I don’t really have it anymore (a big yay on that), except for constant achywakeyness like I have the flu. All the time. A few days out of the hospital I turned in my Percoset for medical marijuana. Kind of kills my Supreme Court nomination possibilities, but whatev.
Hey! It comes. It goes. When I’m not Nearly-Dead Tired, I get all excited and think I can do things. Not big things like digging post holes. Little things, like taking a normal-sized step. And I do these things and realize I don’t actually have more energy, not enough to do anything useful with anyway.
But. This week compared to last week? Better. It’s incremental, but I will take any kind of better.
Gerson treatment et al.
8 weeks today (10 now, as of posting). That’s 8 weeks of 12 juices a day. 5 coffee enemas. Boatloads of supplements. The schedule is rigorous at best, impossible to do alone. I would be dying now if it weren’t for my soulmate. I would not have had the fortitude to get to this point on my own. A scary thought. Let’s move on.
So how is it? Within 3 weeks we noticed that the baked potato sized tumor in my lower right abdomen seemed to have gone missing. I still feel twingy stabby things there from time to time. A scan would tell us for sure.
I hate the food. I hate the juices. I hate having to do something every hour. I hate that my time is no longer mine to squander on posting cat photos to Facebook, no, now I have to do stuff. Stuff that has little reward. I hate it all.
But you know what? I also know that there is freedom in the strict regimen. And the juices and the food, well, right now I think of it as medicine. It doesn’t have to taste good. Someday things will again. It’s not just that my meals are bland and unseasoned — my sense of taste has changed and even things that normally make my mouth go wow just sort of suck right now.
It will change. This is temporary. I think it’s working.
Score: 8.5 for doing its job, 1.5 for yuckiness
Western medicine options.
Oncologist. Tomorrow I see a new oncologist. He was recommended highly by my new awesome radiological oncologist. If I like him, he’ll be able to coordinate things for me and keep me in the loop of treatments that I wouldn’t know about otherwise. My first oncologist? Sucked the big one. And NO ONE told us that brain metastases could be treated. We need someone on the team who understands my alternative nature but also is in the loop of out of the box thinking.
Gamma Knife radiation. Turns out that high intensity focused targeted radiation zaps brain metastases with little or no side effects and awesome results. Plus, how could you NOT want something called a Gamma Knife aimed at your brain? I am scared. Brain zappage is serious stuff. I am also excited. Having cancer spread to your brain is scary. I want it out. I want relief from the daily headaches and pressure. I want to live. The median time people survive with brain metastases (mets) ranges from 1-6 months. Months! How ridiculous.
Fun stuff you get from hospitals when you have cancer. Massage! Music therapy! Art therapy! I can’t wait.
Score: How the fuck do I score this? One schmoopy massage does not a score make.
But wait! There’s more!
Time to bring this thing up to date. You’ve missed a lot. My bad.
Scan results. CT scan Monday showed not a baked potato but a nice palm-crystal sized tumor thingy in my pelvis. Oncologist #3 (the one who sang to me) thinks it “just moved” earlier when Soulmate and I felt around there. It’s 20% bigger than it was at the end of July. Did it disappear? Am I maybe sending all my cancer cells there and that’s why it’s back and a bit bigger? Or is Oncologist #3 right? (His name is Sheldon, which always brings me to the 2 episodes I watched of “Big Bang Theory.) Hard to say. I am choosing to believe that Sheldon is wrong and I am right. Famous last words, right?
MRI results. Conversely, Oncologist #2 (the one who hugged me) walked in beaming to our consult this week. My 2 brain lesions (I’m sorry now that I never named them) only grew A MILLIMETER. “We never see this,” she said. She sees lesions that grow exponentially. Mine should have at least doubled. Ha! “Keep doing whatever you’re doing,” she said, “It’s working.” Soulmate and I went home and celebrated, which looked like watching the rest of “Clue” (yes, the movie from the 80’s with Tim Curry in it).
Radiation. Yesterday I let them put my head in the Bug Zapper, aka Gamma Knife. Targeted radiation. Why did I do this, if what we’re doing is working? The brain is a funny thing. Things that work in the body can’t cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a big fence that the body erects to keep the riff-raff from the body out of the brain. It’s like fortifying the control center. If the body let just anyone through the BBB, pretty soon the control center would be overrun and the host (that’s you and me) would be in jeopardy, backed into a corner wielding nothing but a pickle fork. Also, once cancer gets in there it just grows exponentially if unchecked. Zapping my 2 wee lesions (7-9mm) was a no-brainer (heh):
- 90% probability they will never grow back
- they’re so small there was little danger of radiating surrounding brain stuff
- hey, brains have redundancies all over the place
- not too much in the Unpleasant Side Effect department
I expect to be tired — really, really tired — for maybe a couple of months. Also headaches, but I’ve had one of those for 6 weeks anyway, so whatev.
This is hard. Some days are better than others. My life is nothing like it was 4 months ago before all this started. I’m working on making changes, feeling blessed, going deep within to where the wisdom is. I made a fucking Dream Book. I meditate and visualize. I realized how much I love making art when I made Soulmate’s birthday present. But there is so, so so much more out there and I feel very far away from it most of the time. Feels like I am on the sidelines of life and I am very sad about that. I watched Hurricane Sandy unfold with the same horror we all did — my kids all live in eastern Pennsylvania except for the one that’s in France — yet my hourly juices and 5-times-a-day enemas still went on. I still have cancer, and I’ll still have it after the election next week, and at Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE RIGHT NOW EXCEPT CANCER. You have no idea how much that sucks. I adore my soulmate and want to be with him the rest of HIS life (since the duration of mine is kind of in question) and hate to see all his pain, the pain of loving so deeply (me), feeling powerless, and wondering if it’s going to end.
I refuse to feel hopeless. I spent most of a lifetime in hopeless.