Resistance and Having Control as a Patient ~

This has been the biggest challenge for me throughout my cancer journey. When you take your health into your own hands, it’s hard to work with the resistance of others, professional or civilians who don’t understand your choices.

I can’t tell you how many times I have read off my list of vitamin supplements, diet change, acupuncture, and naturopath treatments to a western nurse or doc and had a ‘deer in the headlights response’ followed by resistance. Like I am cheating on them. The first week of hyperthermia and vit C treatments (only 2xs) took away my pain, no more bleeding and tumor shrunk. Of course, the chemo helped with that, however, I don’t discount the immunity support my body needed to deal with everything.

Yes, I do understand the position western doctors are in when a flood of patients are coming to them after seeing alternative healers. Some of the healers out there are just pill pushers and not the real thing, but there are a hand-full of legit practitioners who are dedicated to supporting a patient through the healing and are open to the western in parallel with alternative treatments. Western medicine is learned a certain way and eastern or alternative ways (some thousands of years old), are practiced as well, having much success on their own or together.

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THE MOST IMPORTANT, when told the words ‘you have cancer’ or any illness you are faced with, mental or physical, is to FIRST AND FOR-MOST listen to your body, your heart. Our bodies are truly amazing and can heal a lot on their own if given the support it needs. I remember back in the day when I was a child and would get a bad cold or flu, the script pad would come out and my body flooding with antibiotics. Today, doctors are better at natural remedies; hot drinks, rest and it will soon pass. On a more serious note, it’s easy to fall at your knees when going through a challenge, the unknown and uncertainty can be scary. You may feel a dark cloud has consumed your every breath, and your path of life has shortened or no longer the way you thought it would go. Impermanence is knocking at your door… BUT I am here to tell you that doesn’t need to be the case. YOU have the choice to make your own diagnosis. Any doctor telling you that you only have a certain time to live is wrong, a curse. Seriously, they are only going off of stats and those stats can be different for your outcome. Some docs are better with the delivery of your situation than others, but that should be left up to you. Just deal with the task and hand and see.  So many people I have met in the past year going through natural treatments after their doctors gave up on them and sent them home to die, but here they are, years later, doing better. Meaning; if you choose to give up and that you are done with your life, that is your choice and so be it. However, you also have a choice to continue to experience this amazing thing called life and to make it as comfortable as possible for yourself, even healing yourself.

For OUR BODIES to HEAL we need to support it EVERYDAY. Sure, I would love to have the freedom to eat a big bag of potato chips or a big bowl of pasta. To eat freshly baked breads, meat, cheeses, alcohol, not worry about organic etc, I hate restrictions, but my body will suffer in the processing of these things, and my body wants to heal, so I must support it the best I can to live a long healthy life. I was healthy in my life, and tried to eat well, but wasn’t always listening to my body and work-stresses combined with diet (eating on the go)  didn’t help with the cells, which grew into a tumor. It took hearing the colorectal cancer spread to my lungs to truly, radically change my diet. INTEGRITY is key with wanting to live healthy and long. This goes without saying, you are the only one who can make this decision and do it.

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As for western support, I ask questions and challenge the system to get answers on how I can integrate the natural and western and get the best chances of healing and surviving. It’s not easy being your own advocate, giving in to radiation and chemo was the hardest, was it the best?…time will tell, but I knew I could balance out the toxins with alternative immunity support treatments.

So, at the end of the day, you are ultimately the decision maker. You have control over healing your body, or not and keeping it healthy. You may need a little support from outside treatments, so make sure you support your body with the good stuff too. WISHING YOU ALL LOVE AND HEALTH xxoo

SUMMIT BID ON!! ~ Ama DaBum Expedition

Surgery Planned *as for the non-climbers, see translation below;)

Good news and bad news from basecamp: Scans taken of the summit route were reviewed by my expedition leaders last week and I received a call from the sun doctor (RT) on Thursday, he said the good news was that the colorectal route had shrunk a bit, in addition to stability of the surrounding rocks (nodes). Not as much as they had hoped, but still a good sign of stability in the hazardous terrain. Though a kicker moment as talk of an Annaperlung Expedition is now on the table. The 3 lung spots have grown a bit, possibly avalanche debris from Ama Dabum. After reviewing the scans of the planned summit route, my two expedition leaders Scottie (oncologist) and Buie (surgeon) arm wrestled and Buie won. Weather looks good enough to go for the summit bid on Ama Dabum and after I recover from the climb (approx 5-7 weeks) we will plan for an Annaperlung Expedition.

When on a cancer journey, strap yourself in for the rollercoaster ride of your life! Its been exactly one year since my diagnosis…Initially planned for just 3 rounds of chemo, surgery, and surgery, but as anyone knows the journey through an illness or even life, it doesn’t usually go as planned. So a year later, the colorectal tumor has shrunk in half +, the lymph nodes surrounding have also shrunk, but it looks as though my alien bum tumor had some babies in my lungs. There are 3 posts in the right lobe and 1 on the left. They are small but have changed, a bit bigger. Lung tumors are usually slow growing so they want to tackle the bum baby first, then possibly chemo or another treatment on lungs after. Fuck!

**Swearing** comes from a different learning sector of the brain, when stroke patients aren’t able to talk, they can actually sometimes still swear. They have proven swearing increases your pain tolerance. ~ Cool research and it’s how I let out my emotions;)

How one takes this news and digests it?

Oh shit balls! I write this hearing the news of my scans just today (Thursday Jan 10th) via tele. I write it when it’s still raw to share in the process of this journey, without any edits.

We all live our lives knowing that one day we are going to die. When you are given the news that it could be shortened, HOLY SHIT enters my mind. So much life to live and things I want to see and do, mountains I want to climb, movies I want to make, people I want to spend more time with and the reality of the MOST important things in life are VERY VERY clear.

I remember the day I heard the news about our beautiful and amazing Carlyle who wasn’t coming back from South America, that she had been killed in a climbing accident. I was in a part of my meditation program where I was able to sit in the shock from the news and then stand back to observe what my emotions were about to do. What feelings came up and what they meant. Yes, losing someone close to you or even a stranger you read about in the news, always brings rise to the impermanence of our lives and how fragile we really are. What also came up for me was not being able to see her again. How the end of life seemed so permanent, empty. But I would have moments of just feeling her in my heart, and then felt a sense of peace.

I know I have the tools to fight this battle. I am gearing up for the big fight with a 5-6 hour surgery that will take out the mother fucker alien. They will also have to pull chunks of my colon, small intestine and possibly my uterus where it has attached to (did you know that once parts of your body are removed in surgery the hospital owns it, sometimes for study and research) Like I’d want to take it home.
Reconnecting the dots, they hope the tissue is strong enough so that I can have a working bum, but if it needs a break, they will give me an ostomy or colostomy bag for temp until healed then reattached in 4-6 months. If they don’t think it will be strong enough, I will live with a bag. Not a bad trade off for having a life.

So, finally I’m in the planning stages for the summit bid of Ama DaBum! We will watch the weather and it looks good over the next week or so. I will get a call for the planned date. We will then pack up and go for the top of the mountain!! While I wait, I will prep my body with exercise, good food, and no stress. Over the next week or so, I will be quarantined a bit as not to catch anything. I am both excited and nervous, but feeling very strong and good to go!!! Thank you Sherpa support team!! LETS DO THIS!! xxoo

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Farewell 2018 ~

GRATITUDE!! I have been reflecting a lot on life over the past few weeks during my screen time disconnect. AMAZING how the internet; social media and screen time in general distracts and fills the mind with stuff. The couple of times I went back on I felt anxiety. More clarity and reconnection happens when I spend time doing NOTHING, just BEing. Sometimes its peaceful and others, it is though the emotions and stuff I have on a shelf, tucked away in that little dark corner, has time to surface and release. WOW! It is a powerful time right now~full moon, winter solstice, the Christmas planning. The energy is a little crazy righ now. Let go and enjoy the ride!

I want to say how much I am so grateful for all of you! YES YOU! This year has been one for the record books, and it wouldn’t have felt as smooth without you all! The stress that can muster up either it be fear of the unknown, financial, or what if’s are a clusterfuck of emotions I didn’t really have to deal with thanks to you all. REALLY and TRULY, you all mean so much to me and I hold you all so dear in my heart.

I WISH FOR YOU ALL A WONDERFUL AND PEACEFUL HOLIDAY. To have a life free from fear and pain, to be surrounded by love and compassion, and time living kindness to yourselves and others. If one thing this journey has slapped me in the face with; we are only here for a short time, impermanence is a guarantee for all of us at some point along the way. Those we love will not be here forever, so put down those phones and tablets and spend some good quality time with others. LOVE THEM AND HOLD THEM CLOSE. That’s all that matters. NOTHING ELSE just Love and Kindness. HUGS AND MISTLETOE KISSES TO ALL. xxoo

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Back Down at Basecamp

It was a fast journey climbing through the death zone. Five weeks of radiation and TX, in addition to hyperthermia treatments done! Now I rest at basecamp with warm food, hot tea and sleep. I will allow my body to heal before going for the summit bid (surgery). No date set yet. Scans first which will happen in the next 4-5 weeks. I won’t lie, it was the toughest part of the climb so far physically and mentally. But this body is doing it and my mountaineering brain is trained to push through. #gratitude #loveandsupport #onestepatatime #fuckcancer #healingtime

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Climbing Into The Death Zone

Well, it was a fairly easy climb up to Camp 10. A few hard days, but overall considering, the weather has been in our favor and I am still climbing.

Eleven days ago, I entered the death zone* after 3 weeks of much needed rest lower down at base camp, it felt more like a mental break and of course a little healing time for the body. I was able to build up and heal the good cells.

Climbing in the death zone, finishing week 2 of 5, I feel my body is missing the O’s. Weaker, nausea off and on, cramping, and oh soooo tired. That is to be expected when climbing at this altitude. I am not able to take my VitC support as they say it will interfere with the climbing success, so this has recently lead to sniffles and a cold. Again, to be expected when the body is run down. The sun’s radiation hasn’t created many side effects yet, though it does make for frequent bathroom breaks. I join the others outside of our tents in the cool, crisp, thin air and try to avoid joining the poopie pants club…one does not want to unload in their climbing suit. Also, I won’t be putting sunblock up my butt to prevent the burn later;) So here’s hoping for more shade up there!

At this point, it’s vital to stay hydrated, well nourished and rested when I’m not climbing on acclimatization days. I know the days ahead will be more challenging as the air gets thinner and the route gets steeper, so I still take on this climb one-step at a time. THANK YOU MY SHERPA SUPPORT TEAM! LOVE YOU xxoo

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*When you continue climbing over 25,000ft/7,600 meters above sea level, this is called the death zone. No human / life can survive at this altitude for long due to the lack of oxygen. When you have oxygen deprivation you are vulnerable to altitude sickness, and it wears your body down. Essentially your body is beginning to die just being there.