January 3, 2012

Me and my immunity

Macrophages, killer T cells, memory cells, helper cells, natural killer cells, phagocytes, antigens, B cells, neutrophils. The spleen, thymus, lymphatic system and hormones.

This is the Immune Toolbox. This set of tools didn't really work for me before, but it's the only set I have and these are the tools I now need to trust, nourish and cherish.

These tools stands between me and more cancer. It is what will capture and terminate any cancerous cells and microtumours that pop up in the future.

Radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and more chemotherapy were tough; some people even call them toxic (I don't).

These treatments can be difficult to endure, but for me they were an excellent safety net: stuff was being done. Ionizing radiation was hurting the tumour, chemical soups flowed through my body 'cleaning' it up, someone was cutting out cancerous tissue, another was examining lymph nodes for travelling disease. It was all hands on deck and my Immune Toolbox could take a breather.

Not now though. Rest over. All my systems are go. Action!

The immune system is complex and how it is affected by what we eat, drink, do and think is an emerging field called Psychoneuroimmunology. Obviously something wasn't right with my Immune Toolbox before because I don't have a known genetic disorder, I exercised, was a very low meat eater and didn't smoke (all known risk factors for colorectal cancer).

And recently a leading UK cancer organisation released a study showing that at least 40% of cancers result from lifestyle factors, factors that can be controlled.

So what am I going to do differently now that treatment is over? I'm not sure.Treatment only finished 12 days ago, and the chemotherapeutics would have only just been metabolized.

I'm still working it out. Watch this space.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, as always. A lot of your readers (me included) have probably been living a fairly damaging lifestyle over the past month: Xmas party boozing, massive meals, and sedentary 'activities'. I'm looking forward to reading about what you will be doing differently to reduce the risk of the 40% of 'lifestyle' cancers, and I will be implementing some of your strategies too.