Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Feeling less paniced & Positive thinking

I think it was good to get all of that off my chest. And with the chemo week, I have to take a lot of meds. One of them being Ativan, an antianxiety that makes you sleepy and helps you get to sleep, but not necessarily stay asleep. It's habit forming, so I only take it during chemo week. It also helps with the nausea. I only take it at night during chemo week. But it helped get me to sleep last night and I actually slept for almost 6 hours last night, without waking up and sitting straight up in bed in a panic, which is so good for me compared to lately. We were up at 6am getting Kaelin to school for her trip by 730am. She was very excited to be on her way.

The following is an email that was sent out tonight in regards to the 3rd grade class trip so far!:

I got a call at 8:30pm from Vicki to report all is going very well on their trip!

They had a fantastic day with an excellent marine lesson on animal adaptation, and loved their Aquarium visit. They were so excited with all the touching pools! In addition, they did an amazing hike on the Estuary.

They had a hearty dinner earlier in the evening, and when she called were watching a movie and afterwards would be ready for the 9pm bedtime. She said it's lovely there at Camp BB!

Don't you want to be one of our kids?!

I'll keep you posted as I get reports from the Whale Cove trip!?

Another good thing that happened to me today was that in my support group we had a guest speaker. A nauropathic doctor from Providence, who is a cancer survivor himself. What a nauturopath does is focus on health and the absense of disease, while an oncologist focus' on killing cancer. He talked about the importance of mind, body and spirit. About how important the spirit is. That a positive self perception has been proven in studies where aging patients live 7.5 years longer. That those with a greater will to live and positive self perception live longer.

Patients tend to get in a place of wanting to survive vs thinking "what's the point?" with everything they must experience and endure. And then they have trouble acting. To be or not to be. You need to decide. Being in the middle is where the suffereing takes place. A positive attitude is being present. That doesn't mean that being positive means being "rah rah gung ho" all of the time. That gets really tiring. Courage is living in the parameters. In the moment.

It helps to have physical tools to do every day. To be proactive. Things to make you feel better.

The mind: it's important to walk through cancer with people beside you and with those who have come before you. It's better to not worry alone. So thank you for letting me share my fears last night.

The body: Stress and cancer and challenging treatments are hard. The big question is how to create health in the body while undergoing cancer treatments. It takes psychological and physical tolls.

A quick little explanation of cancer: cancer grows abnormal and fast. Oncology/chemo puts things into the body to kill the cells. It works because the cancer grows faster. Faster growing cells get more/eat more of the chemo. They are more susceptiable. It also kills other fast growing cells, like the hair. The biggest effect it has on the body is the mouth/throat/tummy/intestines/elmination. These change every couple of days. Thus the diarrea, constipation, loss of nutrition, mouth sores, etc.)

Antibodies are produced in that tube (mouth to elimination) so the immune system is hit.

The tube is lined in good bacteria and that gets compromised.

Protein becomes harder to digest, so patients usually see a 40% cut in protein. There is a protein deficit. It's hard to get protein into the body.

How do you maintain under severe stress (treatment and emotional)?

How do you build a person back up from the inside out?

1. By rebuilding the gut and immune system (the good bacteria) thru probiotics.
2. By eating easy to digest, dietary proteins to maintain lean muscle mass. Losing lean muscle mass is usually an indicator of a poor prognosis)
3. By stressing muscles through 40 minute daily weight bearing activities and walking. Tests have proven that this contributes to a 50% less recurrance rate in women with breast cancer.
4. Give the body what it needs to fighter cancer nutritionally and supplementally (vitamin D, folic acid for mouth sores, glutamine. Probiotics. Fermented stuff. Chew food to get the enzymes. Stress and treatment affect creating enzymes. They also help the immune system get in there and kill the cancer.
These have all contributed to the outcomes of survival.

The body wants to be healthly and in balance.

This is all stuff I know and had been following in Reno, yet thrown back into my chaotic life at home, it all spun out of control and I've had a hard time following my routines, especially when going down once a week every 3rd week to chemo. Getting out of my routine and into the chemo/prescription routine for a week. It's always harder to switch on and off and I have to be careful about mixing all of the meds and supplements. It was just something I needed to hear today. To know that I'm doing the right things, regardless of how my cancer is progressing. That I can't give up hope. That I can still fight.

Next week I'm supposed to get a CT scan to see how this chemo is working. If it doesn't come back good, we are going to reassess and maybe go back to the treatment I had in the beginning with the folfox 5FU Avastin every other week. Not looking forward to that because of the side effects of the naropathy and having a week on and a week off. That was a tough one, but I did it for 11 rounds. And then my cancer was at bay for a few months before returning.

Ok, so you can see I'm feeling a bit better and you can worry less about me now, right? And you got a little/big long lesson in cancer. Thanks to Ken Weizer, ND Naturopathic Physician in Intergrative Medicine at Providence thru a talk with our Women with Stage 4 Metastatic Cancer group. So I've paraphrased him and hopefully didn't mess up his words too much.

At group, they also passed out a handout for a class called Stress Reduction Through Relaxation that I might register for. And I have scheduled some appointments with the cancer counselor at Kaiser after having Spencer back in to see the children's one.

Thanks for reading this far and for all of the nice emails to make me feel so supported and loved. I'm really trying to pick myself back up. I'm not sure when I'll get back on here to update as the effects of chemo have really started taking their toll on me, seems earlier than usual. But I guess that's normal. It gets harder and harder each time. So just be patient. I'll resurface again soon.

Love you all.


Paris said...

I can't tell you how good it feels to read this post. That is the Shauna we know and love (although I love you anyway :) So good that this speaker came today... synchronicity. Meant to be. You needed to hear all of that today, more than ever. Love when stuff like that happens. And you started your day out with a walk too! Good stuff. Felt so good to walk w/you and just be together. I really needed that.

Sweet dreams. Good times ahead, my friend. I can feel it :)

Love you, p

Nightscrapper said...

I'm so glad you are feeling better. I know it's a journey and times are rough, but know that there are many of us rooting you on and thinking good thoughts. BTW, I loved the explanations you gave. I learned something.