We saw my gyn-onc on Tuesday for a follow up to the laparoscopy. His recommendation is three more rounds of chemo, starting 7/23 and going through 10/1. This will include Carboplatin & Doxil, three times on a 28 day cycle, and Avastin 6 times on a 15 day cycle. Because we would not be using the Taxol (paclitaxel) as I had in the last set of chemo treatments, I shouldn’t have hair loss or neuropathy. However, I will likely have reactions on the palms of my hand and the soles of my feet because of Doxil. And so I will need to keep them out of hot water (no hand-washing dishes!) and generally keep them moisturized. That sounds fun. After the chemo, he recommends PARP [poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase] inhibitors. He is confident that my body will respond well to both these protocols because I’m platinum-sensitive and HRD+, as I discussed earlier. A study on the topic is here. That being said, I am not thrilled about another round of chemo. It is so toxic, basically poison, and doesn’t differentiate cancer cells from other cells. It just goes after every kind of cell that is fast growing. So therefore I’m intending to up my game on the integrative front to make sure I get into remission and stay in remission.
One of the ways I intend to do this is by upping my game of using cannabis. I had been using CBD oil, but I have found that I was remiss in not including THC in the mix. A researcher in Madrid, Spain has found THC to be a cancer cell killer. Here is video. My primary care physician also is some sort of “certified cannabis doctor” and recommended Joanna Matson at Canna-Veda to me. I had a video consult with her yesterday. She is a wealth of information! I will be starting a new cannabis protocol under her advice next week. I’m glad to live in a state where cannabis is legal for medical as well as recreational use.
One of the things that stuck out to me is that she referred to a cannabis researcher by the name of Russo who is deciding that, based on the fact that the entire body is full of receptors for cannabinoids, that it might even be a situation where we have a deficiency if we are not taking it in. She gave the example that back in the day cannabis would be growing in a pasture, a cow would eat it, we would drink the milk or eat the meat, and would intake it that way, as well as ingesting it ourselves. In any case, here is an article by Russo discussing it, in the context of migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Getting Back on the Horse
Another way to address the get-in-remission-stay-in-remission is exercise. I haven’t been doing much due to the belly pain of ascites before the laparoscopy, and the belly pain of healing up afterwards.
Also, one of the incisions got infected so I’ve just now finished a round of antibiotics and it is much, much better, but still not all better. It needs to be all better by 7/23. They had told me in the hospital that they wouldn’t use antibiotics during the procedure and wouldn’t automatically prescribe them for me post-op because, presumably, they are trying to not overuse antibiotics. They felt the risk of infection was low. And yet, somehow it happened. So I called it in on Sunday last week, and described the situation, sent them a photo, and they decided they’d best prescribe it. So I will also need to repopulate my gut with good bacteria.
That being said, …. exercise, that’s what I was talking about, exercise. Joanne Henritze my exercise physiologist has lowered my recommended steps per day, down to 4,000. If I don’t do any specific exercise I might get 2,000 a day, but adding another 2,000 might only be one lap around the track. It is considerably less than, say, what I did the other day with a lovely walk along the Poudre River that ended up with my day being an 11,000+ step day. That didn’t feel like too much. But apparently I’m going to need to conserve my energy.
So while I’ve had low step numbers the last two weeks, I need to get at least some more in every day. And I’m feeling better enough to do it.
Canada, Oh, Canada
I have a video appointment with the Integrated Health Clinic Cancer Care Centre on the 24th of July. I have already sent them a bunch of info and records, and hope they will consult with and interact with Dr. West. I hope to have the molecular testing results back by then. Crossing fingers.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch
I’ll be seeing Dr. West on Monday the 15th to change up the protocol again. There are things she recommended previously that I never fully implemented, and I am frankly, kicking myself about that a bit. But I guess I will just say that it is a lot. Changing up my life to the extent that I’m being advised to change is a lot. Kind of exhausting. Many different paths that need addressing. Feels like a full time job all by itself.
I personally can’t imagine working and managing my health at the same time. I am working some, a very small counseling private practice, which I could grow a little bit, and working a bit with Grant’s business. But a full time job? Man, I don’t know how some people do it. Everyone is different. Maybe their situation is different, or maybe they are enough of an extrovert that they just feel better being out and about with people. Or working keeps their mind off it somehow. I don’t know. But for me, I just know myself as an introvert, and a highly sensitive person, I can’t drive myself the way many others can. Crash and burn. In fact this whole situation might be a result of my having driven myself a bit too hard for too long. Alas. Live and learn. Or don’t. 😉
Going on retreat
Joanne Henritze let me know about a retreat coming up in September called Courageous Women Fearless Living for women experiencing cancer. It is at the Shambhala Center in the mountains near here. I have applied for a scholarship to reduce the cost, and should know within two weeks. I think it would be good for me to address areas of Kelly Turner’s 9 things that I haven’t been addressing as fully, especially “Deepening Your Spiritual Connection” and “Releasing Suppressed Emotions” not to mention “Embracing Social Support.” That would be the first week of September. I had hoped to perhaps go to Europe in the fall, to celebrate my 50th birthday in November. But that was before recurrence and treatment plan and added expense, so I guess I’ll put that on hold. Again.
Along those lines I played a little research game with myself that maybe it would be cheaper and easier, and interesting, to visit French Guiana in South America. I first became really aware of French Guiana when I saw the video of the flying cat. I asked Travelocity to find me some flights, and man, it had a hard time. Best it could do was island hopping from Miami to various French speaking islands before finally landing in Cayenne. So I decided to just ask AirFrance directly, and interestingly the cheapest flight is to fly from the US to Paris (!!!!) and then to Cayenne! So, um, no. At least, not now. It might be interesting to do the island hopping trip at some point though. Just an idea….
One of the cool things that will be happening also in September is the annual IFS Conference, which will be held in Denver this year. I went to last year’s, and it was excellent. I SO love the IFS model of psychotherapy. I was looking through the brochure to figure out which sessions I’d like to attend, and the one that made the most impression is Dr. Schwartz, founder of IFS, talking with Dr. Lissa Rankin MD, author of Mind Over Medicine, about using IFS in physical healing. The session is entitled IFS as Potential Treatment for Physical Illness: Healing Parts That Make Us Sick. I had wondered about this way back at the beginning of my cancer journey. Can I interact with “cancer” as a part? Would that help in healing? I have done some of that already, but I will be interested to see what she and they have to say. I have signed up to be a volunteer which will earn me, effectively, some scholarship money there too.
So it is time for me to go do something else. It is hot here these days. And we haven’t gotten the swamp cooler installed yet. So today will be about enduring.
Best wishes to you and yours!