Have you ever been told that you have a life-threatening disease? Both of us (Bob and Fran) have! And about at the same time! It was very overwhelming, as you can imagine.
That was 16 years ago. We would like to share our personal stories about how we both overcame devastating illnesses and went on to lead very healthy, happy, and long lives. Now, we are both in our 80s, and feeling better than ever! Our purpose is to inspire and give hope to those of you who are suffering or know someone who is.
This all began in the fall of 1992 when we were both 62 years of age.
After returning home from a trip to China, I (Fran) started feeling some minor muscular changes but didn’t think too much of it. But one day I woke up and couldn’t open one eye.
My doctor thought it was Bell’s Palsy. He sent me to a neurologist for confirmation. The neurologist did a test and discovered that I had Myasthenia Gravis, a very rare neuromuscular disease that means grave muscle weakness.
I was told that Myasthenia Gravis was incurable, that I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life, and that my life expectancy would be shortened. I heard this same story from 11 different neurologists over the years! In other words, I was given no hope!
I suffered for 14 years from severe double vision, difficulty with my speech and swallowing, and at times was so weak that I couldn’t hold my head up. I was prescribed several powerful and potentially dangerous drugs including prednisone, mestinon, and cytoxin and was told that there wasn’t much else that could be done. Not one doctor suggested a change in lifestyle, including diet, as a possible remedy.
In 2006, Bob also developed a serious health issue. He learned that he had a small tumor on the outside of his left kidney. The urologist advised Bob to have it removed asap. We went to a world-class medical center where Bob underwent cryoablation surgery, a procedure that froze the tumor off. Unfortunately, it turned out to be malignant.
The surgeon advised Bob that he got the entire growth but explained that this type of tumor has been known to return. He never brought up the idea that a change in diet and lifestyle could help prevent a recurrence the cancer.
Even though this was a bleak time, Bob and I decided not to cave in and slowly began to take action to counter the doctors’ prognoses. We researched strategies to improve our health and boost our immune systems and implemented them.
On days that I was able, we started walking from a short distance to 30 minutes as our main exercise regimen. To increase my energy levels, we began practicing qigong, an ancient Chinese wellness system. Also, we added daily meditation to reduce stress. All of this empowered us physically and emotionally, and we began to feel better and stronger.
Additionally, we tried to eat healthier (white meat chicken, turkey, and fish) although at the time we didn’t know much about what foods were beneficial to our health and which were harmful!
Then, in 2006, a big break-through occurred! We attended a presentation by a clinical nutritionist. He explained that eating animal products compromises the immune system and recommended that patients with Myasthenia Gravis, cancer or any autoimmune disease switch to a whole food plant-based diet.
We immediately did so and in just a few months I was off all medications and no longer had any symptoms of this dreaded disease! Bob had a full recovery, too. It is now 16 years later, and we both feel fantastic and safe in saying that we no longer have our “incurable” diseases! We are very thankful.
We are living proof that switching to a health-based manner of living can work to not only reverse disease, but it can also work to prevent it.
Here are some practical steps that you can take if you are diagnosed with a serious health issue or want to help avoid getting sick.
Note: We recommend that you get your doctor’s approval to move forward with your plan.
If we could do it, YOU can do it! Remember that getting older does not have to mean getting sicker!
Have you been diagnosed with an incurable disease? Did you succumb to the diagnosis and the stress it caused, or did you start proactively researching lifestyle treatment options? What practical tips could you offer our community?
Tags Healthy Aging