Well, there have been lots of things which happened today.
First thing this morning Dr. Guntupalli called me directly. That was good to actually speak to him. His demeanor around all of this just is tremendously different. Basically, he did encourage me to treat the cancer, because my systems overall are doing quite well, unlike many other women with ovarian cancer and bowel obstruction, where they’re much sicker overall. I asked if it was reasonable to assume that if the cancer retreated then the bowel obstruction would resolve and he said yes. He said he has seen it happen, not often, but he has seen it. So we discussed the Doxil, and I asked about how my body is going to eliminate the toxicity of chemo if I’m not eliminating through the intestines. He said that’s not how Doxil gets processed. It gets processed via the liver, and kidneys, and goes out with the urine. So that’s good to know. Overall, I was glad that he is my doctor.
Then a guy from the Interventional Radiation department came up to check on my G-tube. He gave it the green light so my nurse and I were thinking I’m good to get the NG tube out, but she was going to check with doctors first, when in they walked, and said, okay, you’re good to go to get the NG tube out. This is good. And that progressed.
However, I will also say that I’m still healing up from having had a hole cut in my belly, and a tube stuck in it. They’ve got me on narcotics for the pain relief, and we’re gradually getting it dialed in about how much I need how often in order to keep the worst of it at bay, while also keeping me lucid enough to do anything besides sleep.
NG Tube Removed
My nurse heard the go-ahead, and she went ahead. She unstuck the tape on my nose holding the NG tube in place, and pulled it right out, pretty much easy-peasy, and voilà! Freedom! Oh my gosh, what a relief! SO nice to not have an elephant trunk attachment, and so nice to be able to blow my nose normally without all sorts of convoluted manipulations. And so nice to be able to swallow without this painful thing in my throat. Whew! Of course, this also means that I’m no longer attached to suction, and therefore there is no longer that annoying cycling low-grade squeal.
(BTW, the other night I lucked out and my nightly nurse was also the charge nurse. She heard that squeal, indicated that was in no way normal, and went to get a replacement part. However she could not remove the old part, without fear of messing up the tubing, so we ended up having to leave it as it was: squealy. It was such a short lived high of anticipation, and then disappointment. Oh well, I survived it.)
Palliative Care Team Meeting
I hung around in the morning waiting for my 11:00 a.m. video conference with the Palliative Care team, to discuss my options, and to inform him and them of who I am and what I want. It was a thorough, attentive meeting on the part of the palliative care doctor. He wanted to know all about who I am, what I want, what I’m worried about. We spent probably 45 minutes on that. His point of view is that if he knows me better then he can help advocate for my wishes better. I like that.
Grant also joined the call midway, and we were able to ask questions, and state our preferences. I basically told him I’m not ready to just give up, my goal is to get the cancer to retreat, so that the bowel works again. So I can continue living my life. So based on that, we clarified that yes, I will do the IV nutrition, or TPN as they call it (total parenteral nutrition.) And that I am strongly considering doing the Doxil, but also leaning towards giving myself a week to recuperate from all of this, and get some nutrition in me. And for that I would need to have a PICC line installed so they would get that on the schedule.
PICC Line Installed
So they did. I got off the phone, and it all started moving in that direction pretty quickly. The PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line is a stay-in-place (Corona??) IV which is threaded deep into a vein in the chest, and can be used for the TPN, for chemo, for drawing blood, and whatever else, without always needing to poke and find a new IV site.
There is a special team of PICC nurses who do the installation. So they showed up, and, wow! did they set up shop in my room. Very efficient. Very quick. And suddenly my room was a mini OR. Various monitoring systems, doppler radar or something, I don’t know what all. It was a man and a woman, and the man was doing the actual installation. I was kind of wondering what the woman was doing, just assisting? But it turned out, no, she was teaching. He did fine, but occasionally she would suggest something to make it work better. Interesting. In any case, he shot the inside of my left upper arm with lidocaine and then threaded this catheter into my vein. It was apparently not that easy, none of my vein stuff has been this trip, but it is now in place. They just as quickly and efficiently packed it all up and disappeared. As part of the verification that it had been placed correctly, an x-ray technician with a portable x-ray machine came up and took two pictures of my chest while I was sitting up in my bed. Cray-cray, the way technology is now.
While I was lying on my bed, luckily I happened to be looking out my window with fabulous views to the west, because I saw the USAF’s Thunderbirds fly over in formation right over the top of this here University Hospital, seemingly directly above my room, as I’m on the top floor of the tower. They came in straight from the west, flew over, and then, of course, we heard them.
It was a scheduled flight plan all along the Front Range, in honor of all the health care workers and other first responders who have been putting themselves on the line fighting COVID-19. It was a beautiful sight. And unfortunately none of the healthcare providers that were and are working on and for me today caught it, because they were and are so busy providing care!
Here is a link to some photos: https://coloradosun.com/2020/04/18/thunderbirds-colorado-coronavirus-flyover-photos/
So now with the Palliative Care team meeting accomplished, decisions made, PICC line installed, then it was time to have my first TPN meal. It looks sort of like milk in the bag, and so as I type I’m being fed. That will be good to get my nutrition bolstered again. The other fluid mix I was getting, which included electrolytes and dextrose definitely has been tiding me over. But this will be good to go that next level.
As part of checking on how it settles for me, they are going to want to check my blood sugar levels every six hours just to make sure it’s not either hyper- or hypo- glycemia-ing me. The CNA just took a reading and it was 109 which is not too bad. Higher than my functional medicine people would like, but certainly nothing in the range of a diabetes-like level.
I will get taught how to do the TPN for myself at home, in my PICC line with my very own infusion pump. That will be kind of interesting. However, when it starts beeping because it’s done or something is not working right, it will be on me to fix it!
Anti-cancer methods that don’t require intestinal processing
So as I alluded to a few days ago, there are a large variety of things I can be doing to encourage cancer retreat, that do not involve intestinal processing. In Radical Remission two out of the ten things are food and supplementation. Well, I can’t really do that now. But I can do the other eight. And there’s more besides that. My first gut-hit is PEMF. My lymph drainage massage artist CJ recently added a PEMF machine to her practice. And in the Radical Remission docuseries, one of the women who cleared herself of stage IV ovarian cancer used a PEMF machine, among other things. So I’ve been looking into that. I hadn’t realized that it showed anti-cancer promise, but here’s a TEDTalk on that very subject. So I’m going to start that as soon as I get back home. The protocol is two days on, two days off.
We’re also looking into the Cellect-Budwig protocol. Someone we know through my half-brother/cousin (long story) Brad and his wife, Stacy, has successfully used that to treat a brain tumor, and it states that it can be used by people who cannot eat. So we are waiting for contact back from them, presumably Monday, in order to set up a consultation.
As I said, there are many things I can be doing to encourage retreat and healing, so I’ll be doing them.
Now it’s almost shift-change, and pill-taking time, so I’ll sign off, and figure out what I’m going to do with my evening. I may do the lovely Paint by Sticker books that my cousin Darry’s wife Rona sent me this week. They are amazing, and beautiful and I’ll need my wits about me, and possibly some tweezers, to do them justice. Gorgeous!
I wish you well!