Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I stepped out of civilian mode for 15 minutes and walked in cancer patient shoes. It was time for ...ba ba ba BUM..the next $(*#@&)* CT scan. I don't think I need to say once more how much I HATE HATE HATE those scans. My morning coffee was interrupted and delayed as I sucked down two glorious bottles of Mixed Berry Barium Sulfate and shuffled out to the clinic. I hate the whole process from the order, to the barium, to the needles in the arm, the anxiety as I wait for results and those little gowns that never cover my butt. My son missed the bus so that was a little monkey wrench in the smooth transition. I drank my barium in the car on the way. My advice is, don't get cancer. It is really irritating.

The weekend was hectic. Fun in some respects and exhausting in another. Emily's so called father cancelled his visit on Friday. I decided to take Emily to see "Monsters vs Aliens." She was so excited about going that every 5 minutes she asked if it was 6pm yet. Being that Emily has problems with sitting for long periods, I was a little concerned that she would not be able to handle this and was prepared to have to eat the 10 dollars. Kris came along with me almost under protest but came along for the popcorn and soda. Emily did pretty well. She did, at one point, stand on the seat and start looking around and she complained that it was way too loud. My two second review: Parents, wait for the DVD if you must see it. Skip it if not.

Saturday was the annual 20-30-40's Glass show in Northlake. I attend 3 or 4 shows a year and engage in my favorite hobby. I collect glassware manufactured during the Depression Era and could probably pay off a significant portion of my mortgage if I sold what is in my glass cabinet. But to me, it's priceless stuff. As I have several patterns I look for, I usually have selective vision when it comes to shows. This year, I settled on 4 Heisey Alexandrite Bread and Butter plates and one Heisey Orchid dinner plate. My long time friend and I both collect and we make weekends of this hobby. Afterwards, we swung by the house and picked up Kris and Cass and went to 5pm Mass. There was a ministry fair after Mass that I wanted to stop by and see about RCIA for the kids. THe Youth Minister stated that all they would need was the Confirmation program that starts in the Fall through their Lifeteen Ministry. To me, it sounded fun. Kris was having cows and kittens about having to give up two Sunday Nights a month. Cassie was interested in the Soup kitchen trips. Besides the volunteering at the Soup kitchens, when the kids are Seniors, they are encouraged to go to Appalachia and help build a house. I am looking into sending Kris in a couple years to this. He, of course, has an attitude about it but I think he will have a great time and will thank me for sending him :) At least, that is my hope.

And finally, big box mart on Sunday was not fun. I was exhausted from the nights before and it was slow. I realized in the morning that my work pants were never washed. I threw them into the washing machine and prayed they'd be ready by the time I had to leave. They were still damp. So, out the door into freezing snowy weather I went with wet pants. I was ten minutes late, had 3 price checks and one customer yelled at me about the price on a mop and her insistence, though we checked the UPC, that it was less than what the register said it was. To make matters worse, I noticed my cell phone was missing. I used it to call the family on my break at 3:45pm. By the time I got home 90 minutes later and checked the call log, the person who has it made three phone calls to Mexico. Great!! At the moment, the cell phone is suspended.

That's the update. I get my results next Wednesday. Please pray!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I haven't updated in awhile. Truth is, there is not much new to say. Life has settled into its little routine and I work and bowl and yell at the kids and there has been no ripple in the force.
Last night I had a strange dream. Most of the time, I dream nonsensical things but every now and then, I wake up remembering one and thinking "how odd!" I was one of the millions that had a 9/11 related dream months before the day and once something I dreamed would happen, actually did. In college, I did a term paper about Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and actually think that some dreams are an exploration of the subconscious in symbols and metaphors.
When I feel overwhelmed, I have reccurrent dreams about tornados. Sometimes, the house falls apart around me during the whirldwind and sometimes, it stays intact. Sometimes, the storm is in the distance and sometimes it's right overhead. But in my dreams, I am alright and I survive each storm, the house is rebuilt and I live to dream another day.
Last night I dreamed I had an invitation to a dance, a high school dance, from a nameless, faceless person that represented no one I know. I really felt that there was potential with this man/boy but I had reservations and I felt nervous and unsure. Before the dance however, I had a shift at Big Box Store. For some unknown reason, I was unable to clock out at my scheduled time. I was rushing in my dream to finish what I was doing while the person waited for me. We left together but we took separate cars. He went ahead of me and I attempted to follow but wound up losing sight of him. I realized that I forgot to tell him that before the dance, we would be picking up a friend, represented in my dream by an old friend I haven't seen since high school, and that I needed to stop at home and get ready. I attempted to use my cell phone but it didn't work and I was punching the buttons angrily and in great frustration. I gave up on the phone and proceeded on. I got caught in traffic and was conscious that I was late and unsure that this person would wait for me. I grew tired of waiting in the traffic and abandoned the car so I could walk the rest of the way but there was an obstacle and I had to wind my way back to my car which was no longer in the street but in a huge parking lot. I remember I was looking through rows and rows of cars trying to find mine, growing ever more aware that the time was getting later and later and that the dance had started without me. Eventually, despite the obstacles, I made it to the dance which I dreamed, was in the gym of my old high school. The gym was packed and I was making my way through the crowds trying to find my date. I knew he was there and that he waited. .. Then.... my alarm clock went off.
Is the dance my life?
Is this nameless, faceless, full of potential, person a new adventure or a goal?
Do I feel as if I'm missing the dance because of all the things that have been thrown in my path?
Is this a metaphor for my own life?
Or was this just a the ramblings of a mind at sleep?
I know despite my alarm clock going off at that inopportune time, that I was close to finding this person.
Perhaps a happy ending is in the cards.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Emily found a penny on the floor the other day and asked if she could keep it. After I told her Yes, she asked who was on the penny.
"Well, Abraham Lincoln." I said
"Who is he?" she asked.
"He is a President" I said.
"He's not the President!" she said.
"He used to be." I explained. "He's dead now."
Emily got a thoughtful look on her face. "Where is he then?" she asked.
"With God in Heaven, probably."
"He's in Heaven? How did he get there? Who drove him?" she asked.
"Nobody DROVE him. God probably came to get him. Someday we'll all have to go."
Adamantly she said as she stomped her foot "Well, I'm not going!! I'm staying RIGHT HERE!"

I will let God sort that one out with the child when it's time. He probably sent her here because He was tired of arguing with her up there.

Not much else going on. I am currently trying to focus on finishing up work and it just isn't working. That means another night in front of the computer until midnight. I am feeling pretty good still but I've noticed that my brain is a tad foggy sometimes. I'm not sure if that is lack of sleep or a side effect of my medicine. I bought some beautiful greens and veggies at our local market the other day for dirt cheap and THEY CARRY ORGANIC DANDY-LIONS!! I will NOT have to travel 20 miles for more when I run out. I am also happy that a Whole Foods is being built not more than 5 miles from here next Spring! It's always nice when the pharmacy is a little closer and I can go blow $150 on two bags of raw and organic foods more often.

Cassie is mourning that "Drake" the little baby think it over doll she was carrying around for a weekend, went back to the teachers storage cabinet. I told her if she wanted a doll, I could get her one for cheap. Perhaps Baby Alive? She was not amused and was offended I did not miss my pseudo grandchild. I just rolled my eyes.

Kris is at an Opera today downtown on a music field trip. I'm a big advocate for culture and I love broadway plays and musicals. Emily seems to be as crazy about them as I am. Just because I was tired of listening to Hannah Montana and Playhouse Disney, I slipped in a few selections from Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Sunset Boulevard. She bit! The only problem is, I have heard Joseph every day now for the past week. She likes "Any Dream Will Do"
and from Fiddler, "Matchmaker". From Sunset Boulevard, she likes the title song. I've found that music is a great way to calm her down and I get such a kick out of hearing her sing and make up the words when she doesn't know them. That's my girl!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Not much going on in the world here. I made my special beet juice concoction yesterday by juicing 1 beet, 1 carrot, 1/2 lemon, 1 apple, some dandy-lion leaves, and a slice of fresh ginger. Ya know? It really wasn't too terrible except that I put too much ginger and it had a little more spice than I wanted. It made my stomach tingle a bit. My main purpose for doing that was to act as a liver cleanse. Beets have lots of cancer fighting chemicals and even though I'm not crazy about them, I sucked down the juice and felt like I accomplished something yesterday. I was tired after my bowling league and then stayed up way too late ditzing around the computer until the wee hours.

Part of Cassie's homework this weekend is 'Baby think it over.' It's a computerized baby that cries and fusses and she needs to figure out how to make the doll happy. And, she said with a smile, it has a weiner! Whereas it's a nice idea, I don't think it quite captures the essence of child rearing and I think these dolls need a few more advanced models so one can experience the full spectrum of raising children.
We need a 'toddler think it over' that says NO! every time it's spoken to. It should be a mobile doll that writes on walls, spills food, empties drawers, gets hand prints on the TV, throws food, and plays with what's in its diaper. Then we need to follow that up with pre-teen think it over that spends all its time online or on the phone, ignores its parents, and learns the fine art of sass. Follow that up with Teen think it over that knows everything, gets F's in gym, sneaks money out of the wallet, crashes the car and asserts that everything is the teachers fault because the teacher hates them. All models should have absolutely no idea about responsibility and accountability! That should do it. If the toddler think it over doesn't thwart pregnancy, the teen think it over definitely will!
Today was Kris's big IHSA solo contest which is a big music contest. Kris has been practicing a trumpet solo and also has been practicing with a quartet of trumpet players. 1 is the highest mark you can get and 4 is the worst mark. Kris scored a 2 on his solo and a 1 in the quartet. They did sound really really good and I was not surprised. If only he put that much effort into everything... To celebrate, I am taking him out to dinner to the restaurant of his choice. Cassie is bringing baby think it over who she calls "Drake". It should be an interesting experience. So off we go. The kids have already had a stupid fight over where they are going to sit in the van. I offered the luggage rack to the next teenager that opened his mouth. So both will be strapped there or I'll leave them home and spend quality time with peace and quiet.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Insanity....it's the only way to go.

Yesterday, I finished work before 9pm!! It was such a refreshing change as I am usually sitting here all day trying to stay ahead of the game on my two fairly HUMONGOUS accounts. I was caught up by 5pm!! WOOHOO!! I figured a proper celebration would be to leave the house and get away from my constantly fighting kids and go to Whole Foods to get the missing ingredient for a fresh juice that I wanted to try made of beets (which I hate but..they are good for the liver), apples, ginger, lemon and dandelion greens. Dandelion greens?? I was vaguely aware that they were edible. After doing a simple search on where one can get them when they are not growing unwanted in my lawn, Whole Foods came up as a supplier of fresh, organic, weeds. So, yes, I got in my car and trekked almost 20 miles to purchase an organic version of the very thing my lawn care service sprays every year. I love Whole Foods! When I enter, I am just dumbfounded at the amount of absolutely perfect local fruit of all colors, shapes, sizes and types, stacked as far as the eye can see when I enter the store. Blueberries, apples, strawberry, mango, 6 different species of grapfruit, 8 different types of organic fungus, broccoli, more greens than I can imagine..it's heaven.....for about 3 minutes until you look at the prices on this stuff and find that you are paying 2.99 for a handful of organic lettuce. 1.99 for 6 organic celery stalks and $2.99 for a bunch of organic dandy-lion greens. I laughed as I put the weeds in my cart and my son ribbed me all night and said I could just go outside and dig some up if I wanted to wait a month. We have a great dandy-lion farm on the corner and I'm sure the folks that live there wouldn't mind me relieving them of the amount they have growing yearly. But I wanted them now and for real fun, I browsed the shelves and loaded my cart with raw, organic, flax bars, raw nuts, Ezekiel bread, raw honey, crackers baked and prepared with no oils, fresh cheeses, and raw coconut milk based ice cream. My two measly little bags cost about $150 but what can I say? Health costs and I got my weeds which are all ready for my juicer and I got a neato bottle of organic red wine..for um...resveratrol and um antioxidants.
I really have no idea if this is at all acting on the cancer but it's fun for a lifetime and fun for my pocketbook which just loves all the workouts its gotten lately. I am saying this tongue in cheek.
To quote our dipstick in chief, "Have you seen the price of Arugula these days?"

Maybe the next time I finish my work early, I'll do something normal like watch TV but I sure can't wait to drink that fresh glass of apple weed ala beet!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Some thoughts for my Sarcoma friends....

What in the world would I do without that second job at BigBoxMart? As I have been doing scads and scads of laundry and dishes for the past couple days, I think I can find a few things and if anythng, I'd have a sparkling clean house. But, I will not be getting a raise this year because of the bad economy so I trudge to the store on Saturdays and Sundays and check food and more food.
We did find some time to celebrate good scan results news. Despite the bad economy, there was no recession in the restaurants this weekend: A one hour wait at Olive Garden, Fox and Hound with a full parking lot as well as Red Lobster. We wound up at a local joint with a wide variety of food and a decent Saganaki and oopahed a little celebration. I realize I'm not out of the woods yet but I'll take the next six weeks of contentment until the next bout of Scanxiety hits me. Can I keep it going? I am sure trying!! We can't control a lot of aspects of cancer but we can control nutrition and what goes in and out of our mouth and I have been. When we first noticed these offensive little nodules starting to form, I made a big lifestyle change. I have alluded to it and emphasized it. Cancer just doesn't form out of nowhere. No one is really sure what genetic mechanisms are involved or what trips them but some University researchers have delved into the non-traditional to find the answers.
1) A recent article found that Melanoma and glioblastoma tumors can be fueled by stress hormome. Perhaps it fuels Sarcomas too. My bump first appeared during a very stressful time and the nodules, which had been stable for almost 2 years, multiplied when I took classes, was working a second job 4 nights a week, and was going through the diagnostic process of Emily's ADHD. I was also working into the wee hours on an account that has been the biggest challenge of my career. Constant issues..UGH! I have subsequently stopped the classes, reduced hours at my second job, stabilized Emily on her meds, and have backup on this account.
2) A preliminary study found that some Sarcomas MAY have hormone receptors. My tumor grew exponentially during my last pregnancy and I have heard many women in the Sarcoma world express the same. Either the tumor grew or a bump appeared. Foods such as broccoli, cauliflour and cabbage contain chemicals which help the body metabolize hormomes more effectively. FlaxOil as well helps the body with hormone metabolism along with freshly ground flax seeds sprinkled on cereal or in oatmeal. A Duke University study found a better treatment outcome for men undergoing treatment for Prostate cancer when fresh flax seeds were used. Flax oil is very delicate and can't be heated. Using the oil as salad dressing and seeds for the lignans will help as long as no heating is involved. Vitamin D3 is a necessary hormone. Canadian researchers found higher cancer rates in people who did not get enough sunshine. They recommended 15 minutes of direct sun daily without the blockers. I take additional D3 since it is Winter and we haven't seen the sun in months. That was OK on the trial as well.
3) Omega-3 Fatty acids and diets high in them, can stabilize some tumors and may result in Apoptosis for cancer cells. Omega 3 fatty acids are natural VEGF inhibitors and affect different pathways. They are also ESSENTIAL. Your body NEEDS Omega 3's and the current diet high in processed foods and meats, do not contain a healthy enough level of them. Adding wild Salmon to the diet as well as other foods high in Omega 3 oils can help. I take additional DHA which was OK with my Dr. on this trial. Diets high in Omega 3 also result in better treatment outcomes for cancer patients. The Japanese use fish oil as an adjuvant therapy for people going through Chemo. Omega 3's also have shown great and protective effects of the cardiovascular system and can reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol and protect your healty cells from the effects of chemotherapy and reduce its side effects. A simple google search will pull up many studies regarding Omega 3 and cancer. I am aware of the 2006 study that was done showing that fish oil does not do squat but what these researchers did was study the outcomes of people taking 2 capsules daily and NOT necessarily reducing trans fats in the hydrogenated oils or making other dietary changes.

I don't get my research from junkscience.com. Articles can be found on PubMed, ScienceDaily, CURE and other journals. One of my Sarcoma friends gave me great advice. With a disease as rare and difficult to treat as Sarcomas, it's wise to consider the anecdotal evidence since there is so little empirical evidence. Most of the studies above are preliminary. But I use them anyway.
I DO NOT eat any food with Canola, Vegetable, Soybean or any other kind of oil, especially partially hydrogenated oils. I take forever at the grocery store because I am constantly checking ingredients. If they have high amounts of any of those oils, I don't eat it. I saute in Organic Veggie broth. Flaxoil is not a "supplement." Using it is no different than frying a mess of chicken in a huge pot of lard for dinner after eating a big mac for lunch with greasy fries and bacon and eggs for breakfast. The difference is, your body can absorb the flax oil. It may not do well with the other fats. I make sure my ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 which is also essential but high amounts result in inflammation and are linked to disease, is set to what men evolved on 12:1 Omega 3 to Omega 6. Keeping with the idea that I want my body to absorb more of the good fats, I don't eat meat but maybe once or twice a year.
I juice..
I recommend juicing to everyone. I have a masticating juicer which I use to create a Kelly green glass of nutrition daily. My brother who has clotting disorder, calls my green concoction a glass of death :) To each his own! In the juicer goes a few stalks of Kale...not just for salad bars anymore!, cukes, celery, turnip greens, carrot, lemon, cabbage and broccoli. I basically hold my nose and suck down two glasses every day. All these items are chock full of nutrient that in juice form, the body can absorb more easily than eating the full vegetable. Most of these items are listed along with health benefits on the worlds healthiest foods website.
No SUGAR! No Refined white flour! No White rice! I eat wheat flour or brown rice, grains and beans once a day. If I get the urge for sugar, I allow myself one little M&M or some no sugar candy.
I eat a huge green salad for lunch made from Spinach or Baby Romaine, the healthiest lettuces. My dressing is apple cider vinegar and I sprinkle the salad with nutritional yeast for extra B vitamins.
I eat cottage cheese with blended flax oil (using a hand mixer), a couple tablespoons mixed with 4 tablespoons cottage cheese. I add strawberries, blueberries and a teaspoon of raw honey after blending. Then I top with raw fresh ground flax seeds. This is a great way to get those ESSENTIAL Omega 3 fats that when they bind with the cysteine in the cottage cheese, are more easily absorbed by the cells than consumed apart.
Whether this acts on the cancer or makes it easier for the Brivanib to do its work, remains to be seen but physically I feel a lot better and I have energy. I haven't had any of the issues with the high blood pressure and my bloodwork has all been within specs. I understand the huge commitment and lifestyle change but when fighting for life, I'll do it and do it gladly and recommend it to anyone going through cancer. Dr's know diddly about nutrition. That is a separate science all together. They do recommend a good diet as adjuvant therapy.

Have a good day and good eatin!