Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Recovery continued

There is one more book that is indeed worth reading about a cancer survivor. The book is: 
Teva Harrison, In Between Days: a memoir about living with cancer, House of Anansi Press Inc, 2016. It is a very personal graphic novel, with short essays interspersed with graphic story. Order it from your favourite bookseller today.

I am still faced with the medical communication challenge where three hospitals are involved in the ongoing monitoring of my renal carcinoma. The Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton sometimes communicates with Stanton Hospital in Yellowknife, which sometimes communicates with the Inuvik Regional Hospital, which sometimes communicates with me. I used to say that tongue in cheek that cancer recovery is my full time job, but now I know it to be true. I am left as the one person who must make sure that communications actually take place, and that doctors and other staff actually follow through. This is complicated by the fact that Cross Cancer does not communicate AT ALL with my doctor here in Inuvik. If something needs to be in my medical file, it is up to me to find it and make sure a copy makes it to the file! Sometimes it gets exhausting.

Just today I have read of case studies about the role of humble asparagus in curing cancer. It is indeed a powerful natural healer as you will find in multiple sources on the Internet. So turmeric (or curcumin, the active ingredient) and asparagas seem to be the primary plant-based healers. With other antioxidants like blueberries and many vegetables providing nutritional support.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Continuing Recovery at home in Inuvik

At last I have new dates for a cancer status appointment. As mentioned in my last post, April 11 didn't turn out in Yellowknife. It turns out that the CT Scan equipment in Yk was not working during that week when Dr North of Cross Cancer was in town. So the next dates are May 16 and 17 in Edmonton at Cross Cancer Institute. CT scan on 16th and consultation with Dr North on 17th. Again, because of my hearing disability, Sandra will accompany me on the journey. I am hopeful for the best because I am feeling very good, energy has returned, the old irritating cough has subsided. It is likely the cough was indicating all not well in my lungs.

One concern I have is a week bit of anger against people who profit from cancer anxiety in recovery. There is one particular CD-selling business that has had several "free" online video episodes that has particularly attracted my ire. Here is some text from an email I sent that explains the thing:

"Some of you may be watching videos from something called The Truth about Cancer. AVOID THIS ONLINE PROGRAM. It is all about selling videos. Except for some sincere cancer survivor stories it is all about sensationalism and health-related conspiracy theories. One of the so-called experts Mike Adams - Health Ranger is under investigation for promoting murder of scientists (see for example:…/shining-light-mike-ad…/…). In my watching of this series I have seen nothing new in true things about cancer growth or treatment that I didn't already know, and I have seen a lot of misleading junk."

I know that not all people have agreed with me on this, but featuring a quack like Mike Adams is the rotten apple that spoils the barrel! Also I have been getting an average of 6 emailsl a day from this Truth about Cancer outfit. And the last couple of days of the "free" episodes the used car salesman running the show has been virtually pleading: please buy my CDs. And oh yes, you can get the Silver collection or better yet the Gold collection, etc etc ad nauseam.

And I am comforted that my naturopath considers this Truth about Cancer programming as garbage that should be illegal! My nutritionist also was NOT impressed. So there you have a professional consensus.

I thought I would not give a list of books that I have found useful and compelling regarding cancer recovery:
1) Cancer Fighting Kitchen - Rebecca Katz, Ten Speed Press (2009) - a great cookbook!
2) Mind over Medicine - Lissa Rankin, MD, Hay House, Inc., distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books (2013) - a quite general book but includes reference to cancer recovery
3) The Definitive Guide to Thriving after Cancer - Lise N Alschuler and Karolyn A Gazella, Ten Speed Press (2013) - this is a second more readable edition to the 2011 publication Five to Thrive, Active Interest Media, Inc. (2011)
4) Wondering who you are - Sonya Lea, Tin House Books (2015) - a well-written memoir by Sonya Lea focusing on the near death and brain injury of her husband, and the long road to partial recovery.
5) The Adventures of a Cancer Maverick - Nina Joy, The Solopreneur Publishing Company Ltd, 9 High Farm Meadow, Badsworth, West Yorkshire WF9 1PB (2014) - - a great book about a personal cancer recovery journey, emphasizing joy and attitude!
6) Beating Cancer with Nutrition - Patrick Quillin with Noreen Quillin, Bookworld (1994) - out of print but you may find a second hand copy on Abe Books
7) Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment - Patrick Quillin and R Michael Williams, editors, Cancer Treatment Research Foundation (1993) - believed out of print but you may find a used copy on Abe Books. This book presents research current only to 1993

Well, that is all until next time. I am struggling against fear again, because of the extra month delay before I find out the status of my recovery, so joy and attitude are all important. Anxiety will only hasten cancer not defeat it.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Immune System - Attitude and Nutrition before Chemotherapy

Hello my friend - Hello! That's what Neil Diamond sang a while ago. I have read again and again that fear and stress and depression put us out of balance and does a number on the health of our Immune System and its ability to fight off disease (or in my case, kill cancer cells). So keeping a positive personal attitude is of great importance to me right now. As long as I keep writing, either on this blog or writing a poem or on my Young Adult novel or on community sustainability (10 days ago I had a paper entitled "Climate Change and Sustainable Living in Remote Communities" accepted for publication in an online engineering journal) I don't have trouble with depression. The Book Cellar in Yellowknife keeps a book in stock entitled Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery by L.E. Carlson et al which promotes meditation and some yoga practices to aid in stress reduction.

Well, attitude became even more important to me as I read the Surgical Pathology Report prepared after my December 6 operation and kidney removal and removal of other cancerous tumour segments in the renal vein and other nearby areas.. The funny thing is there is no mention of cancerous tumours being removed from my lungs although something was definitely going on in my lungs, blood clots or tumour growths or both. My first reaction upon reading the report was to get scared all over again. However, I kept telling myself to remember the results of the February 3 CT scan that showed the remaining cancer diminishing in size.

I was to have an appointment in Yellowknife with Dr North from Cross Cancer Institute (CCI) in Edmonton this Monday the 11th. However the health system could not get its act together to schedule a new CT scan, so the appointment has been cancelled. They will send me to Edmonton to CCI for a CT scan and consultation toward the end of April I am told. Hurry up and wait. I am feeling perfectly fine, no pain, no shortness of breath. I can walk for an hour at a time on snow trails through the bush now so my strength is definitely coming back.

On the nutrition side I won't bore you with details, but here are some highlights. To increase immune system health there are many recommendations, including minimizing sugar, removing all dairy products (except organic butter; butter is low in milk casein which causes inflammation in the body and even encourages tumour growth in laboratory animals (Cornell University research)) and all processed meats. Increase sea vegetable (seaweed, etc) and gluten free grains such as quinoa and oats. I am to avoid peanuts and peanut butter (grrrr!) because of the toxins on the surface of peanuts. Gradually over time I will reduce peanut butter and start eating other nut butters and sunflower butter. I am to increase all other nuts. I am supposed to eliminate coffee and that will be hard to do!

Both the nutritionist and naturopath have recommended turmeric as a cancer cell killer because, as I have said in a previous post, curcumin in turmeric actually seeks out malignant cancer cells and alters the regulation of DNA in order to kill them. There is some evidence pointing to also using black pepper to increase the effectiveness of turmeric. Both of these advisors also recommend washing all fresh vegetables before eating them.

I have had other interesting things recommended to me by very well meaning friends, including drinking colloidal silver in distilled water, which kills all manner of bacteria, and essiac tea, which has been claimed as a cancer fighting herbal tea. However both the colloidal silver source, the Silver Edge, and my naturopath recommend against colloidal silver as being damaging to my one kidney that is under stress as it is. And essiac tea is said to be supported by very conflicting research and also hard on the kidneys.

The most interesting natural medication prescribed by my naturopath is Iscador from mistletoe. Note in the last post that I mistakenly spelled it "istador." I find it interesting that something from a romantic plant like mistletoe, which in ancient times was even considered to have magic healng properties, can be used to produce a cancer-killing agent. Iscador comes from Europe and is injected through the skin in various strengths like insulin. It has been shown to work with the immune system to kill cancer cells. So I am presently injecting prescribed doses of Iscador three times a week, in a manner that is designed to determine the correct dose for my particular body and immune system.

Actually it is a good thing that I won't be having my next CT scan and cancer consultation until about the end of April. That will give the Iscador more time to work towards eliminating some cancer cells.


Monday, 4 April 2016

More about kidney health, cancer recovery, and nutrition

I did mention earlier that the anaesthetic during the December 6 operation did a number on my short term memory. I am happy to say that those memory absence effects are now gone. My memory seems to have completely returned to normal now. Some people that I have read about have been less fortunate, some suffering serious mental disorders after a serious operation. 

Last week I spent a few days in Yellowknife where there was an opportunity for some consulting work related to new standards for building infrastructure in the North, with special emphasis on climate change impacts and melting permafrost. The North also is experiencing greater snow precipitation in winter, creating greater snow loads on roofs of buildings.

On Friday April 1 I had a scheduled appointment with Dr Redvers at the Gaia Clinic to begin my injection protocol for istador, a natural substance that comes from mistletoe, and that targets cancer cells. I have to inject myself three times a week with various doses at various times. This is not difficult, considering that I was faced with injecting myself with blood thinner twice a day for six weeks after the kidney cancer operation on December 6.

I now have a second consultation scheduled with Dr North from the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. He is coming to Yellowknife next Monday, one week from today, and I will have another CT scan followed by consultation to see if the cancer is still shrinking, or whether it has been getting more aggressive. I feel so good, so physically well these days, that I believe that the cancer is receding further. And I am taking the steps in nutrition to help murder those cancer cells.

It is interesting trying to set up an appointment from a remote location up here in the Arctic. When Cross Cancer (Edmonton) calls Stanton Hospital (Yellowknife), which then calls Inuvik Regional Hospital, and Special Clinics in Inuvik then calls me there is plenty of room for error. I now have two given times for the consultation appointment, not sure which one is right, but both for Monday April 11 at Stanton Hospital in Yellowknife. I hastened to point out that surely a CT scan would have to be done, but Inuvik Special Clinics knew nothing about that. But I was right. I am now waiting for a specific timetable for both CT scan and consultation appointment on the 11th.

I now have a lot of recommendations from Dr Redvers on things to avoid for kidney health and cancer recovery. The istador is the main thing impacting cancer recovery in a positive way. And the nutritionist, Lorie Crawford, has provided many interesting things regarding what to eat and what not to eat. I will follow this blog with specific information from the naturopathic and nutrition recommendation in a couple of days.

I will finish off this blog by going back to the renal ultrasound that was done on March 10 here in Inuvik. I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday March 22nd to discuss the ultrasound. Although my one kidney is not performing up to spec, it is very stable, according to the three blood tests done between January and March. So the doctor doesn't consider me to be in any immediate danger there. And the ultrasound showed that the kidney looked very normal. I have an enlarged prostate, something that has come and gone over the years, depending upon my caffeine intake. So no surprises there. My PSA level rises with lotsa coffee and drops as I reduce coffee intake. This is something that the great science of medicine is apparently unaware of, and doctors look at me with that expression that says: "I refuse to roll my eyes because it's not polite!"

I also had a skin test for tuberculosis, since there is an off chance that I could be a TB carrier, or that some of the abnormal things in my lungs could be TB related. I have spen many years doing volunteer work with inmates in the North Slave Correctional Centre in Yellowknife, several of whom have suffered from TB, so there is an off chance that I could be a TB carrier. The test came out negative, so its all good.

I have ordered the pathology reports of my renal carcinoma that were prepared as a result of my Dec 6 operation as well as the CT scan of Feb 3 before the last Cross Cancer consultation. The specific cell types will help both naturopath and nutritionist advise on how to best eradicate the cancer cells.

All for now. In a couple of days I will follow up with my adventures in nutrition, and specific recommendations from both naturopath and nutritionist. And I will be preparing for my next scary trip to Yellowknife over next weekend for a new CT scan and cancer status update.