Among the many steps I am taking to influence my healing, a new introduction to my regime, is fasting. I tried this last week. I fasted all day Wednesday, the day before chemo, and all day Thursday (chemo day). Why would I do something so mad I hear you cry? Why indeed. Well among our research fasting came up a number of times as a strategy to both reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and to increase the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. It sounds rather counter intuitive but the research this is based on is promising. As far as I am aware it has not been adopted in any standard guidance, but the study is relatively recent and I can imagine this would not be an approach you would want to advocate for many chemo patients. But it was convincing enough for me to give it a go. I reckon as I have gone down the chemo route I want it to be as effective as it can be. My next scan is in only 2 weeks and I want to see some movement.
So….apparently ‘modified fasting for 3 days before chemo and 24 hours after chemo will put normal cells into a maintenance mode, not reproducing as much, but cancer cells can’t stop. Starved, they are more vulnerable to chemotherapy, and normal cells are relatively protected. Even if fasting didn’t help slow tumors and help the effectiveness of chemotherapy, it does improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy, and people’s weights and WBC counts rapidly bump up with eating’
I tried it last week and can verify that my WBC went back up to almost the same and my neutrophils and haemoglobin were higher than last week (after a week off). So I have just fasted this week also. Today is Friday and I have the luxury of eating. Except that some of the food I eat really is not that luxurious. I try to like the green juices – full of celery, kale, cabbage, beetroot, parsley, carrot and ginger. But I simply don’t. Today, despite being back and able to eat I don’t have the food around me that I think I feel like. This can be an annoying part of chemo – it affects your appetite. Mine has not been badly affected but enough and on days like this it is very boring because I am at the same time starving but cannot work out what will satisfy me. Here are some links that influenced my decision to not eat for a couple of days.