Thursday, November 11, 2010

Unprecedented? Then again, maybe not.

Today, as I received my Abraxane infusion, the nurse and I chatted about my low CEA numbers. It eventually came out that they usually do not see (or maybe have never seen) anyone respond as well to the Abraxane treatment as I have. They haven't seen the CEA drop so quickly in just one month. We talked about how my incredible response is more than likely related to the UW immunotherapy and that the two therapies are working really well together.

Shall I saw it is unprecedented? Maybe not. Maybe in the context of my town, but the UW doctors did say that patients in the same trial as me tended to have results like mine - that after immunotherapy, the standard treatments all of a sudden start working really really well.

And, then again, maybe not. A good friend of mine told me today that he put my name into a reiki prayer pool this past month. I know a lot of people in my community and all over Alaska are praying for me. Other people are sending me prayers, blessings, good energy. My family takes care of the housework so that I have more energy to devote to healing or resting. My medical care team, including my acupuncturist and my therapist and the wound nurse and the infusion nurses, give me great care. My colleagues at work support me. My friends give me good advice. Other cancer bloggers are great role models for how to live life and how to handle side effects and also for their sheer perseverance to live.

I have also made changes. I have limited if not almost completely eliminated dairy and white flour from my diet. I am still trying to eliminate sugar. I don't drink alcohol as often. I try to practice qigong. I wake up each morning and try to decide that it will be a good day, even if that's not how I'm feeling, but by reminding myself of what I am grateful for, it gets easier to make that choice. I try ask myself every morning, "Would I rather spend my day pissy? Or sad? Or silly and happy?" I have repriortized work duties and how I choose to spend my time. I endeavor to be as stress-free as possible and part of that means not taking things personally or acting defensively with difficult people and reacting in a more mature, calm, deliberate way, rather than reacting rashly. I accept help when it's offered and then I try to "pay it forward".

I think that all of these things have culminated in my current, happy state of affairs: dropping tumor markers, shrinking and disappearing tumors. And, the realization that I have a wonderful, beautiful support system. There have been reports by other doctors and practitioners of Chinese medicine of people who were able to turn their cancer prognoses around. There are reports of cancer spontaneously disappearing. I have tried to learn as much about what these patients do and what kind of medical care they seek because the people who came before me have set these precedents. So, no, it's not unprecedented. I have role models to follow. I have great friends who give great advice. But even if it isn't unprecedented, it's still great news!

Thank you everyone! Every little bit helps!

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