I’ve scheduled my Rituxen sessions

These will be for the next four weeks, starting this coming Tuesday.  At first I admit that I had some (ok, a lot of) trepidation.  I was kind of negative about the process, and full of fear. “Great, I’m pumping poison into my system that will reduce my immunity,” I thought.  “I bet I’ll catch an infection and be sick forever.”  I expressed this to a pal of mine, and she had this to say:

Maybe try to imagine your body as a relatively simple (but extraordinary) machine… your digestive tract as a semi-sealed system. The cancer is a rust that is compromising your system, trying to perforate an evacuation duct. Chemo is a treatment that will arrest the rust, and send it out of your system. Your body will seal up the duct, and you’ll be an extraordinary machine once again.

And for christ’s sake, keep your energy and optimism up. Even if it’s faked at first. Don’t succumb to the treatment. Join forces with it and fight the rust.

Thank you, Kate, for saying what I needed to hear!

I’ll be working on a visualization to do while I get my Rituxen drip (about a six hour process every Tuesday).  It’ll be about herding the Rituxen right toward the cancer and away from the happy B-cells that deal with immunity.

Ah, and someone recommended that I crochet again.  Specifically ewoks.  Good suggestion for using up my IV drip time!

So what’s that picture about, above?  😀 I bet some of you already know…

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Nutrition for cancer…and fibroids!

So come into my cave / tonight I will show you
Food is for life / and life I will show you.
If you’re havin’ problems/ I invite you here
Step into my kitchen /we will cook away your fears…

— Michael Franti, Red Beans and Rice

One of the amazing things that I found while going through all of these tests and scans from cancer is that I have uterine fibroids.

I discovered this accidentally while reading through the results of a pelvic scan. I stared at the scans and said to myself, “What the heck is this? Oh god, that explains a lot.” Did I have overwhelming times-of-the-month? Yes. Was it caused by the fibroids? Probably.

I went and googled various things. The western medicine solution was: painkiller, menopause, low-estrogen birth control, and possibly a hysterectomy. ”If you go through chemotherapy then it won’t be an issue because you’ll possibly go through menopause.”

Ok, whatever.

I decided that alternative medicine (with its roots in herb lore and ancient midwifery) had to have some kind of solution for this. And lo, there is a fabulous website that lists a number of things. Oddly enough, they are a lot of the same changes to diet and exercise that fight cancer.

Some of the things that I’ve done to help my body resist cancer include cutting out red meat, meditating, and increasing a number of healthy foods in my diet. Apparently this also helps reduce the inflamation from uterine fibroids. This website recommends that I:

  • Avoid meat and processed food / Eat salmon and tuna and lots of vegetables and beans.
  • Meditate, including visualizations that shrink fibroids. Also do yoga.
  • Use some home remedies:
    • Mix one to two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses with 6 oz. milk. Drink once or twice daily to help remedy issues related to anemia by improving iron and potassium levels.
    • Drink two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 oz. of water once each day to help with the elimination of body toxins.
    • Drink Grape Seed Extract. This has been shown to make Leukemia cells commit suicide. Hey, great.

I’m not doing any of this in place of chemotherapy, but it’s to help my body in whatever way I can. Fighting keeps me from feeling helpless! I’m happy that the regime I’m doing for cancer is going to help uterine fibroids, and it really makes me think:

A lot of what I used to eat is guaranteed to make something go wrong with the body eventually. But a lot of foods help the body too!

Good news about my well-behaved patch of cancer

After all those tests, we found out that my only cancer is the small patch in my small intestine. It’s even low-grade with “well-behaved” cells! We caught it early, and it’s treatable with Rituxen, a very low-impact form of chemotherapy drug. I’ll start treatments Monday. I know it’ll suck, but…

Basically, if I had to have cancer, it’s the best possible kind to have. I’ll have an endoscopy to check in three months if the drugs worked, but in all likelihood, they will.

Thank you all so much for the support! It means a lot to me.  It feels like this was a nice big mid-life wakeup call. I won’t forget the lesson it taught. (See? No need for another, ok, Universe?)

So in short,

HELL YEAH.

Life I embrace you
I shall honor and disgrace you
Please forgive if I replace you
You see I’m going through some pain…

But now I see clearly
And the dawn is coming nearly
And though I’m human and it’s early
I swear I’ll never forget again!

Mmm, food: Bibimbap

Photo by Akiko Matsuura

Have you guys ever had the Korean dish Bibimbap? My half-Korean pal Genie introduced me to it, and along with Vietnamese Pho and Thai Kow mun gai, it’s become one of my favorite “good home cooking” type meals.

Bibimbap is basically make-your-own rice stirfry. It’s sometimes served in a pot that fries it as you stir up all the different ingredients, including fine-cut meats and veggies and the egg on top of it all. It’s even better when you pour on lots of Sriracha…

I was reminded to write about Bibimbap because of this great blog post from Akiko Matsuura (punk singer/guitarist from Comanechi). This lady loves food so much that reading her blog always, always makes me hungry.

Round in the circle game

I’m just like any modern woman trying to have it all. Loving husband, a family. It’s just… I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade. — Morticia Addams

Lately I’ve been doing the inevitable thing that people do when they have a disease: I’ve been thinking about what makes life meaningful.

I think that the most amazing thing about humanity is that we weren’t handed an answer, which makes our whole entire lives one big curious exploration.  Without that curiosity or desire to find the thing that clicks inside and makes us excited, we sure would have boring lives…

Meaningfulness … some people are lucky and find it in their life’s occupation. Some find it in their hobbies.  Some, in their families.  I think most of us have to cobble it together out of a bunch of different things.

In the long run, I think that part of meaning is standing up to all of life’s responsibilities and shouldering them — but that also includes a responsibility to ourselves.  I need to remember to listen to the small voice inside of me that says “You need to contribute more to your community” or “You should fly to New York and visit your friends there,” because once I listen and do it, I know that I’ve done something meaningful.

Like my pal Matt wrote, time is short.  Maybe 38 is a good age to start that Bucket List (a list of things to do before you kick the proverbial bucket. Have you seen that website? It’s inspirational) and start checking things off — no matter how wild or ridiculous.  Why the hell not?  Looking forward is the best way to not look back.