Forgive me, reader, for having stayed away. It’s been 3 months since my last post. Here is my update.
Raised Catholic, this is as close as I get to a confessional these days and I suppose Easter’s as good a time as any to get going again. I don’t take solace in religion any longer (an adult choice on my part and nothing to do with how I was raised) but I realised yesterday that having been indoctrinated in Catholic dogma as a child, means I know how to be disciplined and this is what has kept me focused the past months.
About a week after my last post, I broke my arm rollerblading. I was entering a slight decline, rounding a bend, avoiding berries strewn under a tree. In what I hope was an epic-to-watch failure (to validate the searing pain), I spun into a hard landing on my left wrist.
My oral chemo arrived and after much toy-throwing, Discovery medical aid got their bureaucracy in order to dispense the stuff.
Nursing my arm and unable to rollerblade or cycle, I decided this was my opportunity to start a rehab type of phase with a personal trainer for my too-long dormant muscles. Beginning an exercise routine under normal circumstances is tough enough discipline-wise and with weaker than ever muscles I had to coax into action, it was even tougher. Sure that my fall also had to do with weakness – particularly on my left side, I was giving myself 3 months in which to get stronger. The first month was difficult. My cardio fitness was so poor, I often wanted to vomit from exertion but the post-exercise endorphins kept me coming back for more. I knew it’d be tough and having Sheree waiting for me to arrive at 5am twice a week, kept me obeying my alarm clock.
After a blood test and CT Scan I met with the oncologist for the first time since November. She wasn’t encouraging. The tumour marker had decreased from 190 (in Nov) to 172 on its own – good news. No drugs. I had anticipated a rise and was relieved to hear the results. She couldn’t have been less fazed and poo-poo’d the result claiming (correctly) how susceptible the marker is to many factors. I KNOW. I just wanted a mini celebration regardless.
The CT scan showed a new growth (1.4cm x 1.6cm) on the surface of my diaphragm. I read the report myself. I told that I was happy to go ahead with the first month’s treatment. If you remember, the other specialist I consulted said it’d only take one month for my body to react or not and this is the sole reason I agreed to go ahead with it. Well, my onco’s not happy for me to only do 1 month’s treatment. In fact, she told me if I didn’t take the entire 3 months’ worth, then she wouldn’t dispense any. She reminded me that, in my case, the drugs are to control, not to cure. I left her office feeling totally bullied and dejected.
Finally, my cast came off. I’m amazed how weak my arm/wrist/hand is and keep feeling overworked, taught tendons. Arnica oil helps.
I contacted my onco again and told her about my trip to Spain in May and that I was prepared to start the oral chemo only in June on my return. She was quite clear that she didn’t like my decision to which I retorted that it was mine to make. A friend has helped by speaking to the other specialist to become my formal onco; an idea to which he’s open. I haven’t contacted him yet. I don’t have faith in the drugs at this point – after 3 cycles and 18 months of not working, why should I put myself under another lot?
I came across the Budwig Centre in an article from a friend and dived headlong into investigations. It’s based in Spain, after all, and I’d be on my way there soon. The cost is immense and I also stumbled on an article discrediting the centre’s practices completely. I was shattered. I also realised I’d been grappling at hope. I let it go and instead, contrary to my onco’s explicit direction to stay away from supplements, I’ve started taking a myriad of non whole foods because I read an article which just made sense to me. I simply don’t eat a lot and cannot possibly receive all the nutrition I need from my diet.
- Vit C + zinc (to keep colds an flu at bay particularly while my body is under the new strain of exercising)
- Moringa powder (I’d been eating drumstick herbs that a friend recommended and a colleague remembered to bring for me from his mother’s tree)
- Acai berry powder
- Chlorella compressed powder tablets (for the added oxygen and iron). Also read this and this.
- Omega 3
- Digestive enzymes (to help absorb all the nutrients). Also read this.
- BioStrath (a herbal nutritional supplement)
- A natural filter to my drinking water (why didn’t I do this ages ago?)
- Raw asparagus (the yuckier the veggie, the better for you, right? Actually, the 2nd onco recommended I eat it regularly. Mom keeps me in constant supply!)
- And a partridge in a pear tree…
Well, I can tell you the difference it’s all made is similar to the effect of having a blood transfusion. Clearly, I needed the iron and am now getting it. I’m not sure what else is working or how. My mind is clear, I breathe easier, and I’m feeling more physically capable than I have in the past 2 years.
Cancer’s a killer? Sure. So is chemo and I bet more cancer patients die from cachexia than the disease because doctors warn them away from any supplements which would support their system during treatment.
2 months into my exercise programme and I can feel the results. I went for a bike ride recently which, 3 months ago, would’ve knocked me down for the rest of the weekend. This time, I still needed to recover but it only took a 2-hour sleep.
I’ve had my amalgam (metal) fillings removed from my teeth and replaced with resin ones. There was nothing wrong with them but since I’m purging, I decided to get rid of the heavy metals in my body. The chorella will help with that, too.
I’m already dreading the arrival of June before my May holiday even arrives! I know I don’t want to take the oral chemo and will have to muster up the courage to say no and walk away if/when it comes to that.
A friend reminded me that when we deal with fear and sadness in our daily lives, it’s often something that comes from childhood. Something that’s in the past, that we can face if we want to, that we can put to bed. My fear and sadness comes from the future which is infinitely more difficult to deal with as the parameters keep changing.
It’s definitely a rollercoaster. I choose to look it in the eye and do what feels right – for me. It’s always scary but I don my Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer mentality when fear & sadness are in town. When it subsides, I’m more gentle and consoling of my uncertain self. And so it goes.
My mantra for exercising, for eating well, for life’s ups and downs: