I am packing my bags and fueling up the car. Today I leave my home in Larkspur, California, for Santa Rosa and 10 days of what I’m hoping is a life-changing adventure. I’m heading off for Dr. John McDougall’s 10-day Live-in Program. This is 10 days where I am going to learn the benefits of a healthy lifestyle that includes a vegan diet. I am both excited and nervous. I’m doing it as a commitment to my health and longevity.
A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I started eating vegan and kept my program of weight lifting. I weighed about 185 and, other than the fear of cancer, felt physically pretty good. I decided to have a prostatectomy, surgical removal of the prostate, as a treatment. My decision was based on a lot of fear and research (in that order).
What followed was a long slog back to health. Surgery of this degree is not something one “bounces” back from. I had a long and unpleasant recovery that included all the obligatory problems associated with urinary tract surgery. In addition, I developed a relentless cough which lasted for over four months culminating in a diagnosis of pleurisy (which hurt like hell). Also, two months post-op, I had secondary infections in my groin. This involved draining and treating two abscesses, not once, but twice over a period of two months.
I continued eating a vegan diet but, after the abscesses, thought I needed “more” protein and starting eating chicken.
Like they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, it’s the first drink that gets you drunk so it was with my eating chicken. From my thoughtful and considered decision to add a “little” chicken, so I quickly returned to a dietary free-for-all.
Since the surgery, I have had bouts with depression and have struggled to figure what a 60-year-old single man should do with the rest of his life. I have gained weight in my prostate cancer recovery. I now weigh about 235. I have read that obese men have a much greater incidence of the cancer recurring. I do not want to be counted as part of those statistics.
I have great friends and work colleagues, a wonderful and loving family and am grateful beyond measure for being able to have a longer life. But how do I improve the quality of that life? What am I doing now?
Today, as I pack and prepare to drive north to Santa Rosa, I am breakfasting on left-over turkey, mash potatoes and Newton’s chocolate chip cookies washed down with a caffe latte. Not quite the kind of diet that will improve my life.
So let the adventure begin. I am going to chronicle my stay as best I can and hope you might find it interesting. Thanks for coming along.