Monthly Archives

August 2011

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Ok. I’m over myself. I hate complaining and yet I still do it. Here I am, I’m annoyed by myself. I’m alive. I have a kind, thoughtful man, a patient family and amazing friends that know when to distract me with laughter and when to just give a hug. Sometimes I have to remind myself that nothing is that bad in life until there is no life to live. It really snaps me back into reality.

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Divalproex Is The Devil

The past few days have been tough. The family has been researching different alternative medicine, different unusual treatments that are being used in other countries. We’re lead to them by other brain tumor patients who have had success. It’s wonderful, and yet at the same time I feel overwhelmed. In the meantime, we’re trying to get appointments with a neuro-oncologist to deal with my anti-seizure medicine. The side effects are too extreme for me. I’m grumpy almost all of the time, depressed for no reason. I’m trying to keep a happy face, but I’m just having such a hard time functioning. There are lots of other anti-seizure medicine out there, so I’m hoping that we can find a better fit. If I can’t find a good fit, I might just get off the medicine and elect to avoid driving and other activities that would be dangerous for a seizure ridden person. I feel crazy. I’m definitely not myself. My radiation oncologist already told me that anti-seizure medicine (for a person with my diagnosis) may not even change a thing to avoid an episode. With that lingering in my head, I’m not going to lose myself in medication at this cost. One more thing. I’m sure it’s nothing, but I had an atypical mole removed on my chest and the pathology came back positive. I now have to go back in for more digging to remove the areas around the mole and have it sent for even further testing. I’m feeling fine about the results, especially after having friends share some scary stories about precancerous mole episodes, it’s just not fun. Normally I could shake things off, but right now I’m just in a funk. I’m funky. My vision is blurry, I can’t shake my head quickly, I’m groggy, I sleep…

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Friday Harbor Photos

My Brother (Kaal), Matt, Me, AJ & Larry While I was in Friday Harbor, I had a chance for a quick visit with friends. Friends have been such a lifeline on this crazy ride. I can’t say enough how much the love is appreciated. By the way, AJ is preggers! With TWINS!! A boy and a girl. I’m thinking the perfect names would be Jess & Danny. Or maybe they could use our middle names, Lynn and Wesly. Just a thought 🙂

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Day 3: Broccoli Sprouts

Things are not looking very good on the sprout front. I’m actually afraid to take a photo to share…I’m going to suck it up though, and go take one. Cringe. Ugh. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. My mom said this was going to be, and I quote, “Sooo (very exaggerated) easy.” I’m so disappointed with my sprouts. Good grief. I’m capable of growing things outside! I swear! Here’s some proof. It’s not quite the garden from last year, but there’s still a bunch of delicious and beautiful things in there. Apparently, my wild bunny has hankering for the spicy stuff! Last night, Danny and I were sitting on our patio when we heard a hummingbird swing through. Dan grabbed the camera, and took the follow photos. As you can see, the little guy wasn’t exactly the hummingbird we were expecting… Click To See A Larger Photo See what you think. I’m on Team Moth. He’s pretty when he’s looking away, but jeez, that mug is a face only a mother could love. This is what I do to distract myself from the unknown. I’m scared about the seizures. The other night I woke up at 3:30am and I had a sort of panic attack, or crazy headache, I’m not sure exactly what it was. I don’t know how to explain it. Anyway, my mind was going a million miles per hour with thoughts, then everything went blank. I felt like I was about to have a seizure. It was very scary. I ran to take my pre-seizure pill and then laid on my back in bed, trying to practice my meditation breathing technique. I don’t know what else to do. I take my seizure medicine and I sleep as much as I can. I exercise regularly, I’m only…

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Day 2: Broccoli Sprouts

I just rinsed the seeds, so some of them are floating, but they’ll eventually fall down to the bottom. If you look closely, you can see some of the seeds starting to sprout. Yay! My mom says it’s fail-proof, but I’ve been known to kill house plants, even cactus, so I’m still waiting to see if this whole experiment works. Here’s a link to the item that I’m using to grow my sprouts. My starter kit was a gift, so I’m not sure where it was purchased, but the brand is Sprout-Ease Econo-Sprouter. It has instructions included. In fact, it has more than instructions, it has a pamphlet tucked inside the package. Talk about making it easy. I will have zero excuses if my baby broccoli sprouts bite it. Anyway, the flier thing has information for all types of seeds, measurements, growth times, etc. All you need is a mason jar. *Click on the link above for Sprout-Ease or you can click HERE

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Broccoli Sprouts

I am officially growing my own organic broccoli sprouts. How fun is this!?! Allegedly, the process is very easy and we should have edible sprouts in 3-5 days. Year-round sprouts. This is fantastic! I’m grateful to have Danny home. It’s true what they say, with the right mate people DO live longer. We’re eating ridiculous amounts of garlic, onions, and broccoli. We are two stinky partners in crime. Here is a link to an article about sulforaphane explaining how it causes apoptosis (programmed cell death) in glioblastoma tumors (the most malignant and prevalent brain tumor around). I don’t know the exact amount that naturalists use in treatment, or in experimentation for that matter, but I figure the more sulforaphane I can include in my diet, the less radiation or further treatment I’ll need later. If you’re interested, you can google sulforaphane, and read how it kills lots of different cancer cells, not just brain tumor cells – it’s very effective at fighting breast cancer cells too! Eat your broccoli. Seriously. Or, if you can’t stomach enough broccoli, grow some sprouts like me! They’re delicious on everything, salads, sandwiches, wraps, even pizza. According to Danny you can put sprouts on anything that takes toppings, “bagels, tuna….everything, pretty much.” I just remembered an article from months past that I posted, and I’m going to do so again, below. It’s the specific information from John Hopkins scientists stating, “broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads.” You can read the article here on my blog, or click the title for the actual website. Cancer Protection Compound Abundant in Broccoli Sprouts  September 15, 1997Media Contact: Marc KusinitzPhone: (410) 955-8665E-mail: mkusinit@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu  Photo: Keith Weller Dr. Paul Talalay displays broccoli sprouts.2100×1585, 300dpi TIFF JPEG, (2.7 MB)…

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Danny’s Home!

Dan’s home!!!!!! I was deep asleep in a nap a few moments ago, when I felt a little tickle on my foot. I jumped up, startled, sure that my eyes were deceiving me. He had driven the six hours all the way back to Wenatchee from Portland. Apparently, the training for Union Pacific has been canceled all across the western region. I’m so happy to have him home, and yet disappointed that he again has to try a new avenue of work. The company called it “furlough” meaning he hasn’t lost his job, but they no longer need him. He will be called back when work picks back up. The unfortunate thing is that there are people who have been working for Union Pacific for four or five years and they are also on furlough. Things are not looking good for this job prospect. Also, as a side note, I woke up from a dead sleep last night because I realized I had not mentioned the fact the title of my article was not written by me. I would never have titled my work “Jessica: An Amazing Woman.” I was so embarrassed (and honored) that I forgot to mention that fact in my blog yesterday. I hope people know that I’m not that conceited. It was a huge compliment, written by the editor, but I would never have assumed that I should be considered an amazing woman. Maybe I have an amazing story, but I’m just doing what most people would do in the face of bad news. Anyway, I just wanted to clear that up.

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My First Article

I’m back home after a week on the island (Friday Harbor). I’m sorry for not contacting people. Sometimes I become overwhelmed by going home. There are so many people that I would love to visit, and since I can’t contact everyone, I often end up hiding out. Of course, I can’t drive anyway, so that makes it easy to hide. It’s nice to be back. I just did my 40 minute workout – 30 minutes of running with 5 minute warm up and 5 cool down. I didn’t feel like working out, but I told myself, now that I have a treadmill in my living room, I need to take advantage of the opportunity. While I ran, listening to my MP3 player and watching the Jets come back against the Texans, I thought to myself, “I don’t live to run. I run to live.” What a crazy concept. I’m literally running to defeat the grim reaper. Of course, most people work out to be healthy and live long lives, but I truly feel a responsibility to exercise. While I was on the island I went for a few walks but I didn’t run. I was scared to run on the road and go too far from the house. I was worried about having a seizure and not having someone help me. It’s these little fears that make me frustrated. The seizures are real, in fact just as I was running on my treadmill a few minutes ago, I had to stop and get water because my right arm started slightly tingling. After I had some cold water it was better. I only had five minutes left of running so I just dialed down the speed. I thought it was important to finish my goal, to set a precedent. It’s hard…

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Evolution Of My Brain Tumor Diet

Jessica C, my tumor fighting friend, shared information about an amazing scientist and doctor. It gives me hope and a better direction. This whole tumor fight is a constant evolution and I’m grateful for people like Dr Servan-Schreiber. I wish I could hug him for everything he has done for people like me – unfortunately, he passed away just last month. The Story of Dr. David Servan-Schreiber: At age 31, Dr. Servan-Schreiber was an ambitious physician and neuroscience researcher who reveled in discovery and glittering science projects. He was a founding member of the U.S. branch of Doctors Without Borders and a rising star in neuropsychiatry. When a volunteer for a brain scan experiment failed to show up, he slid into the scanner himself and discovered a tumor in his brain. Further tests revealed that he had brain cancer. After conventional treatment, he asked his oncologist what he should change so that the cancer would not come back. His answer was perfectly stereotypical: “Go back to your usual way of life. It won’t make much difference.” So he continued living his life as he had before, eating a diet high in sugar and red meat, exercising little, and abandoning an earlier interest in meditation.The cancer returned a few years later and he endured a second surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Dr. Servan-Schreiber then decided to use his medical and scientific training to explore and investigate how he could help his body to better prevent cancer. His discoveries led to the best selling book: Anticancer – A New Way of Life. “Being a physician and scientist is no protection from getting cancer. But it allowed me to dig deeply into the medical and scientific literature in search of ways to live longer than the few years I was expected to survive.” “I…

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Low Glucose?

It’s amazing how not being able to drive will slow ones life. The past two days I have been sleeping and sleeping. Well, sleeping and bathing. I’m almost rested, and very clean. Yesterday, I took both a shower, and a hot bath. Water conservation fanatics would curse me. Although the second seizure was a shock, I’m feeling better. What does one do when their body starts doing weird things? Obviously…Goggle it! At least, that’s what I do. It’s how we found out about the brain tumor in the first place. Thank you internet! According to the National Institutes of HealthCauses of seizures can include: Abnormal levels of sodium or glucose in the blood Brain injury (such as stroke or a head injury) Brain injury that occurs to the baby during labor or childbirth Brain problems that occur before birth (congenital brain defects) Brain tumor or bleeding in the brain Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease High fever Illnesses that cause the brain to deteriorate Infections that affect the brain, such as meningitis, encephalitis, neurosyphilis, or AIDS Kidney or liver failure Phenylketonuria (PKU), which can cause seizures in infants Use of illegal street drugs, such as cocaine or amphetamines Withdrawal from alcohol after drinking a lot on most days Withdrawal from certain drugs, including some painkillers and sleeping pills After trying to find the cause of my seizures, Dan, my parents and I have isolated the similarities between the episodes. There are only two bullets from above that work. Obviously I have a brain tumor, and the second cause is abnormal levels of glucose in the blood. Both days that I had seizures, I skipped breakfast (I know, I know, very stupid move but I was busy) and drank 2+ espresso shots. My whole life I have been irregular with my morning…

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