Tumor needs attention-winter '09
Early Ray Charles playing, having watched Ray last nite, I consider his junkiedom with compassion. Sometimes the ability to remain sober, whatever your comfort medicine is a discipline better disregarded. Marijuana’s role in this for me personally is a constant embracing relationship, one the masculine aspect of myself says to stand on my own two feet, wanting to use it primarily when doing cancer treatment. Then I remind myself that though I am not going to a hospital, IV needle protruding, poison flowing thru my veins, I am in consistent and sometimes more extreme, cancer treatment. The winter of 2009 has been one of those times.
I’ve been dragging those two feet about writing this BLOG edition. Bored with sounding like a broken record though knowing what I’m doing in response to the tumor requiring attention is not charted. At least not where I have been able to find in the past three and a half years. The Breast Wishes Fund that was created by my friends and I this year is committed to making alternative and complimentary breast cancer treatment information easily accessible. We received our first small grant from the McCune Foundation and are in the process of forming a non-profit to approach like organizations for funding. I have Working Title outreach residency application to thank for creating the awareness in me that perhaps more important than focusing on the ME film, is to take advantage of all the other options for consciousness. This BLOG is a large part of that, thus, today’s informative entry of the daily life of a woman with a breast cancer reoccurrence who chooses to work with it inexpensively, biologically and persistently.
Each January for the past two, I’ve chosen to reenter the Cancer Institute where I was diagnosed to meet with the surgeon to keep me on Medicaid. Why bother if I don’t plan to do surgery, chemo or radiation? I don’t know, maybe it’s because I can’t afford health insurance in case I break a bone, my optimism of true complimentary care being covered by insurance or that I’m not 100% sure of what I’ll do in the next year to not die now. Dr. Anna Voltura has just completed a yearlong fellowship at John Hopkins University specializing in breast surgery. There was a part of me that wanted to see if she had any cutting edge information to share. Also to thank her for her diligence in following the tumor in 2005 after two negative test results. My approach is to have a massage and perhaps a trip to the women’s tub at the waves spa after the appointment. The shock and memory of the environment is enough to bring on a recurrence for me even with my inquisitive documentary director hat on. We talked for over an hour and while in it I thought I was doing really well, asking if she had any new theories that resonated with her about why I should at this time still consider breast cancer surgery. She said that there may be a stem cell at the original tumor site and that by removing it, my life expectancy may be prolonged.
This idea has been turning itself around in my mind and challenging my resolve about surgery. The other part of my brain says how would I know if I’m experiencing a cancer episode if I didn’t have my breast and tumor. By feeling and seeing the changes in my breast, I can tell now when the tumor needs attention. I try to uncover the clues of what is out of balance with every aspect of my self, physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. This in itself is full time work. Is that why I haven’t had a job since December, regardless of resumes sent, so I may have the luxury of time though not money to concentrate on my health? From the time I get up to the time I go to sleep there are different parts of the regime that require my full attention because I am making many of the healing components from scratch to save money and/or empower myself.
In compliance with the Dr., I needed to have some testing done and agreed to an ultrasound. This feels to me the least invasive, non-radioactive form of seeing what is happening inside my skin. Once I arrived at the screening venue, I was told I was also having a mammogram. “No I will not be having a mammogram today, thank you”, I told the receptionist. My experience with this testing is that the radioactive load can bring on the stimulation of cancer cells and while even with an obvious raging cancer inside me, the cancer has gone undetected. Premenopausal women have dense breast tissue and this test frequently is ineffective for them. Not to say I’m premenopausal anymore, chemo shocking my eggs though at this moment I have had the blessed bloody event, starting on new moon no less. What feminine joy! I experience these periods, as I would have liked to embrace them as an adolescent with all the promise and great fortune of youth and womanhood. Back in the ultrasound, I strain to look at the images, trying to control my nervousness when she takes stills of a certain area, trying to remember if that’s one of the spots I had one of many biopsies three and a half years ago. After what feels like a very long time, I’m off the table, waiting for the diagnostic doctor to tell me my results. She’s taking forever and I just can’t be there anymore and tell them to please call me. I am completely freaked out at this point of which a massage helps tremendously to calm me. The phoned results are, all appears stable at this time. And it was for a couple more weeks when I started to feel the tumor growing.
In addition to changes under my skin, I notice the size of my breast growing, nipple denting, and overall appearance altering somewhat dramatically, quickly. There is a lot of pain where the tumor has been, a deep ache and tenderness. I remember this sensation from the very beginning of this tumor’s rapid growth and receding. I start to inject myself with Iscador or European Mistletoe. I change the dosages in an effort to save money though I realize this is not enough. I start to look at my diet and eliminate all sugar, eat only fresh veggies, sprouted legumes, fresh turmeric and ginger. I’ve been fortunate to be milking my neighbor’s goats and have been living on panir and yoghurt. Sadly, I must admit to myself that regardless of the integrity of this raw dairy, it is feeding the cancer. I begin to do regular infrared saunas and medicated enemas followed up by colonics, thankful to the purveyor that she will do some trade and cash with me. The tumor is still growing and I am becoming sad, depressed of all that is not as I wish in my life, the man I love does not reciprocate, I am still broke, in debt with no work coming thru, I live in this part of the house that has forced me from day one to reconcile the difficult parts of myself.
Working the system as I have learned to do, there is a local weatherization program I qualify for and they are doing some work on the house. Stupidly, as if in slow motion, I breathe in plaster dust, which two weeks later, I’m still trying to get out of my lungs. This brings on a whole myriad of flu like symptoms that I can’t be sure if it is the side effects of the Iscador and/or the plaster dust. Here it is, the end of March and the tumor is slowed though changes direction and shape daily. This is the longest episode of working with it and I question, what is next? If I had money, I would go get IV treatments to ozonate and ultravioletize my blood in the tradition of the Paracelsus Clinic.
Would I do chemo again? Will I do surgery? For now I will step up the regimes, add some maitake mushrooms and more antioxidants perhaps. In list form I’m going to show a typical day:
@8AM-wake up-take any combination of tinctures from a women’s blend to a detox formula, tulsi for my spirit, chickweed, nettle and oatstraw for my female system, ephedra for my lungs. I do a regime of Essiac tonic, a blood purifier, either as a tea or tincture. If there are Chinese herbs to take, I ingest those and will again later in the day. Also if this is an enema day, take Colosan to oxygenate my colon, perhaps some Triphala, an ayurvedic stool softener. Spray vitamins, Isocort adrenal support.
8:30AM-Arti, Hindu morning prayers and offerings followed by Zen Buddhist style meditation
9:30AM- Make a fire in the woodstove and my drink of homemade kombucha with a mix of powdered seaweeds including bladderwrack, dulse, kelp and perhaps licorice powder for an ulcer that had been acting up. In the summer I will make this in the blender with fresh greens, add a fresh fruit.
10AM-Qi Gong-lately I’ve been doing Incense Qi Gong to strengthen my lungs. At the end I use tuning forks on the tumor to break up the cancer. I visualize warm golden, white light filling my whole body, particularly my breasts. When it is warm outside, I go down to the stream and do this routine and if warmer still, I do arti, meditation and bathe briskly in the Rio en Medio. This earth connection keeps me balanced as little else does and I have accepted the Rio as my own private Ganges.
11AM-If this is an enema day I prep the bag with either yoghurt and triphala or coffee. Coffee if it is a colonic day for sure. This all takes @ an hour and a half once all is done and said.
Noonish-check email, return phone calls. Make lunch on the woodstove, usually a medicine bowl of sprouted legumes, fresh veggies and a handful of grain choosing if it’s an Asian, Indian or an Italian bowl.
Afternoon-Eat lunch. Take flax oil, Banyan Botanicals women’s support, calcium, and digestive enzymes. Depending on my energy, I’ll either rest or gather and cut wood, go for a walk, visit my adopted Grandparents in the village or work on grant proposals, film and cancer related research. Many times the projects of tinctures or kombucha or food preservation require attention.
Evening-turn on the infrared sauna, drink a lot of water and give myself a lymph-stimulating shower after. Sometimes I’ll do a bath in Epsom salt to detox or just a nice nurturing bath in goat milk and essential oils. Have a snack of oatmeal and fruit though popcorn cooked in ghee is my constant craving, especially if sad.
Perhaps after this I will write, read, watch a movie, tend fire, talk to a friend and try to be in bed by midnite. At base, I still love the nite and that is a constant struggle to make myself go to bed as early as possible. I take 5 mg of melatonin sublingually, I like Source Naturals peppermint, that has a Pavlovian response with me and I take another as I am going to bed. I used to have a lot of difficulty sleeping for more than a few hours and for the past year or two, thank you Goddess; I have been overall sleeping very well, deep and long. If I’m upset emotionally I will take Banyan Botanicals I Sleep Soundly and/or Tranquil Mind formulas. Make my self a cup of hops and chamomile tea or some other soothing combo.
On the days I go into town, which is less and less, I will sometimes have appointments. I go to traditional acupuncture @ once a month and take the herbs Dr. Yang gives me. I would like to get more massage, energy work though all of this now is for trade and sometimes I’m flush on that and sometimes not. I rely less and less on practitioners because of finances and there are not a whole lot of people I want to work with any more. I hope this is helpful to someone, at base, my work is to reinvent the rhythms I was born with, be thankful for what I do have trying not to dwell on problems, especially finances and to give more than I receive. I am working on this house and land to be a place of healing for others though first I must transform it for my self. Healing the healers has been a frequent transmission. Many have been chosen to do hard work on themselves now so they may be of service to others soon.
Labels: alternative and complimentary breast cancer treatment, ayurveda, breast cancer, breast massage, coffee, enema, european mistletoe, herbal tinctures, Iscador, paracelsus clinic, Qi Gong, triphala