Monthly Archives

December 2011

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Happy New Year

I received the perfect gift on the last day of 2011. I was able to spend the morning with my brother, his wife Courtney, and their two children Isla and Wade/Toby (mom calls him Toby and dad calls him Wade).  Courtney, Wade/Toby, me & Isla  Isla & me down by Green Lake My newest nephew Wade/Toby This year has been a serious journey. It started as I finished up my final speech therapy sessions. Then, I had the chance to visit Jess & Dre in Abu Dhabi. In February, Dan and I shared vows beneath the Eiffel Tower during a 24 hour layover in Paris. In the spring I was able to create a presentation and share my brain cancer story with three different Rotary clubs around Washington. In the summer, I had the chance to visit my Polish relatives, and hug, bond, laugh, explore, and fall in love with them. Soon after, arriving home, Danny and I signed a legal marriage certificate. He’s all miiiiiiineee!! Woo hoo!! Three days later, unrelated, I started having seizures and worried that my health may be declining. The next MRI showed our worst fears were correct. Little Herman, the tumor in my brain, was getting taller and fatter, faster than most of his peers. Instead of following my radiation oncologist’s recommendation, I refused radiation and immediately started an alternative supplement program with artemisinin, completely changed my diet, amped up my cardio, and added strength training. Within 9.5 weeks I’d lost 19 lbs. I’m currently feeling wonderful, and I’ll find out in less than two weeks, if my program is effective in keeping little Herman at bay.  Along the way I’ve had friends support me with fundraisers, loving emails, text messages, cards, photos, hugs, and laughter. Even though I know that I am a…

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Adorable Firecracker, Little Ty

I have a very special family that I want to share with you. Their son, Tyler is such a joy, and right now he’s about to embark on a very long phase of his life which includes lots of surgeries, and tons of hospital visits. Tyler’s first surgery is on January 4th, and you can hear all about him, and his family on their blog. Please send them your prayers, or positive energy, or whatever it is that you do. They are such wonderful people, they truly deserve it! Tyler’s mother is a very dear Wenatchee friend who has been close to my heart for the past eight, almost nine years. She is a true kind soul. I remember when Sarah found out, while she was pregnant, that Tyler has congenital scoliosis. The doctor wanted to know if she would like information and the location for an abortion. Sarah was shocked. She was already so in love with her son, that letting him go was absolutely out of the option. Tyler is her first child, and from before she was even pregnant, we all knew she would be an unbelievable mother. Please support her on her journey. Here is the link for the blog of her son:http://www.tyburnell.blogspot.com/ I hope Sarah doesn’t mind, but I took a photo from her facebook. It was just too cute not to share 🙂

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We’re Going To Beat This!!

Things I learned while running the lake today: A three legged dog is just as happy running as a four legged dogUnicycles are a surprising efficient mode of transportationSquirrels love playing tagDucks are equally adorable sleeping or awake I’ve been so excited about this upcoming MRI that I can’t stop myself, I’ve ran the lake three days in a row. I’m not fast, it takes about 45 minutes, but who cares, it’s a lot of fun! I feel so wonderful, full of energy, refreshed, alive, I just feel like pinching myself. This is such a change from the weeks before the last MRI. Even if the results from this scan are poor, I’m not worried. I’m under the opinion that if I feel wonderful, that’s 80% of my life. The other 20% which is the cancer is just that. Just cancer. I still have a “B” in life. That’s incredible! Although I am, still, a little nervous, I’m mostly excited, and I’m not really afraid. I’m a bit afraid (how could you not be), but mostly I’m just happy. I’m happy to have so much energy, and to have such a wonderful life. As I ran yesterday, nearing the end of my loop, all I could think about was the little things in my life that make everything so great. I am the most grateful I’ve ever been, and I honestly didn’t think I could get more grateful. It’s what I think about all the time. I’m grateful that I have Danny, that I live in Green Lake, I’m grateful for my health, I’m grateful for my family, I’m grateful for my friends, I’m grateful for the artemisinin, I’m grateful for PCC and all of its healthy produce, I’m grateful for our home, I’m grateful for our pets, I’m grateful…

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That First Mile

I have an embarrassing story. In fact, I may have mentioned it before, but I’m going to tell it again. I just finished jogging around Green Lake, and although when I started it was misting, while I was halfway around the lake it started dumping rain. Rain drops were cascading down my face, down my neck, I was soaking wet. When I first moved to Seattle I was worried about the weather, I was afraid I would hate the rain. Now that I’ve lived here for three months, I can safely say that the rain is soothing. I love it. Even when I run, the drops have a way of cleansing you from the outside in. Rain Outside Our Living Room Window As I ran, and the rain continued to pour, I thought about how different my life has become. I flashed back to 2006 when I was stifled in a poorly mated marriage. I stopped running for a period of time, a few years, and I didn’t focus much on the food I was eating – I ate all kinds of crap, anything that sounded delicious. That year, I topped off at a yearly doctor’s exam at 183 lbs. I am 5’6 and 3/4″ (I always have to add that almost inch). That doctor’s appointment was a changing moment for me. I decided that I was being stupid, that just because my husband wasn’t in love with me, didn’t mean I couldn’t love myself. So, I started jogging. At first, I could only go about a block. My lungs would burn, and I’d be wheezing up a storm. I hated the fact that when I ran I could feel all of the extra fat on my body bounce, and I was frustrated that I didn’t fit in any comfortable…

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90-95% Of Cancer Rooted In Lifestyle/Environment

Almost Merry Christmas! Kind of, I’m two days early. It feels like Christmas (even though we don’t have a tree). It’s a combination of the smells outside (it’s sooooo cold), and the lack of traffic outside our living room window. This is the first Christmas that Danny and I have had, just the two of us. I’m excited! It’s not going to be the homemade cinnamon rolls that my mom always makes, but a green drink in pajamas will still be fun. I finished the 4-4-4 last night and I’m so grateful. It was starting to make my stomach upset and the right side of my body was tingly. The tingles are good, that means it’s working. My digestive system is still a little bit off, so I went for comfort food this morning. My old favorite toast with Dave’s Good Seed Sprouted Bread, an egg (free range of course with no gross hormones in the chicken or its food) doused in tumeric, with a massive clove of garlic chopped on top. It is the first time I’ve had an egg in two months. The toast still isn’t sitting well, but I’m sure it’ll even itself out. I’m going to wash it down with some broccoli tea and see what happens. On a different note, thank you to everyone who donated to Matt’s Movember quest. Thank you to those who’ve donated to the Islander’s Bank account in Friday Harbor. Thank you for those of you who have already bought from the hopeforjess site on Etsy. Danny and I have been talking, constantly, about how fortunate we are. The money that you’ve donated has given us such a relief. We are still getting medical bills from 2010. Isn’t that crazy?!?!? My goal is to continue to get healthier and healthier, treating…

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Final High Dose Day (First Round)

I got a little nervous yesterday morning, fearful of a seizure, so I started with a 3-3-3 (butyrate, artemether, and piperine) instead of the 4-4-4. I took the pills at around 9:45 am and then I grabbed the necessities, a tall glass of water, the cordless telephone (in case of emergency), pre-seizure pill (just to be safe), several books, Emma and Mr Bingie for cuddling. The morning was quite uneventful, though. I quarantined myself in bed until 12:30 pm when I was starving and had to head down for some breakfast. Since the side effects were nil, I decided last night to do 4-4-4. No effect, and this morning I took another 4-4-4. Tonight is the last pill set, and from then on I’m just going to focus on my diet, and exercise. I need to read up on anti-inflammatory foods. My biggest focus is on reducing inflammation so that the MRI scan shows as clearly as possible. I’m excited about this MRI but, of course, I’m a bit nervous. My body feels wonderful, I have more energy than I’ve had in ages, my skin is clear, I’ve lost around 18 lbs (I had packed on some weight after the seizures). When I originally checked in for brain surgery in April of 2010, I weighed 151. I now weigh 141. The great part is that I still have fat on my body. I honestly didn’t know that I had THAT much body fat. It has been pretty eye opening. I still wear the same clothing size, but everything fits better. That’s nice. You’d think that the fat-loss of this diet would be the best part, but it’s not. The most exciting part of these past several weeks has been the way that I feel. I am healthy and alive. It’s…

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More “Hope”

The first day of 2-2-2 twice daily went great yesterday. I was dizzy and felt a little bit disconnected to my limbs, but that’s no big thing. I was able to avoid eating until noon, at which point I made a homemade humus bok choy sandwich, and ate an apple. The most noticeable side affect came at 11:01 am (I’m taking copious notes). I had a sharp pain in my head, then I had a rushed taste of metal in my mouth. Within seconds it was gone. I’m hoping that it was a massive explosion of cancer cells, that all of the iron spontaneously combusted, and now my body is flushing out the debris. A girl can dream can’t she?!? 🙂 It’s nerve wracking to put myself out there with this new treatment. I kept worrying last night, what if it’s a bust? But then, while we were laying in bed, I asked Danny to give me his mental illustration of the artemether as it gets digested. Of course he leant to a military analogy. He kept saying things like, “The artemether soldiers are marching through your intestines.” And I asked, “Are they singing a marching song like the do in the movies?!?” It was fun to take the stress out of the situation. I’m lucky to have a man that will play along. Today I have a break from the artemether, piperine and butyrate. Tomorrow, though, we double the dosage and take the pills twice. Instead of the 2-2-2 twice daily, it will be 4-4-4 twice daily. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I keep telling myself, “Why not believe that I can beat this. Why not believe that the artemether will work. Why not believe that I can change my destiny. Maybe ridding myself of this…

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Pursue New Understandings

This weekend, Danny and I first stopped at my parent’s house for a slumber party (when leaving, my mom loaded us with two of every vegetable available in the organic section from her supermarket – gotta love moms!), then headed to an Elves getaway over in Chelan at a friend’s lake house. It was so much fun goofing around, listening to music, relaxing in the hot tub, and laughing with friends. Since I was off the artemix, I even enjoyed a couple of martinis. Friends and family truly are the best medicine. Coming Up Over Navarre Coulee Now, I’m back at home and I’ve just finished the first dosing of my artemether (9:15am). Calculating it by weight (thanks Dad & friend), I am starting with two pills of the following: artemether (40mg ea), butyrate, and piperine. I take it on an empty stomach. Then, I refrain from eating for a few hours (two or three, as long as I can manage). During the day I eat normally, but I need to stop by 4:30pm so that I can take my second dose (same quantities) on an empty stomach at 9:15pm. I’m excited and nervous to see what happens. Today I’m starting with the 2-2-2 twice a day, and tomorrow I’ll do nothing, making sure that there aren’t any odd side effects. Assuming everything’s okay, on Wednesday I’ll start 4-4-4 twice a day. When I first started taking the artemix, back a few months ago, I remember getting very tired and periodically dizzy. I’m already feeling the dizziness. It’s probably a good time to go lay down and see if I can read or just rest my eyes. I think this week is going to be pretty subdued while I do this extra dosing. I’m only going to do this protocol…

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Off The Artemix

Photo Of The Day: Sleepy Kitty – Mr. Bingie Butterbutt I stopped taking the artemisinin last night. Phew, that’s going to make life easier. It has been serious dedication to stop eating at 4:30 pm each night. There are still a few pills left in the bottle, but we stopped because there were a few signs that perhaps my liver and kidneys were getting tired. I won’t get into the details – nothing scary, just a little too much information. For the next few days I’m going to try and flush my system with more of my vegan diet (especially my green smoothies), and lots of water. In a couple more days, when I feel like my body is ready, I’m going to start the high dosage of artemether. Our goal is to do a 1-2 punch on the cancer cells and see what happens. I should only be on the high dosages for 3-5 days, we’re going to feel it out. After that it’s smooth sailing until the MRI on January 13th. I’m excited and nervous about the transition. I’m hopeful and excited, but at the same time, sometimes I worry that I haven’t done enough. The artemisinin is shockingly non-invasive, and easy to consume, I wonder if it’s even working. I try not to think negatively about this treatment, but I’m human. Things just pop in my head from time to time. I’m excited to get the results and find out. Patience is incredibly important, and yet so hard to come by. It probably doesn’t help that I read Tug McGraw’s book recently, which in its final chapter detailed his death from a glioblastoma which is what my brain tumor progresses into (eventually). Big mistake. I don’t think I needed to know all the heartbreaking details. I’ve been…

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