Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's been a while...

I feel like nothing is going on and everything is going on at the same time.  Things have been mostly more of the same, going to IV's on a regular basis and spending a lot of time in doctors offices and clinics.  When I haven't been there I have been spending a lot of time with my family.  I have been so busy for months but it has been a good kind of busy and the past three months have just flown by.  I have been hanging out at dads quite a bit and I even caught my very first salmon!  Another check for the bucket list :)

Cooking breaky
I went on a road trip with my mom and aunt at the end of May.  Our whole trip was rock hounding in southeastern Oregon.  We found lots of agate and sunstones and some apache tears, the weather was nice and I always love camping.  I always sleep better in a tent in my sleeping bag than I do at home in bed or in a strange hotel with crunchy bed sheets and never enough soft covers.  A nice soft sleeping pad and puffy sleeping bag is always the preference in my book and feels like heaven.  One night we even got to sleep in a teepee!  It was awesome and now I totally want a teepee.  I felt like I was back in time sleeping next to the crackling fire in the teepee.  Does it really get much better than that?!  Way better than a hotel.

After my little trip it was back to the grind of chemo and C IV's.  I also had a CT scan in June.  I was really hoping that the results would say "What cancer?" and my plan was to hopefully take a break from chemo for a few months.  Lately, I have really been feeling the effects of the chemotherapy and scheming up a plan to take a break.  Every time I get it lately it feels a little worse each time, like it's starting to eat away my brain again, making me very tired and low energy for about a week afterward.  My blood counts are looking pretty good though (as good as they are going to on chemotherapy anyway) so I really am not complaining too much because things can always be worse.

Soooo.....back to the scan.  The scan showed that there is a tumor that started growing again and it has actually grown 30% in the last two months, so it is something to be concerned about.  My oncologist  contacted my radiologist and together we determined that the best course of action is going to be to get internal radiation again (Y-90 or yttrium 90 radioembolization).  Remember the last time I got radiation?  It was last year on Valentines day and it unexpectedly wiped me out for months.  This time I am manifesting an easy recovery.  I know what to expect and I am pretty sure that I have my meds sorted out this time.  They are also going to only radiate one tumor on the right side of my liver.  Last time they radiated numerous tumors in the smaller left side of my liver which was right against my stomach and I feel that is what caused a lot of the pain and delayed my recovery.  The right side of my liver is the more "healthy" side and it has actually grown about 30% to compensate for the carnage on the left side of my liver.  I am thinking that because of these things this radiation surgery shouldn't be nearly as bad as the last one, right? Yes, right :)

Me and my mama in a beautiful canyon
This procedure is going to happen at the end of this month.  My mom and I are going on another road trip tomorrow to do some more rock hounding and some touristy sight seeing for a couple of weeks (more camping and late night stars!) and once I return I will be getting an angiogram surgery to map out my veins and blood vessels, and to measure how much of the Y-90 they will need to blast my tumor into the next dimension.  After they determine those measurements and routes through the superhighway of veins and blood vessels to the tumor I will have approximately 7 days before the radiation surgery happens.  By my calculations after I return from this road trip I am going to be busy for a while...However, I am going to heal fast, fast, fast!  Once I am all healed up from my radiation my father and I are planning another rock hounding adventure in Colorado and Utah.  I figured I might as well have something to look forward to in order to heal faster from my surgery and radiation.  The promise of hunting rocks and sleeping under the stars should do the trick :)

I'm hoping all of  you out there are having a wonderful summer and are all happy, healthy, and full of life!

Cancer Can Suck It!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's in the air!

I saw someone wearing shorts and a t-shirt yesterday on my way home from my C IV.  It was a nice sunny warm day but I was still cold.  I've been cold a lot lately, probably because I am only 107 pounds and have pretty much no insulation on my body.  I am trying to gain some weight back though.  Believe it or not it is not as easy as you may think.
Me and Pa hanging out on the river

Once again it has been a strange year off to a strange start.  About a month or so ago I started having that pain in the middle of my abdomen again, right where my ribs come together at the bottom of my ribcage.  It feels like someone driving a knife into my stomach.  It hurts a LOT.  I took a couple of oxycodone and it didn't even tough the pain.  So I took some morphine and same deal, no relief.  Then I decided to go to the emergency room, knowing that they would not be able to do anything except give me more painkillers and at least they could monitor me in the meantime.  So off I went, drove myself to the ER and drove myself  back home again about 4 hours later.  Luckily it was only about 6 blocks away.  Then I had a bunch of family come to stay with me because I couldn't drive anywhere due to all the morphine I was on.  Gramma came for a week, then dad came and ended up coming back again for a total of about 3 weeks.

New port and old ones...
My new superport didn't heal very well due to all the scar tissue from the previous site.  So I had to go and get yet another port placed around valentines day.  This one is on the other side in fresh virgin flesh so it should be alright and is already looking better than the previous two ever did.  Finally!

I ended up  being admitted to the hospital for the pain.  I was there for two nights and three days all the while running tests and MRI's of my head to see if there was a tumor there that might be causing my trouble.  Those all checked out just fine.  I did a barium swallow and it was fine until it got to my large intestine.  Then they discovered a giant roadblock.  I was severely constipated.  The barium I had swallowed stayed in my system for three days because it had no where to go!  Then they released me.  I was so upset.  How was I supposed to take care of this all by myself and didn't they care that I was full of shit, literally!   If you're one of those TMI people you may not want to read this part.  I got home and did a warm water enema which helped a little.  I gave myself a break for a day and powered down two dulcolax tablets and low and behold things moved, a LOT!  I can honestly say it was one of the biggest reliefs ever.  My pain was so bad for so long I quite honestly thought I was going to die.  The head pharmacist at the hospital gave me a very helpful piece of information and I stick to it religiously now because I never EVER want that to happen again....anytime I take anything that could cause constipation I take a Senna S to go with it.  This so far has helped me immensely!  I also found out that I cannot live on soft foods alone, like soup, smoothies and juice.  My body really needs to have something solid to work on otherwise it forgets how to digest.

I am now taking motility drugs to help with my body's digestive process and something called gabapentin for nerve pain.  The little sac that holds all my liver and bile duct etc has nerve endings in it and due to the swelling from chemo and cancer etc it is what really starts hurting.  Ever since I have been on the nerve pain pills (which don't leave me feeling woozy) my pain has been pretty much in the manageable category and that is a very good thing.  For now I am still taking motility drugs and I am hoping that eventually my body will remember how to digest again and I may get to stop taking them.
Digging for agates.

It has been a busy, busy past couple of months in LauraLand.  I am hoping things will settle down now and I can start planning some summer fun for my family and I.  I got to get out and go agate hunting with my dad and brother and sister this past weekend and it was so nice to get out into the woods for a bit.  However I was so tired hiking out that my dad had to carry my loot of agates. But we found quite a few and even some as big as my fist!  One that looked like a crazy horn even.

Ever since I got out of the hospital every day is a little better than the last and my energy is starting to come back slowly.  Sleep is still one of my favorite past times and I keep hearing that is ok because this is when your body is healing itself and I can use all of the healing I can get.  Since I was in the hospital and laid up for a while I wasn't able to get an IV for a week or two and I can really feel the difference in energy levels.  I just got one yesterday and am already starting to feel my cells jumping for joy!

Colored pencil shavings.  Cool huh?!
I've been doing a lot of craft stuff at home.  On of my new favorite things to do is to paint rocks...stupid sounding I know but it is calming and relaxing and it is fun to see what you can create.  Most of them get given away but that is most of the fun!  I am still making mobiles and working on a way to drill holes in the polished agates I have found so that I can make jewelry out of them soon.  I also have plans to make wall hanging jewelry holders in addition to mobiles so if anyone needs gifts for mothers day or whatever please think of me and  a home made item instead of a gift card or a big box gift. :)

I still miss my kitty like crazy and even find myself crying at the drop of a hat when I see something that reminds me of her or if I think about how her presence is missing in my home. I am happy though that she is in no more pain and discomfort and I just know that she is here with me all the time but it sure would be nice to pet her and snuggle up on the couch for a nap together.  I miss her smell and her soft fuzzy fur.  I even miss the icky stuff like cleaning up after her accidents and having to be home at certain times just to give her medications.  I can't wait to see her again but I am in no hurry to get there just yet either. :)

My kitty soulmate, rest in piece little girl. I love you!
I am also (always) accepting donations to help pay for my vitamin C IV's so if any of you are able to help out at all I would be forever grateful.  Even $1 helps.  There are multiple ways to donate to my cause and gift cards for gas or Fred Meyer for groceries or trader Joe's or Whole Foods even are lifesavers for me as my food stamp money does not last me for the entire month.  You can also donate directly to my doctors office at The Center for Traditional Medicine in Lake Oswego by calling them and telling them that you would like to put money into my account.  The phone number is 503-636-2734.  Again, ANY AMOUNT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED AND VERY MUCH NEEDED!  I am still kicking some cancer ass and I most certainly know that I wouldn't even be here today if it was not for you all and your support in every way.  Thank you all so much and I hope you know that my love for you all is endless as well as my gratitude.

Remember, we never, ever have a tomorrow.  All we have is this moment today right now.  And no matter how bad life is it can always and I mean always be worse. :)

Cancer Can Suck It!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Goodbye 2013, don't let the door hit you on the way out

This last year has been hard.  I am so glad it is finally over.

I should have taken the very beginning of the year as an omen.  It started off with my docs freaking out because my scan showed that my cancer was growing back again.  This is when I decided to give the Y-90 radioembolization a try.  After an angiogram (they went through my artery in my groin to get images of all of the blood vessels/veins etc in my liver) where they placed 5 or 7 platinum coils (chemo brain cant remember this stuff) in my liver to block flow to the left side while they radiated the right side.  This procedure took place on Valentines day.  Through my research and conversations with my radiologist my understanding of how I was going to feel after radiation was not exceptionally terrible.  Apparently most people who undergo this procedure usually feel like they have the flu for about a week or so, then it is back to life as "normal".  Needless to say this was not the case for me.  I literally felt like I had a bad sunburn inside my body.  My body even acted like it too, with skin sloughing off my esophagus and from inside my mouth, just like a sunburn but I would have welcomed a bad sunburn in trade for what I was going through.  The next two months were nothing but a blur to me.  Everyone had to be at least 6 feet from me (especially my kitty girl) because I was literally radioactive.  I couldn't eat or drink anything at all because my stomach felt like it was on fire.  Water was just about the only thing that passed through my lips for weeks.  After a while I was able to hold down some yogurt and that soon became my only meal for the next couple of weeks.  The pain I felt from this procedure was very literally THE WORST pain I have ever experienced in my entire 42 years of life.  The days lasted an eternity and the nights were even longer.  It seemed that the pain got even worse at night and I cannot even begin to count the hours that I spent crying, groaning and suffering at night in the dark of my bedroom wondering how I could hurt so much and not be dead yet.  There even came a time where for about a week I was welcoming death and felt myself giving in/giving up because it was just too painful and too much for me to handle any longer.

One day I realized that my thoughts had begun to slip into this dark realm and that I was very dangerously close to dying.  I realized that my thoughts of welcoming death and giving up were steering me even further into having this become my reality and at that moment I realized that I wasn't ready to give up yet.  I still have a lot left to do here in this life.

By June I was beginning to feel a bit better (remember the procedure was back on 2/14 so by now it had been 4 months of feeling horrible).  My mom had been spending a lot of time in Portland taking care of me, hell, she used up every single bit of her vacation time from work taking care of me and the year wasn't even half way over yet!  We were utterly and completely physically exhausted and mentally and emotionally battered and raw.  We sorely needed a break.  An anonymous gift sent us to Mexico for 10 days and during the time I was there I began to feel better and better as each day passed.  I honestly don't know how my mother or I could have ever made it through the rest of last year without that much needed release.

Upon returning home I started hurting again although not consistently which I was thankful for.  I started chemotherapy in July and also started getting high dose Vitamin C infusions.  Chemo was two week on and one week off until I got to the point where my blood cells/marrow and kidneys couldn't handle it and now I get chemo every other week unless my counts are low then we postpone it again for another week.  I also get Vitamin C IVs three times a week.  So this means that I am usually sitting in an IV of some kind or another for, on average, 4-6 hours three or four times every single week.  When I get out I am usually very tired and unless I have an errand to run or have to pick up groceries I usually just go home and assume the position on the sofa effectively ignoring the laundry, vacuuming, cooking, or any other household chore I really need to do.  My kitty girl would always come and snuggle up to me and make me feel better with her soft, lovey, cuddly, little kitty self.  She always knew when I felt bad and would always come to comfort me without fail.

This schedule continued for about 4 months and the area around my port became extremely sore from being accessed repeatedly.  I thought about just leaving it accessed overnight on several occasions and even the nurses and docs asked why I didn't just do that.  The problem is that I sleep on my right side, well not so much my side as on my chest, even now when there is a sore port there I still cant seem to stay on my left side or on my back all night.  I thrash in my sleep and just knew that if I had been accessed, I would most likely rip it out in the middle of the night.  Gives me the queasies just thinking about it.  ICK.
The schedule was interrupted when mom ended up coming down with pneumonia.  I hauled booty up to Seattle to take care of her.  She had already taken herself to the ER (luckily she lives across the street from it) earlier in the week and had been released.  The night I arrived we ended up back in the ER and this time they kept her overnight.  This is when we found out that she had developed bacterial pneumonia.  She was wiped out, I don't remember ever seeing her so sick in all my life.   I rescheduled my chemo and IVs and stayed in Seattle for a couple weeks to take care of her.  She still didn't feel wonderful when I left but she insisted on going to work for at least a few hours every day.  She had cabin fever by then and she is not one who just likes sitting around.  Not even a full month later I was back in Seattle once again to take care of my mom after a surgery.  It took a couple weeks for her to get her strength back and I didn't mind because by this time my port was growing very weary of being stabbed repeatedly, not to mention that my mom needed my help and was most definitely my top priority.

I arrived back home on the 2nd of December.  I had a lot to do before Christmas.  Since I don't have much money I made most all of my gifts and as a result spent days on end scrapbooking.  I had my regular appointments to go to for my IVs and filled my days before Christmas being busy every minute.  I noticed that in just the short weeks I had been home from Seattle my kitty girl had started a very visible decline in weight.  I could tell that she wasn't feeling good because I could always see it in her face and her eyes.  I hadn't heard her purr in a very long time and she never made biscuits anymore.  She became less interested in things (even looking out the window) and eventually got to the point that it seemed like she really didn't even want to be touched much.  I think she just was very uncomfortable.  I could hear her little tummy rumbling and gurgling around at any given time of the day.
Mom came down to Portland for Christmas and as we just got the car packed to go to Gramma's house that little kitty went over to the door and laid down right in front of the door so we couldn't even open it.  For her to do this was entirely out of character for her and both mom and I knew she was trying to tell us that she didn't want us to go.  A few weeks earlier as PotPie and I were sitting on the couch watching tv she got right up in my face, literally only a couple inches from my nose and just stared directly into my eyes forever, at least 15-20 minutes.  She told me then that something would happen around Christmas, she literally communicated it to me.  She was telling me in advance that something was going to happen.
Mom and I knew something was not good.  PotPie had lost so much weight since Dec 2 (it had only been 20 days and she was literally wasting away in front of me) that her head was larger than her body.  When you petted her all you could feel were pointy bones.  She could still walk and jump but she just had no interest in anything anymore.  Life and living was just becoming too hard for her to handle anymore.  Ultimately after some unpleasant vomit sessions and her looking like she just felt so bad I called the vet who instantly told me to take her to the emergency vet.  It was at this moment somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that the time had arrived.  PotPie was right, it was Christmas eve and something was happening.  She had told me this was going to happen.  I know my kitty girl held on longer than I think even she wanted to just so she could take care of me throughout this crap year.  She knew I needed her and that I wouldn't have been able to handle losing her back in the spring or summer.  She held on for me and because she knew mom was coming for Christmas.  My mom and I were the only people PotPie ever loved or trusted.  So when she saw us packing up the car and knew that we wouldn't be home soon she couldn't let us go without taking care of her first.

We put her in the carrier and drove to the emergency vet.  During the drive there I still had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind about how this visit would end but I just so badly did not want it to be so.  After an initial exam the vet confirmed my most dreaded fear.  Her organs were beginning to shut down and her heart rate and breathing and body temp were declining steadily.  If she was in pain she didn't let on or didn't want us to know.  She just laid there with her head on the table not moving and not caring what was going on around her.  I couldn't even get her to look at me, she was just too tired and weak.
I held her in my lap and sang to her while mom petted her little kitty head and gave her kisses when she left this world.  I still can remember every vivid detail.  I know the very second she left her body and went to join the stars, I could feel it.  It was very peaceful and full of dignity.  I am so glad she is not secretly hiding her pain and discomfort any more.  I miss her so much.  I lost my best pal of 17 years on Christmas eve.  I know she is still with me, every day I catch a glimpse of her and every night I can feel her walking on my bed.  She is saving me a place next to her up in the stars and watching over me until I get there to be with her again.

I finished off 2013 by getting my port-a-cath replaced.  The old one was really getting worn out.  Most who get ports usually don't get replacements because they usually never get worn out.  Either people enter remission and get their ports removed or they do not last long enough to wear one out.  Even my radiological oncologist told me and my father as much.  To be truthful I was not looking forward to getting another port.  The first one hurt for months after they put it in.  BUT I got to have one of my favorite doctors perform the surgery and already less than a week after port placement it is looking a thousand times better than the last whack job and I can even use my arm and turn my head.  Last time took over 3 months to heal.  This one is already healed better than the last one ever did.  I am glad that I got that out of the way in 2013 and that I can start off the new year with all new parts.

I have had a lot of company to visit with ever since the 24th and that has been keeping me from being so incredibly sad.  I have only been home alone twice for a few hours each time.  It is beyond hard to be in my apartment without the presence of that kitty girl.  I know that it will hurt less with time and I have so many good memories of her that it is hard to stay sad for too long but it doesn't make me miss her any less...SO I went to moms in Seattle for the new year.  I couldn't stand the thought of being in my house completely alone on NYE and with how shitty the entire last year had been I figured I needed to start this one out on a better note than crying alone at midnight wishing I could be snuggling with my kitty girl.

I don't know what will happen this year and I definitely am not one to begin speculating about it, I have learned that speculation really isn't worth the energy.  I just hope it isn't as horrible as last year was.
I am glad that it is finally over.  I don't know how much more I could have handled.

There have been the good times though, few and far between sometimes but still nuggets of beauty and love that are just enough to keep going even though sometimes it may feel hopeless.  Those are the things I hold onto tightly and that light that flame that keeps me going and gives me energy to keep fighting the good fight.  If it had not been for the support of every one of you I might not even be here right now.  It is because of you all giving me strength that I am still here and for everything you do I am forever and eternally grateful to each and every one of you.

Because of all the awesome things you do for me my last scan report was pretty darn good!  I still apparently have one stubborn tumor that decided to start growing but everything else is shrinking and becoming less active so that is a good GREAT thing!  The Vitamin C IVs are simply kicking booty!!!  They also keep the nasty chemo side effects to a minimum as well and that is a huge part of the battle.  I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for the help with those IVs.  I still have to get them 3 times every week but I have been cheating trying to make the $$ stretch farther and getting them only 2 times a week.  It is like miracle juice!  Killing cancer and complementing the effects of my chemo making it more effective in killing cancer AND it helps with chemo side effects.  The most awesome stuff ever!

I really need to order some vitamins and supplements but don't have enough money to get what I need. I have included a link to my Amazon supplement wish list in case any of you out there can lend a hand.  Right now I am in dire need of Shark Liver Oil, Berberine, Riboflavin5-Phosphate, Artemesinin, and Resveratrol.
If interested in donating to help provide more vitamin C IVs here is the contact info for my clinic.  Any donations can be just applied to my account there.

Amazon Supplement Wish List
The Center for Traditional Medicine

I am just glad that 2013 is over.


Monday, November 25, 2013

It's about time

I've been kinda quiet lately...

I honestly haven't had much to talk about.  My schedule is pretty much the same every day and things really don't change much for the most part unless it is my day off.  I usually go to get a vitamin C IV three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, although I am taking a break as I only have enough money in my account to get 5 more IV's (who wants to give a mobile for a Christmas present?).  I leave my house at about 8:15 and arrive back home around 2-3 in the afternoon.  Sometimes I stop for a few groceries or to run an errand but that's only if I feel good enough.  Once in a while the vitamin C IV's sneak up on me and make me feel a little like I am trying to get a cold.  I think it is all the toxins being flushed out.  The next day I usually feel better though.  I've been pretty low energy and very fatigued.  Most of the time when I get home I am so tired that I end up laying on the sofa for the rest of the day.  I am not in nearly as much pain and discomfort as I was from the last time I had to have chemo back in 2010-11.  I still have my hair (yay!) and I have less side effects over all.  I still have them though but I am not even close to complaining about it because I know how much worse it could be.  I have noticed that lately the chemo has been making me feel a bit jittery and moody.  Sometimes I feel like my patience is just gone and I mumble under my breath that I hope I don't run into any of my chatty neighbors before I can get into my apartment and lock the door.
Me and my kitty girl assuming the position on the sofa

Then there are the days I get chemo.  My oncologist has changed my schedule so now I get chemo every other week.  I always try to go on Thursdays because there are volunteers who give Reiki and massage there on that day.  It makes chemo go by much faster and it is soo relaxing.  I think I have read every magazine in there at least twice now.  The chemo is so cold (I think they keep the fluid bags refrigerated) and I usually have my prayer quilt and one or two heated blankets on me as well as a heating pad.  You've gotta get up to go pee all the time (hey 2000ml will do it) which requires unwrapping yourself from the cocoon of blankets, unplugging the gigantic double pump that you are literally attached to at your port, untangling all your IV lines so you don't trip over one and yank the port out of your chest (one of my nightmares), then you can make your way to relieve yourself.  It's like beer.  Once you break the seal you have to go all the time.  That's a good thing though because the chemo is very hard on the kidneys so it is essential to keep them flushed out.  I haven't gotten really horribly sick from chemo yet this go around and for that I am very thankful.

My rent went up, my food benefits went down, and insurance informed me that they will no longer cover one of my compounded medications that I take to boost my immune system (Low Dose Naltrexone) so now insurance officially covers absolutely nothing of my traditional/natural care.   I've been skipping some vitamins and some IV's because I can't afford to do them as often as my doctors and nurses would like me to.  It is starkly obvious how much good these natural treatments are doing, well, at least to me and those who see me on a regular basis.  Everyone always tells me how good I look and it is nice to get those compliments.  Sometimes I wonder if people think that I must feel good too.  I feel that someone sees me and says "you are looking really good! How are you doing?" to which my reply is "Aww, thanks! I'm doing good." in a cheerful voice because no one wants to sit and listen to my complaints.  I'm sure they have their own issues as well that they are not happy about.  The truth is that I very often do not feel very good but I'm not going to say that unless I realllly don't feel good, but by then it is pretty obvious.  Sometimes I don't feel good emotionally, like my head might explode at any moment from sensory overload or from bad news or when I just need time alone and neighbors just want to tell me stories from childhood that I have already heard more times than I can count.  About a month ago I found myself being very impatient and snapped on a few of my friends.  I think that it is a result of the chemo frying some brain cells and underlying deep down stress that comes along with the whole "terminal" thing which I subconsciously think about all of the time in some small way or another.

I would love to get outside more and go hiking or just exploring around the mountains or valleys.  I used to be insanely independent and would not think twice about going for a hike alone if no one else was available to go with.  I always enjoyed being alone in the woods.  I never once felt scared or in danger.  These days I sit on my sofa and think about how I wish I could go out for a solo day.  Most of my friends work during the week and have plans on the weekend so going alone is often my only option.  I don't feel quite so confident about going alone ever since the beginning of this year.
One of my few hikes this year
I am fearful that something might happen and no one would be there to get assistance for me.  It is a very defeating feeling knowing that you can't do those things that you love because of stupid cancer.  I got a midweek pass for Christmas from my mom and dad last season.  I went 5 whole times.  Lame...I only got to go up one time in 2013 and that was a few days before I went in for radiation.  I knew that would be the last exercise I would get for a while but what I didn't know was that it would be pretty much some of the only exercise I would get all year!  I didn't even bother to ask for a pass this year.  Another aspect of cancer.  Making long term, or sometimes even short term plans is hard to do.  You just don't know what's going to happen, will I even still be here (of course I will!) and how will I be feeling.  Will I be able to take time off of my treatments or will I be in the place where treatments are necessary multiple times a week.  If I do get to go skiing/boarding this year it will be a miracle.

I've been kinda quiet.  I suppose that I just felt that I really didn't have anything great to say and since I didn't have anything wonderful to say I just didn't say anything.  It's been slightly depressing laying around and hiding from people because I am just not in the mood to be sociable.  It is often depressing to browse facebook lately too.  So many people arguing, posting hateful things, belittling beliefs/people/situations/you name it, makes it feel less than inviting to be on.  I try to scroll through the things like that to find the nuggets.  Nuggets are those things that make you smile, question a belief, educate you, or just make you feel good.  You know what your nuggets are and chances are high that you look for those too.
Goofing off before my IVC

I'm scheduled to go back in for a PET scan the week before Christmas.  The PET is the scan that shows what is living and what is not.  It is a full body scan as well so this way we can find out if there is something going on in some other place in my body (fingers crossed for a clean scan).  We will have the results from that one before the 25th.  I hope Santa can find me this year under all of the blankets on the sofa :)

I have been getting more emails from people out there in the world who have loved ones suffering from Cholangiocarcinoma.  Some have had surgeries, some have not.  Some have just recently got diagnosed and are looking for information on the internet but have been discovering that there really is not much out there for this particular type of cancer.  That's sad.  Some want me to give them medical advice and I have to say that I am in no way qualified to advise you in that regard.  I can however share my story, my experiences and how I am doing now.  For those out there trying to figure out where to go and what to do to help their loved ones let me give you some of the best advice I can.

Eat lots and lots of vegetables especially dark leafy greens.  You can make soups, smoothies, juice, eat them raw, experiment with salads, and different grilling or broiling options.  Veggies are so easy to incorporate into our diets and require little effort and for the most part are relatively inexpensive especially if you buy what is in season which will also give you the most nutritional value.  Drastically reduce or better yet completely eliminate sugar from your diet of all kinds.  Especially the processed white kind.  If you must have something sweet then use honey, stevia, monk fruit, sucanat, coconut sugar or any other sugar that causes a lower spike in sugar levels.  You can find more about diet in a previous post here, My Cancer Killing Diet and Lifestyle and here at Questions Answered

Find a Natural Doctor or somewhere that practices Traditional Medicine.  Somewhere where you can get either nutritional IV's to keep your nutrient levels up while you heal from cancer.  Or somewhere you can get high dose vitamin C IV's (make sure they are reputable and run the necessary tests to see if you will be able to tolerate the intravenous C in high doses as some people with a certain vitamin deficiency can have very bad side effects from high  IVC such as death).
Some of my supplements
Also have a conversation with your new ND to see if any supplements (various vitamins and minerals, mushrooms, herbs, oils, etc. will help you.  Make certain that you get the advise of a professional ND and please don't try to start a supplement regimen all on your own.  What may work miracles for one person can cause more problems for others or might not even work at all.  Keep in mind we are all different and require individual treatment.  I might share a diagnosis of Cholangiocarcinooma with someone but that by no means indicates that we share the same symptoms or the same side effects from treatments like chemo or radiation.  We might even need different vitamins and supplements just as we share others in common.  Once again, seek out a Natural Doctor ASAP!  This doesn't mean that you need to ditch your oncologist, surgeon, or radiologist but you may want to and that is ok too.  You just may find that you like the integrated approach to your
healthcare or you may decide to go the entirely chemical free, radiation free route.  Either choice is fine, remember these are YOUR choices.  Don't let a doctor (any doctor) push you in one direction or another and if you choose not to tell your oncologist about you natural treatment that again is your choice.  Some oncologists refuse to give you chemo due to vitamins, antioxidants and other supplements.  That oncologist would not be my doctor for long if they told me that.

Next get rid of every single chemical in your home.  It is a big job to do it all at once but if you have CC you might not have the luxury of doing it in phases.  We all know that you actually are what you eat and that what you put into your body determines your health, both physically and emotionally.  However, what you put onto your body or what you inhale (into) also has dramatic and often undesirable effect on you.  Exposure is one of the major causes of cancer and if you continue to expose yourself to chemical filled household cleaners, laundry soap, toothpaste, hairspray, makeup, lotions, paint, furniture spray, window cleaner, cologne and perfumes of all kinds you will be damaging your body and harming your DNA cell replication process setting up the perfect conditions for creating mutant cancer cells that don't know when to stop growing.

Most importantly BE YOUR OWN HEALTH ADVOCATE!  I can't stress this enough.  Don't just assume that what your doctors tell you is the gospel.  No matter how great or horrible what they said to you sounds go do your research.  It is vital that you are informed about what you are doing for treatment.  If you want to know why high dose vitamin C is so important don't just take the doctors world for it or my word for it, look it up and research it for yourself.  This allows you to be educated about your own healthcare or the healthcare of your loved one this way the next time you are at the oncologists office and they tell you that what you want to do will contradict the chemo you will now be  armed with information that is accurate (because you devoted time to researching it or had someone else do it for you) and will be able to have a more educated and versed conversation based in scientific fact. This is so important!  Remember that you know your body better than anyone else, even those doctors and with that comes the responsibility of listening to your body to determine how you feel especially after you eat certain foods or take certain meds etc.

I can only share my experience with you.  I can tell you the things that helped me and the things that are helping me right now.  For me the Vitamin C IV's are magic! Insurance doesn't cover them and they are not cheap.  But when it comes down to living or dying I find any way I can to get those IV's.  I still get chemotherapy but the vitamin C IV's are actually complimenting the chemo by making it more effective by weakening the cancer cells through oxidation.  So not only does the C make me feel good and alleviate most of the worst chemo side effects but it actually makes my chemo work better!!  Now why wouldn't insurance want to cover that so you could actually get better or at least well enough to stop chemo and all of the other pharmaceuticals to manage chemo side effects.  Oh wait! That's right! If they cover it then we wont need as many drugs and then someones big deep greedy pockets don't get lined.

Speaking of Vitamin C IV's I have only 5 left.  I am hoping for good news on my upcoming scan.  I'm just focusing on them not seeing any cancer at all, maybe you can help me manifest a clean scan if you help me focus on it :)

Cancer Can Suck It!
If anyone would like to help with these vitamin C IV's you can.  They cost $175/ea and I am supposed to get them 3x/week but I will settle for whatever I can get right now.  If you would like to make a donation you can do so directly at my doctors office at The Center for Traditional Medicine in Lake Oswego, OR 503-636-2734 (closed tuesdays) and just let them know you would like to put some money in my account.  Even $1 is deeply appreciated.  Likewise you can also donate via PayPal at or
AND if you just want to send support or encouragement or a love letter in the mail my address is
5800 NE Center Commons Way #104, Portland OR 97213
I love getting snail mail (unless it is from comcast) and I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you!

Please let me know if I can create a driftwood mobile for you or for a holiday gift as the proceeds from these go toward funding my IVC treatments.

I will keep you all posted before Christmas as to what the results of the scans are.  If you have a minute to send me some good JUJU and sparkly love and well wishes and prayers I will take all I can get.  Heres to a good good good scan.

I hope you all have an absolutely splendid and bountiful Thanksgiving filled with love and health.
I will be making the cranberry sauce this year and spending the holiday with my family at my gramma's house.  I am thankful that I am able to be a part of this life and that I have been blessed with so many incredible friends and family.  You are the best a girl could ever ask for!  Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bittersweet News

If you are reading this, I hope it finds you happy, healthy and full of life!

Is anyone else out there having the most challenging year ever?  I remember reading my horoscope at the beginning of the year and they all said how awesome this year was going to be for me and how it was going to be the year I had been waiting forever for.  Hmmm...maybe I'm missing something.  Not that it is a bad year.  Anytime you are alive and functioning it is a good, good day.  I guess that it has just been unusually challenging for me pretty much ever since that fateful scan I got way back in January that said "knock knock, cancer's back to play".  I have learned many lessons this year and am still on my learning journey.  I have always thought that when the time comes that you have no lessons left to learn and no more contributions to give, you move on to whatever is next.  Looks like I might be around for a while cause I still have many lessons to learn :)

So I had a CT scan last week.  Got the results on Friday.  It wasn't bad news but it wasn't spectacular news either.  It was good and I am definitely fine with good.  It appears that the margins on some of the tumors (there are too many to count once again all kind of running together here and there) are getting fuzzier and not as distinct.  This is a good thing, it means that the cancer (tumors) is dying or at least not as active as it was 3 months ago.  None of them had shrunk enough to really mention in the scan reports and the cluster in my nodes near my hepatic artery and the rest of the super highway of arteries that I have in there (I am one out of 10,000 born with my liver being supplied with blood by different arteries than most other people) are still there being inflamed and causing pressure and general discomfort.  My oncologist said he was happy with the results of the scan as did my ND.  I am happy about it too.  I didn't really expect that everything would be drastically different in a mere 3 months.  Also, it is important to remember that a CT scan only shows masses and not metabolic activity of the cancer.  So it is a good scan to get a general idea of what is going on and to measure the growth or shrinkage of tumors, but not such a great scan to see if the tumors are actually living or not.  The PET is better for that purpose  I still have a lot of dead tumor material in my liver and it still shows up on the CT but not the PET.

Even though I am very happy about the news that I am no worse off than I was three months ago, that the tumors aren't any bigger, and that some of the margins are fuzzier, I still can't help but feeling a little disappointed.  It's really hitting home lately (pretty much ever since I almost died from radiation) that I am now living in what the statistics say are the 2% chance to live 5 years.  BUT you and I also know that I make my own statistics and I don't fit neatly into those boxes.  It still weighs heavy...

All this Vitamin C is really kicking some booty though.  Compared to this point in my last chemo back in 2010 there is a stark difference in my appearance and my overall health.  I still have hair that isn't falling out.  I don't have huge rashes on my face that burn and itch.  My chemo brain is not nearly as bad as it was last time.  I don't get sick/drive the porcelain bus three or four times a day, unless I miss too many vitamin C IV's then its all bets off.  I will let you decide.  Here are two pictures of me.  One from 2010 after 3 months of chemo, and a recent one.  Big difference huh?!  It is because of your support and generosity that I am able to get these vitamin C IV's.  Thank You!!!!!

A friend of mine nominated me to be on the Ellen show!  She is looking for an "inspiring person in need" and my friend thought of me :) Pretty awesome!!  If you would like to nominate me as well please feel free to do so,  of course that is if I inspire you :)  Here is the link to the nominate an inspiring person in need page.  You can find my mailing address and my email address at the top right of my blog and my age is 41 (for a couple more weeks).   I would love to have the opportunity to reach so many people and give them hope, especially those who are living with cholangiocarcinoma.

I spoke to my ND about my scan and how to proceed with the Vitamin C IV's and as great as those C's have been for me I am not going to be able to get many more.  There is enough left in my account for about a month of IV's.  I am supposed to get three every week.  I have dropped it down to two a week. Doc P wasn't too happy about that.  He says three a week are the protocol and that is what he suggests. I'm just not going to spend my energy worrying about that if I can help it.  I am going to get them until the $ runs out then figure it out then.  I know that every time I get one of those IV's it is prolonging my life.  It really irritates me that insurance wont cover something so obviously good but that is another thing that I'm not going to spend any energy on thinking about.

It's weird.  I have always loved food and eating good food.  Lately I just cant seem to gain weight though.  I waiver between 110-115lbs.  It probably has something to do with the chemo/steroids and lack of appetite AND the fact that most days I'm out of the house before breakfast.  On good days I can make and take lunch and breakfast with me to my IV's or chemo.  If I feel crappy the night before and have no energy then I usually live off ensure and whatever snacks I can toss into my lunch bag before I have to head out of the door.  Time and energy=no hunger.  I am sure that most of you can relate to that one.  Sometimes I sit and think about how awesome it would be to have a "normal" life.  You know, the one where you go to work every day and make plans for the weekend to go do something fun like hiking or skiing or camping.  One would think that I have all kinds of free time...Yeah, I wish.  I would love to have the energy to go for a hike.  I used to hike all the time all by myself.  I never wanted to  have to find someone to go with me just to be able to get outside.  I can't even count the miles I have hiked solo or how many times I have camped solo or skied solo.  My muscles are pretty much non existent these days.  Stamina is gone (except when I get the steroids) and walking up a flight of stairs makes me want to find a chair.  It is a little depressing especially since I am used to being so active.  I didn't even go climbing this year.  What a crime!  I get told a lot that if I do more I will have more energy to do more etc.  I first have to have the energy to do something before I can do more.  I try though.  Yoga is nice but I still tire quickly.  My energy levels are just about enough to get some light housework done a few times each week then it's snuggle with the kitty time.  I am beginning to feel that old familiar overwhelmed feeling creeping back again but it is more manageable this time since I am also not struggling with horrible relationship problems like last time and that is definitely something that I am thankful for.  There are still some days that I feel like going postal and freaking out on someone or multiple someones.  Luckily the only people who have had the unfortunate experience of seeing angry Laura are Comcast and they totally deserved it :)

Who loves the cooler weather?!
I love summer, spring, winter and fall :)  I get excited every time the seasons change.  Fall is probably my favorite though.  I love all the colors, the crisp air, and halloween.  The transition of seasons, schlepping off of old things, habits, patterns, and staleness is gratifying and cleansing.  It is fun to wear comfy warm clothes, read books, snuggle with the kitty, and drink tea as you listen to it rain outside.  I've been rearranging the closet; summer stuff in back, and winter stuff in front.  I've been stowing the sandals (sniff, sniff), bringing out the boots (yay!), and cleaning and making way for the new year, death and rebirth.

Here is link to click upon if you wish to donate to my clinic for my high dose Vitamin C IV treatment.
The Center for Traditional Medicine

You may also contact them at 503-636-2734 to donate directly into my account there via credit/debit.

Here is my Amazon Wish List  where I have listed my supplements and vitamins.

I hope that you all know I am forever grateful, humbled, inspired, and able to live longer due to your generosity and unwaviering support.  I think about how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends and family every single day.  YOU are the reason I am still here posting on this blog, and of course a good attitude never hurts either.

Chemo day is tomorrow and my lunch is already packed :)

Many healthy blessings to you all!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Catching up


The past month has been an interesting one.  I got to spend some time with family and friends then there was the weekly grind of the combination of Vitamin C IV's and chemo 4 times a week for an average of 4 hours each.  I'm getting more used to it now though.  I'm just hoping that the skin over the place on my port that gets stabbed will hold up long enough to make it through all of this without tearing or deteriorating and thus needing some kind of surgery to graft skin or something....not thinking about it...
Vitamin C love!

Regardless of all the stabbing the Vitamin C is incredibly worth it!!  I ended up having to miss both my C IV's and my chemo last week due to a family health emergency.  My mom was sick with a sinus infection the prior week and ended up getting some antibiotics which didn't help and the sinus infection ended up turning into pneumonia.  She finally felt so bad that she asked if I could come up to Seattle and help take care of her.  We ended up at the ER at Swedish to which she was admitted overnight and at the doctors office twice.  It was the sickest I have ever seen her and she had me really worried.  After all she has done for me it was my turn to get to do something for her.  She has been running and working herself ragged (especially since the beginning of the year) to take care of me and it finally is catching up and taking a toll on her health. She gives so much and it made me feel so good to be able to do something to help her even if it was just for a week.  Thankfully she is doing much better now and as of yesterday even went back to work (half days right now) because it is hard work recovering from pneumonia...luckily I have never had to find out.

Anyway about the Vitamin C being worth it (got sidetracked).  Since I missed last week's IV's I started noticing that the side effects of the chemo started getting a bit worse; more nausea, some neuropathy, more ringing in ears, blurrier vision, less appetite, etc.  Interesting isn't it?  I can tell the difference for sure, the C is amazing stuff!  It's just a crying shame that insurance wont cover something so incredibly beneficial, but I'm not about to get started on that stuff.

OH! finally got the results of that Spectracell blood analysis back.  It shocked both my nauturopath and me to see that I am only slightly deficient in 3 things....B2, oleic acid, and D3  my immune response is above average and my ability to detox is in the normal range.  Even though I have cancer and even though I am getting chemotherapy my results were still this good! I just knew that vitamin C IV's were the way to go!  This test was representative of the past 6 months not just  snapshot in time.  Pretty cool test and even more impressive results.  They are all easy fixes too, gonna take a B2 supplement (folic acid) and drink a shot of olive oil every day (7800mg of oleic acid!), and increase my D3 &K2 spray to twice daily and Shazam! Not too bad huh?!

My CT scan is scheduled for Sept 25th with results on the 27th.  My oncologist still thinks that I am doing very well and for him to say that is pretty awesome in my book.  In about two weeks we will see just how much of a kick ass job this Vitamin C is doing and I can't wait to find out.  This is my plan to proceed:  If the scan looks good but there is still room for improvement I am going to try to get the C's for at least 2-3 more months depending on what my ND says.  If it looks the same (or worse) then I will figure it out then and try to go see a healing guru in another country :) yep.

The garden at dads is growing so fast and so abundantly that I have been too busy to get up there enough to harvest much of it.  I really wanted to get much more from the garden this summer but I also did not anticipate being in treatment 4 times a week either.  At least dad has a big freezer to store some veggies in for the winter.

Looks like another busy couple of weeks lined up but that is what keeps life interesting.  I am starting to get over the shaky stuff a bit more and with all of this extended summer weather (90's in Portland this next week!) I am going to try to make some time to get out for some late summer hiking up in the mountains.  That is one thing I didn't get enough of this year.  I can't believe I have only been camping one time! Dang!

Your generosity is FAR OUT!
I wanted to give a shout out to everyone out there who has been donating to my therapy and well being.  I literally could not be doing this well without your help.  You all have no idea just how much this helps and means to my health and I am in great gratitude every minute of every day and every time someone tells me that I am looking great I think of all of you and how it is because of your generosity (and some positive mental attitude) that they are saying these words to me.  Please don't ever think for one minute that I take any of it for granted and I am forever thankful.

Thank you!

If you would like to contribute, you may donate directly into my account at my clinic by contacting them at:
The Center for Traditional Medicine

Or by PayPal at:

Or visit my Amazon wish list which includes supplements and vitamins etc. at:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tremors, Gardens, Camping & Vitamin C

Things have been going pretty darn good lately thanks to all of you!!!

High C IV
The high dose vitamin C has been so extremely helpful! I have not had quite as severe side effects as I had during my last chemo back in 2010-11.  I have been no where near as forgetful (I still have my moments), have only gotten sick one time and have had much less nausea, have only had about four or five really bad days, my hair has been growing about an inch every month, and my skin is very healthy looking.  The friends and family who have seen me at this point in chemo back in 2010 and who have seen me recently can definitely tell a major difference.  Let's just say that I have no complaints at all, even though there are a few issues going on...

My hands have been so super shaky lately.  At first I though it was the thyroid pill my ND has me on so we adjusted it a few times and now I'm down to one pill cut in half twice daily.  We also took a break on the DCA and liquid tributyrate to make sure I am not deficient in my B vits (plus doc says its good to have a break from these from time to time, I am guessing to kind of "reset" your body).  So far this has not helped either but it may take a few days to see.  Next he is wanting me to get a nutritive push, similar to the nutritional IV's I used to get but concentrated (no saline) and "pushed" by hand with a huge syringe into my IV line (slowly of course).  I got one today and I smell like the vitamin store now, however I do feel much better, but still shaky hands.  He thinks I may be just needing more nutrients and since I get so much liquid pumped into my body 4 times a week that it is diluting what nutrients I do have.  It will take a few days to figure it all out but we are determined to get to the bottom of it.  It is kinda cramping my iPhoto skills.  Shaky hands make for blurry!  The other thing it is doing is making it a pain in the ass to type and more of a pain in the ass to text.  Geez!  I'm a big texter (it's actually my main form of communication) and it has been super frustrating for me.  I do a lot with my phone too like check my email, entertain myself when I'm in an IV for 3-4 hours, etc and this shaky bit has been irritating to say the least.
My Hooties who keep my liver loved at night

I got to go camping the other day with some friends.  It. Was. Heaven!  I used to be that girl who went camping every single weekend and more often if I could manage it.  I was hiking, climbing, skiing, camping, or just doing recon for another trip or scoping out new places to go.  I haven't been camping since last July when my mom and I went opal digging at Juniper Ridge in Southern Oregon (awesome by the way!) so this was a treat for me!  I couldn't wait to retrieve my camping gear from my storage closet down the hall!  Before I got diagnosed, back when I had a job and money, I had enough foresight and determination to replace my aging and well loved tent, sleeping pad and backpack.  Oh man, it was like Christmas!  I had only used my new gear once or twice after I purchased it (cause my ex and I always used the Westy when we camped) and when I went to set it up I just kept gawking at it and at how cool it was.  My chemo brain had completely forgotten what it even looked like, and I was absolutely befuddled and astounded at all of the adjustments on my killer backpack.  Once everything was all set up I realized my tent matched my sleeping bag...hey, just cause you're camping "roughing it" doesn't mean you can't be fashionable too :)  I floated around on a lake near Mt Hood all day (with lots of sunscreen), had wonderful conversation with friends new and old, ate a ton of delicious food, sat by a campfire, and slept under the stars like a baby and didn't even wake up one single time all night long.  It was a good, good time.  I hope I feel well enough to get back out at least one more time before this nice weather is gone.
The view from inside my tent

My dad and I planted a HUGE garden together this year.  The only downfall is that I usually feel too tired/shaky/crappy to make the hour drive north to his house.  And I am in appointments 4 days every week so it also makes it difficult to come see me too...unless one wants to hang out in an IV for a few hours or so.  But the point is that we are getting tons of veggies out of it and it couldn't be more awesome!  I just wish I could spend more time actually in the garden.  I love weeding and tending to the plants and eating them right out of the garden, yum!

I've been sleeping a lot lately and I mean a LOT.  It has been feeling incredibly good too.   I have been fatigued but not in a completely incapacitated way like back when I had radiation.  I can at least be in the kitchen for a while now and do my own laundry, clean, take care of basics etc.  The fatigue I have is pretty consistent and severe but I can make it to my appointments by 9am (that's great for me) and if I set my mind to it, whatever it is, I can usually make it happen.  Sometimes it takes a while but it will eventually happen.  I have a huge mobile making project that is warranting my attention these days. I finally got things organized enough to feel like I have some room to be creative.  In other words I re-arranged my furniture again...see if I set my mind to it I can get it done :)  My kitty girl still thinks I'm crazy but it keeps it interesting for her and her indoor lifestyle.  I have lots of great ideas brewing for crafts too.  I am assuming that I will have more enthusiasm for those things once the days start getting shorter and less deliciously sunny and warm.

Just waiting to be turned into something cool
My next CT scan is scheduled for sometime in the middle of September.  At that point it will have been three months since I got the scan that showed cancer in lymphs, lung, pelvis as well as in my liver...this is where we will see just how much cancer booty we have assassinated.  My guess it that it will be spotless  or nearly so :)  Yep, this is what I am going to manifest!  Will you help me by sending my your good thoughts and sparkly ju-ju and let's manifest some spotless scans!  Woot! Woot!

Seriously though, the vitamin C IV's have proven to be astoundingly helpful with chemo side effects and doc says that it also makes the cancer more susceptible to the chemotherapy making it more effective.  Not only that I can literally see, smell, and feel the difference in my body as compared to last chemo in 2010.  It is amazing stuff and I just can't understand why our lame insurance wont cover such a simple thing that can do so much good!  The IV's are $175 each and I get three every week so in comparison to chemo it is cheap but when insurance does not cover it the expense turns into $2100/mo.  The only reason I am as healthy as I am right now is because of YOU!  Thank you so much for the vitamin C IV's!!  The donations you have made is what makes it possible for me to get these lifesavers and I want you all to know that I am forever in deepest gratitude for your generous and gracious gifts!  I feel the love every single day and am so thankful and lucky to be as healthy as I am and to have such wonderful friends and family like you all to give me strength and shine that light.  You all rock!!
at the CTM

My friend Tiffany has organized this fundraiser to help with vitamin C IV's.  Anything is most appreciated, even if it is only $1!  Every single little bit helps and is one more drop of golden goodness in my IV to keep me healthy and kick some cancer booty!
Here is the link :)

Or if you like you can contact my clinic directly at The Center for Traditional Medicine  503-636-2734 and they can add money to my account there with a debit/credit card or personal check.  The people there are quite lovely, if you call on a Mon/Wed/Fri then make sure to tell them to say "hello" to me since I will be in the IV suite :)

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful summer and are all safe, happy, healthy and full of life!

Oh yeah,


Monday, July 22, 2013

Life is good!

Hello out there!
I hope you all have been enjoying your summer and getting lots and lots of fresh air and fresh fruit and veggies.  Summers in the PNW are just about the best you can get really.  So many things to do and everyone is smiling.  I haven't really been able to get out to do too much but the things that I have done were all super fun.  I am hoping to get up in the mountains for a hike soon while this weather is still so beautiful and maybe even take a lil' dip in an alpine lake somewhere and watch the wind in the trees.

I have been getting accessed in my port four times each week (that's a lot) and it is getting a little sore there.  A little Arnica oil before bed and first thing in the morning (not to mention a LOT of Arnica gel on the weekends) has really been helping it to not be quite as sore and tender and I am thankful for that.  Sometimes just a simple hug can cause a lot of discomfort and as a result I have learned to hug accordingly. I have been doing chemotherapy again, I have two weeks on and one week off.  I am getting the same chemo (gemzar and cisplatin) and in the same dose as where I left off back in November of 2011.  So far it hasn't been too bad.  I definitely have no complaints.  I believe the Vitamin C IV's have been helping tremendously!  I have only driven the porcelain bus once and my hair actually has grown an inch in the last month (DANG!).  However, my blood counts are waaay low.  I pretty much don't even have platelets anymore and at last check a week ago my WBC and RBC (along with some other things) are nearly non-existant BUT I didn't have to get chemo this last week and I have been eating well so I am hoping that on next check this coming Thursday things will be looking better.  I have felt tremendously tired lately though.  Not that I feel bad or anything mostly just like I want to lay down and take a nap, and I usually do :)  There have only been one or two really bad days and only one or two nights that I have not been able to sleep one wink.  I have not had an abundance of energy either, just enough to get done what needs to get done and sometimes not quite even that much, but with the help of my friends, family and neighbors I have been getting by just fine.

I went to my dad's house to harvest garden bounty yesterday and wow!  I came home with two huge paper bags stuffed full of lacinato kale, a giant bag full of carrots and yellow squash, a huge bunch of basil, cucumbers, an onion, and green beans.  In another week or two we will be up to our eyeballs in all kinds of tomatoes, more beans, onions, leeks, peppers and squash.  It wont be a problem at all making dinner this week with all these awesome homegrown veggies!

Things have been pretty mellow.  I got to see a bestie that I haven't seen in a couple of years and we had a beautiful time and got to catch up too.  The sun has been shining, the birds have been singing, the flowers have been blooming and the stars twinkling in the night.  Life has been good and I have absolutely no complaints at all.