Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

Bouncy living at four score and four

3rd March 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
Contributing Columnist

A portly German great-grandfather sat under a tree, entertaining and being entertained by a handful of children related and not. Hearing that he was 84, I stared fixedly at him and wondered how I might be if I lived to be his ripe old age. That was June of 1959, and the time shift from there to now has been nothing short of lightning.

Taking a break from studies in Rome, my two classmates Bob Flinn and John Berry joined me on assignment in Trier to hear confessions in German for pilgrims to the exhibition of the Seamless Robe of Christ. Although I knew very little German, I learned the commandments on the fly in a hurry and began to connect the dots with other things.

In my mind’s eye, I remember the man’s mien as he sat there placid and content with his children, his cane and the world. Yes, I am placid, but not that placid! After all these years, the man’s face, de­meanor and surroundings still haunt me as they have been haunting me in a good way throughout this whole span of time. It is a pleasant haunting.

Dr. Sabna Thoppil told me that the results of my annual physical were good. When I asked about the mitral valve prolapse (heart murmur/misalignment of the valves of the heart), she said that the technician was not sure that he even heard a murmur. To say the least, that was the best news since a murmur was diagnosed in the early 1990s.

Striding out of a grief session at the Catholic Renewal Center, I was buoyed to notice that my legs felt strong, and I quickly moved into a pleasurable gait. “Ummm!” I mused. “I have not felt this much muscle strength and ease of movement in almost a decade! I must start walking more and at some length since my muscles have improved.”

And this after a sore right hip from a takedown by slick ice in early December and after a sore left hip perhaps dinged by arthritic symptoms brought on by purines! As you already know, I do not ingest the stark purines such as red meat, anchovies, shellfish, etc. But citrus fruits/juices, not a purine for most, sometimes give me arthritic symptoms.

Purines, of course, are any food whose purine content breaks down, causing our body to manufacture uric acid that triggers arthriands, I have given some ground on sleep, still keeping off-beat hours, but doing my best to sleep an aggregate eight hours a day/night. The net effect is that I feel good, strong and healthy every hour of each day.

An annual note that women in particular find interesting is that, since a vegan fare is high-octane fuel for my body cells – and hair is also cells – my hair continues to morph from curly to mostly wavy and generally relaxed. How about that for cos­metics? Vegan skin care and hair care seem poised and able to run all beauty products out of business!

Those who drop heavy meats altogether are virtually guaranteed not to contract cancer of the colon, prostate, stomach or breast. There are even areas of the world where the people are not acquainted with cancer because they are too poor to eat cancer-causing foods such as the heavy meats that become carcinogens incubating in one’s intestines.

Follicular lymphoma does not ap­pear to be subject to the­se rubrics. My final take on the role of my vegan food regimen during my bout with follicular lymphoma is that the enemy cells would have invaded at an earlier age, done far more damage and would have been much more difficult to subdue had I not been a vegan for nearly 18 years. By the grace of God, I continue to live a virtually pain-free life with no medication or stress.

From the tailspin following my being anesthetized by propofol (diprivan) prior to exploratory surgery above my left eye, when my weight dropped to 159 pounds and my physical strength took a nosedive, I crept out of the woods during the next months. Now my weight is back to its normal 170 and my strength and balance are back in force.

God, I know what James Brown meant when he sang, “I feel good!”

This article originally published in the March 3, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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