Monday, March 31, 2014

Fueling My Cancer-Fighting Army

As I continue to recover from this latest surgery, I can't help but reflect on all of the components that have been going into my recovery and are continuing to keep cancer away. (Update on the surgery: The great news is I'm healing very well.  While the plastic surgeon needed to remove the expander due to infection, it apparently is pretty common. I'll get a new one in a couple of months and am still on track to have my reconstruction this fall). 

If my amazing cancer-fighting cells are the soldiers and generals waging the ground war, there is an entire arsenal of tools keeping them nourished and motivated in their efforts.

A mess hall filled with nutritionally rich food. In order for the troops to thrive, they've got to eat well, right?  Thanks to the great research and guidelines provided by my Angeles Hospital doctors, I now know exactly what fuel I should give my army.  I know I'm bathing my cells in the nutrients they need to perform their perfect functions. My diet is now rich in the right ratios of organic vegetables, fruits, proteins and healthy fats, without the toxic chemicals, processed ingredients and inflammation-causing foods that can create a domino effect of unhealthy reactions.  It's been surprisingly easy to maintain the diet and I feel vibrant and full of energy.

An arsenal of supplements.  Meet my supplement arsenal.  How's this for an armory of weapons?!

Sadly, that Mr. Beer is not brewing up cerveza.  That's a batch of healthy probiotic kombucha tea. Dave's translating his home brewing talents to create new concoctions that better fit our new lifestyle.

I'll admit this one is creating a little more of a challenge, and it's not the cost of the 17 different supplements I need to take each day, several times a day or knowing what to take on an empty stomach or with food (by the way, please don't be offended if in the middle of a conversation I need to put you on hold to gulp down several horse pills; the system is intricate and precise).  The hardest part has been finding a pill box that can accommodate them all!  I'm officially 36 going on 90, as I take more pills than most nursing home patients.

Logistics aside, if this is the price of admission to a long and healthy life, it is more than worth paying.  I'll just have to find a way to make prescription pill boxes fashionable.

Letters from home.  Much as soldiers need letters of love and hope while they're away on the front, I'm learning that I need to give my own cells positive affirmations and reminders of my confidence that they are succeeding in their efforts. There is so much research on the power of positive thinking in the healing process.  The great news is that I have officially been vindicated for all these years of talking to myself.  I'm fully embracing the power of my personal pep talks, using everything from meditation to visualization to guided imagery to direct and support my cells in their purpose. 

A legion of helpersMr. Rogers has said that in times of crisis, you have to look for the helpers.  No matter how scary things may seem, they'll be right there in the thick of it, offering up their gifts.
As I face my own little crisis, I am constantly reminded of the power of the helpers who are bolstering me and my little army of cancer-fighting cells.  There has been no shortage of them rushing in with their offerings:

  • The scores of amazing friends and family who have shared their love, support and  generous gifts of prayer, flowers, food, babysitting, books, kind words and so much more.  

  • The doctors and nurses who are blessing me with their passion, talents and experience.  

  • The smorgasbord of so-called "alternative therapies" we've been leveraging, delivered by loving healers. This includes our Dr. Beth, who acts as both chiropractor and therapist, and our wonderful neighbors who have been providing regular reiki treatments to the whole family. Through these treatments, we are keeping our minds, bodies and energy fully aligned and focused on healing and light. 

And there are so many more.  I marvel at the fact that no matter where I'm at in my journey on any given day, someone shows up to give me exactly what I need at that very moment, whether it's a revitalizing thought, a fresh perspective, a laugh or a hug.

Plenty of faith  Undoubtedly most important in this journey has been my faith and relationship with God, which has been further strengthened at each step along the way.  I know this is all part of His plan for me and take comfort in knowing He's with me at every turn, gently guiding me down the right path, putting exactly the right people in my life for a reason and giving me comfort when things are overwhelming.  I have no doubt in the power of the prayers I have said and that are being said on my behalf by so many kind souls.  They are at the heart of all of this healing that's going on inside me right now.  

And so as I continue down my path, I'll try to look for ways I can pay forward the love and gifts that have come my way and work to discern the lesson of each step of this journey.

As for this last particular setback, I think the lesson in it (among others, I'm sure) is that I needed to be reminded that there's power in each step of the journey and that it's a marathon and not a sprint.  While I have already seen great results in my healing, this is going to be a process that will take time and I need to fully experience each stage.  There will be highs and lows, progressions and set backs, and I will need to remind myself that each is happening for a reason.  

This latest development showed me that I need to slow down and stop focusing on returning to "normal" or mourning my inability to return to how things were.  The past is past, and while my new normal may look different, I will embrace it because it's going to be beautiful, as it's all part of God's plan for me.

So thank you to the helpers - whether you think of yourself as one or not, trust me: You ARE.  I'm honored to have you on my team and my whole army is immensely grateful for your contributions.  


Erin Larkin said...

I finally had the chance to read your are amazing and such an inspiration! I will continue to keep you in my prayers!

Kelly Stofko said...

What an amazing journey you have been on. Your blog is a clear dedication to being the best you can with the situation at hand! Thank you so much for sharing. Continue to be the amazing person you are and well wishes with the continued success and positive outlook. I will keep you and your family close in my thoughts! Oh course lastly I appreciated the Kels humor! Hats of to you!

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