The week before I turned 40, my husband Brad and I took a one-way flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. Neither of us had ever stepped foot in Asia but we were ready to trade our comfortable life in LA for a new adventure.
Exactly one month later, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Not the adventure we were hoping for.
A PET-CT scan and biopsy confirmed that I had non-small cell adenocarcinoma lung cancer spread to a tumor in the eye, two in the brain, and over a dozen in lymph nodes throughout my chest and neck. The median survival with treatment was six to eight months. It was unlikely I’d see age 41.
By that point the tumors in my neck were bulging, pressing against the skin and visible to the naked eye. I was drowning in the cancerous fluid filling my pleural cavity and couldn’t even lay down to sleep due to the choking. I’d lost the vision in my eye but at least had an explanation for the confusion, brain fog, and profound fatigue that engulfed me. The cancer quickly spread to two more tumors in my brain and more in my liver and abdomen. I was dying. My prognosis of 6-8 months seemed optimistic.
The months following my diagnosis were spent in a flurry of frantic research. I’m incredibly fortunate that I came across metabolic therapies like keto. The science seemed obvious and the research compelling. The only thing that surprised me is that I’d never heard of it before.
I discovered keto for cancer in late 2018 and I’ve been doing keto ever since.
What motivated you to start keto?
The research I read was compelling and I knew in my heart that a therapeutic, ketogenic diet – in addition to my conventional therapy – was the best chance to prolong my life while reducing the adverse effects of conventional treatment.
What benefits/successes have you experienced?
One year after I was diagnosed, around the time doctors predicted my death, my quarterly PET-CT scan showed that I had No Evidence of Disease. Oncologists from Hong Kong to the Mayo clinic shook their heads, marveled at the results and hung my scans on the break room wall.
Most miraculously, I’ve remained cancer free to this day.
While there’s no evidence yet that my results are typical, research has shown that my improved quality of life in the face of chemo and radiation is typical.
I had two rounds of stereotactic brain radiosurgery (SRS) for two tumors each and the first time I wasn’t in a state of ketosis. I was sick, sweaty, and vomiting nonstop for three weeks.
For the second round of SRS I flew to the US to pick up my Keto-Mojo and knew I was in ketosis at the time of the procedure. I’d walked home from the hospital on Friday and went to work on Monday.
My experience is not unique – I hear regularly from my friends and published research that keto and fasting almost eliminate the symptoms of chemo and radiation.
What was the hardest part?
I experienced all the same cravings as anyone changing to this way of eating. I missed bread and potatoes, fruits and margaritas. I was very lucky, though, that I never had to rely on willpower. Keto is easy when you sincerely believe that cheating will kill you.
The hardest part for me was finding information about my specific use case, keto for cancer, and, even more so, an oncologist who would read the research and support me.
After over a decade of published research on the benefits of therapeutic keto, it is still far too difficult to find resources on how to implement it even though we know that it can improve cancer outcomes.
What were the keys or top tools to your success?
Relying on commitment and not willpower was a key to my success. I knew what I wanted (an improved cancer outcome) and how to get it (therapeutic ketosis). No matter how longingly I stared at the pizza shop window on the way home, my goals were more important to me and any momentary flavor experience. I wouldn’t be able to eat pizza when I was dead. Why not stop now.
It was also helpful for me to be first about my goals with friends and colleagues. Whenever someone kindly offered me a treat that didn’t fit my plan, I was able to politely and honestly refuse by explaining that eating it wasn’t permitted on my cancer therapy.
Did you measure your ketones and/or glucose and if so, how did that help you?
Among the top three most important tools to my success was the Keto-Mojo meter. Deep, therapeutic ketosis for cancer requires the right balance of glucose to ketones and precise tracking that I never would have been able to achieve without the keto-mojo.
I was living in Hong Kong when I was diagnosed and ordered the device to the U.S. a few months later. It was only after I started tracking using the Keto-Mojo that I was able to reliably achieve a sub-1.0 glucose-ketone index (GKI).
What’s your favorite keto recipe? Please provide a link if available.
Over the years I’ve collected dozens of my favorite recipes on my website. Right now, my husband and I agree that my Spicy Thai-style Dressing is a real winner and we keep it in regular rotation in the house. It’s part of how he came to adopt my keto ways despite his good health. Made from healing foods like garlic, ginger, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, tamari and almond butter, we serve this as a dressing for salads, a sauce for low carb noodles, and a dip for raw veggies. Find the recipe here and make it your own.
I often add a squirt of MCT oil for extra ketogenic goodness.
What tips or words of wisdom can you share?
Keto is a balm for the Standard American Diet (SAD). Whether you’re treating cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 Diabetes, PCOS or any metabolic disease, remembering that this way of eating is medicine can make the transition less difficult.
Sadly, however, it is often still too difficult to find a medical practitioner aware of the latest research and educated on the best techniques.
I’ve dedicated the rest of my miraculously-prolonged life to raising awareness of these peer-reviewed and published therapies. I began with my website, cancerV.me, and Instagram account before certifying my knowledge to help others one-on-one. It became clear to me that one-on-one help isn’t enough to spread this knowledge and am now producing a documentary, CANCEREVOLUTION to reach more people whose lives can be changed.
I’m so grateful to Keto-Mojo for their support in this film and for the role they played in prolonging my life such that I’m now living my very best life ever.