I sat in sheer terror as my brain surgeon diagnosed me with the identical tumor that killed my father:
A right frontal lobe glioblastoma. Although there were no symptoms to speak of I was told that “it must come out right away”. My immediate response was, “What do you mean? I just had two spine surgeries and I can’t go through something like this now!?”
I had always maintained a healthy lifestyle, unlike my parents, so I truly believed that cancer and its traditional western treatments (radiation, chemical therapy, and/or surgery) would not be the impetus that would end my life. Both of my parents passed away from cancer/chemical therapy. I watched my mother live with her ovarian cancer but it was the chemical therapy that turned off her immune system. Her failing kidneys are what put her into her final hospital stay. Then followed the morphine regimen that led her into her deepest slumber. I watched and listened as doctors behaved in a typical, “She has no other choices” fashion. I recall my mom’s fear; she was not ready to pass and I was not ready to let her go. She did die one year after my father passed from his brain tumor.
So when I sat in front of my own brain surgeon, his (very western) medical response was similar; “It must come out”. I immediately said, “No!” as I began sobbing. My surgeon got up and pulled down the blinds so I could cry in privacy. I finally got up to leave and went home. Working as a teacher in an affluent suburb of New York City allowed me to connect with all sorts of resources so I immediately called a parent in our community who was a surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He was kind enough to make me an appointment for me the very next day.
Sloan’s response to my brain tumor was that it was something that “we should keep our eyes on” and not resort to surgery. I was thankful. I remember reading T. Colin Campbell’s , The China Study , a few years back and realizing that if the patient reduces his/her consumption of animal protein that most tumors will actually shrink and the body will heal itself. 1
I was and am a Health Educator and Nutritional Consultant and re-read the book. Soon after that I read about and enrolled in the eCornell certificate course, “Plant-Based Nutrition Course” which re-fueled my decision to eliminate animal protein from my diet.
After that initial diagnosis and taking “Plant-Based Nutrition Course”, I decided to perform my own experiment at which I began consuming a plant-based diet, eliminating most if not all animal products. Within 1 year after I made the change to a plant-based diet I received the news that my tumor was shrinking. However slow, it lost its ability to thrive and that’s due to the nourishment my body was receiving from all of the plant foods I’ve been eating and taking away the tumor’s primary growth factor, animal protein! I must also mention how many other things in my life began to change: my ability to focus improved, my mood stabilized, my skin cleared, and I had much more energy. I felt so much better in all areas of my life.
Recently I met and fell in love with someone who loves to eat animal protein. We both LOVE food and I must admit that since we have been together, I began to increase my intake of animal products, knowing certainly that my next MRI would show either an increase in tumor size or at least no more of a reduction in size and I was right. My last MRI illustrated that my tumor remained the same size. Although grateful there was no growth I knew the result would not show any reduction due to my increased intake of animal protein. Of course since then I have been eating almost no animal products and cannot wait to hear that my tumor is once again shrinking!
- Campbell and Campbell, The China Study, 2005,pg 69.
By Allison Murphy
Health and wellness teacher and graduate of the CNS Plant-Based Nutrition Program