The Cancer Journey : Choosing to see the Blessings
Reposted from denisetam.webs.com November 21, 2011 It's been several months since I've written here.
It's often difficult for me to update this blog partly because of time and partly due to the difficulty of organizing my thoughts and emotions so that there is something coherent for you to read. Half the time I can't put into words what I am feeling and most of the time I don't understand why. It's a lame excuse to not be blogging but also figured you'll be bored reading about my life which to me has now become fairly mundane (apart from the few incidences of overcoming great trials and of course the moments of complete joy shared with friends and family).
It's mainly been vitamin c treatments that has occupied most of my time in the past three months. The regular protocol has been four times a week, typically Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on average four to five hours each time (9:45-3/3:30).
The most obvious benefit of this treatment is that it is a safe and natural alternative to my healing. I've had monthly blood tests that have shown some improvements though I've also developed anemia along the way but mainly due to the vegetarian/vegan diet I have adopted. My daily B12 supplement has seemed to help with this and the anemia isn't too bad anyways. The issue with anemia and cancer is that usually getting enough iron in the form of a supplement is probably the best and easiest way to control it, however cancer cells are attracted to and feed off of iron (and a lot of other things eg. sugar) so it is not recommended for cancer patients to be taking any sort of iron supplement.
A second benefit that comes from these long hours at the doctor's clinic is that it forces me to rest. My doc has one of those really comfy lazy boy sofas and she even turns off the light so that I can nap. Sometimes if I'm not tired I'll do my quiet time, my BSF homework, study for my nutrition course, catch up on emails, or read. Actually I try not to sleep for too long as I've found it difficult to fall asleep 'early' (as in before 12) at night if I take too long of a nap during the day. Most of you know that the biggest thing I've been struggling with this second time around is finding rest for my body and soul.
God has blessed me with energy to live a 'normal' life but my only definition of normal is how I used to live pre-diagnosis and so now that I try to tone it down a couple of notches it's extremely difficult for my body and mind to adjust to this new pace (though admittedly it's still not slow enough).
This then becomes mentally and emotionally draining as I struggle to slow down knowing in my head that's what I need to do but then physically feeling like I can do more and also mentally wanting to do more. And when I think about this too much or just focus on what I should or shouldn't do or what I can and cannot due, it becomes dangerous because then feelings of anger, resentment and self pity start festering inside of me and that’s when I need to remind myself that I'm actually very blessed as it is and that life is not lived for me but for God. Sometimes I can snap out of it quite quickly with a prayer or with an encouragement from a friend. There are other times however when it takes longer and when I have just become so self centered in my own life and my own problems and as a result take it out on my own body with late nights and doing as much as I can (you'd be surprised how much I can book, double book and triple book into my days!) This is when I'm most thankful for the people in my life that love me enough to tell me the kind truth, keep me focused on God that is the sustainer of all things, and just simply encourages me with their love whether gentle or tough :-)
Though the time spent at the doctors allows for much needed rest, it also cuts a lot out of my time at work and so I get frustrated sitting in the room literally tied to my drip and unable to do any of the work that has piled up on my desk. In retrospect I know this is such a silly thing to be 'worrying' about but I've always hated to have things 'hanging' and cringe at the thought of asking for an extension.
Physically, my treatments have been smooth sailing other than just a few minor bumps in the road with my port and the increase in my dosage from 24g-50g of Vit c. Every Monday I get my tubes put in (via a needle that goes into my port that now sits underneath my skin on my chest) and every Friday I have them taken out. Mondays are not so fun since we never know whether the needle will go in properly or not. Today for example we've had to try three times before the needle was placed properly in the port. When it doesn't go in properly it's very painful let alone frustrating. Pulling it out is simple and painless and of course I'm happy to be more free with my movements and not have to think about the clothes I have to wear so it is easily accessible to my doctor. Yes, even little things like that can make me happy :-) My doctor has been so sweet in taking extra care with me though and since we see each other so often, we have even come to be friends. She told me the other day that she prays for me every morning when she knows she has to attach the tubes which brought tears to my eyes. She sees so many patients day in and day out, with different kind of health issues, many more complicated and serious than mine, yet she still think of me during her QT.
The switch to a higher dose only gave us trouble the first round when i reacted with nausea and dizziness. But now I think my body is used to the concentration.
Apart from my treatments, work has been getting busier as Christmas nears, we're happy to have finally settled in into our new home, I have just picked up my second last course for my nutrition course which ive sadly had to ask for an extension on my final completion, social life is busy as usual but thankful for all the people God places into my life that I can encourage and be encouraged by and last but not least, I was fortunate and thankful to be able to be bridesmaids at two of my gf's weddings, one in Vancouver and one in Beijing.
These past few months have certainly flown by but never without a moment where I don't feel the love from others and from God. Ahead of me will be a PET-CT scan at the end of November. This will be the first scan after my second diagnosis and will be the determining factor to whether everything that I have been doing is working.
I look upon it with some anxiety but I know that as with all things, I will pull through with God's grace and guidance.