A very interesting personal story from now healthy chef - Christina Pirello, and links for more information:
Excerpt (for full story, please visit the link at end)
It’s really interesting, in hindsight. I was told I had delicate skin when I was young, because if someone would so much as take my arm to cross the street, I would have bruises the next day. I’d hear from my mother, “You’re a girl, where do you get these bruises?” And I’d be thinking, “I don’t know.” I remember, as an athlete in high school on the swim team, I would come home from practice complaining that my bones hurt, and you know, typical Italian family, they’d say, “What do you mean your bones hurt; go do your homework.” Life was different then. We didn’t rush off for blood tests so quickly. When the doctors diagnosed me, I had thought I was tired because my mother had passed away, with the whole grieving process; but the doctors said that the leukemia had been there for many years, never diagnosed. So the condition was pretty acute by the time it was diagnosed, but they said that it had been undetected for so long.
MY REACTION TO THE DIAGNOSIS
I felt like I was living in a bad TV movie. I moved into this period of denial for a short time. I left the doctor’s office and sat on the sofa in my apartment thinking, “I’m 26, this is impossible.” Finally, I went back to work and was going to quit my job and go back and live in Tuscany, where I had lived for a while, and simply die. As I packed my office, a friend of mine came in and said, “So you’re giving up without a fight?” I thought, “Give me a break…” He said, “You have to meet this guy,” and I’m thinking, “Great, just what I need, a date.” And he said, “No, no, he eats weird food and he says it cures cancer.” I’m having visions of jetting off to Barcelona to have my blood boiled or something. And he said, “No, no, he eats grains and beans.” I’m thinking, “I sort of eat that way and I already have cancer.” But of course, I wasn’t eating anywhere near healthy. So I met Robert Pirello, who introduced me to macrobiotics. He gave me a book by Michio Kushi called The Cancer Prevention Diet and said, “Don’t make any decisions; go home and read this book.” I read it in about 36 hours because I couldn’t put it down, and I thought it was either the biggest crock I’d ever read or the best-kept secret on the planet.
GETTING STARTED WITH WHOLE FOODS
I remember asking, “Is there anything we can do that will cure this?” and they [the doctors] said, “No.” This was 16 years ago, and [since then] we’ve made quite a few advances. Do I recommend this kind of course? Not for everybody. I eally did it the hard way, which is how I do most everything. But at the time, they couldn’t offer me much. Even a bone marrow transplant would be iffy. So one of the five doctors agreed to monitor me, and the minute I would deteriorate they could intervene. And I agreed to that because I didn’t think this [diet] was going to work either. So Robert and I went shopping at a co-op, and he’s loading all this unfamiliar food into my basket. Now I’m a cook, and I’m thinking, “I’m dead, I don’t know what to do with this…” We emptied my cupboards and loaded them up with new foods; he gave me a few quick lessons, and it may sound simple, but that’s how it started.
It took a year and a half to regain my health and there were lots and lots and LOTS of ups and downs. I guess it was maybe 2 months before they saw a big difference in my blood. They didn’t know what I was doing, and I said, “Well, I’m doing this diet thing. I’m eating whole grains, beans and vegetables.” They said, “That’s very nice honey, but what are you doing?” They called it spontaneous regression and had no answer for it. They said, “Whatever you’re doing, do it, because something’s changing.” And off I went; it was a long year and a half, but after that period, my blood tests showed no sign of cancer and haven’t since. And what I’ve discovered since then about the power of food in the body is what drives me in my passion every day. If people understand the energy of food and how it affects our health, they can make choices best suited to them.