How I learned to stop worrying and love Glutamine

I feel like I spend a lot of time complaining on this blog. Complaining about my discomfort. Complaining about people who are bad at their jobs. Complaining that Miley Cyrus won the best song award at the MTV Movie Awards (the only time when Miley Cyrus will beat Bruce Springsteen at anything ever.)

Not a winner in my eyes.

Not a winner in my eyes.

Instead, I want to share with you an uplifting experience I had yesterday. At a doctor’s office. I know…I almost don’t believe it either.

I had an appointment at the Simms/Mann UCLA Center For Integrative Oncology. This is a department run by Dr. Mary Hardy – a woman who travels the world talking about how traditional cancer treatment (chemo, radiation) can be combined effectively with eastern medicine, nutrition, supplements and holistic treatment. She’s the person who connects the dots between all the different theories of cancer treatment and does so by making a practical plan based on each person’s individual situation.

From the moment I saw the office down the hallway and noticed the zen rock garden, I knew this was going to be a different experience than my previous doctor’s appointments.

This is more like it!

Dr. Hardy's office

The first thing they did was take measurements of my size, weight, body mass index and calculate how much lean fat I have. I am now at an ideal weight for my size after losing 10+ pounds from the Hodgkin’s Disease back in December. It took cancer to get me in shape. Would Alanis Morissette say this was ironic – “Dropping 10 pounds when adding a 16cm tumor in your chest? Isn’t that ironic? Dontcha think?”

After learning that I am a reasonably fit, 33 year old male in the prime of my life…I spent over an hour with Dr. Hardy discussing my situation, nutritional advice and supplements that will help me increase the efficiency of my treatment as well as help manage the side effects. We also shared a few laughs along the way.

What I liked immediately about her was that she asked where Jen was. She didn’t ask me if I was married. She didn’t ask me what was wrong with me. She had read the paperwork I had submitted, she remembered the information and she engaged me immediately. This is way better than the phlebotomist that tried to test me for pregnancy. For once, I didn’t have to fight for my medical care or worry about my treatment – I was able to trust the person who was caring for me.

This was such a welcome relief that I actually got a little choked up about it. I wasn’t upset about the cancer or the chemo – I was touched by empathy from a health care provider.

She laid out a nutritional and supplemental plan for me based on the type of treatment I was receiving and the side effects I am experiencing. Some of my plan is:

  • Allopurinol for my stomach
  • Mutli-vitamin
  • Whey protein – I’m on a high protein diet now, over 30g/day
  • Fish Oil
  • Flax Seed
  • L-Carnatine and Co-Enzyme Q10 for my heart
  • Immpower and Glutamine for my immune system
  • Melatonin

And the list goes on…

How to sneak protein into my diet. The importance of shakes. How to eat when I’m too nauseous to eat. How to make myself stronger. How to make this suck less. And the doctor will follow up with me after my treatment is done to keep me this way.

A bit of inspiration in an otherwise frustrating time. We heard good things about the Integrative Oncology department. I trust them. And I look forward to taking my 20 pills a day.

Beats giving myself shots, that’s for sure.

(Damn. I ended on a complaint…)

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8 responses to “How I learned to stop worrying and love Glutamine

  1. Peace. Eastern. Western. Synergy. It’s good to get a mix like this. Joy worked down here in San Diego at Scripps Green Hospital’s Integrative Medicine. Very cool stuff that I should get a little more involvement in. You’re on track though.

  2. So glad I checked-in today. Totally inspiring and touching column, even if it’s got a Miley Cyrus pic in the middle of it. Liked the Onion link, too. (I didn’t end on a complaint.)

  3. my friend Brent was diagnosed with testi cancer a few years ago, and he told me that the chemo he was doing felt like it was killing him, and that he supplemented that with holistic Chinese herbs and teas, and acupuncture. I know there was more to it, but he said that when he looked back on it, he doesn’t know how he would have got through it with out the ‘non-traditional’ methods. I don’t know all the details, but I know that if I had to go through something like this, the route you are on now is what I would look at closely.

    Think of it this way too, when this is all said an done, at least you’ll have both your nuts!

  4. Excellent news. Those damn little rogue cells never had a chance. Keep rocking it!

  5. Great to hear you found a great doctor who seems to really be looking at your situation personally.

  6. You are amazing, I spoke to Gabe a few weeks ago and meant to get in touch sooner. I’ve been on the road shooting for TLC and dealing with typical family fun when home. My wife Rhonda’s Father beat Hodgkins right before I met her. Sounds like you are too and keeping good humor about it. A Doctor who knows more than medicine is always appreciated. Take care brother and I will speak with you soon

  7. Wonderful news Steve. I am so glad, too, that Jennifer can deal with those helicopters, she’s amazing!! You both are terrific. Much love and muitos Beijos. Wish I could see you both but I face millions of germs every day. Miss you!

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