Genomics

Happy New Year! We’re already a month into 2019 and I haven’t felt the need to say anything related to “the Big C.” I’ve been feeling good. Things have been fine. I’m definitely getting back to normal, or better.

Today I had a check up with my integrative oncologist naturopath, my FABNO (Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology), Dr. West.

We discussed two things mainly: my routine blood work, which all looks good, and a test I had run in late November or early December, and got the results of about a month later, called Nutrition Genome.

This test is a DNA test, a genome test, which is then related to known strengths and weaknesses of genes in relation to nutrition. What prompted Dr. West to recommend it to me was at our meeting in November, I asked if common food advice of eating more like the Italians or more like the Japanese is really appropriate for me seeing as how I’m neither Italian nor Japanese, but rather Scandinavian. Should I be eating more like my Viking forefolk, and if so what does that mean? Cod, herring, lingonberries, reindeer?? And how do I source those things? I tried IKEA, and while they had lingonberry and cloudberry jam, which were organic, they were packed with sugar, which is a definite no-no for me at this point. The other more typically Scandinavian hunter-gatherer foods were, unfortunately, nowhere to be found in said mega-mart.

The NG report is YUUGE, and very detailed, but Dr. West’s main takeaway was that it was interesting how it aligned with another test Dr. Fields recently had me do, the NutrEval test, which showed me being low especially in the B vitamins. The theory had been that I was not absorbing these nutrients from my food because my GI tract was damaged by chemo, and/or gluten, or other things damaging to a GI tract. While these may be true, and my GI tract has taken a hit, we have been working on repairing it. However, it seems that is not the whole story. The Nutrition Genome test showed that I have genes that are responsible for difficulty processing and absorbing these vitamins, so I need to make sure I get plenty in my food and with supplementation.

So, I need to take some time, and read this report thoroughly, for better understanding and retention. But I feel we are on the right track to maximizing my health. Grant is so inspired he would like to take this test, as well as others Dr. West recommends, to maximize his health and hopefully prevent any issues further down the line.

Today, while in Boulder, I also had a session with my CES (Cancer Exercise Specialist) Joanne. She was again very positive about how I am doing, going beyond where I had been a month ago, even though I told her I haven’t been working out as much as I probably should, due to holidays and travel.

A group she had referred me to, Live By Living, is offering two snowshoe trips, which I signed up for as soon as I heard, but both filled up immediately, so I’m on the wait list for one, which will be held in Estes Park in March. Of course it is the one Joanne will not be on, which is a hut trip up near Vail in April. She thinks I could do either one. She also said that oftentimes things come up so that half the attendees have to cancel even in the week prior to the trip, so it may yet happen that I will still be able to go. She may have some pull in being able to place me where she thinks it would be best. These trips are for survivors and their caregivers, so I hope that Grant and I will both be able to go.

In any case, it definitely appears I am on the mend, and moving in the right direction to be preventing recurrence, “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.” Here’s to 2019 being more about “C-ful” and less about “the Big C.”

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