Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Climbing Alice in Wonderland at Central Park

Climbing Alice in Wonderland at Central Park

It’s been a wild week!

With the housewarming party…  Auntie ‘Cole’s visit…  A quick bop up to Massachusetts…  A trip to my beloved NYC…  And a ton of appointments…  I definitely got off track.  Indulging a little too often…  Cheese, white bread, sugary desserts, a glass of wine or two or three…  Plus, not enough sleep and no time for meditation…  When I returned from NY a few days ago I was inflamed, tired, and in pain.  The sight of me triggered some serious fear in hubby.

We had a serious discussion – with him pushing me to do chemo or take meds and me totally confused about what to do.  I understand that ultimately, we all want the same outcome – for me to be alive and well.  The problem is that we just can’t agree on the best way to achieve that outcome.  I want to do this naturally.  Everyone else wants me to go the western medicine route.

Unfortunately, cancer is a very tricky and complex disease.  There is no one size fits all treatment plan that will work for everyone.  And despite all the advances in medicine the death rate from cancer is virtually unchanged since 1950.  Some live while others die.  There are no guarantees.

I know I have major decisions to make.  I recognize the severity of my diagnosis.  My head is not buried in the sand.  My decisions are not made lightly or uninformed.  There is plenty of research that support the choices I’m making.  And even if there wasn’t, the choice ultimately, is mine to make.  I am learning and changing.  And through it all I always try to keep an open mind.

I am very thankful for the few people that do support me…  My naturopath who gives me the 411 on how we are directly attacking certain cancer cells and their functions with supplements and herbs.  She is truly brilliant!  Plus my fabulous holistic nutritionist who continually fine tunes my diet to maximize cancer fighting foods and work within the parameters of my meds and food sensitivities (I just did the IgG test which showed my body is slightly allergic to lemon, pecans, avocado, pineapple, and broccoli.  Go figure!)  And then there’s my amazing acupuncturist who is constantly enlightening me about the meridians in our body, Chinese medicine, and the spiritual side of my cancer.  He sees the potential in me and believes I have the ability to heal myself naturally.

And as far as i’m concerned my plan is working.  I went for an ultrasound this week and the results confirmed no more blood clots!  Hooray!  So I’m continuing to wean myself off the Arixtra blood thinner with my oncologist while my naturopath re-introduces more blood thinning supplements.  The ultrasound also confirmed that the swelling in my chest and arm was inflammation just as I suspected.  And that my blood flow is constricted because my veins are pretty small and the tumors are pushing on them.

My acupuncturist has been documenting the size of my tumors as we go through treatment and one has decreased in size by half already.  This week I’ll be getting another blood test to check my tumor markers.  Fingers crossed that they’re still relatively low as well.

But one of the big lessons I learned over the last week is that if I plan to actively treat and heal myself naturally I really need to give this 110%.  There’s no pussyfooting around.  I gotta get hardcore.

Some of you may question how it’s even possible to get more hardcore than i already am.  Oh, it is totally possible.  Hubby challenged me to think about if I really am capable and willing to get that hardcore and after thinking about it for 24 hrs I decided i can and i will.  Completely cutting out sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs is not easy.  Especially for someone like me who is an emotional eater and uses food as a crutch to deal with stress and difficult situations.  But I am determined to try.

Yesterday, I had a great talk with Chris from Chrisbeatcancer.com.  He beat colon cancer without chemo 10 years ago and has a great website that showcases stories of natural healing and what he’s learned along the way.  He spoke about the four main causes of cancer (aside from genetics which only accounts for a small number of cancers) – Diet, Lifestyle Choices, Environmental Pollutants, and Stress.  He advised me to get stricter with the diet – Adding in lots more juicing and a diet of primarily raw fruits & veggies, cutting out ALL added sugar & processed foods, saying ‘no’ to certain people and activities, and giving myself the space to truly focus on healing.

So if I start saying “no” more often now you know why.  And I ask everyone to support me as I cut out the late nights and get to bed early.  Limit my travel to only well planned and spaced out trips.  Make time to exercise & meditate daily.  Avoid stress whenever possible.  And continue with my “weird” eating habits.

While a part of me is saddened that I can’t live my life like I used to – Pushing the limits and indulging whenever I want.  It’s all worth it to me if I can live without having to take endless pharmaceuticals that constantly wear down my body, contribute to my toxic load, and bring on undesirable side effects.

I will continue on this path and give it my all until my next set of scans in December when I return from my spiritual pilgrimage in Europe and decide what’s next at that point.

In the meantime I continue to search for the lessons in life.  To remain open to my healing journey in whatever form it takes.  And make a promise to myself not to make decisions from a place of fear.

Peace.  – T

Dylan's Candy Store NYC

Dylan’s Candy Store NYC

 

Peek-a-Boo at the park in NY with all its gritty glory

Peek-a-Boo at the park in NY with all its gritty glory

 

9 Responses

  1. Nothing that keeps you alive is weird.Only you can choose how hardcore you need to be,but only you can inhabit your body.Trust yourself and know that you are surrounded by love.

  2. Terri, you make us old feminists proud! Thanks for holding onto the knowledge that you know your body better than anyone with an advanced medical degree, in spite of all the clinical knowledge that person may have.

    As the post-feminists are inclined to say, “You go, girl!” 😉

  3. I am so glad you connected with Chris!! I had a skype meeting with him right after my breast cancer recurrence in January. I met him face to face at the http://www.healingstrong.com conference in September. I like how he said, “First you have to decide if you want to live.” I want to live so this is the very first Halloween I haven’t eaten even one piece of candy! I had my organic dark chocolate instead. I view food as either poison or medicine. It really does simplify things. I have had breast cancer survivors make fun of my green juices. I guess it is their choice to put all their faith in their chemo & surgery and/or tamoxifen. That is what I did for a couple of years (I was diagnosed in May 2010, had double M, chemo, & 3 years of tamoxifen) The more I learn I don’t see how chemo could work. Too many people are so beaten down by chemo the cancer takes over. Who is being cured? I guess if we live 5 years they count us as a success. Crazy! Check out Dr. V at http://www.breastcancerconqueror.com I met her at the conference too. As you may already know, there are some AMAZING natural healing stories out there. My thought is I’ll give it my all naturally and if it comes back then hey, it was meant to be. At least I know I feel the best I have ever felt in my life through my regimen of supplements, excellent nutrition, juicing, exercise and trying to be as stress free as possible with three kids 13 & under. I pray you will have clarity as you take each step toward healing. Thank you for your honesty in your blog.

  4. Oh, haven’t read you for a while… life intrudes. But I am glad to see your head on straight and your hopes on high :) I saw this video and it made me giggle- and think of you.

    Now this is a mastectomy party!

    I have another surgery im expecting, and I don’t think my chest is going to be a salsa bowl this time. Oh well… The patchwork doll saga continues. 😉

  5. As I write this, I’ve also read that you’ve decided to get chemo again. Two thoughts come to mind about your struggle between the desire to deal with your health naturally, versus going the Western medicine route. The first is the doctors that have said that Steve Jobs would be alive today if he hadn’t postponed surgery until after trying alternate treatments. I know his case was very different, but there’s a message there that Western medicine isn’t always the worst choice. The second is a friend who attacked his cancer by going both routes at the same time, including extra chemo time – and he has been clear for over a year now. I’m hoping this helps in affirming your decision. I’ve silently followed your journey for the last year and an half, and have the greatest admiration for your strength and resilience. You’re in my prayers.

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