Note: What works for me, may NOT work for you. I am in no way trying to tell anyone what to do. I am not a scientist; I have an English degree. I teach and I write books. And I have a sincere interest in myself and what I need to do to live healthy so I can be here with the best family I could ever ask for. This is about the best choices for ME. I’m not advising anyone to try anything or make the decisions I make. You do you. Peace, Missi
Very short “about” because the details are endless and they will leak into the blog anyway:
On January 14, 2015 I was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer. January 15, 2015, I saw the oncologist who would take a chance on me. Big big big surgery on the sixteenth. Eighteen weeks of chemo after that. In remission for a little over a year. Small spot in brain (a few cells somehow escaped initial treatment and hid where the chemo couldn’t get (blood brain barrier). Had cyberknife in September of 2016. Twenty minutes–spot gone. No biopsy, but you know what the doctors suspect. I say if I don’t know I sure as heck ain’t labeling it cancer. Two months later at a follow-up I learned that the spot is completely gone and nothing new has formed. Will continue with follow-up appointments. Petscan around the same time as cyberknife. Two small spots found in abdomen. Too small to say for sure, so we waited another two months. Another petscan. One spot grew (was about a half inch), another appeared (very small), and one went away. Hmmm. CT guided biopsy showed malignancy in the one that grew. Chemo again. But … I decided to use one drug instead of two. Believe me, this was not an easy decision. I did a lot of research, weighed my options and figured I’d start with what felt right. I am not good at making decisions, especially when other people don’t agree with me, but when the doctors suggested carbo/taxol, I started asking questions. They said some people do very well on carboplatin alone, and agreed that I could always add the second drug if needed. I believe cancer is very much a psychological issue and the reason I had a recurrence in the first place is because I pretty much willed it to happen. It’s all I thought about after I finished the chemo the first time. I have had two treatments and will soon have a CT scan to show that the two places are gone and that no others have formed. The one piece of advice the doctor gave that I ignored the first time around is that I have to be positive. That’s what needs fixed, so that’s what I’m fixing. I’m not one for denial or merely survival. God gave me will for a reason, and I plan on using it. Hence the title of this blog–Will it. Win it.
I have a lot to say, not sure where the blog will lead from day to day. I hope it helps someone. The first time around I was too embarrassed to share. This time, I’ve shared through a few posts on Facebook (super weirded out by it but totally overwhelmed by the loving response from so many people). When I was asked to do an interview with the Royal Examiner, I agreed. The day after my first chemo I spoke with Norma Jean Shaw, who wrote an online article. I had no idea it would receive such a response.
I’m not trying to be some cancer poster gal, but you’ll probably learn a lot about this disease if you read this blog. Really, I see myself as a woman doing what she has to do to make her journey successful. I will make it to eighty-five. Maybe longer. You just watch and see. How do I know? Because if I will it, I win it.
Change your mind, change your world.
With God ALL things are possible.
Oh, the Things I’ve Changed
I am a firm believer that if I get sick, there is a cause. Also, I am a doer. I have to fix the problem. Do my part. I’ve fixed a lot over the past couple of years. The only aspect left to fix, really is my attitude. I’ve been positive in glimpses, but now I know it is probably the most important aspect of winning. That and faith, which has grown tremendously. Don’t think for a second I didn’t spend some time pretty angry with God. I asked why me and I felt sorry for myself and my family, but let me tell you, wallowing in self-pity only creates for a negative outlook. I had to cut that crap out. Not always easy, but I’ve come a long way. I think what I’d like to do is list some of the lifestyle changes I’ve made and perhaps focus on one or two over the next several posts. I’ve made all of these changes to be a healthier person. Some changes I’ve made to kill cancer cells–also healthier. Here’s the list:
* have faith in God
*drink wheat grass (I drink Evergreen WheatGrass Juice that I buy from the local health food store, Better Thymes)
*take vitamin D
*take a multi-vitamin
*drink green tea (The best deal is the four-pack online purchase through Amazon.)
*drink bone broth (good for your skin)
* eat a Paleo diet (I made this change over a period of months. Little changes made for easier transition.)
*exercise (Before, I was a chronic exerciser. I ran thirty miles a week. Some would say this was too much oxidative stress on my body. I agree. So, I modified my exercise program, still run but not nearly as much. I’ve incorporated more strength training and hiking. Check with your physician before starting an exercise program.)
*see a chiropractor for manipulation and acupuncture (I have my first appointment today. I’m interested to see how this can aid in healing, but I’ve heard a lot of good things.)
*drink a lot of water
*try to get a decent night’s sleep (Unfortunately, I’ve been up since two this morning. I receive steroids prior to chemo. Since I had chemo yesterday, the steroids don’t allow for a good sleep the first night. I will likely be in bed early tonight.)
*use cast iron and stainless steel for cooking
*make sure the rooms I am in are well-ventilated
*buy organic (You can find lists of what to absolutely buy organic. I’ll post one at some point. No matter what, I always soak my vegetables and fruit in vinegar water then rinse. It cleans the food and makes it last longer.)
*use paraben free shampoos, conditioners, and body washes.
*use the healthiest cleaning products I can find. (I like Nature’s Promise a lot.)
I’m sure there’s something I’ve left off this list. I’ll add if I think of anything. I think I’ll use this list to create topics to blog about. That way I can go in-depth about each.
It’s 2:45 and I know I’m not ready for bed. Think I’ll try to read or crochet or something (I’ve already unloaded the dishwasher and made tea). That’s another thing … having hobbies is good. Especially hobbies that cause me to focus intently on what I am doing. Perhaps I should write another book.
PS Shout out to good ‘ol Dr. Seuss. His birthday is coming up (March 2). The title of this post was inspired by his book titled, Oh the Places You’ll Go.
January 21, 2017
A Difficult Decision
When I learned that I was going to have to have chemo again, I was told I’d have to take the same drugs as last time–carboplatin and taxol. I couldn’t fathom it. I’d lose my hair again. It took so long to grow it back the first time. I hated looking in the mirror and seeing someone sick looking back at me. Beyond that, however, I simply had this feeling that I shouldn’t have the taxol. I knew that the volume of disease was a thousandth of what I had before and that there are women who receive only carboplatin. I did some research, and, long story short, I chose to receive only carboplatin.
This decision was not easy. I had two oncologists telling me I needed both drugs. One told me I could do one or both drugs, but that he’d go with both drugs. The other said some women do very well on carboplatin alone, but he still recommended both. At first, I said okay to both. I researched cold capping. My mom bought the caps for me. I was all set to move forward with carbo/taxol, but it was right before Christmas and I was stressed about feeling less than 100% over the holidays, not to mention I wasn’t comfortable enough with the cold capping process. I decided to have one treatment of carboplatin before the holidays, then start both drugs after. I got through the first treatment, felt tired and nauseous for a few days, but I was able to work every day, and I looked normal on the outside. By the time the second treatment date rolled around, I knew I couldn’t take the taxol. Every time I thought about it, I felt sick. I told the doctor I wanted to do carboplatin alone and add taxol only if needed. He said I’d need the taxol. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but I stood my ground.
Here’s why it was difficult: I had family members opposed to my decision. Friends who questioned what I was doing. A preacher (not mine) who advised taking both drugs. Televangelists would preach the word and some of what they said made me question my decision. I prayed about it, but I wasn’t sure if God was with me or if my ego was making the choice. When Joyce Meyer said, and I’m paraphrasing, that sometimes people make decisions and ask God to go along with them rather than asking God and letting Him lead, well, I was certain I’d made the wrong decision. But I could not change my mind. Though worried, my husband completely supported my decision, as did our children. I could only hope I wasn’t messing up in a major way. I kept telling myself I could add the taxol if needed, that my body would remain sensitive to the carboplatin, that I was doing the right thing.
When it was time for blood work and a CT scan, I tried to postpone the scan until after the third treatment. My primary oncologist wanted the scan after the first treatment, but the medical oncologist said he wanted to do it after the second. When the time came for the scan, I wanted more time for the chemo to work. I didn’t want to know. I’d remained pretty positive and upbeat, and I couldn’t imagine bad news, but I wasn’t ready. In the end, I had the scan about a week after my second treatment.
Prior to receiving the results, I had a talk with God. Like I mentioned, I’d been pretty positive and upbeat, but there were times I struggled. I asked God to let me know if I’d made the right decision. I told Him I certainly hoped I wouldn’t make a choice based on what my ego wanted. I needed to know if I was doing what God wanted me to do. l told Him His answer would have to come from somewhere unexpected–I knew I wouldn’t believe someone close to me. I’d simply think they were trying to make me feel better.
I said this prayer the first week in January. That very day, a woman I’d messaged back in October or November, sent me a message. I’d found her on the internet. She is a twenty-seven year survivor. She apologized for not getting back to me before and gave me her email address to contact her. I did. I told her a little bit about my story and sent the message. She responded that day, saying that when she recurred, carboplatin and taxol were both new drugs and that her doctor had her receive carboplatin only, saving the taxol as a just in case. She never needed the taxol. The cancer never returned. I knew then that God was telling me I’d made the right decision. I knew before the CT scan results that I was fine. Don’t get me wrong I worried some, but I was always able to get back to a place of peace.
After two treatments, my blood work is normal and the CT scan showed no evidence of disease. I saw my primary oncologist last Thursday and he told me I’d made the right decision. I will continue treatment of carboplatin only as it is customary to have a series of chemo even if the numbers and scan are good.
I learned a lot from this situation. I learned that the devil will use anyone to try and trip you up–family, friends, even preachers. I learned to rely on the still small voice inside of myself. I learned that is God’s way of speaking to me.
Thanks for reading.