Thanks everyone for all of the messages. I appreciate every click in my blog, so thank you for viewing, and thanks to those who leave comments too. I apologize that I don’t get back to everyone, but I know as part of my support team that you understand.
I have struggled a bit from the beginning of “going public” because this is a time where I should be going inward and spending a lot of time focusing on that quiet healing, rather than being so outward and sitting here typing on a blog (for instance what would seem to feed me more right now…a few minutes blogging in front of this screen or a few minutes of deep breathing, bathing my organs, maybe doing a few qigong exercises before going back to sleep for a few hours???) We all know the answer! But being on the computer, doing the ride, sharing my story with people on the road and in the media has all fed me in another and important way so I am really trying to strike a balance.
So, I have not talked much about the chemotherapy itself mainly in an effort not to bore! In a nutshell, I received two chemotherapy medicines (I prefer the term medicine to drug) Adriamycin (102 mg), and Cytoxan (1020 mg). I also received two anti-nausea medicines through the IV.
So, those medicines are currently cruising my body on a search and destroy mission targeting all rapidly dividing cells. This is why there are side effects such as hair loss, mouth sores, skin changes, among other crazy things you would never wish for yourself or anyone else. Someday perhaps they will find a way to target only cancer cells, but until then it is the best we have with the chemotherapy route. So, as I begin to experience these less than ideal side effects, I will go to a place of “Sweeeet! The medicines are working! Go medicine go! Nicole 10, cancer zero…. And btw don’t worry about me losing my hair in a few weeks (likely), I intend to rock the chemo/cancer patient look.
So, I am entering Day 4 and so far have experienced a small amount of nausea. I really can’t complain. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had Jin Shin Jyutsu treatment by Corliss Chan, a certified practitioner at the Marin Cancer Institute, while in the chair during chemotherapy as part of the integrative “whole person” program provided at the Center. The harp music in the chair was also beneficial on a healing level. Jin Shin Jyutsu facilitates the body’s healing capacity through helping balance its energy. It supports the body, mind and spirit through gentle touch, and helps many cancer patients experience reduced fatigue, anxiety, stress, and physical discomfort. Furthermore it increases energy, relaxation and just plain’ ol feels nurturing!
The following day in Arcata I had acupuncture treatment from Jessica Baker at Jade Dragon Medical Spa. She has been on my support team since before the cancer diagnosis as we were working toward getting rid of the lump through chinese herbs and mushroom tinctures and improving chi flow through my meridians. Really tumors are blocked energy, granted they are sometimes composed of gnarly cells that have gone haywire, or in my case, pleuromorphic (many changes). I believe big time in the ‘east meets west’ medical model, and Jessica was relieved to know that I was also following the medical route with our awesome local surgeon, Doctor Mahoney. At any rate, acupuncture as usual was relaxing and nurturing and I am sure helping me through these days.
The next morning I went to see Zena Bardelas of Misty Mountain Healing Arts, and got more of the above….qigong produces similar benefits as Jin Shin Jyutsu. There are external exercises (that you do yourself–like tai chi), and internal which are mostly performed on a table. I usually do a bit of both as Zena has been on my team a longtime too (pre-mastectomy), but post chemotherapy I opted to just jump on the table.
Frankly, I do not know what I would do without all of this “integrative” care. It makes me feel so good. Not only do these woman perform their healing powers via needles, hands, energy, but we sit and talk about what is going on before the sessions and I learn so much about diet, liver care, kidney care, and the importance of going inward. I think I am the only cyclist in the wind on the coast who wore a silk scarf! It is my new thing…keeping my body protected from the elements. The old Nicole would be flying around in a tank top in the wind. Especially during chemotherapy when I need to keep my immune system at full strength this is important, but it will serve me my entire life.