My Fred is an extraordinary guy. We were both widows when we met and married in Paris 17 years ago, and we loved our life there. Then, in 2008, we moved to Vienna, Austria where healthcare is good, crime is low and public transportation is outstanding. Fred was born in 1923, and is proud that he just turned 90.
Fred’s prostate cancer was diagnosed in the late 1990’s and was very slow growing. He had had an excellent immune system, so the cancer was very stable and “watchful waiting” was the protocol. Except that from September to March of 2013 the tumor doubled in size and his PSA climbed to 31.5. But there isn’t much that conventional medicine offers a man who is 90. In March, Fred got a shot of hormone therapy. There are nasty side effects, it isn’t a cure, just a chance at more time. I wanted to do more. That is when, thanks to my friend Amani, I saw “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” by Dr. Michael Greger. I became convinced that the best thing we could do to enhance the hormone therapy was start a plant-based diet. But not just a plain vegan diet – a vegan diet supercharged with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant rich foods, limited sugars, limited processed and fried foods and walking everyday no matter what – all the things I learned from Nutritionfacts.org. I wished I had known about all this years ago. I would have been dumping 3 tablespoons of ground flax seeds in Freddie’s oatmeal all along!
For me, going vegan was not easy. I am a bona fide “foodie,” as well as the daughter of a wine merchant. I studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu and the Escoffier School in Paris. Our friends were shocked when I rather timidly announced that we were trying a vegan diet. I told them we were just trying it for 3 months until Fred’s next round of tests, because, after all, we had nothing to lose. But after only 10 weeks on a plant-based diet, Fred’s PSA went from 31.5 to .36! A week later, Fred had the clinical exam. The urologist, Dr. Mesut Remzi was astounded. He said that the drop in PSA was not surprising, but that the tumor itself had shrunk to the point not being measurable was very rare and totally unexpected! He could not measure it because it was too small. He asked if Fred would allow him to present this case at an international congress because it was so unusual. I said that was fine, but he must note that the subject was on a strict vegan diet as I described above, and he agreed. The next step is to stop the hormone therapy, continue the vegan/anti-cancer diet and check the PSA in 2 months.
I am sure the shot helped lower Fred’s PSA. But the shot had nothing to do with his other values. All his values were within normal parameters – a 90 year old guy with absolutely normal levels of everything! And a prostate that, according to Dr. Remzi, he didn’t recognize! No visible tumor!
So the trial is over and the jury is back. I believe that a plant-based diet helped restore Fred’s natural cancer fighting system, and got him healthy to keep up the fight. He feels good a lot of the time and has more energy.
We are not greedy. We have had a wonderful life together and Fred has had more good years than most. What we want, and why keeping to the diet is so important to us, is that however much time we have, we want to enjoy it fully, being well and feeling as good as possible. In the words of our urologist, “Mr. Bondi, I don’t know when you will die, but I do know that it won’t be from prostate cancer”. Good enough for me.
Susan and Fred Bondi are living happily and healthily, Vegan in Vienna.
Would you like to share your veg story? Email it to Emma at [email protected]