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An interview on healing from cancer and focusing on what you can control

Man in suit with curly hair in convertible with dog in purple harness behind him
- Nov 18, 2022

The Apollo™ community is a diverse community who all share a common belief – that the human body is powerful and we each have the capacity to heal. We'll highlight powerful stories from Apollo users and their causes through a series of member stories. This month’s feature is on Dave Phillips.

We first met Dave at the Upgrade Labs Biohacking Conference, a multi-day event in Southern California. Once we got to know him, we knew we wanted to share his story with you. Dave was diagnosed with high risk Grade 3 prostate cancer with a genetic BRCA-2 variation at age 58, and he revamped his lifestyle to get in the best shape he could by incorporating wearables to help him fine-tune and monitor his healing both pre and post-surgery. We’re honored to share Dave’s story about prioritizing plants, nuts, and fruits over processed sugar coupled with the Apollo wearable to “control what he can” of his own destiny. 

Dave, thanks for your willingness to tell your story!

What led you to your recovery journey?

Two challenging years led me to “Biohack or Bust.” Cancer can do that to you. I always thought I was pretty healthy, but once I got beyond the definition of “A man’s got to know his limitations” which western medicine (channeling Clint Eastwood) was trying to box me into within 15 minute “cut” or “radiate” options, I was lucky to find some cutting-edge science which had begun to show we can prevent 42% of cancers if we thought about what we ate in advance and actively structured our days to promote healthier living and better our odds of preventing future illness.

Once I decided on the surgical procedure I was going to have (the toughest part after you  digest the bad news,) I called my surgeon and said “Do I have three months to put my body in the best position to win?”. After he said “Yes,” I dove in to learn, limit, and contribute to turning my own health around.. I began watching all the documentaries I could about healing, eastern medicine, and helping my own body work on any “man-made” abnormalities through plant-based eating.

When did you first begin to see progress?

It took about a month to lose all the pasta and processed food. But as my discipline progressed, I noticed the plant protein and veggies made my body feel better. Then I was able to reduce my eating to within a six hour window and not eat anything but black coffee until after working out.  After 3 months I was able to drop 30 pounds and watched my PSA go from 18, to 9, then to 2.5, all before surgery. The more tools I found to help me measure my success, the better I got at it.

And after surgery?

After surgery I became frustrated when I gained a quick 10 pounds back from being stagnant.  That’s when I learned about Levels and the benefits of wearing a CGM and how to alter one’s microbiome. That afforded me the ability to eat more for fuel and work out less while dropping more weight and lowering my body fat to 12%.  My new tricks and regimen became additive and suddenly I was sharing what worked for me with friends and family.  I actually created Go Purple to dumb biohacking down for the average person who isn’t a triathlete or hardcore vegan and who may not be able to afford a CGM until health care covers them. Subbing plants, fruits, and nuts for sugar improves the way your body feels and performs. There are many folks out there who may have health issues who may not know how to start and might not wish to read diet books, cook for themselves, or juice. Yet, they certainly can clean their kitchen of all processed foods!  

Which areas were the most challenging for you to see results in?

I was doing great on my diet, seeing a lot of improvement with my morning HIIT work-outs , and learning how to prepare for sleep, but “meditation” was the one area I read a lot about and could still not conquer. Before I leaned into the latest science, I always thought 90% of health was determined by the exercise you did. Now it’s clear to me 55% is about what you put in your body and when, 15% is sleep, 15% is exercise, and 15% is finding your best de-stressors or most mindful state of being during the day.

I had done plenty of pre-pandemic yoga, but hot yoga in masks was pretty brutal, and I had serious trouble making time for mindful minutes. Then I was introduced to Apollo Neuro by my nutritionist Lauren Sambataro who said: “I’m about to blow your mind, go get the Apollo!” And Boom, once I got it, it was like a third eye opened because it was so comforting.

What blew me away was what the Apollo passively did for me without my having to sit outside and pretend I was a tree. It just calmed my brain down. I enjoy wearing it on my wrist during the day, and at night I put it on my ankle to sleep. I knew there was real research behind Apollo Neuro, but I never knew it was that deep until I heard Dr. Dave speak at the conference and noticed a swarm of people line up at their booth afterwards. It makes sense too as most of us are looking for ways to tune inwards more and experience more reassuring touch right now.

What drew you to keep using your Apollo wearable on a regular basis?

The seven simple settings! And, once scheduled or activated, you don’t have to think about it!  In between figuring out what and when to eat, how to work out best and prepare for sleep, my Apollo took over and gave me a simple vibration that reminded me I was always on the field.

Unfortunately, as can be expected, people in cancer groups are usually playing defense more than offense. So for me, my Apollo became my favorite tool  because I couldn’t easily find the time to proactively ease my mind. Whether I want relaxation, recovery, rest, or a certain kind of energy, it offers an effortless solution which fits into my repertoire.

How does your Apollo wearable fit into an average day?

I feel the benefits from my Apollo each day (and sometimes even miss it when it’s charging!)  

The best part is that all you have to do is hit the app depending on how you feel or schedule your favorite modes in advance. Then your Apollo subconsciously works for you so you can focus on other things. I use it six or seven times a day. It’s like having a miniature trainer on my wrist holistically helping my nervous system calm down and adapt to the moment. Plus, there is no wearable I know of which you can instantaneously demonstrate to your friends.

Anything else you wish to share?

These days I’m leaning more into facts and believe we can all learn from upping our own inside game. As a thriver, I think it’s important to continually add smart devices that allow you to improve upon your daily function and measure your progress (for only you to see) in order to become the best self-advocate and best version of yourself you can.