May 7, 2011


Fighting Carcinoid Cancer and Boosting My Immune System with Food

Since there is no medication nor chemotherapy treatment for carcinoid cancer, my best defense will be coming through the food I eat. Having forever been a believer is the adage of you are what you eat, I’ve decided to change who I am by altering my eating habits. I am, however, a relatively typical American; over the years I’ve convinced myself that I too busy to cook from scratch so I heat frozen meals, mostly family sized so we’ll have left-overs.

My wake-up call began in January 2011 when I was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer. February was filled with all types of tests, most of which required a needle in my vein. Don’t like those. Based on the test results, surgery was scheduled for March 7th.

All this time I was operating on faith because I felt fine. I showed up for the doctor’s appointment, the tests, and the surgery on blind faith that what everyone was telling me was true. I had nothing to go on but their expertise. I felt the same way I had been feeling for several years, months, and days — over weight but fine. It felt strange to go into surgery without any pain or aggravation. Just blind faith. I digress … .

Eating hospital food for seven days will change most appetites but I actually found it to be quite good. That is when I finally got to eat solid foods. For the first few days my diet progressed from crushed ice, to clear broths, pudding and jello, then to soft but solid foods like vegetables.

Hospitals don’t know how to make coffee so I passed on that beverage throughout my stay. To my shagrin that absence of coffee changed my taste buds so dramatically that I can no longer tolerate coffee or hot tea. Decades of coffee-drinking tradition had been changed in seven days. Pout

Now I drink gallons of juice instead. You know, I’m living quite well without coffee. Didn’t think that could happen. But since it did … I’m wondering just how challenging it would be to make better food choices all the time. But which foods fight cancer and boost my immune system?

My research began in my cookbook library, which is quite extensive because I’m a book hound. Upon first glance I found three books:

  • Macrobiotic Cooking for Everyone by Edward & Wendy Esko, Japan Publications, Inc., Tokyo; January 1980
  • Meals that Heal by Anne Egan and Regina Ragone, MS, RD; Rodale, Inc., 2001; and
  • The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil, MD and Rosie Daley; Random House, NY, 2002

My oncologist gave me a cookbook that he hands out to his patients:

  • Eating Well Through Cancer by Holly Clegg & Gerald Miletello, MD 2011. offered several choices but I chose the following:

  • The Anti-Cancer Cookbook by Julia B. Greer, MC, MPH; Sunrise River Press 2008; and
  • The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen by Rebeca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, 2009.

I’ve read most of them so far. But as I find interesting points in them, I’ll pass that on to you so you can make your own choices.

Keep smiling,