The Cutting Edge

Yesterday, late afternoon, my little buddy was here and we were just enjoying a movie and a sandwich when the phone rang and my ‘other’ reality interferred. Oncologist/Radiologist from Cyberknife asked to speak to me and then explained the following to me. (Very nice and patient Doctor.)

Seems that I am a candidate for this procedure. Seems it’s not quite that simple, yet again. Pro- there may be only 3-4 treatments necessary to get rid of that tumor. Con- there may be some damage to some areas due to location of that tumor. AND, I still may need chemo!

Conventional treatment: Surgery, would be more informative as they could check surrounding areas, IF there could be additional nodules, which then would be biopsied for positive/negative results. Then follow up with chemo for a better quality of life. (Sounds backward to use ‘quality’ in the same sentence with chemo.)  Still not an easy choice. Still wondering which road to take? If, if, if.

I have to wonder again, WHY they did not take this lymph node out 10 year ago? I’ve had two surgeries within 2 weeks.  That’s when they told me, afterward, IF this lymph node made any problems, it would be diffilcult to remove. (I had purchased a long, purple zipper which I’d put under my hospital gown , so when they’d took it off before surgery, they saw it laying on my belly. Message: You sew that in there for easier access. They had a good laugh about that.) So, now I’m stuck with this cancerous, enlarged lymph node, like some ugly souvernir and have to make these awfully hard decisions. ( Am I whining? Well. Sometimes I get to do this.)

Even though there were other health problems that came in rapid succession, I was always in gratitude and proclaimed, “As long as it’s Do-able.” It’s still do-able but in a more sinister way and it’s not leaving a lot of room for erroneous decisions.

There’s another choice: Cancer Centers. Closest one is in Phoenix. I have some good friends, living close by.

Before all of that, there’s still hope that some ‘miracle’ will happen and through this long walk on the Camino, my body will heal itself. Then, we do a P.E.T scan, bloodwork and SEE what happened. (Although the P.E.T does not show everything, either, I am told.)

I’ve been up since 4:00 A.M again and these thoughts are circling like big birds. (Sure hope they don’t turn into Vultures.)

Any medical voices out there that want to weigh in?


Eat fresh, organic and raw

Well, at least raw twice a day. That does not mean a raw potato.  You don’t have to wait until you have a life-changing illness to change your lifestyle.

During my cancer journey, last time, I could barely eat anything. Chemo changed the taste of so many food items. Then, there was hardly any appetite due to long lasting nausea.

I would buy fresh products and create dishes. I would experiment with new items but what I neglected was organic. First reason, there was no organic market here. I’ve learned just because something looks green, or like a sweet potato, it doesn’t make it organic. It’s been sprayed into oblivion. It’s been trucked across and sometimes left sitting in the hot sun or cold weather. By the time, we pick it up, it’s been altered considerably. I thought I bought fresh. I did not know about mercury in fish. I did not know a whole lot about GOOD healthful food.

Then, about 3 years ago my health started to deteriorate. I had a myriad of ‘phantom’ complaints. I made the doctor rounds and no one knew what was the matter with me. I had heart palpitations. My hair started to fall out. I started to gain weight and had fluid retention. My eyes were so grainy and burning, I thought that I had severe allergies. My right kidney hurt. I had to go to the bathroom 12-14 times a day. (I went to the Urologist and he diagnosed me with ‘Interstitial Cystitis.’ This is when the mucuous lining of the bladder ‘eats itself’,breaks down. Very painful and chronic. Finally, I couldn’t stand the pain any more and went to a different Urologist, who diagnosed me with kidney stones. Geez. Eighteen month of pain. and a wrong call. I had a Lithotripsy to remove them. I finally got some Thyroid medication for the other problems.

Then, I got Plantar’s Fasciitis and couldn’t walk. It felt like I stepped on broken glass.  Months later, I finally saw a very good Foot Therapist and he helped with that. My friend Carla, tried to get me to eat ‘organic’. She  tried to impress its importance. She said, I needed to change my food. I kept saying to her, ‘ but I eat well and fresh. I can’t afford organic’.  When the lab report came back, it stated the stones were ‘calcium’ based, meaning ‘you eat wrong.’

On the right, this is what they look like The most painful ordeal. Child birth is a low 1 point on that scale!! This procedure cost $16,000. (Imagine the amount of organic food that would’ve bought.)

Finally, when I was re-diagnosed with cancer, 18 mos ago, I was so scared I changed my lifestyle over night! One of the first things I did, was, to appologize to my friend, Carla. For being stubborn, un-believing of her many years of knowledge and the gentle, loving way she tried to make me see.

I learned that even though, I knew a LOT about food and butter and cream sauces and wonderful dishes and pastries, I knew very little about NUTRITION. You can eat and still be nutritionally malnutritioned. That’s where the trouble starts. Your Immune system is falling apart, sending desperate signals of ‘symptoms’, which we ignore or, silence them with prescription drugs because hardly anyone is interested in the CAUSE. God forbid, we should do without that cheeseburger and lab-created, plastic maccaroni and cheese. Or, we think, that this only happens to other people.

I look at the many cooking shows where some designer Chef pours massive amounts of oil into pots and pans. Or, like the one lady who uses pounds of butter and sugar to make things taste good. Well, it takes a better chef to make food taste good without all that stuff.

Changing my lifestyle, even as a senior citizen, was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I’ve lost all that piled-on weight (43 lbs so far.)  No more pains, no more kidney stones. My skin is glowing, my eyes are bright. I have very good energy. I am full of Tatendrang (desire to do great things.) Some people do not really believe that I have cancer. How can I look, feel this good?  Well, I have no clue. The scans, bloodwork and tests say, I do. The first P.E.T scan showed 3 tumors. One in lower abdomen, this one disappeared with lifestyle change and never came back. One, in my lung (removed with VATS (1 at the inside of my spine (it’s the last one and that’s the one I’m researching for Cyberknife procedure.  (Remember? Non invasive, painfree, hard to get to place?)

I have renewed my attention and committment to eat better. I eat two raw meals a day (salad with 5-8 ingredients and home made, wonderful tasting dressings. I juice and do smoothies. I walk for miles, at least 3-4 days in the week. I feel great.

What I would like to impress on my family and friends, especially for my grandchildren, is, to start NOW. Start better habits. I worry about the sugar they eat, the bad carbs, the lack of raw, organic foods. Just think about it. Just love yourself enough to change.

The medical side wants to do surgery, chemo. I still try to hold that off and walking the camino is one of my ideas.

Long, long ago…

 I was the fourth and youngest child. The line-up went boy, girl, boy, girl. I was also a “Furlough Baby”. I wouldn’t know my Father until I was 3+ years old. He was a Prisoner of war, in those last few years. When he came home, he was 35 yrs old and looked like an old man.
I remember that my mom had gone somewhere for a few minutes. The chain was attached to the door and when the doorbell rang, I openend it to its allowed space. There stood a man, in uniform. He would later tell the story that he said to open the door, that he was my father, but I was admonished by mom not to open the door for strangers, many times, and so I didn’t, Left him standing there. Tired and hungry.
These pictures were sent to me by my  friend, Heidi, who went to Kindergarten and school with me. She also lived next door. As you can see, it was run by nuns. Stern, scary beings! But, I suppose we learned a lot and there was not much other choice.
When I went to Germany a couple of years ago with my best, lifelong friend, Irene, we went to this place and it still exists. It’s still a Kindergarten but beautifully restored. With light and color we couldn’t even imagine, back then. Children were singing  and we recognized the song, sung in wobbly, high, little voices and for a moment we were transported back in time. We looked at each other, moved to tears by this poignant moment.
(I’m the third one on the left.) I had the lead role as a Gardener. I was carrying a watering can and sang a song as I ‘watered’ the flowers. At some point, in the middle of things, my hat fell off and I bend down so fast, in one fell swoop to pick up, without missing a beat nor step, that people laughed at the comedy of it. I thought, that they were laughing at me. I cried, embarrassed and  heart broken and refused to continue.
I still see most of these ‘kids’ when I go back. They wait with reunions until they know I’m coming.
On the right was last year’s meeting. I am so very lucky to still have these friends in my life. They found me, a few years ago, after searching for years. I remember the letter starting with:  “Dear Inge. Finally, finally we have found you.” And I cried.