Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

I am not a fan of New Years Eve as a holiday but we do try and have a nice send off for the old year and a nice welcome for the new year. We have had large parties and small parties and today, just a nice dinner with a few close friends and family, then a small after dinner party for those that choose to come to the house. I generally don't make New Years resolutions but this year, I will make one.

I am going to work my hardest for remission but if stability is what I achieve, I'll take it.

Happy New Year 09 to all my friends and family!!!
Prayers for all the Sarcoma patients out there. I pray for you often, all the fighters I know and all the ones I don't. A cure is a tall order for 09 but a little bit at a time, we can get there.

I found this study and it has intrigued me:

Nutritionally, I use the Budwig Protocol. Dr. Budwig was chastised for her premise that Omega-3 fatty acids can reverse cancer. Here we have one study that supports her proposition, though anecdotal. Do not take a lot of Vitamin C or E or any antioxidant supplements with DHA or EPA. It is theorized that this intervention worked by opening the ERK pathway and the cancer cells were then pummeled with a free radical attack, inducing apoptosis. When cooking, do not use vegetable oils, soybean oils or any partially hydrogenated oils. Human tolerance to Omega 3 fatty acids is around 300mg per KG. I started taking about 100mg per KG. We'll see what happens.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Besides my full time job at Ma Bell, I work a part time job at a retailer, THE retailer, Wal-mart who I fondly call Big Box Mart . I don't do anything earth shaking. I check groceries but as most people that serve the public do, I have interesting stories about my dealings with our fellow man. We see it all in retail, the good, the bad, the ugly and the absolutely mind blowing. Those of us who are Christians, have just come off one of the most anticipated seasons of the year, Christmas. Our churches preach good will, fellowship, peace, harmony, love, family, and laughter. Some of our customers attended church and heard these lessons blasted from the pulpits. But I have found after this Christmas and last Christmas the lessons of the season are often forgotten in the presence of .....THE AFTER CHRISTMAS SALE!! Big Box store marked all Christmas items from air freshener to dog treats 50% off and hearded all these holidays items to the seasonal section of the store. People poured through the doors and either headed for the return line or to the seasonal section and peace on Earth, good will toward men fell by the wayside as they yelled at customer service agents for not taking back gifts that were not purchased at Wal-mart, gifts that were received LAST Christmas, placing returns on a card for in store credit as opposed to giving them cash and whatever the customers tried to pull as they pimped for every single darn penny. In my own line, I fought with customers who tried to convince me that every day items such as a surge protector and a DVD player with a Christmas promo on the box qualified for a 50% discount. All around me customers yelled and screamed at cashiers who would not fall for the age old tricks that our customers try to pull to get cheaper DVD's, food items and clothes by pulling off tags so we didn't know the price, stating that this or that item qualified for a mark down, pleaded ignorance that they did not know that coupon was for Target only. In the seasonal aisle, customers grabbed and pushed and hoarded and yelled at eachother. Mind you, not every customer was like this but how many of us forget our humanity in how we deal with matters dealing with money? Our store was filled with Scrooges who were so caught up in the consumerism that the idea behind gift giving was a lesson lost. The original gift of Christmas which was the Christ Child, was cheapened by people who decided that getting away with a few extra dollars was worth the feelings of their fellow man and over the Thanksgiving weekend, the life of an employee. Is it worth it? How shallow those lives must be. Provided we need a little money to get by and make sure our physical needs are met but at the end of our lives, how many cars we own, how big our house is, how many furs or knick nacks we have mean nothing. Don't get me wrong. There are good people that come to our store. I waited on many who spent 100's of dollars on clothing and gifts for the poor. I also waited on many who would sell their soul for a 5 dollar savings. I see lessons in the lives of people like Anna Nicole Smith. A court case that granted her 435 million dollars, was worthless. What she spent her life trying to achieve in the end yielded her what life eventually yields to us all. What good did allll that money do her? As groups strive to take the religious significance out of Christmas and turn it into a holiday about red nosed reindeer and snowmen and abject materialism, I wonder how we allowed political correctness to get us to this point.

Luke 2:7-20, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. And they were sore afraid and the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold I bring you Good tidings of great Joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying, glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, and goodwill towards men. "

And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about...

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After

I am still living in the Matrix and refuse to venture out.

Our Christmas was subdued, quiet, elegant... The only noise was Emily, my 4 year old who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Life with ADHD is well...interesting, frustrating, maddening and in some ways the biggest challenge of my existence that dwarfs even the current condition. Provided every child throws a tantrum and acts up in public at one point in their young lives. ADHD children know when parents are in a vulnerable position and can't do anything without the many judgmental eyes of other parents who don't have a clue what it is like to have to deal with a child who has absolutely zero impulse control and is absolutely unfazed by consequences. Then take that child and add CHRISTMAS!! CHRISTMAS! The grand daddy of all kid holidays which per Jean Shepard of a "A Christmas Story" fame, the whole kid year revolves. Emily has been unruly since Thanksgiving, since the Christmas tree came out of the box with all the ornaments. Our beautifully decorated tree has been violated countless times by one pain in the neck 8 month old kitten and one vivacious, overly excited 4 year old who has decided that all the ornaments are the same as little glass barbie dolls. The breakage this year has reached its highest level. Parents of non-ADHD children simply put the glass ornaments up high and ground their kids from ice cream. Parents with ADHD children need to make sure that there is nothing around that the child can climb on to reach the glass ornaments, put extra security at the bottom of the tree so that when the determined child falls into it reaching for the forbidden fruit, it doesn't fall over and uses only the B-list ornaments so that the A-list ornaments don't wind up in pieces on the floor, in the toybox, in the childs shoes, in the childs jacket pockets, in the childs purse, on the floor of the car, in the catbox in the fridge and all the other places Emily has hidden them. They say "STAY OUT OF THE TREE!" 100,000 times, ground their kids from ice cream, TV, dessert, slap them in time out, yell, scream, threaten, and 5 minutes after the punishment ends, find their little darling climbing on an end table trying to reach the glass snowman ornament which ultimately will meet its demise anyway. Right now, there are big gaping bald spots on the tree where ornaments have mysteriously disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle of Emily's little world. Fast forward to Dec 23. It snowed. It snowed A LOT. It snowed all morning, all afternoon and allll night. Being that I'm last minute charlie this year, I had countless errands to run the day before the Eve. For those that don't know, my family is of European descent and we do our celebrating on Christmas Eve. That is when we have the nice dinner and open presents. So my plan was to hit the health food store, Target and then get my groceries. By my calculations, on a non snowy day, these errands should have taken 4 hours. In reality, that day, they took 7 as I hauled groceries through slushy slippery parking lots, drove 15 miles an hour in between stores, skidded and slipped and true to form, forgot where I parked the car and wandered through the parking lots like an idiot. But we at least got that white Christmas we've all been dreaming of. I hauled three stores worth of things into the house, unpacked it all, fed the kids pizza, washed floors, and hoped and prayed that Em would go to sleep SOON so that I could wrap presents. This was the only day this year when I wished I wasn't a single parent. I hate wrapping!!! I just wanted to get it over with but no...not in ADHD world. The best laid plans fall by the wayside. The child would not go to sleep. She did jump on the bed, ask about when Santa was going to come 100 times, fought with Cassie, had a meltdown or two or three, kept checking underneath the tree, and finally at midnight, fell asleep. I wrapped until 3am and dragged my tired self to bed only be awoken at 7 am by a wound up child upset that Santa hadn't come yet. All day, she pushed me to hurry and pestered and whined and jumped and ran and screamed and melted down and fought with Kris and Cass who forget sometimes that Em is 4 and they are teenagers. I yelled at her several times for bumping into the table as I was trying to set it, at one point, pulling the table cloth and the dishes right off. When's Santa coming? Can we eat now? When's Santa coming? After one of her meltdowns, she fell asleep and I was able to get things done. Being that I am on my nutrional kick and Joe is on a vitamin K-less diet, I was very mindful of the ingredients I used for appetizers. I made a Vidalia onion dip without mayo, coconut shrimp which I baked instead of fried and used organic coconut, organic spelt flour and egg white. We had veggies and fruit. Crackers that were baked and made out of rice or wheat flour and cheese and various dips. Dinner was salad, asparagus, carrots, Balsamic Shrimp on a skewer over a bed of organic wild rice. Dessert was cookies that the kids made. We listened to Christmas music and when it was time to look for Santa, Emily was the first with her coat and shoes on and in the car. My sister and I stayed behind and put everything under the tree then left the house so it looked like we were not home when Santa came. Em was happy with EVERYTHING she got. The biggest mistake I made was buying her a little drum set that came with maracas and a tambourine. She has played with that toy the most. Now the challenge will be teaching her that playing the drum at 5am is not appropriate. So thus ends another Christmas Eve. Christmas Day, Em went to her dads. The rest of us went and saw a movie, then came home and watched "Dark Knight". Today, I am cleaning up the cat yak as all the ribbon they have ingested keeps coming back up, ground up cookie, smushed chocolate, spilled soda, spilled powdered sugar, boxes, tags, wrappings, stale beer, and melted puddles of snow. Can't wait to do it all again New Years Eve.

Monday, December 22, 2008

8 months later....

Once again, I forgot about my little corner of the cyberworld that my one reader reads. It would take too long to catch it up on all that transpired since the last post but I will say this, Kris and my duet was a hit! Kris did really well and no one could hear me anyway YAY! I have been given the new piece for IHSA and my piano teacher and I will work on it once the new year starts and I am back at lessons.

I've always purposefully kept the cancer part of my life out of my blog because I wanted my corner to be unfettered with the worries that come from being a cancer patient. Things were going well and I wanted one part of my life untouched by it but that is no longer possible. January 7 we will start the "battle of lung mets." In November, I opted for a lung biopsy because some nodules we were watching grew a little bit. One grew about 3mm, one grew 1mm and one is still stable. Unfortunately, the Radiologist noted that several barely detectable nodules are beginning to form. At this time, they aren't even 1mm. Worst fears confirmed, the sarcoma has been in my lung since shortly after surgery. Bummer! The good news is, it's a relatively slow growing sarcoma, a Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath tumor, stubborn, chemo insensitive, very rare. So, here is what is in my cancer kicking toolbox

1- Budwig nutritional protocol. I make sure my Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is what it is supposed to be.
I eat very very little meat. I'll admit there are days I would like nothing more than a HUGE cheeseburger!
I don't eat sugar (sucks royally! For some, a life without chocolate is not a life worth living. I have found a few substitutions's just not the same.)
I don't eat refined sugar or flour.
I don't eat processed foods

1- daily dose of green juice that tastes absolutely terrible but I call it a cup of health and envision all the nutrients in that pressed, kale, turnip, collard and mustard greens, celery, cucumber and wheat grass powder, surrounding the cancer cells like the calvary and shooting it down.

1- really huge plate of raw salad, loaded with veggies, dressed with Braggs raw cider vinegar, sometimes topped with Nutritional yeast.

1- serving of fresh fruit. I'm starting to really appreciate grapes and mango. YUM.

1- healthy attitude. There's a part of me that is in denial but I call it a healthy denial. I don't stop my life, don't use my condition as an excuse to stop living and get away with locking myself in a room feeling sorry for myself. Understandably life is a terminal condition and eventually we will all leave this Earth but I'm denying that it is going to happen soon and on terms other than mine.

I REFUSE to give up my daily cup of coffee. I've been told tea is better for me. Maybe, maybe not. I never cared for tea. Drinking it causes me stress. Stress causes health issues. NO TEA FOR ME!

On Jan 7th, I opted to take part in a clinical trial for a new drug called Brivanib. I decided to live the holidays in my healthy denial and ease gently into reality with a nice drink of contrast dye and a pass through the medical donut hole into the medical netherworld that is far from the normal life that I had prior to diagnosis. I feel like Neo when he ventures out of the matrix. Cancer is my Morpheus. Denial can be so wonderful! In my denial world, Cancer can be washed away with a plate of veggies and a glass of kelly green juice that tastes like well...grass. Life goes on as before and I am immortal. My mind can make it go away simply by wishing it. The movie and book "The Secret" touch upon this concept, that I can put my order in to the universe that overdosing on nutrition can wash the cancer away and my healthy denial can become a healthy reality.

Never tell me the odds! a creedo stated by the wise and wonderful Han Solo :)

That's all for now. I'm going to ease silently back into the Matrix and enjoy my Christmas, the lights, the tree, the gifts, the food, the hangover...all of it. May your Christmas be fulfilling.