Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 241, New Years Eve

It is the last day of the year.  Back in March I didn't even know if I would be alive to see today.  All the statistics said I wouldn't be.  I have broken those statistics and made my own now.  Every day is a blessing, but I also know now something that I didn't know then.  I AM GOING TO LIVE FOR A LONG LONG TIME! Guaranteed! Yes I may die of cancer, but who is to say that I wouldn't have already died if I did not know I had cancer, right??

2010 has been the best year of my life.

I got diagnosed with cancer which sounds pretty crappy, but this diagnosis is what has completely changed my life all for the better.  I appreciate so much more about myself, my world, my friends, people I don't even know, my family, my cat and dog, my boyfriend, everyone and everything that I would have normally not even thought about.  I take better care of myself, I eat better food, use better products in my home and on my body and try to listen to what my body is telling me (doesn't always work but hey, i'm trying).
Everything in my life is so much better now.  Yes, a lot of the time I don't feel the greatest and my liver hurts but I know that will not always be.  It hurts because the chemo is destroying the cancer, things like cancer don't just die peacefully, it goes out kicking and screaming and all the way hoping it will take you down with it. Not gonna happen.

I wish you all the very best for the upcoming year.
I hope you make good choices for yourself and your family.
I hope you wake up every morning and are thankful for what you have.
I hope you give and receive love freely.
I hope you are not too hard on yourself for what it is you think you should be doing instead.
I hope you consider our environment and make appropriate choices to preserve it.
I hope you eat better, organic, natural, no chemicals etc, so you can live a long time.
I hope you know that you are loved and appreciated every day.
I hope you can see the beauty and good in everything, even the bad.
I hope you have the very best year ever, but remember to take it day by day, because we do not have a tomorrow, none of us do.  All we have is THIS moment, act and live like it was your last.

Much love and happiness,
The Cancer Assassin

Day 231...It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Indeed it is.  I have always loved the holidays.  People seem extra friendly and cheerful, I love the decorations and absolutely love looking at all the lights in the neighborhoods.  Portland has Seattle beat hands down for more people decorating for the holidays and I love it!  We have got our stockings hung by the fire with care :) our little tree up in the window and even the animals seem to be getting into the holiday spirit.  I've caught Clark sniffing all the ornaments he could reach on the tree, super cute! And my Pot Pie has been loving hanging out on the little bench we placed for her by the tree so she can see out the window...she looks like a fluffy kitty present :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 220 Synthesis Paper Done!

I am in a slight case of shock right now as I sit here updating everyone on the news!

Drum roll please.....


If you are interested in checking it out, it is actually a website and I would feel honored if you did.
Uncle Linnaeus
I am registered for school (I think) and the financial aid is in place now to pay for it (thank heavens) and my girlfriend Stephanie (Bills) is coming on Monday and she is bringing uncle Linnaeus (her pup) to come and stay with us for Christmas while she visits family...well, she is also visiting too, we haven't seen each other in ages!  We are going to go to the Meadows and going snowboarding together AND she is gonna get to meet my other mama Lynda at the naturopath.  I am almost tingly at how relieved I am to have this paper done.  I feel that I can now begin to enjoy the holidays and actually relax so I can rebuild my strength (maybe put on some weight) and finish up on my last class next quarter which I am super psyched about.

Anyway, just wanted to direct you to MY WEBSITE and to tell you all again thank you so much for your support.  You really have no idea how much this gets me through every single day, really...thank you.

I also have been encouraged by friends and family to put up another ChipIn on my blog.  I must admit that it is a humbling experience and it feels very narcissistic AND I am extremely lucky to have insurance that covers almost everything but what is really wrong with our healthcare system is that it does not recognize natural medicine as medicine, therefore it is not covered at all.  I spend, on average, $800 per month at the naturopath between IV therapy and supplements.  CRAZY!  I have had to cut my visits from 3 to 2 to accommodate for the decline in the savings account.  Mama Lynda says that two times is really good but 3 would be better.  The more I go the stronger my body is and the more chemo I can withstand killing more cancer, etc.  You all have helped so much already and I want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart and soul for all you do for me.  YOU are ALL my inspiration.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 185 It's been a while...

Here I sit on the sofa watching bad TV...I'm loving it!
It has been busy and stressful, but in good ways most of the time.

August activities were a high school reunion and a visit from one of my best friends who now lives in North Hollywood.  There were street faires, visits from my mom, visits from Stephanie, overnights with girlfriends and the acquisition of Goldie the Westfalia.  The story behind Goldie is very appropriate and fitting.  It was meant to be.

Jeff had been looking for a Westfalia van for weeks.  We were thinking that we were going to have to drive to another state just to find a reasonably priced one.  However one day he just got lucky and found one just on the other side of the river in Washington in the town of Lyle near White Salmon.  The day before Jeff asked me what I thought the Westy would be like.  I said it was going to be perfect, exactly what we were looking for and the price was going to be perfect as well.  We got there and met Gary who was just about the nicest person one could meet.  He showed us what he knew about the van, which wasn't a whole lot because the van had belonged to his mother who had recently passed away.  Gary told us stories about how his mother would love to take the van to different local festivals and how much she loved it.  She lived by herself taking care of herself up until a week before she passed away from cancer.  Gary said that she would love to know that it was going to someone who would love it as much as she did and who would make full use of its amenities.  I then told him about my cancer and how excited we were to go on trips in the van.  Everything was perfect! Just like I had envisioned, focused on and manifested.  The passing of Goldie from that family to ours was simply meant to be.  We love our Westy and treat is as well as we do our own pets.  Goldie does not sit out in the rain, she has her cozy place in our garage.  Jeff made sure of that.  He cleaned and organized the entire garage AND he even cut out a board on the door opening just to make enough space for Goldie to fit inside with her Yakima racks on.  Now that's love!

September was a little more quiet.  Jeff and I went to another Mariners vs Redsox game and it was a blast!  My mom came with us on one of the evening games.  Even though the Mariners didn't win, it was still a blast!

  I had a dentist appointment with the best dentist in the entire world, Dr Perry Jones, DDS in Ballard.  Yes, I drive all the way from Portland just to visit this dentist, that is how awesome he is.  My teeth are looking good he said (he always says that, I guess I have been blessed with good teeth), just a little bit of gum inflamation from the chemo and being so anemic, otherwise perfect teeth so that's good.  Then Clark had to go in for surgery on his other knee.  I saw him blow it out too.  We were on a river somewhere near the ocean and he was walking on uneven rocks and all of the sudden his leg slipped out from under him and then "YELP!" and from that point he was essentially a three legged dog not putting any pressure at all on his injured knee.  Perhaps if he was not such a spastic he would not get into such situations.  He is 7 years old and still acts like a little puppy that knows no rules or when to stop.  Since taking Clark for his surgery we have been pretty much home bound, having to be here with Clark all the time. He has to stay calm, no explosive movements, which is hard for him, so as a result he gets disciplined a lot.  "Clark lay down." "Clark calm down." "NO!" "Sit!" "Stay!" "Calmly Clark!"  it gets really, really old.  My cat hates it.  Clark already dominates the entire house so she doesn't really get much one on one time because Clark always has to have his nose in what is going on afraid that she will get something that he wont.  Plus she doesn't like it when I have to use the stern voice with Clark.  She pretty much just stays in the basement these days while Clark gets the run of the rest of the house.  Poor Pot Pie :(  So anyway, the mutt will not be healed completely for 12 weeks! Yikes!  We are now halfway there, week 6...he gets to go for 10 minute walks this week and every week the time increases by 5 minutes until week 12 when he is healed enough to live "normally" again.

October...ahh I love October!  Not just because my birthday is in October but because of the fall colors, beautiful, beautiful fall colors!  Chilly mornings, warm days, the smell of decaying leaves (love it!).  So most of October was filled with caring for the dog.  I had my friends Tiff and Jay over for my birthday weekend.  It was tons of fun!  We went hiking to Ramona Falls on the Saturday before my birthday and then on my birthday we went to the zoo in Portland.  It was a lot of fun!

 The zoo is actually not bad at all, it was actually one of my favorites as far as zoos go.  The animals had nice habitats (most of them) and just the general lay out of the zoo was very people friendly.  I bonded with the black bear and one other animal that for the life of me I can't remember right now (I know it was some kind of cat though).  I made curtains for my dining room.  I had to make some because Clark kept freaking out every time he saw our neighbors cat on the fence.  Once again, altering life for the dog :)  I'm not complaining though, it was fun to make the curtains.  I do however wish our new neighbors were a little more considerate of the people around them.  They have at least 3 cats that spend more time in our yard and on our front porch than they do at their own home.  I can't even let my cat go out in our yard because they are not nice cats, they are always fighting with the other cats in the hood.  And forget letting Clark out to pee without a leash, he bolts for the cats which is not good as he could re-injure his leg and that would get really spendy.  Stupid neighbors!

Now it is November, where does the time go?  I am going to visit my dad next week for 9 days in Tennessee!  It will be fun!  We are going to go to North Carolina to a place where we can dig for rubies and diamonds!  I am sure we will also stay close to home and hunt arrowheads, most likely go fishing on a river and spend the rest of the time visiting family.  The rest of the family does not know I am coming yet, it is going to be a surprise...of course unless they have read this and then I guess it will not be a surprise anymore....

In the meantime all of these activities are filled in with trips to the naturopath for IV therapy,  weekly trips to the oncologist for checkups and chemotherapy, trips to the acupuncturist, some yoga, mornings spent vomiting, days spent being run down and tired on the sofa, days of high energy when we play disc golf and go hiking or surfing or camping.

I have been feeling pretty good.  There are mornings when it takes me until noon just to feel human.  Days I don't have an appetite or when food just doesn't sound appealing at all.  I have been holding a steady weight at about 126lbs and all the vitals are good.  Right now I am battling anemia, low white and red blood cells and low platelets.  My oncologist has decreased the amount of chemo drugs I get to accommodate for that.  I have chemo every week, two weeks on and one week off...on my weeks off (like right now) I go to the naturopath for IV therapy full of vitamins and glutathione to decrease all the negative effects of the chemotherapy.  I have hot flashes constantly that usually keep me from sleeping most nights.  Skip my acupuncturist is a godsend though.  One visit with him usually keeps me hot flash free for at least 3 or 4 days.  I usually visit him on a weekly basis so that I can sleep.  He also helps my appetite and my liver pain.  Acupuncture is awesome!  Highly recommended for everyone if you have not tried it for your certain condition you should.  It really works, but it usually takes a few times.  The visits are usually expensive but you can find a community clinic that has sliding scale fees ($15-$30) through the Community Acupuncture Network (CAN).  Google it and you can find a clinic in your area.

All in all I am doing very well.  Everyone tells me that I look good (my eyes, complexion, etc) so at least I know it is not all in my head :)  I tell everyone that if it wasn't for the chemo I would feel better than I have in at least 15 years.  Right now I am just battling and dealing with all the side effects of the chemotherapy.  Im not complaining though, it could be much, much worse, right?

OH! Almost forgot! I had my 3rd CT scan back in September.   Drum roll please.............
Tumors have shrunk!  In some cases there are some small ones that were there before and are NOT there now!  The really big ones used to connect but now they are separate and smaller!  Don't get me wrong, the liver is still lit up like a Christmas tree at the White House but it is going away at least.  My oncologist said that "it is a slow growing disease that is also slow to go away".  He is very pleased with our progress and so am I.  I will have another CT scan in December (every 3 months) and who knows, maybe they will be gone...

There are two popular questions among my friends and family and they are
"How long do you have to get chemo" and "How often do you get chemo"
Here are the answers as far as I know...
I will most likely get chemo until either my body cannot handle it anymore or until the tumors are gone, and as far as the frequency of chemotherapy I go on Thursdays usually, two weeks on with one week off and on my week off I go see my naturopath on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Keeps a girl busy, and tired.  I love my nurses though, they take exceptional care of me, as if I were their own daughter.  I am in good hands.

Got to run now, time for my IV full of golden goodness :) and a visit with my other mama Lynda.  You all take good care of yourself, read those labels...If you cannot pronounce it don't eat it!  Toss that icky shampoo and conditioner and makeup and invest in some good chemical free stuff.  Get rid of those chemicals under your sink and substitute with natures own natural disinfectants and cleaners.  If you don't do it for yourself at least do it for your children, family or pets as what you do also affects their health too, it might not show up now or ever, or it may show up when you are 38 and in the prime of your life.  Just do it for the sake of love.

Much love and light to you all!

The Cancer Assassin

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 143 Lucky Stars!

Tonight as I sit by the fire with Clark the dog I look up and count my lucky stars, literally.

After chemotherapy I drove out of town with Clark, then tent, some firewood, seaweed ramen, shakti chai, my journal, my kick ass 3 person tent that I purchased last summer and have never used until now, a cooler full of fruit, yogurt and some coconut water and drove off to Mt Hood Wilderness and went camping for the evening.

The whole deal is that the perseid meteor showers are in town and tonight was supposed to be one of the best night to view them.   I had to do it.  Jeff needed to stay home for work, so I didn't let that stop me.

As I look up I see millions of stars.  Some bright, some sparkle, some swirl with color, maybe those are planets, I don't know and right now I don't even care.  My little fire warms my flip flopped feet...and speaking of flip flops, why is it so much fun to flip the flops.  I love to flip mine around on my feet like a drummer twirls his sticks, well, maybe not that good but I still think I'm cool to myself and it just feels good and fun too :)

So as the fire warms my feet and shins Clark is asleep on his bed at a distance as it is probably about 76 degrees outside and the fire does not feel as good to him as it does to someone like me who just got assaulted with chemicals today.  It makes me chilly.  The stuff is chilly when it goes in, makes you chilly and all chicken skin-ny and then you stay cool the rest of the day (when you are not having hot flashes).

Fire is always nice though.  It's all a part of camping, well at least car camping.  I love to watch it.  I love to watch the way the logs crack and fissure and make crazy firey landscapes.

Clark's been protecting me all night. Growling at critters in the woods.  I'm camping in a beautiful spot by the Sandy river near the town of Zig Zag.  The landscape looks very volcanic.  The trees are short and thin and the ground is all mossy and rocky.  It is sort of eerie in a beautiful way.  I have always wanted to spend and evening here ever since I first saw it last summer when Jeff and I had our first Oregon hiking date.  I know he was a keeper at this point, it was our 4th date, but I knew.  We went to Burnt Lake.  We ate at Bernie's Southern Bistro the night before and I think we had wings at Fire on the Mountain that evening.  There was live music.  It was perfect.

Surprisingly Clark is a really good camper.  So far we haven't slept in the same tent yet but I think it will be just fine.  He is a snuggler.  Most likely he is gonna try to steal my comfy sleeping pad in exchange for his cedar bed from Costco.

The start, ah yes, I keep getting sidetracked...chemo head.  My good friends know I've got it bad.  I've stopped being quite so hard on myself for it though.  I'm still learning.  Lessons, lessons.  Good things, those lessons :)

Yes, back to the stars.  There is hardly a moon so the sky is very black.  The stars shine as if the sky were a giant black canvas illuminated from behind with a very bright light and millions of holes pricked in the cloth are the stars.  Some are larger and brighter than others, some are smaller and orange or green or red or blue, some flicker.  Then I see a shooting star, well, a meteor!  My first one of the evening. Beautiful!  I tell Clark what I just saw.  He looks up from tired eyes and acknowledges my find unenthusiastically.  I poke the fire some, then some more. I really like to play with the fire.  Ask anyone who has ever gone camping with me.  I can make (and maintain) a pretty darn good fire.  It is one of my skills, look out Napoleon Dynamite!

I timed my fire perfectly.  I brought a small bundle from home with the Concordia news for fire starter and there was already a nice sized log left here by the last campers that had been previously burned some.  I built my log cabin with twisted paper underneath and small kindling I collected from one of the many empty sites.  Graduated with layers of larger pieces until I had about 3 layers.   I lit it and proceeded to cook dinner.  Ate my seaweed soup by a crackling fire and relaxed with Clark for an hour or so until it got dark.

Now my fire is growing dim and my eyes are wanting to fix themselves on the sky.  I just saw my second meteor! Hopefully many more to come.

I am excited to sleep in the tent.  I always get my best nights sleep in the tent out camping.  I got reiki today again during my chemo session.  Lynn is just the best.  She is one of those people I just fell in love with the first time we met.  She was so eager to share her gift with me and she is a beautiful person with only the most positive, encouraging and healthy bits of wisdom passed along at those right moments.  Not to mention that she is an awesome reiki practitioner.  She has really helped me so much in the short time I have known her.  Lynn, thank you so much for all you do, you are so appreciated and loved.

Which brings me to someone else I have not thanked near enough yet.  My other mama Lynda at my naturopath.  She is full of the most wonderful energy.  She shines.  She always writes lovely affirmations on my I.V. bag full of vitamins.  She always has awesome stories and recommendations.  She has such a playful and sincere soul and truly cares about me and my wellbeing.  She gives me tea and healthy snacks when I am there for my appointments.  She loves to look at all of my pictures of the goofy things I take photos of.  I have over 1300 photos on the cameral roll on my iphone.  It is a daily habit for me taking tons of pics.  Back to Lynda...she is such a sweetheart and wise woman, always making me smile, feel good and giving me the best advice and food for thought.  The strangest, coolest things happen every time I am there.  Those kind of "did that really just happen?" or "did you just see what I saw?" kinds of strange cool things.  I always leave with a smile on my face and feeling loved.  Lynda, you are my other mama, thank you for taking such good care of me these last few months.  You are an angel.

And I cannot quit this role of thanking until I thank another person for taking care of me like a mother.  Beverly, I love you!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a wonderful, sincere, caring, loving, concerned, selfless person.  I believe that people come into each others lives for reasons and you have taught me so much about the importance of taking care of myself and being more forgiving of myself.  You are truly a blessing and I am thankful our paths crossed.  You are and inspiration!

One more please.  Sarah M.  I want you to know that you have changed my life.  You are beautiful and wise and intuitive and wonderful at what you do.  Thank you for checking in on me, I love to get your messages!  I want you to know that I am coming to see you again very soon.  It has taken a while for me to digest what I learned from our last meeting and I think I am ready for some more.  The experience I had at our session was one of the most profound magnitude.  You are a wonderful healer!  I also want to thank you so much for referring me to Dr. P.  He is a god send!  It was truly meant to be, just as meeting you was.  I am so thankful for your presence in my life and have learned things from you that I would have never imagined I would learn.  Thank you so much!

Ok, now it is thoroughly dark and I am going to soak up the last of the heat from the glowing coals in my fire, move my chair because the wind has changed and "I hate white rabbits, I hate white rabbits, I hate white rabbits!"  Lastly I bid you all goodnight as I gaze upon our galaxy and thank the Universe for allowing me this privilege and for my life and all of the wonderful people, animals, lessons, love joy and bountifulness in it.  May you all have all the happiness you deserve.  Sleep tight, have beautiful dreams and wake refreshed and full of joy!

I'm gonna count my lucky stars :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 137

Crocosmia in the yard, I love these!
Hello everyone!

I hope to find you all well and happy. It has been a little while since my last post, I have needed some good down time.  I have been doing a LOT of thinking...a lot.  I've been in my head so much lately.  You guys and gals are in for a doozy of a post today...I feel like the chemo might be catching up with me a bit...the hair is falling out steadily again, and I've just been tired and run down feeling for a while, so as a result, I've been getting a lot of rest :)

Cute purple balls, anyone know what this is?
The chemo gives me really bad acne, the kind that is deep and hurts and now it is on my scalp.  Owie! My scalp is already sensitive from the chemo and the zits are not a bonus. Booooo!  Speaking of sensitive, my forearms have developed a bit of a neuropathy from the chemo as well.  My forearms feel like they have been burned (think sunburn or you put them on the burner on the stove burn) and sometimes even the wind blowing on them hurts.  It is weird I know.   The other thing is that I am having menopause type symptoms (again, result of chemo) and I have hot flashes throughout the day and most often at night.  I all of the sudden get so hot I want to crawl out of my skin, just unzip it like big zipper suit and step right out....ahhhhh...that would be nice.  Then I freeze to death, goosebumps (chicken skin as we call it) and all chattery and needing a blanket, 10 minutes later back to dripping sweat.  Other than that I feel great :)  You know, it could be much worse, so I am not complaining.  Plus I have two of the best nurses in the world taking care of me.  Nurse Lynda and Nurse Beverly I love you both soooo much!  Thank you for taking such great care of me.  Not to mention all of those of you out there sending me healing through Reiki, I love it!  I am also informed that acupuncture works quite well for helping the hot flashes and the neuropathy, good thing I have 8 punches left on my card for our local community acupuncture clinic Working Class Acupuncture.

You must read this book!
I just finished a wonderful book given to me by a friend named Elise.  It is called You Can Heal Your Body by Louise Hay.  It is such a wonderful book! Everyone should read it and keep it for reference.  If you have not heard of it or her you should check it out here.  I have been reading up on how our bodies get cancer in the first place.

1. Our food

I'm talking about the stuff you are not getting at the farmers market or at the organic section of your local community grocery store.  The stuff with words we can't pronounce, all the additives, colorings, chemicals.  Tell me again why we are ok with letting people put this crap in our food?  When did we become complacent and let large corporations tell us that eating Cheezits would be a good source of our daily need for calcuim, or that Cheerios are good for our heart.  Even Campbells tomato soup has high fructose corn syrup as one of the first ingredients!  We are either just plain ignorant or too stubborn to admit that these foods are not healthy for us.  We feed them to our children for crying out loud! Our babies, our toddlers, our tweens and teens and wonder why they can't pay attention in school or why they have ADHD, ADD, IBS, diabetes, or any other myriad of disorders.  Ok, enough of this...Just remember that you are what you eat, literally.  YOUR body is comprised of what you put into your mouth.  So if you think that Twinkies and soda is your thing, and just one a day wont hurt, you might want to think again and read those labels and google those ingredients just to see what they are doing to your body.

2. Things we put on our body/things we breathe.

Oh My! All those chemicals!
At the naturopath
Yep, ladies that lotion you love, that mascara you cannot live without, the coverup, the foundation, the perfume, the shampoo, lipgloss, hair product, eyeliner, eyeshadow, night cream, sunscreen, hairspray, shaving cream, you name it, it has chemicals in it and if you are not already savvy to this information YOU are rubbing those chemicals all over the largest organ of your body, your skin.  All of the pores in your skin are soaking all of those chemicals directly into your body.  So you think, "it is ok, I'm only putting it on my hair and washing it off" but your scalp absorbs more toxins than if you actually ATE the shampoo...That is something to think about.  Same goes for nail polish, it soaks into your nails and into your bloodstream.  Might want to think about these things when you decide that you can't go without mascara/nail polish/lipstick/pomade/makeup/lotion/etc.  Isn't being alive and healthy a lot prettier than being dead or weary and worn and emaciated from chemotherapy???  Basic rule, if you cannot pronounce it, chances are it is a chemical.  If you bought it at Macy's or Nordstrom's chances are it is laden with chemicals.  A lady confronted me in the Goodwill the other day and just started talking to me (weird huh?) and this is what she just walked right up to me and said as pretty as you please..."So I have been wanting to go to Macy's and get some of this cream that is supposed to be good for like if you have aches and pains.   It is supposed to be good for you and natural, it has essential oils in it."  To which I replied, are you talking about arnica cream?  She said she didn't know but that it was great for you because it had all the essential oils in it.  Hmmm.....I might be completely wrong, but I will just take this chance.  I said to her "If they carry it at Macy's it most likely is not GOOD  for you, even if it has essential oils in it, what are the other ingredients?"  I suggested that she look at the other ingredients to see if there were things in there that weren't good for her.  She was in disbelief.  She couldn't possibly imagine that if it had essential oils in it and that if others told her it was good for her that it could possibly be bad.  Isn't this how we all live, just a little?  We are always in a little state of denial about how bad things are really.  Just one soda a day wont hurt, but I LOVE doritos or international creamer in my coffee, or spaghettios or whatever.  But they do hurt.  Try eating all natural and organic and as clean as you possibly can for a month or two then go eat some doritos.  I've done it, I will confess.  It SUCKS! My body was ready to revolt in less than an hour after I ate whatever it was I ate.  My body did not like having all this un-natural stuff.  It was like "okay, now what".  Our bodies do not know what to do with these things like hydrogenated stuff.  It actually screws up our DNA replication processes making cells that are cancerous, ones that don't function to help our bodies at all.  I learned this years ago in high school.  Everyone has cancer, it is just a matter of if it gets to the point that we need to intervene before we die from it.  Some people may never even know that there  is cancer present in their bodies, some, like me, will go through chemo, some might not make it, some will make it better.  So why do we do it?  Why do we live in a state of denial?  Why do we give our hard earned money to companies that poison us and our children?  Why do we think that it will all be ok and continue to eat the way we do?  Why?

Teeny weeny zucchini
3. Our mental health/spiritual health

So, we wake up to the alarm, make our coffee/tea (put lots of sugar/creamer in it), toss down something that is less than desirable for breakfast (donut/sugary cereal/pastry/bacon), shower, run out the door most likely completely unfocused on the road as we drive to work (most likely bordering on being late), we might hate our jobs or our co-workers and watch as the clock seems to tick backwards, waiting for the moment we can flee our confinement.  We scarf down anything we can get our hands on at work (the donuts someone brought/the birthday cake for our co-worker/the little candies the secretary or someone else has on their desk/stuff from the snack machine) then we NUKE our lunch (which is probably filled with chemicals) in the microwave effectively killing any residual nutritional value it had in it from processing, get through our late afternoon slump by another visit to the snack machine/candy bowl.  When we finally get off work we jump back into our cars, drive home as fast as we can cursing people and traffic along the way.  We are too tired to cook a real meal so we order out, or pick up something from the drive thru, maybe we stop at Costco for a pizza or farm raised salmon pre-made meal that you just toss in the oven.  UGH, even writing it out kills me.  This is how a lot of us operate. Stress, stress, stress....unhappiness, tired all the time, run down, can't concentrate, irritable, don't feel good a lot of the time, headaches, stomachaches.  Stress is such a huge contributor to our physical illnesses including cancer.  The Hay's book suggested that cancer is brought about by years and years of harboring resentment and stress towards something.  Some people (including me) are so unwilling/incapable of letting resentment go.  We hold grudges or ill will deep within us literally eating away at our physical bodies.  For real.  Have you ever noticed how many really unhappy people smoke?  This is just one small example that can be applied to many things like over eating/binging/or not eating/drinking/obsessive exercise or low self image.  We just replace our having to deal with it in a constructive and creative healthy way with our need for self destruction for what ever reasons we feel that we need to be bad to ourselves.  Maybe we feel like we are not deserving of happiness or friendships or health.  Maybe something happened in our past that was terrible so we decide that we cannot be happy in the present moment or future moments.  Maybe someone lied to us and now we feel that we cannot trust anyone at all anymore.  Maybe we got hurt so we are afraid that everything and everyone will hurt us.  We harbor those things inside of us and it creates dis-ease within our bodies which manifest as a myriad of illnesses.  Why do we want to treat ourselves this way?  Ask yourself this question, "do you love yourself?" "are you deserving of happiness and love?"  Look yourself in the eyes in the mirror and say out loud "I love myself, I truly love myself and I deserve to be happy and healthy."  I bet it is harder to do than you think it may be.

Ok, enough, ENOUGH!

Teeny weeny cucumber
My naturopath has suggested a new treatment to me and after hearing all the news about it and doing some research on my own (we ALL need to be advocates for our own health by the way, do your research and don't just rely on the doc's, YOU know when YOU feel bad and when something is not right)  I have decided to start taking artemisia.  It is a type of wormwood (tarragon is a type of artemisia) and it has a crazy affect on cancer cells literally killing them from oxidizing the iron in the cells.  Cancer cells have a higher iron content that the surrounding cells, the artemisia creates oxidization of the iron in the cells and conveniently kills the cell as a result without harming any other cells.  Pretty cool huh!?  Here is some information I found on it if you care to read about artemisia and cancer, or if you just want to know what artemisia is.  I am going to be the poster child for this stuff.  Apparently there is someone at the UW medical center that is doing research on this at this very moment.  Pretty cool huh?

I still have not started my sewing project yet.  I have all the best intentions of doing so.  It is going to be an apron.  I figured I would start simple :)

Isn't Pearl pretty with her accessory?
It has been hot and sunny here in PDX and we went to the river (the mighty Columbia) this week and sat on a sand bar and read/sunned it up.  We also brought my kayak and paddled around, it was so relaxing. Paddling is a sort of meditation for me, I just get all caught up in the movements and my mind wanders while I paddle.  It is nice and I wish it was easier to get the kayak up on the car and out to the water because I would do it all the time.
Kayaking on the Columbia

Yesterday we drove all over creation to go rock hounding.  We didn't find much.  We went to this old rock quarry off of hwy 4 waaaay out in the woods.  It was fun breaking up rocks and we did find some interesting pieces of quartz, but if we don't find some really interesting material soon I think that Jeff will not want to go much more with me.  So if anyone out there knows of a place to find cool stuff near Portland or within a couple of hours please let me know.  It would really be fun to find something super cool :)

The road to the quarry
My honey also just made it up this crazy hill with over 3500 ft of vertical on his bike.  He had been working up to it by making two previous training runs.  Congrats baby!  I couldn't, well more to the point wouldn't do it.  I hate riding a bicycle up a hill, absolutely hate it.  I would rather trim my fingernails too short before I did that.

Sorry buddy, you taste too good.  Thank you to the crab :)
I had such a great time with my dad in town, we went hiking and rockhounding and hung out in the back yard playing yard games.  We ate crab and barbequed.  I always love seeing my dad.  He is definitely a go getter, out hiking me almost everywhere we go! Kick ass!
Congrats Baby!

Mother daughter time
An old pic from RC Ridge
I also had a fabulous time with my mama on her birthday.  It rocked! We went to Manzanita and I treated her to a facial for her birthday at Spa Manzanita from Kerry.  Kerry is one of the wisest women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  My mom and I absolutely love her.  When she opens her mouth to speak it is as if her words were meant just for you, it is always something that you needed to hear, a valuable lesson or piece of insight.  Kerry if you are reading this I love you dearly, thank you so much for being you.  Anyway, my mom loved her facial, it was the first one she had ever had and since she isn't much into the touchy feely massagy thing I wondered how she would like it.  She LOVED IT! I knew she would :) especially a facial from Kerry.  Ladies, you really need to check her out.  I would drive all the way to Manzanita just to have my eyebrows waxed by her.

My cute Goodwill dress :)
This week is chemo week.  I don't really even remember how many times I have gone now.  This may be the 12th or so.  I did a stupid thing (there I go with negativity towards myself)....I thought I should postpone last quarters work and slowly get it done over the summer.  Yeah, right!  My ability to focus is pretty much shot.  I bought a card game the other day that looked like a lot of fun to play, it has an extra suit of stars ( I love card games).  I sat down to read the rules and promptly got lost.  What the....?  I guess that even when it comes to fun things I cannot concentrate so how in the world am I ever going to get these classes wrapped up.  I have decided to not worry about it.  heehee....sometimes things just have a way of figuring themselves out.  Maybe this will be one of those things :)

My garden is growing! My garden is growing!
I have teeny tiny cucumbers, all kinds of teeny weeny zucchinis, kale, and bush beans that I will be harvesting for the third time.  Meanwhile the tomatillos and tomatoes continue to grow and bloom.  I can't wait to harvest those!  I love a warm tomato right off the vine, one of my favorite things.  I have interspersed the garden pics throughout this post for your viewing pleasure :)  This is only my second ever garden, hence all the excitement.

I love my San!
Next weekend is my 20th high school reunion!!!
Now I have never been one to get excited about these types of things but I am so super excited about this one.  I am very excited to get to see some people I haven't seen forever except for on facebook (yes, I am a facebook junkie).  My friend of 24 years is coming into town from LA and I absolutely cannot wait to see her! Jennifer and I have had many many experiences together, she probably knows me as well as I know myself or maybe even better.  San, I love you!  I am expecting her visit to be wonderful.  I have not seen her for a couple of years, I miss my friend.

Ok everyone, sorry it took me so long.  I guess I really needed a mental break or at least the feeling of no obligations for a while.  You all PLEASE take care of yourselves and remember to please read those labels on your food and body products.  There are so many ALL NATURAL alternatives out there that are just as good if not better than the chemicals you are currently using.  Just ask me if you have any questions about anything or any products I use.  I have pretty much found all natural products to replace every one of those chemically products I used to use, even cleaning products.  I do not even like to have chemicals in my home any more.  And remember just because some large corporation says that something is "HEALTHY"  or good for you or a good source of vitamin A or calcium or whatever, please take the time to see if if is also a good source of DISEASE as well.  Maybe you can find another option.
Kale in the garden

In the meantime, much, much, much love and peace and health to all of you. So much!  May you be blessed with good health, great friends, and all the peace and love you deserve.

The Cancer Assassin

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 113

I hope that everyone has been having as great of a week as I have.  I have been to see my "other mamma Lynda" at my naturopath twice this week (Mon-Wed-Fri) and will go again in the morning bright and early at 8:15am.  Ever since my session on Monday I can really smell the vitamins on my breath, sweat and skin.  I smell like the GNC.  Lynda said that is great because that means my body is finally reaching saturation and that way I will be prepared for my onslaught of chemo next week.  Yesterday morning as she was starting the IV she pointed out to me that my blood was looking nice and bright red and pretty, unlike most times where it looks pretty dark and almost rusty brown red.  Guess that means my blood has lots of good nutrients in it and that is also a good thing.

I've been waking up in the best of moods lately.  I have been feeling absolutely great too.  I think that the hikes recently have helped both my physical body as well as my mental and spiritual side.  I have always been one to go quite insane if I don't get to be in the woods or mountains often enough.  Ahhhh......

In the past 3 weeks I have gained 5 lbs! YAY! This is a good thing, I was down to 121 and waaay too skinny for my own good.  Now I feel like I am at a healthy weight.  I was just reading about liver ailments last night on the web.  One symptom of liver disfunction/disease is lethargy and general constant feelings of tiredness.  That explains it!  Sometimes I feel like I get kind of hard on myself for not doing enough or being productive enough.  Jeff is constantly telling me "you need to relax and rest".  I do agree but I also like to walk and hike and get exercise.   When it comes to thinking about anything at all, even the slightest things, I become waaaaay overwhelmed.  I literally can only do one thing at a time.  Gone (for now) are the days of multitasking.  Oh, I was such a great multitasker too!  I could have multiple projects going on at once and somehow synchronize them all into perfect dance of chores that all got done in a matter of hours rather than days.  Now it takes me a week just to finish a couple loads of laundry or change the sheets on the bed.  UGH!

What does it all mean.  Here is my theory.  S.L.O.W. D.O.W.N.  I don't have to operate at the pace of a madwoman.  I don't even have to get all the chores done today, or even tomorrow, right?  Why do I hold myself to such high standards when it has obviously not been healthy for me to operate at that capacity for extended periods of time.  I think it is important to be able to recognize our own personal levels of stress.  We may not recognize our daily grind as being "stressful" because that is just what we have to do, our errands and chores, and our meetings or our obligations that fill every little day box on our calendars.  Even the stuff that is supposed to be relaxing and therapeutic often becomes just one more thing that we have to do when we might want to do nothing at all except sit and stare at the wall or sit in the woods and watch the trees sway in the wind (one of my personal favorite things to do).  How many things in your life cause you stress?  Can you find a way to lessen this or get rid of some of them altogether?  If you feel the need to "be productive" perhaps one of these more stressful activities or obligations could be replaced with some YOU time to indulge in what ever your favorite healthy activity is.  I firmly believe that I would not be in the position of The Cancer Assassin right now if I had done a little more to relieve stress in my life.  Or if I had even paid enough attention to the fact that some things that I thought were necessary stressors weren't actually necessary at all.  Stress is one of the largest factors leading to disease in our bodies.  It literally eats away at our insides.

Now don't stress on it, just relax, breathe and find a new, less stressful path.  Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.

I am off for a super fun stress free weekend in Manzanita.  It is my moms birthday this Saturday and we have booked a room at the coast for the weekend.  I love Manzanita, it is so quiet for a coast town, not very many tourists and the Bread and Ocean restaurant is a wonderful healthy spot to refuel.  Jeff is coming along and bringing his surfboard so while my mom and I are busy getting our chill-laxin on, he can go hang ten.  My mom comes into town tonight, YAY can't wait to see her!

I love how this past week has been filled with me getting to hang out with both my mom and dad.  I love my parents so much, they are the coolest people on the planet and they care so much about me.  I am so lucky to have such wonderful people bring me into this world and instill their values, curiosities, and love in me.  My parents rock!  Here's to you mom and dad, the best parents anyone could ask for!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 105

I am now in the double digits!

So I will cut right to the chase.  I know you are all waiting to hear the results of the last CT scan so I'm gonna spill it right here.  Don't get all excited because it is really anticlimactic.  I really was not expecting them to be like "Hey! Where did they all go?  I don't see anything at all."  and they didn' wasn't bad though....

So, it looks pretty much like it did on my last CT scan....Still have cancer, it is still all over my entire liver, three of them even grew...only by a couple of millimeters though and that is not very big.  The good news is that the density of the tumors is less than it was 3 months ago.  My doctor (Shao) and I are taking it as a good sign.  A sign that they are dying, so that is good.  Plus Shao felt my stomach and I have felt my stomach and they definitely feel different than they did.  The place under my ribs is not as large or hard as it was before.  Basically Shao said don't get discouraged by the seemingly bad scan, a couple of millimeters is not much at all and we both know that I am feeling great and that they don't stand a chance :)

So, pretty anti-climactic huh?  I'm cool with it though.  I just got to keep on doing my thing.  I am getting some exercise now so that is great!  I though I was going to go crazy not getting to go out into the woods or mountains, but we went for a hike the other day and I now have my sanity back :)  My dad gets into town this morning from Tennessee (that's where I grew up) and I go to pick him up at 10am.  I can't wait to see him!!!  We have plans to get out into the woods and explore also.  I already have the Bagby Hot Springs in my sights.  My girlfriend Stephanie (Bills) is coming this weekend to meet my Pa and hang out with us.  It should be a great weekend!  Then the fun doesn't stop, as next weekend is my moms birthday weekend and we have big plans for Manzanita that weekend.  I love Manzanita, it is so quaint and quiet for a costal town.

Life is great!  I have been feeling great!  I have so many wonderful people around me.  My "other mama Lynda" at my naturopath and my wonderful nurse Bev at the cancer center both have the most amazing energy.  They are some of the most amazing ladies around.  I am so lucky to have them as my nurses and guardian angels.  They take such good care of me.  Here is a picture of me and Bev.  She is the one that wrote the hiking prescription for me :)  I will ask Lynda if she minds staring in my blog when I see her next so you all can "meet" her too.

I may not get to post for a little while, I will most likely be busy having fun with my dad :)
I love all of you guys and gals and want you to know that I can feel you every day thinking about me.  I love your energy, it is impossible not to heal when you have so many wonderful people praying for you, thinking about you, sending you all this wonderful energy every day.  It is absolutely awesome!  I love it!  Please, please keep it coming!  It is the fuel for my soul and body and it DOES make a difference.
Much love to you all!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 99

Last day of the double digits, tomorrow is day 100 since I have been diagnosed with cancer.  It is really strange in a way.  99 days ago I didn't know if I would be making a 100th post or not.  I had no idea what to expect.  As soon as I was told "you have cancer" I thought the rest of my life was going to be spent in the hospital, hairless, wasting away with machines all around me keeping me alive.  I remember that at first I did not want to tell anyone for fear that they would treat me differently or stop talking to me altogether.  I have found this to be somewhat true for some.  People just don't know what to say to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.  I imagine that it must be a bit awkward but rest assured that I would rather hear from you and correspond with you than not.  If you are feeling awkward about how to start a conversation with the cancer girl you shouldn't.  I am still the same old me :) just a lot healthier now and with a better more positive outlook on life and a lot less stressed.

A friend of mine Jennifer just said the other day that she is replacing all of her "I have to's with I get to's which reminded me of what my boyfriend Jeff said to me at about day 2 or 3.  Now you get to get healthy. What if we all did this?  What if we said "I get to see the sunrise today" when we are up earlier than we want to be.  What if we said" I get to do chores and run errands", or "I get to exercise and eat well", or "I get to take care of our environment and the earth" so many do not have the luxury of getting to, but we do. How truly lucky we are!  Thanks Jennifer for reminding us of this little change in attitude we can make to create a better reality for ourselves.  After all the less stress we have in our lives the less dis-ease we also have.

Now I get to go to the oncologist this afternoon :)  I have been nervously looking forward to this moment for 99 days.  I get to see the results of my last CT scan from Monday.  Nervous?  You bet!  I know that the place in my stomach feels a lot different now, less hard and not as large...It also does not hurt to breathe like it did before so that is good.  I will keep you all posted on what I saw and what the doc said. Forgive me if it takes a day or so but I will let you all know, promise :)

My ChipIn thing expired and I couldn't just go in and scoot the date out farther so I had to create a new one that starts all over again at $0.  Just to let you all know that with all of your support the contributions to the last chip in account came to a total of $8766.93!!!!!  I cannot even begin to express how thankful and touched I am by all of your support!  I am so blessed to be among such wonderful, inspiring and selfless people.  I wish I could personally give all of you a big hug and kiss, so consider yourself hugged and kissed :) or find someone to deliver them to you, a significant other, or son or daughter, or friend or total creative :)