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Ken chronicles his fascinating journey as an engineer in charting and graphing himself into a whole foods plant based low fat dynamo!

Callie's Cancer

Callie's Cancer

Callie is a very dear member of our family.  She is a person who just happens to be a 14-year-old cat.  She plays a very prominent role in the family.  She supervises household work.  She loves (demands) loving time which includes being carried around the house lying on her back in my arms like a baby while petting my face with her paw.  She assumes the responsibility of alpha cat, keeping the boys; BJ and Blue-Eyes (also cats) in line with nothing more than a look.  Nothing more is needed, however, as she has everyone's unfailing respect.

On June 6, 2016, we took Callie to an internal medicine specialist due to a steep decline in health.  Over the previous few years, Callie's energy has been declining.  For most of her 14 years, she has suffered routine, periodic bouts of painful, swollen joint inflammation.  It  was diagnosed as allergies and huge doses of weekly allergy shots were prescribed. The shots helped, but never completely eliminated the bouts.  Missing a shot, however, guaranteed a painful, debilitating recurrence.

Her health continued to decline until late May 2016, when it took a steep down-turn as she became very lethargic; walking with her back bent unable to straighten her hind legs in obvious pain and weakness.  She lost rectal continence with chronic diarrhea.  Due to experience with two previous beloved cats; Kilo and Taz, we feared she may also have cancer.

With a powerful interest in health and nutrition, sparked decades ago by Type-1 diabetes, it has become clear that diet is paramount to health.  From this interest, it has been found that the line separating species is very cloudy.  At the cellular level, differences are relatively small.  The major differences are anatomic.   Over the past few years, we have learned about T.Colin Campbell's cancer research as described in his book "The China Study".  In his research, he found that the immune system has the ability to detect and eliminate cancerous cells just as any other pathogen.  He further discovered that animal proteins literally turn the genes for that function off.  Eliminate animal protein and the genes turn back on again.  It is then obvious why cancer is so prevalent in our society.  While Dr. Campbell's research is not widely recognized in the medical community, there is growing research and evidence supporting his findings.  As a primary care physician, Dr. John Kelly conducted tests with human patients with a near 100% correlation.  He published his work in a book titled, "Stop Feeding Your Cancer".  Just a few individual examples: Janette Murray, Dr. Ruth Heidrich and a local friend, Patty Falo have all reversed cancer with diet alone.  Additional Knowledge was gained during the 2016 Marshal Health Fest with many speakers presenting the biological mechanisms of nutrition on cancer.  Regarding that cloudy line separating species; the book, "Obligate Carnivore", by Jed Gillen was found and studied.  Jed's book blurs the species line even further, shinning a very clear light on what the differences really mean.  Carnivore digestion anatomy is insufficient and missing may elements for direct plant nutrition processing.  As such, they are "obligated" to consume their nutrition second hand.  This does not mean eating meat is optimal for their cellular biology.  It just means that is the best they can do.

On June 6, the internal medicine specialist performed an endoscopy with several biopsies of Callie's stomach and upper small intestine.  The biopsies revealed that both, her stomach and intestines were infested with lymphoma cells.  The diagnosis: terminal cancer.  The prognosis: 6 months to possibly a year of life left (with treatment).  the prescription: chemotherapy and steroids.

After heart-breaking cancer experiences with two previous beloved cats. we refused the prescribed treatment.  We reasoned that the rest of Callie's life was limited.  We wanted her remaining time to be as comfortable as possible and that certainly would not occur with chemotherapy.  We thought this would be a good opportunity - if not a desperate attempt - to see if Callie's cancer would respond as with Dr. Colin Campbell's, Dr. Kelly's and all the people who have beat cancer with a meat free diet.  On the day of the diagnosis report, all of our cats; Callie, Blue-Eyes and B.J all became vegan.

Our decision was met with powerful resistance.  Our veterinarian exclaimed that cats are "obligate carnivores" and then promptly resigned as our veterinarian.  Even in the midst of negativity this decision was the only one that provided any sense of hope.  Fortunately, we now have a new veterinarian that doesn't see a problem with vegan cats.

Within the first week of diet change, Callie's posture dramatically improved.  Her hind legs stood-up straight.  Her bent back straightened out.  Her limp completely disappeared - completely.  Her energy and alertness elevated.  She stopped spending all her time sleeping in seclusion.  As of this writing, all signs of joint inflammation are completely gone.  Her allergy shots have been eliminated.  She has been completely joint pain free ever since the diet change.  Her energy is back.  She has resumed her housework supervision duties.  She now runs, jumps and plays - engaging in high-speed chase play with the boys - in contrast to barely being able to walk before the diet change.  The only remaining indication of cancer is rectal incontinence, but that is progressively improving.  The diarrhea is gone.

It is unknown if Callie will survive the cancer or if the absence of animal protein will actually cure her, but even if it has no other effect, her current state of improvement is absolutely worth it.  Thus far, our intentions and hopes are playing true.  Even if she does not survive the cancer, even if it shortens her life even more, she is not suffering the brutality of traditional cancer treatments.  She is presently about halfway through her six months of life prognosis and in that time, she has gained more life than she has had in years.  And that's with no chemo or any other treatments.  We'll just see how it goes...

As an interesting side note: this experience is further evidence that taste is indeed a learned sense - even across the species line.  Just last week, Blue-Eyes was (mistakenly) given a bowl of traditional meat cat food.  He quickly reeled away from it wanting his vegan food back.

Please understand that I am not a medical professional in any capacity.  This writing is only to share my experience and what I have learned from it.

Nothing in life is more inhibiting or debilitating than the belief; "I Can't."
Nothing in life is more freeing, enabling or successful than the belief; "I Can."

 

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  • Yes. There are a few nutrients that we are still not comfortably knowledgeable about and most of them are in the commercial food. We order the food on-line. We order the Wysong from VegCat. VegCat also carries the Evolution, but we order it from the original manufacture, Evolution. I’m not sure if they ship globally.
    I think it is worth noting that there are also a couple of essential amino acids that are very important. One is taurine, which is in commercial food, and the other is methionine. The commercial food has taurine, but not methionine, so we give that as a supplement (available in health/vitamin stores as L-Methionine). It is essential in cats because they are incapable of synthesizing it. Humans and most other mammals can.
    It is also important that they get plenty of water. We always add water to the dry kibbles.
    I can't say for certain, but I do believe it is vital, regarding the cancer, that no animal protein is ingested, because (as I understand it) it is a gene switch. Callie is the only cat case I am aware of, but, so far, her recovery seems very proof positive.
    Wishing you and Emilia the very best!

    Ken

  • Guest - Patricia Österreicher

    Ken Thomas Report
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Thank you once more.
    I will keep on following Callie's progress and hoping for the best!
    Best wishes to all.
    Patricia

  • Report
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    I am so delighted that Callie is experiencing more vitality, less pain, and greater playfulness now on her vegan cat food from Wysong and from the Evolution Company. Thank you Ken and Heidi, for sharing.

  • 7-Nov-16 Update:
    Callie is now in her 5th month of living on a vegan diet as her only cancer treatment. This adventure is being very educational as there is virtually no veterinary research regarding vegan cats. We are learning about cat nutritional requirements (even beyond vegan) such as the essential amino acid methionine. All herbivores (including humans) synthesize methionine, but cats and most carnivores cannot. Carnivores get it from the herbivores they eat. Taurine is another, but we already knew about that. We have also learned the importance hydration. Callie does not have that problem, as she has a healthy thirst, but her male house mate, Blue-Eyes, does not (He also had this problem before becoming vegan). This experience continues to
    confirm that taste is indeed learned – even for obligate carnivores.
    Her progress? Since the last update, Callie has lost about 5 years of her life. That is; many of her habits and behaviors of 10 to 5 years ago are returning. She is starting to dance and run again. She is now, once again, the fastest cat in the house. Her role as kitchen supervisor continues to expand – even beyond food for her. Her most negative behavior, however, is grabbing Blue-Eyes in a head-lock and making him squeal. (Blue-Eyes happens to be nearly half her age and twice her weight.)
    On June 6, Callie was given six months to a year to live – with chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. December will be six months. At this point, she doesn’t seem to be anywhere near her end. Look for December’s update!

  • 21-Nov-16 Update:
    Correction! I was mistaken about the methionine as mentioned in the 7-Nov-16 update. Another lesson; do not just brag the first item in a Google search ans assume it is correct - especially if it is an advertisement! My error is that methionine is essential for all animals, including herbivores. It is sourced from plants. As it turns out, methionine is a powerful cancer promoter! While it is essential, it is important to only get just enough, but too much is very dagerous. We found that out the hard way with Callie. After starting her on methionine, she started going down-hill with all the pre-vegan cancer symptoms returning; weak, rapid weight loss, incontinence, etc. Very frightening and heartbreaking. We thought we were losing her. After more thorough research, we took her off methionine. It appears that being methionine deficient is much better than too much - especially if you already have cancer! Within the week of stopping the methionine, her health is returning. Her appetite is now back to normal, she is gaining back her weight and energy, incontinence is gone and she has resumed her supervisory duties (ensuring all housework is done properly - especially kitchen work). Wow, what a scare! Here are a couple of useful websites: Nutritionfacts.org
    brendadavisrd.com

  • Please excuse the spelling errors in the previous comment. Hit the Submit button prematurely!

  • Report
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Our grey female cat was just diagnosed with cancer in the mammary chain.
    What plant based cat food do you use ?
    Thank you in advance !!

  • Hi Jane,
    Very sorry to hear about you cat.
    Callie has Evolution Brand Vegetable Stew canned food and Wysong Vegan kibbles. The canned food is given for breakfast and dinner. She gets moistened kibbles during the day as she asks for it.
    she liked the kibbles straight off, no transition needed. She was a bit slower developing a taste for the canned stew. To help transition her taste, the canned food was "seasoned" with a few kibbles sprinkled on top. "Seasoning" is needed far less now that her taste has change.
    We purchase the Evolution from www.vegancats.com and the Wysong Vegan kibbles from www.chewy.com.
    Hydration is vital for pH control. The dry kibbles are given in a bowl with a little water added. We only give distilled or deionized water.

  • Guest - Patricia

    Report

    This is an amazing experience, we should spread the word out and loud! Thank you so much for sharing!
    How is Callie doing nowadays?

  • Hi Patricia,

    Thanks for asking. Also, please note that this blog as well as Callie's Cancer Part 2 and Part 3 have been moved to www.drcarney.com.

    Callie is doing well. On April 2, 2018, she will exceed the average lifespan of domestic cats (16 years). I think that is pretty good considering that in June 2016 she was on her deathbed dying of terminal cancer. I also find it amazing that an obligate carnivore overcame end-stage cancer with a vegan diet. A diet she does not have the physical anatomy to digest, which brings me to the hard part: Since her stomach and intestines are sized and constructed for high calorie dense food, she must eat a lot and often in order to absorb sufficient nutrition. A very consuming task. She eats an average of 27 servings per day and even a few in the middle of the night. The frequent feedings, in addition to the level of care she required during her near-death cancer experience, has caused her to be very spoiled - and very vocal about it. She is demanding about when to eat and how it is served. She demands a clean bowl and fresh food. If it takes her more than a few minutes to finish a serving, she decides it is spoiled and wants a new serving in a clean bowl. She seems to have lost any interest in meat. You can't leave her alone in the dining room with a green salad. For an elderly cat, she get's around very well. As with many vegans, she is very trim - almost too skinny looking, however, that would is consistent with her abilities. We have another, younger, cat that is very active. He is built like a race horse. He is twice Callie's size & weight and half her age, but when Callie is feeling mischievous, she chases him down, catches him in a headlock and squeezes until he squeals. I think she's doing fine.

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