I still cringe when I think of how the very food that was once used to nourish our bodies is now one of the primary causes for the many diseases that attribute to so many deaths of someone’s mother, father, sister or brother, and even child. I lost both of my parents to multiple myeloma, my father twenty-two years ago and my mother just seven short months ago. The doctor who diagnosed my mother said that we would have stood a greater chance at winning the lottery than having both parents die of the same cancerous life ending disease. It’s just not common, he said. And yet, here we are. No doubt as a result of losing both my parents to such a horrific disease, it heightened my alert in terms of how I would be affected from a hereditary standpoint. Although I am fully aware of the fact that cancer cells lie dormant in everyone, I couldn’t help but wonder how significant of a role those cells would play in my overall genetic makeup due to my parents both having been victims of multiple myeloma.
It is still unknown as to how one comes to have multiple myeloma. Yet I understand that even though genetics make up a very small part of an individual contracting the disease, the manner in which we treat the disease is extremely detrimental in terms of living out a successful life expectancy. I knew nothing about multiple myeloma when it so viciously infected my father’s body. I knew only that it was a blood cancer that resulted in destruction of the bones. More importantly I knew that eventually, sooner than later, my dad would die from it. Fast forward twenty-one years later, after my mother was diagnosed, I vowed that I would make a greater effort to educate myself about the very disease that somehow has infiltrated its way into my family heritage.
My mother’s diagnosis caught me and my siblings completely off guard. By the time she was diagnosed, myeloma had already ravaged her body and a vast majority of her blood was diseased by as much as 75%. Unfortunately, because everything was happening so quickly, we didn’t really have time to completely process the reality of what was taking place. We simply had to act by putting matters in order. As a family, we chose not to treat my mother with conventional medicine. She had suffered a brain aneurysm twelve years prior and was not a suitable candidate of the harsh side effects that she would most likely endure; thereby resulting in a much more degrading quality of life. And, the fact of the matter is we just were not willing to put her through that. So, we let nature run its course and my mother passed away as humanely possible as we could manage under the circumstances.
Although myeloma was not my mother’s only battle, it was the one of which would ultimately defeat her. And even though I knew that the odds were not in her favor, I couldn’t help wanting to take an approach that I thought would be a positive contributing factor to whatever time she had left with us. Like a huge majority, my mother grew up eating the same SAD (Standard American Diet) diet that many are traditionally prone to consuming. And yet it was by no means ever truly a diet that was conducive to overall good health, it was still not the SAD diet, in the days long ago, of which we have come to know as a lethal deadly force wreaking havoc in the lives of so many today.
Out of sheer desperation and a need to feel as though I was doing SOMETHING worthwhile, I made a last-ditch effort to implement some healthier food choices in my mother’s diet, but after being accustomed to eating in the same manner for 72 years and not really understanding the true value that comes with embracing a different way of eating for a better quality of life–coupled with the prognosis we had been given–there was very little to no impact made in my attempts. It was too little, too late. This way of eating simply did not appeal to my mother. Still, I am convinced that had we known in time, and taken necessary measures long before we did, my mother would still be with us—at least for now.
I, personally, have adopted a whole food plant-based diet consisting of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, in an all-out effort to change the course of my family genes, in addition to ensuring that I am eating for optimum health. I stand firmly rooted in the belief that the body really does have the ability to repair itself and that we must be ever so diligent when it comes to doing our part to assist it in doing its part. I also believe that we as a society, on the whole, have been far too lackadaisical and have become extremely and outrageously dependent on the medical professionals when it comes to our approach in common sense heath practices. Yet, I tend to think that much of that has to do with a lack of education, more so than a willful in adherence in regards to eating for optimal health and wellness. It wasn’t easy giving up the foods I enjoyed for so many years of my life, but what made it a whole heck of a lot less challenging is considering the demise of which BOTH of my parents met in their life’s end and the sickening state of affairs concerning our food and agricultural issues.
As a result of eating WFPB (Whole food plant-based), I have noticed some significant changes. But one of the most important changes is the decrease of the level of inflammation I experience in my body, overall. Since cancer is characterized by chronic inflammation in the body, certainly this can be viewed as a thing of value. Because I am eating foods that are plant based and brimming with nutritional contents, my body responds favorably by possibly reversing and or preventing any further cell damage of which I may encounter if, by choice, I was still eating a diet dead by nature and devoid of any life sustaining nutrients, whatsoever.
I advocate a diet rich in WFPB because I took it upon myself to get educated on how it would assist me in obtaining my health goals. And after doing so, I am thoroughly convinced that it will prove to have a very dominant impact on my level of success in safeguarding against harmful contaminants from foods that set up disease in the body and ultimately lead to a premature death. I loved my parents dearly and they taught me a lot of valuable life lessons. But what they did not teach me is how to eat to live; for how can one teach what one does not know. Rest in peace Mama and Daddy. I will be the voice you never had.
— Sharon W.
North Las Vegas, NV