The Cancer Journey: A Lesson on Trust
Reposted from denisetam.webs.com July 20, 2011 In all honest truth, this is the first moment I have had upon my return to HK where I can gather my thoughts and put them into some form of coherent writing.
But I do apologize for being MIA. I know many of you have been asking about my status, whereabouts and most importantly whether I have made a decision regarding treatment.
Vancouver, Boston and Toronto had stolen my attention (and on some occassions my heart) for the past month or so. It was incredibly uplifting to be reunited with family and friends not to mention having next to perfect weather in Boston and Toronto. Sorry Vancouver, can't say that about you though your landscape and general beauty makes up for it.
The weeks prior to my departure were beyond hectic. A health conference our work was organizing, news of the relapse, and moving houses sucked every ounce of energy from me. I typically hate long haul flights, particularly ones where I'm flying solo, but the flight to Vancouver was exactly what I needed. No one could reach me, no one to talk to (other than strangers and I'm not one of those travellers) and no where to go (other than the toilet :-) It was the closest thing to a 'spa escape' I could schedule in.
Making my first stop in Vancouver fit perfectly into my intention of resting. I got to see two of my best and oldest (not in age but the amount of time we've known each other) girlfriends that have recently moved to Vancouver and though our memories together were often quite crazy and wild, they seemed to have adopted a very west coast way of living and we did nothing but relax, catch up, and take in the beauty that surrounds the city (all with the accompaniment of great food I might add!) My parents arrived a few days later and we were fortunate enough to also spend some quality time with my aunt and uncle.
Leaving Vancouver was difficult as these girls have been with me through almost every single hill and valley in my life that I can remember back to. At the same time, we've been so blessed to be able to travel so often to see each other because since leaving Canada there hasn't been a single year that has passed where the three of us did not reunite. Also, knowing that I'll be back in Vancouver at the beginning of September helped with out goodbyes.
My Toronto visit was a bit different than Vancouver in that relaxing and resting no longer existed though my days were mainly spent 'hanging out' with family and friends. I guess socialites have it tough to some extent as well! haha
So the main reason for our trip to Canada in the first place was to celebrate my grandpa's big 9-0 birthday, all the other trips just kind of fell into place after that. The celebration and the reunion of the family (on my mom's side) filled about 3-4 days. It's been ten years since everyone had gotten together and there were even young cousins that Michelle had not even met yet! Ka, of course was the newest member that everyone was excited to meet. My grandma who has mild alzheimers kept a close watch on him and was even able to remember when he came to visit and how many times he had visited! haha
Time with the family was fun and interesting. Interesting in seeing how our little cousins had grown up and how the 'new' little cousins have such an amazing sense of genuiness and love in them! (Michelle and I are the oldest and the next one in line is seven years younger than me so I really did watch them grow up)
Our Toronto trip was temporarily interrupted by a pleasant trip to Boston. Where, Dad, Mom and I spent some time in the city shopping (I think I've told everyone this already, but Boston doesn't have tax on clothing and shoes! Mum and I were in heaven, Dad- not so much), eating AMAZING seafood (yes I put my vegetarian diet on hold for three days), and just taking in the fresh air and warm sun. And then we took one day to visit a supplier and had received helpful and encouraging information on supplements that can help with my cancer.
At that point of my trip, cancer had not really come up in my everyday vocabulary. It was nice not having to think about it and to be distracted with other things/people. Returning to Toronto, the rest of my days were packed with seeing old friends, reliving old memories and making new ones. Toronto had been my home for more than 25 years that even a corner pizza shop can bring back a flood of great memories!
It came to a point however where I had to face reality again and start thinking about the decision I would have to make upon my return to HK. My plan had been to ask the question that every naturopathic doctor probably gets asked, 'do you recommend chemo?' and if they said 'yes' I would get some peace and assurance to try the natural route and if they said 'no' well I would have still leaned towards the natural route depending on the research of the new drug 'Zevalin' that I had not read up on yet at the time.
I was very fortunate to be able to see two naturopathic doctors in Toronto. My first visit was disappointing. I'll spare the other details but essentially he said 'yes' with the reasoning that it was a stage 4 at first diagnosis and the relapse has been quick. I was confused, disappointed and even a little frustrated with God. I had asked Him for wisdom and guidance but He was just making it difficult. My reasoning or excuse to counteract his 'yes' was that his training was only in both conventional and alternative and so of course he would say 'yes'. But then I realized, maybe I'm not listening to what God really wants to tell me, and I'm just 'authenticating' my own decision with excuses. So I decided, reluctantly, to give the reigns back to God and let him lead. Interestingly enough, the second doctor gave me a 'yes' but a 'yes' in the direction of giving natural treatments a good push first.
I know, I know, so this is really just a 50/50 right? True, but to fast forward you through my trip back to HK (when I caught a nasty cold on the plane) and to my appointment with Dr Chan just yesterday (the doctor I've been seeing who has been giving me my IVC's and other supplements), amazingly enough, she of ALL people; a medical doctor, the doctor who told me to do chemo on two occasions when I had asked her opinion, and the doctor that I had wanted to hear the 'yes' of assuring me to take the natural route, said "YES" to alternative treatment first and 'NO' to chemo!
Does God work in mysterious ways or what? I guess He's still teaching me to trust in Him.
So! After almost a month of worrying, debating, praying etc I've finally decided that I have received the affirmative 'Yes' from God to give the natural/alternative treatments a try first. I'm not ruling out chemo as a whole, I am simply trying out what is least harmful to my body first. Since the cancer is contained in two areas of my body I feel and it seems that doctors as well feel that I have the time to see if something other than chemo can do the trick.
As for the specific treatment, I'm still in the process of fine tuning in. We're doing our research and will hopefully pick a regiment that I will stick to for minimum 3 months before I go for my PET scan. During this time, Dr Chan will also be monitoring my blood work.
The treatment is pretty simple, one that everyone should try to adopt: REST, EXERCISE, EAT WELL (meaning healthy).
For REST: I'll be trying to take it easy at work though this is probably one of the hardest areas since I love being busy. I recently completed an exam for one of the Nutrition courses so my load should be slightly lighter. I've also made a point in keeping at least 2 weeknights to myself where I will not meet with friends.
For EXERCISE: I'm back to hot yoga which I cannot speak enough good things about!
For EATING WELL: I've been on a vegetarian diet for about a month now and I love it. Staying away from dairy and sweets though is a bit difficult since it's summer and I LOVE ice cream and gelato! And now that we've moved into a new place and have a new kitchen I can play around in I'm hoping to cook a lot more :-)
At last, thank you for all your prayers and constant messages of encouragement and love. I've been back to Hong Kong for about a week now and it's been really good being back to a normal schedule. Now that I have a more definite plan (I'm a planner remember? without a plan I feel lost :-) I'm feeling happy and at peace with life right now.
Sorry for this LONG post, I had to make up for the entire month of silence haha :-)
Lots of Love from Me!