Monday, April 6, 2015

Hey look! A new blog post!

Today I have a little energy.

That hasn't been the norm lately.  For months now I've been feeling like a clock that has been gradually winding down, going slower and slower as the days go by.  I have been exceptional at holding down my sofa though.  Let me tell you it is going nowhere!  My 5 year cancerversary was last month, and of the past 5 years that I have been diagnosed with cancer only one of those years has been without chemo.  Let me tell you four years of chemo can really wear on a person.
I am always cold during my IV's

I thought I was going crazy for about a month.  I was shaky, unstable, feeling really strange and weird and just not right.  I knew something was wrong but I just couldn't put my finger on it.  One day I almost went to the ER but knew that they would just blame it on the chemo.  So I called my nurses and picked their brains.  Both my naturopath nurse and my oncology nurse felt pretty sure my I had hyperthyroidism and the symptoms seemed to fit.  My blood labs came back and my oncology nurse said I was just on the low range of normal and blamed the chemo for my symptoms saying that was the only thing it could be.  My naturopath nurse and doctor felt that even though I was in the "normal" range it was too low on the normal side and gave me a script to help.  Within two days I felt back to my version of normal again and a week later I crashed for a week sleeping 13+ hours a day just to counter all the hypertension I was feeling the month before.   It has been a strange year so far...

Lately I have been so tired, unmotivated, completely fatigued, and utterly lethargic not even wanting to expend the energy to cook or clean.  Often I lay in a puddle on the sofa until I have to get up and drag myself into my appointments for IV's or chemotherapy or various other doctors appointments.  It is so completely different than what I am used to being able to do.  I remember I used to be so independent, often going hiking and camping alone, dreaming and anticipating and scheming about my next adventure.  Even when I had two herniated discs in my back I still muscled through the pain and did as much as I could.  Most of the time now I don't even have the energy, drive, or motivation to leave my house unless I have to.  This has been messing with my mind too.  It is an emotional drag to feel so crappy every day.  I've been really good lately at making myself feel guilty for all of the things that I haven't done, or that I need to do, or that I want to do.  Lots of guilt and a little bit of depression as a result.

The suspension bridge at Falls Creek Falls
The good news is that I got a little energy to get out last week and go for a small hike with a good friend.  We went to Falls Creek Falls on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.  It was exactly what I needed!  It felt so good to get out and get some exercise and fresh air.  We saw a hummingbird dive bombing a woodpecker and heard a lot of other pretty bird songs.  The falls and suspensions bridges were amazing and we even had a little time to ourselves at the main falls before others showed up.  It was calming and serene.  I had to stop quite a bit on the trail on the way up to the falls but on the way back I was bouncing!  The only bad part of the day is that I got sick in the car on the way home...luckily my friend had a plastic bag in her car.  This prompted an unexpected detour to a Burger King garbage can then everything was fine and we were on our way home.  It was a small price to pay for such a beautiful day.
The last tier (of 3) at Falls Creek Falls

The bad news is that I have had so much chemotherapy in the last five years that my body is not going to be able to handle it for much longer before it starts having major difficulties and I don't want that to happen.  My awesome nurses at my oncology center referred me to a doctor who finds clinical trials for your specific cancer.  I have a call in to her and am anxiously awaiting her response.  The difficulty is that it costs $300 which I don't have but that is a small price to pay for having someone do the legwork of finding a trial for you as well as getting you into it.  She looks all over the entire country to find one that will fit for your needs, so who knows, I might have to travel.  I am hoping to find one here in the PNW but at this point I will go where ever I need to go.  My options are running thin at this point.  My next scan is coming up near the end of the month (it actually hasn't been scheduled yet but will be soon) and once I get the results from that I will decide how much longer to get chemotherapy.  My hope is that the tumor that sprang up anew in January will have either gone away completely or shrank.  If it has grown at all I am going to panic a bit, or a lot.
Every other Tuesday

If you have emailed me, please forgive me for not getting back to you as of yet.  I hope that you understand that it has been very difficult for me to do the smallest of tasks.  Two of the most asked questions I receive via email is regarding my diet and my supplements.  Below I have provided a link to each one (these can also be found in my blog under past postings).  I am very sorry to lump everyones questions into this one impersonal post, however I must conserve my energy as there is very little to go around lately.

Link to supplements

Link to diet

One thing I am very much looking forward to is the little vacation/road trip I have planned with my mom.  We are traveling down to the desert and doing a little sight seeing and light hiking and maybe a little rock hounding.  I absolutely LOVE road trips.  Although, if I had any vacation I wanted, it would be in La Paz, Mexico.  Now THAT place is nothing but peace, relaxation, and a loss of all of your worries.  I have only been there once but I very much hope to go back there again one day, until then the desert is calling my name.
I am also excited about gardening.  Somehow even if I have no energy and the sun is shining and I am able to be out in the garden at my dads house sitting there in the dirt digging holes and planting vegetables I am happy and content.

Those are the two things I am looking forward to and the many scary things I am dreading...Fingers crossed for a positive scan and an awesome clinical trial and in the meantime I will be holding down my sofa :)

Many healthy blessings to you all!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Catching up and still kicking some cancer booty.


I hope that everyone has been doing well, staying healthy and happy and having a wonderful new year!

It's about time that I gave everyone a big update on what's been going on since the holidays.  I had a wonderful Christmas with my parents.  I got to spend some quality time with my mom and dad although the time I spent with my dad was mostly spent on the couch in pain.  Luckily by the time my mom got into town the pain was mostly gone and I got to enjoy myself more.

Which brings me to what has been happening health/cancer wise in my world.  I had my CT scan on January 23rd.  Had a bit of bad news.  It looks like I have a new tumor growing in my liver again over on the right side this time.  The other tumor that got radiated is still not growing and is looking more like it is still dying and the tumors in my lymph nodes are still just hanging out being peaceful.  My oncologist said that if new tumor does not shrink or respond to the current chemo that I might have to go onto a new chemo combo called Folfox.  I am really hoping not to have to be presented with this choice.  Folfox is a combo of 4 chemo drugs that gets administered in two stages, one day in chemo at the clinic then they leave you hooked up through your port for 36 more hours while you take it home and sleep/function with it attached to you as well as a pump that you have to carry around.  It slowly drips in over the 36 hours.  Next another trip to the oncologist is required so that they can disconnect you, ultimately and effectively removing 4 days of your life in appointments or being hooked up to a chemo pump.  Like I said, I am focusing on manifesting good results and a shrinking tumor so that this does not become my new reality.  I will know for sure when it is time for my next scan and that is sometime near the end of March, so about a month from now...Send positive thoughts please! Oxxo!

Next on the list of health woes is that the 3 years of chemotherapy I have received has really done a huge number on my poor gallbladder.  It has shrunk so much that the technicians cannot even find it in a number of scans.  It has really taken a beating from the extended chemotherapy treatments (plus it may not have ever worked properly for a long time anyway leading to my cancer perhaps).  As a result of all the abuse it tends to hurt profusely after my chemo and vitamin C treatments.  The first time it hurt  the excruciating pain lasted for about 4 days.  The second time it happened the excruciating pain lasted for about 7 days, and the most recent time the pain only lasted for about 3 days.  The pain is so severe it feels like I am being stabbed with a knife in my right side.  I cannot breathe in very deep and as a result am always out of breath and energy.  It hurts to move, to lie on my right side, to eat, to poop, to sit, to do just about anything but lay down and try to find relief with a heating pad.  Once the pain gets bad enough I resort to oxycodone and morphine to find much needed relief, which only leads to more issues I will save you from.

I have been asked why I don't simply get my gallbladder removed.  Unfortunately it isn't that easy or I would trust me.  Turns out my cancer originated in my bile duct which is connected directly to your gallbladder so in order to remove my gallbladder they would have to cut through cancerous tissue and risk spreading the cancer all over at that point.  This is simply not even an option in my book.  So to find some sort of a solution I consulted my naturopath to see what he had to offer.  He gave me some dandelion tincture to drink in hot water 3 times a day and also some homeopathic remedy (mandrake) to take 6 times a day and so far I have to say that I have noticed a large difference.  I still ache constantly but I have not had the side stabbing excruciating pain like before.  Once in a while there will be a little stab here and there but I really can't complain too much about that.  I have been a little afraid to get a vitamin C IV for the past couple of weeks because those seem to cause gallbladder pain as well.  Instead I have been getting some nutritive IV's to try to soothe my little GB.  This Friday I am back on the vitamin C's though and I am trying not to focus on being afraid of if it is gonna make me hurt.  Thinking positive thoughts!

So to make a long story shorter I have been mostly feeling fatigued, in a LOT of pain, and completely unmotivated but the good part about all of it is that even these times have been punctuated by some really awesome quality time with friends and family.  I really have enjoyed my time with my mom too as I haven't really been able to spend as much time with her since last July.  She has been really busy working and it isn't easy for us to make the three hour trip to visit for a weekend.  We are really looking forward to trying to plan some kind of get away this spring/summer for a week or longer.  I am wondering if any of my friends out there have a condo/or rental somewhere awesome where one can unwind, relax, and recharge, preferably somewhere warm :)  If so please let me know and we can discuss price and details.

Much love to you all and many, many healthy blessings!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

In the spirit...of giving?

Yes I am!  I'm excited to go to grammas for Thanksgiving and I'm excited to get to see my mom and spend a few days in Seattle hanging out with her.  It's been far too long since I've seen her and she works way to hard often working weekends.  I know she does it mostly to be able to help me out and I worry about her working so much.  I don't want her to run herself down and get sick or something.  Regardless, I am just going to be glad to spend some time with her.

X-mas '13 with Mags Who Wags

Oh man!  I have been feeling so crappy lately.  Super run down, weak and shaky.  With the exception of the last four days, I haven't slept for more than two hours at a time in about three months.  No energy to cook or clean or even get out of my apartment.  Wanna hear my theory as to why?  I really think it is because I am now almost 11/2 years into chemotherapy again.  I remember what that was like last time I was there.  I had a huge painful rash all over my face that hurt so badly I couldn't even put my face on my pillow.  I weighed about 103lbs and was way to skinny.  My hair was so thin you could see my scalp and I often wore a hat or a wig to keep warm and not look so crazy.  I had neuropathy all over my body in many different forms and my chemobrain was fried extra crispy...couldn't even concentrate long enough to follow a 1/2 hour sit com and just forget the notion that I would ever have been able to remember anything at all.

As I sit here typing this I am now three treatments shy of being at the place I was last time.  The bad news is that all of the chemotherapy has completely fried my poor gallbladder and it hurts a lot now.  The good news is that I don't have a huge rash all over my face (my skin is actually better than it has been in many years, mostly I think because I use castor oil and olive oil with lavender e.o. as face wash every day).  I still have a full head of hair and I just wear a hat to stay warm or look cute now :)  I weigh 121lbs at weigh in last week during chemo.  Most of my pants don't fit, so actually I am trying to re-haul my diet once again to eliminate more carbs and sugar from it.  I have to fess up and admit that I have fallen off my bandwagon in regards to eating well.  I have been feeling so crappy for so many months now that I have not spent the time cooking like I usually do.  Not as much time preparing fresh foods meant many meals that could be heated up in the oven or on the stovetop.  Usually those meals have a lot of empty carbs and those eventually make you just feel worse, not to mention make your pants not fit.  My chemobrain is not as bad as it was before but it is definitely still there.  Concentration is an issue for me as I am once again finding myself not being able to do one thing for too long without starting something else or forgetting what I was doing.  It's hard for me to remember dates/plans.  I constantly have to keep asking "when is such and such again?" or I just forget that I got an invite all together.  I have two calendars that I write everything on and usually about 8-10 post-it notes in the brightest colors I could find with notes to self written in bold fat sharpie.  They are stuck on my mirror in the bathroom right in the middle so I can't miss it.  I have them stuck to my front door to remind me to do something before I walk out.  I have them in my car to remind me what errands I have to run after I get my IV or chemo.! What would I do without you?
X-mas '14 downtown Portland with my mama

Even though I feel crappy more often than not and my energy is very low and I have some chemobrain going on I am so thankful I am not in the place I was last time at this point in my treatment.  Now you wanna hear my theory on why I think the side effects from the chemo aren't as bad this time as last time?  VITAMIN C IV's!!!  Seriously those things are absolute life savers.  They enhance the cancer killing effects of the two chemotherapy drugs I get (it's been proven in studies even).  It acts like a natural form of chemotherapy by oxidizing cancer cells (vitamin C only does this when in IV form, taken by mouth it is an anti-oxidant which is good for boosting the immune system).  It has NO negative side effects, or at least I have never experienced any.  My nurse says that it can sometimes cause bloating and gas but it has never happened to me.  It makes me really thirsty though and I often drink 80-100oz of water on those days.  It does wonders for the skin, hair, and nails.  And considering that at the beginning of the year I had more cancer in my body than I do now, I think that on top of all of the positives of the C I can safely say that it truly seems to be helping to assassinate those tumors.

But...I have a problem.  I only have enough credit in my account at The Center for Traditional Medicine where I get my vitamin C IV's to get three more IV's.  I have been trying to spread them out as thinly as possible but as often as I can so that I can still get some benefits from them but making them last a bit longer as well.  I am supposed to get three a week, but honestly that is just too hard for me.  I am ok with two a week but on chemo weeks I think I could only handle one.  I am not trying to be to optimistic but I would really like to get one a week.  I know that is not optimal according to my doc but he does agree that some is better than none ( he wants me to get three).  The IV's cost $145 each, see my conundrum.  I can't even afford enough groceries to last me for a month with my income.  My mom helps me out, my dad helps me out, and friends help out, but they can only do so much themselves.  My plan was to take a break from chemo for a few months to give my battered body, brain, nerves and aching gallbladder that has been fried from chemo a much needed breather.  Maybe I will heal a bit, get back on track, get some of my energy and mojo back.  Maybe I will even have enough energy to go for a small hike, who knows!  I was hoping that during the time I am not getting chemo I can replenish my body with all kinds of good stuff.  I am hoping to be able to continue my vitamin C IV's at once a week but I can't do that without a little help...ok a lot of help but if a lot of people help then it just makes it a little cause a little goes a long long ways.

So here(are) is my plea(s):

Please, PLEASE enjoy your holidays!  Spend time with as many friends and family as possible and no matter your differences remember how thankful you are to have them all in your lives.

Be safe out there and stay warm and be kind.

If I am not back on here before Christmas please have a wonderful, joyful time filled with love and memories.  I have a lot of projects to get done before then because I am crafting all of my gifts.  Have to get crafty and creative when there is a money shortage :) but it makes for very unique gifts.

AND if you can spare $1 or $5 or any gift cards for grocery stores (Fred Meyer, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Safeway) or gas gift cards I would really appreciate any help at all.  I'm serious, don't feel bad about giving $1 because every bit goes a long long way and you have no idea how much I appreciate it. Here is the link with contact info for my naturopath where I receive my C IV's. They are happy to accept a check or take a debit/credit card over the phone.  And...THANK YOU!!!!
The Center for Traditional Medicine 
If you would rather donate via paypal you can do so at thegrassygreen(at)gmail or contact me and I can get you any information you desire (addresses etc)

The last tree my little kitty girl helped me decorate.

Cholangiocarcinoma, diet, and supplement information for those out there who have questions.

I want to include a couple of links for those out there who have been asking questions about diet, supplements and just in general what to do if you or your loved one has cholangiocarcinoma.  The links are to my diet and my supplement list but please take this with you as you read them.  Everyone is different and what may work very well for one person may not work at all or not as well for another.  I cannot diagnose or prescribe a treatment plan for anyone as I am not a doctor.  All I can do is share the things that worked for me.  I think that with food it is pretty safe to say to avoid sugars and all processed foods while making the bulk of your meals vegetables and maybe some meats if you can handle meat.  Now again, if you need to gain weight veggies alone aren't going to work and you might need those carbs.  Do you see how me offering advice becomes a slippery slope.  So with that in mind please accept my account of the things I did that have helped me.  I wish I had the energy and time to talk to every single one of you personally but a lot of the time I barely have enough energy for me right now.  Please be healthy out there and never ever give up hope.  Doctors can not tell us how much time we have left on this earth.  My motto is to live every day as if it was my last and to try to be as good to my body as I possibly can be given my energy and finances.  I always try to find the good in everything rather than the bad and I find that it really helps me feel better not just emotionally but physically as well.  Surrounding yourself or your loved ones who are sick with nothing but love and light and peace instead of worry might go a long way to boost their spirits and give them the motivation they need to fight the cancer.
If you want to speak to my naturopath to get more detailed information and scientific explanations as to your specific case you can reach him at The Center for Traditional Medicine in Lake Oswego, OR.  His name is Dr. Noel Peterson.  He has even helped out of state people before by record faxing and phone conversations.  I know he is a very busy doctor though so try to be patient if he can't get to you right away.  He is a wealth of detailed scientific information.

Here is the link to my diet information for those interested:
My Cancer Killing Diet and Lifestyle

And here is the link to my supplement information:
Questions Answered

Another link on supplements:
Supplements...why they are good for me and maybe you too.

I do take a few more supplements than that now but those are specifically for certain conditions I have as a result of all of the chemotherapy.  I am not sure that those should be recommended unless by a doctor.

Once again I want to let you all know that YOU have been the best support system that I could have ever dreamed of!  It has been because of every single beautiful one of you and your shining spirit that I have been able to kick this much cancer booty!  I look at every day as a blessing and find something beautiful in every one of them, even the bad ones.  There is so much beauty out there and it doesn't take a lot of looking to find it.  Soak it in and share it with the world.  A little more love can't hurt a thing.

Friday, November 7, 2014

I'm still alive!

Yes indeed!

I have had quite the break from blog posting.  I must guiltily admit it felt kind of good to be away from most social media for the majority of the summer with some occasional posts on the book of faces to keep everyone there up to date.  I also feel the need to offer an apology to those out there who have been looking to the blog for updates.  I can't say that it has all been fun and games but fun and games were definitely part of the summer equation.  It feels like most of my year I have been sort of in a state of hiding or being low profile.  I guess that there comes a time when one feels like no one really wants to hear me complain about this or that with regards to what seems to be hurting or bothering me at the time, so I kind of clammed up and focused instead on spending a lot of time with my family throughout the entire summer when I was not in chemo, a C IV, or the hospital for one thing or another.  I feel like ever since last Christmas when my kitty passed it has been one thing after another but not always in crappy ways, actually mostly in good ways.  Two days after my kitty passed I got a new port because my old one was wearing out.  Then I had to get another one because the last one wouldn't heal, then there was all kinds of weird pain and a hospital stay then it was radiation and more mystery pain requiring me to resort to morphine to get it down to a bearable level. gets much better!

In between all of this I got to spend loads of time with my mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and my gramma.  At the end of May my mom, aunt, and I went on a rock/gem hunting mini road trip and got to stay in an awesome teepee in the desert in Oregon.  In july mom and I went on another road trip to hunt rocks and gemstones.  We hit 9 states, hot springs, campgrounds galore, a bunch of thunderstorms with crazy lightning and loads of rocks and fun and beautiful scenery.   Most recently my dad and I went on yet another rock/gem hunting road trip and literally filled up the back of the truck with rocks, gems, and geodes that we had found at our various destinations.  It has been so awesome to get to spend so much time with my family.  I love hearing all those stories that I have never heard before.

I can't wait till the holidays are here.  I'm a sap for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I love the commercials, the shows, the music, the sparkles and all that stuff.  For some reason it just makes me happy.  I'm hoping that with December
24th being the anniversary of my kitty girls passing my Christmas wont be sad.  I'm planning to pay tribute to her this year somehow and celebrate how much joy and love she brought to my life instead of feeling sad although I know that there will be some sadness as well.

How am I feeling lately?  I can't say that I feel good, but I can't say that I feel bad either.  For some reason I just can't sleep.  Get horrible night sweats that wake me up to soaked blankets.  I usually get up and stand in front of the heater while drying off with a towel because by that time I am freezing from being soaking wet.  I've been sleeping on the sofa for about the past two and a half weeks.  I think I have by now associated my bed with negative emotions about sleeping.  Every time I try to sleep in bed it just doesn't work lately.  So it's always a mystery.  Will it be the sofa or the bed tonight?  I guess I will decide that later when it's bedtime.
Chemo has been going well and as far as I know there is no end in sight anytime soon.  I will most likely take a break for a while at the beginning of the year or so.  Its been going on a year and a half since I started chemo last and I don't want to destroy my kidneys or gallbladder (or whatever else I don't even know yet) any more than I have to.  At every two weeks that is about 40 treatments of chemo I have had since July '13! Yeah, might be break time soon.

Vitamin C IV's are also going very well.  I have been getting only one C IV a week lately for two big reasons.  Reason 1 is that I am running out of funding for them.  I have enough left to get 7 IV's and that means 7 weeks which brings me to about the end of the year.  Reason 2 is that I feel like I have been so poked, glued, stitched and prodded this year that I can mentally or physically hardly handle getting stabbed by more needles and being in appointments for so long.  I feel good about once a week and until things change or more tumors show up or money runs out I think that is going to be my plan of attack for now.

I had a HIDA scan recently.  They had to do the scan twice because they couldn't find my gallbladder.  It determined that my gallbladder is definitely not normal.  My oncologist says that it is most likely from all of the chemotherapy I have had.  He said that if he referred me to a surgeon that they would definitely want to remove it.  BUT we are not sure that it is the cause of my mystery pain so he and I are both of the opinion that surgery isn't the most appealing option at this time.  The number of good days I have compared to bad days is still great enough to not even consider it right now.

Food has been my biggest nemesis lately.  I just don't want to eat anything.  Nothing at all sounds good to me.  I go to the store for groceries and just end up disappointed because I walk around looking for inspiration or motivation but leave bummed and with the same old stuff I always get which isn't very appealing when nothing sounds good.  If I could eat anything I wanted at all, I'm talking like a giant buffet with anything at all right in front of you and I could have anything I wanted I would still most likely say that nothing sounds good.  Part of it is from fear.  Weird huh?  I get hungry and want food then I realize that the things I have in my house are all blah and not entirely the most healthy thing I could eat so I don't want to eat anything at all.  I often don't feel good enough to spend much time cooking (which sucks because I used to love to cook) so I try to get food that is easy to prepare but what I have been struggling with lately is easy to prepare vs. appealing and appetizing.  I have been considering spending my grocery money on one of those meal delivery services for two meals a week just for something new and inspiration to maybe want to cook again.  Steamed veggies are kind of getting a bit old.

I don't know about where you live but here in Portland it went from summer to fall in a matter of 24 hours.  One day it was sunny and 70 degrees and the next day it was daylight savings losing an hour to 60 degrees rainy and dark by 5pm.  Dark by 5pm is a real issue for me.  It is gonna take me another week or two just to get used to this whole thing.  I usually get up and go down with the sun as far as sleeping but when it gets dark so early I struggle with my daily rhythm for a while.  I will get used to it by Thanksgiving hopefully.  Once I get used to it I actually get pretty productive.  Winter time is my project time when I like to get crafty and create things.  I'm hoping to start making some jewelry from the stones I have picked up along my summer travels.

My goals this year are to get some homemade Christmas presents done by the holiday and to rekindle that fire I used to have for cooking yummy food at home.  I want to make it so that food to me doesn't end up going the way that my bed has gone with negative emotions associated with it.

I will also try to post more on my blog even if it is just a paragraph or two.  I often feel like I need to spend lots of time and effort but fail to realize that I don't necessarily need to write a novel, just keep people informed about things, right? :)  Hopefully I will find my energy and get some of my lost mojo back.  In the meantime you all take precious care and stay healthy and keep smiling.  I will do the same and keep on kicking some cancer booty!

Much love to you all!

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!!