Saturday, July 30, 2011

Morning Craziness, Check. Blog, Check!

OOOppps, I'm so tired that I let my hand rest on the backspace key. Fortunately, it erased just one paragraph, but I liked that paragraph a lot. Since I'm a write what you're thinking sort of author, I won't be recreating it. It's gone forever. Oh well. I woke up for the 2nd or 3rd time this morning around 4:30am, which is why I'm so tired. If I lay off the backspace key, which is impossible to do, maybe I'll finally get this new post out. Hopefully, the morning crazies and fatigue are over. Yeah, I know mornings are crazy in a lot of our homes, but I was hoping to have a lil' morning quiet time while the rest of the house was sleeping. And I did, but instead of typing on the computer, I was falling asleep on it, which happens a lot to me. My pain pills knock me out when doing anything cerebral. I can't read very much, do work on the computer, etc. So I titled this entry with a lot of determination, and some caffeine.

Since March, I've been through a clinical trail in Bethesda, MD. I think I'll send out a separate post about that. For now, I just wanted to catch you all up to where I'm at now. The trial didn't work, so now we're looking into other ones and strongly considering going to holistic/natural route. There's a therapy in Cali lead by a Dr. Sebi that I'm leaning toward right now. Before then however, I will be undergoing a 10 day radiation on a tumor found in my bone, the sternum. So you can pray about that. This tumor has been causing a lot of pain, and I'm told most of the pain will be taken care of through this radiation treatment. Yeah!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Daily Grind, and What I'm Thankful For

I last wrote in December, and there's not much to tell. I haven't had any recent scans to tell how my cancer is responding to chemo, but I can update you on my daily battle. I'm roughing it. I previously mentioned my active bowels, and a temporary solution of giving myself a daily enema. That worked for a little while, until a wound opened up, which still hasn't quite healed. There's a pain like no other when you try to pass an enema over an open wound. I tried pushing past the pain, but succeeded in repeatedly hurting myself with no results. Not pleasant! So I'm back to spending an eternity on the toilet every day. It's very time consuming, some days as much as a full time job. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it's not. I wish it were. I'm often so worn out that I have to take a nap after a long toilet session. It sometimes leaves me feeling very weak and sore, like my intestines are about to spill out of my body. Sleep is all I can do. I'd guess that it gets that intense about 3 or 4 times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. It's not consistent. Yesterday was a good day, so I write. I should be getting another CT scan soon. I'll be speaking with my doctor about that today when I go in for chemo.

I'm frustrated mostly, as my bowels are a tremendous challenge. But I get encouragement from friends. One friend recently told me to, "keep stabbing the beast." That put a smile on my face for a day or two. I called another encouraging friend the other night. That conversation will carry me another day or two. I realize I should also be relying on God for my strength. I'm still lacking in that area. I recently got some sound practical advise about all that. I need to apply it.

For those who know that my husband is from Japan, all of his family is fine. They weren't physically effected by the quake, nor the tsunami. I spent this morning looking at hundreds of photos. My heart aches for Northern Japan. I've actually spent some time there and in some ways, it reminded me of home, with its fishing ports and small towns. It's true that my life is very difficult in many ways. But after looking at those photos, I can't help but feel guilty for grumbling and complaining in my heart about the things I am dissatisfied with (I'm not talking about bowel issues here, but matters of the heart). God bless and help the people in Northern Japan, and in other parts of our globe for that matter. There's so much trouble; in areas like Egypt, Libya, and other Muslim nations. We in the U.S. are blessed to be safe and free. Sure there were millions of dollars in damage done to the boats and yachts in Crescent City, CA. But come on, really? I saw no devastation. With the tragic exception of that 20 year old young man who got too close to the waves and lost his life over a photo op. At least he had a choice, unlike the victims in Japan.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Time Slips by and so Much to Tell

I can't believe it's been over 3 months since I last wrote a post. Sorry to all of you who may be wondering all this while what's going on. To pick up where I left off, my surgery on September 29th was a success. So much so that the tumor activity, or CEA levels, measured in blood tests tested normal. This means that they successfully removed the tumors they were after in my liver and right lung. They also reversed my ostomy bag, so I'm using the toilet for my bowel movements once again. And have I made up for lost time! It's safe to say that I have had more BMs in the past 3 1/2 months than most people have in 3 1/2 years! When they removed my rectal tumor last year, they also removed my entire rectum. The rectum is used as a holding place for stool, and the colon pushes stool through. On a good day, I only have 10 to 15 BMs. Other days I have 25 to 35 of them. Initially the later was every day. After 3 weeks, I was in so much pain, I checked myself back into the hospital and was there for 2 weeks while the doctors pondered over ways in which to slow my BMs down. They even gave me liquid nutrition for about a week to give my bowels a rest. You might be wondering, "Why would a doctor remove the entire rectum?" I've learned that this is not such an uncommon procedure, and that the body in most patients miraculously adjusts. Usually in several weeks, the colon learns to adapt the role of the rectum. And in a couple months, a patient will have 5 to 10 BMs a day, with the ultimate goal being only 5 BMs. But in some patients, like me thus far, the colon does not adjust. That's not to say that mine will not, it still may. The decision is mine as to how long I am willing to live like this, on the toilet all day long, and sometimes all night, while I hope and pray for my colon to adjust. If it does not, then my option is to choose an ostomy bag for life. Needless to say, I will not make that decision hastily. So now you might understand what has taken so long for me to add a new post.

If that isn't frustrating enough, to say the least! I had a new CT scan last weekend, and the results aren't what I hoped for. The spots in my left lung turned out to be cancer, as I feared. Fortunately, they are very small and seem to have been controlled by the chemotherapy. As you may know, a patient can not be on chemotherapy while undergoing extensive surgery and the following recovery. And they delayed mine a bit longer due to my bowel issues, as chemo causes diarrhea, to complicate matters. So in all this 3 1/2 months without chemo, the spots grew a bit. And it's not just two spots in my lung, it's four. And another two new spots were found in the liver as well. I found this out on Thursday, and needless to say, I'm freaked out.

My surgeon called me yesterday to discuss what all this means. He's not concerned about the liver spots at this time. Liver tumors are slower to grow and easily treated when small. He'll burn them out. But not before I go through more chemo, as the chemo seems to have kept the small lung tumors at bay before I had surgery. So the plan now is for more chemo. I'm in my oncologists hands. What a helpless feeling it leaves. A faithful person would write that they were in Gods hands, and intellectually I know this to be true. But my heart comes through in my writing. When facing possible death, saying, "Lord, your will be done" is not easy, to say the least. I'm more like Peter after the rooster crowed, denying I know Jesus, than I am like Jesus in the garden, submitting to God's will. If I were in my Bible like I should be, maybe that would not be the case. I don't want to accept either outcome of my cancer. I just want to get well. That's where you, my faithful friends can help. Pray for my faith, as well as the obvious.

On the bright side, nothing has shown up in the right lung or rectal area. Let's pray it stays that way and that these spots are contained and eventually disappear. Also, I discovered that I am eligible for disability. I collect about $700 a month after taxes. Not a lot, but it will certainly help this Christmas. I'll be in VT with my sister-in-law and her kids. I haven't visited them in about 5 years, before my brother Scott's passing. So I'm really looking forward to it. To withstand the travel, I have to resort to an enema before flight. It's the only way I get a break.

There's actually a lot of other medical stuff I could share right now. Like how the radiation messed me up internally. I have all this scarring inside that needs treating. I have an appointment with an oncology gynecologist next month to start that process. And how the scarring from my rectal surgery is complicating the bowel issues. But I won't go into detail about the internal scarring. I'll let you all use your imaginations on that one for now. Let's just say none of it is pleasant.

What I would like to share about is the Army and church support I've received. For about 3 weeks, women from the JAG FRG, and some from my church, lent their hand to feed my family. We had so much food in the house, I had to give some away. Thank you to the JAG wives for your love and support, and to those in my church who also gave. It was a great comfort and lift to my spirit.

I'll leave you all with wishes of a Merry Christmas. Though that seems a bit flat after all I've just wrote. But I do hope you all have an amazing holiday. And that you enjoy each others company. Be kind as you shop out there, for you don't know what others might be going through! And cherish your loved ones each day, not just this season. And give thanks to God for what you have.

With much love,


Monday, August 30, 2010

Surgery Update & Social Security Disability

So my surgery date is set for September 29th. The docs scheduled it on my brother Shane's birthday. And interestingly, after my last surgery, my oncologist restarted my chemotherapy on my birthday. How weird is that? My other brother Steve has a birthday in March. I wonder what's going to happen on that day.

When meeting with my surgeons on Friday, they gave me the low-down on what to expect before, during and after surgery. There's one correction I need to make from last weeks post. They will not be operating on my left lung. Since they are not sure what is there, they're opting to just monitor what was found on the next follow-up CT or PET scan. If the spot in the left lung has grown, it will "light up" better on the scan and the docs will determine if it is cancer. If it never grows, then it's not cancer. Leaving these unknown spots in my left lung is not a very comforting thought. But the surgery on my liver, right lung and ostemy bag will be about 6 or 7 hours, long enough without having to go into my left lung as well.

I set up an appointment with Social Security today. Back in October when I started my chemotherapy treatments, the head nurse there told me that cancer patients are not eligible to receive disability. So I took her word for it, thinking that she should know. Well, it turns out that she is wrong! Recently a friend told me otherwise, some cancer patients do qualify. Why it took so long for the truth on this matter to be revealed to me, I know not. I now have a phone interview set up for later this week. We'll see if I am eligible or not.

I just finished eating my daily asparagus. Now I sprinkle cayenne pepper on it, not for the taste, but for the hope of healing properties of capsaicin. Someone should market asparagus with cayenne and other peppers to the cancer community. I'm off now to get my blood drawn at the hospital, chemotherapy tomorrow....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Long Awaited Surgery, A Big Thanks & More Cancer Prevention Consumption Advice

My Upcoming Surgery:
It looks as if I will finally be scheduled for my long awaited surgery. I should know the exact date by the end of this week. The delay in setting the schedule is because two surgeons will be involved. It seems that they can operate on both my lung and my liver at the same time. What an answered prayer! My oncologist at Womack Army Medical told me more than once that the double resection would probably not be possible. I pushed her to send my request for both to be resected at the same time anyway. And as far as I'm told, my oncologist submitted my request as such to the surgeon. My oncologist really is a great doctor. She knew it was the surgeons call and acted as such. If there's one thing I'm learning through all this, is that you have to follow your instinct and not be intimidated to push your requests through, even though the whole process leaves you feeling quite helpless.

The decision to operate now came from results of a CT scan taken about a month ago. The scan showed that the tumors are "relatively stable," meaning that the growth was slight over the prior two months, since the last scan, only about one or two millimeters growth in one tumor. And no measurable growth in the other. Switching my chemotherapy regimen from "Full Fox" to "Full Fury" seems to have worked. It virtually stopped the growth. That's the good news, the very good news, as now I can have surgery. But of course, something else came up....

The UNC doctors had their radiologists analyze my CT scan from last month, and they commented on two spots found in my left lung. They don't know what the spots are; it may or may not be cancer. The spots are about 3 mm in size. The nurse practitioner who I spoke with about it said that she believes the pulmonary surgeon will go through my left lung as well my right lung to take out what was found there, whether it is cancer or not. So my surgery is going to be quite complex, resection in my liver, in both lungs, and once and for all, removing the dreaded bag. After surgery, I should have about 3 or 4 more months of chemotherapy. And if they've removed all the operable cancer with this upcoming surgery and no more tumors appear. And if the chemo takes care of all that is inoperable, then I should come out the other end of this cancer free. A lot of "ifs" so I will need all your continued prayers.

A Big Thanks:
That leads me to the topic of support. I was soooo encouraged last week when I went home to MA for a much overdue visit. I hadn't been home in over two years. My life long friend, Lee Green, decided she wanted to throw a Silpada Designs jewelry fundraiser for me. Even though my medical bills are covered (thank God) through Army benefits, my financial challenges are still great, though my husband may not see it that way. And given my pending surgery(ies), which keeps getting postponed, I've been hesitant to find a new job. (Not to mention my chemo schedule). Now my husband, despite my cancer, has me on a tight budget, and states, "My needs are met." Not to man bash, but the simple fact is that guys just don't get women sometimes. Adding the emotional needs of a cancer patient to the man vs. woman equation can complicate matters or perhaps make them simpler, depending on the couple. Unfortunately, in my case the matter is complicated. But I digress, back to gratitude for my friends. So Lee threw me this fundraiser. I felt the love in so many ways. Thank you to all my friends, old and new, who supported that event. A special shout out to Lee (of course), Marlo White and Lisa Curley who worked behind the scenes to make it a success. For her efforts, Lee got some free jewelry to show at her next Silpada Designs party. For anyone interested in the Silpada jewelry line, visit Lee's website and contact her at (a shameless plug for my old friend, lol).

Cancer Prevention Consumption:
I also want to share some news for cancer prevention consumption. Recently, I visited a health food store on the advice of a friend to investigate some supplements. I also got advice about them from my oncologist. Here is what I discovered. Not surprisingly, my oncologist could not recommend the mushroom based supplements, nor red clover, as they might interfere with the chemo’s effectiveness. However, she did say that one of the supplements I discovered seemed benign. That supplement is called "Graviola." The health food store owner who recommended it to me showed me a brochure promoting this supplement for cancer patients who are in the midst of chemotherapy. There's a university in PA that backs this product, and claims Graviola actually makes chemo more effective at beating cancer. I should also note that my oncologist seemed to approve of eating asparagus, as mentioned in a previous post, as well AHCC and Maitake (the mushroom based supplements) and red clover, which are all okay after chemotherapy is done.

Another discovery comes from a bulletin titled "Fire in the Belly" in the June issue of "Men's Health" magazine. It states, "A recent Korean lab study found that the compound that makes chilies spicy, capsaicin, can help kill colon-cancer cells.... The Scoville scale measures capsaicin content; the more capsaicin in the peppers you eat, the greater the benefit (and the hotter the burn)." The bulletin also cites a metabolic benefit. The Scoville scale is as follows:

Type / Scoville Heat Units
Pure Capsaicin 15,000,000
Capsicum Oleoresin (used to make pepper spray) 1,500,000
Bhut Jolokia (hottest known chili variety) 1,000,000
Orange Habanero 210,000
Tabasco (Chili) 120,000
Thai Hot 60,000
Ground Cayenne 40,000
Serrano 25,000
Chipotle 5,000 - 10,000
Jalapeno 5,500
Pasilla 4,000
Tabasco Sauce 3,750
Pablano 1,500
Mulato 1,000
Bell Pepper 0

Now I'm not about to go squirting pepper spray in my mouth, I don't like too much spice. But for the first time ever, I willingly put some Tabasco sauce in my stew last night. I'll see if I can't work my tolerance up the Scoville scale. And yes, since I've posted that email about asparagus, I've been eating that on a daily basis, well almost daily. So if I do beat this cancer, we won't know what did the most good, chemo, asparagus, Graviola, capsaicin, or what. But I will certainly Thank God.

That's all the updates I have for now. More to come once I've met with my surgeon(s).

Much Love,


Thursday, June 3, 2010

From Full Fox to Full Fury

Yesterday I started a new chemotherapy treatment plan. My doctor has moved me from "Full Fox" to "Full Fury." Both plans are composed of 3 drugs, one of which is interchangeable. It seems that my cancer has grown resistant to Oxyplatin found in Full Fox. The liver tumor has grown by a 1/2 cm. So now it's time for Irinotecan, found in my Full Fury treatment. Two months of this, and I'll get another scan to see how the tumors are reacting. The doctors want to see the tumors shrinking before they schedule my surgery.

The good news is that the scan didn't show any new tumors. And the one in my lung only grew by 0.1 cm. The cancer activity around all three of my tumor locations has decreased as well. So some progress is being made.

On another note, I'm starting up a new business and can use your support. I've got a few things going on in cyber space. Go to There is a video about a product I discovered, as well as a video about my marketing system. Check out what interests you and send me your feedback. Also, please list yourself as a subscriber to my YouTube channel so I can start getting my numbers up there. And spread the word if you think of anyone who might be interested.

Thanks a lot. I appreciate you.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Asparagus -- Who knew ?

A good friend of mine sent me the following article. Neither of us are sure of it's authenticity, but I'll be trying it out....

My Mom had been taking the full-stalk canned style
asparagus that she pureed and she took 4 tablespoons in
the morning and 4 tablespoons later in the day. She did
this for over a month. She is on chemo pills for Stage 3
lung cancer in the pleural area and her cancer cell
count went from 386 down to 125 as of this past week.
Her oncologist said she does not need to see him for 3

Several years ago, I had a man seeking asparagus for a
friend who had cancer. He gave me a photocopied copy of
an article, entitled, Asparagus for cancer 'printed in
Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it
here, just as it was shared with me: I am a biochemist,
and have specialized in the relation of diet to health
for over 50 years. Several years ago, I learned of the
discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus
might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked with him on
his project. We have accumulated a number of favorable
case histories. Here are a few examples:
Case No. 1, A man with an almost hopeless case of
Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was
completely incapacitated. Within 1 year of starting the
asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any
signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of
strenuous exercise.

Case No. 2, a successful businessman 68 years old who
suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years. After
years of medical treatments, including radiation without
improvement, he went on asparagus. Within 3 months,
examinations revealed that his bladder tumor had
disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.

Case No. 3, a man who had lung cancer. On March 5th
1971, he was put on the operating table where they found
lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable. The
surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On
April 5th he heard about the Asparagus therapy and
immediately started taking it By August, x-ray pictures
revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared..
He is back at his regular business routine.

Case No. 4, a woman who was troubled for a number of
years with skin cancer. She finally developed different
skin cancers which were diagnosed by the acting
specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after starting
on asparagus, her skin specialist said that her skin
looked fine and no more skin lesions. This woman
reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her
kidney disease, which started in 1949. She had over 10
operations for kidney stones, and was receiving
government disability payments for an inoperable,
terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of
this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus.

I was not surprised at this result, as `The elements of
material medica', edited in 1854 by a Professor at the
University of Pennsylvania , stated that asparagus was
used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even
referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of
asparagus in dissolving stones. Note the dates!
We would have other case histories but the medical
establishment has interfered with our obtaining some of
the records. I am therefore appealing to readers to
spread this good news and help us to gather a large
number of case histories that will overwhelm the medical
skeptics about this unbelievably simple and natural remedy.

For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before
using, and therefore canned asparagus is just as good as
fresh. I have corresponded with the two leading canners
of asparagus, Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that
these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives.
Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to
make a puree, and store in the refrigerator. Give the
patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and
evening. Patients usually show some improvement in from
2-4 weeks. It can be diluted with water and used as a
cold or hot drink. This suggested dosage is based on
present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do
no harm and may be needed in some cases. As a biochemist
I am convinced of the old saying that `what cures can
prevent.' Based on this theory, my wife and I have been
using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We
take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste
with breakfast and with dinner. I take mine hot and my
wife prefers hers cold. For years we have made it a
practice to have blood surveys taken as part of our
regular checkups. The last blood survey, taken by a
medical doctor who specializes in the nutritional
approach to health, showed substantial improvements in
all categories over the last one, and we can attribute
these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink.
As a biochemist, I have made an extensive study of all
aspects of cancer, and all of the proposed cures. As a
result, I am convinced that asparagus fits in better
with the latest theories about cancer.

Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called
histones, which are believed to be active in controlling
cell growth.. For that reason, I believe asparagus can
be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth
normalizer. That accounts for its action on cancer and
in acting as a general body tonic. In any event,
regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a
harmless substance. The FDA cannot prevent you from
using it and it may do you much good. It has been
reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that
asparagus is the highest tested food containing
glutathione, which is considered one of the body's most
potent anticarcinogens and antioxidants.

Please send this article to everyone in your Address Book.
The most unselfish act one can ever do is paying forward
all the kindness one has received, even to the most undeserved