February 04, 2022
I had surgery to remove my prostate and evict the cancer that had taken up residence, Januaty 12, 2022. This recovery journey has been one of "Baby Steps" and "I Think I Can" moments. . Each day I am learning new things. I am much stronger, but it's not a linear path, neither is life.
Irrespective of the surgical findings and staging of you or a loved ones cancer, nutrition of the mind and body is integral and important. Returning to a positive attitude is key to getting back to a meaningful life. There is lots of science that supports this. Recovery will be faster and it will be more resilient.
Listening to my mind and body has been a gift that my daily meditations have facilitated. During these times of quiet learning, I find my mind has become very productive. I am sure my art will reflect this journey, when I return to my studio. For now writing my blogs has served to keep me satiated.
I credit this recovery to having a great wife, close family and friends. We eat well and follow a mederterian diet. Very little meat, wild caught fish, lots of fresh organic vegetables, complete proteins like quinoa, and fruits, and yes, red wine (for resveratrol) in moderation. There are many other nutrients in spices such as curcumin and tumeric, plums, and many other stone fruits. The following book and Rebecca Katz's cookbooks have lots of science and great recommendations.
A lunch with spinach,avocado, legumes and the complete proteins such as quinoa.
Berries are a daily add.
Dr Dean Ornish MD has shown how effective diet can be in treating prostate cancer. He has an excellent webpage.
This chart is from the "Anticaner book". Many things we eat can have a positive effect on keeping this cancer at bay.
One of the most important is green tea.
"HOW MANY CUPS OF GREEN TEA PER DAY to improve your health? This question is answered by two studies on patients in Japan, a country full of green tea drinkers. In a group of Japanese women suffering from breast tumors that had not yet metastasized, researchers discovered that those who consumed three cups of green tea a day had 57 percent * fewer relapses than those who only drank one cup a day.In men with prostate tumors, daily consumption of five cups of green tea reduced the risk that their cancer would progress to an advanced stage by 50 percent. The effect of green tea is quite remarkable. So why deprive ourselves?" Reference from the anticancer book listed below.
Red Wine and it's resveratrol has been a challenge, as it is a diuretic and neuro depressant for the brain-bladder axis.
I am hopeful that bladder function will improve with time. If not, there are surgical plumbing solutions with great results in the future. This new book has helped with a different approach. After 4 months my bladder fiction has improved dramatically. Working with a pelvic trained pt has been helpful.
Goodbye social media
After spending some time reading posts from private support groups on social media I am becoming overwhemed. The social media support groups are stimulating my mind to go down too many rabbit holes.
Having emotional support is great, but reading posts of so many struggling is not the input I need to help me in this stage of my recovery. As such, my social media time on these groups is being curtailed. I need to control the bandwidth my brain sees.
I do appreciate the many friends who have reached out with encouragement on facebook. I don't use the app or Facebook messenger. If you wish to contact me please use my website.
My Reading list
A fellow artist and physician's assistant who works at MD Anderson Cancer Center reached out to me and suggested this book Thank you, Ginny Schneider P.A., for your wonderful note and support.
This book is about a physician with a brain tumor. It follows the science and integrates nutrition, brain health, and exercise as adjuncts to improve healing backed by science with many references. It is excellently written.
I had bought this book when my wife's mother had brain cancer, but had forgotten it was on my book shelf. Now it is dusted off and I love it's message. It has reinforced all that I learned in my integrative medicine fellowship with Dr. Andy Weil at the University of Arizona. A great online and in person program with many exceptional faculty.
"Cancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check. In the West, one person in four will die of cancer, but three in four will not. Their defense mechanisms will hold out, and they will die of other causes."
We all live with myths that undermine our capacity to fight cancer. For example, many of us are convinced that cancer is primarily linked to our genetic makeup, rather than our lifestyle. When we look at the research, however, we can see that the contrary is true.
All in all, by stimulating our immune cells, fighting inflammation (with nutrition, physical exercise, and emotional balance), and fighting angiogenesis, we undercut cancer’s spread. Acting in parallel with strictly conventional medical approaches, we can enhance our body’s resources. The “price” to pay is to lead a more fully conscious, more balanced, and, in the end, more beautiful life.
Italic References are taken from this book.
During my integrative medicine fellowship, I met a dynamic woman, Rebecca Katz. She is a artist, nutritionist, and writes great cook books. She has a great website.
We have had this cancer fighting cookbook in our kitchen for a long time. We first started using this to help my wife's mom thru glioblastoma brain cancer treatment. We love the recipes. I have also sent copies to friends during their recovery. I highly recommend it.
Rebecca Katz, wrote to me and shared her love of dogs. She has a golden doodle and a Portuguese water dog. Rebecca, I appreciate your support.
I have also added this supplement.
Wound healing requires a lot of energy and nutrients. I have noticed a big uptick in my physical and mental energy since starting this.
I also restarted 5000 units if Vitamin D3 that I take once a day with a meal. Check your Vitamin D level and ask your doctor before adding this.
It is cold outside and vitamin D is very important for so many things. Sunshine exposure is somewhat limited this time of year and some medicines interfere with it's absorption. ie: many acid reducing stomach meds.
You must resist the urge to be a couch potato.
I try and walk at least 1/2 mile 3 to 4 times a day. The block around our house is 1/2 mile. The goal is to keep moving. I am not setting land speed records, but my endurance is improving.
It's very cold out some days, but the air and the change in scenery from the inside of our lake house has been refreshing.
I use the Strava application to keep records.
Yesterday we traveled to the Sam Houston National Forest campground about 20 minutes away. We enjoyed a walk with Frances and Charlie. This change in scenery was a welcome addition to our neighborhood walks.
The emotional support for a pet (s) is fabulous. Walking with our golden doodles Harry and Bruno has been fun. They are learning to walk like gentleman. A handfull of treats in my pocket helps.
Bruno and Harry
Dogs on the watch
I met a great meditation leader during my integrative medicine fellowship, Belleruth Naparstek. I have used her talks in this app to help me prepare pre op for surgery and other procedures. I use several of thier other excellent audio programs during my daily meditations.
I would suggest to everyone, in what ever stage of life you are in, to try this. It's cheap and the results are supported by science.
I find my mind is clearer and much more productive when I do this. Daily practice will fine tune this. This is the pre op program I have used with every one of my surgerys.
I spend my mornings on my dock absorbing the energy of the sunrises and in meditation.
If you learn to listen during this quiet meditation time you will actually be awakened by what your body telling you.
In our busy wold of constant stimulation it is easy to forget the basics.
I need to keep my mind in a place of acceptance and healing. To keep my senses open to the sublime joy of nature and living in it.
I am moving forward every day, and I know excellent days are in my horizon. I appreciate your support. If I need to face other treatments I know I can use all of these tools for a long, productive and happy life.
I have other written other blogs about my surgery and my art on my webpage: https://alheilmanart.com/blogs/al-heilman-art-blog
February 15, 2022
Al, thank you for including us in your recent journey & your personal participation in your healing. I have learned so much from this path you have taken. I’m so glad you are recovering. The beauty that nature gives us daily gives us such a proud view of the world & life. Namaste, sally
February 08, 2022
Dear Al, such a great treasure trove of good strong common sense. Positivity, good/smart diet, exercise and just enjoying our lives! SO happy that you are recovering so well! Take care and keep blogging! xp
February 04, 2022
I’m so glad the surgery went well and you’re on your way to amazingness!
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