February 3, 2014

For Every Negative, There is a Positive

So S and I have assembled my cancer recovery team: medical oncologist and nurse, cancer clinic pharmacist, acupuncturist, massage therapist, life coach/trainer, lung cancer therapist and nutritional therapist.  Needless to say, my days are full. Most weeks I have 3-5 appointments and have to keep up my daily routine of proper nutrition, exercise, rest and catching up on emails/ texts/ calls. I am telling you all this so you won't worry if I take awhile to share new posts on my blog ;).

We met with the oncologist last week.  He reassured us that, based on the PET scan results, the cancer is contained within my left chest cavity; still a stage IV because it is also outside the lung but it has not metastasized anywhere else (brain, bones and other organs intact :). I am tolerating the Iressa well, despite some mild lingering side effects (acne and dry skin).  As long as I continue to feel well, Dr. B doesn't want to see me for another 2 months, which is when my next CT scan will be to determine how the tumours have changed.  In the meantime, I will continue imagining the tumours shrinking :). 

We met my Nutritional Therapist last week.  She's great. She confirmed what we thought all along: The cancer centre dietitian doesn't know what she's talking about.  For those of you wanting to improve your nutritional health, consider this. Don't follow Canada's food guide; there's a conflict of interest as to who are revising those guidelines (meat council, sugar council, dairy farmers, Kelloggs, Weston Bakery, etc). Gluten, sugar and dairy are drivers of inflammation. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Stay away from processed foods.  Instead eat whole foods; that is foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Eat organic whenever possible. Drink plenty of pure water. Juicing (especially dark leafy greens and colorful vegetables) is a great way to boost your intake of nutrients.  The jury is still out on meats.  Our nutritionist says it's ok as long as it is organic, grass (not grain) fed and free range.  Books we have read say to stay away from meat altogether.  Most insightfully, she talked about developing a routine, eat slowly, enjoy every bite and believe that what you are eating is nourishing you in a healthful way. Giving into the odd craving is ok as long as you enjoy the food, not feel guilty about it. Doing this will reduce the chances of upset stomach, indigestion, acid reflux, etc., thus maximizing your body's absorption of nutrients. We were given a customized nutritional program (to make sure we got a good balance of nutrients) and her published book (with more tips on healthy food sources and recipes).  S and I adopted our new diet and eating habits easily... Knowing it will help me heal.  

My nutritional therapist (she was trained in many areas) also helped me to release grief. Interestingly, grief is held in the lungs. That is why you feel your chest or heart aching when you are emotionally distressed.  What I learned from that session: for every negative, there is a positive.  You can linger on all the negative aspects of an event or you can turn your thoughts around and focus on the positive changes/outcomes. Yes, my cancer diagnosis was devastating. But it forced me to learn so much about all aspects of my life. I am taking better care of myself (physically, emotionally, spiritually).  Cancer has brought us closer  to our family and friends.  The bond that S and I have is stronger than ever.  It made us realize that we should not take life for granted; Carpe Diem! (we are looking into getting that puppy we've been talking about for years:). There is now more peace in my life.  In fact, sometimes I don't feel like I have cancer at all.  

8 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post. I am so glad to hear about your PET scan. I feel like I am learning a lot from what you write, and it is certainly affecting the way I have been thinking about not only food, but the way my time is spent, and enjoying the moment as you said. Thank you for sharing this with us. And may I add I think getting a puppy is a great idea!

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  2. Dear H, It sounds like you've got a good team around you. They don't always address the grief with these medical experiences, so I'm glad they are finding ways to release and even turn it around. a good friend of mine who went through something similar used to say all sorts of things: Use everything you have to get better, the uglier the secret the better. The more you don't want to acknowledge something, the more powerfully useful it is to you. I thought he was saying something profound, but he was just using embarrassing college stories to bribe us into visiting - which we were going to do anyway :) I guess that's where the closeness comes in; not much left to hide. I will connect with S and hope to see you sometime soon. Love, Leena

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  3. Great update! I totally agree with not following the Canada Food Guide.....I'm really glad you have a great nutritional therapist that has sound advice! It's awesome to hear about your PET scan. love Karen

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  4. Dear Heing... I'm so glad to hear so many positives in this post! And so happy to know that everything is aligning towards you getting healthier and happier:-) always sending warm thoughts and prayers your way...
    Love, shainul

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  5. I found this ted talk about anti-angiogenic foods very interesting and you may want to check it out.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/william_li.html

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  6. Sounds like you have set up a great circle, Heing. You are doing all the right things, and have the best attitude. Great update, thanks for keeping us all in the loop, you are always in our thoughts!

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  7. Excellent news Heing!! I feel bad that my buddy, "S", might unwillingly convert to vegetarianism,lol !! Anyhow, decreasing or eliminating meat is a very good decision and better to eat the fruits and vegetables as they are instead of processing or juicing them.

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