Saturday, March 17, 2018

Treatment #5 on the home stretch

November 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Patricia's Journey

When my oncologist walked into the exam room, he was not expecting what he saw.  Me, perched on the edge of the exam table, happy, smiling, confident, grounded.  If the look on his face had words, it would have said “I was expecting chaos and you look like you’re doing great!”  He looked at me intently, while asking how I was doing.  Was I having any aches and pains, tingling in my toes?  He inquired about a short list of other symptoms that a yes answer would indicate I was not tolerating the chemotherapy, meaning my body was resisting the treatment.  My body is accepting it and responding well. He warmed up during our conversation.

There is a lab test I requested for NK cells (Natural Killer cells) that he was reluctant to have performed.  From his perspective, it doesn’t provide any information for diagnosis or treatment.  For me, it is an indication of the strength of my thymus. Following is an excerpt from

The ‘T’ cells are produced by the thymus gland. They become mirror images of invading organisms and become antibodies. A small population of these cells are already conformed to kill cancer cells. They are called NK (Natural Killer cells). They examine other cells for the presence of certain molecules that identify the cell as a tumor cell or a cell that is infected with a virus. If such a cell is found, the NK cell deploys a tentacle with venom sacks and attaches to the suspect cell. It then reaches out with another tentacle to search for an ‘off switch’, a flag that tells the NK cell to back off and not kill the cell. If such a flag is not found, the NK cell blasts the target cell with particles, penetrating its outer shell and injects venom into the target cell. The venom pulsates in and out of the cell until it disintegrates in to small pieces.

This drama is reenacted 10,000 times every day as cancer cells are formed and destroyed in a healthy person’s body. If this activity stops, the cancer cells are free to grow and become a clinical case of cancer. The residue resulting from the destruction of cancer cells is measurable in the blood serum and is a valuable indicator of anti-cancer action in the body.

My thymus has been weakened, obviously, to allow the overabundance of cancer cells in my body.  It couldn’t keep up and got out of balance.  Alternative (or complimentary)  medicine is about bringing the body back into balance-treating the cause not just the effect.  This test was recommended by a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor I began working with two weeks ago.  She was another answered prayer.  My body was telling me something needed to shift with my alternative supplemental regimen, so I prayed for direction and guidance.  A couple of days later, my friend Mary Ann gifted me with a consultation with Dr. Sallie.  She was here visiting Mary Ann from her home in Florida and lived here in Hawaii for over 30 years prior to moving.  She has worked with cancer patients for multiple years.

My doctor listened as I confidently and without ego requested his support in aiding my alternative care by having the NK lab test performed.  He agreed.  Then I asked if an ultrasound of my liver and spine could produce adequate results similar to a CAT scan. He said yes and asked “Why would you want to do that?”  My reply was to eliminate exposure to radiation.  He said you get more exposure to radiation in a flight from Honolulu to San Francisco than you do in a CAT scan.  It’s a real problem for pilots.  Still, that doesn’t make it a necessary risk for me.  “Yes, we can do an ultra-sound if you prefer”.

An MRI was scheduled for November 23, which he didn’t see the need for and cancelled.  Next Tuesday is treatment #6, followed by the ultra sound or CAT scan (I’m still researching), then an appointment with him on Monday, December 6 to determine our next step.  Lack of sleep continues to plague me, so my body is beginning to feel exhausted.  It’s not unusual for sleeplessness to be a side effect; my healing body needs more than the seven hours the Ambien CR provides.  Natural remedies have not supported deeper, better sleep. While my Mom was here I lost weight, so I’m thinking of how to bulk up with good food (not sugar calories) and focusing on eating every couple of hours.

When the appointment was complete, the oncologist looked in my eyes, shook my hand and said “You’re doing great.  Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!”

What am I doing?  Prayer and meditation, knowing my connection to God, pH balanced diet, daily wheatgrass, energy work, homeopathic medicine, sea salt baths, essential oils to name a few.  And, most of all, friends. My friends are celestial attendants of God.

They call, email, visit, deliver food, pray and see me as whole.  Moments ago, a note arrived from an Omaha friend:

Reading your note, I had, like, a cathartic moment – something, someone, somewhere, revealed to me – “The worst of her long battle is over – she deserves a break and reward for her hard work.”  It was too powerful not to believe.  So, I no longer hope it – I KNOW it.

On Tuesday, Melissa drove one hour from Honolulu to my home, picked me up and drove me another hour to Kaiser Medical Center for treatment.  How extraordinary is that?  Not for her.  Melissa is one of the first people I met when arriving in Hawaii.  She stepped forward in every way to support and assist us in making the transition.  There wasn’t anything out of reach in her friendship.  She is one of the most generous Souls to grace my life.  Her laugh is infectious and her wit sharp. Jim arrived at 3 pm to pick me up and drive me home.  He set up office in the lounge, waiting for me to complete treatment. My nickname for him is Mr. Wizard.  If he doesn’t know, he knows how to find out.  Jim’s word is absolute gold.  His rectitude of motives and soundness of moral character are impeccable. To this day, I have not met a limit on what Melissa and Jim are willing to be as my friends.  The only limit is in my willingness to ask.

As Melissa and I sat in the waiting lounge prior to treatment, a mutual friend synchronously appeared in the lobby.  Danny is a gentle man; to know him is to love him.  The scarf we are holding is one of many Melissa gifted me for my balding head.

Danny, me and Melissa

Danny, me and Melissa

Love.  We’re feeling it.

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