Being in the classic baby-boomer age range, it dawned on me that it is likely that, in the near future, I may be faced with the prospect of developing cancer. With so many types of cancer and the chemical additives we are bombarded with the food industry, chances are one day your doctor will sit you down and state, "You have cancer". I even had a recent scare and recall the anxiety sitting there waiting for the results. All turned out well, but it left me with the thought of how I would react if it had been there and how ready was I to face it.
Strange how we prepare for bad things, such as a house fire, even though we know the probability of actually having one is low. We install alerts, regularly check the batteries and develop a family exit plan just to guard against the unexpected. We know a snow storm is coming and run out making bulk purchases to last a month in isolation, even though our rational mind knows it will not be more than a day at worst. Generators stand at call, extra flashlights, batteries, bottled water and on and on to prepare in advance for a perceived emergency situation.
When it comes to our health, it is amazing how little preparation we really are to deal with the unexpected or even the most common ailments like a cold or the flu. How many of us start sneezing with a runny nose, look in the medicine cabinet to find nothing there and have to then run out to the pharmacy. We have batteries, a generator, bottled water, six loaves of bread and four gallons of milk for snow, but nothing available for a common cold. Ever get a paper cut and have to scurry around opening drawer after drawer looking for a band-aid?
On a recent doctor's visit, the nurse asked what medications I was taking and I really had to think what the three were. When she asked the dosage, I sadly had to mumble, "I do not know". "Have you had any surgeries she asked"? "Well, I had my knee scoped out once, I think it was five years ago, but maybe it was ten, I do not really even recall the year."
When it comes to the most important thing I have, my health, I have the least documentation on and pay the least attention to the details. This really made me focus on the cancer issue and how prepared was I to deal with it. The reality is that I have a much better chance of getting cancer than I do of having a house fire, getting robbed or mugged, or even getting into a serious car accident.
Surprising how few people even have a will prepared. They think because they are not rich or have multiple properties, they do not need one as the surviving spouse will automatically get everything. Well, maybe yes or maybe no. Why wait and find out right in the middle of dealing with a health crisis? Although this upset my wife, I put together what I titled a "Demise Manual". Maybe a bit of a title, but it contains exact information on my pension options, life insurance and benefits through work, account numbers including the phone number of who she will need to contact. Without this, she may very well miss out on a benefit she is entitled to or go through substantial stress trying to obtain and understand it all. It took no time at all to compile and I feel sure knowing it is there for her.
Maybe a bit extreme, but I sat and wrote a long letter to each of my adult children about what they have brought to my life, how much I love them and advice on dealing with any grieving. I think the best advice, "Hey, take some insurance money and go buy a car, you will feel better" was pretty good. If a terminal cloud hung over you, could you include a bit of levity then? I have a two year old grandson who I adore and have a close relationship with. I compiled DVD clips of some of the videos I took of him during our outings and a simple "Remember your Poppy" written across it. For some odd reason, just having these things prepared gives me a better grasp on how important each and every moment is in life.
I am more proactive in understanding cancer, how it affects the body and what the most likely causes of it stem from. I do the required screenings for the colon and esophagus and adhere to a good, healthy diet. I investigated the dangers of the truly toxic additives like aspartame and other chemical sweeteners, and have removed them from my household.
I researched the latest on cancer and some of the more natural preventative supplements and others that have data that supports these essentially curing cancer. Many doctors dismiss these, as do many people who put blind trust in the Medical and Drug industries. Being a bit suspicious, I do not really trust all information coming out of the FDA, AMA, and drug industries. I say that because I fully understand the process where only companies like the drug ones have the millions of dollars needed for research studies and those studies are then used by the FDA to approve or disapprove something. Money buys lobbyists, lobbyists influence politicians and politicians influence Government Agencies like the FDA. An independent research study by a neutral group holds much more weight for me than ten done by the manufacturer. I sort of adhere to an old Mark Twain saying when considering research studies. "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics". Give that some thought when reading a study.
One of the more promising that I use is Vitamin B-17 from Apricot Seeds (Seeds can be chewed and used although they are bitter). I find it strange how this one B-Vitamin has been banned from sale here in the US, although research shows the most promise. I do get it from outside the US because I feel strongly about its preventative benefits. Ellagic Acid (from raspberries) is readily available in most health food stores, and has extensive data to back up the claim of being a strong preventative supplement. Resveratrol is the extract from red grapes (red wine) and is better for you than drinking a glass or two of the wine itself. This is another product, with super anti-oxidants, that I use daily. I am not suggesting everyone run out and purchase these but I have researched them and feel there is much upside and no risk to them and relatively cheap to purchase.
That is my basic planning guide to one day dealing with one of most dreaded words in the medical field. I keep my diet free from any artificial sweetener, which I consider the most deadly and toxic chemicals we have been enticed to use. I choose to be more proactive and, that alone gives me a sense of security and comfort in knowing it can never blindside me in the future.
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