Yes I’m Vegan But…

But I love ice cream, so I’m not giving it up. Life is for living and it’s too short to avoid the things that give me pleasure.

Last year at this time I was dealing with a husband who had just undergone an autologous stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma. Basically he had received a lethal dose of  the chemotherapy drug melphalan which destroyed all the fast-growing cells in his body. Luckily we heard slushies could help protect the lining of his mouth and throat so on chemo day I kept him stocked up. (A year later he still can’t look at them.) They worked like a charm, no mouth sores! Then the next day they gave him his own blood stem cells (collected about 6 weeks previously and frozen) to save him from dying of bone marrow failure. After a fairly routine (but to us pretty harrowing) 15 days in the hospital he came home, 1 year ago today. Weak as a kitten and sleeping more than not, still he was home.

We have come a long way in a year. More chemo, more research, more tests and more bills. But the good news is Russ is still in remission, still cancer-free. We praise and thank God every day for His grace and for guiding us to Dr. Warren and Dr. Lazarus who have shepherded us safely through our journey this last year and a half.

Some of the research I have done involved looking into the links between diet and cancer risk. One of the strongest links I’ve found connects cancer risk and the intake of animal-based foods. There is evidence that the more animal-based foods a population eats, the higher the risk of many cancers including breast, colon, lung, stomach and others.  Yikes!

I looked at the evidence and I looked at myself in the mirror and said “Once is enough! If giving up animal-based foods and switching to a whole-foods, plant-based diet will reduce the risk that my family will have to go through this ordeal again, I can do that. I’m more attached to my health than I am to meat, milk and eggs.”

After a year of being vegan I can honestly say I don’t miss meat. Tonight we had dinner at FlipSide and I happily ate a housemade chickpea patty with shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions and truffle aioli. But I’m not religious about it. Russ gave me the avocado from his salad (yum!) which had a little bleu cheese and ranch dressing on it. Mostly when we go to get ice cream I will have sorbet (Cold Stone has awesome sorbet BTW) but every so often I want real honest-to-goodness full-fat dairy ice cream. Usually it’s when I’m near a Graeter’s shop 😉  So I eat it, and I enjoy it.

My life is a wonderful gift from God and I’m enjoying every moment I can. I’m doing the best I can to protect my life and my health and my body as the precious gifts they are, but every so often you’ve got to splurge. I hope the choices I’m making now will let me chase my great-grandchildren around the yard someday and keep me well until it’s time to return the gift to the One who gave it to me.


One thought on “Yes I’m Vegan But…

  1. Jen,
    Your message is so true, and yet how often we take or lives for granted. Right before I faced my 1st kidney transpant, I was married(9 years), with a beautiful 4 year old baby boy, living in what I thought was the greatest house, in the best location near enough to my family where I could see them when I wanted, but far enough where our relationships were smooth. With the night I went into the hospital for the transplant surgery, I kept thinking how my life was going to be perfect now since I will be off dialysis, and free to live. Little did I know that with the blink of an eye my life was going to change dramatically. I soon was separated from my husband after he had enough of having an ill wife, I was in the hospital longer than planned when my pancreas perforated, and during that time my house was sold, all of my belongings were placed into a garbage pile in what was my garage, I was discharged home after 3 months, only to be moving into my parents home as my home was sold, and someone else was living in it now. I had to learn to walk all over again, lost all of my hair, and oh yah that right, bit the intubation tube coming out of anesthesia and lost my 2 front teeth. Doesn’t get any better than this right?
    Wrong, I had to maneuver my way into the justice center on one of those elevater stair chairs (yep the kind that move like 1 mph!!!!)
    in order to complete my divorce proceedings, and then signed a mortgage on a townhome condo where I had to go up and down the stairs (2 flights) on my butt for the first month because I wasn’t good at climbing stairs yet.
    So this experience taught me some very important points:
    1.) Don’t take your life for granted. (You never know when a switch might be flipped leaving you on the outside of your life looking in)
    2.) Life is way too short and too serious NOT to laugh at ourselves
    3.) Don’t assume you know what anybody is going thru (unless you walk in their shoes, or get to ride on their elevator chair!!)
    And last but not least…..
    4.) If you want flowers, or chocolates, or ice cream……BUY THEM for yourself, and live life to the fullest point, making sure to tell those around you what they mean to you (ok, so the ones that you DO like)…..
    God Bless, (He always does!!)

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