I have an abundance of emotions running through every part of my being right now. I felt it necessary to sit down and get my fingers busy on the keyboard to try to help my brain process every emotion. This isn’t easy, but I feel it’s necessary. I feel I owe it to myself and only myself to use my blog as a sounding board for both a releasing mechanism and a tool for making some serious change. This is MEDICINE. My laptop is the closest thing I have to a pen and paper at present and I am writing myself a prescription. A prescription that has unlimited repeats. On the days when I revert to the SCREW IT, I AM GOING TO CROAK ANYWAY feelings run through my veins, I will be able to look back and re-read this post so I stop that urge to test time and run through the yellow light of life. If this post helps someone else in the interim than that is a blessing and a gift. I am tired of asking the same old question of “HOW?”. I have learned the “hows”, now I am asking “WHY?” It may be too late but I will never know unless I start today, here and now.
I am hungry. In fact, I am starving for a change. Yes, to be matter of fact. I am dying to heal. For some of us more fortunate cancer survivors/fighters, like myself, death is not imminent, it is a slower process. I have more time to chew on my diagnosis and to prepare. I am sorry to be frank but cancer is what it is. In most cancer patients, it is the means by which we will die. Sooner or later. I don’t want to call it a death sentence, because, let’s face it. We all have a death sentence. No one of us is born with an expiry date on the bottom of our feet or a best before date. However, we are born to live and die. They are a package deal.
As I lay here on the couch on a self-prescribed bed rest week, I am using my time wisely to educate myself. I am dealing with side effects from the radiation treatment. I hate that standard question of rate your pain. That is a very difficult question for me personally to answer because I have a high pain tolerance. For some what I am feeling might be more than they wish to bear and would seek drug relief. For me, I will rest. I am not my normal cheerful self, yet I am not in bad or depressed mood either. The best descriptive word I can use would be IDLE. For a week now, I have had some issues with my throat and swallowing. Painful? There’s that word again. Let’s use the term uncomfortable instead. When I swallow, it feels like something is in the way, not exactly in my throat/neck region, it’s a little lower than that. Hot/cold liquids and thick foods such as bread cause more irration than other things, so it’s probably better for me to be drinking my freshly juiced green veggies at room temperature for now. I’ve never heard of anyone fatally hurting themselves from veggie overload. Just last night I started experiencing some stitch like symptoms in my chest. I am trying to visualize my internal body and best guess would be that my lungs are likely inflammed. My doctor is aware of my swallowing issue and said that it should subside soon and that that area in the body has a tremendous amount of nerves that are sensitive of course. So duh, high dose radiation would cause discomfort right? I have absolutely no energy, I get winded using the stairs or simply walking my dog around the block, but I do it anyway, and then back to resting and learning.
Ok so on with the learning and enough talking about symptoms and side effects. I know what I put myself through the last couple of weeks with treatment. Crap was bound to happen.
I realize more each day that it is very sad that it took me escaping death from literally exploding from the inside out to be the driving force behind learning where our food comes from. Here is what I struggle with. The why. Ok, I know I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with metastatis to the liver, a terminal diagnosis, and the how to that question I believe the answer to is most in part to nutrition. My body simply couldn’t handle at a cellular level of the garbage that I was feeding it. Sure there are other factors such as heredity (funny that no one in my family history suffers other than myself), and other factors, blah, blah, blah. I think they (who knows who they really are anyway) want to blame our problems or illnesses or diseases on anyone or anything other than ourselves. I looked deep and realized I am responsible. I have no one or no thing to blame. Shit happens. I can deal with this realization. I can also inspire myself to change.
Here’s another struggle. I have a love/hate relationship with modern medicine. It has given me more time. It may indeed be a tool that might just save me in the long run. Colon cancer is directly related to diet. So here is the big WHY. Why has not one of my doctors ever mentioned the word nutrition in my quest to heal myself? Why is it always medicine? I am not ready to give up treatments but I have to compliment it with natural healing ways too.
Sure every cancer patient typically goes right to blaming industry for our issues. Why does it take cancer to begin this thinking? My head was in the sand but it is no longer. I was only 39 years old at diagnosis, too young for my type of cancer. There has to be a reason. A why or a whole crap load of why’s. I am educating myself. Do you know what a factory farm is? Do you know that farmers who save their own seeds to grow crops the next year are being sued my large cooperations and lose their farms? These large corporations force farmers to use the better seeds. The new and improved seeds. Think about the food chain. Seeds grow crops, crops feed animals, animals feed humans. So if we genetically screw around with the fundamental seed for growth at the beginning of the food chain what do we get? Crops that grow higher yields to feed even more animals, then these animals eat modified stuff, for lack of a better word. Us humans eat these altered sick animals because they are eating crap they shouldn’t and voila! What do we get? Genetically fucked up humans. That’s what cancer is. Genetically fucked up cells. Do you know that we really aren’t that protected by food standard protection companies? Here’s a simple question. Do you know where your food came from? Before cancer, I had pictures of pretty farms with vast acres of animals grazing and lazying around in the sun after eating too much grass. Not any more. If this is what you see, that is your choice of course. And if you don’t want to spoil that pretty painting, please don’t educate yourself like I have. I don’t judge anyone please don’t get me wrong. However, what I do judge is myself. I know the difference, and I am sick. I don’t have the luxury any longer of keeping myself protected from looking sideways or looking through my hands covering my eyes. All I know is that I am no longer comfortable with eating animal products and gmo products. GMO. Genetically modified. Yep, us smart humans fuck around with our food. It might be tastier, less expensive, but it is not nourishment. It fills a growlingy stomach, and it’s easier on our wallets and it saves us time. I used to joke that the only reason my house had a kitchen in it was because it came with one. Ha ha very funny. You have cancer. It’s not funny anymore. Fuck.
Boy that bad word has surfaced a lot in this post. Time to ask another why. Why are you swearing? Here’s the answer. I am pissed. I am so angry that this is my life now. So angry, I am tearful. So angry that I am putting the pedal to the medal and burning rubber to fight this beast that is chasing me. I don’t care if I have to drive in circles for the rest of my life, sometimes the beast will catch up to me when I get tired of chasing the dream of a cure, and sometimes it will eat my dust like it is right now according to my last blood test. There will be checker flags and their will be flat tires. A Nascar comparison keeping my Dad’s love of the sport in mind. I know you will be right there along the ride with me and not in the passenger seat either. I visualize you hanging on the hood with everything you have, no helmet and your cheeks flapping in the wind, and your legs and feet dangling behind you bumping into the rear window to support me and my decisions even if you think I’ve officially gone crazy. Thank you for that. Thank you for listening to my venting. Thank you for waving the smoke from my bad temper today.
Let me finish this post on a happier note. Rick was out of town for business last night and when my sister asked if my 3 year old niece Kennedy (who I affectionately call DeeDee) would be able to come to my place for a sleep over, I didn’t think twice and said sure, of course I would love the company and the distraction from my side effects.
So jump forward to earlier today, this Sunday morning, like every other three year old in the world that wakes up earlier than the sun itself, wakens me from the reality that I will not be sleeping in. I convince her to snuggle in bed just a little longer to make the morning s t r e t c h. Cartoons helped me in my quest. We were snuggled up under the blankets, her special pillow, her special blanket and of course her special buddy named Ellie. We were so relaxed watching the cartoon and I was so appreciative of this quality time with her. She would constantly wiggle and change snuggly positions, of course this little fireball of energy wouldn’t remain still like me. At one point she was laying on her side, facing me and draped her arm over my tummy and gave it a little rub. She asks “what is under your shirt?”. I replied “what do you mean?”. There wasn’t anything under my shirt, why would she ask me this? She asks “that bump?. Oh yeah, she is feeling one of my several scars. “Can I see?”, she asks. I raised my p.j. top. and exposed my scars. I realized at that very moment that DeeDee is the one and only family member in my life that has been spared the trauma of dealing with my illness. My soul was crying uncontrollably inside. A feeling of complete relief and exhaustion at the same time. I know this won’t last long because she is growing up fast and will soon understand the questions to her own “why does Aunt Karrie have scars”. Thank God for this little blessing that she doesn’t have to know that I may not be around to see her grow up. I wish this could last forever. I could be the reason for hurting her and I want to change that! I want to live. I want to thrive and survive. I will do everything I can to be as healthy as I can.
So please, I understand why you think it might be crazy for me to eat a vegetarian diet, or it might be crazy for me to spend countless hours reading books, watching documentaries, reading food labels, going for long walks just to listen to the birds, searching the web with Dr. Google, and using my blog as a soap box to vent my recent epiphany, etc. I just urge you to understand that you and DeeDee and everyone else in my life, whether close or far, impacts me greatly in my choices. I choose to love myself more than I think I can, to respect my body and I will not take it for granted any longer. I will inspire myself and hope that you will be inspired too. I will continue to let modern medicine help me, but of course I will use Mother Nature and the garden of eatin’ to be my pharmacy too.
How did I answer DeeDee’s question? I simply said that Aunt Karrie had lots of boo-boos, but she doesn’t hurt any more.
Dying to heal.
This is how I started a brand new year. Kennedy was with me for another sleep-over so her Mommy & Daddy could party. This little monkey’s face was the first thing that I saw in 2013. What a memory! I always sleep with them because I love the cuddle time! Thank you peanut!