Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow day in Seattle and "The Secret Society of Laura York"

I am cuddling with my kitty in my mom's cozy apartment in Ballard watching the sparkly snow silently fall outside.  I have been awake since about 4:30.  I have never been able to sleep on snow nights.  Even when I lived on Crystal Mountain and had large storms overnight I still was too excited to sleep, thinking of all the fresh tracks and powder stashes that I would get to hit the next morning.  There is also the lovely silence that happens when it snows.  It is like mother nature put some soundproofing all around.  It is so quiet and lovely, especially when I do not have to go drive in it with all of the rest of the world.  I actually love driving in the snow, it is all the other bad drivers out there that I worry about.

I have been feeling much, much better lately.  November 30th was my last chemotherapy treatment.  I do not even have another appointment with my oncologist for a month from now.  It is strange and wonderful to not have any doctors appointments on a weekly basis.  I don't have to adjust the rest of my schedule around doctors offices.  It is nice to say the least.
Every single day I feel a little better and a little better.  I can feel the fog in my head lifting and thinning slightly every day.  I still do not have the memory or concentration that I used to and I easily get flustered and frustrated at my lack of mental concentration/abilities but I do feel like it is getting better.  Just think! If I am feeling better now how great I am going to feel in 3 months!
At my next scan in March I will be getting a PET scan instead of a CT scan.  This is helpful because the PET shows if there are any active cancer cells and the CT only show mass.  This will only be the 3rd PET scan I have had since I was diagnosed back in March 2010.  They don't do these scans often because.....YEP you guessed it! They are expensive and insurance doesn't like to cover them often.  Lame huh?  But I am glad that I am getting one in March and very grateful to be able to.

For those of you out there who have cholangiocarcinoma or for those who have loved ones with it here may be a little bit of news for you.  Keep in mind that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work as well for others AND that there are thousands of alternative treatments out there that your doctor cannot recommend because they have not been "scientifically proven" or because they could even lose their license if they recommend these things.  With those things in mind this is what I am doing right now instead of chemotherapy.  I am trying to give my body a break and let it do its own job of healing itself.  I just could not take any more chemo.

LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone):
It works through my immune system to boost it and induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells.  The only downfall is that if you have any pain and take pain medication this will negate any effects of the meds.  Luckily I have not had much pain lately so this is a good thing.  It is a long term treatment with the only side effects being a chance of sleep disturbances which I have not experienced yet thankfully.  If you are interested here are some links about LDN.  It sounds promising to me.

I think it is also used to treat other chronic illnesses such as rheumatiod arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Breaks the water matrix around the cancer cells which cause them to stop growing.  It is especially effective against liver cancer.  I am not drinking my own urine by the way...It is a powder I mix into water/juice and drink on a daily basis.  This will most likely be a very long term to life long treatment.  It is a commitment.  Urea was the very first synthetically derived compound discovered to be effective for certain cancers (breast, skin) and especially effective in liver cancer treatment.  It was dismissed as a viable treatment in the 80's due to a bogus study conducted by "professionals" who did not follow the original protocol used by the person who discovered it (Dr. Danopoulos) in 1954 and published a promising study on his findings twenty years later in 1974.  This treatment does not have any side effects and actually does not even make it past the liver if ingested.  So this is perfect for me!

Here are some links to Urea:

I am also getting some blood work done to see how my iron levels are looking.  They could be low due to the bone marrow suppression going on from the wonderful effects of chemotherapy for 20 months.  The minute they are looking good we are also going to start an artemisinin therapy.  I used to take artemisinin supplements but this is supposed to be very different.  This is FAT SOLUBLE artemisinin and you either receive it in an IV form or injection form.  Somehow it creates hydrogen peroxide in the cancer cells effectively killing them and only leaving an oxygen molecule behind.  Ok, I got my facts mixed up (damn chemo brain).  Fat soluble artemisinin actually does something different.  Cancer cells have many, many more iron receptors than normal cells do.  The artemisinin binds to these receptors because they are iron rich and it actually oxidizes the iron in the cells KILLING THEM.  For some reason that I do not remember so much at this time (chemo brain) the fat soluble artemisinin can do this a lot more efficiently than just taking an artemisinin supplement in pill form can.  I know a lot of you who are out there managing your cancer with artemisinin supplements.  This might be something to ask your doctor about  (naturopath, not oncologist or western medicine doc, because remember they cannot recommend this treatment because it is not "scientifically proven" and means nothing in their world, some may even tell you NOT to do it because they do not know anything about it) Not bad!  Again, no side effects! YIPPIE!

Here are some links to Fat Soluble Artemisinin:

I have yet to start the Urea and the artemisinin.  I have already started the LDN and so far so good.  Not too much pain at all and mentally it is like I have been stuck in an old coal mine and just dug my way out and can now smell and taste the fresh air of the sweet outdoors. The fog is still lifting and I'm not complaining.

"The Secret Society of Laura York"

I appears that I have my own secret society.  I think that is freaking cool! Who wouldn't?  I only found out about it last week.  On Thursday my friend Angela sent me a message saying that she really needed to see me that night because she needed to take me somewhere to give me something.  Needless to say, my interest was peaked.  We decided to meet at the Trader Joe's which is literally one block from my apartment.  I met her out front at the designated time and she suggested that we go inside.  Once inside she began to inform me that I had my very own "secret society" where a whole bunch of friends and family came together as an invite only group on facebook.  There are around 200 members! This group of people were coordinated by a friend of mine, John, from my high school years at Timberline in Lacey, WA.  He made a suggestion that if 100 of my friends would donate $1 every week then they would be able to coordinate gift cards at Trader Joes for me so that I don't have to worry about groceries! This is awesome!!!!!!  I can get almost everything I need at Trader Joe's and when my budget is literally less than $10/day this helps me out immensely!!!
I just cannot fathom the coordination and effort this took to pull together.  Thank you John and EVERYONE who has contributed to my continued health and support.  I simply cannot express my gratitude sufficiently to describe the great feeling of love, joy and support I feel from all of you.

I would like to extend another HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has sent me cards, letters, gift cards, etc and so many wonderful words of support and love.  It is an awesome feeling to check the mailbox and get so many thoughtful mail inside.  This has truly re-inspired me and has taken so much stress off of me both financially and mentally.

Stay healthy everyone! You all have my deepest appreciation and love.

And oh yeah,



  1. Glad to hear you are feeling better Laura !

  2. Thank you Rachel! I am feeling better every day. Today I am grateful for a warm home, a warm kitty, a warm cup of chamomile tea, and watching the snow fall from the window of my moms apartment in Seattle. Take good care of yourself!

  3. Good luck with your scan in March and try not to let the pending date consume you between now and then. Oh and I loved what you said about the quite snow. I was just telling my husband while we were walking in the white stuff: it has a sound. It sounds like total quiet. Ahhh!

  4. Laura,

    I'm glad you are doing better. There's no feeling in the world like cuddling in a cozy place with a cuddly cat and watching quiet snow fall.

    Good luck on your scan in March.

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