Healing Journey November 2004

November 5 • Done with Chemo “Light” ~

It’s taking me a long time to finish this entry. I have a lot to say and it’s been a while. If it’s too long just do some skimmin.’

Week ago, Tuesday, Oct. 26, I had my last chemo. I bounced into the oncologist nurse’s office and she said to me, “so this is your third?” and I replied, “no way, this is my fourth and LAST!” She asked me how it was overall, worse or better than I expected. I told her of my plan to go through Chemo differently than the norm and that it was “no problem,” I had done great with it, just like I had planned–plowing through the whole process. (Not that there weren’t some tough days.) The other good news that day was that my white blood cell count was up to 10. (It had been 4 the time before and .76 the time before that.

When I went to see Raven the week before chemo she encouraged me to eat some lamb for its blood building properties. I made a great stew and ate it for a few days. She also showed me the list of foods high in iron. Dulse and kelp were at the very top leading the race by a mile with their iron content. She told me of a liquid dulse which I found and began to add to my water.

And last, but not least, a few days before chemo came the Bone Marrow song. When the chemo nurse looked at my blood results and found the neutrofils were up to 10, she said, “whatever you are doing, keep it up, it’s working.” At this point, I sang her (and the oncologist who was there) the Bone Marrow song explaining that I figured this was one of the key reasons for the high count.

Check out the Gratitude CD for the songs written during this healing journey including “Oh Bone Marrow.”

Another story:
For the first cycle, I took the anti-nausea drugs that they prescribed The nurse told me that I should take them even before I felt nauseous that it was harder to stop if it started. So I took the drugs for 4 or 5 days following chemo. However, the side effects of the drugs were not appealing at all. I felt so “out of it” almost the whole time. I don’t think I realized it was those drugs. When the second chemo happened, I decided not to take the meds. I did experience a low level nausea for about a week and a half but it was not as bad as the side effects so I didn’t mind the tradeoff. On the third cycle, I was on the edge of “to take or not to take” as I felt worse after chemo. I chose to ride it out and it was ok.

Now this last cycle was a bit different. My good friend Musi came and spent the day with me the 2 days following chemo. She worked on her jewelry and fed me chicken soup and I lounged around like a princess. I did throw up (pardon me, oh weak of stomach) one time the day following chemo. Came real fast and left real fast and turned out to be a good thing because it relieved any nausea that I was feeling. On the third day, Dianna brought me breakfast and I did some more relaxing and actually that afternoon I was able to work and make the changes on Karen and Jim’s website.

I would have to say that my last round of chemo was the easiest overall. I had more energy and felt better. I am sure the acupuncture, herbal formula, work with Esther and dancing helped. Not to mention what I consider the key factor, ATTITUDE!

Again I wish to express my gratitude to spirit for being my guide on this journey and for all of the love that has been beaming my way. To quote another new song, “I turn my light on, you turn your light on, and we shine, shine, shine.” Especially important now.

P.S. I have begun to post the raffle prizes on the benefit concert page as well as those wonderful women who will be joining me in song.

November 18 • Gratitude for Abundance Overflowing!

Concert in just a couple of days! What an incredible experience. Rehearsals with powerful, dynamic women–tons of raffle prizes being offered. 15 original songs from the last 2 years and a few poems thrown in. I am so looking forward to sharing my expression and blessed creativity. Exciting!!

Who would ever think it a challenge to receive? It all feels so appropriate for the journey of the breast. Major lessons of receiving when perhaps the balance of nurturing to being nurtured was off. I am learning to graciously learn to receive and be loved. I have had overwhelming support from friends, family, loved ones and even casual acquaintances I’ve had for many years. As I have changed so has my interaction with community. I wish to thank each and every one of you.

And on the subject of generosity and support, I must tell of the gifts of a long-time friend. Years ago, Daniel Zatz, a then student at UCSC and budding videophotographer found me and my Bannana Slug song. He was in the process of creating a Banana Slug video with local children in the woods nearby. I joined him in a small recording cubicle at UCSC and we recorded my Banana Slug song for his video.

A few years later, he made a film of Grizley Bears in Alaska, for which I wrote “Oh Mama Bear, Oh Baby Bear.” I have received royalties over the years, sometimes a check for $1.86 for a quarter. Anyway, he recently learned of my story and he and his wife asked if there was any way they could help make my life better. I responded that I could use an iPod and that friends from Garberville wanted me to join them in Hawaii for Winter Solstice. Shortly thereafter, an iPod arrived in the mail. It is so cool! With an italk attachment, I have been able to record all of the rehearsals and send singers home with freshly burnt CDs. Wow!

And thanks to Daniel and his wife Lisa I was able to buy a ticket to go to Hawaii. I found a great deal and I leave December 14th and return January 11th. I sent word to the surgeon of my plan in hopes that I could do the “clean margin” surgery and have a couple of weeks before the trip to recouperate. As it turns out, I am able to wait until I return in January to have the surgery. Now I don’t have to worry about going in the ocean or carrying my luggage or the sun or anything like that. I will be able to build my strength and be even more prepared for surgery in January.

As I think I said before, I have a mammo and MRI on Novemeber 23, and a visit with the surgeon the next day. I am confident that she will tell me that everything looks great and we are ready for the next phase. I will likely have a dose of local radiation at the time of surgery with a few weeks of daily radiation following. I will be able to do the radiation in Santa Cruz so I won’t have to travel to SF for the daily doses.

That is the update for now.
In light, love and gratitude,

November 24 (started) Nov. 28 (finished) • Thank you Everyone

The Benefit Concert was over the top!

Thank you to EVERYONE for the part you played. Please pass this on to anyone you know was there–everyone who contributed their energy to create that synergistic evening of love and abundance. There were over 50 prizes donated full of love and healing energy. The concert page will remain archived and can be seen any time by cliking the flyer icon on the left. It was a total success and it will help so much in the months to come as I continue this western road.

More good news. Tuesday I had the mammogram and was supposed to have the MRI. One of the questions on the intake asked if I ever worked with metal. I filled in that I had filed, sanded, soldered and hammered copper. Because of that, I had to have my orbits* checked. Freddy, this great woman I met there, helped to pull it all off. She got the authorization for the test and walked me next door to have it as they snuck me into the lineup. But this meant I had to return the next morning at 8 to have the MRI as the technician had already left for the day. So that is what I did. After spending the night with my cousin Michelle, I went back to have the test I was scheduled for the day before. Luckily I wasn’t seeing Dr. Ewing till 2:oo in the afternoon and I had time.

*A footnote for the above
You may be wondering what “orbits” are. They are my eyeballs. Now I know there is no metal lodged in my eyeballs. If they had found any it would have kept me from being able to do the MRI because it can mess with your eyes.

The MRI went ok but had its share of discomfort. A good part is that I shared my “magic wand” with everyone I could along the way. Everyone who picks it up comments about its energy.

After the test, I strolled down Haight Street. I revisited a store where I made friends with a Tibetan shopkeeper. She gifted me with a prayer scroll of the Dali Lama the first time we met and when I went back to get one for my sister, she gifted that one too. This third time I brought her some copper spirals to choose from. She chose one of the keychains I had made. I was buying 2 minature figures and she went to the shelf and added Tara to the gang. The others were Djorge Samba, and Buddha.

This is the way it has been these days. Abundance on top of generosity, grounding in receiving and giving thanks constantly. “No separation ‘tween you and I.”

After spending some time walking around the Haight, I headed over to the Asian Art Museum. I am getting pretty good driving around some parts of the city. I learned today that you don’t even think of finding a parking place downtown.

I arrived at Dr. Ewing’s office ten minutes before my 2:00 apt. Around 4:00 I was taken back to a room and seen by an intern Dr. for another half hour or so before Cheryl Ewing came in. I sympathised what her day must be like to be this far behind. She took a look at me and we talked about plans, and she said the lumpectomy in Jan was gonna be e-a-s-y. I will have a sentinel node biopsy at the same time–which we both expect to confirm what we already know–that the node tissue is ALL GOOD. Then they send me home the same day. I am learning about the radiation to follow.

There are many stories to tell so we will pause here.