Fresh! The word ‘fresh’ has taken on a whole new meaning since commencing chemotherapy. While I have always loved fresh food, now I crave it and just can’t get enough of it. Although I know the chemical poisons that are infused every three weeks play a vital role to mop up any errant cancer cells, the thought of all those free-radicals being produced in response to the induced death of all the other dividing cells in my body, really plays with my mind. Twenty-five years in the stem cell research field has taught me that once the dividing cells are destroyed and cleared by my immune system, the stem cells throughout all relevant compartments of my body are signalled to proliferate and differentiate to replace the healthy cells that the chemotherapy has obliterated. The stem cells for my red cells, white cells and platelets reside in my bone marrow, resting and waiting until they are called into action by a decrease in mature cells. I think of this so often during my cycles of chemotherapy, and I can almost “see” my own bone marrow ramping up into action and quickly spewing out new blood cells to replace the ones that have been destroyed. The work of stem cells is truly incredible! Post-chemotherapy I can visualise all too clearly those stem cells in my skin, scalp and gastro-intestinal tract also kicking into gear, to replace the skin cells, hair cells and those cells lining my mouth, oesophagus, gut, which are so very rapidly dividing and therefore easily fall victim to the toxic assault of the chemotherapeutic drugs. But the body needs help with building new cells to replace those that are lost, and help to eradicate the damaging free-radicals that are produced in response to all that cell death, and the best way I know to be able to help with this, is by ingesting the healthiest, freshest ingredients I can get my hands on. This includes fruits, vegetables and spices high in anti-oxidants to mop up the free-radicals and foods to provide anti-inflammatory compounds, protein for building of new cells and natural chemicals that will help with repairing my immune system. All of this is needed as quickly as possible to prepare me for the next round of chemotherapy, and then when the chemo is finally over, to help me return to full health as quickly as possible. I need to minimise the collateral damage to my body. This fetish for all things fresh has me savouring every bite or sip, and the taste explosion is incredible as I picture the food being digested into its million little pieces of goodness and making their way into my blood stream to nurture and nourish my wounded being.
(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. The prompt this week is Fresh)