A Day In My Life

[I haven’t worked since I was diagnosed.  It’s remarkable to me how no day in my life is ever the same.  I have no set schedule other than getting the girls ready for, and taking them to, school every morning and putting them to bed every night.  In between, I cook, clean, write, read, research, talk to cancer and non-cancer friends, watch TV, occasionally hang out with people, pay bills, fundraise to colorectal cancer research and stare at the ceiling.  I honestly have no idea where all the time goes, a scary thought considering how limited my time is.   Here is a post about a day in my life that centers around my children, household obligations, cancer treatments and cancer more generally, all while trying to find signs from the gods above so that I can have the lonely peace I alluded to in my previous post.  This is a snippet of what my ever evolving normal is now.  I applaud all those who work while living with active Stage IV disease and even more so those who have young children; I know not working is often not an option; nonetheless, I admire those people’s ability to juggle work on top of the emotionally and physically draining life that is living with cancer.  Because of the length of this post, I’m breaking it into two parts.]  

On a Monday in early January, when the news of my new sobering prognosis was still fresh and painful, I woke up before dawn on the wrong side of the bed.  I was plagued by doubts and questions for which I did not have the answers.  Should I experiment with cannabis oil?  Should I be adding or removing certain supplements?  Should I be seeking a second opinion?  Should I see another oncologist altogether, someone who specializes in colorectal cancer, someone at the esteemed Memorial Sloan Kettering?  Should I be more aggressively pursuing laser surgery in Germany despite my oncologist’s and the lung tumor board’s opinion?  You know, the usual stuff that Stage IV people worry about, sometimes more vigorously than others.  That morning, for whatever reason, the worries were overwhelming.  More

Alternative Treatments And More

Here is Part 2 of the Medical Daily article about me:  Cancer Patient Recommends Medical Marijuana and Other Alternative Treatments.  You can read Part 1 through my previous post, if you missed it.  In my opinion, Part 2 is not as well-written nor is it as interesting as Part 1, although Part 2 will appeal to those who favor pragmatism over the philosophical.  This piece presents my single most important advice to newly diagnosed cancer patients, my views on alternative treatments and my criticism of Memorial Sloan Kettering, the #1 cancer center in the country.  Please understand and respect that the views reflected in this article, although not necessarily thoroughly and accurately reflected — as well as those reflected in this blog for that matter — are my views and my views alone.  Other cancer patients obviously have their own opinions.  Read it all with a skeptical eye.  If you’ve been fighting cancer for any period of time, then you would agree that there are very few right or wrong answers, that so much of this cancer fight, war, journey or whatever metaphor you’d like to use is based on instinct, intuition and guesses about what to do and who to see to increase the quantity of your life while maintaining as much quality of life as possible, all within a world of too much, and often-times conflicting, information for which there is little to no science.  It’s all enough to drive me insane — never mind the part about having cancer.  More

Not In Denial: How One Tiger Mom Is Confronting Stage 4 Cancer

I have been deeply humbled multiple times since I was diagnosed with cancer, humbled by the love and awesome compassion that have been shown to me, humbled by the strength and grace I have seen from others who have suffered and are suffering from this disease, humbled by the force and might of cancer itself.  All of it has made me feel small, insignificant and powerless, but yet so very, very grateful.  I was never more grateful than to be asked to be featured in a 3-part article featuring my story in an online medical journal (and sister company of Newseek) called Medical Update.  Talk about humility — it is humbling to have such a good writer retell my story.  Her writing puts mine to shame.  I know, I know this isn’t a competition; there’s no need to compare.  I just can’t seem to shake that competitive streak in me.  Here’s the article:  Not In Denial:  How One Tiger Mom is Confronting Stage 4 Cancer.

Dreams Coming True

Enough gloom and doom from me.  After the drama of last Monday, I returned last Thursday to the cancer center and since all was normal, I was able to receive my Avastin treatment.  My CEA also went down by two points in three weeks (from 9.0 to 7.0).  It’s a good sign that the chemo is doing something.  Or maybe it’s one of my crazy alternative treatments???  More about that another time.  Josh and I then went on a quick weekend jaunt to Southern California without the children for a friend’s wedding.  The brief respite with time in the healing light and warmth of the sun was lovely.  Josh and I hadn’t returned to Los Angeles since my diagnosis 19 months ago and were nervous about potential post-traumatic stress as we revisited the scene of the crime, so to speak.  But it was fine.  We tried to make new memories to blot out the pain of the old ones.   More

Please Don’t Forget Us

I apologize for the long silence.  I’m sure many of you have been wondering why.  Some of you, particularly those of you not connected to me on Facebook or not part of my online support group, may have even been worried.  Thank you for the concern.  The short version of the explanation is that the last few weeks have been filled with a combination of bad and good things – some undiagnosed pain accompanied by a rising CEA, precious time with my brother who visited from Los Angeles over Martin Luther King weekend, followed by a horrible cold that has left me pretty incapacitated and seemingly unable to take chemo for now.  But the long version of the story is more involved and complicated.  More