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And the Hits Just Keep On Comin'

Reprinted from PN August 2012

My most important achievement to date is getting a service dog to help me remain independent.

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When faced with a decision regarding my health, I always look into nature’s medicine cabinet for guidance.

It makes more sense to me to rely on such things as a sensible diet or restoring balance in my body’s self-healing abilities, than to subscribe to synthetic chemicals that, by their manufacturer’s admission, have been responsible for such side effects as mild headaches, growing a spare limb, or death. Okay, the spare limb part is my invention.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005. A needle biopsy taken at the time found cancer that involved 5% of one lobe of the gland (the prostate gland has four lobes). A follow-up biopsy performed in 2010 found cancer in only 3% of one lobe.

Most recently, in April, a third biopsy found no trace of cancer. I realize this only means the procedure found no adenocarcinoma cells (cancer originating in glandular tissue), and not that there was none to be found. Of 12 needle core samples taken, there would have to be very little cancer present to evade detection.

Inside Out

My strategy has been basic — attack from the inside. Since 2005, I have changed my eating habits to avoid foods that feed cancer and to concentrate on those that destroy the unwanted cells.

I have managed to curtail my sugar intake (I don’t get sweet-tooth attacks; they’re more like all-out offensives), drink decaffeinated coffee, avoid carbonated soft drinks, eat such fruits as avocadoes, and drink juice made from guanabana (also called soursop or graviola) pulp.

My most important achievement to date, however, is the recent introduction into my life of a service dog, a Labrador retriever named Kobe.

In 2009, I went through a divorce that abruptly ended a 22-year marriage. At my age (66 this year) and with my health issues, I faced some daunting challenges.

Questions sprouted in me: How can I continue to live independently, given my physical limitations? Whom can I call if I have an accident? What if I fall when my cellular phone is out of reach? What’s on TV tonight? Well, that last question isn’t exactly prominent in my daily survival routine, but the others are viable concerns that affect my daily activities.

Rock Solid

Kobe is a big fellow, weighing in at 80 pounds. One of the biggest dangers I face each day is falling. He was trained to be a “brace dog” and to retrieve things I’ve dropped.

When getting up after a fall, I can command him to brace, then place my open hand on his shoulder blades and push myself to my feet. He remains rock-solid as I lean on him. I often use that function when entering a building with a step in front, bracing with his tremendous strength to push me up.

One day, I wasn’t aware my phone had dropped out of my pocket. I sat at the computer and looked to see Kobe next to me with the small device in his mouth. He knows how important the phone is to me and doesn’t have to be commanded to bring it.

The same applies if I drop my keys, glasses, remote controls, etc. When Kobe gets these items for me, I do not have to bend so far, thereby minimizing the risk of falling. I called for a pizza delivery recently, and Kobe brought me my beer. Now if I could only train him to order the pizza (and pay for it).

The Greatest Hit

The hits just keep on comin’ as I find more ways to simplify my life and then receive reaffirmation of their effectiveness through objective testing such as MRI and biopsy tests.

My “gut” has often told me a surgical procedure or medication might be avoided by employing healing methods that nature has provided for us. More importantly, I am happier as my quality of life has improved.

Michael Nesmith’s post-Monkees 1972 album And The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, says it all. Life is good, and Kobe has made it even better — the greatest hit of all time.

******

Dogs for Vets

The cost to raise and train a service dog is about $20,000–$25,000.

New Horizons Service Dogs Inc., like similar organizations, is a nonprofit corporation providing dogs to disabled persons at no charge. The organization must seek funding from others. Support for veterans’ service dogs is provided by organizations such as The Tower of Hope in New York City.

Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report they became more sociable because of the dog — it helped bring the person out of his or her “shell.”

For more information, visit The Tower of Hope at thetowerofhope.org or New Horizons at nhsdi.org.

 

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And the Hits Just Keep On Comin'

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