My Dramatic Change of Diet

19 Nov

The theory says that cancer cells need sugar to proliferate. Why is it only a theory? Because there’s been no extensive research on the issue. Drug companies fund research but they have no interest in proving that a change of diet can save your life. They want to sell drugs.


But there is a growing weight of medical opinion that promotes diet change. My brother-in-law practices family medicine in Canada and has a special interest in oncology. He was convinced I had to change my diet.


Almost immediately after I was diagnosed, I started losing weight – dramatically – half a kilo a day, and sometimes more. I could hardly eat. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law came to visit and tried to supplement my diet with a range of powder additives. I had no appetite and almost nothing would go down or stay down. As a direct result of my radiotherapy, I needed a nasal feeding tube to bypass what were perceived to be gastral blockages.  After about a month I’d dropped from a healthy 80 kilos to just over 65 kg. I was in a bad way, both from the cancer and the side-effects of radiation; so bad that I was hospitalized.


I’ll get back to my hospital experience later – obviously I got through it, as I’m here telling you what happened. My brother-in-law suggested yet again that I must change my diet. I felt I had no choice – I had to change something.

 The diet is quite simple – no carbs, no sugar and no fruit. Simple?

Well, if you can cut out bread, cake, biscuits, pasta, potatoes, rice, sugar and fruits you’re on your way. Some people say that it sounds like the Atkins diet – it’s actually called the Ketogenic diet.


If you want to know more about the diet go to: http://www.frauenklinik.uni-wuerzburg.de_forschung_ketogenic_en.pdf

Of course a drastic change of diet is not so simple. First of all, I can’t possibly imagine how I would have managed without the support of my wife and kids. I might have the willpower to resist chocolates and the like, and even my habitual cups of tea (did I mention I’ve cut out milk as well?), but the effort needed to think up creative meals is more difficult.

My choices are left to meat, meat and more meat, supplemented by chicken, fish and eggs. Fortunately, full cream cheeses are allowed – as are nuts and most vegetables.  The kids have come with seriously creative menus.

But what real choice do I have? Unless I stop chemotherapy – I’m still having treatment every second week – unless I stop taking other food supplements, no-one will be able to prove for certain that the diet works.


A golfing partner of mine, a retired pediatrician, remained silent when I first told him of my change in diet. Quite recently he told me that, despite his skepticism, he has to believe that my change in diet is the reason that I’m currently doing so well. Long may it continue.


I did say I was going to start my blog from the beginning – my symptoms, diagnosis and how I shared the news with my immediate family. This week I’ve got a chemo treatment and test my markers. Maybe I’ll tell you about that first.


Let me know.


5 Responses to “My Dramatic Change of Diet”

  1. fightingpancreaticcancer November 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    What Martin left out of this post is his stoic, heroic and almost super-human strength in coping with this very difficult diet. For example, he took the whole family to his favourite restaurant in Europe and watched us tuck into yummy pastas and stunning pizzas while he munched on yet another steak … and not one word of complaint. He didn’t mention that he makes us granola every week, and bakes us the world’s best bread … and doesn’t eat one crumb … and even when the house is suffused with the heavenly smell of hot dough he eats his nuts and lettuce, and smiles. It’s challenging, to say the least, but he gets himself through it. I tried the diet for one day – to try to understand what it really meant – and lasted till 6 in the evening. It’s not easy. Our friends are cooking ketogenically for us and bringing us rare cheeses and meats … every meal and every ‘new’ mouthful is a blessing. And thank God for sisters-in-law! Pamela.

  2. Yehoshua Sivan November 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    We know only too well what you are writing about, but are convinced that with your fighting spirit and optimism, YOU’RE GOING TO BEAT IT !
    Please God future posts will only reflect steady improvement, and they’ll be an inspiration for other pancreatic cancer sufferers, especially in these days of rapid medical advances.
    Richard (Yehoshua)

  3. Karen Abel November 19, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    You have been so brave and strong through it all and it would be wonderful if others could take from your strength, optimism and positive attitude. You are an inspiration and example to those who know you and hopefully will be to others who meet you too via your blog ..
    I believe that your diet and way of eating have been an influence and now that I see today’s update, I am happy that is the subject that
    you have chosen to write about.
    By writing I believe that it is just a matter of time before you connect with and help others.

  4. sara November 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Alongside the very tough diet (and like Pam I’ve no idea how Martin has the willpower to do this, and to do it so graciously when surrounded by friends tucking in to the forbidden foods), Martin has the most amazing, awe inspiring determination to survive and to live every moment to the full. Martin always does things to perfection – his work,his family, his house, his garden and being a friend – and now he’s added “surviving” to the list.

  5. Renee Cohen November 22, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Kol hakavod Martin!!
    You really are an indomitable spirit!
    Keep up the diet- I was also a silent sceptic, but the facts speak for them self!
    You and your family are really fantastic in the way that you are handling all of this!
    And of course -Happy Birthday!
    Lots of love

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