I am currently reaching the end of a 24 hour fast. Meaning... I have consumed only water for the past 22 hours... 2 hours left! And I am feeling the urge to go into my kitchen and munch on some macadamia nuts, so I decided to sit here and write instead. I want to be honest with what is going on in my head, how I am feeling, and why I am doing this.
So... to start off, what is intermittent fasting?
It's a diet cycling between regular periods of eating and fasting, that have been proven to be effective in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. There a bunch of different ways you can fast depending on what you want to accomplish. My new fasting goals include incorporating the 16/8 Method (fasting every day for 16 hours, and restricting my daily "eating window" to 8 hours), and incorporating one 24 hour fast once a week.
I know you are thinking...
WHAT?! YOU HAVE TO EAT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? THAT ISN'T HEALTHY! YOU ARE TOO ACTIVE! ARE YOU SURE THIS IS SAFE?!
(These were all of the thoughts that ran though my head when I was first introduced to the idea of fasting.)
Don't freak out. I got this under control. I am fasting to starve my cancer. Fasting is an easy way to decrease glucose levels in my body and elevate ketone levels as fuel for my body.
Less glucose = less fuel for my cancer to grow and spread and do bad things.
Right now, as I approach the end this fast, I have these devilish thoughts pop up in my head. I am thinking to myself:
- Eating just one little olive won't hurt... right?
- I'm alone right now in my apt- no one will know if I just break my fast early!
- I did good enough today... I can just try again next week...
Even just typing these thoughts up, I am feeling the urge more than ever to go grab food. It's true that whatever you give your attention & energy to grows-- and giving energy to these little thoughts right now certainly made them stronger.
I am still practicing with how to move past these thoughts and remain strong- honoring my word to the 24 hours I intended. I try to give energy to my breath, stillness, and silence. But it's difficult. Sometimes, I play a game called "No, Thank You," where I just hold food or pictures of food in front of my face and say, "No, thank you." It's definitely not the most fun game, but it worked getting me off of all processed & sugar/carbohydrate heavy foods!
What gives me the most strength at moments like this, when I feel hungry or I want to eat, I think about the cancer cells in my body. They want to eat, and they are loud and angry with their demand for sugar or carbs. It empowers me to know that I know their weakness. I have the ability to starve them - to NOT give them what they want.
This video by Dr. Thomas Seyfried states it best. The ketogenic diet along with intermittent fasting has been proven as a method to reduce the spread and growth of cancer cells.
I also recently read this article by the brilliant Dr. Jason Fung. There is SO MUCH good stuff in here about diet and cancer and all the things we are doing wrong in our society. (You should also read his book The Complete Guide To Fasting.) For now I'll leave it with this:
"To truly defeat your enemy, you must know them."
I know my cancer was never meant to be aggressive. I know it was the harsh treatments for cancer #1 that made this cancer #2 come about and become so aggressive. I know my mind and body is strong enough to handle the transformation and healing that it needs to achieve.
I know I can do this. (I am gonna put energy into this thought instead.)
Update: After 24 hours, my glucose and ketone levels were the best they've ever been! So proud of myself for honoring my word. Miraculously, I didn't feel hungry or tired by the end of it. For you keto geeks out there, here were my numbers:
Glucose: 81 mg/dL
Ketones: 1.7 mmol/L
Today is Day 1 of my newest mission: #ProjectGetToZero. 🙌🏼💛
My Goal: I am going to shrink my cancer away to nothing by my next appointment on February 26th, 2019. BOOM! 💥
I have to admit that it feels a little scary and vulnerable to make this bold of a declaration on social media. (For instance, I may fail. And then you ALL will witness it and be along for the very sad and disappointing ride if I do...) However, I don’t have time to worry. I need to be held accountable by my community and manifest it in all areas of my life.
I set a daily reminder on my phone about a year ago... and at 9:05AM, I get a little notification that says, “If it scares you, do it.” I need to take this note more... live each day with so much fearless life force, discipline, and determination that my goal has no option but to become my reality.
Cancer- you’re going down! 🌱🌞🐾🎼🏙💊💛💃✌🏼😬🌼
Shout to Nicole Lippold for supporting me on this journey!
LETS DO THIS!
How I'm going to make it happen:
- Continue a Ketogenic diet everyday, maintaining a Glucose Ketone Index of less than 3.
- Chant an uncomfortable amount everyday.
- Continue taking all my vitamin supplements.
- Increase my ginger intake and avoid cold foods.
- Do intermittent fasting- the exact schedule still to be determined...
- Dance and create daily. Then dance and create some more.
- Surround myself with positive energy, love, and healing.
Alrighty-O! 3 months have passed... and it's time for another #BriPositive Health Update. Here are my most recent results:
- My thyroglobulin (the cancer marker) DECREASED from 7.1 to 5.1 mL in the past 3 months.
- The PET scan (which measures the metabolism of my cancer) was CLEAR! It showed no evidence of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) avid or metastatic disease.
Why did my cancer shrink? What changed?
We may never know for sure... and It's probably an accumulation of MANY things... but I primarily changed two things.
1. My practicing & studying of Buddhism &
2. Starting a Ketogenic Diet
I started practicing Buddhism three years ago, but I had always been inconsistent in my daily chanting and studying. The last 3 months, I made it my goal to commit to daily actions and reading. The concepts and ideas I learned from Buddhism have fueled my fighting spirit, and gave me hope when I was at my lowest. It sounds crazy to say this... but I am done feeling sad or angry by this cancer diagnosis. I am more interested in discovering my purpose- why I am here. I want to discover and learn what it is I am meant to learn from this crazy adventure we call Life. I have been gifted with such a unique journey- and that makes it an opportunity for a LOT of growth. To quote Daisaku Ikeda of the SGI,
"People do not grow when their environment is too comfortable, when they are not challenged. It is in the midst of suffering and hardship that strength of character is formed."
The ketogenic diet is based on the idea that cancer is a metabolic disease. With the gracious help of my lovely friend/coach/mentor Nicole Lippold, I was able to learn more about this diet and the way it has been used to cure cancer. Nicole was with me every step of the way, along with my twin sister (who decided to try the diet in solidarity with me.)
How the diet works?:
There are many different types of cancer, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they need glucose to survive. Sooo.... It’s pretty simple. Stop feeding it what it needs to grow, and it will eventually die. The goal of the diet is essentially to starve the cancer. Part of me is still skeptical that it could be that easy... and the other part of me is fully committed to diving in deeper and is totally geeking out over all the studies and research. I got amazing results in just 3 months (more like 2 months because I kept cheating and messing up the first month)... so I plan to continue on this diet to see where it gets my counts for next time.
How do I feel?
I am happy. So very happy. I feel relieved, proud, and motivated more than ever. I FLIPPED OUT when I saw the results and cried tears of joy on the sidewalk after my meeting with the doctor. The last few months have been such a challenge.... (I went through a break-up, had to find a new place to live, apt application was denied, I was homeless for 2 weeks, moved my stuff in and out of a storage unit, dealt with health insurance bologna, started this strict and specific diet, all while continuing my "normal" life dancing, teaching, and auditioning... it was quite insane...) I had to keep digging up hope from the deepest parts of my being to refuse to be defeated. Finally... after 4+ years, I feel like I am in control of my health, and it feels SO AWESOMEEEE.
*cue music and happy dance*
I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU to my entire community- my friends and family - for all of your support. I certainly could not have done this on my own. It truly takes a village. THANK YOU THANK YOU. Your encouragement and love means the world to me.
We are not done fighting yet... Onward to set bigger goals... cancer free goals, specifically. I'm calling my next mission: Project Get To Zero 🙌🏼💛
Next scans are in February 2019! Stay strong & Stay tuned...