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.