Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I heard from my younger daughter in NYC that they make a very big thing of Halloween there....everyone was dressed up, including babies and dogs. It seemed pretty calm here in Redwood City - in fact, the doorbell rang only twice all evening. My cousin and I busied ourselves today making things for her daughter's Halloween party which I am sharing with you - deviled spider eggs, tomato pesto eyeballs and cheddar witches fingers, yum!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friends back East, Eat Your Hearts Out!

I am so lucky to have wonderful cousins who do so many thoughtful things for me. Every week they take me somewhere special, usually into the City, always to a special restaurant and absolutely always we have a glorious taste of Nature. I took these photos a few weeks ago from Sausalito looking toward San Francisco which was pretty much fogged in. My greatest "high" is from natural beauty. It fills me up so much, there have been times my chest felt like it would burst.

The hills of San Francisco are beautiful, but next summer I want to be walking and biking through the hills of Tuscany with my daughters....hairless, but happy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today was the day....

Sorry to report the power of wheatgrass juice was unable to save me from the hair loss...and I was so hoping it would. As I was combing my wet hair after my shower this morning, I noticed a massive amount of hair in my comb, so I carefully diffused it dry and let the curls takeover. Several times I put my hand to my head and pulled out a fistful of hair - it wasn't my imagination, it was the real thing. My hair was truly going.

I think the most difficult thing for me throughout this entire process so far has been wrapping my mind around the idea that there is actually something wrong with me - me, who according to my ex, is as "healthy as a horse". I can't remember my last fever or the last time I vomited. I was never sick for a minute during my pregnancies....I'm the person who takes care of everyone else. This is not a role I am comfortable playing, but one I am trying to graciously adapt to; however, when my cousin tried to feed me ice during my adriamycin today, I let out a big, "No way!"

It's bedtime here in California and it's been a big day. Chemo took more like three hours, rather than one and a half, because my IV infiltrated. I volunteered myself and my cousin to cater her daughter's Halloween party Friday night, so there was shopping to do after chemo.

And then we decided in addition to our two hours of personal training every week, we should sign up for the roll and stretch class every Wednesday evening which means every other Wednesday it will follow chemo. I was concerned I might not feel well, but other than my chemo headache, some sweats and a little shaking, all went well. The rolling and stretching took my mind off imagining other possible symptoms, but I gotta say, especially to those who know Laughter Yoga, I would much rather laugh through the painful rolls, rather than just breathe. Which gave me a good idea...I want to include a similar class when I open my cancer retreat in Bloomfield Hills called, "Rolling with Laughter!"

If I remember correctly, it was in "The Secret" I read, in order to truly believe and think positively, one's affirmation must contain no negatives of any kind. Thinking to myself, "I hope I won't be sick tonight", won't cut it. "I will be well tonight", will.....and I will be!

Good Night Hugs and Kisses to All!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Time for another Chemical Cocktail......

I am doing something I vowed for the past 20 years I would never do, take any form of chemotherapy. For maybe the first two weeks after my diagnosis I was pretty much convinced that I would not allow anyone come close to me with chemo.....and now I am ready for round two.

Although the depression I suffered following my divorce 7 years ago had greatly improved ever since I began laughing, it still had a way of taking control, so initially the thought of cancer sounded like an easy way out for me. At the time, I really didn't care whether I lived or died - I just wanted all of "this" to be over, but that would have been way too easy.

Suddenly life had handed me a major challenge and it didn't take me long to realize, despite my former feelings about chemo, that I needed to put my full faith and trust into the medical profession. What I also realized is that I did want to live....and not just live, but live better than I had in a very long time.

So, here I am outside of San Francisco surrounded by everything I need to realize that. This is not the end by any means, but the beginning of a very new and wonderful life.

I still am not convinced that chemo is the only way to go, but at this time, I can't argue with research statistics - Chemo #2, here I come!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Walk on the Green Side - I am in California, right?

I will elaborate on the benefits of raw, living food more later, but let me say, I saw firsthand many years ago after my mother went to Hippocrates Clinic in San Diego what a positive effect consuming raw foods can have on a body. My mother had polio at age two and her life from that point on was a continual whirlwind of doctors, surgeries and medications. Never had I seen my mother with rosy cheeks.....and I can still see her face as I saw it then, glowing, radiant and full of life after three weeks of raw foods, along with a shot of wheatgrass juice every day. Regardless of all the negative comments you might hear or read online, I know what I saw was actual.

So, these days I walk a little more than half a mile from here for my wheatgrass "fix", one ounce of green, liquid "gold". That along with a 24 oz. glass of fresh beet, carrot, apple, celery, and ginger is my breakfast each morning, something I started about a week before my first chemo. I feel great!

I am trying to stay primarily raw, but hot veggie soup has been calling me lately. I figure if I drink my fresh veggies every morning that should do it for the day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow......

A lumpectomy followed in Michigan August 22 without complication. The surprising thing about all of that was none of it really hurt. The idea of having many needles of various sizes stuck into my breast was not a welcome thought. Had I known beforehand, I would have been even more resistant - it was a good thing to not know.

After much deliberation, I called my cousin in Redwood City, CA to ask if I could live in her cottage behind her home while I went through chemo, etc. Leaving home was difficult, but not having anyone with me during this ordeal would have been even worse.

So, here I am! The photo below was taken from behind the cottage; the one above is of my little living room. It's cute and cozy - a safe haven while I make my way through all of this.

Chemo, 4 cycles of Adriamycin and Cytoxan and another 4 cycles of Taxol, began Oct 15. My oncologist promised complete hair loss 2-3 days after my second treatment which is this Wed....I am prepared. The wig is ordered, my hair is cut, but no fall-out yet! Maybe it's the wheatgrass juice I have been having every morning!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

From the Beginning....

Birmingham, MI, late July 2008.....The nagging, painful ache encompassing my left ribcage had reached such a point that I thought perhaps if my fingers traveled over the area, I could find the source of this discomfort....and I did. Under my fingers at the edge of my left breast was a well-defined, firm mass...or was it just my imagination?

It had to be my imagination, because I certainly didn't have time for anything else. In fact, I had not even had time for a mammogram in more than four years. Yeah, yeah, I know, where was my head, what kind of nurse am I? My mother had had a miserable existence during her 17-year battle with breast cancer, died at age 59, exactly my current age. I knew the statistics, knew I was at the highest risk for developing it myself, but stubbornly and stupidly I chose to follow my own path and ignore it all. My divorce had been brutal, my depression severe...I didn't care and despite knowing everything I should do for my health, did nothing.

Initially I tried to convince myself I had felt nothing, because we all know what we ignore will go away....not! I checked in on it several times a day - it was going nowhere and in fact, seemed to have a smaller companion right next to it. At least three weeks must have passed before I was convinced it was real and summoned the courage to call my doc. I learned that when you mention "lump", things move very quickly.

August 12 I had my exam, August 13, a mammogram, ultrasound and subsequent biopsy and the following day the phone call no woman ever wants to receive, "Sue, I am so sorry. You have ductal carcinoma." My head was throbbing, my ears were burning and my chest was aching worse than ever. My younger daughter (the one responsible for setting up this blog for me) was sitting next to me and if she hadn't been, I know I would have boohooed longer and louder.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An Apple a Day...

I thought I would post some interesting quotes on health and well-being, most of which of course celebrate a well-rounded health and natural healing. I think the bottom line is that deep healing comes from within oneself, not just from without. I thought you might like the one Irish proverb especially because it talks about laughter!

I love you!

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
~World Health Organization, 1948

"He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors."
~Chinese Proverb

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."
~Irish Proverb

"Fresh air impoverishes the doctor."
~Danish Proverb