Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Nine Key Factors Critical For Surviving Cancer Against All Odds

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds book by Kelly A Turner, Ph.D. is one of the few books I found very useful and inspiring in my efforts at learning about and dealing with Cancer. 

I purchased the book at the beginning of this year and have been reading and referring to it often since then. The lessons from the book have contributed significantly to the small and big changes I made in my diet and lifestyle to defeat cancer. And taking on Marathoning in a serious way as a way towards cancer remission.

After I got to know about my recent tumor recurrence, I went through the book again with the following questions in my mind:
  • If I had learned all that I could learn from the book and adapted all the changes suggested, why did the Tumor still come back? 
  • Did I not do enough of what was suggested in the book? 
  • Was there anything more I could have learned from the book that would have made a difference?

I went through each of the Nine Key Factors in a detailed manner, examining each factor against the questions I listed above.

To my utter surprise and a little relief, I came to the conclusion that I had missed a few lessons on a couple of key factors, and that I have more work to do on these lines.

Here is my elaboration of the lessons I have learned from each of the key factors listed in the book.

1. Radically Changing Your Diet:

I have been a vegetarian and a healthy eater all my life. So radically changing my diet to an anticancer focussed one was an easy task. I have cut sugars and refined grains completely from my diet. While I haven't gone full keto - with carbs still being part of my diet occasionally - I think my diet does qualify as near-keto most of the time.

2. Taking Control of Your Health:

I think I have been doing good on this aspect. I have not been depending only on what the doctors prescribe for my treatment. I have been working hard at figuring out what I could be doing as a layman to accomplish cancer remission. I have taken on this task as an ongoing life-long task that could quite possibly increase the chances that I survive this terminal cancer.

3. Following Your Intuition:

Doing good on this aspect as well by not being rigid or feeling compelled by others about the treatments. Trying out various options coming up my way. Taking on what works for me. Ignoring what doesn't. 

4. Using Herbs and Supplements:

So far, I have added Chopped Raw Garlic, Curcumin, Moringa Powder, and Green Tea as natural supplements to my daily diet. Evaluating any new natural or over-the-counter medical supplements as I come across them.

5. Releasing Suppressed Emotions:

This key factor came up as an important one during this round of reading the book. The chapter did help me identify and release suppressed emotions related to two topics while I read through the book in recent weeks.

The first suppressed emotions topic is the I am not good enough mental barrier that I have been afflicted since I have been a young kid. This mental barrier has been showing up as I am not good enough to earn enough money every month to make ends meet over the last few years through my career as a freelance Ruby on Rails Developer. 

Reflecting on my emotional state over the last couple of years, it is very obvious to me that this topic has caused severe emotional angst for me on an ongoing basis, and has quite possibly contributed significantly to my current ill-health. 

The incredibly generous response to the fundraiser I started recently has taken the bite out of this anxiety and has helped me release the negative emotions I have been harboring for life about my self-worth. 

The sense of financial freedom promoted by the success of the fundraiser has also given me a good sense of how I can make a permanent dent in my ongoing financial worries. I am currently in discussion for a very promising full-time job as a Ruby on Rails Developer at a well-established company. I hope I will be able to get either this specific job or something similar soon to have a sense of ongoing financial stability.

The second suppressed emotions topic is the acrimonious marriage my wife and I share despite having no real reasons for the ongoing attritional battles. 

While I have been blaming my wife for all of the arguments we have been having over the years, a little bit of honesty and reflection this time showed that I am at the root of all the strife by holding on to too many complaints over the years. 

Ever since we got married, I have always looked upon my wife as someone not equal to me for various reasons. I have seen more of the world than her. I have better communication skills. I know more about how to deal with life, etc. So on and on. 

I have been using all this to constantly put her down and build a list of things of where she falls short. With me constantly engaged in this kind of list-keeping, it is no wonder our marriage doesn't have the warmth of true intimacy, and things keep blowing up on a regular basis between us. 

Realizing the subversive role I was playing in our marriage is a huge eye-opener for me. It has allowed me to let go of the various resentments I have been holding on to against my wife, and work towards building true intimacy into our marriage. 

A lot of work pending on this item.

6. Increasing Positive Emotions:

I have been doing good on increasing positive emotions previously. Now that I have worked on releasing some of the negative suppressed emotions, I am sure constantly being awash in positive emotions would be an easy task in the future. And that would radically increase my chances of having a cancer remission.

7. Embracing Social Support:

I have from the very beginning been very big on embracing social support in my battle with cancer. I have been very open about it from the original craniotomy and diagnosis. And have been posting updates regularly on social media. As well as in personal one on one conversations. 

The positive and encouraging comments from many folks have sustained my spirits and motivation over the hard struggle with cancer so far. The generous response to the fundraiser has further emphasized the huge network of social support my family and I have in this battle with cancer. 

Thanks, everyone for being there for us in our time of struggle! 

8. Deepening Your Spiritual Connection:

This is a task that has a lot of room for improvement because I have not been doing anything here. 

I have never been a spiritual or religious person. I have always seen myself as the practical, get-it-done kind of person who doesn't believe in the spiritual and religious mumbo-jumbo. 

I am getting convinced of the benefits of mindfulness and being in touch with a higher power on a regular basis. I will work towards learning more about the techniques and power of meditation, prayer, faith, and spirituality and hope to deepen my spiritual connection strong enough to lead me to cancer remission soon.

9. Having Strong Reasons For Living:

Some work required here as well. While I do have a strong enjoyment and preference for being alive and living fully while alive, there have been times in the past where I have wondered if living is all that it is made out to be and if it was indeed worth living. The chapter explains this topic is wrapped tightly around the purpose of one's life. 

A purpose in life is something I seem to not have a firm handle on all the time. So more work needed here.

One last thought

An overall idea that came to me  - way beyond the specifics of the nine key factors - is that I have been going through this battle mostly as a lone-ranger. I have even excluded my wife - my life partner and my primary caregiver - from most of these efforts. I think it would be hugely beneficial to make this a group effort by building a team.

One more last thought

Came across this inspiring sentence towards the end of the book: 
I have followed a rigorous, evidence-based, integrative oncology protocol for years, including exercise, supplements, diet, mind-body exercises, and more - and it has resulted in a complete remission.

This sentence perfectly summarizes my thinking about dealing with Glioblastoma. Hope I will be able to truthfully say the same thing in my context in a few years.


  1. Love you! What a great, candid assessment. Go, You! I hope you feel a wonderful release in seeing these things clearly. Makes such room and lightness! Bravo!

  2. Amazing post Annaya! You will definitely be saying that very soon..

  3. I will not attempt to advice as I am not in your shoes and am not experiencing what you are going through. Just want to share this quote and wish you the best for the days ahead.

    Be grateful for your life, every detail of it,
    and your face will come to shine like a sun,
    and everyone who sees it will
    be made glad and peaceful.

    - Rumi

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The story so far

It has been a month since I decided to start a blog to journal my journey with Glioblastoma Multiforme after bei...