Feeling Great!

Sorry I haven’t written, but I’ve been feeling so great that I started catching up on my life. In addition, business has been increasing, and I’m starting a new venture. I can sit now, so I’m able to do things I couldn’t do. Tomorrow I will be able to go kayaking. Kayaking is what keeps me sane. That and my friends.

Right now I’m taking cbd oil daily. It continues to give me energy and focus. It keeps me focused and energtic, and when it’s run out of steam, I know that it’s time to take another dose. I’ve been using cbd oil that you put under your tongue (sublingual), a dose in the morning and one late afternoon. Now I’m trying different kinds: this morning I took a liquid gel capsule (like you get omega 3 from fish) that is supposed to last all day. I’ll let you know. I also have two other friends trying it, one with chronic pain and one with acute short term pain from an auto accident (she was the middle car in a three car pile up. Ouch!).

Yesterday I tried a paste in a tube that is supposed to click when the portion you need comes out. Three of us tried that (My friends are so wonderful! They are always will to be part of my science experiments. I always serve adult beverages to entice them.) None of us are impressed. It’s messy, dark, gets all over everything when you try to serve it, and the stuff comes out independent of any click. I’ll continue to try this one when the capsules are done.

That’s the report for the cbd oil. Today I’m heading to a bbq at a home that I have listed. I love the owners – I helped them buy the house, and they are the most incredible family! But they are headed back to Texas, and if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know why they want to go back. Their families are there, and people are so nice! Decades ago, I took a bus from San Antonio to Spring. I guess I had that out of state glow – I was visiting from Atlanta – because I never sat alone. When one of my seatmates got up, the next one sat down next to me. Besides learning about Texas, I was favored with tips on fishing, baking, gardening, you name it. All ages and kinds of people entertained me on the long bus ride.

The South is like that. It’s why I can never leave. It’s where I learned how to love.

Paint by Number

My parents had a paint by number picture for their kids, not necessarily individualized. Neither one of my parents was educated beyond the eighth grade. Their respective fathers died when my parents were young, and they were expected to quit school to help support their siblings. My mother had ten kids in her family; my father had eight.

All we kids were to do was make it out of high school without getting arrested, pregnant, and with a diploma. Boys could go to college; girls didn’t need to go to college to be wives and mothers. When we moved out of our parents home, the expectation was that we would either be married or entering the armed forces. My poor parents! My older brother and I were the real trouble makers in the family, but I don’t think we were an easy bunch overall. With limited education and resources, probably was the only way for my parents to keep their sanity was to have a blueprint for their offspring!

I left without going into the military, and I certainly wasn’t going to get married. My father ruled the roost, and I wasn’t going to have anyone telling me what to do. I knew early on in my life that the only way to be who I was inside was to get out as quickly as I could. Eighteen came and I went.

I don’t blame my parents. They did the best that they could. And they stayed. Some of my cousins were raised in foster homes because their parents couldn’t do it. For me, I’ve always done better when I was told I couldn’t do something. For instance, my dad said I wouldn’t ever complete college, that I didn’t need to go. I wore him down (hence my sales career) to pay for few classes so I could see, and I spent my time getting high. I got good grades, but I didn’t have the follow through to make it all the way. When I made it to twenty-four years of age, I was willing to do the work because I saw what my life would be like without it: I would have a life like our family’s, and that wasn’t acceptable to me. In the 1960s and 70s, there were far fewer options for women. And I could get a grant without using my parents’ income.

When I entered chemo, I did so with the belief that things had improved since my stint as a director of a hospital department. The doctor and his staff reassured me that that was the case. If it’s this horrific now, what was it like back in the 1980s?! It must have been like being dragged over hot coals with nails embedded in them!

Luckily, I had a history of not following the blueprint. That’s how I left chemo. When someone lies to me – even if they believe that they are telling me the truth – I can leave. And that’s what I did. The planets aligned, the stars shone, God sent a messenger, it all worked together to allow me the strength to do what I needed to do to live my own truth.

Day 5 of the cbd oil: I limp when I first walk, other than that I am writing this blog at 12:30AM after getting up at 7AM. I’m doing fine, thanks! Still taking the supplements for my lungs and heart, and yesterday and today I was able to be with a dog for two hours and feel fine. I guess I’m better than fine.

 

Day 4 – In the Middle

All of the news that is telling us that we are being chemoed to death is amazing! For me, there was a lot of social stigma around my diagnosis. I thought people would judge me because I had it. I had been socialized to believe that if I was cheerful, positive, and didn’t have and/or suppress anger, I would never get cancer. What a load of manure!

This is what I am learning: More people are getting cancer every day. More options for treatment that are just as effective, if not more, than chemo. Chemotherapy actually takes people to the edge of death and then drags them back to life – hopefully. Now we see on CNN that Canada’s cancer treatment is less expensive and has a better survival rate than ours.

Just this week it was announced that 70% – seventy percent!! – of women with breast cancer don’t need chemo. There is now a test that can determine the genetic marker to know what kind of breast cancer it is. (Please don’t hold me to the scientific terms. You can get that from the actual article¬†https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/03/health/breast-cancer-recurrence-chemo-study/index.html. I am merely a survivor).

I’ve spent my life being afraid of cancer. When people see my bald head, many of them give me the head tilt and sympathy look. But I don’t think cancer is as scary as it once was. And from my experience, medical science doesn’t have all the answers – or even the right ones!

Still feeling energetic and focused. I only took one Tylenol today. The supplements I’m taking to support my body to bring it back from chemo and allow it to heal the cancer are working: All of my blood tests came back perfectly normal – right smack dab in the middle of the range of normal. I’m so happy some part of me is!

End of Day 2

I had a pretty busy and physically active day. My bones (pelvic and thigh) didn’t ache much. Sitting is a problem, but with the cbd, I was able to be active and focused. No nap. The trick is to take the second hit of cbd oil before naptime and work right through it.

It was a good move to take the supplements. Turns out that they are not for the pain as I thought they were. They are to support my lungs and heart so my body can heal itself. This makes sense to me. Years ago I learned that 80% of all diseases will heal themselves if you just give them time. That was referring to the repeated sinus infections I struggled with my first year in Atlanta. It was true. I stopped going to the doctor, and eventually the infections stopped.

Cancer is a bit more of a strain on the body, so it makes sense to me that the vital organs have to be supported. All in all, I’m pretty pleased. People tell me that bone marrow cancer is amazingly painful, and other than a pain in the ass – literally – I’m doing fine.

Sleep tight and thanks for reading!

 

CBD…The Experiment Continues

This morning I did cbd oil and included the supplements that my practitioner gave me. Since I’m not sure what is fighting cancer and what is fighting pain, and I need to be productive, I’m taking everything. I will do the cbd alone in a week or two.

I do know this: When I take the cbd oil, I am more energetic, focused, and productive. For me, it’s good for about 8 hours, so I take it on getting out of bed. In the afternoon when I lag, I take a 15 minute nap (I am, indeed, a power napper. It’s a talent!). When I wake up, I take another cbd so I can have a productive evening. Both a schedule and being productive make me feel normal. At the age of 6 I started pushing a lawn mower to make my own money and having stopped working since. The cbd oil helps me do what I want and need to do.

And it doesn’t interact adversely with my wine at the end of the day. I’ve been taking acetaminophen with wine to sleep, and all of the warnings say that it’s better to refrain from alcohol with¬†acetaminophen. Now I don’t have to worry about that. Very important because I schedule my life: Coffee in the morning before anything; cbd oil; chocolate in the afternoon; cbd oil; wine after everything. It’s good to be organized, don’t you think?

Letting My Hair Grow Back

It’s gonna be hard growing my hair back! Two reasons: 1. About three weeks into the growth, I start to look like a porcupine. A white porcupine with dark and white stubble, but I look like I’m still bald where the white hair is. Not a good look. At this point, I am shaving weekly.

When I started losing my hair and was looking at wigs, the ladies at the wig shop told me I needed to keep about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of hair, or the wigs and hats would itch. Obediently I let them cut my hair, then put my chemo hat on and went out into the world, praying I didn’t have to take that sucker off in public. I looked raggedy! And those little hats screamed ‘Cancer!’ to me. I was miserable, hot, and itchy.

The best thing to happen to me about my hair is that the wig I ordered didn’t fit. My cheekbones are high (Czech blood). I had to decide: people looking at me comfortable vs. ME feeling comfortable. We know by my profile picture who won. I put my chemo hat back on to cover my stubble and left the wig shop to consult my resident expert: my neighbor Roger. He has been shaving his head for decades and makes sure I wear a hat in the sun when he sees me (I keep a hat in the car just in case I see him first!).

He plopped me into his car and took me to the local barber shop to get clipped. There I also met Walter, the man in front of me during our wait for the barber. Walter said he comes back every three week for a buzz. I wish! My hair grows fast. My reality is that I start looking skanky at the end of every shaving week.

Through lots of conversations with bald friends and strangers, I learned that I didn’t have to pay $20 a week to get my head trimmed. My neighbor and new bald friends coached me through shaving my head myself. I tried razors geared toward men, toward women (is there really a difference other than color and the fact that anything for a woman is more expensive?), soap, shaving cream. I worried about cutting myself and having to wear a bandaid, so I couldn’t get a close enough shave. Now I’m using an electric razor. My neighbor says the best way to go is a six-bladed manual razor, but that sounds like danger to me. I’ll have to screw my courage up for that one!

The second reason is that I like the attention. No one went out of their way to talk to me like people do now. Even babies! Babies claim me as one of their own. They talk to me like they expect me to understand. Yesterday at a coffee shop with one of my friends, we met a baby. My friend is cute, friendly, and has shoulder-length hair. We both talked to the baby, but when the baby looked at my friend, nothing. When the baby looked at me, she smiled and talked and drooled. It happened several times. It’s a hoot!

People stop me to talk to me, follow me around. It’s amazing! So in addition to looking scraggly, when I grow my hair back, I’ll just have hair again. Not many people look like I do right now. Most people assume it wasn’t a choice and want to offer me support. That part’s lovely. I guess I can wait until fall and decide!