“3. 2. 1. Go!”
Hudson, my 4-year-old, sprinted across the starting line, weaving among the moving forest of legs. The throng thinned and he sped by walkers and stroller pushers. He yelled over his shoulder, “Look at all the people I’m passing.”
My announcement earlier in the week that the family was going to participate in the Sudan Goat Race 5K and Family Mile was still hanging in the air when Hudson said, “I’m going to beat you.” For three days all I heard from him was variations of the same piece of trash talk, “I’m going to beat you so bad,” “I’m going to leave you in the dust,” and “It’s okay daddy, I still love you even though you’re slow.” The kid loves to race. Sadly, he is burdened with my DNA, so the chances of him winning an actual race are slim.
Determined not to let me lead, Hudson jumped back-and-forth in front of my feet during the opening steep-downhill portion of the race. I dodged side-to-side to avoid trampling him under my size thirteen shoes. We had run just half-way down the hill when he tripped and fell face-first onto the pavement.
I quickly lifted him out of the way of the oncoming mob
Kisses on scraped knees.
“Do you want to keep running or ride in the stroller?” I asked.
Wiping away tears he mumbled, “Ride.”
Teri strapped him into the stroller and walked the family down the hill and onto flat road. Hudson’s friends were running all around the stroller and as we turned to loop back to the finish line he yelled with excitement, “I want to race, daddy.”
“You’re feeling better now?”
“Yeah, and I’m going to leave you in the dust.” He jumped to the ground and his little legs churned as fast as possible among the crowd of racing children and patient parents.
The road back to the finish line transformed the steep downhill section into a sharp uphill run. While it is easier for a 4-year-old to maintain balance going uphill, the incline also exhausts his little legs. His breathing became belabored and just halfway up he stopped directly in my path, “Daddy, can you carry me?”
That was a fantastic question.
Seven months prior to the race I was reduced to a crippled mass of flesh and bones after a thirteen day stay in the hospital where a surgeon removed a softball sized tumor and four feet of small intestine. By the time I was discharged the “Cancer Team,” comprised of family and friends across the nation, had been working around the clock to jump start our knowledge of the healing processes. When the car pulled into the driveway, delivering me home for the first time since checking myself into the emergency room, the nutritional cancer therapies began immediately: a vegan diet, constant juicing, nutritional shakes, the Budwig protocol. Additionally I devoting extended periods of time to meditation and prayer and went on walks as far as my body could endure, which during the first couple of weeks getting to the mailbox was monumental.
The thing about nutritional cancer therapies is that they are rooted in eating organic food, are therefore non-toxic and won’t cause my hair to fall out, induce uncontrollable nausea and vomiting, steal my ability to taste or deaden my nerves. As my body works to rid itself of the disease, the detoxification side effects I experience manifest in the form of minor rashes, “traveling pains” (momentary pains that appear in one part of my body before subsiding and moving on to the next), occasional dizziness and intermittent fatigue. One of our primary goals is to repair my liver (whose role in the body is to detoxify) so it can function at peak efficiency and eliminate toxins. Every four to five weeks the cells that make up the liver are renewed. Restoration of a damaged liver to health can take twelve to fifteen generations of new cells, about eighteen months. Dr. Max Gerson, creator of one of the leading nutritional cancer therapies once said,
“The cells in the body are constantly being replaced with new ones. Within the span of 18 months a bad defective liver, if given the correct fuel, can grow a new liver by virtue of replacing the defective cells with fresh cells. The key is giving the body the right nutrients, ingredients for the recipe. Someone who has spent a lifetime throwing the wrong ingredients into the body with the result of defective organs, plagued with cancer, cannot, in the manner of a mere few weeks or months, replace all of their cells with healthy ones. It is possible for that person’s bodily functions to begin to operate correctly immediately after the introduction of correct nutrients. The old liver still functions as a liver, not as a rusty metal can.”
There is a long way to go before the “rust” is cleaned out of my body. Most of the time, however, I feel very good. This past weekend, in fact, I managed to sneak in an hour at the gym and my muscles were sore after lifting thirty-pound weights (I used to workout with 100-pound weights), and I was exhausted after twenty minutes alone on the racquetball court. From time-to-time I can even challenge my son to a race.
He asked me a second time, “Daddy, can you carry me?”
I stood in the road quietly deliberating whether or not my body could make the trek up the hill carrying a squirmy forty-pound load.
“Daddy.” He was getting whinny now.
“You bet buddy.” I swept him off the ground and set him on my shoulders. Together we marched to the top of the steep hill towards the finish line. At the summit I set him on the ground and the race resumed. For the remaining 200 feet he zigged and zagged to stay in front so I couldn’t win. The race MC announced, “Here comes Hudson Briggs just edging out his father.” I lifted him high in the air and said, “You won buddy!”
Hudson looked around, a bewildered look on his face, and asked, “Where’s my trophy.”
We are so thankful to God for the love and generosity you have shown us. Each week we are buoyed by an encouraging note in the mail, a delivery of groceries, an unexpected financial gift, or an offer to watch the kids for an evening. The battle with cancer is a full-time job and a full-time paycheck and most weeks it takes more than Teri and I can give. We have tried as best as possible amidst the chaos to thank everyone personally, but some of the gifts have been anonymous and sometimes we simply lose track. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who shared in our struggles. You are saving my life.
Lastly, every day we deal with challenges related to cancer and the subject is never far from our minds. Here are a few of the topics of constant conversation at the Briggs house. Please keep us in your prayers.
- We continue to research and consult with experts and there are many scientifically backed opinions as to determine how to address my cancer. We need wisdom and discernment to know what to adopt and what not to adopt.
- Daily Teri and I wrestle with finding balance between the protocols, work, the kids, time together, and getting the rest needed for healing.
- Last week we had a consultation with an expert who analyzed drops of my blood under a microscope. The results showed areas of my health that need improvement, naturally, but the results also revealed that I have “strong blood,” “there is good constitution,” and, “I’m not far from where I need to be.” We are very encouraged to have some scientific data that indicates healing is happening.
- Hudson and Maddox, now 4 and 2, are resilient kids and are adapting to our regime without complaint. They are particularly fans of the spinach, kale, banana, peach and blueberry smoothies.