“When I grow up I want to be an Old Woman”

Old People 1972
Playing at being “Old People” with my brother Bob in 1972

This last treatment seems to be a doozy. My blood counts, for red, white and platelets, were predictably at there lowest point when I went in for my last chemo treatment on the 1st. Because I am due for surgery on April 28th, Dr. Anderson scheduled a nuelesta shot for me- adding a whole new layer to my post infusion world. The combo of bone marrow stimulant with steroid, antihistamine and Aleve pills has rendered me a bit woozy.

Blood Cells
Blood Cells

Each time I get through a milestone, the importance of the mind-body-spirit-herbal-mojo portion of this journey goes up a notch. Now after nearly four months of blasting my immune system, it is time to call on my body’s inner wisdom and power to activate it, without having to knock it back down again immediately with another infusion. I am eager to be more active in health building activities vs endurance and resiliency work.  With all the reading I have been doing it is more and more clear that the exhaustion collapse I experienced in 2009 was a wakeup call. Listening to it better might have spared me some of this year’s adventures.  I say this not to beat myself up- but to encourage all of you to listen to your body!  The signals for imbalance come far in advance to a cancering dance party. It is never too late to listen to your inner knowing and body wisdom- However, the actions that need taking get more extreme, the more out of wack things are. Small actions taken in the right time have big impact.

My next extreme action will be the scheduled surgery.  I have some concerns about the anesthesia, and it’s effects on my immune system.  Looking back to the minor surgery, the port placement, at the start of all this- I am very aware of the deep dark power of anesthesia. I know that my healthy cells will be vulnerable during recovery, and I am eager to investigate ways to improve that process. My friend Meg sent me an interesting prospectus for a small Danish Study on the effects of anesthesia and Breast Cancer. I have meetings this week with various doctors, and the recommendation from the Danish Study is on the top of my question list. (The Study looked at 2 ways to administer anesthesia, one method resulted in 3x the remission rate!)

My propensity towards asking lots of questions is luckily being well accepted by my doctors- thank god.  I am trying to get all of the numbers straight that have been thrown around- so that I can make decisions on my next steps in an informed and clear fashion.    In addition to the anesthesia questions I have lots of questions about lymph glands, and radiation treatments. Hearing that a study shows that a given treatment improves survival rates sounds good at first; but if survival improvement is only a few months, and there are significant side effects, it is less clear how “good” said treatment is.  So a priority this week is to get some numbers explained. Negotiating lies, damn lies and statistics.

Being "Old" with four of my older siblings, Margaret, Mary, Bob and Patrick
Being “Old” with four of my older siblings, Margaret, Mary, Bob & Patrick

I know there are many ways to improve outcome- cultivating happiness, changing my diet, humor, exercising… all of which have the “side effect” of improving quality of life.  So as I move forward I will be continuing to use as many of the outcome improvers as possible, while negotiating the Poison/Slash/Burn protocols of the modern conventional medicine route.  This week I will also be tuning in to my body and intuition- trying to reach past fear to that calm place of wisdom.  I know that the success of any treatment that I choose is improved when I feel good about it, and conversely is hindered if I feel negatively about it.  Grateful Cells heal, Fearful Cells -not so much. I am grateful for the chemo and targeted therapies that I have received- the good outcome seen on the recent MRI is very heartening,  And I want to feel just as good about any next steps I take. I am playing a long game now- with the goal of being cancer free and living to be an old old old old old old old woman.*

(*Taken from Michelle Shocked song “When I grow up“)



6 Comments Add yours

  1. julia says:

    Love that song! I was immediately wanting to have 120 babies.

  2. margaret sullivan says:

    Iris we can talk and laugh about things when we are riding horses in our seventies . Hang tough sweetie we now have a date. love Maggie

  3. Debbie says:

    Ahhhh; Michelle Shocked! The first copy of that I had was on cassette tape. One of my favorites.

    Iris~I’ve known you since you were an inquisitive, thoughtful, beautiful child. This particular journey that you’re on is, to say the least, awe-inspiring from an outsiders view. Your ability and desire to express what you are going through via this blog no doubt is, and will continue to be, an inspiration to all. Your courage, strength and determination to “nip this cancering in its tracks” shows exactly that. I pray for your healing and send positive energy to you each day.

  4. Iris — I’m keeping you in my thoughts. As I was reading your latest Pooka entry I remembered how helpful listening to guided visualization tapes by Bellaruth Naparstek was before and during my stem cell transplant two years ago. She has a website http://www.healthjourneys.com that has myriads of things and I recommend it. One for you might be: http://www.healthjourneys.com/Product_Detail.aspx?on=1&id=399&mcid=10&catid=
    Best of everything, David Bennett

  5. Eileen says:

    When you are old I will be super old. Had fun talking and laughing with you yesterday The video of you and Joe dancing made me think of your wedding. I know if there was a video of when Joe and I danced you would be laughing a lot. Just saying, I need to working on my dancing skills. Looking forward to our book review of Lunatics.

  6. Amy says:

    Iris you are going to be one hell-raising, Art-infused crone. You will also continue to effuse childish delight and mama power. I see you weaving, making hay and hula hooping into your next century!
    But before that when/ where can I visit? How can we help? We are here . I can come there. I love YOU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.