Monday, November 30, 2009

A Decent Monday

I had a zometa treatment today and should find out my tumor markers in the next couple of days.

I then saw my acupuncturist - I always feel better afterwards - part of my treatment today had to do with the issue that I wrote about last week and for which I couldn't be too open. Continuing to grow and learn there.

Then had lunch with a new friend and colleague from Zoology - we were brainstorming a one-credit class that we could teach in the spring. It's always fun to talk about the world of ideas - and in this case, we are thinking of doing a class around marine ecology and looking for ways that western science and indigenous knowledge intersect. It's really cool to have a western scientist interested in indigenous knowledge!! There was this energy in our conversation that involves the joy of learning new things and a willingness to step outside of one's comfort level. That's really cool.

Other than that, I've really been enjoying hanging out with Eddie. He's been a real pleasure - telling jokes and doing chores. He enjoyed playing in the leaves yesterday. I'm proud of him. And, I "love him big bit". : )

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Love Craigslist - Accomplished House Stuff

I posted an ad on Craigslist yesterday - for a karaoke machine I bought last summer for Eddie's birthday and someone picked it up this evening already! Got to love Craigslist when it works that quickly!

Mom and dad came over and helped me with house stuff. I'd started cleaning and reorganizing my storage closet and mom helped sort through stuff while I swept shrubbery needles off my driveway and dad blew/raked leaves off the front lawn. Then, dad helped me to get Christmas decorations out of the attic in the garage. Eddie helped us with the leaves, too, and his reward was a little leaf fight/bury him in the leaf pile. Then, I took a bunch of things to Goodwill.

Eddie had several wii games he was no longer playing, so we turned them in for store credit - he got a wii points card to get some wii console games and another wii wheel. Not too shabby!

So, yep, it was a good, productive day.

Some financial changes

With temporary pay reductions starting in January, I am trying to institute some cost-cutting measures. I've made changes over the past year - like refinancing my house and trying to pay off my car quicker - but it's now time to start cutting smaller things. So, here's what I'm going to do:

1) start drinking chai at home instead of on my way to work - save maybe $10/week
2) start bringing lunches from home more often - eat out only once or twice/week - save maybe $15-20/week
3) switch from Comcast to Direct TV - save $20/month
4) start buying my herbs and supplements online - I save 50%, which is about $10-12/month
5) decrease how much I contribute to the Charitable Fund Drive at work - $25/month; I don't really like to do this, on the other hand, I help my family out each month to help them make ends meet. They say "charity begins at home" and I figure that I need to help my family before I help others. They help me a lot - they babysit Eddie frequently and dad helps me with yard work; he's coming over today to help me with the leaves.

That is about $150/month in savings. These are probably changes I could've instituted awhile back. I don't sacrifice much - I still have luxuries that a lot of people don't have. I sacrifice convenience, but that's okay. I'm also using coupons more.

Hopefully I can keep instituting small changes like this and make paying off the home equity line of credit a priority. I had to use that to make ends meet two years ago when I was on sabbatical. At the time, I didn't want to worry about finances and wanted to put them off into the future. Well, it's the "future" now.

Plan B is to maybe fix the house up enough to sell it this summer and use the equity to pay off all the bills and buy a smaller place. As it is, I don't use one big room and we don't really use the yard. A smaller place would make life easier. It's like starting with a clean slate. We'll see!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I got virtual console games

I (Eddie) am writing this. I got Mario Kart 64 and Pin Ball for my wii. I am getting Super mario Kart either tomorrow or Christmas.

What a Great Son I Have!

Today, when I picked up Eddie, he noticed that I was quiet. So, he asked me, "You're not acting too weird" (i.e., Eddie's code word for "silly").

"No, I'm not. I'm worried about money."

He replied, "Well, what do you like better? Me or money?"


He then asked, "And, which one would you rather lose? Me or money?"


He then said, "Well, then, it's okay. Because I'm with you now!"

A good reminder for what's more important in life. Got to remember those priorities!

Survived Black Friday

I met some friends of mine yesterday and went Black Friday shopping. In the end, I'm done with Christmas shopping and also bought all the birthday gifts (I have five birthdays coming up in January and February) that I'll need. Plus, I bought a small sewing machine (gonna try to make pants that fit Eddie) and an electric drill/screw driver (didn't have one for the house). This all occurred under the budget I set myself for Christmas gifts. And, I calculated that I saved about 42% off regular store prices.

So, it was worth it to get up early.

Yesterday, a friend of mine (who had friends teach him how to cook) brought over some food and we made this chicken sausage/rice/bean mix with veggies. It was good - and we made enough for several meals that I can use over the next week. I may put a few in the freezer, however, as I do get tired of the same meal all the time. It's part of my "cooking boot camp" effort that I thought about several months ago. This is another cost saving measure.

Thanksgiving was fine - the turkey I roasted turned out fairly well. The whole family gathered at my sister's house and after dinner, we watched the kids play Rock Band. It was cute.

What's in store for today? Well, there's writing I can do, I need to take some things into my office, there's leaves to be picked up in the yard, and putting grout on the mosaic, and maybe I'll start some beadwork. Not sure what I want to do - but that's the fun of having a day like this when I don't NEED to do anything, but can do what I want to do.

I'll pick up Eddie later on this afternoon - yay!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Project Health

Time Magazine just started this series called "The Power of One". It highlights individuals who started innovative organizations. They highlighted the guy that started "". In early November (yes, I'm a few weeks behind reading Time), they highlighted Rebecca Onie, who started Project Health in the Boston area.

What they do is to place undergraduate volunteers in medical settings where they work with physicians - and if physicians realize that their patients are struggling with food insecurity, housing issues, or unemployment, the doctor writes a "prescription" for social services and the patient takes it to a Project Health desk. There, a volunteer will help the patient find the help that they need.

Isn't that cool? Wouldn't it be great if we could start something similar here in Oregon? Well, maybe set the sights lower to begin with - in Corvallis? Hmmmm . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And the term is winding down - YIPPEE!

Managed to stop beating myself up. What's done is done.

It's always good to be reminded of what you do well or what you like to do to chase away those self-recriminating thoughts.

My class went well - got the take-home written - discussed it in class. Got a pile of grading to do by Tues, then the students do group presentations. Then more grading. Had a full class for the first time in a long long time this term. Lots of illnesses. I think there were a lot of cases of swine flu.

Which reminds me, I still have not been immunized for either that or the regular flu. I keep meaning to talk to my doctor. Haven't immunized Eddie yet either.

Eddie greeted me the other day as a kitty cat - he purred up against me, "marking" me by rubbing his check on my cheek. He was expressing affection and requesting attention. I thought it was kinda remarkable given his autism - he was both pretending and being very affectionate, but then, he always has been affectionate. I held him a lot when he was in the NICU and when I was home with him as a baby and toddler and I cuddle him all the time, so I'm glad that he isn't a typical autistic child who doesn't like affection.

Got two meetings and an interview set up for tomorrow.

Next week is Dead Week - two days of group presentations. Then grading. Then, I can concentrate on interviews and also on writing the introductory chapter of my book proposal.

In other words, plugging along.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I screwed up

I'm not able to say much. But I screwed up and overstepped my bounds. I'm kicking myself right now. Can't do anything to fix it but let time pass. I think that I did what I did for mostly good reasons, but there were some that were selfish.

Sigh. Being a grownup is hard.

I guess we all make mistakes.

And, we need to learn to live with the mistakes you make.

I certainly didn't need to bring this on myself right now.

I also need to learn how to forgive myself.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Wonderful But Intellectually Intense Weekend

I visited the NSF (National Science Foundation) LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) site, the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. I was invited to be part of a group of scientists and humanists and social scientists on campus who want to design what we're calling an Environmental Humanities program at Oregon State. It's an attempt to bring humanities together with environmental scientists.

The weekend was an attempt to envision programs that are new and innovative, so it was fun to try to think outside the box.

I also met a lot of new people and increased my circle of colleagues at OSU. We had a lot of good, interesting conversations about potential new projects. There was a lot of energy and optimism about being part of something that is meaningful that could potentially change the way we approach environmental problems.

And, that feels good. I admit, too, that there was a time when I was worried about impending pay cuts - Plan A is becoming contentious and that's stressful - and one person, bless her heart, came up with an idea to help me get some extra summer salary since I don't have any lined up yet.

I got a chance to tell boob jokes - I was pretty open about my metastatic breast cancer status because when I use alternative medicines, like acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I'm tapping into an alternative way of looking at health and disease than the western medical model. To some extent, with this Environmental Humanities initiative, we're doing something similar to how I approach my cancer treatments - crossing epistemological boundaries and tapping into what each can offer.

It feels good. I'm tired, though. I was really happy to pick up Eddie - I'd missed him - and I'm really happy to be home again.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Offline for a couple of days

I'm part of an initiative on campus that's called "Environmental Humanities". This week, funded from an NSF grant, we are having a retreat in Blue River, Oregon, at the HJ Andrew Research Forest, an NSF LTER (long-term ecological research) site. It's located up the McKenzie River in the Cascade Mountain range.

There should be some interesting discussions: the idea is to figure out ways that scientists, humanists, and social scientists can work together on various projects.

But we won't have much internet access or telephone service. So, I will be offline for a couple of days.

Have a great week-end everyone!

The Art of Procrastination

I gave a presentation today at noon.

I asked my grad research assistant to do a little data analysis for me a couple of weeks ago and she gave it to me on Wednesday.

I started gathering info Wed and Thurs for the presentation.

But I didn't actually really LOOK at the info or put the presentation together until this morning.

I think, in the end, the presentation went fairly well. It had to do with the decision-making processes of Alaska Native corporations in terms of land selection and resource development.

I had to remember interviews that I've conducted on the topic. I think I remembered them without any mistakes. But with my memory . . . there was also a lot of background information that I already know. That helped.

Also, in the past couple of weeks, I have often waited until a couple of hours before class to pull together my own class lectures. One day last week, I somehow managed to pull off a lecture without much preparation. It was all in my head. I think I had a good Performance about folklore performances. Even if I do say so myself, I would have to say, to be vulgar, that I pulled it out of my ass. And, it went okay.

That's sorta how today when.

I guess that's the advantage to having such strong grounding in my discipline and topic. I can pull off presentations without too much effort.

But I've also managed to learn the art of procrastination! One of my friends (another professor) once used to create a lot of anxiety for himself when it came to grading. He had good intentions to get it done, but the grading would often hang over his head for two weeks before he finally finished it. He finally realized that he's not going to do the grading until he absolutely had to and that he might as well not stress about it until the deadline approached and he had to get it done.

That's the art of procrastination!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Productive Day Today

Got in an interview - got some movement on a grant supplement - got some movement on a proposal that we plan to submit in January - got some movement on a presentation I'm giving on Friday - got some movement on additional names for interviews - talked "realignment" strategies with colleagues at lunch (at McMenamin's, no less) - got a strategy (a plan a and a plan b) for personal finances

It was a "got some work done" kind of day. That feels good.

Especially since yesterday, I felt down and depressed and tired. Worried about finances, I guess, with impending "temporary" pay reductions coming up.

Not sure what turned around the mood. I had had a decent night's sleep both last night and the night before. A mystery. But maybe because I figured out both a Plan A and a Plan B for the finances. I always feel better with a plan.

Take care!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday's hike, then meditation, then laziness

Yesterday, I got up fairly early for the week-end (6:45am) and went on a hike in McDonald Forest with a friend, then went to the Zen Buddhist meditation service with a colleague, ate a quick lunch downtown, then by the time I got home, I was sleepy and lazy! I finally got up the gumption to go to the grocery store by mid-afternoon. Got all my groceries except bread and butter and came back home and was lazy again.

I'm not sure what to think of the Zen Buddhist service. I find it hard to meditate - you are supposed to watch your thoughts go by and not follow them, but I found myself following them. They say it takes practice. I may go again . . .

Today, I need to write a recommendation letter, work on a supplemental, email folks about interviews, pay property taxes (ouch!), then pick up Eddie and a classmate. I'm supposed to play v-ball tonight . .. but if there are enough players, I may not play. My right wrist is bothering me (probably from keyboarding) and I think my pectoral muscle is still healing from two weeks ago, although it feels a lot better.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Busy Long Friday, Relaxing Lazy Saturday

I made it through yesterday. Eddie and I left the house about 7:15am to pick up my dad and walked back in the door at 11:15pm.

Holy cow. We were late to our appointment and Shriners and then it took them almost an hour and a half to call us back. The doctor just looked at Eddie's feet and the lax ligaments in his ankles. Maybe sometime in the future, we'd consider surgery but only if Eddie complains about foot pain.

Then, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch - Eddie played trivia. Then to the Wunderland arcade.

Then, Eddie and dad dropped me off at a friend's house - I finally got to meet Andrew's (who suggested that I blog about my cancer treatments) new baby girl. She was adorable!

Andrew, Alma, and I then went to a coffee place in the Pearl District, visited, then he dropped me off at Powell's. I met Scott there (Scott and I are just friends now) and we visited, then went to the Deschutes Brew Pub for a beer.

Scott then dropped me off at the Governor Hotel, where I went to the NAYA (Native American Youth Association) Gala. I got there about 6:15pm and we left about 9:30pm. One of my colleagues and her son gave me a lift back to my folks' place, where I picked up Eddie and my car.

Whew. I survived the day. At one point, I was tired at the dinner, but then I caught a second wind. The Executive Director of NAYA is a former student of OSU - she took one of my classes and she was friends with my cousin, Mark. Under her leadership, the organization has really taken off. I am very proud of her.

But I've been tired all day today. Just ran a couple of errands with Eddie - then dropped him off with his dad.

Just staying at home, watching TV and movies. Playing around with the idea of being productive. But so far, the laziness is winning! He he he.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Able to Catch a Breather

Whew. I managed to grade papers and write a proposal review. I can kinda relax this evening. I might write a few emails trying to drum up some potential interviewees. I need to skim/read a paper or two. Etc Etc Etc

But I plan to race my son on MarioKart wii. Take him to BK for dinner.

Tomorrow, we go to Shriner's Hospital for a routine check-up - Eddie walks on his arch because his ankles are not really strong. I'm not really expecting too much - the doctor is of the opinion that Eddie is not really harming his foot bones or muscles and maybe eventually, as he gains strength, they may become normal.

So, the idea is to go to Shriners - bring dad with us - then have lunch and go to an arcade, then go visit my friend Andrew and his new baby Alma - Alma's mom will be at work. Eddie and dad will head home and then I'll hang out with Scott for a bit before going to a dinner at NAYA - the Native American Youth Association Gala dinner.

A busy and long day tomorrow. Resting up tonight is in order, huh? Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Outrage and Disgust

I just read a Time Magazine article entitled, "How Drug-Industry Lobbyists Won on Health Care".

The article was in the November 2, 2009 issue of Time. The main point is that the health care bill that was submitted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee included a provision that would allow drug companies up to 12 years of exclusive rights to the data and manufacture of biological drugs (medicines derived from living matter); others suggested 5 years and Obama advocated 7 years.

I am frankly outraged and disgusted. Here are a few statistics regarding drug lobbying in the first six months of this year:

1. Biotechnology lobbyists spent $110 million ($609,000/day) in the first six months to influence lawmakers.

2. The drug industry's registered lobbyists number 1,228 people, or 2.3 people per member of Congress.

3. Campaign contributions to those members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have totaled $2.6 million in the past three years.

Imagine if $609,000/day were spent instead on insuring our nation's uninsured or underinsured. Imagine.

I recently heard two stories of needless deaths that occurred because the individuals could not access or afford needed drugs. One woman, a friend of a co-worker, died because she needed a liver transplant; her liver failed because her insurance would not cover the needed drugs that would keep her liver functional until she could get a transplant (or else it was because she couldn't get the drug earlier this year that would've kept her liver going longer). Another young man, encountered when some friends went elk-hunting, died of a two-hour plus seizure. He had been in a car accident six months prior that caused some brain damage that caused the seizures and he was unemployed, had no insurance, and could not afford the anti-seizure medicine.

Millions spent in the last six months to lobby. Not to heal. Millions spent to make a profit.

I am so pissed off right now.

Also, think about these other numbers given in the same article, which are the sales of various biologic drugs:

1) Avastin, made by Genentech, which can be used to treat various cancers (it cuts off the blood supply to cancer cells) - $9.2 Billion (yes billion, not million)

2) Enbrel, made by Immunex, to treat rheumatoid arthritis - $8.0 billion

3) Remicade, made by Centocor Ortho Biotech, to treat inflammatory disorders - $7.9 billion

4) Humira, made by Abbot, to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis - $7.3 billion

5) Rituxan, made by Genentech, to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis - $7.3 billion

6) Herceptin, made by Genentech, to treat breast cancer - $5.7 billion (this could be a drug I go on someday if my current treatment fails)

7) Lantus, made by Sanofi Aventis, to treat diabetes - $5.1 billion

8) Epogen, Procrit, made by Amgen, Ortho Biotech, to treat anemia (which can be caused by various chemo treatments) - $5.1 billion

9) Neulasta, made by Amgen, for neutropenia - $4.2 billion

10) Novolog, made by Novo Nordisk, to treat diabetes - $3.7 billion

By my count, that is $63 billion dollars. $63,000,000,000 dollars in sales.

The article doesn't mention what the total profit was for these drugs; one has to factor in the development and manufacture of them. However, I know that Herceptin has been around for at least ten years, so they have probably covered their costs for development already and I bet they have figured out the most cost-effective way to manufacture the drug - I think they have to use cow blood or something to manufacture it.

All I can think of is that the profit margin must be really high and that those profits go to the CEO's and higher ups and to shareholders.

Someone mentioned (in that pissing match I had on Facebook) that many retirement accounts invest in companies such as these - so the person apparently cared more that his retirement nest egg showed healthy (ahem - no pun intended) profits. So, rather than being concerned by the cost of the drugs to individuals or insurance companies - for instance, Herceptin costs $48,000 for a year's treatment for one person - the person was more interested in himself. Unfortunately, that's indicative of our society's value on the individual rather than on community welfare. There's a time and a place for that emphasis, but I tend to think that everyone loses when our community as a whole isn't strong.

How does one express this kind of outrage in a blog? I'm just disgusted. Shame on the pharmaceutical companies. And, shame on the lawmakers for taking the money, too. It's literally blood money.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

A lazy Sunday morning

So, I'm catching up on blogs and facebook this morning while watching my son race people from other parts of the world on Mario Kart for the wii. Earlier today and yesterday, he was racing someone from Japan and maybe someone from the Middle East and also people from the UK and France. He enjoys racing real people, not just the computer.

I am about to type up what I wrote at Wacky Bounce yesterday - yes, I actually wrote about two more pages for my summary of interviews! Yay! Writer's block is gone! I've decided that what I need to do is to take Eddie to Wacky Bounce more often because then I don't have access to the internet and from the TV, which tends to distract me from work I need to do.

The pharmacy in Portland didn't send the Tykerb that I take - I even called them on Wed or Thurs and made sure that they knew that they should be sent out and the woman on the phone assured me that she would see that the medication was sent out that day. Puzzling. They're not open on Sunday - at least I don't think so - so I need to wait until tomorrow. I hope I get them by Tuesday.

I think I may have pulled a muscle under the reconstructed right boob in volleyball last week. I reached up for some ball and I felt a tweak. I only really feel something when I lift my arm in certain directions. However, it seems that I have had a little more achiness from lymphedema around my right side (under my armpit and around the side toward the back) and around my right shoulder blade. Achiness isn't the right word. I just feel that it's more swollen. Also, there's a spot on my right shoulder blade that feels like another pulled muscle. Or something. So, I've been trying to stretch it throughout the day to try to get the lymph flowing more freely and I have been doing my qigong routine, too.

In the meantime, I'm reading a new book, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra. It's about mind-body-spirit healing, like many of his books are, I guess, although this is the first time I've read any of his books. The one thing he said that I really liked, though, is that we need to stop thinking of our bodies as finite, material objects, but more like the interface between the visible or material world and the invisible, spiritual/energetic world.

My visualizations about the lung tumors are something along the lines of talking to the tumor/cancer cells and saying things like, "well, if you mutated from normal to look like this angry mass of cells, then you're able to mutate back to normal tissue". In other words, I imagine the healthy lung tissue around it coaxing and absorbing the diseased tissue - not so much in an effort to kill it but more to tell that tissue that it can still live in a healthier and longer way if it mutates back to normal behavior. I sometimes imagine the tumor cells as a young, terrible-twos toddler; Eddie never threw many tantrums, only a few, but when he did, I just sat down and held him in my lap and hugged him even as he kept flailing around. It calmed him down. That's what I visualize for the tumors. Encouraging normal behavior through a loving but firm hand.

What's on tap for today? Well, typing some stuff up, then going to K-Mart - mom gets these coupons for family and friends day where we can get some good discounts - then later, dad is going to help me put plastic on the windows in an effort to save on heating costs. And, another trip to Wacky Bounce.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'll take lopsided boobs over an open wound any day

Every once in awhile, I take a few minutes to read back over my old blog posts. Tonight, I looked over the ones from last November. I'd almost forgotten about the fact that I lived with an open wound for 11 months - and that also included the open cavity that I had after I lost the implant after radiation! Wow. What a difference a year makes.

Also at that time, I was posting some great tumor marker numbers and now I'm living with lung tumors although Femara seems to be working. I also credit qigong and doing what I can to destress my life.

Last year, I was planning for reconstruction surgery. That's behind me now - or rather, it's *in front* of me now! Ha!!

Last year, Obama was elected as our first African-American president. And, I think that he's doing fairly well under the circumstances. I was happy he addressed the Tribal Nations conference in DC yesterday. It's refreshing to have a president who understands the history of federal-Indian relations and the legal basis for Indian sovereignty.

It seems that last year, I was generally happy and there's really no change - maybe I'm happier.

I've had a lot of amazing experiences this past year. I went to Arizona in January; Norway in March and May; DC in June; Alaska in July; Oxford, England, in August; Hawaii in September; and Alaska in October. I've met some amazing people, had a few wonderful mini-vacations, started to work on a few great projects, continued work on old projects, have had great conversations with colleagues and friends, received a lot of great help from my folks and many others, and I'm raising an amazing son.

Thank you, all, for your continued support! Love ya! And, have an amazing week-end.

Oh, before I forget. I think I'm going to take Eddie to Frogtown tomorrow. It sounds like a great musical event geared toward kids and appreciating diversity.

Obama at the Tribal Nations Conference

Someone on one of my list-servs sent this link to Obama's speech that opened the Tribal Nations Conference in Washington DC yesterday. Thought I'd pass it on:

President Obama Opens Tribal Nations Conference

Very cool, eh?

Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight

When I was in Hawaii, my friend Renee told me about this woman, a neuroanatomist, who had a stroke. She tells about her experiences in this video:

Jill Bolte Taylor

I found the book at Borders yesterday and remembered the video and thought that I should share it. I think it's amazing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Plugging Through Work

Not much is going on other than work. Recommendation letters, teaching, emails emails emails (emails are what ails me!), grading papers, politics, touching base with my research assistants, etc. etc. etc.

I was really tired after my class on Tuesday. I'd only had about 5-6 hours sleep the night before. I'm realizing that if I don't get a full night, I'm toast after a few hours, especially when I teach. This past year, I'm beginning to understand just how much teaching takes out of me. It's hard and takes energy.

My task is to retreat and to learn how to conserve my energy - start shoring it up instead of always expending it when I feel good. Easier said than done.

Eddie has a parent-teacher conference tonight. I'm expecting good news! Happy evening!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This month's tumor marker numbers

I received my tumor marker numbers today - my treatment was yesterday. The CEA was up to 7.6 (from 5.7 or 5.8 last month) and the CA15-3 was down to 36.4 (from 38.7 last month). Anything less than 3.8 is normal for the CEA and anything less than 33 is good for the CA15-3.

1/2008 - 1.2 ng/mL
3/2008 - 0.9 ng/mL
6/2008 - 1.0 ng/mL
8/2008 - 1.1 ng/mL (need to double check this number, but it was in that 0.9 to 1.2 range)
9/2008 - 0.5 ng/mL
10/2008 - 0.9 ng/mL
10/31/2008 - 1.2 ng/mL
11/28/2008 - 1.2 ng/mL
12/30/2008 - 1.1 ng/mL
3/2/2009 - 1.4 ng/mL
4/8/2009 - 1.6 ng/mL
5/5/2009 - 1.9 ng/mL
6/4/2009 - 3.0 ng/mL
7/2/2009 - 3.7 ng/mL
8/3/2009 - 4.2 ng/mL
8/31/2009 - 5.1 ng/mL
10/2/2009 - 5.7 ng/mL (or was it 5.8?)
11/2/2009 - 7.6 ng/mL

And, here's the CA15-3.

Sept 2007 - 23 U/mL
Jan 2008 - 31 U/mL
Mar 2008 - 36 U/mL
June 2008 - 23 U/mL (started radiation that month)
Aug 2008 - 18 U/mL (week of August 4th)
Sept 2008 - 14.5 U/mL YAAAAAAY!!!
Oct 1 2008 - 19.6 U/mL
Oct 31 2008 - 15.3 U/mL
Nov 28 2008 - 19.5 U/mL
Dec 30 2008 - 16.0 U/mL
Jan 22 2009 - 15.4 U/mL
Mar 2 2009 - 17.8 U/mL
Apr 8 2009 - 19.6 U/mL
May 5 2009 - 18.4 U/mL
June 4 2009 - 19.7 U/mL
July 2 2009 - 22.1 U/mL
Aug 3 2009 - 29.7 U/mL
August 31 2009 - 31.9 U/mL
Oct 3 2009 - 38.7 U/mL
Nov 2 2009 - 36.4 U/mL

Hmm, how does one interpret these results? The nurse yesterday said (and I may have said this before) that sometimes the number spikes after starting a new treatment before it comes down again. Sooo . . . the fact that the CA15-3 is going down is a good thing and maybe the CEA went up because as cancer cells die, they put off more of the protein (carcinoembryonic antigen) into the blood. Hmm, I kinda like that explanation, huh?

Tired today. Stayed up too late last night. Too much caffeine late in the day yesterday. Then a long class today . . . gonna take it easy tonight. It was a beautiful day today - a beautiful moon last night - can't complain!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A change in attitude

I made a small change to my blog header: instead of saying, "using humor and alternative medicine in my fight", I say, "using humor and alternative medicine in my healing".

So, what's the difference? I'm not sure I can articulate it clearly as of yet. However, I decided to make the change because of something Renee said to me a few months ago, when I was worried about the lung tumors growing. She suggested that maybe what I needed to do in my visualizations, rather than imagine fighting and killing the cancer cells, to "love them to death". I imagined my tumors related to various old and new issues of mine and in that case, rather than trying to rid my body of those issues, embracing them and accepting them as part of me. Don't try to ignore the issues - but face them and love them.

Every so often, when I remember, I do try that visualization . . . I think the trick, though is to sustain the visualization for longer than what I'm doing.

In the end, loving the issues/tumors/illness is more about healing than fighting. That's what we're trying to do with acupuncture is to help my body heal so that cancer can't rear its ugly head anymore.

I have done some thinking about why I had a relapse of cancer after all the treatment I received in 2002-2003. The treatments probably helped contain the cancer for awhile until my body was inundated with various stressors - like the memory foam mattress and relationship-stuff - so the cancer got the upper hand. It never really went away. Now, what I need to do is to heal . . . fighting it only got me so far. It's time to try another tactic.

It was a beautiful fall day here today. This whole week-end was amazing warm for late October/early November: daytime temps were in the 60s. Unusual . . . but I'm not complaining!

Turmeric/Curcumin Kills Cancer Cells - BBC News

A friend on Facebook posted this link:

"Curry spice kills cancer cells"

I posted some information that I found out about it here. One of my fellow bloggers posted a comment with a link that MD Anderson Cancer Center found that it slowed melanoma growth. I've been taking turmeric for about 18 months now. I think it helps!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hawaii Pictures

Finally, I have posted some pictures from Hawaii. The first picture is of me and Eddie overlooking steam vents at Volcano National Park (is it Kilauea, Renee?).

The next picture if of me and Eddie at the entrance to the lava tube at Volcano National Park.

The next picture if of Eddie in the lava tube.

Eddie is sitting in the lava field - we were on our way to walk as far as we could so we could see the steam rising from the lava entering the ocean.

Here we are - see the steam in the background where the lava is entering the ocean.

Here is Eddie near the pond where the sea turtles are hanging out.

And, Eddie is on the right - we are at Kailua Beach on O'ahu. This is where he said, "I'm having the time of my life."

Here's a picture of Renee and Eddie overlooking Waimea Valley, where the Hawaiian royalty lived. I guess taro grew very well here.

Renee and Arna are helping Eddie on the boogie board at Richardson (? I think) Beach in Hilo.

Eddie is on a rock bridge at a park in Hilo - they were having a celebration for Queen Lily (actually, it's a longer name, but I have forgotten it) who was responsible (with her husband) for building the first hospitals for Native Hawaiians. The celebration also had a bouncy castle for kids as well as a water slide which Eddie slid down over and over. We didn't get a picture of that - only movies!

A banyan tree at the park with the water slide . . . I love banyan trees. They are so unusual with the roots hanging off the branches. They are also soooo big! I wonder how old they are . . .

Hope you've enjoyed the pictures!

Finally - Inspiration!

I stayed up rather late last night reading the book "The Unmistakable Touch of Grace". I'm still not doing a great job with meditation, but as I went to sleep, I did try to take some deep breaths. I've been needing to write up a summary of some interviews I've conducted over the past year and I just couldn't get to it. I think I said yesterday somewhere that I needed "inspiration". I went to sleep thinking that thought (along with a couple of other thoughts) and this morning, as I woke up, I thought some more about this summary. I started thinking about the title and once I got the title in my head, I figured out how to write it. You wanna hear the title?

State of Ambivalence: The Inupiaq View of Alaska Statehood

The bottom line is that most people living in rural Alaska were not informed of the whole statehood process and so were not told what the implications would be for Alaska Natives. The only people who knew about the lead-up to statehood were those who were in BIA or missionary high schools or whose parents talked about it beforehand (only two or three cases of that). Afterwards, most said, when asked, whether statehood was good for Alaska Natives, the answer was "yes and no" - yes because of increased access to education in rural Alaska and no because the state imposed regulations on subsistence rights and took away some of Native-held lands.

Hmm. I really like that title.