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Archive for June, 2008

I thought I would take the time to answer some of your frequently asked questions and some questions you don’t ask but I know you want to.

What the hell is a healing reaction?

While undergoing Gerson therapy, an individual is expected to have a few of these healing reactions wherin the body is detoxing so rapidly that you get sick. Symptoms include fever, weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and a heaping dose of insanity coupled with small bursts of acute psychosis. My healing reactions never last more than 5 days, this last one was only 4 days and, thankfully, did not include any vomiting or diarrhea for once. Although, I think I may have had more than my share of fever-induced caaah-raaay-zeeee. Like the night I made a sentence combining all of my least favorite words and then laughed so hard tears fell from my eyes.

Well how the hell do you know that it’s not just your ship going under?

After my first healing reaction, my chin was no longer numb (chin numbness was believed to be caused by either cancerous spinal fluids or tumors on my brain depending upon which doctor you ask.)

My second healing reaction coincided with the week I had my second set of scans (to review the progress of my treatment.) I was scanned on the worst day of my healing reaction but, nevertheless, the report showed that the cancer was not metabolically active (i.e. not growing.) and had shrunk significantly.

This last was my third healing reaction so I knew what was up as soon as it started. It’s still kind of spooky, to be perfectly honest. And I really can’t be losing weight like that.

Was refusing chemo and radiation a difficult choice?

No. Actually, I didn’t even see it as a choice. I had chemo 5 years ago after they removed my stage I tumor and my breast “just in case” there was still more cancer they couldn’t see. Speaking of “just in case,” the reasoning behind giving me the chemo at all back then was “just in case” there were any renegade cancer cells floating around in my blood that needed to be killed to prevent a recurrence. Well, obviously the chemo did not do it’s job the first time around. In addition to time revealing the complete ineffectiveness of my “recurrence-prevention” chemo, it also caused me to suffer just about every side effect listed except menopause and death (yes, death is actually a listed side effect.) Among other things, it caused me to become really weak, scary thin and I couldn’t keep food down for four months. it nearly killed me when I was relatively healthy to begin with.

When I was rediagnosed I was very sick and already thin from the cancer. There was no way I would have lived through chemo in that condition. Why would I do put my faith in something that I knew didn’t work? That’s like going back to the abusive relationship. I actually found it rather irresponsible for the doctors to even recommend it. They didn’t expect me to be living now writing this so why would they want me to spoil the last few months of my life being even sicker than I was to begin with? Chemo does work for some people but I already knew I was not in that group. And it is not a long-term fix. Chemo does nothing to address why the cancer happened to begin with. As it’s been so eloquently stated by many others- nobody develops cancer because of a chemo deficiency. It is also likely to cause more toxicity down the road. So asking me if it was a hard choice is like asking if I would prefer to die. No, not at all.

And the rads? I’ve never had radiation but some of the fun side effects of full brain radiation are permanent hair loss and impared cognitive functioning (and those are just the ones they tell you about! In my experience, doctors almost always downplay side effects.) Whats that you say? Gamma Knife radiation? A potential side effect was blindness. I know, I know, I’m so picky!! Call me a snob who always demands the best in life but I simply must have hair, brains, vision and my life. I’ve just sort of grown attached to these things.

What made you change your mind about chemo and radiation?

Mainly going through the chemo and having so many horrible side effects. My rule of thumb is that I will not do any treatment that is known to cause cancer. Ask any cancer doc and they have to admit to you that chemo and radiation cause cancer. I was recently remembering a time years and years ago before my own cancer, back when I was 22 and mom had just undergone radiation for her breast cancer. The doc recommended a number of radiation treatments for her (20? I don’t remember) and my mom didn’t do them all. She skipped the last one! I remember fretting over this. I remember thinking that she should have done it! Although I never told her, I was seriously worried that she was being very irresponsible with her health. You never know how you are going to act in a situation until you find yourself in it. If my cancer hadn’t been discovered until it was stage IV I’m guessing I would have tried whatever the doctors recommended. And I probably wouldn’t be here writing this. Luckily I knew my options well this time around, I knew what chemo did to me because I had experienced it firsthand years ago.

Also, the myth of doctors as all-seeing all-knowing experts kind of dissolves with certain experiences. For example, doctors will not remember everything about you, they might recommend something like chemo, which is severely dehydrating, without remembering that you have a tumor on your pituitary which causes severe dehydration. Or, better yet, go to one doctor and listen to their recommendations. Go to another doctor and listen to theirs. Often these recommendations are worlds apart. Sometimes these recommendations are based on drugs they are coerced into pushing on you. You learn very quickly, especially when your condition is as complex as my cancer was when it returned, that you are the only expert on your health. My first oncologist this time around was always referring me to other doctors to take care of my side effects. There was one to deal with the diabetes, one to deal with the brain tumors, one to deal with the fluids around my heart, etc. These doctors never met in a room at the end of the day to make sure one part of my therapy wouldn’t interfere with another. They were each experts on a particular part of the body and pretty much ignored the rest. They did not see the body as one entity, each part working in harmony with the next but a bunch of independent parts. It was very disconcerting, it just seemed very odd to me, very counterintuitive. I saw western medicine for what it was, not an all-knowing wizard but just some dude behind a flimsy curtain.

How do you know your not being taken for a ride by a bunch of con artists?

Research, research, RESEARCH. Gerson therapy is not new. It has remained mostly unchanged since 1928 when it was first used to treat cancer patients. As soon as I began to research and talk about it, a number of stories surfaced and continue to surface. People you meet in the produce isle or through friends will tell you about their uncle, their mother, their neighbor, someone they knew who had cured their uncurable cancer with Gerson therapy. And it makes sense! It’s all about proper nutrition. There’s no smoking rare monkey turds, no exotic berries that grow on a gold-covered mountain. It’s not so strange and weird after all! Except…except for…um…well…

Do you really stick coffee up your butt!?!!???

Yes. I know, I know it sounds really messed up when you first hear about it. It was and still is the most difficult part of the therapy for me. But I wouldn’t be doing it if there weren’t valid, scientifically sound reasons that it truly is detoxifying, trust me.

What does the coffee do?

All of the blood in your body goes through the liver every 3 minutes. The coffee gets pushed up to the liver where certain chemical components go to work detoxifying the blood. It also removes toxic buildup from your liver, colon and unclogs the bile ducts. When the buildup is removed, your body is better able to absorb nutrients and produce bile which helps to removes waste. Because the diet includes so much detoxifying juice, the enemas are needed to help remove the toxins that are being rapidly expelled from cells.

Do you get a coffee buzz from the enemas?

No. The coffee does not have the same effect on your body as it does taken orally.

So that’s it! I was going to walk you through a typical day in the life, but I think I’ll save that for another day. Anything else you want to know? Ask away, I’d be more than happy to answer your questions 🙂

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update

Sorry I haven’t written lately. I just went through a healing reaction, hopefully my last. When my energy builds (later on today? tomorrow?) I will answer some FAQs, including “what the hell is a healing reaction?” Just know that I am well and that healing reactions, although difficult, are a good thing.

Love you all xoxo

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[If you don’t know what ca 27.29 tumor marker is, see my previous post on the subject.]

And the magic number is… 56!

That means that my ca 27.29 dropped 20 points in less than two months. This is great news. Under 38 is the norm for healthy people so that’s what I am shooting for. I will be so pleased if I make it to under 38 before august 31st since that will be the one year anniversary of my rediagnosis. My doctor is so happy about my progress that he doesn’t think I’ll need to be scanned anytime soon. So no more fun rides through the doughnut hole from hell for awhile!

I feel I need to clarify something I was ranting about in my last post- Yes, western medicine is not free from corruption. Certain major cancer organizations even devote entire webpages to “warn” people of the dangers of Gerson therapy such as malnutrition (um, I drink the juice of 25lbs of fresh organic produce daily) and dehydration (yeah, there is NO sodium in this diet so dehydration is an impossibility.) But back to the point I want to clarify – The problem is not the doctors per se. Terrible bedside manners and strict dogma attitudes included, most people go into medicine with the intension of helping people. My doctor is awesome. He doesn’t care what heals me, so long as I get better. And I love that about him! He seems simultaneously thrilled that I am healing so well and just a little bit frustrated that he “does nothing for me” as he put it. Most people working for cancer organizations and big pharmaceutical companies also want to help people. And sometimes they do. Modern medicine is not all corruption all the time. Things are never that black and white.

I became frustrated yesterday while waiting for my appointment in the room where they administer chemo. There was an elderly lady waiting for her chemo, she was going through radiation and chemo at the same time and was getting worse and worse. She seemed scared and frustrated and really sick from side effects. I wanted so badly to help her. I told her about my diet and juicing and vitamin C IVs but she just looked terrified. She looked like most people, ready to do whatever the “experts” recommend. I feel pretty strongly about this- when it comes to your body YOU are the expert. Follow your intuition and don’t look back! Thank god for zoladex, my monthly injection that turns off my estrogen faucets. Until I get my ovaries yanked, it is truly a blessing of western medicine. And I don’t think there is any magic combination of juice and acupuncture that could have drained the fluids from around my heart (twice.) Could it have prevented the situation to begin with? Probably, but I’m not focused on that. I’m looking ahead! And there is plenty of “ahead” to look forward to. Thank you all for your support and for keeping an open mind and putting up with my rants.

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whoa, I just realized its been awhile since ive posted. I’ve been a little tired of late. My acupuncturist gave me something for it (astragalus?) but the thought of adding one more supplement to my already overzealous regime kind of shakes my marbles around. I can’t afford to lose any more of those marbles, you see. Truthfully, I just woke up. It’s 11am.

I get the results of my blood tests tomorrow. I’m kind of nervous about the results, as usual. I watched an episode of Oprah yesterday with “crazy sexy” Kris Carr (she totally rocks!) and some other “last lecture” cancer dude. Even though Kris was awesome, the show was kind of a downer. Look, I know cancer is not exactly a “fun” topic of conversation but Oprah is bad around cancer patients (and children for that matter.) She looked kind of freaked out, like she had seen a zombie. And she asked really ridiculous questions about death, like “Do you think about dying all the time?” NO people. That would be fucking insane. You get back to your life, your mood sort of levels out as with any major crisis. And I know there are some of you who STILL don’t believe in what I am doing and think I am just in denial about my death. I know that you love me anyway and thank you very much for not sharing your judgements with me. But you should know that I’ve overheard a couple of things and the look on your face speaks volumes. Well, crazy hippie remedy or not, I’m getting better and, thankfully, I think that most people are kind enough to know in their heart of hearts that that is the important thing. If you speculate that I may be in denial about my own death I have news pour toi – WE ARE ALL IN DENIAL ABOUT DEATH. If we weren’t we would be living out Oprah’s batshit-crazy hypothetical scenario. We’d be constantly thinking about death, because it’s going to happen to each and every one of us and (here’s the fun part…) We dont get to chose when! adolescent gothic kids aside, nobody is cut out for dwelling constantly on death! I know you all care about me and love me, right back atcha! Just please keep an open mind. There are greedy reasons that there is no cure for cancer as of yet. Just as there are greedy reasons that we are not all driving around in non-polluting cars. It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s just capitalism at work. If you think that big pharma cares more about people than money, guess again. That’s just not the way it works. Ok. That’s my rant. I don’t like to do that but I think I really needed to get it off my CHEST. I will keep you ABREAST of my blood work situation. And I’ll save the rant about the lady who told me that I should just go ahead and give up because “heaven is a nice place too” for another day.

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