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Topic: My Story of having breast cancer and fasting (Valter Longo)

Forum: Biographies and Inspiring Stories —

Share your personal story, diagnosis, and treatment path, and stories of survival, hope, and success to encourage and inspire others!

Posted on: Nov 28, 2018 06:45PM - edited Nov 28, 2018 06:50PM by mylongevitydiet

mylongevitydiet wrote:

Hello! I hope you do not mind me sharing my story here. I use my real name because I want to maintain ownership of my story and also because I want to include my before and after picture. I am unable to post my picture here due to your website blocking me but I hope to add it soon! Thanks for reading! I am in awe of all who struggle with this terrible illness! You have my respect


Hello! My name is Susan Kerr and I am 48 years old. I have followed the fasting protocols and everyday diet by Valter Longo, from his book, "The Longevity Diet" since I learned of his research in December 2017. I embraced Longo's research and recommendations because I had been diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2017 and was suffering through chemotherapy.

I have lost 106 pounds so far, rather effortlessly, aside from the mild discomfort of a monthly 5 day fast. My ideal body weight is 159 pounds so I still have to lose 69 pounds total. But I feel fantastic right now!

I discovered Valter Longo last December when I was miserable from chemotherapy. I had been diagnosed with hormonally positive breast cancer earlier last year, in March, and had tried neoadjuvant chemotherapy with Adriamycin and Cytoxin from May to July 2017. It didn't do much to shrink my tumor, so I had a mastectomy in October 2017. Then I chose to not get any radiation and went back on chemotherapy in December 2017.

From just one round of Taxol, I had such profound neuropathy in my feet that it felt like there was something in my shoe, or perhaps my sock was folded over on my heel. I kept taking off my shoes to check and I'd realize that the soles of my feet were so numb, I was perceiving my heel as a foreign object!

Totally depressed about this, I was browsing Amazon Prime just before Christmas and found "The Science of Fasting". I watched it, kind of thinking it would be some weird religious documentary but when it got to the Russian scientists, I realized it was actually very serious. And when they showed Longo's mice that were overdosed on Adriamycin, I was absolutely amazed! I had taken that red devil chemotherapy without fasting and it was rather terrifying!

I was faced with an immediate need to make a decision, since I did web searches and confirmed that Longo's research was legitimate: Would I ignore this tantalizing research or would I start doing 5 day water only fasts around my chemo appointments? I was scared to talk to my doctor about it because this is so new, it's not a part of standard of care. My intuition said she would tell me to not fast.

I knew that there were risks involved and to take chemotherapy while starving could carry risks I wasn't even fully aware of. I decided that the risks were acceptable considering how horrible my neuropathy was. I considered that I was my own guinea pig but I had to know if it was true.

Another factor that greatly influenced my decision to fast is that my neighbor's brother had just received news that his cancer had come back and was inoperable: multiple tumors on his hepatic vein and his liver.

I know that when cancer comes back, it is often horrible like that. I had lost my husband to his second bout of cancer just less than a year earlier. And my mom had died 3 years prior from metastatic breast cancer that went to her liver. I felt that I wanted to test out this fasting thing with chemo so that, if it proved to work, I could tell my neighbor and maybe it would save her brother's life. It was too late for my loved ones but it wasn't to late for him!

So I started water only fasting three days before my next chemo appointment and two days after. The amazing thing was that my neuropathy almost totally vanished in 24 hours! This was neuropathy I had only developed about two weeks earlier from my first Taxol infusion so it was recent damage. But it was amazing and I remember crying from relief and thanking God for Valter Longo and the mother who bore him!

I had been so crippled from the first round of Taxol, when I was still ignorant about fasting and was eating. I had to use a walker, like an old lady, to get to the bathroom. It was not lameness from pain but from a profound instability in my joints. I recovered enough to walk normally, a few days after that first unprotected round of Taxol but I felt like it messed up my joints.

I realized that the most amazing thing was how good I felt in a fasted state in comparison to how crippled I had been during my first round of Taxol, when eating. It was as if they had goofed and not given me any chemo at all!

During the refeeding, after this first fasting cycle, I felt burning in my hips and knees, down to my ankles. I was laying in bed a lot, very flat, because I hoped I might get regrowth of cartilage or repair of nerves, whatever had been damaged. I realized that I was getting repair because precisely where I had an old injury on the cartilage in my right knee was where it was burning the most. And after a couple of fasting cycles, my knees and hip joints and lower back were greatly improved and more stable. The burning sensation faded off and disappeared after about a week into my first refeeding.

Another interesting and sudden improvement was that the Irritable Bowel Symptoms I had developed during my previous rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxin had totally disappeared. I was eating the diet I had heard Longo recommend in videos, mainly vegan with a little fish so I figured part of the relief was in suddenly having an alkaline diet. And his book came out soon after this so I was able to further improve my diet. But it became undeniable that my gastrointestinal system experienced a profound healing.

Perhaps the most remarkable healing was that all the knots in my veins from chemo infusions totally vanished during the first days of refeeding after my first fast! I had stubbornly refused a port or pic-line, which most chemo patients are talked into getting. And I am so glad I refused and experienced having the damage to my veins because most chemo patients would never have gotten to witness this amazing healing of the vascular system!

I had the knots in my veins since at least June 2017 until late December 2017. And they vanished after the first fast, during that first refeeding!

Now I could finally stop worrying about all the Adriamycin infusions I had taken, and what the doctor had said about it being heart toxic. Because I knew that the healing I experienced must be systemic! If the knots were gone from my veins, then damage deeper down even to the heart was healed!

Another fascinating experience on my first fast was the mental clarity I experienced after 2 days of fasting. I remember watching the sun rise and feeling like the sun was rising in my mind. It seemed to me that I had not felt so mentally keen for 15 or 20 years.

I fasted one more time in secrecy before I told my medical oncologist about what I was doing. Understandably, she was very concerned and told me that I had to eat and not fast. But I told her that I had proven to myself that it worked and I was unwilling to take chemo without the protection of fasting.

At my urging, she contacted another medical oncologist in the practice, someone who has some experience with fasting. I was so fortunate to learn that this other doctor had been recently hired so I was ready at exactly the right moment with the information. And then my doctor was able to approve that I was water only fasting and continued to write my orders.

But then I had a dangerous hypersensitivity reaction to Taxol so I had to switch to nab-paclitaxel which is a much more intense and deeply penetrating version of Taxol. This caused another dilemma because my doctor preferred to have me take micro-doses weekly. But I insisted on taking the large dose every three weeks so that I could fast and refeed before the next round. My doctor warned me that I would be unable to get out of bed on my own. I assured her that I would be protected from the toxicity by fasting. She allowed me to try it.

It was interesting because now I could actually feel that I had received chemo but it was not really that bad. A small amount of neuropathy came back, which I greatly regretted, but I felt it was acceptable considering how great I felt, all things considered. Other than a very small amount of neuropathy, I felt a light sense of malaise but nothing very serious or specific. I remember spending most of my time playing video games with my brother, sitting in our upholstered chairs. I was able to cook and take care of my daughter.

When I saw my doctor again, she was amazed to hear that I was tolerating the large dose of nab-paclitaxel so well. She said that I should have been unable to get out of bed. So again, I was amazed and the efficacy of fasting around chemo was utterly proven to me. My bloodwork was all very good and my blood pressure and resting heart rate continued to improve. I was even losing weight with every visit, something nobody could complain about since I was quite obese.

I finished out my infusions and actually felt regret that I could not receive more infusions since I had figured out how to protect myself with fasting. And most of my chemo was done without fasting. I had neoadjuvant chemo as well so I was able to see the reports about scans of my tumor before and after Adriamycin and Cytoxin. So I knew that taking chemo without fasting had done nearly nothing to my tumor. So I worried that maybe I needed more chemo. But chemo is not something you can request just because you have a feeling you need it.

I had to give up thoughts of more treatment and focus on my diet and lifestyle. I tried to comfort myself that Longo said obese people can fast once a month, and fasting is as effective as chemo alone. I hope that because I have hormonally positive cancer that is her2 negative, fasting might be more effective than chemo alone!

With following the Longevity Diet recommendations, I lost weight very effortlessly. Every time I fasted, I lost 12 to 14 pounds, and with very healthy refeeding, I would only regain about half of it. In the first few months, I would often lose a pound a day! By this, I mean that I was losing a pound a day while eating two hearty vegan meals a day with 1 or 2 snacks! (Plus a little fish 2 to 3 times a week.) My weight loss has slowed down in recent weeks but I still lose 2 to 3 pounds a week while eating in this manner.

And I was never hungry even though I ate only two meals a day with a snack or two. I would try to skip dinner rather than breakfast. At first, I did stretch it out so that I ate breakfast in the morning and "lunch" late, really at dinner time. I realized that it was OK to have my last meal in the early afternoon and I would not get hungry at night. It took a little while but it is as if my body became accustomed to being unfed at night so that now I prefer having an empty stomach when I sleep.

I have done some exercise but not consistently enough to say that my weight loss and renewed vigor is in any way connected to physical activity. I mainly exercised to test out my condition and prove to myself that I am capable of the same duration and intensity of bicycling as before the cancer diagnosis! I can cycle for two or three hours again and go uphill, using a recumbent trike.

More remarkable things:

My keloid scars and my skin tags vanished after perhaps three or four Fasting cycles! My skin became supple and soft like baby skin, even on my elbows. Rough patches disappeared or peeled off, revealing new, pink skin. My color improved in my lips and cheeks. A faint wrinkly appearance, perhaps better described as "crepe-like" on the back of my hands and around my eyes has vanished and I swear I look younger. A couple people who know me well but don't see me very often have commented that I look younger.

Even more astounding to me is that I am not experiencing the horrific hunger that calorie restricted dieting always created in me during past weight losses of a similar amount! This is major because it means that the Longevity Diet is a totally sustainable diet for my lifetime. That means I will actually be able to achieve and maintain my ideal body weight! And that means that I have a chance to not get sick again from cancer! Because I have hormonally positive cancer and fat produces estrogen, I must achieve a lean body composition.

I am sad to say that my neighbors brother died less than a year after learning his prior cancer had come back and spread to his liver. He was afraid of chemo and refused to take it after trying it once. I had given him Longo's book but for some reason he did not combine fasting with chemo. I wish he had because perhaps it would have saved him or at least extended his life a few years.

I'll never know what could have been, so I feel compelled to tell anyone I can about Longo because I hope I can save at least one person, having lost so many to cancer. Every time I visit the cancer treatment center, I find 2 or 3 patients to tell about it. I tell nurses and doctors about it. I think the real power of fasting might be in prevention so I keep telling "healthy" people too. So far, out of dozens, only 3 are fasting!

My doctors all say I am a medical marvel. They tell patients to try to lose even 10 pounds and nobody does it. Most women gain weight after they finish chemo but I have lost weight. They seem quietly fascinated to witness my progress because of the fact that I've done it with prolonged fasting and the Longevity Diet.

And recently, my surgeon said that I should go on the talk show circuit at some point because people really need to know about this. I'm a fairly shy and private person so this seems hard to imagine. But seriously, I've seen too many people suffer through cancer treatment only to die. I would like to prevent such miserable deaths in at least a few people, if not thousands!

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Nov 28, 2018 07:22PM DATNY wrote:

Thank you for taking time to explain so well the process and the outcomes. There are many on this site who have done fasting and have seen benefits. I did intermittent fasting during chemo with excellent results. I also saw an improvement in IBS symptoms, but somehow I attributed that to chemo. Perhaps I should reconsider.

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Nov 28, 2018 07:45PM SerenitySTAT wrote:

Thank you for sharing your story! As DATNY stated, there are many here, including me, who fasted during chemo, but I haven't seen such a thorough post about it.

Because of fasting, I was able to skip the at-home meds and suffer no side effects. I did get a port, but no amount of fasting would help them get an IV in my little veins.

It's interesting that your short-term neuropathy went away after fasting 24 hours. I've read recently that fasting can help reduce chronic pain, but I no longer have chronic pain (from sciatica), so I can't test that.

Now I'm thinking of doing a 5-day fast.

"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC Left IIIC 10/11 nodes ER+PR+HER2-, 12/2015 Left Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox
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Nov 28, 2018 08:44PM Moderators wrote:

Yes, thank you so much for sharing your very detailed story! It's so helpful to have as much information as possible so people can make the best decision for them.

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Dec 4, 2018 12:07PM - edited Dec 4, 2018 12:07PM by mylongevitydiet

Hi DATNY! Thank you so much for your kind reply. The lining of the digestive tract contains those rapidly growing cells that are damaged by chemotherapy so I really think a person who fasts either during chemo or after chemo will have a dramatic healing of any digestive symptoms. I have not had such peace for my digestive tract in a couple decades. It's great!

Wishing you all the best,


Susa

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Dec 4, 2018 12:17PM mylongevitydiet wrote:

Hi Serenity!


Thank you for your kind reply. I am happy that you discovered fasting during your treatment and were able to feel relief and the amazing benefits. Did you keep fasting after your treatment ended? I’ve heard Longo say that fasting can even help with radiation. Is your personal story on this forum? I’d be interested in reading it.

Longo just posted recently on his Facebook that science daily had an article about how being hungry shuts off perception of pain. I don’t think I can link on this forum yet but it’s an interesting article and it maled you realize that people with chronic pain might comfort themselves with food to relieve anxiety but it actually probably contributes to the problem. Life is so difficult like that. It sucks!

Wishing you all the best,

Susan.

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Dec 4, 2018 12:18PM mylongevitydiet wrote:

Thank you, kind mods. It makes me feel good to be here, knowing the mods are kind and caring.

Wishing you all the best,

Susan.

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Dec 4, 2018 03:13PM - edited Dec 4, 2018 03:16PM by santabarbarian

i fasted too, with great results. No nausea and minor constipation. No neuropathy, no fingernail issues, no mouth sores, My main SE has been anemia... not the fault of fasting.

Dr Longo's site talks about 5 days of "fasting mimicking" -- which is a very low cal diet w/ specific food composition-- OR a 3 day water fast, both w chemo day in the middle. For me, fasting mimicking was very easy. I plan to do it periodically forever.

My MO was similarly skeptical, but he has seen how well I have tolerated chemo. I ran into one of his colleagues between my chemo 4 and chemo 5, when I was working outgoing up and down the stadium stairs w a friend... not that many bald ladies on the stadiums!.... and he was amazed I could do that workout!

Fasting weakens cancer cells and strengthens healthy cells, plus it boosts the immune system. VERY worth doing!

PS: Though not overweight to start, I was similar in losing about 10 lbs per chemo then regaining 5-7 in rebuild.

Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/13/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/20/2018 Lumpectomy: Left

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