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How Mushrooms Saved My Life

Real Estate Agent with RLAH@properties AB95346

This afternoon, I shared my mushroom story on the Tuesday Zoom call, and spoiler alert. The story was a little scary, but it has a great ending. Um, I got lucky!

In June of last year, I was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer. It's usually pretty nasty, and the prognosis is not exactly optimistic. Then luck kicked in, first when a neighbor (and client) introduced me to Integrated Medicine through a stack of amazing books.

Then I was introduced to my Kaiser Permanente medical team, which included a nutritionist who helped me put together a really healthy diet - and she introduced me to Ryze Mushroom Coffee, which became my gateway drug to the world of "functional" mushrooms.  It was a complete game changer - during chemo I had no side effects other than a little hair loss.

Then, when I met with the surgeon who removed the big old tumor that I'd been feeding for the past couple of decades, it turned out not to be stage four. It was taking up space but hadn't yet invaded any other organs, and with the help I got from the books below and the mushrooms, and six or so brilliant surgeons , we sent the bad stuff off to a lab where I guess it's enjoying retirement in a big old jar of formaldehyde. Oh, and the lead surgeon knew more than I did about Integrated Medicine. And on rounds over the next few days, they all dropped by and told me to keep up the mushrooms! I plan to for the rest of my life! 

So, here are the books my friend brought:

  • Radical Remission - Surviving Cancer Against All Odds by Kelly A. Turner, PhD: this book came out of her PhD dissertation, based on a ten month trip to interview holistic healers and people who lived through the disease. Then she studies over 1000 cases and interviewed another 100 people who achieved what she calls radical remission. The stories were fascinating, and reading them helped me to pick out some strategies these people had in common and to incorporate them into my own cancer journey. She also has a lot of great information on foods to eat and other ways to stay healthy.
  • Anticancer: A New Way of Life - David Servan-Schreiber, MD: This is part memoir and part how to increase your chances of avoiding cancer, and if (like me) you never thought about it until you got a super-scary diagnosis, how to mitigate the impact by adding Integrative Medicine basics to the standard of care, which in my case was chemotherapy and surgery. He has a gold mine of information about basic life style changes that in my case turned things around, used in combination with good old Western medicine.  He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer when he was 30 and working as a researcher. After his doctors successfully removed it, he switched to patient care and spent his career working to educate his colleagues about the importance incorporating lifestyle changes into cancer care. He lived for 25 years after he was diagnosed.  
  • Anticancer Living: Transform Your Life and Health with the Mix of Six - Lorenzo Cohen: Dr. Cohen is the Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas' MD Anderson Cancer Center (which is said to be the leading cancer treatment hospital in the world). He updated and expanded a lot of the information Dr. Servan-Schreiber's book in 2018, and explains how to incorporate the six pillars of the program (love and support, food, exercise, stress reduction, sleep, and eliminating toxins) into your daily life. The idea is to create an optimum environment in your body for good health.

Then there are the mushrooms, which I learned about after reading all of this. 

I start each day with a large cup of Ryze Mushroom coffee, and I also take seven additional types of shrooms in capsule form. Now, mushroom growers seem to be bickering among themselves about which is best, the fruit or the root. 

Most mushroom products are sold as powder in capsules. And many producers argue that the good stuff is all in the fruit, or the part of the mushroom that you see at supermarkets and put into your stews or omelettes. Others say the magic comes from both the root and the medium in which they are grown, usually fermented oats or rice (mycelium). Most of the products I use are either mycelium or a mixture of mycelium and roots. The National Institutes of Health recently did a study on Turkey Tail mushrooms, they used Host Defense Mushrooms, which were mycelium based. And if it's good enough for NIH, it's OK with me. And the Host Defense web site is fabulous. I buy my Agarikon from them.

I get my Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail, Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps from Whole Foods, whose 365 house brand is the best buy I've seen. Because their stores here are a little sketchy stocking everything, I order online on Amazon, doing a search "365 Mushroom Supplements". They are a combination of fruit and mycelium.

Usually, I stay away from mushrooms that are shipped in from China. The Chinese really know their mushrooms, but they are not so great at shipping them halfway around the world. Theirs have always tasted a little bit off, which is hard to do since they are packaged in capsules that usually mask bad tastes.

So  that's it. Today I feel ridiculously healthy, have lots of energy. The life style changes have eliminated lots of health-related issues, from Charlie horses to joint pain and high cholesterol - and far fewer senior moments! And I feel so much gratitude to the many people who helped along this journey. And as I said on the Zoom call, I don't view it as a battle with cancer. Instead, it was a journey  - filled with love and compassion and even humor. 

As a friend said the other day, "You chose life!"

And now, I think it's time to pay it forward.

Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Thanks Kathy, and the whole point of Integrated Medicine is that it's to be practiced in conjunction with Western Medicine. My nutritionist is from Thailand, and she was telling me that they are discovering how much better their traditional medicine can work when combined with ours. 

Apr 10, 2024 08:58 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wow what a story sorry I missed your Zoom session, now as to mushrooms, I have grown up as a kid going to the woods with my parents and picking wild mushrooms and continued eating them for the pas how many decades... so maybe undenounced to me I was protected from that scary disease you overcame? Endre

Apr 10, 2024 11:54 PM
Patricia Kennedy

If, unlike me, you didn't develop an appreciation for fine wine and Gray Goose martinis, as well as carrot cake and rare red meat, you may well have protected yourself!  if nothing else, I think really fresh from the back woods mushrooms taste amazingly good.

Apr 11, 2024 12:19 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I'm sorry to hear of your cancer battle, Patricia.  But, I'm glad you found ways to combat it and endure.  A couple evenings ago, I was reading about the mysterious lives of mushrooms.  I think there is many things in nature that are of value to us - if we only knew!

Apr 11, 2024 06:11 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Patricia, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Apr 11, 2024 06:12 AM
Patricia Kennedy

Myrl, thank  you so much for the Old Farts feature!

And actually, this was a blessing in disguise - although I didn't figure that out until I was well into the whole experience.

Apr 11, 2024 12:20 PM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Wow this is great to hear ! I once read a study of Japan and Cancer . To get to the point 

Japanese Diets have a lot of Shitake Mushrooms in it . These mushrooms seem to attack tumors . It is one of my favorite mushrooms 

Apr 11, 2024 06:49 AM
Patricia Kennedy

Michael, I eat lots of Shitakes in stews and other dishes, and they are really great to eat. And there are a lot of studies done on mushrooms in Japan and Korea. We're just beginning to figure it out in this part of the world

Apr 11, 2024 12:22 PM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

So glad I was able to tune into the Zoom on Tuesday. What a great presentation and you learn something new every day. I'm a coffee drinker , but have never heard of mushroom coffee til now and it looks like something very beneficial to explore. Welcome back to AR and thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Apr 11, 2024 07:26 AM
Patricia Kennedy

Thanks, Buzz!  And it's fun to be back.

Apr 11, 2024 12:22 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

I have been doing a lot of research on this topic. I am so glad you found an alternative to the big Pharm peeps. I need to give you a call! Hugs to you.

Apr 11, 2024 01:07 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Patricia Kennedy, I loved your presentation. After reading about these mushrooms on Instagram for several months and listening to you, I made my first order today. So happy  you were in the right places at the right time 

So glad you are back 

Apr 11, 2024 02:16 PM
Patricia Kennedy

Thank you, Hannah! Hope you like your new mushrooms!

Apr 11, 2024 09:18 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Patricia,

What a wonderful story! I believe, you can look for mushrooms locally too. I find morels from time to time (early in the year). I bet there are mushrooming classes somewhere & Pennsylvania has a lot of growers for various types. They are definitely yummy to eat.

Apr 11, 2024 07:58 PM
Patricia Kennedy

I'm thinking about finding some mushroom classes. It would be so much fun to go on a foraging expedition, especially with someone who could teach you to tell the difference between the ones that are good to eat and the others that could sent you to the hospital!

Apr 11, 2024 09:20 PM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 602.710.8161 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Patricia, thank you for sharing this story! I reblogged it. I am so glad to see you here again and full of energy! Hugs! 

Apr 11, 2024 08:01 PM
Patricia Kennedy

Hugs back to you!

Apr 11, 2024 09:20 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Wow, what a story, my dear:)  Thank You very much for sharing it! 

I'm so happy that you found the people who guided you through this journey. 


Apr 11, 2024 11:58 PM
Patricia Kennedy

Thank  you, Inna! I was very lucky on all fronts!

Apr 18, 2024 02:27 PM
Pete Cullen ~ Broker Associate, GRI,CRS
Bailey Properties, Inc. - Santa Cruz, CA
Serving The Entire Monterey Bay Area

Thank you for sharing : )

Apr 12, 2024 08:35 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

This is an awesome success story.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.


Apr 12, 2024 10:44 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

So glad Kathy Streib told me about this post. First, happy to hear that you are well and grateful for you sharing your amazing story. I will definitely be checking into the coffee and mushrooms!

Apr 12, 2024 02:42 PM
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond

Pat, WOW and what a treasure mushrooms are for so many.  I have been a true believer since I had t-cell lymphoma decades ago. I chose not to do radiation as was the case and followed the Western macrobiotic diet that changed my life. My Dr.s here in RI felt I should do my path. It disappeared from my body & never reoccurred as I was tole it would. My diet has been vegetarian (mostly) for years but sugar has to be eliminated from diets to be long term healthy.  I definitely will look to those books on mushrooms & expand my intake!  So glad your path is good.

Apr 13, 2024 03:43 AM
Patricia Kennedy

Ginny, sugar was the first thing I eliminated ( well, booze but only because it sort of has sugar). But mushrooms are showing up all over the place - they were on the cover of one of the magazines they sell at Whole Goods, at not in recipe formats.

I'm glad you are staying healthy! I'm using a diet put together by the Integrative Medicine team at MD Anderson in Houston. And it's mostly plant based, though poultry and fish are suggested for occasional use. 

While I would not have deliberately chosen any type of cancer, it was a blessing in disguise

Apr 18, 2024 02:33 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Patricia Kennedy 

Thanks for the call before your presentation. It was good to hear your story firsthand and then, again, with all the AR members. It is inspiring how you share your journey in hopes of more success stories like yours! 

Apr 13, 2024 04:33 PM
Patricia Kennedy

Thank you, Margaret!

Apr 18, 2024 02:34 PM
Doyle Davison
Hawaiian Beaches Hawaii - 714-968-6767 - Huntington Beach, CA
30 years as your Concierge services listing broker
Great story and survival. I have seen the commercials on Ryze mushrooms, I just question the way they are processed in-which you loose potency. Now days they sell syringes of spores and you can grow them from your own home. Mushrooms grow fast too. Also check out a RIFE machine and alkaline water. Baking soda is also great for taking and dropping acidic body. O2 therapy is also beneficial in combination. All the best people
Apr 13, 2024 11:11 PM
Patricia Kennedy

There is a lot of conflicting information about how mushrooms are processed. But the products I'm getting from Ryze, Host Defense and OM (I think they produce the 365 Brand for Whole Foods) seem to be doing the trick. It's occurred to me to try putting together a little mushroom farm of my own in my garage!

Apr 18, 2024 02:37 PM
Gloria Todor
Premier Property Sales & Rentals - Springfield, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Pat, So wonderful that your situation is in your hands, and you are thriving!  Thank you for sharing this info, very much appreciated. Serendipitous to see your post, as I am signed up for a free intro class tomorrow evening about local mushrooms at my local library. So glad you had the good guidance presented to you at the right time, and you were open to it. All the best to you Pat.  

Apr 15, 2024 01:44 PM
Patricia Kennedy

Where is Springfield? I know there are a lot of mushroom growers in the state and thought it would be fun to spend a few days checking them out.

Apr 18, 2024 02:38 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

What an amazing story, Patricia... and so happy you came out the "other end" full of life and energy.

Apr 17, 2024 05:14 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Thank you so much, Nina!

Apr 18, 2024 02:38 PM