Thursday, December 27, 2007

The End of the Journey

As you can see, it has been quite awhile since I've written anything here. The road has been quite bumpy lately, to say the least. In late October, mom really went 'downhill' quickly. I packed my bags and headed over to mom and dad's. The moment I walked in the house and saw mom, I knew.

That night, she and I had a wonderful heart-to-heart about her wishes, her plans, my fears… a pure mother-daughter bonding time. Lots of tears mixed with tremendous love and joy.

We took her to the hospital the next day, thinking they'd give her an I.V. and send her home that night or the next day. That wasn’t God’s plan. One thing led to another in the hospital, and mom regressed even more quickly. She died two and a half weeks later.

I have countless moments where I question my judgment in taking mom to the hospital in the first place. It’s undeniable that several procedures and treatments performed during that time did NOT help mom, physically or mentally. Many things happened in those weeks that will forever make me question the rationale and scientific validity of conventional medicine. I was left shaking my head in stunned disbelief more times than I care to remember. (Again, most of the individuals caring for mom were great… they were just doing what they were trained to do.)

Yet, thankfully, God was gracious enough to sprinkle those weeks with just as many blessings and wonderful moments to hold on to forever. I am eternally blessed to have witnessed such incredible displays of love between my mom and dad, mom and my children, mom and her sisters, mom and her friends… and of course, mom and I. I’m also blessed to have witnessed mom’s enormous strength and courage. I also saw what it really, truly means to be joyful and gracious. Mom was beautiful at the deepest levels even as she struggled through the limitations of her physical body. What a woman of grace.

Who knows what the “right” thing to do was – going to the hospital where mom seemingly suffered quite a bit more, or keeping her in the ‘comfort’ of her home. I can choose to beat myself up about that one for the rest of my life, or I can accept that it was all part of God’s plan. If we decided to keep her at home, mom surely would have died two weeks earlier. Perhaps this would have prevented some suffering, but it would have also eliminated any of the opportunities for intense demonstrations of love and bonding granted to our family in mom’s final days. Maybe it’s selfish on my part, but I AM glad that we had those extra two weeks to share with mom. I think she is, too.

I’ve got many thoughts, theories, stories and lessons-learned to share as a result of this journey with mom. Thoughts about the potential causes of the epidemic of breast cancer, biopsies, mammograms, dissecting the human lymphatic system, hormonal therapy, palliative care and even the parallels between dying and giving birth. I also hope to help others by sharing my game plan for getting back on track with my own physical, mental and emotional health after months (years, actually) of exhausting stress. I just needed to write this first article and get rid of the ‘post-traumatic writer’s block’ I’ve been experiencing! NOW the floodgates can really open!

Just like those weeks in the hospital with mom, I find that my life these days is a roller coaster of emotions – intense sadness followed by pure happiness and laughter followed by more sadness, more joy... all fairly natural, I’ve been told! I find peace and calmness when I remember to look for the blessings in each moment, to feel grateful for everything God has given me, and to choose happiness rather than sorrow and pity. It was a great woman who shared such simple, yet profound advice with me. It was my mom!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Simple Cancer Prevention Tip

There's nothing simple about cancer. But there are simple things we can do, or stop doing, to decrease our risk factors for developing cancer.

The hormonally-related cancers, like breast and prostate, are related to the amount of toxic, imbalanced estrogens that accumulate in our cells over time. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale are great at helping pull these toxins out of our system. If the thought of eating some of those makes your nose turn up, then you can also take supplements high in these beneficial properties to assist your ‘estrogen-detox’. One example is a product called D.I.M.

Another very easy and effective way to do this is to add a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed to your daily intake. Put it on your salads, on your cereal, in your smoothie… in whatever you can. We are bombarded with dangerous xenoestrogens daily in our environment. Estrogen is good and necessary in our body, but not when it gets out of balance and in an unnatural form. Cooking or heating food and beverages in plastic is one of causes of toxic estrogen accumulation in our bodies. That’s another easy one for you to fix ASAP!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Treatment for Cachexia

Our family finally found help in identifying what was happening in my mom's body - she's in a state of cachexia. Very simply, it's the stage when cancer cells turn to healthy cells, like muscle and organs, for food. This is why mom has been "wasting away" right in front of us. Ultimately, it doesn't matter right now if her cancer is spreading or not (the focus of her hormone treatment) - if the body is in cachexia, the focus turns to keeping the patient alive long enough to treat the cancer.

I can't even imagine why none of the oncologists or other specialists she has seen over the last several months have never mentioned this, or never offered help. They offered more tests after saying, "...hmmm. Something's going on here. You should be getting better..." She was actually rushed to emergency last week, and released because "everything was normal"!!!! Give me a break!

This just all proves my point that orthodox medicine doesn't even come CLOSE to having all the answers, as they'd have us believe. Hey, I'm totally OK with a profession being there to handle some of the health/sickness problems that people face... BUT that profession should announce its limitations loud and clear!!! They can't fix everything, and in fact can make many things worse.

I firmly believe that every person who is "in" medicine (doctors, nurses, etc.) chose the profession because they truly thought it was the best way to help their fellow humans. I believe they are good people - great people. I just know that their "cookbook for health" has very few recipes... and they're all very similar recipes, with similar ingredients! It's pretty ignorant AND arrogant AND ridiculous AND CRIMINAL to think that you have the one and only cookbook on the planet that people should be allowed to use to create their meals!!! There are wonderful, delicious, healthy, satisfying and safe flavors from all over the world that anyone has the right to consume! I suppose the fear is that we just might like those other recipes better... and realize that they tasted better, made us feel better and cost less!!

ANYHOW, we found a 2-part cachexia treatment for mom. She'll start it ASAP. I only hope we found it in time. Just wish a "professional" in the business of cancer would have helped us months ago. I don't know if it'll "work". But I DO know we should have been given the opportunity much earlier (then I guess we never would have been in this situation in the first place!).

On the site, we found the protocol and related information on the link for stage IV treatments for patients who have lost a lot of weight, who are weak, who have "cachexia". Feel free to email me if you're having any challenge locating the information.

I Finally Found REAL Help!

FINALLY! After months (years actually) of frustrating research... coming up with "junk" science, questionable studies and toxic treatments... I finally found an incredibly thorough website designed to HELP people living with cancer.

Let me be clear - I get NOTHING for passing this site on to you - I am not affiliated with this site or any of the clinics or products referenced in any way. I just want more people to have this potentially life-saving resource at their disposal.

The site is

God Bless.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cancer Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Things have been relatively "calm" for the past couple months. Mom's bloodwork has been slowly but surely improving. For awhile there, it appeared as though mom was too. She had more energy and was able to get out a bit more.

She has had a setback in the last 3 or 4 weeks though. Major drop in energy, nausea, shortness of breath and her urine is getting darker. I'm guessing that her liver has been affected by the cancer now.

Lots of tests coming up in the next few weeks - chest x-ray, abdominal ultrasound, bone scan and CT scan of the head. We shall see.

She hasn't been able to take all her "good" things to help her body regain strength and health... like her Ambrotose from Mannatech, or her Cantron. It stinks. I just feel like nothing is being done to create health at this point... other than her very peaceful and faithful outlook on life in general. She amazes me!

Whatever happens, I'm thankful for the blessing of the extra time we've ben given. At one point I was told that she would only be here 2 months - that was over 5 months ago. Every additional day is a special one for us.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Is Cancer Genetic or Environmental?

No, we won't resolve that question in one simple blog entry!

What does bear repeating is that a quickly growing number of even conventional-thinking allopathic doctors and researchers are finally coming on board with the idea that cancer is MUCH more related to the environment vs. genetics. More accurately stated, all dis-eases of lifestyle are a result of how we adapt to our environment. How and what we eat, how we move, how we think, how we respond to stress, the toxins we expose ourselves to.... the list goes on and on. Kinda' makes the genetic theory seem shamefully under-developed, at best.

Cancer is now considered by many health experts as a disease of lifestyle.

Are there 'genetic' connections and similarities? Sure. Families grow up with similar environments and develp similar responses to their internal and external environments. BUT, we all know people who have cancer... and no one else in their family does. The genetic theory is flawed.

.... and that's OK.

I like knowing that I have MUCH more control over my health than just relying on my genes!

Although there are absolutely no guarantees in life, or health, I choose to believe that living a wellness lifestyle will create wellness.... and allow no room for dis-ease. I make daily choices to move well, eat well, think well, rest well... and love.

The way I see it, even if I'm wrong, at least I've lived a great, healthy and happy life in the meantime!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Each Day is a Blessing

Approximately 3 and 1/2 months ago, I was told by one of my mom's doctors that she "had maybe 2 months" to live. It's impossible for words to describe the emotions I felt during the following weeks. I learned many things during that time - one of them being how very human I am! Emotions, no matter how intense or uncomfortable, make us who we are. We are truly living when we are feeling.

Now, almost 4 months later, I'm just thankful for each day my mom is here. I'm thankful for each and every conversation... each and every hug. I know that each one could be our last. Of course, the ultimate realization is that that's the truth for all of us... cancer or not. Cancer just helps us remember how we really should treat each other. One of those ironic blessings of cancer!

Because God has determined that mom still needs to be here, we've been able to celebrate life a little bit more. Mom was here for her beloved first granddaughter's 5th birthday, she was here for her own birthday a couple weeks ago, and she and dad have spent some very happy (and loud) days here with their joyful grandkids! In fact, mom was even able to muster up the energy to go out for a fabulous birthday celebration dinner. She thoroughly enjoyed it, as did all of us!

Each day is truly precious. None of it is easy, but it is what it is. My life is being woven and this experience of cancer is part of the beautiful intricate pattern.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sheryl Crow Didn't "Get" Breast Cancer from Plastic Bottles!

I have received several copies now of an email that continues to re-circulate - it talks about how Sheryl Crow developed breast cancer because of drinking water from plastic water bottles that she had left out in her hot car.

OK. This was almost too silly for me to respond to... but it has just enough validity that thousands of women would believe it in it's current out-of-context form.

Have plastics been linked to cancer, especially hormonal cancers like breast and prostate? You bet! What frightened me about this email circulating around the world wide web was that many people would read it and either stop drinking bottled water, or stop drinking bottled water that they had left in their cars... and they'd erroneously think they were "good to go". The isssue of toxic xenoestrogens and plastics goes FAR beyond water bottles. Consider: food storage, cooking in the microwave using plastic containers or plastic wrap, packaging of processed foods, the off-gassing of every plastic item in our homes... the list goes on and on. Of course we also know that water is not the culprit in those bottles... fruit juice, pop, sports drinks, kids' drinks... if it's in plastic, it's toxic.

We live in a very toxic society, where dangerous chemicals surround us every second of the day. To isolate one toxic component, like heated plastic water bottles, is a rookie move. I understand that it was probably meant to help many people. But, again, taken out of context, this is ridiculous and lacks much value.

As an interesting side note: Yesterday was 94 degrees where I live. As I was stopped at a light, I noticed at both gas stations on the corner that they were storing cases upon cases of plastic water bottles outside on the sidewalk... in the blazing sun!!! Lovely.

Our health and our ability to prevent and heal from disease are all dependent on the the millions of overlapping factors that comprise how we move (exercise, stretching, proprioception, rest, breathing, etc.), how we eat (healthy foods, nutritional complements, cleansing and detoxification, etc.) and how we think (mental, emotional, spiritual, social and relationship health). Our levels of sufficiency and purity in these 3 lifestyle categories must always exceed our levels of deficiency and toxicity in order for us to experience true health.

So, taking all of that into consideration, I consider the following when it comes to a famous rock star, like my girl Sheryl: What are the chances that she has had peaceful, rhythmic sleep patterns to properly function all the years that she was on the road, touring? I know I wouldn't get my best sleep, in different hotels, different time zones. Did Sheryl bring a shower filter wherever she went? Lots of experts say that chlorine is directly linked to hormonal cancers as well. Chlorine from pools, tap water, and especially from hot showers... gets absorbed right into our tissues and cells. Also, I remember reading an interview with Sheryl in a fitness magazine, back when she was dating Lance. She was discussing how she'd shed some pounds and burned off a lot of fat since dating Lance. She made reference to doing more cardiovascular exercise than before and eating WAY more vegetables than she ever had! So, what was she doing for the 40+ years before that? Who knows! And that's exactly my point!!!

None of us could possibly know what ONE thing causes cancer in someone... because it's NEVER one thing. It's a myriad of intricately woven life experiences and lifestyle choices that will determine if your "breast cancer gene" will ever be expressed. Our focus should be to add more and more holistic, balanced health - move well, eat well and think well! Create sufficiency and purity in these areas at all costs. Then you can start to reduce or eliminate your deficiencies and toxicities.

Oh, and drink your bottled water joyfully! (Preferably from a glass container!)

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Diagnosis

Well, after all this time, we finally have an official diagnosis in my mom's case - it's Breast Cancer that has metastasized to the bone marrow. So this is why she has been feeling so completely exhausted. The marrow is where the blood cells are made... the cancer has been crowding her 'baby' red blood cells out... she needs those to carry oxygen to every cell in her body. So, that's where we stand.

She's continuing with her hormonal medication, but also started an intense holistic, nutritional program a few weeks ago. Even her oncologist was surprised by how quickly her platelets are responding to "something"... of course, we didn't share with the oncologist that we were doing anything natural or nutritional... we had already been severely scolded for that when mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. How pathetic is that?! Shouldn't our "healthcare" system welcome anything and everything that could truly help the patient? Just a thought!

Anyway, we'll see how things go. All my research is telling me that when it comes to metastatic breast cancer, nobody on the planet can tell us how it's really going to play out. For all the thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer, there are just as many varying scenarios and 'survival rates'. It really seems like it's random chance, with very little rhyme or reason in many cases. For our family, we actually take this as a positive. It means that anything (good) CAN happen... and why wouldn't it??!! It's all in God's hands anyhow - and we're OK with that.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Soakin' Up The Love and Sunshine!

Our family experienced yet another blessing in our journey this weekend. After the way things have been going for the past couple months, I had started to think that my mom might never visit our home again - we live a couple hours away, and she has just been so exhausted that we didn't think she could/should make the trip.

The heartbreaker about that potential situation was that I knew how much peace our home brings mom. She has spent countless hours here, especially since the kids have come along. She loves to sit out on the dock in the early, crisp mornings and watch the lake "wake up". It brings her great joy. So when I got a call from dad yesterday morning that mom felt strong enough to make the trip, I was ecstatic!

She did all the doting grandmother things with the kids (with the exception of the physical exertion part)... getting caught up on all their home videos, looking at school projects, looking at all the photographs from the last couple months, reading with them, listening to their highly theatrical story-telling and all their new songs, and , of course, watching closely over them with the deeply loving, ever adoring eyes of a grandma. My heart was truly happy to witness the love they share and how it filled mom up.

I also loved to see her out on the dock several times soaking up the warm, life-giving rays of sunshine. That's right - life-giving! Natural, "unadulterated" sunshine is a necessary precursor for our bodies' production of Vitamin D. We desperately need this vital nutrient for numerous functions in the body to occur at their highest potential. In fact, even the most conventional of medical/allopathic researchers are finally on board with the rest of the health and wellness experts on this subject. It is widely recognized that vitamin D significantly reduces the risk of developing cancer... some studies say the risk is cut by 60% (includes breast cancer).

We can get Vitamin D from foods like egg yolks, oily fish (sardines and salmon) and fortified milk. We can also inexpensively, safely and easily supplement with Vitamin D. Regular exposure to sunshine is my personal favorite! In fact, I like to combine it with other activities that are good for me, too... exercise, reading, recreational activities, gardening, etc.

Now obviously you can't sit out in the midday sun without protecting your skin! But, leading health experts agree that we would do ourselves a big favor if we exposed our skin to 'gentle' sunlight (morning or late day) for several minutes, without toxic, chemical-based sunblock being baked into our pores. The ultraviolet rays can't trigger the Vitamin D conversion as effectively if they're being 'blocked' by sunscreen. (I'll definitely be discussing the issue of what we put on our skin in future postings.)

Anyhow, mom left her mini-vacation with us feeling well-rested, full of love and healthier... and she had a great tan! Oh, and it was a much-needed break for dad, too!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Tiny Victories

After being 'forewarned' a couple weeks ago that she would most likely need transfusions twice per week now, my mom hasn't needed a transfusion since her very first one. Yay, mom!

I know this doesn't mean anything has ultimately changed in her underlying condition... it still is what it is. It's just nice to see my mom and dad rallying around this shared vision and goal of "building" her blood to avoid the need for transfusions. Their bi-weekly announcements of, "nope - no need for a transfusion again!" have become mini-celebrations and tiny victories for our family!

Mom is definitely feeling stronger than she was a few weeks ago, but still frustatingly 'pooped' compared to her apparent 'perfect health' just a few short weeks ago. It's all part of God's perfect plan... absolutely nothing else makes sense!

Since we're still waiting for the official bone marrow biopsy results to differentiate between breast cancer metastasized to the bone vs. leukemia, the oncologist still hasn't really begun any official treatment. Mom had already started taking Arimidex again - nothing else though since this all began. The protocol she has been following in the meantime is focused on rapidly rebuilding health.

Her diet has been wonderful for many years, so she really hasn't had to tweak much there... she's just made sure to lay off excessive soy products (and stick to fermented ones), since the jury is still out on the soy/reproductive system cancers (breast, prostate, etc.). She eats an enormous amount and variety of fresh, organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables. She drinks a Greens First breakfast shake daily, religiously takes ultra pure fish oil (Innate Choice is our favorite) and is taking high 'doses' of glyconutrients as well as medicinal mushrooms.

Who knows why she's feeling better and stronger right now... if it's her holistic protocol, her incredible outlook on life, or just God workin' his plan! What I DO know is that I don't know... nor does anyone else, regardless of how many letters they have behind their name! So, for now, we're just happy to go with whatever seems to be giving mom a better quality of life - and celebrate the tiny victories with her!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Perspective and Priorities

It's incredible how perspective and priorities change, being on a journey like this with my mom. "One day at a time" finally has real meaning for me. So do all the sayings about living in the present. The past is nice, but it's done! The future can be too overwhelming. I have really found comfort in Jack Canfield's lesson in The Secret about driving all the way across the country in the dark, with only the next 200 feet ahead of you being visible with the help of headlights. It's possible to successfully navigate the entire journey by only seeing a little bit at a time. "Take the first step and the next one will be revealed." That has been an enormous turning point for me in the last month. I don't know what will happen with mom in any given day, let alone the next few weeks and months. I was driving myself crazy trying to see too far ahead. It's impossible! I just take the first step each day - call mom and see how's she's feeling and let her know how much I love her. That I can do!

My priorities have also evolved, secondary to this life-changing event. I find myself "cleaning house" of my usual activiities - I've gotten rid of the trivial, meaningless routines I had just a few weeks ago. Faith, family and health are my top priorities. Everything else can wait! I guess you could say that I've streamlined!

God is amazing! He has certainly made it perfectly clear to me what matters most in life! I do appreciate the blessings of strength and growth and faith He has given me in the last few months. Oh, that's another expression I'm finally understanding at a much deeper level... "let go and let God!" Now I get it!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Transfusions - The Cocktail of Life!

My mom's blood count has been dropping steadily for the last several weeks. As of now, her oncologist is still uncertain if this is breast cancer metastasized to bone, or if it's leukemia. Either way, it still stinks! She had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday to determine if it's leukemia or not.

It's hard to believe that in late March she was still "power walking" a couple miles every day and felt absolutely perfect. This has all happened so 'quickly', yet my educated mind knows that this takes a lifetime to develop.

Yesterday she had her first blood transfusions - 2 pints. When I first met up with her at the Cancer Clinic in the morning, I was stunned at how she had deteriorated in just the 2 days since I had last visited. She seemed so much older, and frail, and confused and disoriented. It really threw me. Then, within an hour of being hooked up to the "happy juice", I literally saw my mom come back! She was vibrant, funny, perky... and she ate like a horse! It was hilarious!

She had a much better night last night and day today than she's had a many weeks. Although the transfusions don't solve the underlying problem, it sure is wonderful to see the life come back in someone... even if just for a short time. More time to give some love!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Axillary Node Dissection

I'm curious - has anyone ever come across any research or statistics regarding the prevalence of cancer metastasizing following an axillary node dissection vs. those who keep their lymphatic systems 'intact'? It just seems like once you open up the lymphatic system to "sample" the lymph nodes, you're just inviting spread... I don't know (nobody knows anything for sure!), but it's just one of those things that doesn't seem to make much common sense. Does the benefit outweigh the risk? Is anyone checking? I know my mom's surgeon had never seen any research on that. Anyone?

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Hypercalcemia, secondary to bone metastasis, doesn't have much of a favorable outcome... at least conventionally speaking. Would anyone care to comment on either traditional or 'alternative' treatments that have brought relief? Let's also talk about how the treatment effects the quality of life.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Natural Relief

Could you please share what natural methods you've found to help with the symptoms of breast cancer... for example, bone pain. Obviously, if you feel you've found something that does more than just treat the symptoms, please DO share.