Another day down on my journey of food discovery. I had something happen to me today that has never happened…I had the distinct desire to drink WATER! May sound crazy, but I’ve never been a water drinker. In fact, I’ve kind of really not liked the stuff. I think I always just wanted some flavor in my drinks, and the “plain” taste of water never did it for me. I guess that is changing, and I’m excited about that.
For breakfast I sped out the door after grabbing a few dried figs and headed to the hospital. I had a rare treat at lunch as I got to meet my wife and son for lunch along with another couple we are best friends with and their son. The chance to laugh with friends in the midst of a crazy day is always more than welcome. For dinner I roasted off a spaghetti squash and made a quick tomato sauce with canned tomatoes and and ground beef. Man, for some reason it really hit the spot!
This afternoon I had to have a conversation that is never fun. I have a very sweet lady in her 80’s who we diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around two months ago and she came in for a visit today. She is too frail to stand chemotherapy, so she underwent 30 radiation treatments with the hope of shrinking the tumor. The tumor did not respond, and she is out of options. She is weak, tired, hungry but nauseated all the time, and hurting. I’ve taken care of her almost 8 years and we have pulled her through several problems in the past including a broken hip and a heart attack. Some of her family are pushing her to go to MD Anderson for more tests and possible experimental treatment. She asked me what I would do. Over time you establish a real friendship with patients that often goes deeper than just business. You tend to take care of entire families, so the dynamic can be difficult when one of them gets sick. There is no magic bullet for her in Houston, and she is old and tired. If she goes there she will die away from home undergoing treatment that won’t work. I simply looked at her told her I would stay home to die with my family. She asked if she would die from this for sure, and I old her yes, and likely soon. At that point she almost seemed relieved to know what was going to happen. I’m amazed at the strength of her generation when faced with death. She told me she appreciated my care and my honesty, and that she just didn’t want to hurt anymore. We will make sure of that…
Why do I eat Paleo?…because I want to avoid chronic disease. Why am I a doctor?…because I want to try to help people avoid chronic disease. I hope that by living and recommending a Paleo lifestyle fewer people will have to face what my patient now faces.
I pray for her tonight, and I ask any of you so inclined to do so as well. Help her be strong in her time of sickness as God will soon be calling her home.