January 15, 2014

How to Deal with Crap

Before I begin with  this week's discoveries/rant, I want to thank all of my friends and family for their endless support, through prayers, positive thoughts, comforting words and food! You have helped us get through a very rough few weeks. It's going to be a long road ahead.  I am fighting this battle for all of you.  Love you guys. 

We got called in on Tuesday for my first PET scan; I was on the cancellation list. The worst thing about a PET scan is they prick your finger to test your blood glucose (hurt way more than getting an intravenous inserted; my finger was throbbing the whole day).  Of course, waiting to hear about the results is nerve racking too ("scanxiety").  The scan will tell us if the cancer has spread anywhere else in my body (other than the pleura).  Haven't heard back yet so is that a good thing? 

I learned quite a few things over the past week.  Hiring someone to clean your house is totally worth it! Our house has never been cleaner.  A high quality air purifier does wonders - the air is super crisp in my bedroom, just like being outdoors!  A good humidifier helps too. My breathing has definitely improved :).  It's ok to cry; it helps to release fear and sadness so you can move forward, not just let it linger. I allow myself to go into deep places, think dark thoughts and just let it all out whenever I feel like it... And I always feel better after. Give it a try.  Lastly, I learned there's a lot of crap out there about cancer and what you read or who you talk to needs to be filtered out.

We have been researching all the different types of diets that have claimed to help or "cure" cancer: Alkaline, vegan, juicing, curcumin supplements, low sugar, etc.  We met with the dietician the other day.  I was not impressed.  Where should I begin? She told us that we must have misunderstood the pharmacist when I told her I couldn't take multivitamins. She also said that gluten-free, unless you had Celiac disease, was not healthy.  Juicing only gives you sugar water.  Going vegetarian will make it difficult to get enough protein. None of the diets we researched has any merit because it hasn't been proven in evidence-based medicine. Running won't be good for me since I will just injure my fragile muscles... Which apparently will be wasting away. What a load of CRAP!!!! The only good thing we got out of that session was recipes for high protein, high calorie smoothies (some are really yummy!). Good thing I have some nutrition background from my university years... Feel bad for others listening to bad advice from someone so naive and ignorant. Anyway, my new diet is this: gluten-free (been so for half a year, totally helps), lots of fruit and veggies (including from juicing which has helped my energy levels), seafood but limited meats, low sugar, protein from mainly plant sources (got to learn how to make dahl) and limited dairy.  It's really not that difficult. And yes, I am still off multivitamins (the dietician had to confirm with the pharmacist). On a good note, S got in touch with a trainer/life coach today who has battled cancer herself. She sounds like the type of person I want on my side. We meet her next week to start a fitness plan. She can also refer me to some good nutritionists.  

Last but not least, the Iressa side effects are starting to show.  The main ones are diarrhea, dry skin, rash, nausea, vomitting, and fatigue. Yes to all except for vomitting (thank goodness).  Fortunately, symptoms are mild to moderate right now and I am slowly learning how to cope (Imodium, bananas, coconut water, lotion, lotion, lotion, lip balm and lots of rest). 

This blog may turn out to be a weekly rant. Hope I have better things to report next week!  


  1. Post whatever emotions and feelings you are going through. We are hear to listen to all of them. As you said in your post - let it all out.. and feel better after. I think you have the best approach. You are consulting all of your sources to make the best decisions possible on your diet. I have no doubt that the life coach and trainer will be an angel, advocate, and important person to have in your life right now. I look forward to hearing more about her. You are in my thoughts, I admire your strength and approach so very much.

  2. Hi Heing,

    I've been checking for your update regularly and happy to see that the fire is strong in you! (Please keep the rants a coming)

    Continue to take the good advice you get from various sources, and reject the stuff that doesn't seem to fit (unless they seem solid enough to have you take a second look). It is annoying that the medical system seems so disjointed on a topic that supposedly gets some coordination... Good on you for making a blog to document all these stories -- you'll have ready material for your own book down the road :-)

    Perhaps you can share the recipes that you are enjoying and we can follow along with you.


  3. Dear H/S:
    We appreciate your sharing your struggle and are with you all the way from Detroit. Love you lots and hope you get the package we sent to you soon...I will be happy to send you an ingredient list soon as you get it! Hugs and love and power to get through this for you both.