Friday, August 26, 2011

Saying NO to Chemo


I thought this would get your attention and might even raise a few eyebrows.  It's not what you think so keep reading.  It has been a while since I have written because frankly I have not been in a good frame of mind.  Although I don't always have to be in the right frame of mind to write.  I knew you would understand.  I also believe there will be good days and not so good days considering.  Since my surgery, diagnosis and recovery I have been concentrating on just that.  Getting stronger.  Resting in the shadow of the Father's wings as much as I can. Part of my discovery was I found it very amazing how little time I spent just being with the Lord, alone.  To be honest I think it was much like my life, on the go and catch as catch can.  Well that all changed July 8th when the doc came into the room and said, "It's breast cancer".  Dang really?, was my first and immediate thought.  Then the onslaught of images, thoughts, concerns, misunderstandings, fear, misconceptions, and worry began to bounce inside my head.  Like a ping pong ball it would hit one side then bounce around and around off each side.  So I just let it bounce weighing all of it and giving all of it to God as best I could.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I have been an avid believer in homeopathic and natural meds and treatments for years.  So it was obvious for me to look into this sort of treatment.  I would even blurt out on occasion, "if I ever had cancer I am heading to Canada or Mexico".  At first I was considering that I had two options for treatment.  The traditional and the homeopathic through nutrition and supplements.  The traditional side had all the facts, numbers and stats on their side whereas the other did not.  The non-traditional had testimonials of proof that people had been healed, but still not much medical data.  This concerned me and my family, rightfully so, and with the aggressiveness of my type of cancer, I struggled with my decision.  I decided to get a second opinion at MD Anderson. They ran me through a battery of tests to see if the cancer had formed anywhere else in my body......gratefully all clear.   The doctor there described the cancer as a dandelion. We have killed the plant, now we have to go after any seeds that slipped through the lymph nodes.  So here is what I do what I could to marry the two and use what I know to aide in my recovery.
Once I was on my feet again after surgery I began a juice regime and supplement regime to slow down any cancer that might be left behind.  Cutting sugar, dairy and wheat from my diet was also key.  I saw my primary care physician who put me on a great supplement routine consisting in Flax Oil, Fish Oil, CoQ10 (which actually slows down cancer growth), Brocco Protect (derivative of broccoli), Preventive Ten, and Meriva Sr.  I put myself on Essiac Tea concentrate from Canada, Magnesium, Maitake Mushroom extract, Colodial Silver, Probiotic, Kavinace and Calunduala and Arnica for healing bruising and wounds.  Plus I was juicing two to three times a day eating only vegetables and only fish and chicken and wild game for red meat.  I felt strong, healthy and like I could take this on myself. Thinking I can do this.  Again all about ME.
Then came the realization in my families eyes that they were not on board with the idea and thought it selfish of me to consider anything else than traditional treatment.  I saw the fear in their eyes.  Then I read something from The Holy Experience that sent up a little flag for me.  Sometimes what we hear isn’t what’s being said.  I had to repent.  What I was hearing in my head was what I wanted to do, but not necessarily what God wanted me to do.  I fought hard to hang onto some sort of control........CONTROL.  That was the lesson Lord?.....OOOO ok.  I get it now.  I had already had one lesson in that when I had to let go after my surgery.  In the hands of my caretakers being blessed yet going from feeling out of control crying to uncontrollable  laughter.....sowing in tears reaping in joy manifested.   
So began the process.  How do I marry this feeling of wanting to do what I can to help my body with what I knew I had to do...... chemo.  I was still trying to make it about me and not giving all of it to God.  It felt like I had jumped into a fast moving stream and there was nothing to grab onto.  It was a scary.  I decided to walk with God through all the doors He opened, hunting and gathering as much material as I could, but came to a point where even all the info was too much and it was over saturating my brain.  For about three weeks it felt like I could not breathe.  With the reconstruction going on in my chest and literally not being able to breathe, I took refuge in God.  I kept His promises close and tried not to clutter anymore of my life, my thoughts or my time.  I rearranged furniture, cleaned out drawers and closets and felt as though that would help somehow aide in my uncluttering my mind. It did not.  I was still stuck in the stream trying to go against the current til one day I decided to go with the flow and picked up my legs and began to float downstream. 
Then came the week at MD Anderson.  Floating through tests, scans, pokes, prods, x-rays, barium drinking, blood drawing, iodine light me up tests that took two days.  Then I drove to New Orleans, because O yes I am planning a wedding in all this, to finalize floral designs and table scapes. Then back to MDA for more tests and results.  
Monday was result day so go through the usual, vital signs, nurse assessment, fellow doctor visit, then doctor discussions.  During my visit with one of the doctors on the team, I broke down, shut down, refuse to hear, rebelled and whatever else you want to call it.  I was done and ready to bolt.  Once again looked into my families eyes and knew I was trying to do it myself again, feeling that fast moving stream with nothing to grab on to.  I wanted (again there is that ME CONTROL) to wait til after the wedding to start chemo.   Did I not learn to let that go to God already after surgery?  Why did I pick it back up again?  When things in your life feel so out of control even the illusion of control or some semblance of it helps.  Even though I know in my heart God is in control of everything.   They said they liked to start at a certain point in time after surgery and wanted to start that day, or I could wait, BUT ( it was a Big But) I had to make that decision.  It made me feel as though the decision I was making to wait was not an ok one.  I needed them to tell me it was ok to wait or that I needed to start right away.  They couldn't (or wouldn''s what they are trained to do). 
I shut down.  
Finally my regular doctor came in and asked, "How are the wedding plans, how was New Orleans" like I was a real person.  Listen, don't misunderstand,  I know these guys are so smart and so grateful they are on my team.  She came over to me and said, " I hear you are struggling with something.  If we start now you will not have hair for the wedding."  I told her I did not care about that.  What I did care about was feeling good emotionally and physically for the wedding.  I just did not know how I was going to react to the chemo.  Then Labor day weekend was in there and they still had to do more tests and pre-op which would throw off my schedule, so asked if there was any reason she knew why I could not wait til after.  I want this wedding to be about my daughter and not about ME ( there it is again).   
Finally a branch was extended out into the fast moving stream and I found something I could grab ahold of when my doctor said, "I tell you what, I wouldn't let you start chemo today anyway, you are not ready and you need to be ready. So go have your wedding and we will start right after".   I asked worst case scenario if there were still cancer cells in my body would the chemo get it even if I wait and she said yes, the chemo WILL get it.  Somewhere in that conversation my heart and my mind finally connected and I felt peace.
What a gift that was for me that day.  I can now blend together the homeopathic and nutrition, continue to juice and help my body before and through treatment and come out much stronger in the long run.  Thank you Lord.  On our way home from Houston, William said to me, "You're back.  I was worried about you there for three weeks ".  I told him I was worried too, but trusted the Lord in the process. 
So now I say 
NO to chemo taking my life
NO to chemo separating me from family
NO to chemo damaging any part other than the cells it is suppose to get
NO to chemo having lasting affects on my organs
NO to chemo taking more of a role in my days ahead
NO to chemo keeping me from serving God
NO to chemo distracting me from what Jesus wants
NO to chemo stripping time
NO to chemo weakening The spirit within me
NO to chemo divorcing the marriage of nutrition and supplements as part of my treatment
YES to chemo getting in, getting out and get'er done.  Amen.  2 Cor. 12: 7-10