The State of Affairs v.8.
Its been awhile since I’ve done one of these, so let’s play catch up.
If you haven’t been around social media lately, you may have missed the big update – my CA125 dropped from 198 to 68 in the time since I stopped doing chemotherapy. If you’ve been in this for the long haul with me, you might notice that this new number is significantly lower than it ever was during chemo (my low on that protocol was 134).
So what do I attribute this to?
Actually listening to God and my soul.
The truth of the matter is that chemotherapy never felt “right” to me. Not in the “it made me sick and I was on death’s doorstep” kind of not right, but the deep in my gut “this is not healing what really ails me” kind of not right. This disease was brought on my emotional causes, rather than physical ones, and that was where my real healing had to happen.
As much as I’ve fought it for as long as I can remember, I am a sensitive creature. And for 37+ years I haven’t been able to separate my own emotions from others – instead taking much of their negative energy in like a sponge in an attempt to keep them from pain. What I didn’t realize was how much turmoil it was actually causing in me.
But I digress.
So what did I do in that month that could have caused such a dramatic drop in my numbers?
Because I finally felt well enough, I was able to return to a regular prayer and meditation practice. I wrote affirmations that I could use each day to help rewire my brain – and in turn, my body. I continued to work with my therapist, trauma coach, and intuitive to untangle my physical body from the energetic and emotional patterns that have never served me well. I continued my twelve step work. I was finally able to make the shift to a vegan(ish) diet.
But perhaps most important – right in the middle I traveled to Floyd, Virginia. I will give you all a detailed update this week on exactly what healing modalities I learned about there and how that trip really affirmed for me that a significant part of my long-term survival from this disease is going to be found in places like this. But for now I will say that I physically felt my body healing in those mountains. As in – my hair actually grew at an exponential rate. Pains in my abdomen vanished. Bloating that could have been attributed to fluid disappeared.
So I am very optimistic that my trip to Sedona, Arizona next month will have a similar effect and drop those numbers even more.
* * *
Unfortunately, chemo ending doesn’t mean all the side effects just up and disappear. I am struggling with extreme bone pain in the mornings (which apparently can also be attributed to menopause). I am also still feeling the effects of chemo brain – my memory simply isn’t what it once was and it takes much longer for me to read and understand than it did in the past. There is hope that this will clear up after a year, but it’s a difficult thing to accept for someone who finds some of the greatest joy in life from reading. I also have residual problems with my IT band from the sciatica I experienced after surgery. This has taken me out of the running game for a while, but I am still hoping to walk the Richmond half in November.
And hot flashes. My word. I'm pretty sure one of these days someone is going to find me in a bikini in my office because I just get that hot. I'm not allowed on any kind of hormonal therapy since mine is in theory a hormone induced cancer, so I'm taking supplements and trying my best to manage these that way, but I still find myself stripping down once and hour or so and sleeping through the night still hasn't come to pass. Someday.
* * *
I am slowly working on implementing the therapies Dr. Bush has prescribed, but I’ll admit that most of them are turning out to be cost prohibitive. Since folks have asked, I’ll give an example: only one person in Richmond offers the high dose Vitamin C infusion therapy I need, and its looking like a cost of $300/week (I’ll save you the math – that’s $1,200 a month). And that’s just one of the many treatments he wants me on. So I am slowly working out the financial piece as well as how to fit even more appointments into my life.
Back when this whole thing began, I told God I wasn’t going to fight for anything. If He didn’t make it obvious that I was meant to use something in my healing I wasn’t going to use it. So I’m trying to take a step back and see what presents itself from this long list of treatments and just move forward with those.
* * *
My spiritual director told me last week that I seem more alive now than I did before all this happened. I asked him what he meant and he explained that a year ago I seemed like I was scrambling – frantically trying to figure out what the next right thing was, trying to ensure I wasn’t making a mistake or making the wrong step. I was searching and searching. Now, he said, its as if I am sitting still, listening, and letting the right things come to me.
If that’s the definition of alive, then I do believe he might be correct. I am more alive now than before.