Monday, September 29, 2008

Just too Good, I had to share

So, because I meditated/rested through chemo, napped when I got home, and have an all around chipper attitude from hanging out with my plants and family this afternoon, I had loads of energy for cooking. I made this recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I was a veggie girl for 7 years, til one day, I went by a Outback, and the craving for steak overtook me.

But this book is a bible for integrating more vegetarian recipes into the mix. Pick a vegetable and she knows 50 ways to use it.

I post this for two reasons. One,going through chemo, I need protein, but am not to keen on meat most days. This is a DELICIOUS recipe. Since I had the energy to get myself down to the farmers market yesterday, I had farm fresh ingredients. Two, this goes back to my last post. I LOVE to cook from the local farmer. I feel alive, I feel my hands are cleansed and energized, I feel my body relax and the smell of rosemary and thyme dance around my kithcen. I feel so ALIVE to make food the feeds you down to your bones. So, tonight, I cooked! I am so happy to have the stamina and energy back to do so!!!! And so....may I present:

Lentil Minestrone

2 TB. olive oil
2 C. finely chopped onions
2 TB. tomato paste
1/4 C. chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 cup celery or celery root, diced
salt & freshly milled pepper to taste
1 C. French Green Lentils, sorted and rinsed
Aromatics: 2 bay Leaves, 8 Parsley branches, 6 Thyme sprigs
9 C. water or Veg. Broth
soy sauce or GF tamari to taste
1 bunches fresh spinach, chard, or broccoli rabe
2 C. cooked small pasta (I did GF Spirals!)

Heat the oil in a wide soup pot with the onion.
Saute over hight heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, parsley, garlic, vegetables, and 2 teaspoons sald and cook 3 minutes more.
lentils, aromatics, and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Taste for salt and season with pepper. If it needs more depth, add soy sauce to taste, starting with 1 Tablespoon. (The soup may seem bland at this point, but the plaveors will come together when the soup is finished). Remove the aromatics.

BOIL the greens in salted water until they are tender and bright green.
them coarsely.
Just before serving, add the greens, and the pasta to the soup and heat through.
Serve with extra virgin olive oil drizzled into each bowl, a generous grind of pepper, and the Parmesean (we used Vegan Parmesan for Bug).

The verdict in the household:

All around favorite and must tag and make again over and over. SO good. Bug ate it until the last bit was gone. Great for a crisp fall evening. I would suggest following it up with Baked Apples for dessert. Very simple. Yum

(who, in one incarnation in her 20's, was an assistant chef for a very nice restaurant)
Bon Appetite!

Readjusting the lense

So, I have been going through a tougher week than usual. Not physical, but mentally. Just getting stubborn, thinking life will just fall back to "normal'. There is no more "normal", my lense has been adjusted permanently, and I am working with a blurry perspective and refusing to adapt. Always, always, always, that created the suffering.

Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun, says: It's also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that's sitting right here right now... with its aches and it pleasures... is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.

I feel like our purpose of incarnating into these bodies is to learn about the myriad of human experiences. We all hope to skate by, unscathed, and the end, none of us do.

One of my mentors teachers said, "Each day, each moment, there is only ONE purpose, to learn. When we approach all that life hands us with Learning as a fundamental sacred act. We have access to all that we need to learn at any given moment. When fear is replaced with curiosity, suffering falls away."

When I get overwhelmed at what lay ahead of me, petrified sometimes...or when I feel haunted by illness and it's endless possibilities of pain and grief, I remember goal isn't to get through life unscathed by pain or challenge. The goal, instead, is to learn how to never surrender my love of life to the fear of death. This to me is premature death, walking death. Worse than death itself. To waste time alive, being dead.

That all being said, it was a hard week. I went to my darker edges and came back, so much happier. Just a quick, but deep trip, into the world of darker possibilities. As I pull out of it, quickly, I am amazed at the energy that is returning to me, despite the body being tired. Sharon might be happy to learn, I got the fight back in me. Yes, the FIGHT. I feel like a dog, with it's jaws clamped down on the pantleg of Life, and I refuse to let go. Not right now. When it is time, I will with grace. But right now, no freakin' way!!!!!

That being said. This week is the PET/CT scan. After talking to the doc today, it looks like my intution on this going through December is right on. Even if I got a clear PET scan, she would want to continue on, 6 months is the least amount of time she would have me doing chemo. I have some pondering to do. But I am prepared to go through December. I have been since the beginning.

Now THAT being said. All things are pointing to this working. My markers went from 160+ to 75! down is the way we want to go. 35 is normal. What she is looking for is a trend with the number to hold steady...or remission. The PET/CT will show us where it is working and how well. From what we are feeling,most palpable spots are not "there" by touch anymore. All good signs this is working.

I am pondering the damage chemo can do, and reexamining what I can do to keep the damage down. All my blood counts look good all around. My White blood cell counts are well within normal range, my red blood cells are just outside normal, but barely, and for the last five weeks, all of the numbers have been increasing steadily.

I have been reading issues that can come up from chemo. So now my goal is to mitigate them. My other goal is when Christmas rolls around,I have a body that is whole and healthy. My doc won't let me project out too far, she reigns me in. But I do know people who have doing chemo for a year. hmmm. That wasn't in my plan here. So, let's see what magic we can pull off.

The chaplain at the Institute today reassured me of a woman who has been stage IV for 12 years. She raised her daughter, and had long periods of remission, before flair ups required more treatment. Again, this is a managed disease, not cured. I still would LOVE to go for CURED. Wanna help? CURE CURE CURE CURE CURE CURE CURE CURE

This is a long update. But I have been quiet. I needed to be quiet. But now I need people again.

Oh, and just a shout out to my dearest friend Susan in New Zealand. She just went Kiwi side this week. Miss you tons. No one can replace you! And you are missed!!!! If anyone wants to talk about small things, like weeds, carpooling, and burnt out light bulbs, give me a ring ;)

Blessings to all,

Friday, September 26, 2008


So, this is an old post, but seems to be a good time to remember this for me:

I am not my disease.
I think of disease more as a verb, not a noun or an adjective because it is transit as all disease is. It has a beginning, middle and end.
It is just a stop along my way that will teach me and transform me.
It will fall away, and become my past and inform my choices in the future.
But all that matters is Now.
When I let fear in, I remind myself that all that matters is Now.
My fear is usually not of anything present,
but what I fear might transpire.
So I return to the moment I am in.
And the truth usually is:
Now, my heart is beating.
Now, my body is tired.
Now, it is full of energy
Now, I am in intense pain.
Now I am free of pain.
Now I rejoice in the beautiful energy of life.
When I fear what isn't there,
I lose my moment to live Now.
That is all we have.
Moment to moment.
That was true before anybody named my form of disease.
We all have our own brand.
Sometimes, someone naming a passing disease,
just brings that reality of NOW into acute awareness.
We can use that intense awareness of "all we have is now"
like a salve to heal any disease we have in our minds and spirits-
and thus return some strength to our bodies.
Pain, illness, disease are part of life,
suffering is optional.
That is true, even when I forget it.
Please remember this,
I am so much more than a disease.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One last thought

Pondering my post today....and it came to me...

Peace can't be forced, but it can be found.


Becoming Still

I just came from sitting on the front porch. My intuition told me "Go outside, right now, sit, be still." As I sat there, watching the ant traverse the stone wall, and a slow moving bee, the last of the season I suspect, collecting what pollen was left on a lone dandelion flower, I became so softly and subtly at peace. Nothing else existed but this moment.

The sound of man was all around. Helicopters, sirens, the highway, rushing rushing rushing.

And the skill of the sage is to turn their eyes towards what they desire. So I thought I would plop my sage hat on my head (still with hair, for all of those with vivid imaginations) and just sat there. I had the choice. Tune into the bustling human-made energy of worry and anxiety, or the quiet, powerful steady flow of nature. Nature won.

The sun, thinly veiled through clouds, still warmed my skin, and the cool moist autumn winds picked up leaves and threw them around in their annual dance of transition. The wind chimes played too. Building their song louder and louder. Leaves scattered, trees creaked and danced, the sound of the chimes grew from a quiet song, into a violent clashing of metal bordering on chaotic. Then, in the same manner in which it began, this small episode of movement and sound became so very still. The chimes slowly, and steadily went from staccato metallic strikes, to softened notes, to a lingering hum, to empty space. Their beautiful music became beautiful stillness. One without the other, and either one would be meaningless.

I found myself, hypnotically falling into stillness, my thoughts slowly and steadily calming with the sound of the chimes and the wind in the trees. And I thought we as human beings should take note. The beautiful song of the chimes would become obnoxious and dissonant without its pauses.

I feel this need, and urgency, in the human condition, for us a whole, find moments of stillness and quiet. It is powerful.

There was a study done, not so long ago, where a LARGE group of people meditated on PEACE in a city experiencing a heightened rate of violent crime. During the time this group meditated on PEACE......the rate of violent crime dropped dramatically. If I remember correctly, it was some in the order of 20% or more. Far beyond any rate of chance.

The world feels so heightened, so anxious. Consider me the canary in the coal mine.....take heed...and take 5 minutes tonight to go outside and become as still as you can, and just LISTEN to the breezes. Don't judge them. Don't judge yourself. Don't apply a label, to the sounds, or to your experience of them.

Just simply let your mind match the rythmn of the breeze.

Try it tonight.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekends with Help, Scans, and What's Next

Hello all! After a week of feeling low with the cold, a weekend visit from my mom for some relief on the homefront (thank you!!!!!!!!!), subsequent long overdue downtime for Jim, and another round of chemo, I actually feel a bit more normal today!

I spent the weekend half asleep, while my mom ceaselessly played with Bug, and did endless rounds of dishes. Jim tucked himself away downstairs for a long while playing Spore (a new video game) and decompressed after 4 months of a hamster wheel run, and I watched it all go down from my sofa in between naps. It was very nice.

Today, is post-chemo day #1. I think this marks number 13. EVERY week. Wew. Endurance. I AM A CHAMPION! hehehehe. You have to do this to keep this up! I am really hoping that those scans return some good news and I am not endlessly on chemo. It is hard not knowing when it will end. I don't read breast cancer stories too much. They get me testy. 8 rounds, ONCE a month and then they are done????? OH MY GOSH. I wish! Or excited posts from women who say "I am so excited, I am on session 6, I only have one more to go and I am done!" I had NO idea it could be that easy. I am glad I didn't going in. I set myself up with an open-ended, need endurance to ge through this, mind set. Had I read those other stories, I would've been frightened at how I get the "unknown time span" card.

But we are to the point we are ready to do more scans. She said a PET/CT I think. Not the WHOLE slew again. No bone tests, or MRI's. Just the PET is her reccomendation. I think I should've asked more questions. I have them. Like....why not the MRI (beyond her answer of, "I think PET says more.".). There is debate. MRI's DO no harm. PET's put radiation in my and use xrays. All damaging. As one doc put it "You are in this for the long haul. We want you to have a thyroid that is working in ten years". So I have more questions.

But, it will tell me how sites on my liver, lymph nodes, and breasts are doing. We can tell the ones in the breast are so diminished we can't feel them. Same with most of the lymph nodes, I can't find those either.

I asked her the question that has had me worried since the beginning. "If one is going down, is it typical that ALL the sites are going down. It isn't like one will go away and one will spread?" She said typical they do all go down. One doesn't typical head off in it's own direction. However, (ugh, there is it) I have two types of cancers in me. BOTH breast cancers, with one very small difference. She said it shouldn't really mean one will go away and one won't. AND (this is the good part) she can tell from palpations, that it appears both tumors are receeding.

Now folks, this is what I want. I want to be done with chemo. I don't know what will happen if it is all gone. My intuition says they are going to want to keep going for awhile to get what they can't see (as long as my body holds up). If that happens, I will need a FLUX of good vibes to raise me back up and call back my endurance. I am having an easier time with this than most people, but I am also run down now. I am getting run down. SO, I will need the loudest, most peepy, YOU CAN DO THIS cheering squad.

The other scenario is that they see some small spots left, and keep going. Again, same thing holds true as what I just said above.

OR WHO KNOWS, what if they can't find a THING (shock!) and the say YOU ARE DONE. Just come in now once a month for you Zometa and Herceptin???????? hmmmmmmmmm.

Do some praying. PRAY PRAY PRAY it out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Inspiration Station

So, I am gonna add a sidebar section for Inspiration in Art. Local artists, who rock. I may branch out to cool things I find on the web as well. But for now, each week, I am gonna bring you a new local artist to drool over. It is my passion, local arts. I would LOVE to own a art/craft store for NW indie artists to sell through (drooling yet again). It taps into many of my passions, all in one dream. I love to talk to artists, find artists, talk to those who buy the art, I like to display art, I like the community it brings....yup. Passion.

The inaugural artist. Indigo Crane felt artist -Anna Katherine Curfman. I met her while she was still in art publishing, when she turned her eye towards felting. As you see by this picture, it goes beyond felting and touches on sculpture! I think this piece shows her mastery. She gave me the most gorgeous scarf to keep me warm in body and spirit, while going through chemo. ALL the nurses gather round and drool and ask where to get one. They pull other nurses in to "see this amazing scarf!".

I am starting with her, because she pointed me to my repressed inner artist and said "You gotta let her out!". And thus began shifting my life in a way that was way overdue. If it weren't for her, I may still be a cranky, nonartistic, wondering-why-I-feel-unsettled-and-restless, mamma. I really believe my life is better, more free, more fulfilled for having known her. I simply would NOT be where I am, had she not pointed the way and said "GO that way towards art. You will be happier!". She pointed me towards help, and that led me into a world of people who "get" me. A world of inspiration, freedom, and women who shine brillantly.

I can say thank you to her enough. Maybe she really knows this maybe she doesn't.

Also, I've changed the quotes in Quotes from Cards.
AND I have added a new section (which I will begin highlighting in blog entries) on Books to Heal By.

Go check out her work!
(and no, I don' t get commission! lol!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jen Lemen - and Who Is Amy?

So, today, shrugging off this cold. It is viral, and it appears I am doing just fine on my own, chemo and all, getting it to go. Feeling better today, still got the yuck in me, but it healing. That isn't really what I want to yak about today though. Not when something/someone inspires me so!

Anna Katherine (herself awesomely creative, as demonstrated by her work), awhile back, cited the following website/blog as a very inspiring place to go. The author of said inspiring blog....Jen Lemen. Her goal - inspiration. (At least, that is my opinion on it). So, today, as I am getting over this cold, and trying to get my head back up, I turned to her website for that shot in the arm of sunshine for the soul. And came upon this post.

PLEASE take the time to go check out the video below. Jen Lemen shared this video she had found,. It is done by someone named Amy. And Amy did a "little" community art project that just rocks my world, tickles my soul, and makes me SO happy. I have a small band of "artsy" friends, who has a similar mission. And it is mine to. Make the world more playful and creative. To really be in a creative space, you have to let go of fear, and when fear leaves the room, and incredible lightness fills it up. Good things are born in that space. I think this Amy chic gets that. SO awesome what she did. So fun. So true.

Here is the video: The Beckoning of Lovely (approx. 7 mins)
or better yet, check it out at Jenn Lemen's Blog:

In-Joy and Healing
[this little pic above is my work, entitled "Play Leader", fitting for the topic!]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ugh....chemo and cold

Wow, went to bed last night against my will. I just fell asleep and couldn't help it. Woke up on and off a little confused and coughing all night. Woke up this morning very sick feeling. Called the hosptial (very afraid I would end up staying there) and lucky, as it stands, I can weather this out at home for now. My counts were high this week, and my fever is below 101.5, no green stuff. Sound viral they said, and I should just take really good care of myself so I don't end up having to come in. Ugh. I feel lousssssssssssssssssyyyyyyyy. Can I say, for months, I have not been a whiner. But today.......whiny whiny whiny. I feel miserable, and alittle scared. I know a cold/flu has the potential to land me a stay in the hospital. I am hoping that because my counts are up, I can handle this on my own.

Send gooooooooooood vibes, Gluten Free Chicken soup, and some decongestant.

This is a good time to mention this. Colds/flus and chemo don't mix. Us chemo chics (and dudes) have lowered immune systems (well, suppose counts look good). It can land us in the hospital. So, if you feel even a hint of a cold/flu or your kids have runny noses, or a cough, please remember not to visit or have Bug over to, and thens he brings it home. Having a kid in school, I am not sure how I am ever going to avoid gettng a cold in the house. I see so many runny noses go through. Sigh. But let's not tempt fate and save a visit for another day. Thanks. We have a standing rule, you walk into my house, you wash your hands and sanitize them. Bug is great about it, and "the enforcer" for visitors. I need to do more of that too. Ugh.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To The Fringe I Go

So, I am at a point where I am going to get subversive and head to the edge of things. I am a Capricorn/Aquaruis. I am logical, grounded, and capricious (Capricorn), and always one step ahead of what is coming next, a groundbreaker, someone willing to go to the edge of what we know and step across the line to find out what is next, but hasn't been fully developed (Aquarius). Enough of that new-agey stuff (that's the Capricorn speaking again), onto what the heck I am talking about.

My research side is rearing its head. I am going to what is fully accepted about breast cancer by all, and what is being disputed, to what is being dismissed in an educated attempt to get this out of my body, keep it out, and to maintain a HEALTHY child.

I am at the moment, reading a book that walks along the edge, and jumps right over the line at times. None-the-less, some of what is over on the fringe of research, rings true to me

One of the striking things she talks about is the role of chlorine in our water and in our products as a factor in breast health. I am not here to argue about the point intellectually. But my instincts feel spot on when I think about the amount of chemicals in our water straining our immune system to the point of being overwhelmed and unable to keep up. I know someone who wrote a book about water, I think I am going to go read it!! Maybe.....maybe it will depress me or scare me too much. Then again, knowledge is power......

In Susan Weed's book, Breast Cancer? Breast Health! she warns: "Organochlorines initiate and promote breast cancer ......they mutate genes, alter breast cells so they absorb more estradiol, suppress the immune system and mimic the bad effects of estrogen." (p. 10, Weed, 1996)

Her guidelines to limit this:
  • Buy organic dairy, butter, grains, beans, meats
  • Avoid non-organic produce from places where standards are lax.
  • But and store foods in glass, not plastic (I have been switching over slowly for a year now)
  • Avoid microwaved food, don't buy canned (JENNA'S NOTE: did you know,most cans have a plastic lining in them. I did, and apparently, it is becoming more well known).
  • don't drink chlorinated water
  • avoid showering or swimming in chlorinated water
  • But peroxide-bleached or unbleached paper products
  • Use non-chemical cleaning supplies and no bleach. (easier to do than we think!)
  • Urge mills to find ways to produce paper without chlorine-bleaching
While some of this may feel extreme, or forgien to you, many of these are easily remedied once you know your sources and what to look for in the store. It does mean more money up front. But shall I go over the fact that ONE Taxol/chemo day for me appears to run $32,000. Now look at a generic can of beans..99 cents. A BPA-PLASTIC FREE can of organic beans, $2.19. I will take the can of beans!!!!!!! (I have to split with Susan here. Most of us don't have the time to soak beans overnight! Sometimes, we need that can to pull together a quick and healthy meal!)

I have known about much of this, but don't buy this way 100% of the time. I am going to make a commitment to striving towards 100% as much as possible for Kara's sake. When a mom gets breast cancer under at 50, the child's chances jumped dramatically. So I am going to teach her by example, how live as healthy as possible. Will she still get it? Who knows. Chances FOR getting it, mean there are chances for NOT getting it. She is healthy now, I will do what I can that is reasonable, to keep her that way.

This is just one factor. I know breast cancer is multi-faceted (s0 does the author of this book). This is just one topic in my consciousness today, and one area I can do something to make a difference about. I am going to go look at chlorine filters for my showers.....

Waterfilters for shower, bath, faucet: Gaiam
Safer Canned Goods: BPA Free Linings! Eden Products
Chlorine Free Paper Products: 7th Generation


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Long Pause

Sometimes, long pauses are needed. The Zometa was not as bad as it was last time. Take this "icky"notch down from 8 to 5. Lower fever, less pain, but it was still days of laying on the couch. horizontal "good", vertical "bad". Pain increased, aches increased, it was really an nasty all around BLAH couple of days. The people who came to help did so by chatting with me while I layed down. It helped keep my mind of the pain. And I slept.

I am having an growing issue with my GI system. Not surprising. The chemo strips the lining of the GI system. I have had a large issue with that this week. Overwelming. So I am going to talk to the doc next week. This is a 8, on a scale of 10, as far as impact on my health/happiness. I have used more anti-nausea pills this week, than in the last two months. Really, very tiring and draining.

Add to that a cold, and an over-extended family (still no help in the house yet) and that makes blogging not on my radar. I have barely picked up the computer this week.

So, as my favor to all concerned today...I am still here. Just not able to blog about it.

Off I go to sleep. I apologize for the lackluster writing style. BORING, but informative. I'll find a really cool picture to distract you from the writing....

This is a painting about Turtle Island (North America). It is a story from the Iroquois Nation about how North America came into existence. There are many children's books about this tale, and there is a master story teller, whose rendition of this tale is one of my favorite. His name is Odds Bodkin and this story can be heard on his CD about tree tales called The Evergreens. His voice is rich and his style engaging. Such a great great CD. Click on the picture to go to the digital download of this story! Did I distract you well enough today?


Monday, September 8, 2008

Zometa, Zometa, how shall we dance?

So, Zometa day. The big day to find out if this one is going to take me down at the knees everytime or if the first time really was the worst. Apparently, my reaction is notable. The nurse today said, "Oh, that was YOU. We heard about you!". Oh dear. (turn red. But she said it is only because they care. I went from considerably nervous walking in the doors, to very relaxed just getting my blood work/port placement(click for details and larger image).

Which reminds me "A DAY IN THE LIFE OF CHEMO".


Sometime in the morning, I head in, grab my orders from the front desk and head to the lab. There they give me twice the lydocane (sp?), and let it sit twice as long. It takes that much and that long to take. This usually gives me some time to chat with the nurse that day and is always fun. They are so nice there! Once I am good and numb, the take a needle, connected to a tube, and puncture my port (nice thick needle!). This port sits just below the collar bone and just of center (see above). It feeds the medicine in safely without destroying my arm veins. They also take a couple viles of blood to make sure my blood counts are healing and my body can handle the chemo.

Jim and I then tackle the communal puzzle while we wait to see our Medical Oncologist. We are always greeted by her wonderful nurse, weighed, blood pressured, and then wait for the Doc herself. She then asks how my week has been, addresses any issues and questions, and looks over the labwork to okay the chemo for the day. And that labwork is "Stunning!" as the nurses say.

We then head up to the chemo floor. We hit the communal puzzle on that floor, and wait out turn. (I am becoming very good at puzzles!!). They call us back, and I sit in a medical version of a lazy boy. The nurse asks me how I have been and addresses any issues, if any. They set me up with my premeds (for me, now, it is a light steroid to control nausea, Zometa - to control nausea, and Atavan - you guessed it- to control nausea and calm the nerves). Once the premeds are given (I get a wee bit cloudy headed from the Atavan). They start the line up of IV drugs. Herceptin is usually first. They hang it with the Salin and do a 20 minute drip into my port. We follow that up with Abraxane (click for video clip). Today we ended with Zometa. With Taxol, I was loopy. But with Abaraxane, I am very alert (thought cloudy) most days. Today I was sleepy. It all depends. Jim and I play games, I do my hypnotherapy, and maybe read a magazine. Very laid back really.

I usually will run an errand or two, because the steroids give me energy and I have someone to drive me. But most days I just go home and let it soak through me to do it's job. By Tuesday evening, the fatigue and stomach issues set in. Each week is different how down and I am. Usually, it is up down and all around. It used to be "moment to moment", now it is day to day.

The doc did a physical exam today and told me she couldn't find any definable tumors! She had three places to choose from! I did point out one that was stubborn. She double checked and said, "Yep, yep, I see what you mean...but it is barely there. This is good! YAY!" It was the first outright postive reaction I have had from her. She was actually SMILING. She didn't say what was next. We have a few more treatments to go before the next round of tests to see what we can't feel and to make she my heart is holding up to the treatment well. Soon friend, soon!

I am aiming for "WE CAN'T FIND ANYTHING ON THE SCANS!". Now I want YOU to imagine ME telling you that to. Not wishy washy. Believe it like a really good actor takes on the role. Jenna said they couldn't find anything on the scans! It is all clear! And then thank Universe and the Docs, and the nurses, and my acupuncturists, and everyone (like YOU) who helped make this happen. Let's see what we can do here.

Speaking of YOU. The yard sale was AMAZING. And heartwarming. And lots of work. THANK YOU SHARON & SUSAN for organizing. THANK YOU John, Candida, Maria, Ivan for helping out. THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO DONATED sale items. I don't know who you are exactly (Meredith and family, Sherry and family). This yard sale has secured help for me/Kara for one to two months (depending on how we go about it). My hope was to secure help through Dec. And it appears we have come reallllllllly close to doing that. With variations on what can be done/how many hours/what is paid. We can swing something, if we find the right fit with a nanny. Now THAT is tricky.

Coming up, the Art Bra Auction to help cover the medical expenses! FUN FUN FUN. Come for the FUN of it! The energy of this is healing. And the lady leading this, is a RIOTOUS INFLUX OF CREATIVE ENERGY! My ladies of the art, I can't wait! For those of you making one, here is one from a different auction. Inspired are we???? How fun.

Lots of love,
(who is going to hunker down and ride out the Zometa storm now. I can feel the edges setting in)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Truth Delivered

Okay, so I said I would be honest on here. Balancing honesty, privacy, and TMI. Tricky.

But woah, I feel like BLUGH (my word) right now. This chemo is really challenging my digestive system. I was in a lot in a noticable amount of pain from overdoing it today, and very fatigued, but this stomach and the doc gotta talk. Or me and my acupuncturist. Or nutritionist. Someone has gotta ease this a bit. I can accept that it is just part of the process. We gotta work with it, it is nipping away at my good spirit and endurance. But I will sleep and it will go away, and tomorrow will be new. What can I learn from all of this? What can I do to prevent this, if anything, and what do I do to learn to move through it if there is nothing else I can do? How do I prop myself up physically?

For now, the most amazing quote from a card Mary Helen made for me:

Life has not other discipline to impose, if we would be realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a rouse of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.

-Henry Miller

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fundraiser Gear Up

Hello all! Having a tougher day than usual. Yesterday I pressed it to see what my limits are. Ouch. Found out. And my back is hurting. Kind of tired and managing pain today.

But we are gearing up for a yardsale fundraiser that Sharon and friends have organized!

And that's it. That is all I have energy for right now.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Made the Dip and Post Chemo Ouches

First of all, thank you all so much for the quick response to needing help next week. Looks like I am covered, and have backup. Guess you are reading this blog! So thank you, that is a relief.

Secondly, after an afternoon with no appetite and much GI distress, that recipe below triggered some appetite, and with tired hands, I got up and made it. Yes, it is that easy. I grabbed some rosemary from my garden (thanks Dida for the plant! I use it everyday!) and chopped up some garlic, threw in the parley and olive oil and FINALLY ATE. It cured my stomach distress.

That was last night. Today I woke up kind of racked and achey, and OH the tummy issues. Okay, so I need to whine like a wee lass. oooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwieeeeeeeeeeeee. Anyone seen that last scene in Braveheart? Okay, not THAT bad, but I can start to imagine what that must feel like. Ginger tea helped some. But it is going to be a day of managing the body I can tell. Sigh. I can do it, it is just....I have to come up with a new term here...."body management fatigue syndrome" of BFS for short. To deal with BFS, I must distract myself. I should try to do something crafty. I will use that antsy pent up energy creatively, while sprawled on the sofa with my Zofram and Ginger Tea.

FYI, down below on the sidebar, I added a subscribe button for those of you savvy enough to use newsreaders. I am not one of them. So if you are lost on that point, so am I, so I wouldn't even try to ask me questions about it. I just know the button was available and it will bring the blog to you without you having to check is specifically. If you read several blogs, it might be worth figuring out. Maybe. ?

Chemo can take away my appetite,
but it can't take away my FREEDOM!

(okay, i am really punchy and should not be writing anymore...)


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

NPR and a Recipe and Cancer....what?

So, I am feeling quit like, well,...the stuff the dog leaves out in our yard.So, I am trying to stay awake (for Bug), and reading NPR (National Public Radio...I hope you know this), and found this wonderful recipe under "Healthy Lunchboxes". Sounds so easy and perfect for someone undergoing chemo trying to keep a health protein intake. Meat sounds gross most days, and I am struggling with the protein. So, I hope it is okay with NPR, I share this and point you back to it's source.

White Bean Puree

White Bean Puree
Andrew Pockrose for NPR

This dip is so fast and easy that I made it one morning while everyone else was still asleep. The recipe is adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman (John Wiley & Sons 2007).

Makes enough for 8 lunches

3 cups cooked or canned navy or other white beans, drained but still moist, liquid reserved

Up to 1 cup bean-cooking liquid, vegetable stock or water

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Add-ins: fresh herbs, fresh or roasted garlic, all to taste (Bittman recommends 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic; 15 to 20 cloves roasted)

Puree the beans in a blender. (Add as much liquid as needed to make a smooth but not watery puree.) Stir in the oil, salt and pepper and any add-ins you like. We used rosemary, thyme, parsley and fresh garlic.

Send dip to school in a tightly sealed, spill-proof container with cut-up veggies, crackers or baked corn chips.

TO READ the whole article...go to:

Healthy Eating!

It's All About Going with the Flow

This morning, I had the privilege of taking my daughter back to school for her first full day of school. I can't believe yesterday I received chemo, and today, I actually could walk her to up the hill to school, and be so clear headed. Yes, my hips ached, and I had to walk like a granny at times. On the drive in, my GI, fresh from the chemo hit, was all mangled and in pain. But had this clarity of mind and peace. If I didn't, the pain would have been worse, and the nausea debilitating Instead, they just were there, quietly informing me not to push it. I didn't have this clarity three months ago - the pain was too much. So I know things are improving slowly.

The key to making it to the first day of school was to ADJUST my ways, (ie, walk slowly, just take my time in rush rush, no Type A allowed, it is the new way of being for me.). When I let go, and work with what is (not just ignoring the pain, or supressing the nausea), answers come and ajustments can be made so that I can, instead of can't. And I managed to watch my daughter go off to her first day of school. Precious times. I reveled in feeling the coolness of fall breezes temper the warmth of the early fall sunlight. Little taste of heaven.

And now I am back home. My hip is indeed unhappy about that hill. So instead of complainging about not being able to walk up hills, I learn. Next time, I have to park closer, even if it makes us late looking for a spot. And if possible, begin an exercise program that will help restrengthen that hips safely.

Now that I am home, I will now tend to my GI to get it calm, go do hypnotherapy to turn that pain in my hip (and back) down. And see what I can do to cleanse to flu-like feeling of chemo.

I was thinking I would start posting more about some of my pain management techniques in detail. I would like to extend this board out to other metasized cancer patients. I did get my degree in Health Psychology and have a bag load of tools that help increase the immune system response and turn down pain, through a variety of techniques. I would like to share those, so that those going through any pain/illness situation might also be able to muster up the REAL CLEAR energy to enjoy special moments, like first days of school.

I also will post on what chemo is like. I think many of you have questions, and I don't mind sharing what a day at chemo is like. It probably isn't as horrid as you would think. It is more dealing with the side effects that make chemo such a rough ride. It is SO important to rest and let stress go. For example:

Yesterday was convocation day at my daughters school. It is a busy hectic time full of high energy and swirling people/greetings/meetups. I thought I would need to be a fly on the wall to get through it. But, I did my techniques to control pain, and up my energy, and then I knew NOT to let stress stick. I didn't get mad at traffic, worried about parking, or the crowds get me overwhelmed. It just let it all go. I also knew, that once the fatigue hits, I HAVE TO STOP. If I don't, the landslide that follows it hard to pull out of. Pain increases, nausea increases, weakness increase, and numbess and tingling settle into my extremities. (One night, I was so scared I was loosing my legs permanently, numbness and tingling set in so profoundly. It is a side effect of chemo but could also be because of my tumors on my spine. Only time will tell. It of couse, went away, but it set in because I overdid that day!!!) I have learned my lesson. Listen to the whispers of the body and rest!)

Next week is Zometa week. I am bracing for the impact. I will need ALL DAY HELP from someone isn't afraid of pain and seeing a friend in a weakened state. So, if anyone close by is up for a full day of: reading, making sure when I walk I don't fall, help me sit up, bring me popsicles and Oxycontin, and be OKAY with it. Please contact me or Sharon. Even if it is a split shift. This is a real NEED HELP day. It would be Wednesday and Thursday of next week. You have got to be at peace with being here. It wasn't a pretty ride and I am NOT myself. Hopefully, this time will be easier than the last!!! If you can't make it, but do energy work....hold a special minute or two throughout the day to send on some good vibes!

Love to all!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Into Fall

Wow. Summer has past. In a blink. The quickest summer I have yet experienced. So much of it was spent asleep, like a bear, healing. Still healing.

School starts tomorrow. Learning this, "how to be a parent with cancer" thing is still bumpy. Energy is limited, and you must expend it wisely. Too much, and you get tired, grumpy, and impatient...not ones ideal. Retreat too much, and the little ones become unsettled and push buttons to get you to engage. I have a high energy girl. Wew. The path has been quick to turn direction and we don't know what we are going to get. I am hoping school will help give her consistency in an inconsistent time. In the end, we are teaching her how to flow. How to assess where things are at, and live in that moment, and the next, things might change.

And tomorrow, I will be the parent with "cancer". I don't want the attention of that. I want to go under the radar and just be there for her. The energy I have is so fleeting, I want to save it to welcome in her first day of school. I want to do Jedi Mind Tricks, and not be seen. Just pass by unnoticed. I want to conserve my energy. I have chemo after her "back to school" event. I know I write this blog very publicy, but I tend to not want attention. (I write this blog to help others, and inform others...not for publicity...that is the trade off I pay...).It is strange to take your child to their first day of school, and then off to chemo. Again, surreal.

As for me. I have had an improved week. More clear headed, stronger, longer phases of steady energy. I am doing more around the house. Laundry, cooking, cleaning. But today I feel it. Weird numbness (I get this often, in passing, usually by the next day). I am hoping a good nights sleep will get this weirdness will end by tomorrow.

Still hunting for a nan
ny. Not really anyone responding this time. Hopefully we can work something out with a good fit this week.

And the other thing that comes with fall is classes at the CancerLifeLine. I am itching to exercise, but afraid to hurt my back and bones. Going there, I feel confident they have dealt with my situation before and can guide me to the exercise without harm to my body. I am OUT OF SHAPE. Walking around the park, when I got there, went very slowly, and painfully. I now can lift my legs, and the hips don't hurt so much. So I can do more. I would love to get back my Yoga body now !!!! Wish me well on that front. I need it. I really need to feel strong again. I am ready to work towards it!

Happy September everyone!
Blessings, and much love,