Monthly Archives

November 2011

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Healing By A Village

I am such a goober. I was laying in bed last night talking to Danny, when I realized that I didn’t come up with the idea of finding cancer survivors. In fact, it was from a book that was given to me by a fellow brain cancer fighter, Jude. In the book (The Story Of Two: Fighting Serious Illness with an Attitude and an Advocate) was a story of a man who went to great lengths to survive his metastasized malignant melanoma. When I read that book, I realized that I should find more success stories. Without Jude’s gift, who knows how long it would have taken me to figure out I could learn endless tricks from other cancer survivors. That’s another wonderful thing about this blog, it has connected me with so many people that I never would have known. With my new friends, they bring with them knowledge, support, ideas, books, videos, doctor recommendations, researchers, and insurmountable hope. I’m so grateful for you! All of you. Growing up in Friday Harbor, I was raised by a village. Now, I’m being healed by a village. Great things happen when great minds come together with a common cause. I can’t thank all of you enough for helping me fight this. If you ever come across doctors, books, stories, treatments, research, please continue to send it my direction. I can’t promise I’ll try every outlet, and sometimes things fall through the cracks and I forget to follow through, but I’m working as hard as I can to explore each avenue. Thank you for continuing to help me stay up to date, and energized. This is quite a big challenge to take on, but like I’ve said in the past, I’m up for this – I can do it. On another note,…

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Empowering Books

I feel like a chicken with its’ head cut off. I think it’s pretty normal to go a bit crazy after a bad sickness, and I’m no exception. After 10 days of laying in bed, I went nuts yesterday and conquered too much. It was just so nice to be able to get up and goof around. I’ve not only started back up on my artemisinin pills, I also laced up and jogged the lake too. While I was jogging, I swung by the Green Lake Library to get a long over due library card (pun intended). While there I randomly picked up two amazing books. About two weeks ago I realized that people survive cancer all the time, beating the odds and surprising doctors. It’s something that I knew, peripherally, but somehow it hadn’t completely sunk in, the concept just wasn’t quite tangible. I started to think about it though, the other day. I wondered how people are doing it, how are they outsmarting their cancer? Ever since this diagnosis, I’ve been trying to find my way, slowly figuring out the way to win. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has looked to survivors for guidance. The first book I picked up at the library is called, Cancer: 50 Essential Things To Do, by Greg Anderson. This book, although I’m only a few pages deep, has completely changed my life. The author was diagnosed with a nasty metastasized lung cancer and given only 30 days to live. Crazy, huh. Anyway, Greg was pretty upset for a few days, but then he realized that people beat cancer all the time, and it became his mission to listen to other survivors, trying to figure out the common threads of action. I recommend it to anyone fighting cancer, and also for…

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New Doctor

I’m so excited! I just made an appointment with a new doctor, a primary physician. She’s at Seattle Healing Arts, and I’m thrilled to be a patient there. Look at all of the different therapies! More About Our Therapies Seattle Healing Arts practitioners offer a wide range of therapies for healing body, mind, and spirit, including: Acupuncture Allergy Therapy Chiropractic Energy Healing Family Medicine Herbal Medicine Homeopathy Hypnotherapy Internal Medicine Massage Therapy Midwifery Naturopathic Medicine Neurofeedback & Biofeedback Neuropsychiatry Nutrition Physical Therapy Podiatry Psychotherapy | Counseling Skin Care Sound Healing Spinal Manipulation Visceral Manipulation I was referred to Seattle Healing Arts by a friend who loves her general practitioner, named Takla Gardney, but she wasn’t taking new patients until February. So, I did the next best thing, I took the next available appointment, and let fate take its’ course. Turns out, my new doctor is an MD, and specializes in Biodynamic Cranial Osteopathy. I get to meet her on Thursday.I feel like this is the first step in a whole body healing approach. It’s nice that my new doctor has all kinds of treatments at her fingertips. This is going to be great! Since she works with herbalists, I bet there will be someone who can partner with me on the artemisinin front. Very, very exciting! In life, we have to take matters into our own hands, especially in medicine. No one is going to fight harder than you. Never forget that. I believe that there is no one sure way to heal. When we run into a road block, we have to outsmart the disease. My goal, obviously, is to kill the tumor cells in my brain. There are a lot of different ways to support my body to make it a tumor killing machine, and I’m on a mission…

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I’m Back

Hello World! I’m crawling out of the deep sickness that tried to claim my life. At least, that’s how it felt. Dramatic much? Yes. It’s the story of my life, just ask my parents. In fact, my mom once caught me crying in front of a mirror to see what my sad face looked like. In my defense I was really young, like five or so, but I’m digressing…here’s a photo taken on the day before Thanksgiving…not my finest moment. PS See Linda (Dan’s mom), I love that blanket you gave us for Christmas last year. Bet you thought I was just being nice 🙂 Now that I’m back in the land of internet, I’m catching up on my emails. Over the past several days I’ve been given such amazing compliments on the blog, and actually if I think about it, I’ve been flooded with flattery since the whole tumor-gate started. I’ve been raised to graciously say, “Thank you,” when given compliments, but I must say that it’s hard to hear so much praise. It incredibly kind, but at the same time I feel guilty, like I’ve fooled people. I need to make sure that it’s widely known that when I’m cranky, I can be bitchy, and short. I say things that are stupid. I have an uncanny ability to put my foot in my mouth and completely offend people or accidentally hurt feelings. And most embarrassingly, I judge people by their facebook posts (when I actually hop on and check my messages). I believe the only thing that makes me special is that I’ve opened a window to my soul for anyone to see, that being the blog. People are inherently good, but we often don’t know the thoughts swirling around in the minds walking past. We definitely don’t…

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Happy Thanksgiving

The night after the last post, we checked my temperature and it was at 101. Apparently I was feeling slightly better but that was because I had been feeling so horrible before. Each day I’ve been getting progressively better but the temp is still hovering around 100 degrees. So, effective immediately, we just decided that this Thanksgiving will be Danny and my first holiday together alone. We’ve decided not to bring my infectious body around our loved ones. So, happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family, from afar :). I am grateful for my life, Dan, family, friends, health (although slightly compromised at this point in time), and the love that I receive every day. Thank you for all of the support that I am fortunate enough to receive non-stop. Thank you for the emails lately, I’ve had a constant stream of “kick toom-ah butt” energy sent my way and I appreciate it so much. Danny and I are incredibly grateful for all of the team members joining us on this fight. We wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, full of warm hugs, and deep belly laughter.

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Brains Behind The Operation

Well, I’m still sick, but at least I’m feeling kind of better. As long as I’m vertical I can manage – horizontal is when my hacking cough sets in. I asked Danny yesterday why it is that I can handle brain surgeries, but not a common cold. What a baby! I’m still convinced that my immune system was juggling the stress of that silly little mole surgery. I used to be so tough, conquering things head on. What gives? The only thing I can figure, is that I don’t do well with optional pain. I also, will never elect to have surgery. I’m just too terrified. This little knife show that the dermatologists want to do, is a preventative measure. I had a mole removed and they thought that all of the cells were excised, however, unfortunately, the pathology came back as a moderate atypical melanocytic nevus and they left somewhere around 1-2% behind. Now they want to go digging for more. The problem is that I’m a weeny. Since the cells are only “pre-cancerous” cells, and not cancer, there’s no way we will ever know if the cells will progress. Well…actually…there is, I guess, if I show up with melanoma down the road. Of course, the fact has not been lost on me that I currently have brain cancer, so obviously my body isn’t doing a stellar of a job fighting the bad guys. Another thought swirling around in my head, is that the artemisinin that I had been taking (I stopped when I woke up with a fever and since I’m still dealing with a pretty serious head cold, I’ve put all supplements on pause), also fights melanoma with a vengeance. So, I wonder, do I need the surgery? Is this necessary? I’ve lost night after night about going…

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“Lint Is A Shell’s Best Friend”

Hi Friends. In the quest for more laughs, here is the first installment of Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. FYI I woke up with a fever this morning and it’s getting progressively worse. It’s that heavy lung, sore throat thing, so, of course, I canceled the little surgery. Can’t go under a knife when I’m not feeling well, it would slow the recovery, right?!? Right? Eh. Back to bed.

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Laugh Of The Day

“Guess why I smile a lot. Because it’s worth it.” – Marcel Gotta love friends that send random videos, just because it’s a Tuesday. I know, I know, it’s Wednesday, but I didn’t get the email until today :). I just laughed so hard that tears were running down my face. Then started it over and watched it two more times. I’m a total sucker for ridiculous and cute (best when it’s both) little things and it doesn’t hurt to have tiny red shoes and one eye. Thank you Meghan!!! Love it. I think I’ll go watch it again.

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I’m Pooped.

I’ve had a wonderful past several days, but as it says in the above title, I’m pooped. Thank you Jenny for coming on Thursday, then Jess & Michelle on Saturday, and finally Sarah on Monday. I am dizzy with exhaustion, but it was absolutely worth it. Between visits I read an amazing book sent by a dear friend from Friday Harbor (another brain tumor fighter), titled The Power Of Two: Surviving Serious Illness with an Attitude and an Advocate, by Gerri and Brian Monaghan. It is an uplifting, yet serious book that helped stoke the fire inside. I need success stories to keep a positive outlook. Anyway, my head feels like it’s exploding. In fact, don’t tell anyone (ha ha…just kidding – I realize this is the internet), but I’m still in my pajamas. I’ve been in bed all day. I had big plans to try and get to the bank to fill out some paperwork (we’re pulling away from those big nasty banks and headed to our old credit union). Oh well. I will not be leaving the house today. We also adjusted my artemix supplement last night by adding a pill of piperine (it helps the artemix absorb while in the large intestine). There’s just so much research to be read, and it’s some pretty deep stuff. It’s tricky because it’s important to keep up and read as much as possible with this artemisinin, but at the same time I’m absolutely exhausted. Danny, my brother, and my dad have been helping sift through the research, (mom’s studying MRI stuff). We even have my friend Meghan’s husband Sean, and his father reading up on it (Thanks guys!!). There’s just so much to know, so much to figure out. It’s overwhelming. I don’t understand why there aren’t more doctors recommending…

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Fun New Recipes

I am having so much fun on this diet! Instead of looking at all of the things I can’t eat, I started looking at all of the ingredients I CAN eat. At first it was tricky finding recipes, but then everything changed, I started looking at food logically. Since I’m eating a whole foods diet, the most logical spot to look for recipes is raw food diet websites – the whole raw food movement is based on using whole foods. Anyway, I can take the raw recipes and tweak them, like heat the chili recipe below, or add brown rice to my pseudo sushi. Here’s two very fun dinners that both Danny and I loved. Even my friend Jenny loved it (she came from Wenatchee to spend the night and catch up). Bad lighting but delicious chili Vegetable Chili Chili:3 tomatoes1 green pepper1/2 of a purple onion4 large cloves of garlic1 cup of shiitake mushrooms (remove the stems)3 stalks of celery1 tablespoon cumin1 tablespoon of oregano2 teaspoons of hot red pepper powder (I used cayenne pepper powder) Topping:1 cup raw unsalted walnuts1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil1 teaspoon of coriander powdera good pinch of sea salt Dice all of the chili vegetables (except for the garlic – mince that) and put them in a bowl. Add the seasoning and mix it all together. Take half of the mixture and put it in a food processor or a blender. Blend it all up until it’s smooth. Pour the blended mixture and the chopped stuff into a pot, stir and turn the burner on to medium low. While the chili is warming, put the walnuts into the food processor or blender. Blend until until they’re mostly chopped. Toss in the seasoning and olive oil. Blend just a bit more so that…

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