By Ilya Torchinsky

I was low in iron and hemoglobin, and had blood in my stool. No, this wasn’t a wild night at Mardi Gras — it was colon cancer stage 2C.

It takes a lot to know that something is wrong, let alone bring it to the attention of others. In 2011, I knew that something was not right with my body, and turned to my primary care doctor for answers. However, he had failed to order a simple colonoscopy and examine my blood results, so I was not able to catch the cancer in its earliest stages. I was distraught, but it confirmed my suspicion that something was wrong. Now to bring it to the attention of the person I knew would act as if my diagnosis was hers — my mother. How was I going to tell my single mother that her only child had cancer? Her disbelief was a testament not only to how Russian Jews can’t take bad news easily, but also how I needed to get better for myself and for her.

I thought I was done when I got surgery in 2011 and then finished six months of chemotherapy in January 2012. However, I was tested positive for cancer again in October of 2012 at the University of Miami. My treatment, the 90 minute Chemotherapy Treatment for Ovarian Cancer, was actually designed for women! It was definitely strange being an OB/GYN’s male patient, but it was also one of my first steps in the chemotherapy process. For six months, chemotherapy failed to correct the issues with my cancer. I was left with insurance bills and Stage 3 Metastasized Cancer with 2 mets in my gut. As many of us do when looking for comfort, I turned to food. I went on a raw food diet for two years, and combined this with IV cocktail infusions. I was taking incredibly high doses of Vitamin C and oxygen, along with IV immunotherapy. It was a daunting change on my body, as if the cancer was not enough. It was hard going to social gatherings, as friends and family were very critical of my shift to a raw diet. Having cake shoved in your face after having an IV cocktail infusion is the worst thing to happen at parties, but occurrences like these were not uncommon. I was often met with skepticism and criticism, but I would turn to fellow cancer patients who swore by the diet. Being reassured by your doctor needs to feel like a constant source of support and reassurance. Being monitored by him and having a doctor I could trust was important for my transition into a more traditional vegan diet. I can’t turn down a bite of great organic steak, but I do generally stay away from sugar, dairy and red meat. I’ll occasionally cheat on my diet when I’m traveling as well. How can you turn down a saltimbocca when in Rome? I’ll try to burn off these calories and the guilt from cheating on my diet with jiu jitsu at Valente Brothers Miami or coaching figure skating in Salt Lake City. Finding the balance between diet and exercise has really led to my work towards maintaining wellness now with cell rejuvenation therapy.

Having your physical body be at war with itself is hard enough, so I try to remain at peace within my mental being. Being stressed only added onto the trauma my body was under with chemotherapy. Developing a support group consisting of positive people improved my daily outlook and kept my stress levels down. Having a clear mind helped me focus on sorting the disarray my body was in. I learned to challenge my doctors, not only as a medical malpractice lawyer but also as a patient. Do not settle for the “standard protocol” — be active in pursuing a healthier life outside of the commonplace cures. My cell rejuvenation therapy practice, IV+, has been a prime example of how I have worked outside the realm of the usual treatments. IV+ uses intravenous treatment to deliver nutrients tailored specifically to healing your body’s needs. The specialized process has helped me connect more to patients and their unique experiences with pain and disease. Healing people, from celebrities to surgeons, here in South Florida has been a part of my own healing process now that I have been cancer-free for 6 years. Working in the pristine spa environment I have created at IV+ has been a reflection of how my wellness has cleared the chaos my body has been through. Maintaining this environment of simplicity and health while helping maintain my clients’ health has been an honor and privilege.

And, the biggest lesson I’ve learned while on this journey is that everyday, is in fact, a holiday just like Mardi Gras. You only live once.

Ilya is the Founder and CEO of IV+. He’s a full-time lawyer with a passion for wellness and health. Ilya’s interest for cell rejuvenation therapy stems from his experience dealing with conventional treatments that weren’t able to revert his condition. Ilya’s Law Offices represent catastrophic and medical malpractice cases in both state and federal courts throughout Florida and Texas. Ilya is a life-time member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Originally published at