We did everything ‘right’ with Jack.
While pregnant, I avoided the foods I was supposed to avoid, I didn’t take any medications, I did take my vitamins and folic acid, and I exercised (despite hating exercise like crazy). I didn’t have an epidural during Jack’s birth. I breastfed him immediately after birth. We went with oral Vitamin K rather than the larger dose shot they usually give babies. Jack was cloth diapered. He wasn’t circumcised. We went as natural and intervention-free as possible.
I breastfed exclusively for over six months, and continued to breastfeed Jack until a few months after he turned two. The foods he did eat were overwhelmingly organic, whole foods mashed up and not canned baby food. He ate mostly vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and always chose water or milk over juice. Even his first birthday cake – the first time he had sweets – was vegan! He was healthy and hearty and never had any nutritional deficiencies. He never had bad reactions to vaccines, and fevers were extremely rare for him – they still are. He occasionally had (dye-free!) pain reliever when he was teething, but other than that medications were used scarcely and as a last resort.
Most of these things weren’t done specifically to prevent cancer. Cancer didn’t cross our minds! It just felt right for our child and our family.
And yet, Jack still got Leukemia. It wasn’t because of anything he ate or didn’t eat. It wasn’t because of exposure to anything. His chromosomes are perfectly normal (they were checked) and he had no risk factors (other than being alive and having blood in his body). He wasn’t a sickly kid and there is nothing that happened to him or his body to point to as the cause of his cancer. Leukemia hasn’t occurred on either side of the family before this. There isn’t anything we could have done to be MORE proactive about preventing this type of cancer.
One day Jack’s body produced a couple of cancer cells – like everyone’s body does – and in some fluke of his immune system response, those cells didn’t get flushed from his system and instead multiplied. It happened rapidly and out of nowhere and in spite of his strong immune system. The cancer was in his blood cells, so it threatened his entire body. It impacted everything.
I do not write this to scare anyone or cause worry that it might happen to you. I write it because of ridiculous cancer hoaxes being passed around the internet – information that is very misleading and, frankly, can be dangerous. If Jack hadn’t received treatment immediately – chemotherapy treatment – he would have died. There was no option to try to change his diet – and what would we have changed it to anyway?
Hopefully this post helps to alleviate any guilt other parents out there might be feeling, and any worries that somehow you might be responsible for your child’s cancer. Maybe you think you could have done MORE to prevent it – but even if you do everything ‘right,’ this can still happen. It happened to us.
Don’t forget: you did everything right for YOUR family.
The problem is not with you – it’s with cancer. Cancer does not discriminate.