The LLS stepped in and paid for these necessities for us. We were told that they didn’t normally cover the items we needed, but they made an exception in our case.
One of my goals was to complete a sprint triathlon within one year of being diagnosed. I failed to finish the Galena (IL) triathlon in May 2007. Just a few weeks later on June 10, 2007, I completed the Green Bay Triathlon and reached my goal. After taking a few years off from these competitions, I started up again last year and was reminded of just how fun and encouraging they can be. I finished the swim portion of a half-Ironman in August 2012 and did a 5K in October. Earlier this month I completed my first half-marathon (13.1 miles), and I am planning to do several more races this year, including the Aurora BayCare Olympic Triathlon (Green Bay) in June and the swim portion of the Muncie, Indiana half-Ironman in July.
I signed up with Team in Training for a few reasons. First, I want to do my part to help the LLS continue their work to develop cures for these awful diseases. Second, I want the LLS to be able to help others who are in situations similar to what I was in. Third, I’m excited to be part of a team that will improve my ability to complete triathlons and other endurance events while raising vital funds for a great cause.
I need your help. I am currently committed to raising $800 to participate in the Cincinnati Half-Marathon on October 19. However, I would really like to raise a little more than twice that amount ($1800) so that I can register for the Nations Triathlon in Washington D.C. in September instead (which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). I donated the first $75 and now I need your help.
Would you consider partnering with me to attain these goals? All donations to Team in Training are tax deductible and at least 75% goes directly to the mission of the LLS. Donations can be made on my Team in Training fundraising page or feel free to leave a comment below for me if you’d prefer to send a check, and I’ll let you know the options for that.
Any donation you can make is greatly appreciated. Also, if you donate $50 or more, I will send you a complimentary copy of my book, God and Cancer. Check out the book’s Amazon page for details and reviews.
Hello Tim, many thanks for your reasoned reply. I understand what you’re saying and I’m sorry to hear about the people you knew who took an alternative approach without experiencing success. I’m not sufficiently knowledgable in the subject, so the things I write reflect my opinions based on other people’s experiences and testimonies; and one of the things that comes across when reading about healing sickness through diet and supplements is that it has to be a rigorous approach. In other words it’s not just a case of eliminating salt and taking an extra cod liver oil supplement – it has to be an all out war from every angle against the ailment which usually means having the time (which very poorly people don’t have) to do the research to get to the bottom of how to treat the condition. However, I understand that in the case of imminently life threatening conditions, diet may likely do very little in a short space of time. I have much respect for the help brought to people through conventional medicine. Yet I’m also convinced that food has a powerful effect on our health. I have numerous books teeming with testimonies of people cured from all sorts of conditions through diet and supplements. Though I admit, the conditions aren’t always as imminently life threatening as cancer. Nonetheless, if diet and supplements are able to heal crohn’s disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, colitis, arthritis, autism and even multiple sclerosis in some cases, then there must be a correlation between diet and health, which means that diet can also be used as a preventative measure against developing certain diseases. With regards to conventional medicine categorizing some conditions as genetic (and therefore beyond the reach of treatment through diet) I’m not in a position to dispute that claim. However, autism has been diagnosed by conventional medicine as having genetic origins yet many, many people have been able to cure this condition in their children by changing their diet. The internet is teeming with testimonies.
It seems possible to me, therefore, (though I’m not saying this is true, just possible) that a lack of nutritionally dense food in our diet could result in a malfunction of our cells which is assumed to be a genetic fault at the cellular level, but which is nothing of the sort. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the ‘great cholesterol myth’ theory? This theory seeks to expose the myth that high cholesterol levels is the cause of heart disease. The real cause, according to this theory, is that a high sugar intake (which includes ingestion of white flour products) has an inflammatory effect in the system, which causes irritation in our arteries – cholesterol is then produced by our body to soothe the irritation and prevent clots of blood being released from our irritated arteries. Cholesterol, in fact, so the theory goes, is the ambulance that arrives at the scene of the accident, but some doctors view it as the criminal. There is plenty of scientific evidence in books seeking to highlight the other side of the story which show that people with ‘normal’ cholesterol levels do not have less heart disease than those with high levels. The point I’m trying to make is that conventional medicine isn’t always right in its diagnoses of disease origin …
Anyway, I’m glad to hear your health is much improved. In many ways it doesn’t matter to me whether God’s people regain their health through conventional medicine or through dietary measures (or even through miraculous intervention), all that matters is that they are well enough to serve the Lord in what He calls them to do, for as long as He calls them to do it!
Good health to you, and God’s blessings along the way.
Have you considered researching alternative treatments for cancer? I don’t mean nonsense (and sometimes dangerous) occult stuff, but alternative as in herbal and/or nutritional remedies? Some people, even doctors, claim to have cured cancer by sodium bicarbonate therapy. The theory is that some cancers are caused by viruses,and viruses can’t live in alkali environments. Sodium bicarbonate has been used to good effect by some people to eliminate cancerous growths. Others claim that eating alkalizing food helps the body to fight the cancer which thrives in an acid environment. Some people poo-poo the theory on the belief that we could not survive if our bodies were in an acid state; and the body will always fight to maintain its alkaline balance. Others claim that while this is true, the body has to draw calcium from our bones in order to maintain an alkali state in the rest of the body which isn’t an ideal scenario. Hence, by consuming foods which help avoid inflammation and maintain an alkali balance, we’re providing the body with the nutrients it needs to heal itself. While I don’t agree with every thing found at Doctor Terry Wahl’s website, she claims to have healed her own multiple sclerosis by consuming 9 cups of non-starchy veg and fruit per day. The reason I mention this is because I suspect that food is indeed a potent medicine.
I know this is really a sensitive subject for some people, but I’ll share my thoughts as a non-expert.
When it comes to cancer treatments I am for all of the above–anything and everything that can help. In my own situation I am quite sure that a natural remedy would not have helped me since my particular type of leukemia involves mutations in the genes where part of the 15th and part of the 17th chromosomes actually switch places and fuse together improperly. This causes the cells to be defective but they still multiply. Within a month or so, the bad cells take over the blood system preventing red blood cells and platelets from doing their jobs. If I did not start receiving treatment when I did, I would have been dead within a week or so (apart from a miracle), and I don’t know of any type of natural remedy that could have fixed that problem.
Is it possible that alternative methods work in some cases? I wouldn’t rule that out. But I do know that the success rate of conventional medicines (chemo, radiation, etc.) for various leukemias and lymphomas has increased dramatically in the past few decades.
Since my diagnosis in 2006 I have paid close attention to the treatment plans that people I know have opted for after being diagnosed with cancer. Three people I know chose to try natural remedies. Two of them passed away, and the third eventually decided to add chemotherapy to his natural approach as his condition worsened (his mother actually ran a natural remedy store). He ended up surviving a very aggressive form of cancer. Of those who opted for the conventional drugs and treatments, almost all of them are still alive. I also have the opportunity to speak several times a month about my own battle with leukemia and I regularly have survivors approach me afterward telling me about their own experiences. Out of all those people, I can only think of one who told me that she used a natural approach.
I realize my own experiences are far too small of a sample size to make any definitive claims about treatments, but I would say that I am somewhat skeptical of the natural remedies because of what I’ve seen (in one of the cases mentioned above the person had a very treatable type of cancer and it was caught early on, but he decided not to use chemo and his condition kept getting worse and he eventually died). As someone who was cured through chemotherapy, I would say that I am biased toward that approach. It wouldn’t surprise me if certain diets would help prevent certain types of cancers, but I’m not convinced that natural methods are very effective in curing someone who has already gotten cancer. I have made some changes to my diet in the past seven years, but I really don’t know if my diet had anything to do with my cancer diagnosis.
I often tell people that I hope they are never in a position where they need to make the decision to take chemo or use some natural method, but that if they are, then I strongly urge them to be extremely well informed on every method, and then through careful and prayerful consideration, they make that decision with their family and doctor(s).