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November 2013

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Texas For Thanksgiving

Tomorrow morning, Dan and I will be on an early flight to Fort Worth, Texas. Yay!!! Back in July, you may remember that my MRI scan came up with an area of concern. Dr L and the UCLA team wanted me to fly back to LA for a Dopa PET scan to assess the situation, but I really wanted to give the chlorotoxin some time to do its’ thing. The doctors said it would be fine to wait until my usually scheduled three month MRI, placing all of the testing out until October. In the meantime I was very scared. I felt certain that the area of growth was truly tumor, and at the time the doctors warned me that if it was in fact tumor they would be recommending further treatment (like radiation or chemo). This brings me to one of my life dreams. I’ve never considered creating a “bucket list” or anything of that nature, but there is one thing that I have always wanted to do with Dan: take him to Fort Worth to check out the city, show him where I came into adulthood, and most of all get back to TCU for a football game. The problem is that we’re always on such a short time span. It’s always three months by three months by three months, never knowing if I’m on the cusp of further treatment. Flash back to July, Jobi and her husband visited the NW for her birthday (you’ll remember she’s one of my college roommates). As women do, Jobi and I, later, devised a master plan for Dan and I to visit her turf. I talked to Dan and we decided that even if we were doing chemo we could handle the trip. (The chemo for gliomas is uniformly pills that…

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A Free Range Life

First, I need to share that there is a new link to Astroctyoma Options on the blog (upper left hand corner). The tricky part is that you won’t see it if you typically read the posts on a cell phone. Unfortunately, the blog has a different format that shows up when when accessing it mobile-y. I don’t know how many people read the blog from their phones, and I don’t know how to combat that issue so that everyone can see the links. If you read the blog from a typical computer you will see the link. Also, I would like to share that Stephen worked with his fabulously talented brother to create Astrocytoma Options. Stephen did the verbiage, and his brother Michael did all of the website design. Pretty smart dudes. Michael clearly has an eye for design, and although I’ve never met him or corresponded, after checking out his design website, I immediately fell in love with his honesty, and humor. Not to mention his aesthetic. It looks like he’s currently taking on new clients, feel free to check his design company Free Range Designs. His website is so cool that you’ll enjoy surfing his site even if you aren’t in the market for web design. Actually, he’s so good that it will make you want to have your own website, even if you don’t have anything to promote. He’s that good. On another note I have some super sweet news. I was contacted by a neighbor, here in Green Lake. The gentleman saw the Komo 4 News segment on our dear stolen Buddha, and brought his over. I now have a happy little Buddha to join me on my journey. I am continuously reminded by how wonderful people are. Even just today I had a comment on…

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Clearing Cobwebs

I am having so much fun this morning! I’ve been reading through my buddy’s new website. He’s been working on it for months, and it is FABULOUS. It helps us brain tumor fighters make sense of research studies, explaining things for us non-scientific minded people. I’m over simplifying, of course, but the website is just crazy exciting. It’s so informative, concise, and helpful. My buddy Stephen, with his new breakthrough website, is always helping me understand things. We bounce ideas and theories, it’s a lot of fun. On top of researching, our email conversations often remind me of things that I’ve forgotten. One of the latest, exceedingly exciting helpful details that had skipped my mind, is about diet. I forgot about one of the first research studies I conquered dealing with calorically restricted diets. It dealt specifically with the standard American diet, and the ketogenic diet. It then went into restriction of both and the effect on controlling cancer cell growth/brain tumor growth. I have been constantly beating myself up because I am not capable of staying on the restricted ketogenic diet. Rereading through it, though, reminded me that technically, restricting the standard American diet actually led to lower tumor weights (as opposed to the restricted ketogenic). Of course, the study was conducted with mice – not humans, but that’s mostly how they’re deducing the effectiveness of the KD-R. Here’s a graph from the study, if you click HERE or on the graph itself, you can read the whole thing. Sometimes I get caught up in a concept, forgetting other contradicting info that I’ve read. I feel so relieved to be able to drink my green smoothies in peace, without guilt. All I want to do is make the best decisions for my health, but sometimes all of the info…

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“Set your heart on doing good.” – Buddha

Afternoon folks, thank you for all of the kindness over the Buddha bandits. It seems like everyone googled and found the news piece about the stolen gift, but I’ll insert it at the bottom of the post for those who are hoping I’ll share. I still feel like a goober for this little goofy thing becoming such a big thing. I get the irony of me being upset over a possession – particularly a Buddha, but what can I say, I’m human. Truthfully, I’ll always miss our sweet Buddha, and I did hope that maybe he would come back home to us, but it’s okay that he hasn’t. I do peer over the couch, through the window, and hope to see the back of his head, but oh well. On another note, aside from Buddhagate, Dan, Amy (my high school buddy – and NYC road warrior with me for a shot), and I got the chance to support Movember by running a 5k together on Saturday. It was such a blast! The annual run is called the Mustache Dache, and it raises awareness and funds for men’s health. Our buddy Derrick (who is heavy into Movember), helped us join in. We’ve really been buckling our financial belt straps – or is it boot straps – and when Derrick heard that, he approached us with a comped entrance fee. He’s so great! It was the first race I’ve done in two years, (if I’m remembering correctly), and since I love to run, and I love supporting healthy endeavors, it was truly the most fun I could imagine for a Saturday morning. The whole day was fabulous. Dan and I can’t wait to return again next year with more secure finances (by way of fewer treatments, and less travel to doctors –…

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Komo 4 News Interview

For those who know my mom, you know she’s a momma bear. I’ve been absolutely exhausted lately, so I turned off my alarms and decided to sleep in this morning. When I woke up at 11:00 am (whoah!), I had missed 9 phone calls. Eek! I panicked for a second, then soon found out that my mom had contacted Komo 4 News with the story of my missing Buddha. By 12:15 pm I was being interviewed by Matt Markovich (what an amazing guy). The piece will air tonight at 5:15 pm. Being as self absorbed as I am, I’m terrified. I’m sure I’ll look and sound like a complete goober. Oh well. My hope is that somehow it will come across that you never know what people are going through. A silly prank, or theft, effects people. Maybe, just maybe, by getting the word out my sweet Buddha will reappear. One more thing, I would have rather donated my sweet Buddha to a cancer fighter than have him holed up at someone’s place under the cloak of darkness. He is to be loved, and cherished, and to spread happiness and joy. If I would have known that he would be stolen, I would have graciously passed him on to someone who needed him more. If we never see our Buddha again, all I can hope is that he continues to spread love, joy, happiness, and kindness in the hearts of the thieves.

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Letting Go

After feeling really bummed, and violated after the thievery, I thought to myself, what would Buddha say? So I looked it up. And here’s what he told me, “You only lose what you cling to.” Man that guy was deep. My panic is gone, and my heart feels better. I feel that those thieves needed some Buddha in their lives. I wish they wouldn’t have taken mine, but maybe Buddha will warm their hearts and it will effectively be the last crime they commit.  It’s always violating when people steal your things, especially from your home. The bad guys have the advantage of knowing where we live, and it makes me feel unsafe. All I can do is let go and not let this event bring me down. There is definitely some sadness sitting heavy, but ultimately, people are going to do what they do. It is out of my control.

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Thievery

It’s not even noon and I’ve cried three times. Once to Dan, once to my parents, and once to my friend Tim who works at my local PCC. It’s embarassing, but I’m hurt, and so sad. Someone stole my lovely, lucky, hope-inducing Buddha. My father bought the stone carved Buddha back around 2006. It was a reward for my hard work (I used to work for my parents as a purchasing agent). I had seen it while working at a trade show for my parents. My dad noticed how much I loved it so he and my mom surprised me with the gift, hauling it from Tucson, back to Wenatchee. I have since moved 5 times, each time hauling the 150-200 lb statue each time. Buddha has been my vision of kindness, of triumph in times of fear and challenge. I’ve rubbed his belly more times than I could remember. I always give him a rub or a kiss when I head out for surgeries or treatments. When we first moved into our current rental we debated on whether or not to place him inside the house or out in the garden. Our house is a triangle and it is surrounded on two sides by sidewalks – not much for privacy, or security for that matter. We finally settled on a spot just to the left of our front door, next to a waterproof container storing doggie treats for puppies walking by. I had been working on a sign, creating a little necklace for Buddha that says, “Budda says doggie treats are good!” Then underneath, in small cursive it says. “Please take one. Enjoy.” Here’s an old photo of my sweet Buddha… See the planter just in front of sweet Buddha? They took that too. I’ll never get to use…

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Balance

Sorry I was such a crank, such a downer the other day. The food and exercise parts of this whole tumor thing is very much overwhelming (as I’m sure you could see). It often seems as if I need to vent on the blog in order to get my mind right. One of the things that I determined is that running purifies my soul. It allows my mind to filter thoughts, emotions, until they are clean. Running keeps me mentally stable, and positive, and happy in a way that nothing else can. There are a lot of satisfying things in life, but not much more makes me feel accomplished, and grounded, and alive. So, today, even though it was pouring rain and wind whipped me all over the place, I rewarded myself with two runs. Granted I didn’t run fast. It wasn’t about that. As the wind whipped my face, I lifted my head to the sky; I closed my eyes and let the rain wash me of my fears. My heart swelled and happiness overwhelmed me nearly pushing me into relieved tears. This is the time when I should be enjoying myself, I mean shoot – they don’t even know if I have conclusive tumor tissue. Now is the time to enjoy those runs, to recharge and reboot. It’s hard to know when to hit the tumor hard, or when to give a little slack, but I think I’m finding a logical, happy medium. I’ve never been accused of being trendy, gotta love my lucky TCU socks though!

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An Un-Know It All

You know what encourages eating disorders more than else? Researching brain tumors. The more I know, the more I wish I didn’t know. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned that continue, like a hamster wheel, through my brain: 1. If I eat vegetables without some protein or fat, my blood glucose will spike just like eating fruit or candy or other carb laden items. (According to my nutritionist.) So, even if I eat salads all day, my circulating blood glucose will be high, thus feeding the brain tumor.2. Like with the veggies, if I eat a piece of fruit without a little protein and fat, my blood glucose will spike like I’ve eaten a candy or other carby food.3. If I eat more than (approx – depending on your body size) 4 ounces of protein at once, the excess is converted into glucose thereby spiking my blood glucose. 4. If my heart rate gets going too much, it spikes my blood glucose. (Which for me is anything above walking.)5. There are carbs in supplements. When you’re taking around a hundred pills a day, the supplements are a food group in and of themselves. So, do I skip vegetables so that I can take my pills? I can only have 20 g of carbs a day to stay in ketosis. My supplement plan is to keep my copper levels low, glucose low, to lower inflammation and so many other things. My nutritionist is trying to keep my body in a healthy homeostasis, creating an environment where cancer can not grow. Which is more important, pills or veggies?  6. So, skip the whole supplement issue, and focus on the fact that if I eat more than 20 grams of carbs in a day (even if it’s purely vegetable carbs –…

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Blazing Paths

Good morning friends. Unfortunately, with my previous post, I upset a patient of Dr Eric Holland. I had intended to expand on the lecture, but needed a rest, so here it is a couple of days late. In the meantime, before I explain, I want to say that I’m sorry for the times that I upset people. This blog is my place to vent, to share, to emote, to dream, and to live my life out loud. People don’t have to agree with things that I say, they don’t have to like me, but I’m going to write my perceptions, my truth, life how it feels from my point of view. I get a visceral reaction when I upset others. Maybe it’s genetic, both of my parents were raised Catholic, perhaps the Catholic guilt that I’ve heard so much about is an innate river flowing through my veins. Or, perhaps, it’s just the fact that I don’t like to upset others. I want to please, and I hate hurting other people’s feelings. Whatever it is, because we don’t all have the same views, or experiences, our opinions differ. I know that not everyone likes me, and I know that I offend people sometimes with what I write. I also know that a lot of people think some of my choices have been absolutely nuts, stupid even. But, you know what, this life is mine, and I’m just trying to do the best that I can. I write things as I experience them, and that’s all I can do. There have been times that I have not written what I feel about doctors, or people, or I have not named them, but I have since changed. These doctors make mind-blowing amounts of money, and get accolade after accolade. They have amazing…

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