Monday, April 25, 2011

Liquid gold

Our new nickname for my new treatment, Ipilimumab or Yervoy, is called "Liquid Gold". Why, you might ask??? Because the bloody drug costs a whopping $30,000 per infusion! That's $120,000 for 4 treatments! Don't make me start on pharmaceutical companies and the cost of healthcare...

I started the new treatment on April 20th. So far, so good, as to be expected. I guess most patients don't get side effects until after the second round (which will be in 2 weeks). I feel good right now and optmistic going into this, my third treatment in a year. I hope that it is just what I need to knock that last little tumor on it's a*$ for good. For now, I'm focusing on being healthy physically and mentally, and spending time with my family and loved ones. You gotta live life even if it feels like you're in this stall pattern! Plenty of people live with cancer and do just fine, and I know I will too! I just can't wait for the day to go from "patient" rank to "survivor"!

Monday, April 18, 2011

To each his own path

When I got diagnosed with cancer, people came out of the woodworks to give me advice on what to do to get better. Everything from topical salves, herbal remedies, vitamin-infused drinks, Vitamin C shots, the list goes on... I have nothing against any of these remedies, however, it gets a little overwhelming when I've got a lot going on otherwise. I know people mean well though, and so I listen and am grateful for their concern and willingness to help.

This journey has taught me that everyone has their own path though. Not everyone can rely soley on Western medicine and put their bodies through often harsh and toxic treatments. On the other end of the spectrum are the folks that rely soley on natural remedies that provide their bodies with the best nutrition and stress management techniques to increase their immune response and rid themselves of the cancer. I fall into the group of people that choose to do a little of BOTH.

Why??? For one, I am young and the mother of 2. When you're faced with a life threatening disease and a less than 5% chance of survival, I believe you do EVERYTHING you can to live. The other reason I believe that doing both, western and holistic medicine, is right for me is because it's working so far and I'm not out of options yet. Right now, while I'm healthy and tolerating treatments well, I believe that I can endure anything that comes my way. I am sure that if I were really sick and weak and my quality of life was poor I would feel differently, but for now, I feel good and will continue on with western medicine until something changes. There are such amazing things happening in medicine today. In particular for melanoma, many great advances with research and treatments has been made in the last decade. There is hope for us now, where there wasn't 10 years ago. And I have hope that in another 10, even 5 years, there will be even greater options.

As for the holistic side to it, I have always believed that eating healthily is KEY. A lot of really intelligent researchers out there believe that cancer can be avoided or prevented by diet and lifestyle changes alone. I believe this to be mostly true, but not entirely. I am living proof that cancer can happen to ANYBODY. Nobody is immune to cancer, and at the end of the day, I believe we are all given challenges to overcome no matter the circumstance that could have caused it (like for me, years of sun damage). Eating low-fat, high fiber and nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables is crucial. Lean proteins, little dairy, and whole grains is also a must for me. Lastly, eating primarily whole foods and very little processed foods with preservatives and refined sugar is also important. Do I eat perfectly? No, of course not. I don't think it's possible to do this and I don't think we are expected to either. I think it's all about moderation, balance, and getting the proper nutrition first before eating the occasional "junk" food.

Combined with diet, I take supplements to boost my immune system and also help absorption of certain nutrients that I may be lacking of or not processing correctly. Juicing or making green smoothies is something I do daily to get a higher concentration of important vitamins and minerals. I know it makes a positive impact because I can see a difference in my energy levels. I've always been super active and athletic, so exercise is something that has always been there for me. Not only does it keep my physically strong, but it helps with stress reduction as well. I'm trying to incorporate more yoga into my routine because I know of the many benefits it has physically and mentally.

For my mind, I do hypnotherapy and acupunture. Acupunture helps me deal with the side effects of the treatments better too, but it also helps move the lymphatic system, boost immunity, and reduce stress. Hypnotherapy has made a huge impact on me as well. It helps me visualize a positive outcome to treatment and in my life. It has empowered my subconscious mind to know how strong and capable I am. It has helped me sleep better and clear my mind when it becomes jumbled. I am so grateful to have these other "avenues" to aide in my path to being healed. For me, it is a combination of everything that has made the difference, not just one thing. Along with that, I believe that having a large support system of not just family and friends, but doctors and other healthcare professionals on your side is important in the road to healing. I am one lucky son of a gun to have all of that and wish it upon anyone that is going through something similar. We all deserve the best!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Perserverance...Pass it on

I don't know about you, but I needed these today:

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." ~Author Unknown

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking." ~Buddhist Saying

"Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain." ~Author Unknown

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." ~Albert Einstein

"Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down." ~Charles F. Kettering

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 4, 2011

Celebrities Who Battled Skin Cancer

Very interesting article indeed!!! I only wish these celebrities would speak out more about their skin cancer, prevention, and awareness!