Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Not so spiritual chemo

I had my second chemo treatment today and tried do the same visualization technique I had done last time to see where is might take me this time around. Unfortunately, the woman in the chair next to me talked so loudly I could not concentrate at all. 

I ended up using my phone to listen to some meditation music to try and drown her out, but I don't like to turn the volume more than about half way up, so it just became one noise competing with another. I ended up somewhat dozing off toward the end, but that was about as "away" as I got. 

Oh well, the good news of the day is that I met with the doctor who examined my breast and measured my breast lump which has gone from over 6cm wide to about 4. And the lymph node that can be felt in my armpit is about 1/3 the size it was. And just after 1 chemo treatment. So to quote the great philosopher Charlie Sheen, "Boom, crush. Night, losers. Winning, duh!"

A gift I received from the Swanks was a big hit amount the chemo nurses. My power chemo socks which have figures which look like the Morton salt girl getting blown away in the rain and say "Fuck this shit", on them. Not necessarily something you might wear everyday and yet so appropriate for this occasion. 

My next appointment, which is on January 13th, I will get all my scans done, which will give us a better look at my progress. My 3rd round of chemo is scheduled on the 20th. So more good thoughts and energy coming up team. 

Now for the struggle which has come up over the last week. With all the good treats that have been given to me for the holidays I am now craving sugar, and was particularly set off by Aunt Janice's homemade fudge. Two days after Christmas I was craving it so bad I actually raided the cookie tin Kim had packed to give to my brother and his family to see if there might be any in there.

I started wondering if it was actually me or the cancer that was so wanting these delicious confections. I came to the conclusion that the only thing cancer and I agree on is that fudge is good. Luckily there was none to be found and we will both be avoiding the sugar and processed foods and returning to a more paleo friendly diet for a healthy New year. 

"I'm different. I have a different constitution. I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man. Dying's for fools, dying's for amateurs." ~Charlie Sheen, beloved dumbass. 

Friday, December 26, 2014


The deed is done. I have missed my shaved head. I forgot how liberating it feels. And when you rub on it, it feels like velvet. Yes you can pet me. I may act like you're weird but secretly I like it. 

I feel empowered. Bring it bitch! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Get over hair!

Several people have asked me whether or not I will lose my hair with the chemo treatments. In fact, it is one of the first things some people seem to be concerned about. Perhaps it is just because they don't really know what else to say. 

For educational purposes let me say that most but not all people lose their hair. There is no way to know until it happens. Some lose it the day after they start chemo, while others may make it a few rounds before it falls out. Some lose it very quickly while for others the process is gradual. 

So my answer has been I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see...until now. The process has begun. I showered yesterday and found an abnormal amount of hair loss while shampooing. I don't shower everyday because my skin is so ridiculously dry it can't handle it so I thought well it's probably falling out but it is possible it is just from not washing it in a while. 

This morning I went in the bathroom when getting ready and thought I would try and do something with it, because if you know me, then just wearing it down flat it not acceptable. My hair needs a little funk, a little attitude. But my plan was quickly thwarted because it was coming out in small clumps and I needed it to stay attached at least for the rest of the day. 

I have shaved my head about a half dozen times, on purpose, so being bald is not an issue for me. I rock a bald head. I have had some pretty funk hairstyles but randomized bald patches is not quite the look I'm going for. 

Although losing my hair does not bother me in the least, the process of it does. I cried for just a minute because it is just another reminder, a slap in the face really, that hey you have cancer and you are poisoning your body to try and stay alive. 

Merry Christmas to me
Merry Christmas to me
In another day or two
I'll be a baldy. 

In the next day or two I will be shaving it off. Besides not wanting the weird bald patches, I don't want to find clumps of hair all over my house. It's funny how hair attached to a head is awesome. We admire it and run our fingers through it. But as soon as it becomes detached it is gross. Just think about the last time you found an unfamiliar hair on your clothes or laying on your desk. Ewww!

So by the time I see most of you again, I will be sporting a new style. And it's okay. Hairs to change. Even when it's not something you were looking for. Hell, especially when it's not what you were looking for, because that's when real transformation takes place. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The burning flames of hell are real...

and they spent two days at the bottom of my esophagus. I have a hiatal hernia which rarely bothers me, but on Wednesday I accidentally chewed up a B-complex vitamin which I had thrown in with some nuts so I could take it at school with food. Taking any kind of pill whether medication or supplements has always been an issue especially on an empty stomach.

The burning began almost immediately and lasted almost two solid days. I tried all kinds of remedies, baking soda, aloe juice, apple cider vinegar, and even broke down and bought some tums. All lessened the hell fire temporarily, but none put it out.

The nurse had told me during the chemo treatment, that any symptoms I had previously, such as nausea, constipation, etc. would probably be worse. I wasn't having any consistent issues, so I was feeling like any problems I had would be mild.

HA! Well I was not having this problem before the chemo, but it seems that any issue that may arise will also be intensified. The burning is finally gone, but if you've never had really bad acid reflux, it comes with a whole host of other symptoms such as chest pain, abdominal pain, hoarseness, and cough to name a few. I was so miserable I could do little but lay around. Then, of course, you start feeling like crap because you are laying around too much. It's a vicious cycle.

So today, I am so sore, I feel like I am a hunchback. I can't sit or stand up straight. I'm exhausted. Eating is a turn off, although I am doing it. Slowly, a little at a time.

So what is the silver lining of our story today? Hell if I know. You can't have rainbows and unicorns shooting out of your ass all the time. But I am here and I am pushing through. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully it will be just a little bit better.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spiritual chemo

By the morning of my first chemo treatment, I had already decided that rather than reading a book or using some other distraction to kill time, I was going to do some visualization work. The focus would be on directing the chemo drugs to attack my cancer cells while rejecting their effects on my healthy cells.

As I laid back in the chair, I began by using a technique where I visualize my body catching fire with healing violet light starting with my toes and working its way up my body. The plan was to just envision and speak to the drugs about my intentions, but I was taken on another journey.

As soon as I had finished engulfing my self with the violet light, I was transported to a beautiful wide valley where I was running along side a horse. I began running even faster and began to pull ahead of the horse which glanced with shock at me and he began to run faster. This was not a competition, but that pure joyful abandon you had when you were a kid racing against your friends.

Soon we came to the edge of a cliff and I did not slow down. I ran and jumped right off the edge, arms and legs flailing, falling and falling, but there was no fear. I had no idea what was at the bottom, but after quite a considerable dissent, I splashed into a river. When I came up, I floated a little way and looked up to the bank on the left where I saw a wolf which is my great grandmother, then I looked off to the right where I saw an owl which is my grandmother. These images had been revealed to me in a previous vision I had a women's circle I attended about two months ago. My mother was just a little further down the river, stooped, attending to some kind of work in a basket. After seeing these women, my ancestors, I knew I was protected in this space.

After I passed them, I became fish-like and sped further down the river, until I leaped from the water, back in my own body, onto a boulder near the shore, then jumped to the edge. I stopped here and laid down, with my feet just in the water. During this entire time, I was still on fire, so the violet flame spread across the water where my feet came in contact with it about 5 feet out. The wind was gently blowing. All the elements were present. Earth, air, fire, water.

This was the place I actually ended up doing the visualization work I had intended. After finishing, I knew the chemo was not done, so I sat up and there was an old house across the river with a long inviting porch across the front. I knew this was not actually a house, but a resting place until the time came to cross back over.

I crossed the river, and took a seat in a rocking chair and waited. The whole time I was having this experience I was also cognizant of what was going on back on the other side. There was a gentleman receiving his chemo treatment in the room next to mine and I could overhear a conversation he was having on the phone. I was not trying to pay attention, but could not ignore him when I heard my own feelings of how being diagnosed with cancer was in fact a blessing being reflected back to me.

I also began to become very aware of the sensation in my hands. I had built up so much chi that they had become almost hot. I had an overwhelming desire to touch somebody and pass this energy on, but was unable to get up since I was attached to the IV. So I did the best thing I could and just lifted my right hand and focused the energy on the man next door. I tried to sense if there was anyone else close by that I could share this amazing energy with, but I was unable to pick anything up, so I laid my hand on my own breast.

Shortly after, I began to have the sense that it was time to go. So I got up and walked through the front door of the house and was back in the chair of the treatment room.

It is early on in my treatment and am aware that the effects of chemo generally get worse as time goes on, but as of right now, I am feeling no ill effects whatsoever. And since this is a take it one day at a time situation, I will happily take it.

Following the blog.

Just a quick note as I have had a few people ask what is the easiest way to follow this blog without having to for example go on Facebook and search for it. If you click here eco-evolve.blogspot I have included a Follow by Email gadget in the upper right corner which you can fill out and be notified whenever there is a new post.

Hope this is helpful.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

First chemo treatment

Just a quick note this evening. I had my first treatment today and am feeling well with no reactions or side effects. The first round is usually not too bad I am told, but things gets bit tougher as you go. That's fine. I did meet with an alternative health doctor yesterday who is helping with some things to make the chemo less severe with natural therapies which is right up my ally. 

I did actually have quite an amazing spiritual experience while receiving the chemo which I will have to share tomorrow because it is getting late and I need to sleep because I GET to work tomorrow. Until then. Goodnight my friends. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

How much time do I have?

Here is a thought I had about two weeks ago or so, but was reminded about during a conversation I had with a friend today. I was having a down moment and thinking about how having a diagnosis like this brings you face to face with your own mortality. My oncologist has not given me any type of prognosis as far as how long I can expect to live which I am grateful for, but the literature at the hospital library said the goal of the doctors was to make you as comfortable as possible and to lengthen your your life expectancy as long as they could whether it be several months or several years. Several. I took issue with that word. Several, not many, but several. Several feels like 7 or 8 to me. It went on to say that there is no cure and you should view it as living with a chronic illness.

It was depressing. Nobody should ever have to read that and I find it quite irresponsible. But as I said I had a moment and in that moment I was crying out I did not want to die and that it was bullshit. Seven or eight years is simply not enough. Not because I am afraid to die, because I am not. In fact, I view death as a beautiful continuation of our existence. The next great adventure so to speak, but we will leave that for another time. Through a few experiences I have had over the last year or so I started feeling like I was beginning to understand my calling in life and was exciting to begin that work and 7-ish years was simply not going to work for me. I have too much to do.

But who said I had 7 years, hell it may only be a few months, and my head was spinning with the thought that I had no idea when cancer might have its way with me. It could be 4 months or 4 years or.... and that is when I started to laugh. I mean really laugh, belly laugh, because of the irony of it all. Here I was worried about dying from cancer and not having any idea how long I might have left on this earth and yet this is true every single day of our lives whether we are sick or not. I can sit around scared to death about dying of cancer, yet be killed in a car accident tomorrow just like anyone else. Having a diagnosis, in fact, has changed absolutely nothing as far as my mortality. Having a prognosis certainly could, especially for those who just buy into it and give up, but that is not me. You can ask both my mother and my partner, I don't like being told what to do and the more you insist, the more I resist.

Although my oncologist is optimistic, and assured me that some people live 20 years or more having this, she did tell me that I would die of this cancer, it was just a matter of when. Well I reject that. I will die from living my life, whether it be by car accident, falling off a cliff while mountain climbing, OD-ing on chocolate (hey it could happen), and yeah maybe cancer. Maybe...but not if I have anything to do with it.

So my good friends, sick or healthy, live every day like it's your last, because it just might be.

Follow me on this journey

So I have posted a couple times during the beginning of this whole journey, but have mentioned to a few friends I might start to blog more consistently as both a means to keep everyone up to date on what is going on and as a record of my overall journey where I can share my feelings, frustrations, insights, etc with others and be able to look back and reflect on these moments myself. 

So let's start with an update on the facts. I have been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer which has metastasized to my bones (mostly spine) and to my lungs (small nodules). I actually start chemo tomorrow. 

I decided to go to the Moffitt Center in Tampa after Kimberly (my partner and hopefully soon to be wife) found out about how great they are. Great reputation and ranked 3rd in the US. Lee County is very hit or miss for quality health care. So far my experience with them has been very positive. 

My immediate health goals are to gain weight because I had lost about 15 pounds at the beginning of this whole thing because I put myself on a diet which I will discuss more at a later time, and to get more physically fit because I have a pleural effusion which causes me to tire easily and because I am very stiff and sore partially due to a lot of inactivity. 

That's where I am physically. I will get more into my emotional and spiritual state as we continue, but I am actually at work and only have a few minutes to write, but I wanted to at least start this process because I have been talking about it for a few weeks now and the more I put it off, the more I will put it off. I am a world class procrastinator. 

So I hope you will follow this blog if you are interested and we can grow together on this journey.