I had the pleasure of meeting our Herbie of the Week when I spoke at the Herbivore in the Hills event in Athens, OH. A few weeks after the event, Kate sent in the following email and I knew I had to interview her as part of the series!
I wanted to share my story, I am fortunate to have the medical professionals I work with put together symptoms and lab work I've had over the past several years in combination with long term problems that gave rise to specific testing. Those tests led us to a diagnosis of cancer in situ, pre-cancer for lymphoma. I have been feeling amazing after switching to a 100% vegan diet along with yoga, meditation and a regimen set up with my homeopath. This is all making me proactive and accountable to my own health and feeling so much respect and appreciation for what numerous friends have faced or are facing with overt cancer. I will be in for a re-check of my blood counts soon and have faith that they are continuing to decrease!
HH: Before your lymphoma diagnosis you had another chronic problem. Can you tell us about that?
I have had undiagnosed GI issues since I was 16, sick more often than not and spent most of the year on antibiotics.
HH: After so many years of GI trouble, what finally changed?
I moved to start a career as a teacher in 2002, met my husband and started our family with my 3 step-kids near a college town that supports healthy, vegan living.
I started to see a homeopath who was able to gradually start rebuilding my immune system.
HH: What all was involved? What was your course of treatment?
We worked extensively on lifestyle modifications, partly of which was a gradual transition to a plant-based diet. My last big hurdle to the GI issues was to quit smoking, easy for me once I went plant-based!
I've seen research that eating healthy food changes how cigarettes taste to you, for me it was an easy way to not think about smoking again.
Feeling so much better, however, I started to slide on plant-based eating. Although I incorporated a lot of plants in my diet, I was starting to slack on my dedication to my health and frequently back-slid with a cheeseburger or, more often, cheese!
HH: I appreciate your honesty! But I have to ask: What about your GI issues? Was the not smoking and (mostly) plant-based diet helping? Were all your issues gone?
After steadily improving from the moment I started making changes, I eventually hit a wall. We were unable to get over this last hurdle I had with my GI issues. I had gotten off 4 prescription medications and had decreased an over-the-counter medication from 6 down to 1. For some reason we couldn't get my body completely off it.
HH: Did you undergo any additional testing? What did your doctor say?
An annual visit to the doctor for my allergies in the Winter resulted in some lab work showing elevated white blood cells and some swelling with my lymph nodes. The doctors dismissed this and life went on as usual.
Two years later and still no progression with my health I was prompted by my homeopath for further, and specific testing. The result was "Cancer-in-Situ", a pre-cancer for lymphoma. This was a big enough scare for me and I got serious about my lifestyle management at that point.
HH: What did you do?
I began researching and discovered numerous websites and books that support disease prevention and reversal solely with a plant-based diet, including some great recipe books like The Happy Herbivore. This book made vegan cooking so easy and practical for a woman working full time with a family on the go.
I have been 100% plant-based for 8 months now, am slowly seeing improvements with my immune system and will be going in to have my blood counts rechecked soon.
I have faith in healing through plant-based eating and have been inspired to maintain my lifestyle changes permanently; I also have been inspired to re-launch my health and wellness consulting for disease prevention which I did before my career as a teacher. This time with a core focus on 100% plant-based eating!
We will be thinking of you and praying for you Kate! Please keep us posted about your journey and AWESOME news about your consulting!
UPDATE January 2014
Still kickin' it with my vegan diet and love every minute of it! I have pushed myself even further and am amazed how I feel as I continue on this journey. I have incorporated the nutritarian approach and am really loading on nutrient dense foods to help my immune system. I also tried an elimination diet with breads and pasta, this has helped in eliminate my GI complications altogether, add in some juicing which I wasn't doing before and I am feeling stronger every day! My labwork for signs of Cancer continue to improve and show negative tests for tumors, lesions or other signs of growth, what an amazing life being a vegan! All this is inspiring for me and my writing and blogging as "Kate on Wellness" are really starting to grow and I hope to start consulting and helping others find the revelations that come with this lifestyle. I must say, the more you do on this path the more you crave the right things and the more amazing you feel every day.