Imagine this: You’re in med school. You are twenty five years old. Your future is bright. The following is just not supposed to happen . . . to you, to anyone: You find a lump in your breast. And in short order, you are given a diagnosis that includes the words “aggressive” and “cancer.” You know what it takes to survive, so you take the necessary leave of absence from med school in order to do what it takes. It takes six rounds of chemotherapy, radiation therapy galore, and multiple surgeries. You do survive, but you pay a heavy price. Dr. Jill writes, “I had ‘officially’ beaten cancer but nearly destroyed my body in the process. Completely bald, malnourished, and down to my lowest weight since fourteen years old, I was absolutely depleted but mentally still in the game.” So it was back to med school for Jill, to pick up where she had left off, damaged but not defeated.
Jill Carnahan had defeated breast cancer. The battle was over. Whew! But another battle was about to begin.
Again, the following is just not supposed to happen . . . to you, to anyone: Symptoms show up from out of nowhere—abdominal pain, fevers, fatigue, and weight loss. And within six months after beating cancer and returning to med school, Jill was handed a new diagnosis: Crohn’s disease. Now, how is she going to fight this battle?
At first, it was anti-inflammatory medications for her, but according to Dr. Jill, they did nothing for her symptoms. She also required antibiotics to help manage the abscesses found in her colon. Her Crohn’s was not this mild thing some individuals with Crohn’s get away with. No. This Crohn’s was out to destroy.
When faced with the prospect of steroids and immunosuppressants for who knows how long—and the inevitable surgeries and complications that lie in wait—Jill, soon to be Dr. Jill, made one very “gutsy” decision. She looked at all her options and decided to follow a dietary approach to deal with her disease. And the rest is history.
The first dietary changes Jill made included eliminating gluten and milk from her diet, and she began following The Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Within 2 weeks she began to feel better. And “better” became a way of life. At what point in time when her remission actually occurred is probably a big unknown, but as Dr. Jill relates: “Now over twelve years later, after relentless pursuit of personal healing I am currently in the best health of my life, completely free of breast cancer and 100% healed from Crohn’s disease!” During my interview with Dr. Jill, I learned that her diet has evolved over the years into what she describes as an autoimmune Paleo-style diet, a diet that does include Paleo meats, but is loaded with Paleo-friendly vegetables. And, during the interview, I learned something else.
Dr. Jill she shared something with me that I found particularly insightful. Having just beat cancer, she was in no way interested in treating her Crohn’s with drugs that suppress her immune system. Knowing that keeping cancer at bay requires an immune system that is in good working order, not suppressed, Dr. Jill chose the drug-free route to increase the odds that her cancer would not return. She is so glad she took the path that she did. And so am I.
If you would like to meet Dr. Jill, simply go to her website. There she is! You can get to know her by reading her story and watching the video interview detailing her experience. Go to: www.jillcarnahan.com and click on My Story.
If you would like your story told in a forthcoming book entitled Crohn’s Disease Has Met its Match: Stories of Remission in the Battle against Crohn’s, contact the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This article is presented solely for informational purposes. The information contained herein should be evaluated for accuracy and validity in the context of opposing data, new information, and the views and recommendations of a qualified health care professional, and is not to be substituted for professional judgment and guidance or to provide reason to neglect or delay appropriate medical care. It is the reader and reader only who bears the responsibility for any actions that could be construed as being a response to the information contained herein. This article is offered to the reader to broaden his or her understanding of the issues discussed and to help identify options that may be suitable for the individual to pursue, on behalf of self or others, under approval and direction of a qualified physician.
Copyright © 2016 Eugene L. Heyden, RN
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