Many years ago I heard a story from Rabbi Akiva Tatz. Though I don't remember what the lecture was about, I do remember the story that he shared that happened when he was a young doctor in the South African army. They sent him out to the boondocks and in this one field hospital he ran into a patient that was in a wheel chair because he had lost so many toes that he couldn't really walk any more. This man had rigged up a type of holder for his cigerette which he was smoking because he had lost so many fingers. He suffered from something called Buerger's Disease.
(Buerger's disease thromboangiitis obliterans is a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs. In Buerger's disease, your blood vessels swell and can become blocked with blood clots (thrombi). This eventually damages or destroys skin tissues and may lead to infection and gangrene. Buerger's disease usually first shows in the hands and feet and may expand to affect larger areas of your arms and legs. Virtually everyone diagnosed with Buerger's disease smokes cigarettes or uses other forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. Quitting all forms of tobacco is the only way to stop Buerger's disease. For those who don't quit, amputation of all or part of a limb may ultimately be necessary.)
What would make someone continue to smoke when they knew that the ultimate outcome is loss of limbs and then life? It was obvious that this man felt that smoking was more important than a normal life and even more important than living. Rabbi Tatz saw the man a few years later still in hospital, this time with both legs and an arm amputated, with a strap on his fingerless left hand holding his cigarette holder and bringing it up to the hole in his neck nonchalantly smoking his cigarette.
When I first learned what this restrictive diet entailed I didn't think that I would be able to do it. I had a large family with grandchildren to feed. I was in charge of the Shul Kitchen. I was making the Shabbat Kiddush every week. How could I continue to do that without tasting? Can you even cook without tasting? I wasn't sure. And then there was the fact that in all diets, the first thing that you are supposed to do is clean out your kitchen and remove temptation from immediate vicinity.
I only knew at that moment that the Diet was absolutely necessary since I wasn't doing chemo or radiation and that without it I will probably have recurrence in 5 years or less.