My mind has been filled with many thoughts over the past several weeks; organizing them remains a challenge. As I write I am plagued with considerable menopausal hot flashes, oh how enchanting at 40 years of age … lucky girl. The after effects of chemotherapy – the gift that keeps on giving. It is hard to believe it has only been four short months since being diagnosed with TNBC. I would like to find peace, clarity, and answers to questions and situations that weigh heavy on my mind as of late. Last evening, I stared off into a grand black and white scenic print of the Eiffel Tower hanging on my bedroom wall. My husband noticed tears falling from my eyes; he gently began stroking my head that resembles a blossoming chia pet. Sensing that I was somewhat lost, he offered comforting words as I expressed my fears, hurt, deep sadness, and doubt. Is all this worth it? Is it even working? Do you realize this will always be looming in the shadows? I am only 40 years old and facing the idea of death; I have written about this many times prior, yet it still looms from time to time. It is strange; the feeling unsettling.
I must seek answers to my own questions – Is this worth it? When I say this, I am referring to treatment of TNBC whether it is western or alternative modalities. Clearly for me, chemotherapy was not worth it. Chemotherapy was slowly killing not only cancer cells but healthy cells while depleting my senses and entire body system. Fact, chemotherapy prematurely thrust me into menopause at 40 years of age. I am hopeful this will conclude the collateral damage. Fact, yes this is worth it, I am alive!
Is this even working? Fact, yes what I am doing is working and I have the empirical evidence to support this finding. Since moving back to Oregon my heart rate has dropped from a whopping 97 – 103 (bpm) to 62 – 79 (bpm) and my blood pressure dropped from 138 to 103. For the most part, my blood work looks good. Tumor markers remain in normal range and white cell, red cell, and platelets counts are nearing normal range. This is all positive news. There continues to be areas of concern that I am working on, for example my liver function tests were elevated and my hormone levels indicative of menopause that is here to stay. The SmartPort removal was a relief and psychologically supports my decision to stop chemotherapy treatments. I was able to decline anti-nausea and pain medication following the port removal surgery. This is a good sign that what I am doing is working. My body is becoming healthy.
Do you realize this [cancer] will always be looming in the shadows? I do not have the answer for this one as of yet. Why? The answer is quite simplistic. I do not want TNBC to be looming in the shadows of my life therefore I do not want to give it undo attention and focus. I make every effort to live in the present; not the past nor the future. I want to enjoy today. I do not choose to worry about what if scenarios – this would surely reduce my life span significantly. I am aware of the statistical data and the endless array of what if scenarios; I am not in denial of my diagnosis. Triple negative breast cancer is not who I am nor does it define me; I am most certainly not going to place TNBC at the center of my world. Why would I choose to give this enormous power to cancer … no way!
There are many questions from friends about my current treatment modalities, most notably, Ayurveda. Recently, a dear friend, tears welling in her eyes, said that she wished science supported Ayurveda as a treatment for cancer. My response – I am not looking for cure to cancer, I am seeking to balance my body. If my body has the ability to heal itself, it will. In order to create the most conducive healing environment, I must build my immune system and bring my body into balance. Another question is, are you still doing all your alternative stuff? It seems that since I no longer am undergoing chemotherapy that many people think that everything is great with my health, I can go get a job, and resume living my life as though nothing happened. I giggle a bit, inside myself, when I hear this one. The answer is heck yes I continue with my alternative modalities! My body did not get out of balance overnight and it surely will not self-correct overnight either. This is a lengthy process, not a quick fix. Sadly I am unable to participate in all the modalities I need on a regular basis as we cannot afford them – insurance does not cover any of these practices with the exception of acupuncture. As far as seeking employment, I would LOVE to work! However, my full-time job right now is to get healthy. Therefore, work must wait.
Finally, there is the idea of collective consciousness. I have numerous individuals who believe that I will conquer this diagnosis and will live to grow old. I have several individuals who believe I have already beaten the odds. Then there is my sweet teenage girl that I mentored in Texas who has professed not once but twice on FaceBook that I am cured! You know, I am going with her declaration because it sounds perfect to me. When the collective conscious is that I am healthy and cancer free, it has the ability to make this a reality. Living in the present. Believing and imagining healing and good health.
Today, I am hopeful~