Dr Saray Stancic became an infectious disease specialist in response to the HIV and hepatitis C crisis of the 1980s and 90s. On October 11, 1995, the then-3rd year medical resident found a short nap window at 2am, and collapsed in fatigue in the on-call room of the hospital where she worked.
When she was awakened for her next shift, Dr Stancic couldn't feel her legs. She was rushed to the ER, and an MRI revealed multiple sclerosis (MS) with multiple lesions in the brain and spinal cord. In addition to the neuropathy in her legs, it turned out that her kidneys were also failing.
She was admitted to the hospital, given an IV steroid drip and a bunch of other medications. And just like that, a young, energetic, ambitious doctor was converted into a frightened, confused, dispirited patient.
Having treated many MS patients over the years, Dr Stancic knew well the progression of the disease, even with the best pharmaceutical protocols available: continual decline, increased pain and disability, and no possibility of reversal or cure.
Her doctors told her to plan ahead; she would almost certainly be wheelchair-bound in 20 years.
On October 11, 2015, Dr Stancic celebrated the 20th anniversary of her diagnosis by walking 20 miles.
What the… ? (Hint: diet and lifestyle, not drugs.)
Can You Support Dr Stancic's Documentary, Code Blue?
Dr Stancic's documentary, Code Blue, takes on the current medical paradigm that includes almost no education on or acknowledgement of nutrition, sleep hygiene, stress management, physical activity, and avoidance of tobacco and excess alcohol as prime factors in health and disease.
Essentially, it argues that the medical profession must be built on a foundation of a plant-based diet and other lifestyle factors.
The filming is 99% complete, done on an amazingly lean $30,000 budget. Now comes the expensive stuff that makes or breaks a movie: the editing and other post-production. And Dr Stancic and her team need our help.
I recorded this interview on November 7, 2017, fully expecting to stick it in the queue to publish mid-December. But time is of the essence – Code Blue (get it?) – so I made the unilateral decision to publish ASAP and bump all the other worthy interviews down the line.
So after listening to the interview, please go to the Code Blue Indiegogo page and send them what you can. As Dr Stancic points out, it's lots of small contributions that make a large movement.
Burger King isn't going to throw their support behind a movie about a doctor who's trying to get them thrown out of her hospital. Nestle and Cadbury and Keebler aren't going to fund a film about how their food is killing us.
It's up to us. Here's the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/finishing-funds-for-code-blue-medicine#/
In our conversation, Dr Stancic and I discuss her 8-year health decline, the poorly designed study on MS and blueberries that changed her life, and her reinvention of herself as a lifestyle medicine specialist. We covered:
- Dr Stancic's initial career in infectious medicine
- the transition from infectious to lifestyle medicine
- suddenly becoming a patient
- “in the best of hands” – not questioning the pharmaceutical approach of conventional medicine
- doubts about her ability to continue practicing medicine
- “it was like Groundhog Day – every day was the same”
- taking drugs to treat the side effects of the drugs prescribed to treat the side effects of the MS drugs
- depending on a cane and wearing a diaper, and her growing disability and depresssion
- looking back her her diagnosis and illness as a gift
- the article that changed her life
- researching the diet/MS link: “Could diet be playing a role in disease formation?”
- discovering the research of Roy Swank from 1952
- abandoning conventional treatment and dealing with the disapproval of her doctors
- the privilege and frustrations of sharing her message with colleagues and patients
- the microbiome connection to autoimmune health
- ripping off the label of “MS patient”
- “you should run a marathon”
- crossing the finish line of the New Jersey Marathon in 2010
- training the next generation of physicians
- advocating to get the Burger King franchise out of her hospital
- finding common ground with lifestyle medicine advocates who aren't plant-based
- raising money to finish Code Blue
- and much more…
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
CodeBlueDoc.com – all about the documentary
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