Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recovery: it's different

Now that my bout with treatment for cancer is almost over, it occurs to me that I haven't commented on one of the more curious aspects of treatment and recovery. Of course al;l the good nutritionists recommend high-fiber foods and some even say raw food is better for you than cooked or processed -- the less processed the better. And of course, even though many debate just how useful antioxidants are, in general even skeoptical doctors think it's not a bad idea to have a fair amount of one's diet con tain antioxidants, whether from food or from supplements.

However, the recommendations for my treatment and recovery have been pretty much the polar opposites. My surgeon, Dr. Nissen, said that at least for a while I should avoid raw food and go for more-processed food, largely because it's easier to digest. Since the Whipple surgery rearranged my insides and especially my digestive system pretty drastically and it will take it a while to get used to its new configuratuion, that makes sense. Also, since I had a serious lver infection in conjunction with the tumor (but thank goodness no liver malignancy; we tested), sticking with easy-to-digest and low-fat foods is best.

It also makes some sense to reduce my intake of antioxidants from the fairly large amounts I had been ingesting, at least during chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Chemo especially seeks to go after malignant or potentially malignant cells (and other cells as well) and having them protected by antioxidants would tend to reduce the efficacy of the treatment. So I have cut down my vitamin C and E intake, almost to one multivitamin a day. I'm looking forward to chemo being over (only 3 more treatments!) so I can return to my usual (well, maybe slightly improved) eating habits and vitamin intake. I'm convinced that my overall good health helped me tolerate all the surgery and treatments I've been through better than almost any patient the doctors in question had seen, and that following Durk and Sandy's advice on supplements had something to do with that base of good health.


Col. Hogan said...

I'm working on myself with a version of the Paleo diet, and have lost 30 lbs so far. On the other hand, I certainly don't know about your needs to argue with your doctor, so I will not.

Best of luck as you continue your recovery!

Alan Bock said...

So what is the Paleo diet? I lost about 35 pounds I could easily afford to lose since coming down sick but I hardly suggest my particular regimen for anybody else.