Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Bike Ride...Shall We?


I sit her updating my blog, not even knowing how Im going to get all thats in my head to my fingers to the keyboard. Im all over the place. Totally overwhelmed and not very in control like my typical Virgo self. My mind is constantly running, you have to do this and you have to do that. The fear is causing the mind to run that much faster. The fear of letting my body, my loved ones, fellow survivors, and ultimately my life down is taking over. But not in a motivating type of way, more in a woah Im buried way too deep so why not allow myself to fall a little deeper kinda way. The self criticism and perfection bullshit is so overwhelming that it is preventing me from doing what I need to do for my self.....which in turn causes that much more self criticism and destruction. I thought back and remembered how on the ball I was, both emotionally and physically I was ready to do whatever I needed to keep this cancer at bay. Now it wasn't the case. I think about it but Im not doing it.  I spiraled out of control and was beating myself up every time I took a step backwards. The harder I was on myself the harder it was to stay on track. Actually I did the exact opposite. Ate toxic foods and beat myself up so much emotionally. Instead of affirmations it became negative thinking and putting myself down. Instead of cucumbers and celery it became pizza and sweets. Knowing I was stronger than this, I beat myself up that much more and the vicious cycle continued.

It dawned on me, quite a ways back, that Im just sick and tired of having to deal with all that cancer brings for the past six years and Im tired. Actually Im exhausted. In the beginning it was a new challenge...I hopped on the journey like it was a new bicycle I was learning to ride. Once I became educated on diet and emotional effects on cancer I weaved in and out of every natural aspect there was on the cancer path. I felt so invigorated and healthy that peddling that bike became addicting and second nature. My skin was glowing, my hair was shiny and I felt as beautiful and healthy as ever. I think of my many health and emotional challenges as hills on my bike ride journey, with that ultimate goal of finishing the course and getting the medal of "optimum health and happiness." As hard as they were I peddled steady and slow, sweating profusely but I got up those "hills." The hills came more frequently and as much as I sighed when I saw them I continued to do my steady peddle upward. Even if I had to get off the bike for a minute, breathe and get back on I made it up the hill. My face was blotchy and red, my hair was wet and in knots and my muscles were trembling from being overexerted. Other hills that popped out of no where, even though not as large as some of the hills I endured, were dreaded. Despite biking a hill 10x larger before like a champ, this moderately sized hill didn't even seem approachable. Self criticism came into play, "Lisa, you biked hills much bigger then this. what are you becoming weak? you giving up? You will never get the medal" The more hills the more I said I cant, yet I continued to peddle slowly and get myself up what seemed the never ending hills. The emotional stress and being so hard on myself can be thought of the weather on my bike course taking a turn for the worst. Rain, wind, lightning and complete darkness took over the course. Its cold, my body hurts, im weak and I cant look at one more damn hill and I don't give a damn about that medal. I decide to turn around and go down hill and forget about the medal.

After all, its easier to go downhill, right? As I turned around on the course, I felt a sense of relief. Nothing to be overwhelmed about anymore. Who cares about the medal. Ill just hope for the best and hope that this path takes me to the right place. I went down hill and the wheels spun out of control. I felt like I had no control over the bike. Steering the bike was my only sense of control. My leg movements were as if I had no muscles at all and they were just limbs being wound up like a jack in the box.  As much as I tried to keep on course the bike had a mind of its own as it went down hill the speed of the bike got that much faster causing zero control. It hit a large rock and I went flying. Muddy, soaked, cold, and with ripped clothes I laid there and looked down to a bloody broken limb and wished I never turned around and went "down hill." This is a hell of a lot worse then trembling muscles. My body hurts even more and the weakness is now more heightened . All that effort that I put in staying the course, hill after hill, I gave up to have a far more worse  experience. Where do I go from here? Sit here and feel sorry for myself or tend to my broken limb, take in the beauty on the course and get back on my bike and go uphill? Good news is that Im very familiar with the course and enjoy the feeling and benefits of going up hill much more. Im pretty bruised up but I surely plan on getting on that very first trail again. Im going to take it slow and rather than bombard myself with every little aspect of getting the medal, I will start with only a few strategies and add as I ride. Also, I realized (hello Im a therapist and an analyzer to the fullest) that affirmations rather then criticisms will get me a lot further and not make me want to throw in the towel and quit again. I mean after all I should give myself some credit, this month is year six and I put in a hell of an effort. Im still here with a stage IV melanoma diagnosis, thats pretty good and I for sure know its not luck. Its pure science. Nutrition, emotional and stress management and unloading anything toxic is critical to reverse cancer. 

So as I forewarned at the start of this post, I am all over the place and have been for quite sometime. Not doing what I KNOW I need to in order to shrink and keep these tumors away. I continue to not be a fan of conventional drugs and cancer treatment. The zelboraf did reduce many of my tumors but with horrible side effects. I reduced the dose and with no surprise, the tumors started getting larger again. I don't really trust the drug and my gut doesn't feel very good about it all. However, If the tumors continue to get bigger and cause me pain or the inability to eat, that would be problematic. So here I am for everyone to read, that I will embark on the journey that makes me feel amazing and kills cancer cells. That is the trail of lots of juicing, greens, veggies, nuts grains and berries. I will take all my supplements, including my mistletoe injections, biweekly vitamin infusions and at least five scoops of cellect daily to start. To not overwhelm myself I will add the other strategies of gaining   optimum health and wellness slowly, week by week. I will not focus on how easy the bike ride used to be. I will live in the now and start with just getting back on my bike, keeping in mind that invigorating feeling of my skin glowing and the wind blowing through my hair.

It is Michael Burkhardt, an inspirational and incredible fellow cancer warrior and friend, who recently lost his battle, that motivates me to get back on track and take nothing for granted. With his beautiful wife, Eden, and their two adorable twin boys, Gavin and Reid, beside him, it was eight years that Michael endured brain cancer and he did it with humor and dignity. A cute little boy from the neighborhood, known for his red hair and freckles. One of the many children amongst the neighborhood kids. Graduated and was good friends with my oldest brother. My mother very good friends with Michael's mother. Michael and I re-connecting years later over cancer bullshit. We offered each other pointers, tips and encouragement. We often vented via text about how much cancer sucks and we wish we can get on with our lives.  This summer our lives so parallel....both in lots of pain, pretty much unable to do much of anything but yet both still positive and with the will to fight. On my roughest days, despite going through his own horrid stuff, he always took the time to write me..... Always took the time to think of others...
      "Hey! The pain was better, then got far worse. I am good and out of it now." In and out of consciousness. How are you? Have you been home or still at the hospital? I thought my mom said you were home. Hope so. Has your pain been managed well-hows the recovery been? You're a rockstar-been thinking about you and our crazy stories running sort of parallel lately..."

" Wow Lisa, what you've been going through sounds brutal. We all take so much for granted, until we're sick or hurting and all we want is our health back. It's so true when it comes to things like what you're going through. Whats a little back pain when your shoulder has been torturing you. People eat like shit, drink, smoke cigs, etc as if their health will always be there. It all changes when your ife is threatenend...."
         "Hi Lisa-I just gave my mom the news of my MRI yesterday and she told me you were getting    one  today and why. Im so sorry you have been in such pain and have been through so much lately. I hope today reveals the best news possible for you and that anything that follows is as speedy and painless recovery as possible. sending lots of love to my fellow warrior..."
"I hope you feel better and im always available if you want to shoot the shit or just vent with someone who's with you through our shit. Lots of love."
 There is such a thing as a cancer connection. When someone in your social network, whether indirectly or directly, has cancer along with you, there is an instant connection and a bond. Mike and I had that. I knew he was not feeling well and his cancer was progressing, but I was in complete denial that he would leave us. Hearing that news last week was that kick to the stomach when you are already hurled up on the floor in pain. Hit way too close to home. Stirred up way too much for me. Seeing the hundreds and hundreds of people waiting online for hours in the pouring rain to pay their respects for Michael was so moving it left me with goosebumps. It was uplifting and just showed how much he was loved and what a big footprint he left not only in my life but in this world. 

So thanks to Michael Burkhardt, I am motivated to get biking up that hill again. I leave you with his beautiful words....
"If you and your loved ones have their health, very little else actually matters. Its hard to fully appreciate that until your life has been threatened. Be good to yourselves. You have only one body, one vessel, to carry your soul for a lifetime." - Michael Burkhardt
Please support Michael's beautiful family in anyway you can.

I will post again soon and will be sure to share my strategies that I use long my bike ride. Life is short people, don't take what you have right in front of you for granted. Its so easy to be negative, think about all the positive in your life. There is always someone worse off and you never know what tomorrow will bring. 

  Much Peace and Love,