Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nutritional Supplements for Cancer

For the past few months, the topic of conversation at the f.a.i.t.H. meetings has been nutrition, supplements, and complementary treatments. Although everyone in the group is receiving or has received traditional therapies for cancer, all of us are interested in any natural or complementary methods to boost the immune system to enable the body to fight cancer cells and recover from the harsh drugs we have taken.

Jim and I as group facilitators so not endorse any specific type of treatment—traditional, complementary or alternative, but we encourage a free and open exchange of information among the members. I remind you that these are nothing more than opinions—even when they are supported by research and personal experience.

Over the last eight years I have researched a variety of touted “cures” for cancer and concluded that there are no miracle cures. I decided early on that changing the host (the human body) might prevent the cancer from growing again—by changing the environment to make it less supportive of the proliferation of cancer cells. If this were a panacea, people who have been practicing these healthy habits for most of their lives would not get cancer. But they do.

Let’s talk about GNLD which was recommended by one of our members who has seen improvemnent in her husband while taking the supplements. The Golden Neo-life Diamite Company has been around since 1958. They have operated as network marketing company for 52 years. I am somewhat leery of pyramid marketing businesses although I admit this might be a personal bias. I am all for capitalism and don’t object to entrepreneurs making money commensurate with the effort they put forth, but I always wonder whether they are promoting the product for personal gain or because of its benefits to the consumer. Network marketing companies must inflate the price of their products so that the sellers on each level make a profit. Generally companies that function in this way will branch out from their original niche to get into more profitable areas, e.g., cleaning supplies, weight loss products, etc.

That being said, GNLD has not had complaints filed against them and they have an excellent BBB rating.They also have a Scientific Advisory Board with eminent experts in health and medicine. One of the most renowned members was Arthur Furst, a cancer researcher sometimes called the founder of modern chemotherapy. He joined the board in 1978 because he believed that “proper nutrition can protect people from cancer.”

The company has several lines of products divided into nutritionals, herbals, weight loss, skin and personal care, and home care. The Pro Vitality line is has 3 main supplements: Tre-en-en-- developed in 1958 (“provides whole grain lipids & steroids, optimizes cell membrane function”); Carotinoid Complex (whole food supplement providing carotenoids from fruits and vegetables); Omega-III Salmon Oil Plus- ultra hi-potency fish oil.

These seem to be hi quality supplements providing what they claim to provide in terms of ingredients but maybe not benefits. They are expensive though granted less expensive than buying the organic foods that supply the nutrients they include. And surely they are easier to consume and require no preparation. They also provide nutrition to a patient who might not have the appetite to consume the foods.
If you want supplements beyond those naturally found in foods, you must jump into their one of their other lines—herbal or nutritional. In other words the Pro Vitality line provides nutrition but is lacking in other natural compounds recommended for fighting cancer.

I will be covering another nutraceutical company, BioImmune, when I conclude my research. My advice, in the meantime, is to prayerfully consider any treatment plan and be wary of anyone who promises a magic bullet. Exercise, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods, and lift each other up in prayer to the Great Physician.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why Suffering?

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

The diagnosis of a terminal or life threatening disease—like cancer—causes one to seek answers to life’s important questions. In order to accept the possibility of Jim’s death, I needed to believe there was a purpose to our suffering. My ensuing spiritual quest is chronicled in Cancer Journey: A Caregiver’s View from the Passenger Seat. When we spoke this week in Alabama and Georgia, I was reminded how hungry the listeners were for this message of hope and healing. I came home with renewed enthusiasm for sharing our story with the battle-weary warriors on this life journey.

No one is spared suffering in a cancer battle; often it is not until we suffer that the questions arise. From the depths of our despair come the questions: Is God good? Is God omnipotent? Can a good God allow suffering? Either He is good but not all powerful; or He is all powerful, but not good. Can He be both? If He loves us why doesn’t He fix us? As Philip Yancey writes, “Where is God when it hurts?” The answers we come up with will draw us closer to God or drive us further from Him.

On this earth everyone suffers. Suffering is part of the human condition, whether it is in the form of physical pain or mental anguish. Is the suffering senseless?

I like the Roman Catholic idea of “redemptive suffering” first introduced to me by a friend, Cheryl Himmelright. Suffering brings us closer to our Lord Jesus Christ if we view it as an opportunity to share in his suffering for us on the cross.

In “The Redemptive Suffering of St. John,” Father Michael Buckley explains it like this:

“-The God of the Universe is totally Good, Wise, Merciful, Just. His being excludes any shadow of evil.
- Sorrow, suffering and pain did not form part of the original divine plan for mankind. The Old Testament presupposed and described an idyllic era when all was harmonious and peaceful.
- The root cause of evil in the world is: Satan, and mankind, in so far as it comes under the influence of the "Adversary."
- Though God is not the cause of evil and suffering, He can use it, so to speak, as a means of correction and redemption. This, like the other propositions, has to be very carefully understood and interpreted.”

Before you can accept God’s grace and take comfort in His promises, you must decide whether He is trustworthy. To do this, immerse yourself in His Word. See what the Bible has to say about suffering beginning with the Old Testament accounts of Job, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Call to mind God’s faithfulness in dealing with you through other difficult times. He demonstrates His faithfulness in the small things so that we can trust Him in the bigger ones.

Hopefully you will, as I did, conclude that God is good, that He is a merciful God of Sorrows who sees our suffering but knows that it is fleeting, that He would not leave us in our misery without the hope of being reunited with our loved ones for eternity. Believing these things doesn’t make suffering easier to understand but it does make it easier to bear.

From Father John Lombardi, another Catholic scholar:

“Redemptive suffering is any trial or tribulation (physical or mental) we offer up and UNITE to Jesus- as a "gift" to Him to express our love thru a costly way, in exchange for some other good. Notice the key elements: we consciously choose embrace suffering; it is precious (a "gift") because it is painful (not fun or "easy"); it brings us close(r) to Jesus in an intimate and intense way; and the suffering may "spiritually repair" my own soul or others-and thereby help in the work of redemption (Christ's allowing me to help Him save souls).”

“There are two kinds of suffering-redemptive suffering and wasted suffering…Which one will you chose?”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lung Cancer Facts

To kick off National Lung Cancer Awareness Month I am listing facts about the disease that changed our lives. Share this with everyone you know to boost awareness, encourage contributions, and save lives.

1. Lung cancer is the # 1 cancer killer.
2. Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer among women having surpassed breast cancer in 1987.
3. Lung cancer kills more people than colon, prostate, and breast cancers combined.
4. Yet, lung cancer research is least funded of all of the major cancers.
5. Lung cancer kills twice as many women as breast cancer but receives 1/10 the amount of funding.
6. 6 of 10 diagnosed with lung cancer will die within the first year.
7. 7.5 of 10 will die within two years.
8. 20% of those diagosed have never smoked.
9. 60% are former smokers many of whom stopped more than twenty years before.
10. Only 20% are currrent smokers.
11. One reason for the lack of support for LC is the lingering stigma of the disease. No one deserves lung cancer. Share this information with everyone you know.