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.
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.
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“)