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September 23, 2015

Time to change things up a bit...

I am having some mixed emotions as I write this blog post. Currently, I am at the CoHo Inn, sitting on a sofa, my feet perched upon the coffee table as I feel the Oregon Coastal breeze blow softly into the hotel room, and the waves crashing in a unique rhythmic fashion, I wonder if they are trying to speak to me. The view from the sofa is amazing. The sun shining brightly as it dances off the deep blue ocean water, the water dancing around the rock clusters as the waves break and shatter to the color white. To me – this is just about as close to heaven on earth as one can get. Communing with nature, there is nothing quite like it. Yes, I would rather have my feet in the sand, the water splashing over my toes – embracing natures coastal ice cube bath. I know the limits of my physical body right now, and enjoying a walk on the beach and sand between my toes is not an option. Although, I will be looking for an opportunity to get close enough to the sand, without walking too much, to feel the energy of the earth rise up through my body; this is healing. 

I have completed 2 chemotherapy cycles consisting of 3 sessions within each cycle; totally 6 chemotherapy infusions. The past month, I have been rendered virtually home bound, due to the side effects of the Abraxane – that is the drug I have been allowing to enter my veins over the past two months. The side effects are particularly challenging because I am left with very little energy and deep body aches. If you have ever had the pleasure of having chemotherapy, you most likely know this feeling. My appetite has been significantly diminished – which is not exactly a bad thing as I am about 30 pounds heavier then when I had chemo the first go around. When you don’t have much body weight to work with and you are losing it, that can create a set of issues. So not to worry – my extra plump sista’ booty and thighs are serving me well! The side effects I speak of are the ones you can see, but then there is another set going on inside my body. Oh by the way, I did not mention losing my hair as a side effect, because I am way to sexy with this baldhead – it’s a bit unfair to those around me, so I do not want to even make you think that baldness is a Con – it is actually a Pro in my book.

I am so distracted by the ocean sounds, I am finding it difficult to continue on writing this update. You see, there are different ways to look at things – take the old adage, do you see the glass as half full or half empty? It is what it is and yet there are two different ways to consider the cup – positive, it is half full or negative it is half empty. To know me is to know, I am a half-full kind of girl AKA Queen of the reframe. After visiting with the oncologist, he was pleasantly surprised at how much of a rock star my body is. “you look really good” and “wow your body really responded to that chemo better than I imagined”. These are the types of things that you love to hear from your oncologist! The awesome thing that has been achieved from this chemo is that while I am taking chemo infusions, my tumor markers have nearly all returned back into “normal range”. I will share a graph that shows how well my body responded to the chemotherapy.

The dates listed are when I had chemotherapy and the test type is listed on the left hand side. As you can see – my tumor markers immediately began to decrease when taking chemotherapy. Once the number are below 31 – all will be within normal limits again. So what does this mean? It means the chemo is killing cancer cells. So when you look at this graph, you may be super stoked – but wait, there is another side of this too; so celebrate cautiously.

CA 125

It is fabulous that my body responded so well to the Abraxane, but this poison kills all my good cells along with the cancer cells. Chemotherapy can cause one’s body organs to begin to shut down due to toxicity. The side effects, like the newly experienced neuropathy on my feet is no fun at all. Continuing to do this aggressive chemotherapy regiment is not sustainable to life and living. I must make a choice at this juncture – because something has to change.

The oncologist is still talking life expectancy of perhaps being stretched beyond six months to a year, maybe longer – I got him to say the maybe longer reminding him that I am determined woman. Curtis and I have talked a lot about what to do next. I too have sat in silence considering my next steps. I can tell you that as I write this, the amazing beautiful ocean crashing below – a gentle breeze touches my cheeks – I know I am making the right choice for me, with the support of my oncologist. This week happens to be my chemo off week!  Yippee!!!!!! I really look forward to these weeks. I will still have my blood checked on Thursday, and if current trends continue, my tumor makers will have finally land into normal range. Next week, I will undergo at CT/PET scan to see if the tumors have shrunk and completely left my body – which would be so awesome!!!!! I will then take, what my oncologist calls “a chemo holiday” and stop chemo for a cycle as I resume my alternative practices. During this four-week period, I will monitor my blood weekly to insure that my tumor markers are remaining low. I will be focusing on taking care of my body – eating clean, allowing a great deal of rest, and remaining steadfast with my alternative practices that have kept me living a wonderful life for so many years. During this time period, if my tumor markers increase rapidly, which is statistically what typically occurs, I will need to make some difficult choices once again and perhaps get a bump of Abraxane.

My hope is that this Abraxane has killed off enough cancer cells, to give my body a chance to heal itself and get back to work. Our bodies heal broken bones – this is a miracle that we forget to acknowledge far too often. Healing  miracles happen every day; I am counting on my body healing itself and asking that the creator and angels that surround me protect me and help heal my body by removing all these cancer cells from my body – and for them never to return. I am realistic – but I too am super hopeful!

Please keep sending me letters and cards, I respond to each one I receive. Your letters of support keep me going, especially on those emotionally hard days. Many thanks to everyone that loves us and is supporting us in many ways. 

Please keep sending letters to:
Christina Garrett
PO Box 192
Philomath, Oregon 97370

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Today, I am hopeful~