Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
25 May

I Feel Healthy, Vital and Energetic Once Again

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real life stories stories 1 2Dear Mark,

Until November of 2008 I had always been very fit and in shape. At the time I was 43 and kept my 5′ 8″ body at 160 lbs give or take a few pounds. I played competitive (amateur) tennis so I played 4 times a week (3 hours each day) plus some weekdays physical training early in the morning.

I never really “dieted”. My wife is Italian born and naturally very thin also. We’ve always had a very Mediterranean diet. We’d eat pasta the way Italians do. That is, using it as a small warm appetizer and not a bathtub size dish so typical in the US way of “eating”, followed by plenty of fish, meats and lots a vegetables and fruit. Our 3 children have always been the school “weirdos” that would pull broccoli or spinach out of their lunch boxes instead of Twinkies or other similar crap. We’ve been blessed that none of us have ever had real cravings for sweets.

On November 29th 2008 (Thanksgiving Friday) my beloved wife Ana woke up feeling horrible. Vomiting, headaches, etc… She went through 3 pregnancies like clockwork, not even morning sickness.

Completely out of the blue we discovered that Ana had cancer all over her body. She had a primary tumor in her right breast, 2 ping-pong ball sized brain tumors, cancerous meningitis, cancer in her left lung, left kidney, her liver and the base of her spine. This was without ANY warning. Two days before she was playing tennis with her friends.

We were told she had 40 days to live and no hope. More than 40 months have passed and she is alive and well.

We went through hell and high-water, our children were 3, 7 and 9 when she got sick. She was totally bedridden for 8 months; her bodyweight was down to 75 lbs (she’s 5′ 7″). I didn’t work until August of 2011 (almost 3 years) nursing her back to health.

She has certain problems; she’s blind in her left eye and has difficulties with her fine motor skills. She’s 100% ok mentally. The most important things are that our 3 kids can say “good morning, mommy” and I can say “goodnight, my love” every single day. To be able to hear and pronounce those words is like a daily Christmas gift.

She’s in COMPLETE remission. At Baptist Hospital in Miami they call Ana “Miracle Girl”.

What does all of this have to do with Primal? A lot.

To take care of Ana, I completely gave up sports and since I had to manage everything, I just couldn’t handle the stress and all the healthy eating went down the drain. I ballooned at 206 lbs and my waist measured 47 inches.

I struggled for more than a year finding ways to get back in shape and nothing seemed to work.

Way before ever hearing anything related to “Primal or paleo” I always would argue with vegetarians telling them to knock off the BS because our teeth were set up as omnivores, thus we were designed to eat more than vegetables. However after feeling bad for so long I was about to try the vegetarian route.

In December I discovered The Primal Blueprint, I heard Mark speak on an FM talk show (Peter Schiff show to be exact). What he said made sense to me, so I bought the audiobook. I started researching more and by February I decided to follow the Primal/paleo guidelines. In that research I found other magnificent resources with tons of information and suggestions. Mr. Sisson and a few others have CHANGED my life. You have opened the path for me to get back to “me”. However I will never forget that Mark was the one who initially opened the door.

I’m writing today because this morning I weighed in at 180 lbs, and my waist is down to 39.5. Since mid February I’ve lost 26 lbs, reduced my waist by 7.5 inches and I’m feeling better and better with each day.

I want to be at 170 before I start playing tennis again, since I don’t want to hurt my knees due to excess weight – I should be there by June. I’m thrilled to the verge of tears that I’m so close to getting out on the courts again!!!!!

Primal/paleo has been a true wake up call. Simply by eliminating the grains, legumes, sugars and processed foods the weight has melted away. And my real persona has flourished again!!!!!

I have even recovered my sense of smell. That’s another story, but basically to have that sense I was told I needed mass amounts of steroids. I refused. I said I’d rather be “odor blind” than take all the side effects of steroids. About 10 days after dropping grains, etc… my sense of smell started to comeback. Today I feel like a bloodhound!!!!!

ScreenShot2012 05 25at100840AM

To wrap it up. Ana and the children are thrilled to see me getting healthy again. We all feel better and have discovered a lifestyle, which is not that different from what we used to do, but at the same time it’s made a huge difference. Before changing to Primal I just didn’t feel good and couldn’t muster the energy to start training again.

Now I feel healthy, vital and energetic once again. When I get to 170 I will also start SCUBA diving again (my other passion) and have promised that I will take our two oldest children to learn as soon as school is out (the youngest is only 6 and the minimum age is 10).

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

Victor Gospodinoff
www.anahope.net

PS.. Ana’s survival is so unique we’ve done many TV interviews etc… If you have time, please check out these two videos:

ACS Summit Florida 2010 (VIDEO)

Ana’s Story (VIDEO)

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Touching story.

    I’m a s Schiff Head too!

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • me too. SO weird..I just listened to Mark’s interview on the Schiff show that was guest hosted by Tom Woods 3 days ago

      brad wrote on May 25th, 2012
      • Tom Woods- PhD in History, a Mises Institute Scholar, a NY Times Best Seller, and creator of Liberty Classroom- is a fantastic guest host and a nice change up to Peter’s style.

        Tom and his family went primal in January. I hope Tom starts a podcast.

        Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • Me too …and I’m a big Mises fan !!! hearing about Sisson on Schiff’s show (with Tom Woods guest-hosting) is about all the nerd-excitement I can take…

      ClockRVA wrote on May 27th, 2012
  2. Beautiful, beautiful!

    Mandy wrote on May 25th, 2012
  3. WONDERFUL! So glad to hear such great stories of healing for your whole family!

    Ariana wrote on May 25th, 2012
  4. My heart! <3 Such a beautiful, touching story of health, happiness and love. I'm so happy that Ana is in remission and doing well, and that you have found yourself again through all this. May you all continue to be blessed with a miracle :)

    PrimalNewborn_M wrote on May 25th, 2012
  5. This is truly inspirational. I can’t even imagine what your family has been through. It’s fantastic to hear you’re all happy and healthy now.

    I’m assuming that the primal/paleo diet helped your wife’s recovery too? It’s stories like this that make me want to get a loudspeaker and go round yelling: “EAT PALEO, PEOPLE!” :)

    Happy SCUBA-ing!

    Cat wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • If you watch the videos that Victor posted, there is no mention of the Paleo diet. It was through radiation and chemo, which helped her into remission.

      Marybeth wrote on May 25th, 2012
      • it is not about Paleo helping Ana defeat the cancer but more about Victor`s way back to a healthier life after supporting his wife`s fight and letting his own health slide meanwhile…

        shobeazz wrote on May 26th, 2012
      • Along with the chemo and radiation, Victor gives MUCH CREDIT to the positive energy/prayers/requests from a multitude of people around the world asking for Ana’s health and support for his family. ‘Ana’s Story’ video was very moving. Thank you for sharing that Victor. I find myself connecting to this success story because of the fact that I have been working at improving my well being in a holistic approach. Not just what I’m eating or the way I’m exercising but also how I’m connecting with others and my personal spiritual growth. “IT/LIFE” is a whole lot more than what you do or do not eat. But eating well certainly helps! Wishing your family, Victor, love and happiness to a ripe old age! Again THANK YOU Victor for sharing the video.

        Nan wrote on May 26th, 2012
        • You’d be amazed how much the diet actually matters. But judging by how he says they were eating when this all went down, her diet being already remarkably devoid of crap probably helped a lot. It wasn’t devoid *enough*–cultural groups that never had anything to do with grains just *do not* get her kind of cancer–but if she’d been totally SAD and eating out of boxes, she’d be in the ground now.

          It’s true that dietary composition is not an *absolute* thing when it comes to disease prevention. It is more like a balancing act. There are displacing foods that take away from your health, and there are nourishing foods that add to it–and how sick you get over the course of your life, including susceptibility to most infectious diseases, depends greatly on how much building-up you do versus how much displacing.

          (And yes, I can make that claim about traditional cultural groups. First-world doctors observed quite a few of them and it doesn’t take an obscure lab test to tell when someone is dying of cancer. It becomes very obvious.)

          Dana wrote on May 26th, 2012
  6. This made me cry. Congratulations for overcoming such obstacles. I can’t come up with the words to express how wonderful this is and how wonderful you are so I’ll leave it at that. Good luck.

    Alison Golden - PaleoNonPaleo wrote on May 25th, 2012
  7. You had me crying at work. You are both truly blessed to have each other, and your wife’s recovery is amazing! Thank you for sharing this.

    Michelle wrote on May 25th, 2012
  8. Great story. Stay strong. You have the mental health and attitude, the body will follow.
    Love the SCUBA myself. Getting to go to a world where we don’t belong is cool.

    scott wrote on May 25th, 2012
  9. Wow.

    Bruno wrote on May 25th, 2012
  10. Did eating Primal help Ana’s recovery as well? I would love to hear details on that.

    Congrats on such a beautiful achievement!

    Jenn wrote on May 25th, 2012
  11. Wow incredible! What a great story. How is Ana doing with primal eating, do her doctors think it’s helping her remission?

    Best wishes for you and your family!

    mars wrote on May 25th, 2012
  12. Beautiful and so inspiring

    Sian wrote on May 25th, 2012
  13. Wow… this is one of the best real life stories ever. I can’t imagine how you and Ana took that 40 day prognosis and pushed so far past it, past the crushing devastation of it. Many, many more years to both of you! “You go, girl” to Ana!

    Susan Slattery wrote on May 25th, 2012
  14. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. After all you sacrificed to ensure the love story of your life continues, I’m so happy you’ve found a way to make those lives happier and healthier.

    The force is strong with you! Hoping your blessings continue to unfold…

    yoolieboolie wrote on May 25th, 2012
  15. Wow I too first heard Mark on the Peter Schiff show and have been a Primal/Paleo freak since then! Inspiring!

    Rick wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • Just so people know, each podcast of the Peter Schiff is repeatedly streamed for free on the website until the start of the next show.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 25th, 2012
  16. She’s a lucky woman to have such a giving husband that put his whole entire life on hold to basically help save her life. But, I’m sure she knows that.
    I’m so happy you’ve both gotten your health back and that you’re returning to the things you love to do. What a fantastic story with the best happy ending!

    Casey wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • Yes, her husband is awesome. And I bet he has a renewed appreciation of how much she contributes to his life and that of their children. Dudes, pay attention!

      Dana wrote on May 26th, 2012
  17. You two touched my heart, what a wonderful story of recovered health and real love. Your kids are lucky! Have fun scuba diving!

    spincycle wrote on May 25th, 2012
  18. What a blessing to have your wife by your side and the children with their Mom!

    Even though I can’t afford some of the primal foods I have certainly made changes that have given me similar results– keep up the lifestyle and enjoy every minute of life you have been given!

    Pastor Dave wrote on May 25th, 2012
  19. Your video on the website made me cry. You are truly an inspiration.

    Casandra wrote on May 25th, 2012
  20. Your devotion to your wife is a wonderful example for all men. You are a true man, sir, and the care you have given your wife is a beautiful picture of true, selfless love.

    Ryan wrote on May 25th, 2012
  21. The power of love.

    Judith wrote on May 25th, 2012
  22. Amazimg story Victor. So glad to hear Ana is doing better. If you ever need a dive buddy look me up, I’m in Miami and my two boys, 12&14 are certified.

    Jorge Hernandez wrote on May 25th, 2012
  23. Wonderful story!

    There ARE miracles and, our God is a good God!

    Bless you even more.

    Jay

    Jay wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • Just a question….God is a good God? The one that allowed Ana to have cancer in the first place? Hmmm.

      Robert wrote on May 25th, 2012
      • Sometimes people are allowed to go through things/trials to bring others to a place they need to grow. Yes, the same God that allowed her to go through cancer, the same God who gave HIS son to die for us. You may not know that God so it means nothing to you. Not everything in the world is fair or makes sense. But to those who trust Him, we have a peace that surpasses all understanding; in good or bad. You just have to know Him personally, then you could see that God IS good- in everything.

        Laddybob wrote on May 25th, 2012
        • (thanks you for speaking out)

          Barbara Hvilivitzky wrote on May 26th, 2012
        • So true! My close friend thanks God for her MS. Because it is what brought her closer to a wonderful relationship with our God. God works good, from the evil things, for those who love him.

          There is nothing on this earth that could break the love bond those two people share because of her illness.
          God is Good!

          Tricia wrote on May 26th, 2012
      • I’m agnostic but if there is a God, and God created the universe, by definition God cannot continually intervene in every messed-up thing that happens because he’d have to violate laws of physics and all sorts of other things to do it. A properly working universe is one that is interfered with as little as possible. Think about what a mess *we* have made with the Earth, thinking we could do better than Nature. You’d think God would be smarter than that, right?

        Dana wrote on May 26th, 2012
        • C.S. Lewis:

          If this week I put a thousand pounds in the drawer of my desk, add two thousand next week and another thousand the week thereafter, the laws of arithmetic allow me to predict that the next time I come to my drawer, I shall find four thousand pounds.

          But suppose when I next open the drawer, I find only one thousand pounds, what shall I conclude? That the laws of arithmetic have been broken?

          Certainly not! I might more reasonably conclude that some thief has broken the laws of the State and stolen three thousand pounds out of my drawer.

          Furthermore, it would be ludicrous to claim that the laws of arithmetic made it impossible to believe in the existence of such a thief or the possibility of his intervention.

          On the contrary, it is the normal workings of those laws that have exposed the existence and activity of the thief.

          Good thing God isn’t as fickle as us humans.

          Ryan wrote on May 29th, 2012
      • I would not say God let her get sick. God gives us a choice to do many things and if one gets sick it’s not automatically Gods fault. He also is not the one that “lets you go through stuff”. We are not puppets obeying his every command. There are other forces on this earth that make things happen too. Who ever came up with the idea that God punishes us with sickness and problems was completely crazy themselves. God didn’t make us in the image of him, only to condemn us and give us problems. Since part of the Paleo movement is about throwing out conventional wisdom, lets also throw out the idea that GOD is bad also. I promise you, he did not make the women sick, so he could heal her. Its time to have a new mind set.

        Rob wrote on May 28th, 2012
      • God makes the gameplan and i dont think any of us knows why

        davec wrote on May 31st, 2012
  24. I love hearing these stories about how primal/paleo change peoples lives. glad you are doing well and good luck in the future!

    CMHFFEMT wrote on May 25th, 2012
  25. I find the story SO incredible… that Ana’s cancer happened “overnight” with no signals from her body whatsoever. Just incredible….
    Did Ana also adopt the ‘Primal’ lifestyle, or is all the credit to go to the “cut, burn, and poison’ American Cancer Society method?

    martha wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • The ACS is opening it’s spectrum.

      I’ve been volunteering for many years (about 6 before Ana got sick)

      They are opening up to many alternative solutions.

      I discovered the virtues of ganoderma (a very potent chinese medicinal mushroom) and a few other things like yoga and meditation at some of their workshops.

      They are a huge entity with many conflicting factions.

      However the scientific studies in the 60’s and 70’s that proved the link between smoking and cancer, and in the 80’s and 90’s the studies regarding lifestyle (obesity etc…) were all funded by the ACS

      Yes, I do disagree with many things they do or support, but they also do a lot of good things.

      Victor Gospodinoff wrote on May 25th, 2012
      • So, Victor… Did Ana also adopt the Primal lifestyle? You did not respond to that.

        martha wrote on May 25th, 2012
  26. Thank you all for your kind and touching remarks.

    We discovered primal a few months ago, so it was not really part of Ana obtaining her state of remission. This ordeal started back in 2008

    Ana was so sick that for months she was feed with a stomach tube.

    Our basic diet has always been very close to Primal, except for the pasta and the Edemame. I do miss the lasagna, but now I use layers of eggplant instead of the wheat based pasta.

    The big difference in our case was adding the fats across the board. This includes all types of animal fats, we rediscovered a forgotten love of avocados and in my case coconuts.

    We all simply feel better since starting with Primal/Paleo a few months ago. Since I lost the weight and fell more energetic I even enjoy walking our dog “Smokey” now!!!!!

    Cancer is simply a challenge, granted it’s a challenge that can kill you, but a challenge none the less.

    Victor Gospodinoff wrote on May 25th, 2012
  27. Congrats on the health and vitality

    rob wrote on May 25th, 2012
  28. Amazing testimony of love and health

    Julie wrote on May 25th, 2012
  29. Lovely story

    cnymicaa wrote on May 25th, 2012
  30. you make some true comments about ACS.

    what i hope we’ll all focus on is his commitment to his own renewed health. certainly always an uphill battle in conjunction with helping your loved ones.

    that took no small effort on your part Victor. enjoy every moment of your success!

    Jessica wrote on May 25th, 2012
  31. Congrats on your success!

    sapphiric wrote on May 25th, 2012
  32. i love your story and have shared it with my friends and family. may God continue to bless you and your family

    btw, i have been on this diet for only 2 weeks and my sense of smell and taste has returned after having chemo 12 years ago!!!

    cindy wrote on May 26th, 2012
  33. Beautiful story! Your determination with your wife’s illness is inspiring! As well as your own”comeback”!

    Julie wrote on May 26th, 2012
  34. Can you comment more on regaining you sense of smell? I’ve suffered from nasal polyps (and allergies) for years. My sense of smell is quite poor. I’ve been keeping them in check with Nasonex and regular use of my neti pot. But Nasonex is, of course, just a temporary solution. The polyps always grow back a couple of weeks after I stop using it.

    Vanessa wrote on May 27th, 2012
  35. Great Great stuff:)

    John Wade wrote on May 27th, 2012
  36. Greetings from Bulgaria ;)

    Vitan Peychev wrote on May 29th, 2012
  37. man, its 1 pm and i read this on a lark and now am in tears. there is so much pain for so many people. thank God she is doing better.

    davec wrote on May 31st, 2012
  38. What a beautiful love story. Your family should be Blessed in good health and long life.

    Lynne Kushnir wrote on December 30th, 2012

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