Short intro about the blog

This blog is about our journey to healing with Grade 3 Anaplastic Oligoastrocytoma

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Living Food

I haven't been seized by the desire to write about a particular topic this week, so I thought I might post a few recipes. You may be wondering what we do for breakfast around here. Then again, you may not. Either way, I'm going to share our morning routine with you! I get up around 6:30am and shuffle around the kitchen bumping into the dining table for about 20 minutes. Once I finally gain my bearings, I prepare Phase 1 of breakfast. In this house you get two choices for breakfast: muesli or hot porridge. Ali, Finlay and I prefer the cold cereal, so we get to eat first. Also, Finlay gets picked up for school at 7:50am, so I need to make sure he's fed early. My muesli recipe is pretty easy. I keep a large Rubbermaid container filled with a mixture of 2/3 organic rice puffs, and 1/3 organic millet puffs. After this goes into the bowls, it's time for the toppings. The kids like to sprinkle their own toppings on if they happen to be up, otherwise I do it. I get out unsalted sunflower seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and raisins. After all these are sprinkled over the cereal, I finish off with a sliced banana. The boys can choose whether they want unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk. These days they are going through an almond milk stage, but I prefer the coconut milk. There's more fat in it. And I'm a big fan of fat.

Once the younger boys are taken care of, and Finlay is off to school, then I start Phase 2. Calum and Adam prefer porridge, so I make oatmeal. I make a batch large enough for three days, so I don't have to prepare it from scratch every morning. If you aren't a big fan of oat porridge, then you really should try this recipe. It's really really good. Unfortunately for me, when I eat porridge I'm starving 30 minutes later. It just doesn't hold me like the muesli does. Anyway, I bring two cups of unsweetened coconut milk plus two cups of water to a boil. I add two cups of rolled oats, and lower the heat to medium-low. Let this simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When it's done I add one tablespoon of organic unsalted butter, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Calum likes sunflower seeds, brown sugar and sliced banana on his. Adam gets ground flax seeds, banana, and chopped walnuts with a splash of coconut milk. As you can see, we go through a ton of bananas. The boys snack on them as well, so we devour a large bunch daily.

This probably sounds like a lot of work for so early in the morning. It is. I also spend a good two hours in the kitchen preparing lunch, and then another two hours again to prepare dinner. I spend an awful lot of time in my kitchen each and every day. Good thing I really like my kitchen. I know most of you would never dream of spending so much time preparing food everyday. Luckily, I love to cook. I've always prepared food from scratch and have always made the effort to cook a really healthy homemade dinner every night. Now I've had to step up my game to the ultimate level. If you don't have developmental delays, neurological conditions, food allergies, chronic migraines and cancer represented in your household, you may struggle to find the motivation to spend so much time and energy preparing meals. But, you may have other motivations. Perhaps you have seasonal allergies, joint pain, insomnia, excess weight, PMS, asthma, or any other number of various ailments plaguing your family members. It might be time to re-think the way you use your kitchen, and what positive changes you can make to your dietary health.

If you haven't seen these before, take a look:

These are Kirlian images of a tomato. The tomato on the left is raw, and those little beams of light are energy being emitted from that little raw vegetable. The tomato on the right has been lightly steamed. The energy has been dimished somewhat, but there is still evidence of a life-giving force coming from within the tomato. I haven't been able to find Kirlian images of, say, a Stouffers lasagna, but I would be willing to bet that there aren't any beams of light shooting out from within it. We've heard it all before, that whole foods are better for us. But, look at those photos! It's more than a simple case of fat, calories and carbs. Whole foods contain valuable vitamins and minerals, but they also contain beautiful radiating energy. Here's something else you can't measure in a lab. Recently I watched a YouTube video of a pale thin raw vegan chef making kale chips. She had a breathy voice and a very airy way about her, which I found mildly annoying, BUT she said something that really grabbed me. She said that she really likes to handle her food as much as possible while preparing it. She feels that through her hands she can take advantage of that radiating energy, and make it hers. I can totally see that. I've been tempted to acquire a food processor to help me with the endless chopping, shredding, and dicing. But, I think the vegan chef is right. When I handle vegetables all day long, washing, peeling, dicing, chopping, and slicing, I'm exposed to that radiating force within it. That is just as nourishing as eating the food once it's prepared. I also have a very firm belief in the X-Factor of homemade foods. I am convinced that when I prepare and cook food completely from scratch, using my loving hands, that MY energy is transmitted to the food. That energy and love then travels into my husband and children when they consume what I've prepared. The secret ingredient is love, people. Maybe it's sounds a bit crazy, but we all know the unspecified power of homemade food prepared by none other than Mom. You are missing out on so much when your diet consists primarily of processed food. That Stouffers lasagna has been prepared by a machine. Where's the love? It ain't there. If your children eat cereal from a box for breakfast, bologna on commercial bread with potato chips for lunch, and a rotisserie chicken with frozen peas for dinner... you haven't actually touched any of it. There has been no transmission of your love through the food into your family. We have been preparing food the good old fashioned way since Adam and Eve, and only in the past generation have we gotten so far removed from the basic art and pleasure of cooking food for our families. I know everyone is busy, and many women work outside the home. But, it is possible, even if only a few dinners a week, to make a simple meal from scratch for the sake of your health, and the health of your family. I can put together a salad, broiled fish, and homemade potato wedges in 30 minutes. You can find a few recipes that everyone enjoys and that you can lovingly prepare in a short amount of time. And you will reap the benefits of handling that food as well. Now get in that kitchen!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Sky is Falling!

Finally. I've been trying to get to the computer to blog for a couple of weeks now, but the problem is every time I find a few precious minutes I discover the computer has been shut down. Along with the television, DVD player and Wii. Power strips are commonly found switched off. The iPods are kept on airplane mode and safely stored high where little hands can't reach them. That's right. We are slowly converting to the Amish religion. I haven't used my microwave in nearly a week. Adam is still working from his office upstairs, which requires a computer, but for the most part we are really trying to minimize our use of electrical objects. And I'm about to tell you why!

I know you guys are starting to think of us as a little bit wacko. We've gone vegetarian. We tossed the cell phones and cordless landlines in favor of good ol' fashioned corded phones. We have various homemade concoctions lining our bathtub and bathroom sink. We juice and make vegetable smoothies several times a day. We put coffee up our bums (and like it). I know I'm tiptoeing dangerously close to the edge, and pretty soon I may find myself in a well-meaning intervention meeting with my friends. But, I'm not gone yet. I'm not yet standing on a box in the center of Berryville, unwashed, with soiled clothing and crazed eyes, shaking my fist at the sky and yelling, “Repent, repent! The end is nigh!” I haven't joined the Lyndon LaRouche supporters outside the post office. Although, politically speaking, I think they might find me a bit too fringe for their liking (the Illuminati have control of the whole world and there is no hope for us except to become hermits and shield our children from their evil agenda).

Adam started doing research into electromagnetic frequencies a few weeks back, and has uncovered a lot of interesting information. Many people have asked upon hearing about Adam's condition, “Is it the cell phones?” The answer is “yes” (just like, “Do vaccines cause autism?.... YES) If you have a sneaking suspicion that holding a cell phone up to your skull for hours a day might have negative effects on the brain held within, then your instincts are trying to tell you something. A 2007 study from Sweden (I love Sweden) showed an increased risk of brain tumors in subjects who had been using cell phones for at least 10 years. Another Swedish study (have I mentioned I love Sweden?) showed that children regularly exposed to 3mG (milligauss) or more of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) had 4 times the rate of leukemia. In the same study, adults who where exposed to 3mG or higher of EMF at their place of work had 3 times the rate of leukemia. 8 other studies have reported increased risks of several different types of cancer relative to the subject's proximity to power lines. So where do we find EMFs? Pretty much anything electrical will emit EMFs. Power lines, fuse boxes, the computer, the fridge, the microwave, your clock radio, and cell phones among many other things we use everyday. Anytime you are seated next to or are holding an electrical item, waves of electromagnetic energy run through your body. But, how does that affect us? We don't really know. One theory is that electromagnetic energy disrupts our body's ability to produce melatonin. In animal studies, rats exposed to increased levels of EMF had decreased levels of melatonin. However, in similar studies with sheep and baboons, their melatonin levels were unaffected. One study on humans did show decreased melatonin levels in subjects who already had low melatonin levels when they were exposed to EMFs, but those subjects within the normal range seemed to be unaffected. Melatonin, if you don't know, is a hormone released by the pineal gland that slows cancer growth, among many other important functions. If people who are deficient in melatonin are exposed to EMFs, their already increased cancer risk may have just gone up. That's worth noting.

Adam decided that for his birthday he really wanted an EMF meter to take some readings around the house. Based on the Swedish studies, some groups have determined the maximum safe exposure of EMFs to be at 3mG. In most of the rooms of our house, the ambient EMF level is about 1 ½mG. That's good. But start moving closer to the electrical items, and interesting things start happening. The stereo (when playing a CD) went up to 100 at point blank range. You need to back up at least a foot before it falls back down to 3mG. The microwave when OFF went up to 100 at point blank range, but fell back down to 3mG less than a foot away. However, when we turned it ON the needle again went off the charts, and we needed to back a full 6 FEET away from the unit before the needle went back down to 3mG. That's shocking. Especially when I realized that having a built-in unit above the stove is the most dangerous decision we could have made 3 years ago when we had our kitchen done. How many times have I stood with my head less than 6 inches away from a running microwave because I was also tending to food cooking on the stove. Frightening. We had a lot of fun testing the TV, Wii, clock radio, computer hard drives, computer monitors, and everything else we could think of. All of them had shockingly high readings at point blank range. It is really important not to sleep right next to an alarm clock. It's also important to make sure you are always at least 3 feet away from your computer screen. If you are at an arm's length, you are okay. If your teenage daughter sleeps with her cell phone under her pillow, run (don't walk) and go get her an MRI. Today. Okay I'm kidding, sort of. But, these kind of habits have to change if we want to prevent an epidemic of brain tumors or other cancers in the future. The Swedish government (can I tell you again how much I love Sweden) has recommended that no new homes or schools be constructed near energy plants and has proposed that efforts be made to lower EMF levels in all homes, schools and workplaces. Adam used to walk up to the new Clarke County High School every morning, until one day last week he took his EMF meter with him. There is a mobile phone tower right next to the school, and the levels in front of the school were off the charts. That's exposure of over 100mG of EMFs all day everyday for all the children and staff of that school. Adam has changed his walking route. For the rest of you, think about all the electrical items in your house and how you may be able to change some of your habits. Please consider using your cell phone only on “speaker”. You can find modern corded phones with caller ID. Instead of leaving the WiFi on all the time, switch it off at nights. Same for the computer. And toss the microwave. Unless it's built-in like ours, in which case you just found some more storage space! Also, there are protective measures you can take if you must work in an office and use a cell phone regularly. Pong makes a case for cell phones that block radiation and make them safer to carry around with you all day. Also, Safe Space, among many other companies, makes patches that you can stick on computer screens, hard drives, printers and appliances that absorb EMFs. Finally, there are supplements you can take to help your body deal with EMF exposure. Adam takes rosemary capsules everyday. Also cilantro, dandelion and seaweeds (kelp, spirulina, and chlorella) help the body eliminate cells that have been damaged from metals, radiation and EMF exposure. If you are unable to go the full Amish and avoid EMFs completely, and you feel you might be at risk, consider adding one or two of these supplements to your diet. And do some research. Some of this information can be hard to find, but it's out there!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Holy Chemicals, Batman!

I pretty much have the same routine every morning. I believe that all of us do. We have our favorite products, and we use them religiously. We might have seen the long list of ingredients on the back of the bottle, but we never really investigate just how many different compounds are being applied to our skin, hair, teeth, and ingested in our bodies. I decided to take a minute this morning, and go through a typical morning routine using many of the products that used to be found in our home, and some which still remain. I'm sure most of you have similar products, if not the exact same ones. I decided to list all the ingredients as I went to find out how many different chemicals I'm exposed to in the first hour I'm awake. The result of my little investigation might shock you. I suggest you sit down.

Let's assume Adam cleaned the bathroom last night. Even though he rinses well, there are still residual chemicals in the bathtub that I will stand on as I shower. Scrubbing Bubbles bath cleaner contains, among other things:

disodium ethyanoldiglycinate
alcohol ethoxylate
sodium hydroxide

The Clorox cleaning wipes he used for the toilet contain:

Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride
alkyl dimethylethylbenzyl ammonium chloride
alkyl polyglucoside
propolyene glycol propyl ether

Oh, best spray the bathroom to freshen it up! Glade room freshener (we don't use it, but in case you do) contains:

sodium phosphate
sorbitan oleate
propylene glycol
stertrimonium chloride

Now to get in the bath. First to come is the Suave shampoo:

ammonium lauryl sulfate
ammonium laureth sulfate
ammonium chloride
hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
cocamide MEA
PEG-5 cocamide
citric acid
DMDM hydantoin
sodium benzoate
propylene glycol

Then the conditioner:

cetyl alcohol
cetrimonium chloride
disodium EDTA
isopropyl palmitate
D&C Orange No. 4
FD&C Yellow No. 5

For the body and face we use Dove soap for sensitive skin:

sodium lauryl isethionate
stearic acid
sodium tallowate
sodium palmitate
lauric acid
sodium isethionate
sodium stearate
cocamidopropyl betaine
sodium cocoate
sodium palm kernelate
sodium chloride
tetrasodium EDTA
tetrasodium etidronate
titanium dioxide

Bath done! Now it's time to moisturize and deodorize. I have Dove lotion which someone gave to me, and I've listed the ingredients for Speed Stick, which we no longer have in the house:

capric stearic triglyceride
caprylic stearic triglyceride
glycol stearate
PEG-100 stearate
C10 30 alkylauraylate crosspolymer
glyceryl stearate
cetearyl alcohol
stearamide AMP

aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex
stearyl alcohol
C12-15 akyl benzoate
PPG-14 butyl ether
PEG-8 distearate
behenyl alcohol

For the face, Adam and I both use Neutrogena moisturizer:

octyldodecyl neopentanoate
glyceryl stearate
diazolidinyl urea

I don't know about you, but I lost count before I even got in the shower. Let me do a quick tally. I may have doubled up on a couple of ingredients, but this short list totals over 100 chemicals. These 100 different chemicals have either been inhaled or have come into direct contact with my absorbant skin. All within the first hour of my day. And many of us do this every single day. I'm going to assume that each of these chemicals have been tested and proven safe to use. But has anyone ever applied all 100 of these chemicals to a lab rat, day in and day out, to see what effect it may have? Could possibly the combined introduction of over 100 chemicals to the body in only one hour on a daily basis have a detrimental effect to our health?

This brief informal illustration only touches the tip of the iceberg. We use countless household products throughout the day (hand soap, hand cream, lip balm, cosmetics, dish soap, laundry detergent and fabric softener). We are being inundated with chemical compounds all day long. They are found in our water supply and in processed foods. Even the “healthy” food choices some in dubious packaging. It's all enough to make you go mad. So maybe it's better if we just don't think about it. The problem is we have a health epidemic on our hands. Recent projections estimate that 50% of American men have or will have cancer in their lifetimes. For women, it's 33%. To put it bluntly, gentlemen, you have a 50% chance of ending up in Adam's shoes. For the wives, you have a 50% chance of ending up in mine. And if you're truly unlucky, you may both be battling cancer at the same time. Some members of the medical profession still insist that cancer is a genetic crapshoot and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. But, the magazines, newspapers, talk shows, radio programs, health books, and pretty much everyone else except for the Journal of the American Medical Association insist that there are measures we can take to reduce our cancer risk. You've all heard it, but I'll throw it out there again. Diet and vitamin supplementation are very powerful means to prevent cancer from taking over your body. Articles abound with lists of suggested foods to minimize your cancer risk. We also hear a lot about toxins and detoxing our bodies. It's not just a lot of fluff. If you can accept the theory that cancer is largely a condition brought about by the toxic overload of the liver, than preventing that toxic overload needs to be a priority. You can start by taking a long hard look at the products you are using on a daily basis. Do you really think that introducing hundreds of chemicals a day into your body is a good idea? Are there some products you can live without? Look into natural alternatives. There is so much information out there, and I'm only just starting to scrape the surface. Already we have tossed the Aveeno baby bath and replaced it with Dr. Bronner's natural soap. I've been using the Dr. Bronner's on my face and body as well, and I am moisturizing with coconut oil. And I'm experimenting with making our own dish soap (the first time was a success), dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner. It's actually a lot of fun, but I'm also relieved that Adam no longer has to pollute his body with so many chemicals. The endless juicing, food preparing, vitamins and coffee enemas are a lot of work, and are only necessary because we need to get all this stuff out of our bodies before it's too late. I would love to see more people become alert to the chemicals they are introducing into their bodies, and more importantly into our children. We also have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder epidemic in this country, and don't for a second think that the two epidemics aren't related. Our husbands and us women are getting sicker, and our children will be too busy struggling to cope with their own disabilities to care for us. It's not a coincidence that we have so many challenges in our household, and that, my friend, I will happily chalk up to genetics. But only in part. We have connected the environmental dots to explain Ali's condition, and Adam's cancer history follows an eerily similar pattern. I hope and pray that our friends and family can take what we've learned and use it to their advantage. I don't want to see anyone else out there find out the hard way that our modern lifestyles are damaging our bodies. And with all the information out there, there isn't any reason to.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Hard Day

I woke up at 2:45am with a crippling migraine. A 10 out of 10. I staggered downstairs to take two Imitrex tablets, grab an ice pack and my trusty swim cap. It looks funny, but I'm telling you the swim cap helps so much. Back into bed, and a quick prayer for relief or death, whichever God feels is most appropriate. The alarm goes off at 6:00am, which is when I would normally do my coffee “detox” and have a shower, but not today. I reset it for 6:30am. When I get up the second time, I feel much better, but I'm really groggy and drugged up from the meds. The morning goes by in a hazy blur. Muesli for Ali and Finlay, hot porridge for Calum and Adam. Count out vitamins, make sure kids get cod liver oil, and chew their Spry gum after they eat. We don't have time for toothbrushing. The kids need to get dressed and ready to go because today is Monday. They are going to Holly Beth's for the day, so I need to get out their clothes, dress Finlay and help Ali with his socks, remind Calum 17 times to get dressed, pack food, nappies, wipes, water, change of clothes and more food for the day. We have a pile of clean clothes on the floor blocking the stairs courtesy of my mom. There's got to be a change of clothes for Finlay in there somewhere. Never mind, I'll just pack his food-covered pyjamas. Shirley calls. The boys are going to be outside all day, so dress them warmly. Well, since it's only supposed to get up to 42 today, that means snowpants and boots. Down come the boxes in the entry closet with all the winter stuff, and we start trying on snowpants, boots, hats, gloves and mittens to see what fits. Calum complains endlessly about having to wear snowpants when NOBODY in Virginia ever wears snowpants, even in the SNOW. We come to a compromise and Calum agrees to wear his rainpants with snowboots. Adam is bustling about and needs to hurry because he's going to be late for his infusion at the clinic. As always. He finally races out the door and is off to the clinic. 15 minutes later I realize with horror that I forgot to get Finlay's car seat out of the car before he left. Shit. Shit shit shit. Finlay is dressed and ready to go, watching out the window for Shirley to arrive. He can't go. He's going to go ape-poop. I realize I know quite a few people with kids, and Hey, many of them are in Berryville! I try one friend... voicemail. Another... voicemail. I end up calling 5 different moms, and none of them answer. You've got to be kidding me. I finally cry out on Facebook for help. The friend who must live the absolute farthest away from me offers to bring a seat. I can't let her do that. I can't I can't I can't. Then I look at Finlay and agree to let her drive 35 minutes to my house. To bring a carseat because my drugged up self couldn't remember. I really owe her big. 5 minutes later Shirley arrives and I tell her what happens. Shirley isn't happy. I don't blame her. Wait a minute. Where's Finlay? I see light from the bathroom peeking out from under the closed door. I open the door to find him with empty lipstick tube in hand, and lipstick clumps in his hair, on his face, and all over his snowpants. No no no no no no no. And he's pooped. First I attack his head with baby wipes, then proceed to strip off all his layers to change him. Finally, Laura my shining knight-ess arrives, she hands me the seat, I buckle Finlay into Shirley's van, I break up a fight between Calum and Ali, blow kisses to Laura, and run back inside to start on my to-do list for the day. It's a doozy. When the kids go off on a Monday, that is my day to call hospitals and doctor's offices, order vitamins online, open the week's mail, pay bills, open checks from Samaritan members, make a deposit, file papers, and shred or recycle junk mail. Today I also have a ton of Team McArthur stuff to plan, I want to write a blogpost on something but I have no idea what, I need to check and see just how little money is left in the account, make the shopping list, get to Walmart, and maybe actually put clean laundry away and make meals. Oh, and I really should shower. Screw it. I'm still so groggy I could pass out, and my headache is threatening to return, so I crawl back into bed. 30 minutes later I still can't sleep because I'm so stressed about my “to-do” list not getting done. I get up, shower, and clean the kitchen. Crap. I forgot to wash the juicer this morning, and now vegetable pulp has solidified all over the inside of it. Adam calls. He's on his way home. “Did you get much done this morning?”, he innocently asks.

I eat re-heated fried rice standing up, and make the shopping list. No easy feat when your head is clogged up with migraine residue and serious painkillers. Adam gets home, I prepare his lunch, then I'm off to Walmart. Looks like the “to-do” list is not going to happen today.

I should not be allowed to drive alone in the car. I always cry. Every time. I think about all the things I should be doing, and I'm not. I'm not homeschooling. I've vacuumed the house twice this year. Seriously. Twice. I think about what I could be doing to help Finlay with his speech. But, I'm not. I think about what I could be doing to help Ali with his speech and physical needs. But, I'm not. I think about how Calum plays Wii about 8 hours a day, and I hate it. But I can't do anything about it. And I think about Adam. The song, “If the Healing Doesn't Come” starts playing on the Christian station, and I'm a puddle. What if Adam doesn't get better? What if he isn't meant to be healed? What if my boys are supposed to grow up without a father? What if I'm meant to be a widow? Then I think about what the end will be like. I picture Adam in bed, with me spoonfeeding him applesauce, giving him spongebaths, and dispensing his painkillers to help him cope with the excruciating pain. Will that be me? Could that be me next year?

I pull into the Walmart parking lot and try to make myself look presentable. I walk in, start roaming the isles, and realize I've left the shopping list in the car. Back out, and back in again. I wander the isles in my stupor, forgetting things, and having to re-roam the isles again and again. Finally, I get out of there and go to load the groceries into the car. Except my trunk is full. I have all the Team McArthur Ebay items which need to be photographed, advertised, weighed for shipping, packed, and hopefully sold. That was part of my “to-do” list today. So the groceries get squeezed between the car seats and on the floor. Then I drive home, making a quick call to Adam to let him know I'm on my way. He asks me about his liver flush. Crap. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. Adam is supposed to be flushing tonight. Damn it all to hell. I totally forgot. He's supposed to be fasting, and I should have bought grapefruits. He can't do it tomorrow because we are planning to go to an Election Day party, and he can't do it Wednesday or Thursday because of his infusion schedule. I start crying. And I cry all the way home.

So here I am. Grocery bags are strewn all over the kitchen floor. Because Adam is fasting tonight, I've decided that for the first time ever in the history of our marriage I will NOT be making dinner. The kids will have PBJ on tortillas tonight. I don't care what I eat. And, hey, I can skip juicing tonight! There is a silver lining!! I still need to go back out to Food Lion tonight to get grapefruit. The kids will need baths, toothbrushing, help getting dressed and probably a story before bed. Usually I would need to brew coffee, but I imagine with the flush Adam won't be doing an enema tomorrow. I'm too darn tired to even look at the “to-do” list. The laundry didn't get put away, the mail didn't get touched, papers are piled up everywhere waiting to be dealt with, and I didn't do a thing for fundraising. But, you know what? I managed to find something to blog about.  And maybe tomorrow will be a little bit better.  Probably still hard, but better.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Juice it Up

After last week's controversial post on coffee enemas, I would like to woo you back to Healer in Your Heart with something a bit more benign. We bought a juicer back in January right after Adam returned home from the hospital, and we started out juicing every day. Then after the Burzynski treatment took over our lives, the juicer started collecting dust. I would try to bring it out from time to time, but just couldn't get into a routine with it. Now that Adam is on a new protocol, I am making the effort to juice twice a day, every day. I would love to get up to three times a day, but for now I'm just glad we are using it regularly. And I tell you, it really does make a difference. The few times that I was unable to juice, I felt so tired and yucky. I know that juicers don't come cheap, and you really need to be motivated to prepare the vegetables and clean the juicer after every use. But, it really really is worth it. And it's absolutely essential for Adam's cancer treatment.

It's common knowledge in the nutrition world that the nutrients in freshly-made vegetable juices are more easily absorbed by the body. Commercial juices from the store are mostly reconsituted concentrates devoid of vitamins and with additives and preservatives thrown in. With fresh home-juicing there is no additives and the active enzymes and vitamins are readily available. Fresh vegetable juices also have a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the body which is they key to a successful cancer protocol.

I have read a LOT about cancer, and there are varying theories about it. Why does it develop? How does it develop? There is a lot the medical community still doesn't know, but many researchers have a pretty good idea how cancer works in our bodies. One theory in particular stands out in my mind, and seems to be confirmed by recent research. In a very simplistic non-medical sort of way, here is cancer in a nutshell. Our liver is the primary detoxing agent in the body. All the crap (official scientific term) gets filtered through the liver, and the liver produces chemicals that capture toxins throughout the body and flush them out. In our modern society we are absolutely innundated with chemicals all day long. Over 80,000 new chemicals have been developed and added to our cleaning products, toiletries and foods in the last century. Our livers are maxed out! There is only so much they can handle before they start to give up. Here is where cancer comes in. Nothing happens by mistake in my opinion, especially cancer. When the liver starts to wave the red flag, the immune system calls a board meeting. The liver needs help, and the body knows exactly what to do. They begin to plan a toxin depository elsewhere in the body to take the burden off the liver. Sometimes the body is so overloaded, it needs lots of depositories. So the body starts stocking away all these toxins in these holding areas known as tumors. I can just imagine the immune system board meeting. “You know that lung we keep having to repair? I think that would be a GREAT place for that new rubbish facility we've been talking about!” I think the body intentionally chooses weakened places in our bodies to start storing the toxic overload. For someone with undiagnosed celiac's disease, that may be a damaged colon. For a smoker, a tar-filled lung. Some people are particularly suseptable to damage from radiation, so the skin might be a target or the brain from cordless phone use (both of which apply to Adam). The body knows exactly what it's doing, and this cancer project is carefully planned out and executed beautifully. Did you know that when cancer cells are threatened by chemotherapy, the healthy cells in that area actually rally together and protect the tumor? A recent study in the U.S. shocked researchers when they discovered that as healthy cells are being destroyed by chemotherapy, they excrete a protein that protects the cancer cells from damage. Can you believe that? They figuratively throw themselves over the cancer cells to protect them as they go down. Kinda like secret service agents. The body knows exactly what it's doing. It NEEDS those depositories, and by God they are going to make sure they stay open. Especially when the body is being attacked by chemotherapy agents. The body knows it's going to need a lot more tumors to handle the toxin overload after the chemo treatment is over. Maybe that's why cancer always comes back.

All is not lost, however. What if you could detox the body and take the load off the liver? What if you simply removed the toxic overload and gave the liver a tune-up? The body wouldn't need the extra depositories anymore, and the immune system would be directed to take them down. And that is exactly what happens. There is a term out there called “spontaneous remission” that is floating around the medical world. It's how they explain someone with aggressive progessing cancer that suddenly presents without active cancer in their bodies. There have been numerous cases in medical literature of cancer patients suddenly turning up healed and with no trace of cancer remaining. The doctors scratch their heads and can't figure out why this happens. Call it God or call it good luck, but the medical community believes that spontaneous remission just happens. Guess what. It doesn't “just happen”. Dr. Harold Foster of the University of Victoria in British Columbia wanted to study what factors may be at play in cases of spontaneous remission and chose 200 cases to analyze. Far from being miraculous, most of these healings were due to drastic lifestyle changes and complimentary therapies. Many of these patients followed the Gerson diet and employed parts of the Gerson protocol, namely the juicing and coffee enemas. Other dietary regimes represented in the study were very similar to the Gerson diet. I have studied the numerous cancer diets out there and they are all remarkably similar. The Halleluja Diet, A. P. John, The Crazy Sexy Cancer Diet, Gerson... they are all either vegetarian or vegan, and low-fat. That is why we are doing what we are doing with our family's diet, and it explains why different cancer patients following different protocols can have similar degrees of success. The conclusion that Dr. Foster was able to reach is that far from being spontaneous, these patients were only categorized as such by orthodox medicine because the impressive results were due to alternative and complimentary therapies.

So back to juicing. Now you understand why feeding vegetables through a juicer, and the hassle of cleaning up afterwords is so worth it when you are fighting the cancer battle. If you want to watch a fantastic testimony on the power of juicing, watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It's on Hulu, and it's fabulous. You will run out and buy a Breville juicemaker immediately! I can testify, the Breville is really good, and it's available on Amazon. If and when you decide to harness the awesome raw power of the home juicer, try our two favorite concoctions:

The Morning Green Juice

1 cucumber
2 leaves of kale
2 stalks of celery
1 Granny Smith apple

Feed these foods through the juicer. Kale and apples are supposed to be done on “low” but I find they clog up the juicer if you do that. I feed them all through on “high”, except the cucumber which is done last and on “low”. Squeeze half a lime into the finished juice and serve. Makes enough for two.

The Evening Detoxifyer

1 beet
3 carrots
1 Granny Smith apple
either 1cm piece of ginger or ¼ of fennel

Again, feed all these through the juicer on “high”. I squeeze half a lime into mine, because I find this a bit too sweet. Adam loves it straight up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Got Coffee?

I'm so excited, I just had to share. Today, folks, I will be telling you about my new favorite detoxing method. I wasn't sure about it at first, and we put it off as long as we could. But, now that I've been doing this every day for over a week, I just can't hold back. I need to tell all of you about... the coffee enema. And, whoosh! I just lost half my readership in one moment. Hopefully I can keep the other three of you interested and convince you that coffee enemas are the wave of the future.

Let me start by telling you a bit about WHY they are so good for you. If you are battling cancer, the coffee enema is a very powerful weapon in your arsenal. That's arseNAL for those of you giggling right now. I don't blame you. Adam and I did a lot of giggling when we first got our enema kits in the mail. Anyway, we first read about coffee enemas when we were investigating the Gerson protocol for fighting cancer. We have implemented some aspects of the Gerson protocol along side Adam's current treatment to maximize his chances of success. The Gerson therapy is an intensive detoxing protocol involving a strict diet, juicing every hour on the hour, and several coffee enemas a day. Many many people have successfully survived cancer utilizing the Gerson therapy, and it would be foolish to ignore it without doing a bit of research first. Coffee enemas are the cornerstone of the Gerson treatment and are used to detox the liver and gallbladder. Let me tell you why. The introduction of diluted coffee into the colon triggers the bile ducts to dilate, which allows the liver to release toxins. A study from the University of Minnesota showed that rectal coffee administration stimulates an enzyme called glutathione S-transferase in the liver which removes free radicals from the bloodstream. The study found that the activity of this enzyme is increased by up to 700% after a coffee enema. A six-year clinical study at the District Hospital of Graz, Austria confirmed the advantages of implementing coffee enemas in oncological protocols. The researchers discovered that two active ingredients of coffee (cafestol and kahweol) increased the activity of glutathione S-transferase sevenfold. When one is using any treatment to attack and kill tumor tissue, conventional or alternative, toxins are accumulated in the body either from the medicine itself in the case of chemotherapy, or from the immune system breaking down the cancer. This process carries the risk of taxing out the liver, which in cancer patients is already debilitated. This is why it is important to consider a good detoxing method. Now for a bit of history. Water enemas have been used in medicine since Hippoctrates introduced them 2,600 years ago. Only in recent times has the routine use of enemas lost its popularity. The use of coffee as enema material began in Germany during World War I when morphine was in short supply. In desperation, nurses began pour leftover coffee into the enema buckets to ease the pain of wounded soldiers after surgery. They found that it was a very effective method of pain relief.  This accidental discovery came to the attention of two medical researchers in Germany who went on to test the effects of coffee enemas on rats, and found that when caffeine travels up the hemorrhoidal vein to the liver, it dilutes bile ducts and allows the liver to release accumulated toxins.

So now that I've given you a few points to ponder as to why we decided to do this, I will now go onto the specifics. I know the look of horror on your face. I've been there. But, I promise you it really really isn't all that bad. I had read testimonies online of people gushing about their daily coffee enemas. They all swore that they looked forward to them every day, and felt so amazing afterwords. I didn't think it could be true. But, I'm now a convert myself, and I actually do look forward to it every morning, and I do actually feel amazing afterwords. I start the process by boiling the coffee. I boil just over a liter of water, and add 3 heaping tablespoons of coffee to the pot. I'm working up to 4 scoops, but I'm not quite there yet. This boils for 3 minutes, then I put the lid on, turn down the heat to a simmer, and let it cook 15 more minutes. Once it has had a chance to cool a bit I strain it with muslin and pour equal amounts of the coffee into two jars. One for Adam and one for me. I usually end up with 16oz of coffee each. Then I dilute it. I add enough warm water to total 24oz of enema material for me, and Adam does the full 32oz. Then I'm off to the bathroom! I actually skip up the stairs.

I set up my little “enema den” with a towel lining the bathtub, and another towel rolled up as a pillow. The coffee gets poured into my enema bucket, and I unclamp the tube to let the liquid pour all the way to the end. Then I clamp it tight, and lubricate the tip a bit. The next part was the most horrifying the first day, and now is just so second-nature I can't believe I was ever anxious about it. I lie down in the tub on my right side and curl up into the fetal position. The tube goes in, which was a bit weird the first time but is a total non-issue now. I have the bucket hanging up on the little washcloth rail in the tub, so I just unclamp the tube and let the coffee run in. You don't feel a thing! You might hear a little gurgling from your intestines, but there is no sensation whatsoever of the coffee going in. Once the bucket is empty, I clamp the tube and gently remove it. Then I get to lie still for 12 minutes. Actually I haven't made it to 12 minutes yet, but I'm getting close. I've read, played Bejeweled on my iPod, and I have every intention of praying the Rosary... starting tomorrow. I promise. Anyway, when the time is up it's time to “evacuate”. I suppose that part is self-explanatory. Then I just wash out the bucket (remember there's only been coffee in there!) and rinse out the tubing. Voila! All in all, it takes less than 30 minutes of my morning, but boy is it worth it. I swear you feel about 5 pounds lighter afterwards. And you really do feel clear-headed and ready to start the day. Adam goes in after me, and he is loving his enemas. His short-term memory issues that plagued him after the surgery have totally cleared up, and he's convinced it's the enemas that are doing it.

So I hope you don't feel that this has been too much information, but I really strongly feel that more people should be using the coffee enemas in treating their medical problems. I have the hopes that it will help me with my migraines, and the occasional detox is definitely useful even for the healthiest among us. Watch some colonoscopies on YouTube and you'll see why. Next up, I'll be writing about my other favorite part of Adam's protocol... juicing!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thoughts on Protein

Wow. Two posts in two days! It must be a holiday weekend. Anyway, I wanted to address a comment I keep hearing everytime I mention to friends and family that we've gone vegetarian. “What about protein?” “Make sure you're getting enough protein!” “What are you doing for protein... lots of beans?” Because of these well-meaning questions, I wanted to do some research into protein and find out how much a body really does need. My findings surprised me, so I'd like to share.

It looks like the recommended daily intake of protein for a man is 56g. Now Adam is on the slim side, so he probably doesn't require that much. I need far less being a women, closer to 46g. So I decided to do a “protein audit” of our current diet, looking closely at what we are consuming and how it measures up to the demands of our bodies. We are getting far more than we need, and we aren't even trying. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of beans, and mental images of having to shovel forkfuls of rinsed kidney beans into my mouth to keep up with “protein demands” made me feel a little low. Thank goodness that is completely unneccessary. To look at an average day, here is how the protein grams add up:

oatmeal with walnuts, flax seed and a banana – 9g
leftover vegetable pot pie with cabbage salad – 14g
pumpkin soup and green salad with quesadillas – 26g

That comes to a total of 49g already, and I haven't even added up the snacks yet. Throw in a rice cake with peanut butter, a cheese stick, fruit, and a handful of mixed nuts and we have consumed a whopping 68g of protein in one day. Some days we'll be having fish (between 20-30 grams per 3 oz. serving) and occasionally I make eggs (6g per egg). On those days, we might even total 70 or 80 grams. And that's on a vegetarian diet! What would we be taking in if we were still on meat?!

You might be asking what the concern over protein is all about. Well, I have researched a ton of cancer diets, and the vast majority of them have one key thing in common. They are vegetarian. They are also sugar-free for the most part. Why? Cancer feeds on sugar and protein. I was under the mistaken impression that cancer requires only sugar to grow. That is why Adam was on a carb-free diet while on the Burzynski treatment. But, if cancer only grows on sugar, it should have starved to death. Unfortunately, it didn't and that's when I read the fine print.... cancer can also thrive on excess protein. Yes, we do need to make sure that Adam has adequate protein to fulfill the needs of his body, but too much protein floating around in his veins gets lapped up by cancer cells and makes them happy. We do not want happy cancer cells. We want them to be miserable, groaning and writhing with agony. So for that reason, Adam needs to watch his protein intake in addition to completely avoiding sugar. The easiest way to do that is to avoid meat. The great thing about vegetarianism is that by removing the meat from his plate, Adam can fill that empty space with more vegetables. The mistake many vegetarians make is they replace that missing meat with white starchy carbs, or horrible imitation foods like soy ice cream and vegan protein bars. Unfortunately those people are missing the point, and will not reap the benefits of “Going Veg”. I'm still a big fan of meat, as long as it's grass-fed and spends it's life frolicking in rolling pastures. Commercial meat will never find it's way into our home again. But, I do now fully believe that meat should be eaten in moderation, and vegetables need to take center stage in one's diet. And for the time being, Adam and I are really enjoying our new healthy lifestyle, and hope that we can inspire others to do the same. It feels really great over here!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The First HIYH Recipe!

I had originally planned on writing about my forays into the depths of psychological despair. It's been a rough couple of days. But, it never ceases to amaze me how I always seem to spiral down into a puddle of woe immediately before starting a new menstrual cycle. I'm honestly surprised every month. You'd think that at my age, I should be used to this by now. Anywho, Adam suggested I take the blog in a different direction this week. We've been vegetarian for a couple of weeks now, and I must say, it's going really really well. I really don't miss meat at all, and I love how NOT bloated I feel after every meal. Satisfied, but not splitting my jeans at the waist. It's great! Tonight I attempted a vegetable pot pie, and it was a massive hit. Adam exclaimed (he really did... he actually “exclaimed”), “You have to put this recipe on the blog! Try taking the blog in a new direction!!” When he's that enthusiastic about something, I simply cannot ignore his advice. So here's the recipe for tonight's smashing success!

Vegetable Pot Pie:

1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
5-6 small potatoes, cubed
½ butternut squash, cubed
½ turnip, cubed
1 Cup frozen peas
2 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
1 Cup white sauce

Saute onion, carrot and celery in olive oil for 5 minutes until soft. Add potatoes, squash, turnip and peas and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Put into a casserole dish. Pour white sauce over vegetables and top with cheese. Top with your favorite crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Eat your heart out.

If you are looking for a gluten-free pie crust recipe, here is the one I use from The Gluten-free Gourmet:

1 ½ Cups white rice flour
½ Cups potato starch
¼ Cups tapioca flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
¾ Cups lard
1 egg
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. cold water

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Cut in lard until crumbly. Mix egg, vinegar and water in small bowl, then add to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly, and knead until it forms a dough. You can't knead it too much! Makes enough dough for two pie crusts.

I hope you enjoy this new and improved version of the Healer in your Heart blog... perhaps more recipes will follow, I don't know. So far we've enjoyed Tofu and Cashew Stir-Fry, Falafel, Pumpkin Lasagne, Vegetarian Chili, Fettuccine Primavera, Salmon & Potato Scallop, and Tilapia with Cherry Tomatoes and Leeks. I also make quite a few good soups, and a mean quinoa tabbouleh. Maybe Adam is onto something! I could start sharing my recipes! This could be a vegetarian-health-cancer-nutrition blog peppered with personal tales of our cancer-fighting adventures. Occasionally I could go off on deep reflective and spiritual tangeants to showcase my deepening faith and wisdom. Or I could just complain a lot about how hard it is to be me. In any case, the gears are now turning, and I'm getting excited about future blog posts! Hurrah, I think my funk is officially over!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Healer in Two Hearts?

My goodness, so much has happened I don’t even know where to begin.  I have been completely sans-computer for over a week, and it’s been impossible to stay in touch with anyone online, let alone update the blog.  My apologies!  It looks like my PC needs a new hard drive, so hopefully we’ll be able to work that out soon.  For the moment, I’m stealing a few precious minutes on Adam’s work PC while he is at the grocery store with his parents.

We returned from New York last weekend, and Adam had his first appointment at the new clinic in Aldie on Tuesday.  We both really like the doctor we met with.  Correction… I absolutely LOVE the new doctor.  Her name is Dr. Stone and I can’t say enough good things about her.  The clinic is beautiful, and surrounded by countryside and breathtaking views.  It’s perfect.  And the best part is (delivered in hushed tones and furtive glances)…. they are going to do the B17 infusions!!  We have to order it ourselves because the clinic can’t get it.  We have a special secret phone number for a clinic in Mexico and a code word to use when ordering.  Very cloak and dagger.  I love it.  But, we are over the moon that Adam will be able to get the good stuff, and the Schachter Clinic was pretty excited, too.  Apparently it can be really difficult to find clinics that are willing to infuse the B17 because they just don’t want to get involved.  Thank God for small family-owned clinics in small-town horse country.

Other than that, Adam feels wonderful although his first time driving in 9 months on uneven winding back roads was horrific.  We were both thankful to arrive there and back in one piece.  And next week, Adam gets to do the drive by himself.  Maybe it’s better that way.  Surely his confidence will soar when he doesn’t have to see his wife clutching the door white-knuckled, feet braced against the glove compartment, sucking her breath in with overdramatic force around every turn.

I also had my own mini adventure this week.  I found a suspicious lump in my breast a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to get Adam’s trip to New York out of the way before seeing to it.  I booked a thermographic scan at a center in Ashburn for the 27th, and I was a bit antsy the few days leading up to it.  Actually, I was downright bitchy.  My mother-in-law came with me for support, and was wonderful company while the GPS led us all over Sterling and Ashburn miles away from the actual imaging center.  We finally arrived 10 minutes late, and I was whisked into the examining room as soon as I finished filling out the new patient forms.  The thermographer was really awesome, and I highly recommend her if any of you locals are considering having one done.  Family Thermal Imaging in Ashburn.  Tell your friends.  Anyway, she scanned my torso from several different angles, which took maybe a minute, and then talked through the scanned images with me.  Thankfully, the lump is nothing to worry about.  There were no “hot spots” in that area of my breast.  However, the scan wasn’t totally clear either.  There were a couple of patches that showed irregular vascular activity.  She told me not to panic… there’s no need to run out and book an appointment with an oncologist.  But, there are definitely some early signs that I have a couple of spots that can potentially develop into cancer (8-10 years down the line) since there are detectable abnormalities already.  Not exactly the news I was expecting.  I had figured either the lump was a big scary fatal tumor, in which case I would immediately contact TLC and pitch a reality program starring our family, or it would be totally clear.  She told me there is a lot I can do to prevent cancer from forming, and suggested I look into a good detoxing protocol.  Well, HEY we’re doing that already!!  I can also start applying frankinsense to my breasts to help detox.  We’ve read a lot about frankinsense and how it can help with active cancer, so this sounded like really good advice.  As luck would have it, we happen to have a bottle of it that was recently passed onto us via my in-laws, so I can start with that immediately.  I’m also following Adam’s new crazy-healthy vegetarian diet, and I really really want to look into getting an infared sauna.  Ali should have one, Adam certainly needs one, and now it looks like I should be using one, too.  You can get little 4 foot single-seater saunas, and I have an idea of where we can put one.  In the meantime, I *really* need to order His and Hers enema kits so we can start doing coffee enemas.  I’ve read a lot about them, and the New York clinic highly recommended that Adam start partaking of daily “coffee breaks” in the bathroom.  I can just picture the kids pounding on the bathroom door… “But, Mummy I need your help NOW!”  Sorry, kids, but Mummy is completely indisposed at the moment.  Actually, it sounds quite appealing having 15 minutes all to myself to read, meditate, pray, whatever.  I just may have to sedate the children to make it work.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Best... Day... Ever!

We have had the most amazing weekend, and well, you know me.  I just had to share!  Yesterday we decided to go out exploring, and went out to Nyack to try to find Mountainview State Park.  It was on Google Maps.  It was supposed to be right there off the motorway on Mountainview Road.  Well, we drove up and down Mountainview Road and never found Mountainview State Park.  Shame, really.  It looked beautiful from the satellite view.  Anyway, we stopped at a Shell station to ask the locals were this darn park was.  No one had heard of it.  However, they did direct us to Rockland Lake Park, which was wonderful.  It’s a big lake with a walking trail around it, measuring 3 miles.  We walked the trail in such beautiful weather it nearly made me cry.  The sky was so blue, and the breeze was perfect.  For a few moments I lost my sense of reality and thought I was in Finland.  I can’t remember the last time I felt so blissful.  Then we returned to our hotel for a quick lunch before heading off to the home of my Aunt Jan and Uncle Cary.  What I like best about being up here for Adam’s treatment is I KNOW this place.  I could’ve driven to my aunt’s with a blindfold on.  We are less than 15 minutes away.  After all the welcoming kisses and cuddles we got great news:  my Aunt Marie and Uncle George were coming, too!  I hadn’t seen them in years, and I was so excited.  They are actually my dad’s aunt and uncle, but they’ve always been “aunt” and “uncle” to me.  They also brought their son Mark along, and I can’t remember the last time I saw him.  It was a great big family reunion!  We had so much fun catching up with everybody and gorging on ridiculous amounts of food.

Later that night, my cousin’s husband Tom had his adoration hour at the chapel and we were invited to go along.  He had asked friends of theirs from church to meet him there to pray over Adam.  After a few silent moments of reflection in the chapel, Tom started waving and motioning for Adam to come up to the front.  Adam and I kneeled at the front of the chapel and suddenly we were surrounded by people, all laying their hands on Adam and me.  Tom began to read and led everyone in prayer.  It was amazing.  The energy kept building as everyone took turns praying aloud and begging Jesus to heal Adam.  Adam and I were holding hands, but for a few moments I couldn’t tell whose hand was whose.  They seemed to just melt into one.  It was beautiful, and Adam and I were both shedding tears.  When it was over, one of the men told us to “take as long as we needed”.  Unfortunately, I had tears and snot running down my face, and I didn’t want to distract everyone from the beauty of what just happened with my loud snorting.  So I quietly left the chapel and Adam followed.  We were both a mess, and I hadn’t any tissues with me, so we cleaned up best we could with bare hands and my cardigan.  I felt a little bad when one of the men came out and introduced himself, and held out his hand to shake.  I prayed I wasn’t spreading some horrible communicable disease to one of the lovely people that may have been instrumental in saving my husband’s life.  After a few minutes spent meeting everyone and having a brief chat, we went home buzzing and looking forward to Sunday Mass.

This morning we relaxed a bit since I had a vicious migraine.  An Imitrex tablet helped clear it so we could meet my aunt and my cousin’s family at their church.  It was lovely, and mainly for the reason that Mass without Finlay is quite a treat.  We sang, we participated in prayers, we listened to the homily.  And boy were we surprised when Adam’s name was mentioned during the prayers for the sick!  My cousin Andrea arranged that one, and both of us were really touched.  After Mass we bid everyone goodbye and went to the Marian shrine less than a mile up the road.  It was awesome.  We spent a few quiet minutes in front of the 50-foot statue of Mary, then went for a walk on the trails around the property known as Rosary Walk.  I got out my grandmother’s rosary, and we prayed together while walking through the trees.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Then to top the already wonderful day off, we went out for Mexican!!  We ordered shrimp fajitas for both of us, and man were they good.  Adam and I go out to eat MAYBE twice a year, and this was such a treat.  I’m still bloated beyond comfort, and I will definitely be skipping dinner.  The past few hours have been spent linking up with the folks back home and seeing our beautiful boys, who I miss so much I can’t stand it.  We will be staying until Friday, and driving home Saturday.  This week I’ll be on the phone trying to coordinate Adam’s treatment when we get back to Virginia.  I’m hoping we will find a clinic (one in Aldie looks promising) who will continue Adam’s intravenous treatments when we return.  Unfortunately, one of the supplements has to be ordered from Mexico, and some doctors don’t seem crazy about the fact that it’s kinda illegal.  It isn’t ACTUALLY illegal, but the FDA has made it impossible to get and has convinced most medical professionals that it is in their best interest not to prescribe it.  Thank you, once again, to the feds for making keeping my husband alive a challenge.  Appreciate it.  Hey, wait a minute… my Aunt Marie is Italian!  Maybe she’s got a couple of burly cousins who can go over to the FDA headquarters and break a few thumbs.  Well, you gotta do watcha gotta do, hey?  Wow, one week in New York and I’ve turned all Brooklyn.  I better get back to Virginia before I find myself with two-inch long acrylic nails and crazy big hair.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Round Two

We made it!  We are here in New York, and have come to the end of our first day at the Schachter Clinic.  What a long day.  I don’t understand something about these cancer clinics.  I don’t understand why they don’t allow patients to have a lunch break.  Our first day at the Burzynski Clinic back in February was so unbelievably long.  You get there when the doors open in the morning, then have appointment after appointment until the administrative staff follow you out at the end of the day to lock up.  We were exhausted and starving by the time we got back to our condo.  It was the exact same routine this time around.  We were at the clinic at 8:30am.  We had back to back appointments until 1:30pm, then Adam was hooked up for IV treatments for three hours.  We finally got back into the car to head back to the hotel after 5:00pm.  I was so hungry I could have eaten the steering wheel.  But, who cares about me… what about the patients?!  These poor sick people need to eat, for crying out loud!  Adam survived, naturally, but I just don’t understand why they do this to their new patients.

Anyway, the first day went swimmingly.  We first went over Adam’s medical history with the physician assistant, then Adam had some blood drawn for labwork.  We met with Dr. Kopelson after that, and we both really liked him.  I spent a moment perusing the titles lined up on his bookshelf, and I was really impressed.  I’ve read most of them, so we were literally on the same page!  He has prescribed IV Vitamin C, amygdalin/laetrile, and something I can’t pronounce or remember at the moment.  Adam will also be taking a boatload of vitamin supplements, but that’s no surprise.  A couple of them where ridiculously expensive, though.  I can’t wait to see how God works out the finances on this one!  Then again, He came through when we were paying the Burzynski Clinic for 6 months, and if He can do that, He can do anything!!  Adam will start adding one supplement every other day until he is following the full protocol, which I think included about 10 supplements.  Our diet is already spot on, and the nutritionist was very pleased.  We just need to tweak a couple of details, and it’s now essential that we get grass-fed pastured meat, and highest quality fish for our protein sources.  Adam has been told to completely avoid commercial meat, poultry, fish and eggs.  Thankfully we live in the country and have a lot of choices as far as pastured meat goes.  I just wish it wasn’t so horribly expensive.  And the vegetables really need to be organic from here on out.  Especially with juicing, which we’ve been advised to do 2-3 times per day.  Dairy needs to be raw, and grains need to be whole and organic.  I’m glad I know all this already, but it also helps to be reminded.  I’ve been sliding on the quality of food we’ve been eating over the past year, mainly due to financial pressures.  However, it really would be better for Adam to miss a few meals, then for him to consume dangerous pesticides or hormones.  In fact, with two children in our family having neurological conditions, and with my various minor health issues, we ALL need to be eating like this.  We’ll find the money somehow, even if I have to turn tricks to make ends meet.

It looks like we’ll be staying up here until the end of next week to ensure that Adam gets plenty of IV treatments in before we head back to Virginia.  There are a few clinics within an hour from Berryville that do IV treatments, so we now need to figure out which treatments they offer and how much they charge.  Adam will need to have two infusions per week of the three supplements.  This treatment will be his new part-time job and will unfortunately involve some commuting.  But, it will certainly be less grueling than the Burzynski treatment, and will make Adam feel BETTER not worse while he’s on it.  He was literally bouncing after he got his Vitamin C today!  So we are both feeling excited and positive about this new phase of treatment.  And we’re praying that this approach actually works.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Off the Grid

There hasn't been much to write about the past week, as we've just been counting the days until our trip to New York coming up.  I also have had nothing to type ON.  My PC died over a week ago, and I feel like I've lost a limb.  At least 100 times a day I encounter a need to get onto my computer, only to look over at the closed doors of my computer armoire and sigh.  Adam's computer has also been acting up, and our laptop finally bid farewell to it's already disabled spacebar.  We bought the laptop two years ago for Adam to use for work on those rare occasions that we need to travel.  We had it for less than an hour when a 6 month-old Finlay climbed up and ripped off the spacebar.  I managed to finagle it back on, but it never worked quite right.  When it fell off for the last time a few months ago, we began to use the little rubber nobble located beneath the spacebar.  That finally rubbed off completely, so the laptop is now fairly useless.  You would be amazed at just how necessary a spacebar is.

On Tuesday we will be driving up to New York and we are so excited!!  There has been so much to do to prepare, booking a car and hotel, getting an EKG done and collecting all of Adam's surgery notes, labwork, MRI reports, etc.  Not to mention the daily deluge of bills from everyone with a medical degree who's ever HEARD of Adam.  I swear the nurse that swabbed the surgeon's forehead submitted a separate invoice.  Those of you lucky enough to have insurance never get the privilege of dealing with all this crap.  It's an unbelievable amount of paperwork, and has become a part-time job.  Now we also have a separate pile of bills from Calum's surgery to further complicate matters.  I can't even begin to deal with those right now, and UVA will just have to wait until we get Adam's next treatment protocol underway and I find to the time to feel like calling them back.

Hopefully we will be able to get the laptop looked at while in New York so I'll be able to keep everyone updated.  For now I'm stealing moments here and there to jump on Adam's work PC and check a few emails.  Otherwise, I'm pretty much offline, and best to be reached by phone.  You know, the one with the really long cord.  Does anyone else remember when you used to have a corded phone (you know back in the 80s), and it would get all wound up so you had to lift up the cord and let the phone spin around until it worked out all the coils?  Damn that was fun.  And I get to do it all the time!  Hey, maybe we should just go the full-Amish and just do away with household electricity altogether.  I would love any excuse to get rid of that darn Wii.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

God's Road Signs

After I wrote and published my last post, I started once again to do some research.  When you come to a dead end, you turn around and go back to the beginning.  I went to my “cancer” shelf on the bookcase, and pulled out The Alternative Guide to Your Cancer Diagnosis.  After looking under “brain cancer” in the index I was directed to page 311.  I read a short excerpt titled “Success Story:  Brain Tumor Treated with Magnetic Therapy”.  I liked what I read.  After testing for nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and toxic metabolite exposure, Dr. Schachter put the patient on a nutritional program with several oral supplements including shark cartilage (a big one in the cancer world right now), amygdalin, antioxidant and immune-enhancing vitamins and herbs.   He also had the patient wear a powerful magnet placed against his head and held in place with a headband for several hours each day.  Nearly 5 years later, the patient who had originally been told he had 6-18 months of survival was doing well.  The tumor had not grown at all while under the treatment.

I decided to look up the doctor’s website, and was immediately greeted by a photo of Dr. Schachter himself.  I couldn’t believe it.  He looks so much like Adam’s father.  Really he’s a perfect cross between my father-in-law and a friend from Nottingham named Ian Campbell.  Huh.  I decided to find out exactly where this place is.  I brought up Suffern, NY on Mapquest and was momentarily stunned.  The clinic is exactly 15 miles from my aunt and uncle in Stony Point.  Double-huh.  Okay, Vanessa.  Calm down.  Breathe.  Is this where we are supposed to go?  It can’t be.  This is way too quick.  It’s been less than 12 hours since Adam was taken off the antineoplastons.  Could God really be directing us already?  Would he send us a sign this quickly?   I asked God for more signs.  I asked Him to be absolutely clear.  No fooling around.  We need to know that this is definitely from You.

I don’t know if you remember 7 months ago when we were trying to figure out where we needed to go for Adam to start cancer treatment.  We asked for sign after sign after sign.  God was beating us over the head with the endless Houston references, and yet still I begged for assurance.  I could imagine Him with His hands on His hips going, “Alright already!!”  Well, this time I’ve been just as annoying.  New York?  Are you sure?  Well, despite my reservations, He’s been revealing His intentions to us once again.  Twice in two days I loaded up the internet to be greeted with “New York” in bold.  The news headlines have been focusing on the horrible shooting that just occurred there.  I’ve also been reading a memoir about a woman who was a plural wife in a fundamentalist Mormon group.  I noticed yesterday morning that at the bottom of the cover it reads, “From the New York Times bestselling author of Shattered Dreams.”  I went to show it to Adam, and he replied, “Now all we need to see is a Chevy HHR with New York plates!”  I stared at him with my mouth gaping wide.  He looked at me with a questioning look, and I said, “Honey… we DROVE a Chevy HHR with New York plates when we went to Houston!”  Finally, yesterday we were out for much of the day running errands.  When we got home there were a few messages on the voice mail.  Adam was listening to them and suddenly said, “Oh, Father Dobbins called… how nice of him.”  Father Dobbins is our parochial vicar, and has been so wonderful to us since this whole journey began.  A moment later Adam looked confused and said, “Wait, I don’t know who that was.”  He played it again for me to listen.  It was clearly Father Dobbins’ voice, but for some reason it was saying, “This is Timothy from the Schachter Center calling to see how Adam is doing today, and wondering if you had any more questions after taking to Anita yesterday.  If you would like to call me back, my number here is…”  I couldn’t believe it.  Adam said, “We are definitely going to New York now.”  Suffern, here we come!

Friday, August 24, 2012


It’s 5:00 in the morning, and I just can’t sleep.  Adam and I have been talking, holding hands in the dark.  The bedroom is actually dark for the first time in 6 months.  And completely silent.  The whooshing of the pump is gone, as is the pump’s bright display that used to cast a glow around the whole room.  It’s over.  We received a call yesterday that shocked both of us to the core.  Adam’s lesions have grown since the last MRI 8 weeks ago, and there is now a third lesion.  The treatment didn’t work.  It’s worked for so many others.  It is the one treatment that gave us any hope of Adam seeing the boys grow up.  He probably won’t ever get to meet his grandchildren.  He probably won’t see his boys get married or finish school.  He may not ever get to hear Finlay say "Daddy".

We are both so confused.  God led us to Dr. Burzynski’s clinic.  We know that.  The Divine landmarks were so clear.  Some signs were subtle, others blatant.  We were meant to go there, and this treatment seemed made for Adam.  Why didn’t it work?  Why the horrible 6-month detour?  Adam will never get those 6 months back, and right now every month counts.  He’s been like an old man, unable to wrestle with his three young boys.  Unable to take them to the park, or hike the beautiful trails we are blessed to have nearby.  The kids’ lives were put completely on hold.  When God paves a clear path for you, when He asks you to go somewhere and do something so very hard, it’s supposed to work out, right?  When you do what He tells you… it’s supposed to end well, isn’t it?

We don’t know what we are supposed to do next.  We have discussed a few options, but they all look so awfully wrong.  The Burzynski clinic is encouraging us to come back to Houston so he can start gene-targeted therapy.  It just feels wrong.  First of all, we need to come up with $30,000 to start the other treatment, not to mention all the expenses of going down there.  It makes both of us nauseous just thinking of going back to that place and starting over.  The monthly cost of the treatment is over $20,000.  And it has a much lower rate of success than the antineoplastons.  Not to mention the horrible side-effects of the drugs.  Adam just doesn’t want to go there.  Another option is maybe Dr. Gonzalez in NY.  His protocol is absolutely grueling.  It’s a massive total-body detox, involving several coffee enemas a day, a dozen freshly-made juices a day, liver flushes, handfuls of vitamins and enzymes several times a day… it would make the last 6 months look like a freaking holiday.  And we don’t know if he’s had much success with brain tumors.  Finally, we could go back to England.  Adam could receive radiation and chemotherapy on the NHS, which might buy him a couple of years.  It would destroy his body in the meantime, and might disable him to the point where he couldn’t enjoy the boys during his remaining time with us.  Adam doesn’t want it.  He actually groans everytime I mention the possibility of chemo.

I looked into my trusted Streams in the Desert last night and it didn’t fail me.  What I found was this:
            “It is faith without sight.  When we can see, it is not faith, but reasoning.  In crossing the Atlantic we observed this very principle of faith.  We saw no path upon the sea, nor sign of shore.  And yet day by day we were marking our path upon the chart as exactly as if there had followed us a great chalk line upon the sea.  And when we came within twenty miles of land, we knew where we were as exactly as if we had seen it all three thousand miles ahead…  So faith looks up and sails on, by God’s great Sun, not seeing one shoreline or earthly lighthouse or path upon the way.  Often its steps seem to lead into utter uncertainty, and even darkness and disaster; but He opens the way, and often makes such midnight hours the very gates of day.  Let us go forth this day, not knowing, but trusting.”

That’s all we can do right now.  Trust in Him.  We are looking for signs and instructions from Above.  We will go wherever He tells us to go, and we will do whatever He commands.  Our faith is all we have.