About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taking what is helpful and leaving worry behind

You would think after 4 rounds of chemo, everything would go smoothly as the medical establishment and I get ready for round 5.  Yet again today, there was a slight mixup at the lab.  Or with Dr. P.  Or maybe it was somewhere in between.  I showed up at my appointed time at the lab to have the lady checking me in say that there were no orders in the system.  I asked her to call Dr. P's office and they told her that I had to see Dr. P first.  I explained that I saw him 3 weeks ago, and the point of my appointment with him later that morning was to go over the lab results that needed to be done NOW.  Without the order, she couldn't do anything.  So I told her that I would be back, and went over to Dr. P's office.  I waited until Dr. P's nurse came out, looking for me.  She had called the order over and the lab was ready for me. Great!  I went over and found a huge line had formed at the lab. Oh man! Luckily, the original lady saw me and motioned me to come up so she could process me.  No one in the lined dared to complain....I was in a turban.  Are you really going to give the cancer patient grief in this instance?   The phlebotomist who drew my blood was really nice.  When she poked me, I flinched a little bit and she apologized.  I told her it was okay, it is what it is.  She gently said, "Yes, but it still sucks."  I appreciated her tone. She was right.  It does still suck.

I had about 45 minutes to kill before my appointment with Dr. P while they tested my blood.  I went over to the pharmacy and got my Cipro, got a 20 ounce bottle of Dasani water and guzzled it.  (The vending machine took a credit card-how cool is that?)  Then I found a corner with a big chair and dug into my latest Vince Flynn novel, "The Third Option."  It was so good that I almost missed my appointment time!

My appointment with Dr. P was uneventful.  My counts were good, so chemo is on for tomorrow.  He sent a referral over to the Radiation Medial Group in Escondido. Kaiser doesn't do the radiation (rads) themselves, they contract with this other group.  My last chemo is December 3rd, Dr. P said I could probably start rads the week after Christmas. Nice! I'd like to get in as much in this calendar year as possible so I don't have to pay out of pocket.  Our family deductible of $3,000 will be at zero on January 1st.

I did my pre-chemo workout today at the gym, and made it a good one.  I did 60 minutes on the treadmill running intervals.  Then I did 30 minutes on the bike.  I didn't push it much on the bike, I just wanted to burn some extra calories to make up for a few pieces of dreaded Halloween candy I had after lunch.  My legs feel tired and it felt good.

I watched a very interesting documentary today called "Foodmatters." In a nutshell, it's about how nutrition can help people avoid illness and chronic disease, and even treat ailments.  They also talk about how the medical establishment ignores evidence of nutrition to the detriment of the population.  I guess some would call it an alternative approach, and I suppose it is. They take aim at traditional cancer treatments and claim that chemo and radiation actually do more harm than good.  Their point is that these treatments don't address the root cause of the cancer, but rather treats the symptoms. It's definitely worth checking out, and I plan on watching it again, hopefully with Eric.  It may ruffle his feathers a bit, because they do take aim at pharmaceutical companies and drug discovery.  Eric's company depends on companies and institutions doing research.  But maybe some of the information about nutrition will help him accept any further changes I make in our kitchen.

It is a little unsettling to watch something that basically says the treatment I'm getting is making me sicker and not doing any good.  I'm not going to second guess the treatment course that I am on at this point.  But I do want to take the lessons about nutrition as I go forward.  I want to learn more about juicing, superfoods, and vitamin/mineral supplements and use it in a complimentary way.  I do believe that food is medicine, and can help me avoid a recurrence of cancer. If I can get my family to go with it, it can help them avoid cancer and other diseases as well.  If the folks in this documentary are to be believed,  they can cure cancer through these approaches.  You've got to eat, so you might as well eat food that will make you as healthy as possible.

So tomorrow is round 5 of chemo. I'll be glad when its over, so I can look forward to only having one round left.  Pray for me that my body take it well, that the chemo proves to be an effective treatment for me. I also would like peace of mind that the course I'm on is a good one. I don't want to be freaked out thinking that its doing no good.  I'd like to take the information from that documentary that is helpful, and not dwell on their claims that are negative.

1 comment:

  1. Tonya, Hope your round 5 of chemo goes well today. I, too, sometimes question if this chemo stuff does more harm than good. Is the key nutrition? I wonder about that too. Do you have to do hormone therapy too? Your blog is informative and personal as well. Hope you can give me your opinions on mine when you feel up to it. It seems we have some stuff in common. I just finished chemo. www.nancyspoint.com