This dirty nodey veggie life

Back in April I wrote this post talking about two nodules found in the area of my thyroid, and I figured it might be time for an update. Since then, I went back to the doctor for more information and learned that they still feel it’s no biggie, and the imaging I thought I was going to get in May they decided instead to schedule in June – this coming Monday to be exact.

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The official thoughts about my thyroid nodules, which to me bore a scary resemblance to cancer, are that they are not cancerous and are pretty common. It’s estimated that 4-10% of the population will develop these creepy little beasties (so I’m not that special) and of these only about 5% ever develop into cancer. The main thing the doctor wants to do is watch it for signs of cancer-like changes, see if it starts creating thyroid hormones (which could lead to hyperthyroidism) or see if they eventually grow to cut off airways, blood flow or interfere with swallowing (Yikes!). If it isn’t doing one of those nasty things, which could require removal of a portion or the whole of the thyroid, radioactive iodine treatments or other medications, then you are directed to do nothing. Sure, they will periodically peek at it, but then I guess we just leave it alone and pretend it isn’t there.

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The fact that I’ve developed another nodule is also not that bothersome, apparently, as I could develop an unlimited number of these and the doctors won’t bat an eye until they do one of the yucky things listed above. This may change my nodey title from having a thyroid nodule (or I guess at this point nodules) to the likelihood of developing a multinodular goiter (Cuz that sounds hot…riiiight.). This usually entails an enlargement of the thyroid (which I don’t think I have as of yet) and multiple nodes. When monitoring occurs with multiple nodules they typically just test the largest node or anything shaped oddly. Previously, this was supposed to be every year or so, now it’s less while the new node moves in and we see what it’s going to do or if it brings any friends (Yay. Par-tay in my neck. Whose comin’?). Why is this happening? They have no idea.

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At this point, I’m not as worried as I was, since this isn’t particularly bad news. It’s not great news either, and being the person that I am, I still find myself having a hard time just sitting back and twiddling my thumbs. So, I’ve decided to stick with my original idea to go guinea pig to see if there is any validity to the claims I’ve been reading from alternative health sources. It’s unnecessary according to my doc, who gave me patient smiles and head nods when I spoke about it at her office (the same patient smiles and interested head nods I gave to a customer who was regaling me with tales of their UFO abduction, but I digress)  but she thought nothing wrong with me being my own guinea pig and even joked with her intern that she could do a paper on me (I’m still deciding on if it was for the alternative hippy stuff or for a psych eval, but whateves, at least I had the sense to ask her opinion). It wasn’t exactly a reassuring convo and I continued to feel a lot stupid for bringing it up, but I’m not sure that guinea pigs are known for their superior powers of mind anyway.

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So what am I doing exactly?

  1. Going vegetarian. Multiple sources (China study, Forks over knives, Crazy Sexy Diet, The Gerson Miracle, Healing Cancer, Crazy Sexy Cancer, and Dying to Have Known are a few I’ve looked at from some of my limited research. I’ll be delving into the other side too but it’s going to take some time to get through.) feel that eating meat increases an assortment of health concerns including heart disease and cancer, so I’m going to put this to the test. I’ve quit eating meat as of March 30th, 2013 to see if it will have any goitre/nodule reducing/limiting effects. I suspect that I will need to do this more than for just a month or two since it took about 36 months for the picture below to occur when a patient with heart disease was purportedly able to heal themselves with a vegetarian diet. Aaaand it might not do anything, except for save some cute beasties, but we shall see…

    Coronary angiograms of the distal left anterior descending artery before (left) and after (right) 32 months of a plant-based diet without cholesterol-lowering medication, showing profound improvement

    “Coronary angiograms of the distal left anterior descending artery before (left) and after (right) 32 months of a plant-based diet without cholesterol-lowering medication, showing profound improvement” – From “Resolving the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic through Plant Based Nutrition” by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. MD – click on picture to go to article.

  2. Try to reduce my dependency on food in a box and other stuff that’s full of chemicals and sugars and try to eat more whole foods. The idea behind this is to think of food as medicine, and try to put the good stuff in your body as often as possible. Due to my sweet tooth and the humongous lazy bone I’ve grown this is actually one of the more difficult things to do. So, a big help has been cruising the library for vegetarian and vegan recipe books to add variety to my diet and find new and tasty foods to take the place of all the old favorites. The down side is more time in the kitchen but the up side is some rather scrumptious concoctions that I’d never have thought of on my own, like the meal below. It might look a little weird, (I see a resemblance to a weird face…) but it was really tasty!
  3. Make my own juice. This one is something that has got a lot more attention lately, and my review of Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead kind of sparked the interest since he lived off of it for 60 days. Juice from the supermarket and convenience stores are often mostly sugar and water and can have very little or no nutritional value (I was shocked one day while drinking a citrus juice and seeing that it had no viatmin C in the serving…so uh…what the heck was in it?) while packing the same calories as a glass of pop (aka soda). Making your own juice means you don’t need to add sugar, water or chemicals (well, I guess unless you want to) and tends to be both thicker and nutrient dense. My centrifuge juicer isn’t the best model out there (it’s a really old hand me down that sounds somewhere between a chainsaw and an airplane) but the juice is still pretty good. Trying to get seven to ten servings of fruit and veggies in a day can be hard, and it’s a lot to digest in your stomach, which can take a hours to get nutrients out of food. If you juice them and take out a lot of that fiber you can get those nutrients working in your system faster. Now granted, you won’t burn as many calories digesting, but the idea behind that is that it frees your body up to concentrate on the cleansing of free radicals and other toxic crap instead of just constantly digesting items in your stomach. Is this true? I dunno…I need to look into it more, but it is an interesting concept. Below is the first home-made juice I tried. I’ve fallen a bit off the wagon here of late, but I’m hoping to climb back on and try to have some fresh juice at least once a day.

Do I really think this stuff is going to change anything? I don’t know. Realistically, it’s probably a bit of a pipe dream, but I can’t help but be curious since I’m in a perfect situation to put it to the test and actually get results that will say if it’s doing anything or not. I don’t really think it’s going to hurt me, so I figure I’ll give it a try and then compare my results over time. I realize that it’s a bit hard core, and I’m still struggling with #2 and #3 up there but I’d rather celebrate my small victories. I am lucky it wasn’t something serious. I am blessed that I don’t have to do more but watch and wait. This is a wake-up call, but it’s also an opportunity. I can either keep doing what I’m doing or I can take the reins and make positive healthy changes and purposely try to better my own health and destiny. It might be all for not, but it might not. And although embracing the alternative stuff that medical science chortles over seems silly, if there is a scrap of truth to it…it also seems silly not to try. I’ll keep you posted.

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