Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Hello everyone, I'm still here. It's been months since I posted to this blog I know. I kind of lost interest in keeping up with it once the radiation phase of my treatment took over. The radiation just hammered me and I had no desire to do anything.
It's been about three months since radiation and I still did not blog my status. Seems I've been in limbo for quite some time. I guess also once the news started turning bad I did not want to talk about it. Things were going good for a while then the cancer made a return. Big set back. I was pretty bummed to say the least.
I've been on a feeding tube for close to four months or maybe more now and we are finally at the phase where we are taking care of the hietal hernia that caused all of this to begin with. I'm sitting here in my motel room in Portland on the eve of my surgery. I check in tomorrow morning at 5:30 am and I think my surgery is at 9 but It may even be earlier than that.
They are going in laproscopically to pull my stomach down and sew up the tear in my diaphragm. The goal is to be able to eat and swallow again. I can swallow now but it just ends up stuck so the surgery is supposed to alleviate that condition. The doctors say there is no guarantee but once I made the choice they seemed to agree it was the right choice.
Once the surgery is done then it's back to focusing on a cancer free me. Right now, as of my last PET scan, it appears that the esophageal tumor has shrunk considerably but the cancer was back in my liver and lungs and a new spot of concern in my hip. Pretty scary stuff and I feel like the medical establishment wants to give up on me but I'm not giving up on me. I still believe I can beat this.
I'm on track with my naturopath oncologist now doing some alternative treatments to cleanse and build up my body. I'll be starting high doses of Vitamin C next week, IV drip, in addition to some of the Gerson stuff and a few other things.
We've been starting to do some juices in my feeding tube and I have been gaining weight over the last few days. I feel pretty healthy and the doctors say I look and seem healthy and my blood work is good and I'm strong so I have that going for me. I'm still in a lot of pain from time to time and a lot of that is just achy pain from laying around all the time. I have not had a lot of energy to do anything and have not had any exercise in quite some time due to the fact that I can't afford to burn off too many calories and I just have not had the energy.
With this surgery I will gain my ability to eat and gain more weight and have more energy so I can begin to rebuild myself. I feel it is a key component to my healing.
I also have all of you. Your encouragement and support this year has been a godsend. I'm so grateful that I have the friends and acquaintances that send love and prayers our way. I say our way because Mary is pretty deeply wrapped up in this too. She has been through it all with me and I can see how tough it is on her. She has been taking care of me in ways I'm not sure I could do. She is an amazing woman. I love you Mary. Thank you.
So now I'll chill here in the motel for the evening and focus on a positive outcome for my 12/12/12 surgery. I'll think of all of my friends and family and accept their love and prayers as they pour into my universe. I've been so blessed in my life and I have learned so much in the past 12 months that I am ready for my new life of shining brightly and being the best person I can be. I do believe I have changed. I still catch myself in some old patterns but much quicker and much quicker to let it go so I know this life lesson has worked to some degree. it's just been a hard way to wake up to certain things.
Blessings to you all, I send you all my love and surround you all in loving light and wish you all the best that life can bring.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Today I went in for the results of my PET scan. I actually got teh CD in the mail on Saturday so I had a chance to look it over. Before I get into that I have to back up and tell you how I was feeling before the scan.
I was under a lot of stress the week before so I was really worried and it could be that the stress came from the worry to begin with and I was really on edge that week. Anything would st me off. I have been on a lot of medication of and on so I'm sure that has a tremendous impact on my behavior and mood in general. So Stress was big last week. Lots of negativity running through my psyche but not in the way of loss of optimism towards my condition.I did, however, feel that the stress of last week was detrimental to my entering into the scan.
I've been having a lot of trouble swallowing my food and it just seems to get worse with occasional periods of good swallowing ability. So my concerns about that were strong too even though I would just write it off to the haietal hernia I have. The PET scan does have one set of images that one can see the hernia and how my stomach is in fact quite a bit above my diaphragm and in my chest thereby compressing my esophagus like an accordion with a funky bend and the stomach sphincter muscle and undulating motion of the esophagus are thereby inhibited.
But still, if there is shrinkage in the tumor then it seems things would be going back to what it was before the cancer somewhat. But it's not gotten any better in terms of ability to eat. I'm basically on a liquid diet.
So going into this I was feeling a little less optimistic than usual. I do not believe that my sudden fear or lack of optimism reversed tings in just one short week.
When I got the CD I checked it out and saw that the mass in my esophagus looked worse. Like there was more there. It seemed to have grown so going into today I just knew somehow that the news would be a little less than what was hoped for. Turns out I was right. The doctor said it seems to have grown and it was a logical time to switch to the treatment phase we are moving into. Of course at that point my mind is not absorbing everything and my ability to ask more questions is impaired by the thought that my condition may be worsening. He said that the cells most likely mutated and different cells are trying to take over now so the radiation along with the 24/7 chemo pump is the way to go.
Now I know I have a choice in this and I choose to proceed but I also intend on taking better care of myself now. In some respects I resigned to the chemo so much during the last seven months that there were a few periods of not paying attention to some of the simple rules in fighting the big C. I'm going with my intuition and have begun to study cook books more and taking charge of my diet better than I have been.
The chemo regimen I was on for seven months was a tough road both physically and mentally. It is not an easy task to do everything you should to maximize healing. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the mental motivational side of you suffers in many ways too. You get irritable from the drugs like steroids or, in my case pain pills, and side effects of chemo. I get irritable because I'm so frustrated by not being able to mindlessly eat like everyone else.
I want to say something about the Doctors and the care I've gotten at the Cancer Institute. The care from the nurses in the chemo lab has been the best. Today would have been a full day of chemo based on the schedule I was on so today is really the first day of a new phase and I kind of miss seeing the nurses in the lab. I did stop in for 5 minutes to get my port flushed and say Hi.
My Doctor, well he's a nice guy but, honestly after the last couple of visits I feel like he's strangely detached from me. I know they are busy but it seems he does not know what's up until he comes into the room. No Prior looking at the scan or anything so you get about 10 to 15 minutes. I don't know maybe there is more he does with my case later but it seems he's just there real quick to tell me a few things and shuffle me on. Not much optimism comes from him. Thank god I have my higher self for that.
So that's the story. The tumor appears to have grown and there are a couple new spots that concern the Doc. The PET scan measures metabolic rate so the Black brain is a result if the high metabolic rate of the brain. This according to the PET Lab tech. So gong into it the way I did may have something to do with it.
The fight continues. just a little speed bump in the road to wholeness. Thank you all again for your healing loving prayers and thoughts.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Hi everyone, yes it's been a while since I posted to my Blog. The reason is I don't want to cover the same old stuff over and over. Sure there have been new insights into the experience in general but for the most part not much has changed. Same ol routine.
What's new is that this is round 8 and the final round of what is the three chemo drug regimen. Now it's a come down from this session then a month off then radiation 5 days a week for a month and during that month I will be wearing a chemo pump that pumps the chemo into my body 24/7. Sounds like fun huh?
I'm not sure what to expect but gauging the medical people responses it may be a tough time with fatigue and eating. I'm thinking "oh great, I have trouble eating already". Going into this session at 165 pounds is the lightest I've gone into it.
I've been pretty weak but I think mostly due to the lack of nutrition rather than any effects of the cancer. The chemo has an effect too but lack of food is big. I can barely do a squat and stand back up unassisted. Muscle mass has decreased significantly. I will have to start working out soon.
I do go in for one more PET scan on August 22nd so lets see some more clearing and healing results then.
I'm so glad I'm on the tail end of this Cancer part.
For those who are not aware of the full scope of my current condition I want to share again that this whole process started with what's called a haietal hernia where your diaphragm tears open and your stomach moves it's way up into your chest causing things not to work right. It is a hernia that many have and live with but as with anything, It's different for everyone. My tear is 12 to 14 cm so it has to be fixed. There is no question. The question is when. Clearly I have to recover from cancer treatment before I have any kind of surgery so it may be after the first of the year before I can get that surgery done and have some quality of eating life back.
When I'm in this experience I have to say, if I have not already, that my focus is primarily on this hernia, I rarely think of the cancer aspect and rarely use that dreaded C word or associate it with my self. My head is not in the sand or in denial but in a place of knowing I've beaten it so lets move on to the eating issue.
The mental state and attitude has been my strongest tool in this experience.
Again I want to reiterate that this experience is positive. This has been a blessing in my growth in many ways. Now it's time to live what I've learned.
Thanks for reading and thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
Much love to you all.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Hey everyone. It's been a while since my last blog post. I don't want to cover the same old stuff so I don't blog much about it right now but today I have big news.
I got the results of my PET scan and it shows my body as really clearing up. In fact the liver cancer is gone. There is no sign of it in the scan and comparing this scan to the last side by side you can see significant improvement.
I've been able to eat much more normal for the last three weeks and I've gone from 162 lbs three weeks ago to 179 lbs today. I've been eating a lot of fast food to get there but the Doctors say that's ok for now. Do what I can to gain the weight.
I can't help but being emotional about my results. I'm so happy.
I do have more to deal with as far as the process goes. It's not over yet. They have scheduled two more chemo sessions after this 8th one now and then radiation treatment in September. This could be a year long process but whatever it takes right?
I want to thank all of my friends, family and all the people I don't even know who have been pulling for me. It's been an important part of my healing process and I am very grateful.
Bless you all.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Today is chemo session six. It's been three weeks since my last session and a lot has happened in that time. I've been having real difficulty swallowing food. On one hand they say I'm healing but my swallowing seems to be getting worse. Could be scar tissue or inflammation, obviously something. The only thing that helps me open up is the steroids they give me. I don't want to take them on a regular basis but they open me up and do make me feel good. I talked with the doctor about it today and in the short term it's ok so I can get through this but eventually long term there will have to be another solution. The steroids are an anti inflammatory so that's what is doing the trick.
When I talk about my condition I tell people that I am not so much focused on the fact that I have this cancer challenge. I am more focused on the fact that I cannot get food down. A friend of mine pointed out this weekend that the cancer is a past and future thing and that the swallowing is a present event. It ll made sense.
I've been well aware of the message the universe is sending me through this process and that is to slow down and me mindful and present in everything I do. So in effect if I look at this in my metaphysical way I see how this is showing me how I need to slow down. It's amazing how much focus I have to give my eating time.
I watch others eat and see how it's just a natural thing that is mostly taken for granted. There is no real thought in the process. In it goes and down it goes. MMMM Good I'm sure. It's such a basic need that I have such a new found appreciation for. Eating.
On a different note but in the same vein as letting go I have recently let go of my business in a way that frees me consciously in a very nice way. I've been stuck in my own control issues for many years with the money that comes in and whatever else. After a very stressful day I realized I don't want this stress of managing the company anymore. So I decided that I would give it to Mary. She is now in charge of the operation and I am a technical consultant. I realized that the money all goes to the same thing. We pay out bills with it and that's pretty much it. We don't draw a paycheck so basically what does it matter who does it if you are a team right? Besides, it has reached the point where her skills are more needed than mine in keeping it together and getting things in order for future growth. My role was to make the machine and I did and it brings in work on a regular basis without any real effort in soliciting that work. It's a machine I made that is now in it's time to be run by someone else.
As for the technical side of things I still need to be there and I am but but I have also hired someone to take over production. So there is that training process gong on and gradually I'm stepping out yet still overseeing quality and technical issues. It feels really good to let it go.
Really it is more of a consciousness shift in my relationship to the business than it is a physical leaving the company. I have to assure my regular customers that I'm still there to be sure the quality and service stays the same in this transition.
So now I don't see myself as having a job. No income other than what I can generate from sales of my art and other little projects which is really a very slow and low money making endeavor right now but it will grow. It's what I love to do so I have to go for it.
So in conclusion today I say my message is to Let Go! Be present! Be here Now! It is liberating.
Thanks for reading, many blessings and love to you all.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Hi Everyone. It seems it's been forever since my last post but I feel like it's easier to post when I'm here in my chemo chair.
Last week I found out the results of my CT scan which indicated that the tumors are shrinking and have shrunk by 25%. The cancer is calcifying which means it is dieing. The problem is the mass is still in my throat making it very difficult to swallow food. Eating is still a major problem.
When I got my CT scan I spoke with a dietitian who gave me some good tips for diet and numbers to work towards in terms of calories and protein. So for the last five days I've met those needs and at times exceeded them. I started at 168.8 went up to 172.2 and today 169.4
So as you can see the trouble gaining weight is still there. It's been hard to find a good diet and understand what works right now. Many of you may have suggestions and I know you mean well and by all means please continue to offer suggestions. I look and listen but can't always act on them due to how I am feeling. weird cravings and aversions come up.
The weight gain has been the most troubling of this experience along with the discomfort from swallowing. Aside from that, many days I feel fine. A get tired easy but that's easy to deal with. Not much help with big chores around the yard right now though. Mowed our mini lawn yesterday and was ready for a nap.
Now I'm in my fifth round of chemo with three more coming over the next two and half months or so. Schedule all depends on blood count. I asked a few more questions today about the cancer and what the next steps will be. So basically it's chemo then probably some radiation and a chemo pill at the same time.
I asked about surgery and the Doc said he didn't think that would be the way to go because esophageal surgery is such a major deal. He seemed to think the radiation will do the final trick and then they may be able to put a stint in my esophagus to open it up so I can get food in but that may cause long term discomfort as well.
He said something along the lines that he did not think they could cure the cancer completely. Of course that is not good to hear but it means nothing to me. My plan is to ride this treatment out and see where it takes me then after my recovery from chemo I will continue to pursue alternate methods of treatment if needed,
I am healed, I am healthy and whole.
Thank you all again for your support and loving thoughts and prayers.
Monday, April 9, 2012
So here we are in the final stages of scheduled treatment. Chemo session 4. My blood work was good so I'm in the final phase. I'm so glad to be here to today and getting this over with. Sure the rest of the week will be the Chemo come down but hey, it's almost over. I'm kicking cancers ass.
Next week I'm scheduled for a CT scan which is way easier than a PET scan where you have to stay in the machine for 25 minutes with a 45 minute per prep. In two weeks I meet with my doctor and we see where we stand with this situation. I anticipate excellent news.
I am still having considerable trouble swallowing my food every day. It takes an incredible amount of focus when I eat to be sure it's all chewed up and not to just go for it. I have to feel each bite go all the way down before ingesting more food or else there is trouble.
It's very frustrating but it is the initial reason I am in this boat. I still have this Haietal Hernia which will need to be addressed at some time down the road. Sucks to think that beating cancer is just the first step in this healing process. It's a big part and it needs to be beaten first so it it was it is.
Been feeling great for the most part. Pretty normal other than I feel like not me because I have no facial hair. Kind of got used to that so the new look is too much of a reminder that there is a sickness going on. I'm also down to 172 pounds but have been maintaining that weight for the past month or so. Along with that weight loss is a muscle weakness. Feeling like a weakling for sure. Can't wait to bounce out of that stuff.
I do feel like I'm moving out of the patient phase into the cancer survivor phase. It's weird how you can get wrapped up in it. It's easy to fall into the victim role and say I'm sick please care for me or whatever. It's nice to be taken care of and there is nothing wrong with getting into that mode it but that needs to be let go of too in order to heal completely.
There comes a point when you realize that you are going to be OK and it's time to start projecting that energy out to the world so they can see it too. To walk strong and confident that life is there for the making.
As I write this I feel that I have been blessed to a certain degree. So much has shifted inside in a non physical way that it has been somewhat enlightening. I see things slightly different now and I feel different. I can't quite explain how I feel but it's there.
I'm so looking forward to the rest of my life and spending time with my friends and family in a new light of life.