Take that, cancer!
How do you live to be a hundred years old?
I wish I had the answer to keep my parents alive for another 34 years (they are both 66 years old).
Cancer can be cured
You cannot help but get thoughts like this when cancer pays your family a visit and overextends its stay. My dad—Ephraim to friends, Superman to me—was diagnosed with Stage IV B-Cell Non-Hodgkins lymphoma two years ago. When we discovered it, after two years of going in and out of the hospital being told all he had was a viral infection, the tumors had already invaded his bones.
The good news is, some cancers like lymphoma are already curable. Exorbitantly expensive to the point of almost being inaccessible … but curable. The “miracle pill” that Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago talked about during her presidential campaign exists.
By November 2014, after undergoing eight sessions of a procedure called R-CHOP under the supervision of our genius doctors at Makati Medical Center (Dr. Eduardo Jamora, Dr. Claver Ramos, Dr. Rosalio Torres, Dr. Popeye Abad Santos, Dr. Von Gonda, Dr. Anthony King, Dr. Jimmy Aragon, Dr. Henry Lu, Dr. Jackson Dy), a follow up PET/CT Scan showed Superman Ephraim was clear of cancer.
The bad news is lymphoma comes back like an obsessed lover and after a few months, it found its way to my dad’s brain. The doctors at Makati Medical Center told us we were just in for palliative care, short of advising us to surrender to this b*tch cancer.
Happy birthday, St. Pio
After being visited by the relic of St. Pio (who just celebrated his birthday last Wednesday, by the way. Happy birthday, Padre Pio!), we were miraculously led to an excellent neurologist-oncologist who specializes in central nervous system (brain) lymphoma: Dr. Julette Marie Feliciano Batara of St. Luke’s Hospital, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay (UERM) Memorial Medical Center and Philippine General Hospital.
She applied a new protocol currently being done in the US using high dose methotrexate. After four sessions of this, the tumors in my dad’s brain had significantly reduced.
My dad’s brain has been saved (Hallelujah!) and his eyesight regained (thanks to neuro-opthalmologist Dr. Buenjim Mariano) although we continue our battles against this disease. The weekly challenges have become the new normal.
The chemotherapy routine has taken the place of doing laundry. But it’s OK, I’d rather have my dad than do laundry any day.
Ephraim and Baby
I want to give credit to these two—Superman Ephraim and Wonderwoman Baby—who are celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary today, a year after being told all we could do was palliative care. This couple is living proof that love can conquer all, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. Happy Anniversary!
While the journey has been challenging (an understatement), by the grace of God, and the unyielding spirit of Superman, we have never stopped having fun.
Or eating. And eating out. If anything, the biggest casualty on my family of this disease has been my waistline—from stress eating. Nakakataba pala ang cancer.
While shopping for treatment for my dad’s cancer, I discovered Aegle Wellness Center, which focuses on preventive medicine through proper nutrition.
Dr. Ben Valdecañas, medical director of Aegle, emphasizes the Aegle message that you can improve your general wellness and prevent disease by simply watching what you eat.
“Bad nutrition can trigger cancer genes into manifesting,” Valdecañas explains. “Good nutrition equals optimal immune function, equals defense against cancer.”
But it must be a guided diet.
While the inverted pyramid of “what to eat” is always effective in general, it may not be enough to achieve your health goals. At Aegle, they first do medical diagnostics: A blood test, a body composition test and a consultation with a preventive medicine specialist, Dr. Ruby Magpantay, to assess your overall wellness status before proceeding to create an ideal diet for you.
If you want a more intensive analysis, they can also do a toxicology and antioxidant test, a food sensitivity test and even tumor markers.
People with stubborn fat, for instance, may be recommended to do a physical detox that includes colonic hydration (cleansing of the colon by repeated gentle flushing with warm filtered water under very low pressure), an intravenous nutritional detox and chemical detox using supplements.
This is only a general cleaning of your system, though, to purge you from your sins of gluttony (guilty!) and prepare you for your new lifestyle of healthy eating with wellness in mind.
The bigger challenge is following a menu a nutritionist will prepare for you.
The menu at the clinic includes a surprisingly yummy green smoothie (that uses a lot of celery), a garlic soup and salad. But to my surprise, they also offer marinated chicken and heirloom brown rice (Whaddayaknow, you don’t need to starve yourself to lose weight after all). The One Day Wellness Program and the Four Day Wellness Program come with these healthy meals.
Now, any chef can create a 1,200-calorie meal for you (order from @lex_villa on Instagram). But if you want a diet that will control not only your weight but also your hormones, with the end in mind of protecting you from diseases like cancer, do try Aegle and their suggested menu.
If proper nutrition is the definitive way to avoid cancer, it’s worth the discipline and the change in lifestyle.
If the discipline is too hard … well, try my Plan B: Pizza, chicharon, lechon and steak with wine everyday. Avoid cancer by just getting a heart attack! Haha!
Aegle Wellness at The City Club. 7232 Ayala Ave. Ext. (in front of Makati Fire Station), Makati City. For more info, visit www.cityclub.com.ph.
For inquiries and reservations, call 0949-8896237 or 0932-7370077 or e-mail email@example.com. Look for Vanessa because she is an attentive guide.
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