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February 23, 2012

The Results are in...

“I’m home,” I exclaimed as I leapt through the door of the Houston Yoga & Ayurvedic Wellness Center in Cypress, Texas. I was then met with a loving embrace from Sharon Kapp, my Ayurvedic practitioner. My check-up went well confirming my alternative treatments continue to be highly effective, my body is coming into balance and healing itself. The daily rituals I undertake are many with an emphasis on nutrition and supplements coupled with proper self-care. Each day my energy increases and mental clarity is returning.  Prior to departing for Texas, I underwent a battery of blood tests to check tumor markers, vitamin levels, white and red cell counts, and more.  I was most interested to learn my vitamin D levels. Ideally, they will measure 70-90; in Texas, they measured 22, and after my return to Oregon, they plummeted further to only 17. However, my latest tests revealed at measurement of 58! This is a HUGE success; 20 more points and I will be sitting pretty. Research indicates that individuals with low Vitamin D levels become highly susceptible to cancers; this is particularly true with triple negative breast cancer, TNBC. The second blood panel results I monitor are multiple tumor makers: CEA, 15.3, CA125, CA27.29. Fantastic news, all tumor markers remain within normal range. In short, the cancer cells are under control and contained. I am beating the odds, despite the less than favorable five-year prognosis this diagnosis carries. I am thrilled! My daily regiment is involved, yet it has become a welcome routine.

Choosing to forgo continued participation in society’s conditioned response to cancer, poison, cut, burn, at times is challenging.  The most marked shift is the response of those around me. When I looked ill, I was met with far-reaching compassion, understanding, caring attitudes, and responses from those around me. Now that I no longer look ill, many assume that everything is status quo. The truth is that yes, I am doing quite well right now however; I must continue to be vigilant with my treatment. If I become complacent, I may decline rapidly; my diagnosis is significant and serious. I appreciate friends and family who understand that in order to continue to beat the odds and remain healthy, I need their support, love, and understanding. I too understand that the casual observer witnesses a healthy, vibrant young woman, when interacting with me.  As a society, if an individual fails to present with an obvious ailment, we tend to make rash judgments; my hope is that our level of understanding will broaden while judgment diminishes.  

While in Texas, I was able to connect with my former chemo-buddy Angela; she has completed chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. She is doing fantastic, building her strength, and looks healthy.  We share a bond and an understanding; it is comforting to engage in conversation about tumor marker counts, physical changes, and our mental clarity progress. Equally, we spoke of our hair growing back, which is good and bad! Hair on your head, good. Hair everywhere else, not so good. Holy hair a sprout’n! Gift ideas for your post chemotherapy friends … gift certificate for hair coloring and in first place, body waxing! Enough said.

My sons are growing up~ I connected with three of my sons and met my new grandbaby Harmony. She is a doll-baby! Although my son is a teenage father, I was impressed by the way; he interacted and attended to his daughter; incredibly proud of him. My older son successfully transferred to Sam Houston University and is doing well. My other son is attending community college and struggling a bit. It was priceless listening to his two brothers directing him on what he needs to do to come correct. It was a beautiful moment! 

I final was able to celebrate graduating from college with my Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Springfield College in Springfield, MA; with a 3.88GPA - noted in frosting on the cake!  I actually graduated from the program in August 2011 and was to begin my graduate studies in Social Work at the University of Houston, when I was diagnosed with TNBC.  The celebration was fantastical and long overdue!

Recently, Jenny Smith and I have been working feverishly to organize and plan the benefit event, Shoot’n for Christina. We are excited to kick-off the event. It is a 3-Point Contest held at Corvallis High School on March 17, 2012 @ 10:00am. Proceeds will benefit the Corvallis High School basketball program and Christina’s Real Talk – breast cancer fund. We are hopeful attendance and participation will be good! Please join us.  Christina’s Real Talk T-Shirts have arrived; they look great! They are available for purchase online by clicking the link on my website.
Today, I am hopeful~