How does fitness and a healthier lifestyle impact a cancer diagnosis?
Hope Rises spoke with Christopher Zaluski of Buffalo, NY about his journey. Read about his amazing results.
"Was it the big C? That was the first thing that popped into my mind when my doctor told me he found a pair of masses on my left kidney.
It started with a routine prostate exam and ultra sound, but this one strayed from the norm. I drove home feeling okay, but slightly stunned. I played with his words over and over in my head. When I met with my urologist next, it was his partner that broke the news that I was dreading - he started to tell me the biopsy results and I cut him off asking, 'So I have cancer?' He looked at me and nodded slowly.
On Feb 2, 2017, I received my official diagnosis - I had renal cell carcinoma or kidney cancer. I was also told it was in the worst possible spot - the center of the kidney.
Removal of the kidney was my only option. I knew that I had to break the news to my family...but this was on the eve of their trip to Disney! I decided that this news could wait. I had no intention of putting a dark cloud on their long awaited vacation.
I have to say, what was harder than hearing the news was having to tell my family. When the time was right, I decided to invite the whole gang to breakfast, and then break the news once we got home. All throughout the meal, all I could think about was choosing the best way to tell them. Once I muttered out 'cancer' the silence was deafening. I did assure them that this wasn't a death sentence, just a bump in the road for me. After some tears and hugs, everyone went on their way.
Because the kidney was functioning normally and I wasn't in any pain, the approach was to first wait to see if there would be any change in size of the tumors and, if there were, we could focus on a plan of attack. This brought me some hope and relief.
Some time later, a dear friend of mine encouraged me to join a gym. I tested it out, and though it was very intense, it gave me the push I needed to turn things around for the better. The program included twice a day protein drinks. I heard about the health benefits of protein, particularly with regard to controlling blood sugar. But what I found out later was amazing!
After continuing in the fitness program and drinking the shakes religiously, I had my next doctor's visit. After months of watching the tumors and waiting, my doctor reported to me that ALL THREE (yes, three now) of my tumors had decreased in size! I felt like I had just won the lottery.
Even the doc was a bit surprised, asking me what I've been doing that could possibly explain this. I told him about the intense workout program, along with my heavy protein intake. My doctor was so impressed that he asked if I would consider being part of research of the effects of lifestyle changes on kidney cancers.
I am now a proud lab rat of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center!
I am so confident that I can completely erase my tumors and be declared cancer FREE in the future. This all happened in less than a year.
I share this story so that others similarly affected will know that there are options other than surgery or medications; YOU can take control of your life and make the necessary changes that will give you a fresh start."