Friday, July 16, 2010

This time will be different, I know it will, I know....

I'm tiptoeing.... chuckling with naughty scheming and hoping that if I don't spell out the dynamic from which I've brazenly stolen copyrighted artwork (taking 5 minutes just to get the spelling right on that one), I won't get my butt kicked. Well, they can wag a finger and I'll change the image. I'm using it for now.

Awhile back I wrote about how pleased I was to have reconnected with my oncologist, feeling confident in being, as best as I could, a walking miracle. Look, dude! Now nearly 18 months without conventional cancer treatment, and by the Grace of the Living God, I am pretty darn well!

I believe I am a person to him. I'm also a set of lab values. He's a scientist, not Mother Theresa, even though he's quite nice. So when I get bent out of shape with my numbers, I pray. I do a few things differently with all parts of me. I pray some more. When Dr. K catches sight of a worrisome lab value, what do you think the man wants to do? I was Charlie Brown all over again. This time it'll be different. He'll pat my hand and say, "Well done, keep doing what you're doing!"

He's a conventional oncologist. And they always seem to need to DO something.

So I'm revisiting a year ago February, when my inner guidance was whispering, "Take a break from all this; enough already."

Basically, the past three lab reports (April, June, July) have been pretty decent for me. A mild dip in platelets and neutrophils in June egged me on (ar-ar-ar) to realizing that when I'm a 100% pure vegan, as perky as I feel, my counts seem to dip. Fine! I'll eat shoe leather if I feel it'll help me! So back comes a few servings of grass-fed or otherwise organic, sustainably-raised (or caught) animal protein. Oh. Neutrophils dipped back down to point-four have they? Make some changes.... and voila! Praise God! Last labs showed point-seven!

With prayer and heartfelt healthful shifts, I notice that the lab values improve.

What does a conventional oncologist want to do? Cheer me on? No. Of course not. Dr. K brought up the June numbers and said, "I want to see you again in a month and talk about treating your myelodysplasia with Vidaza." Why do I stop breathing when the conversation shifts like this, all the while smiling and making believe everything's okay? I paused. "I have done some research on that," I quipped lamely, "and I wasn't impressed with the effect it had on longevity."

"There are new studies," said he, "where significant amounts of time have been added to the lives of those with this disease." I breathed less. "I'll look into it some more," I said woodenly. Up until that time, it was a pleasant visit where we traded compliments and a few stories while he looked down my throat and poked at my belly a bit.

My anger doesn't always surface immediately. I still whistle in the dark. I felt no visceral fear walking through the Cancer Center in Berkeley as I had back in late April. But one word - Vidaza (Google it if you choose) - set me off.

That's what they do. They "treat."

This isn't my "treat." I thought Lucy would hold the football and I'd kick it and we'd be able to play. The good doctor, and bless him for it, is looking for something to do. And I am not going to do it.

For the bean counters (if there are any), for the past three labs my WBC has been 1.5, 1.4 and 1.57; my platelets have been 110, 101 and 110; my ANC (neutrophils) have been .6, .4 ("critical") and .7. I am praying them higher, first and foremost. And I'm doin' all that other healthy stuff I burble on about regularly.

I have today. And this Monday is my Birthday! I'm still here, I still love The Lord, and the gift of today reminds me that on or off this planet, God loves me, too.


  1. I so admire your choice. Far too often well meaning doctors want to push drugs onto people. My friend had a heart attack at 51 last year and has grown sicker with all the additional medication. One week off the meds and he gained weight, slept better and feels better.

    Agree with research on your own, even though it is time consuming. Hugs and smiles and livin in today from Reno!
    Rae Gina

  2. What else would you have the doctor do? Is there any possibility that there is a magic wand in the desk drawer that he chooses not to use? Your numbers look like the DJA, and no one knows which way it will go next. How would you feel if he said "Since only 15% are helped by this, I'm not even going to suggest it. Instead, let's kneel and pray."?

    You don't go to an auto mechanic to buy vegtables. For all the trappings and technospeak, this is probably all he's got.

    Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!

    There. That's for the next three years.

    Ine Braat (a person of amazing artistic vision) gave this wish to me, and I pass it on to you. I wish for you...

    "Comfort on difficult days
    and smiles when sadness intrudes.
    Rainbows to follow the clouds
    and laughter to kiss your lips.
    Sunsets to warm your heart
    And hugs when spirits sag.
    Beauty for your eyes to see
    and friendships to brighten your being.
    Faith so that you can believe
    and confidence for when you doubt.
    Courage to know yourself,
    and patience to accept the truth.
    Love to complete your life"


  3. Good for you for doing what you think is best. I do agree with bmw, though, that if you're looking for veggies you don't go to a mechanic! Your doctor isn't entirely innocent but he is "drawn that way" by his schooling and experiences. In many ways he can't help his reaction to your illness and while I am totally on your side in not wanting to deal with another drug I'm not surprised in the least that he suggested it.

    Happy birthday!!!!! May you have many, many more years of happy, healthy living before you! We love you bunches!

    PS There is no evil in eating meat, else why would Creator have made the world the way it is? Even the most devoted ungulate eats a bug now and then. The way I see it, the only evil is in being unkind or uncaring of the animals that sacrifice themselves for us- and you practice such devoted mindfulness and respect in your life that I can't see any harm in it at all.

  4. Happy Birthday, Diane!

    I hope you get to do/be/eat/celebrate stuff that brings you birthday joy and happiness today.

    I empathize with holding one's breath and wanting to hear the oncologist say, "It's all completely perfect and totally better, and it will stay that way forever." They never do say that... I think we only get to hear that once, and it wont be from an oncologist. Anyway, if ever it was actually to be perfect, there would be nowhere for numbers to go but down.

    In the midst of imperfection, I wish you a
    Happy birthday...a great day full of birthday joy!