Journal Entry #60
Hard to believe that this is my 60thpost. When I started the journey and Tim encouraged me to write, I didn’t realize I would be writing the equivalent of a book! Nevertheless, journaling has proven to be extremely helpful not only documenting the journey, but also helping me sort my thoughts, feelings and everything in between. So, I will continue to write.
My last several entries have been about the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of healing. That doesn’t mean that the physical healing isn’t happening. All of these planes of my existence are healing simultaneously and intricately with one another. It seems as though in order for one element to heal the others have to chime in too!
I am still healing all the things we cannot see. The wound on my foot has been fully closed for about a month now. The tissue feels stronger, although I don’t trust it enough to soak it, swim or go in the hot tub yet. There is a deeper itch happening under the scar and around the scar, but I don’t dare scratch! To me, this is a sign that those deeper tissues are finally healing and reconnecting. The bugs feasted long and deep in the foot, penetrating vessels, muscle tissue and the lymphatic system too. I am able to wear socks now, but I haven’t yet tried to put my foot in a shoe. The last shoe I wore was my curling shoe back in March…and curling season is just around the corner!!! I am keeping my fingers crossed!
Last week I had a Brain MRI. What an experience that was! I can’t believe how noisy those machines are…and with my head caged in, eyes closed, headphones on it was still so loud! I was thankful that I am not claustrophobic, however, even those who aren’t claustrophobic would find that experience difficult! I practiced slow breathing, counting 158 inhales during the 20 minute scan.
Fortunately, the bugs did not eat my brain.
The MRI results have shown that everything is intact, and there are no marked explanations for the 17 week headache that I have been suffering in conjunction with the brain fog. The doctors agree that it is likely chemically induced and/or a lack of micronutrients reaching the brain.
I have had so many doctor visits, oodles of bloodwork and other tests, so, you could imagine my excitement when I got “the letter” in the mail telling me I was due for a PAP. So, I was poked and prodded even more this week.
I am still doing IV Therapy with Dr. Katrina biweekly. Although most of my bloodwork has come back within the “normal” ranges, there is no way to test for the trace minerals or elements that are required within the body for optimal function. We believe the symptoms I am experiencing are due to a lack of these elements because I became so depleted and dehydrated both during Chemotherapy and the month post treatment. Looking back, I seemed to be worse post treatment than I was when I was actually taking the drug. Weird right?! As the Miltefosine levels rose in my body, I got progressively worse. And Miltefosine stays active in the system for 48-60 days post last dosage. Typically, I feel amazing for 3-4 days after an IV infusion. Dr. Katrina mixes up the bag of nutrients based upon the latest bloodwork and current symptomology. The last infusion, left me a little out of sorts. She added in Chromium and a few other nutrients to cross the blood-brain barrier to help clear out the “chemo-brain” and also a few other trace nutrients to help level out the erratic heart rate I have been experiencing.
Daily, I have a routine of plant medicines to help support detoxification of the body, boost immune function, inspire healthy response of the adrenal glands, generate energy, and help improve brain function. My morning dosages of capsules, tinctures, powders and gels seems to be a meal in itself. The afternoon dosages are much smaller and the evening dosages are only 3 capsules. My body is working hard, fighting the good fight to find its way back to homeostasis.
I am still using CBD oil in the evenings for inflammation and gut healing. I use cannabis – an equal blend of THC and CBD – only as needed now for pain and to settle anxiety. If I need a lasting support, I take it in oil form, if I need more immediate relief, I use a bud through vaporizer. Did you know that cannabis can actually help regenerate liver cells? Did you know it also helps regulate the fight or flight response, preventing the adrenals from going into overdrive?
So many benefits of cannabis that previously, I had no idea existed.
Three days a week you will find me in the infrared sauna for about 30minutes. This is helping pull the toxins out of my body that the tinctures are helping to mobilize from my organs. 2-3 days a week I do a sugar/salt scrub on my body to achieve the same effect. It is only the end of September and the summer sun has already been scrubbed off of my body! Dry-brushing is my least favorite task, so I only do it 1-2 times per week. The skin is the largest organ in the body, so it makes sense that we use it to draw the toxins out. Plus, my bum has been thankful for the break, and I am happy to report that it is all healed up now. Although, I must say, I have really missed ‘corn on the cob’ season this year!!!
Juicing is the latest addition to the physical healing process. Because it removes so much of the pulp and fiber, this has been a safe process for my innards. Right now, I am rotating between 3 recipes…all of which I really enjoy. I didn’t realize how much work juicing is – and how little you get from such a large quantity of produce! Thank goodness Farmer’s Markets are still open and I can stock up on all the goodies there. This time of year (May-October) I do most of our family shopping at Markets – fresh, local and pesticide free. But for some ingredients, I do have to visit the grocery store. I am including the recipes here for reference – because when you find things that are so delicious, why not share? It is time consuming to make the juice so, I have been doing it in batches and storing it in the fridge in an airtight container. I make about three days worth at a time. I am drinking about 20-24 oz. of juice per day right now.
My diet is all over the place – I haven’t eaten breads or pastas or crackers in almost 10 years. When I was taking the Miltefosine, the only thing I could keep down were Saltines and dry toast. Lately, I have cut down on those carbs, but I’ll tell you, PIZZA is a really hard one to get rid of…again!
I love pizza.
Although I gained about 20lbs during this process, (am I the only chemo patient to gain weight?) and am really noticing it now that the cooler pant-season is here, but I am not concerned. Once I am able to get back to the gym and find my taste buds again, this will come off easily and naturally.
Today marks 185 days of no alcohol and no coffee.
Hard to believe, and also hard to believe that I am not missing it all that much. I wasn’t a big drinker before Leishmaniasis (had my first beer at 35), but I did enjoy a glass or two of vintage red every once in a while. Considering that most days I still feel like I have a perpetual hangover, I am really not missing that part!
The fatigue is unpredictable. Some days I nap, some days I don’t. Some days I go to bed at 6:30pm and some days I last until 10. Some days I am up with the sun and some days I am dragging myself out of bed at 10am. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason…so I just listen to my body and when it wants to rest, I let it.
I am continuing with Physiotherapy/Osteopathy. Maintaining the strength in my hands and correcting postural changes from immobility and walking with a cane for a few months is important in getting me to a place of endurance in order to return to the gym and see more than 4 clients in a week.
Emotionally, for the last week, I have been grieving.
All this time, I have been thinking about “getting back to my old self” and “getting back to normal” and last week it hit me.
I’m not going back.
I have been saying “forward is forward” and “ONWARD!” and at the same time, hoping to feel myself again. Perhaps this healing has been stalled because emotionally I have been confused? I can’t move forward and go back at the same time!
I have learned so many valuable life lessons, do I even want to go back?
What if the new me that is emerging is better equipped and more aware than the old me?
What if this new way of being, means the old me gets to come along for the ride, but the new me gets to navigate?
What if healing is taking so long because I haven’t yet integrated all those old pieces with the new pieces?
What if the new me just hasn’t found its new normal yet?
I’m not going back. I am going forward.
A part of me is sad. And scared.
I don’t know what the new normal will look like. I don’t know if my brain will be able to multitask the shit out of life again. I don’t know if I will be able to be with groups of people and not feel overwhelmed. I don’t know if focus and clear thinking will return. I don’t know if the anxiety and fear will subside. I just don’t know.
I do know, that my internal operating system is resetting right now. I do know that it will be what it is. I do know that I am doing EVERYTHING I can right now to support this overhauled operating system, and that is all I can do.
So, I am grieving, for the way life used to be, the way I used to interface with the world, the way I used to be able to effortlessly complete multiple tasks in a day, and also the loss of emotional stability. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for these things to resurface and return. It means that there is a new space and opening for them to emerge in a new way that this new operating system will recognize.
The body is an incredible and intricate machine.
One of my friends was forgetful today, and we blamed it on the fact that she is having too much sex (she is in a relatively new relationship). I was totally jealous – that is a way better story than Chemo-Brain! I can’t wait until I can say to Tim, “Let’s get physical” and not be referring to aches, pains and physio exercises!